Teenage Trauma Almost Made Me Give Up On Life

One of the few pics of me from that time. Not too many happy memories.

I went through a lot of trauma between the ages of 15-19. I had already been through prior trauma, losing my dad to a heart attack at the age of 12, getting hit by a delivery truck while crossing the street when I was 10, living with an abusive, dysfunctional family dynamic from birth, etc.

But from the ages of 15 to 19, a lot of other bad stuff happened in short sequence:

  • My mother married my first boy friend that I brought home from school. They married on his 18th birthday. I was 15 and had to go to school with my new “stepdad”. It was humiliating. I started skipping school constantly and went from a straight A honors student to just not caring.
  • I started working a rather dangerous and technically illegal 3rd shift job when I was 16. There was one really threatening experience where a drunk guy was physically threatening me and I had to call the cops. Scary stuff at that age.
  • When I was 17, I was robbed at gunpoint after a shift at Burger King (after leaving the above job obviously).
  • When I was 16, we moved from Georgia, back to Indiana (where I was born), which meant leaving all my friends and the school I had been attending for the past five years. I found it very hard to integrate into my new school.
  • Being dumped on family and friends unceremoniously when my mother and her husband wanted to go away. I had to stay with people I really didn’t like, in living conditions that were pretty nasty at times. Places I knew my mother would have never stayed herself, but she left me there so she could go away and have fun.
  • I developed my first “real” feelings for a guy around 17-18. Unfortunately, he led me on, made me think we might have a future together, then lied to me, moved another girl in with him, told me they were just friends, then when I found out they were together and expressed anger about it, he wrote me a nasty letter saying I was obsessive and pretty much accused me of being crazy.

Looking back now, I really wish I could have known then what I know now. I wish my adult self could have been there to comfort myself. I wish that instead of giving up on education and school, that I would have embraced it as a way out. At the time, I was just so humiliated and depressed, that skipping school and not caring seemed the only way.

Before all this happened, I had big plans. I wanted to go to college to study journalism. I had dreams of being a foreign correspondent, or even just a regular reporter. At the age of 12, I was studying college course catalogs and trying to figure out which college would be best for journalism. I would also regularly write practice made up “news articles” just for fun. I wish I had kept those. I’d imagine they would give me quite a kick now. My other dream was to own a used bookstore.

The trauma made me give up on all that. I stopped caring about my future at all. I couldn’t see that I HAD much of a future at all. It is really a wonder that I never attempted suicide. I think my fear of hell (because I was religious at the time) is probably what stopped me.

I guess in the end, my determination and stubbornness has helped me fix some of the errors made back then. I have become a writer, even if I’m not a journalist. I write a fairly successful blog here, have published and even won awards for books I’ve written, share my poetry here and on social media, have worked freelance jobs as a copywriter, ghostwriter, editor, and reviewer – so I’ve come a long way for someone who didn’t take the traditional path and get a college degree.

I guess what I’m trying to say, is that if things seem like they can never get better, they can. Don’t give up. I still have to tell myself that today on my bad days and in my bad moments. And if you are young, don’t give up on the things that could be your way out (like education).

Dragging Myself through Christmas

2 days until Christmas, and I don’t think I could feel less festive if I tried. I’m dragging myself through each day, not really wanting to get out of bed or do anything. I’ve tried to break the depressive funk by making myself go to a couple holiday events in the past week, but the deep sadness I feel will not be pushed away or covered for long.

I’m still dealing with a lot of hurt from recent events with my husband, and while we are working on healing and doing therapy, the wounds are deep, especially for a heart like mine that struggles to trust so much in the first place due to a long history of trauma and abuse. Sometimes I despair that I’ll never be able to truly trust again.

My heart aches. My body and mind are worn out. I feel little hope. I wish I could report better things.

Most F-d Up Dream of My Life!

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Warning: mature explicit content ahead (including rape)!

I think I had the most messed up dream of my life last night!

In the dream, I was a little girl and my mom (who wasn’t the same mom I have in real life) had just gotten together with this creepy guy. The guy told me he had some weed, but if I told my mom, he would kill me. Of course, I had to then go tell my mom. When the guy got home and found out I had told on him, he decided to kill my mother in front of me instead of killing me.

How did he kill her? By stapling her to death. Yes, with a stapler. At one point, he used the stapler to beat a small hole in the side of her head, then decided to rape her in front of me, but instead of normal rape, he raped her by sticking his dick in the hole in the side of her head, which pushed her brains and other stuff in her head out the other side.

What the fuck is wrong with my brain?!! How did it come up with this shit???

