I have a story to share and it’s probably not for everyone to hear. Please note this is my story with my results only and I am not an advocate for stopping medication nor do I believe you are anything less than wonderful if you are on medication. This was just how life unfolded for me. It may be the same for some of you as well.
I have alluded to why I chose to be a coach before and it was a bit sugar coated.
Follow along with me, if you will.. and hang in till the end, if you can.
Meet me, Kim. From the early age of seven, maybe eight… I knew there was “something” wrong with my head, my soul, my insides.
I had severe Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I had rage violent enough to tear a room into bits. I had self hatred strong enough to inflict self harm.
From this early age, the therapy began, then the meds, then the treatments, then the hospitalizations. “Something” was wrong.. everyone knew it. My parents did the best they could with tons of love.
I was a cute, spunky, strong, feisty, yet tormented on this inside, little girl, young woman, woman, wife, mom. And my “something” kept following me. I was voted Most Spirited, and Most Beautiful in High School. I was a cheerleader, I was kind, I was liked.
At 14, I nearly died of starvation from Anorexia. Treatment center, away from my family.
At 18, I tried to take my own life because I was tired of starving myself, comparing myself, hating myself. Treatment center.
At 35, I starved myself again, as a mom who should’ve done better. Treatment center.
At 37, I tried to take my life again because no-one knew what was wrong with me.. and I was labeled selfish and crazy. Treatment center.
“She’s depressed” (meds)
“She’s anxious” (more meds)
“She's Bipolar” (more meds again)
“She has Borderline Personality Disorder” (triple her meds)
From the age of 11 until the age of 40, I had a constant stream of “cures” running through my body. I lived life the best way I knew how.. running from my “something”, reading self help books, therapy sessions, seminars, relationships, marriages.
As a newly remarried woman at the age of 40, with 10 and 12 year old daughters, a 3 year old step son and a pair of 5 year old step sons, a new Golden Retriever puppy, a mansion with a pool, a housekeeper, a nanny for the boys, and a loving husband..I snapped. “Something” dark and awful tormented me. I lost sense of where I was, who I was and tried to take my life in a desperate attempt to end the pain. Knowing my parents where out of town, I drove to their home, where I had grown up. I remember calling my ex husband and leaving the most painful message of my life on his voicemail to tell my daughters how much I loved them and how I needed to be free and that they didn’t do anything wrong. I remember hanging up and screaming in the pain of how selfish I must be, and I remember hating myself for the life they were about to have. I was too ashamed to call my new husband and stepchildren.
I came “to” after my attempt was nearly finished in the garage. I realized what I was doing and I called my husband for help and he called the police who could arrive before he could. I ran inside to wait for the consequences that I knew would await. “Something” in me was losing.
Another psychiatric ward, more medicine, and most of all, losing my children and my marriage were sure to await me.
I was taken to the ER, stabilized and sent to the local mental facility where I stayed for a week. As I knew, and as expected, I lost the right to see my daughters.
The pain, regret and shame mixed with relief, lingered and I knew I had choices to make. With the help of my husband and sister, I went to heal for nearly two months. I needed to detox from decades of medication and to learn the value and beauty of life again. I never took another medication again for my “something.” I mourned for the life of my children and my marriage. I knew I had to fight to earn everyone back. But I was still here.
Not many tell these stories. They are painful. They are shameful. They seem selfish. Not many tell these stories because they don’t make it. The years of medication made me crazy.. or was I just having a break down? I may never know. But “something” was ready to die.
Within a year, I was able to regain my children, my marriage and my life. How?
2 Corinthians 1:8-11
We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead. And he did rescue us from mortal danger, and he will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in him, and he will continue to rescue us.