Suit Up for Battle

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Have you ever had a relationship in your life, whether it be a family member, coworker, boss, neighbor, schoolmate, or other social acquaintance, who makes you feel like you need to prepare yourself for for battle every time you come in contact with them?

Perhaps they are masters of the subtle put-down, love to give sneaky guilt trips, always manage to make you feel inferior and “less than”, or simply bring out the worst in you, leaving you feeling regretful and exhausted after the encounter finally ends.

I have a meeting like this coming up soon and it has been stressing me out. While I was laying in bed a couple nights ago stressing about it, I suddenly realized how much effort I had to put into steeling myself before the encounter. I have to put on emotional and mental armor and make sure none of my weak spots are showing. I have to be strong and hide any reaction to their attempts to get to me while in their presence, otherwise it will only encourage them.

It made me sad to think that it has to be this way. It also made me realize why the whole experience causes me so much anxiety and exhaustion. Preparing for battle is exhausting!

Should We Move or Not?

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My husband and I have been discussing potentially moving, which is stressful but also a little bit exciting. There are big positives and negatives to consider.

On the plus side, right now we live out in the middle of nowhere and everything is pretty far away. Our doctors, shopping centers, and my husband’s work are longer commutes than either of us like. Due to my anxiety and other issues, my husband has to drive me to many of my doctors’ appointments which means he has to take off work often. If we lived closer to my doctors I could probably take myself. Our internet options are also limited where we live, so we had to settle for satellite internet which is horrible service at a ridiculous price.

The negatives of moving would be that we do like our neighborhood. It is a beautiful, peaceful area out in the country that is well kept and our neighbors have been great so far. The areas we would be moving into would be closer to urban areas and would definitely not be as nice and would have higher crime rates since crime seems to be about zero around here. We also like having more space out here and not having neighbors too close. That would definitely change too.

Tough decisions.

I’m Writing a New Book! Diary of a Brainwashed Fundamentalist Teenager

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For years now, I have considered writing a book about my teen years, when I got swept up in a fundamentalist, almost cult-like religious environment for several years. Boy, was I a mixed up kid back then! I’m using my actual diary entries from that time to illustrate what I went through psychologically trying to be this perfect “Christian” that the church I was going to at the time said I had to be. Here is a sneak peak at the introduction to the book:

“This book is one I’ve thought about writing for a while now and finally decided to just do it. As the title suggests, this is indeed one of my own diaries from when I was a teenager and was being influenced by a fundamentalist Christian mentality that sought to isolate me from everyone around me, put fear and anxiety into my heart concerning every choice I had to make, and weighed down my conscience with constant guilt over every little real or imagined transgression.

I am using the first journal I happen to have, started when I was 14 and about to enter high school. The journal covers the time I was most influenced by fundamentalist, almost cult-like ideas.

This religion told me it was wrong to wear pants as a woman. They told me it was wrong to cut my hair or wear jewelry and makeup. They told me it was wrong to listen to secular music, go to the movies, or watch tv. The internet was evil as well. They told me it was wrong to have friends that weren’t “holy” believers. They tried to make me feel like women were simply made to be complements to men, not to have dreams, goals, or lives of their own.

This religion had me constantly fearing the presence and “possession” of demons and thinking that my future didn’t matter because Jesus was coming back soon anyway, so I wouldn’t live long enough to have much of an earthly life. They even discouraged use of “man-made” medicine because it supposedly showed a lack of faith in God’s healing powers.

I have lightly edited the journal entries to make them easier to read, but have otherwise left the content as is. I have inserted italic comments in parentheses when I felt I needed to clarify something. I did leave out parts I felt were uninteresting or just don’t matter overall. I hope you enjoy reading it and can see how fundamentalist religious environments can be extremely damaging to children and teens.”

Mental Health Labels – Gotta Catch’em All!!!

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Sometimes I feel like mental health disorders are like Pokemon: Gotta catch’em all!!!

Is there a point where collecting mental health labels gets ridiculous and almost humorous? Sometimes I wonder if all the stuff that has been ascribed to me is really wrong with me, and if it is – is it actually just one thing with many different facets?

Here are the mental health diagnoses I have collected to this day (that I know of and can remember):

PDD-NOS (high-functioning autism)
Asperger’s Syndrome (a slightly different form of high-functioning autism lol)
Bipolar Type 2
Major Depressive Disorder
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Social Anxiety Disorder
Avoidant Personality Disorder
Complex PTSD
OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)
Phobias
Cyclothymia
Adjustment Disorder
SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder)
Dysthymia
Somatic Disorder
Attachment Disorder

I may be leaving some out or have ones I don’t even know I have in my medical record, but am I getting close to winning this odd, mentally ill game of Pokemon Go yet? I CHOOSE YOU!…