During the year, I was supervised by strangers whenever I was with my daughters. It’s a humility you just can’t explain, yet because God’s plan was bigger than my shame, the two strangers (I will call them Jane and Vince for privacy purposes) that were hired to supervise me, led me to an even greater Faith and a belief and to people who would later change my life. They loved my girls, they helped me, us.. seem normal. They let me feel like I deserved to be their mom and they gave us hope. I later found out that they nearly lost their own daughter two years before meeting me (a mom of four kids who tried to take her own life) and they told me she went through a process of Deliverance. I was referred by them to a Christian family doctor when I mentioned that I was scared and feeling off and felt certain I needed medication again. I can remember my appointment like it was yesterday. I had a purse full of the meds I had been on and off of for years and was showing them to the doctor one by one when she stopped me, grabbed my hand and said, “you don’t need all of this, you need Deliverance.”
Two weeks later, nervous yet desperate, Jane held my hand and walked me into the house of a woman named Barb and her team for my day of deliverance. Six hours later, my “somethings’ were exposed, redeemed, heard, worked through, prayed over, mourned for, and loosened. I have been “mentally free” and medication free for almost 6 years. My pain in the memories, my shame in what I did to my children, is a handicap I carry daily but I have a God who changed me, who led me to want to help others and to equip me with the truth in my freedom. The darkness that tried to overtake me, ruin me, destroy my family had won for so long. It was in that room, that day, where I allowed the darkness to speak, to lie, to fight, that I asked God's voice to be louder. I was able to let go of the demons, the pain, the shame and the lock of tormented years that tried to bind me. It was not scary. God was there. Jesus was holding my hand. The Holy Spirit comforted me and together, I was able to find my salvation. I knew that day that I was to help others by shedding the light on my story. It doesn’t get much darker than putting a hose in your window while you prayed silently to die. I will forever be grateful that the Spirit in me was stronger than the darkness and that I was able to stop so that I could live for my children, my family, myself and my God. I will not sit by and pass up the opportunity to help another woman. God saved me that day. I will not waste that pain. My story, His purpose.
Let's fast forward to this month. As a mom to a drug addict for the past 7 years, our journey as her family has been tough. I was told not to blame her addiction on my past… easier said than done. Last week, I reached out to the preacher of our church. My parents sold him their house two years ago for the church to build on and the house is now being used as the preacher's office. My ex husband and I met to pray for our daughter there, where I grew up, where our daughters learned the traditions of family, fed cows, climbed windmills but also where I tried to end my life and where my daughters learned to forgive me and trust me again. As we walked upstairs to my old bedroom which is now his temporary office, we sat, the three of us, and prayed for our daughter. The familiar balcony door was open and the wind picked up and was coming in seemingly out of nowhere as we prayed. Here I was, in the house that I nearly lost my life in, with the man who rightfully took my children away until I could heal, in a room where our girls used to play with their dollhouse, holding hands, and right then, “something” changed.
The preacher told me a story about how we can use rocks to throw at people, ourselves, lay blame, etc. or we could use the rocks to build an altar to worship. He reached into his pocket and gave me his own rock that he had been carrying in his pocket and the winds picked up again as if to forgive me, as if to wash cleanliness over my past, over our daughter.
As we left, my ex husband told me the church had renovated the garage into a youth worship center and asked me to go look at it. I held my breath, opened the door to the past, and saw grace had been rebuilt, just like my life. Bright, cheerful lights adorned the raised rafters, and brightly colored chairs and carpets covered the concrete floor. "It" was hidden. The pain of that night was no longer in the garage. “Something” had changed.
I am a survivor. I am a coach. I have something to share. I know pain. I know who the only one is that has paid my price. I know how to walk in grace, humility and forgiveness and I know how to rebuild it. Now you know.
I am almost 47 now . Six years have passed. I am just now sharing my story. It is time. I was saved. I did not die. A mom, a wife.
As for my daughter who is struggling with her “something”… she’s still finding her way. I get sad. I get angry. I get lost. I don’t give up. I know God has her plan and I know He loves her even more than I do. I want her to find her freedom.
My other daughter will be heading to college in 9 months. She lives with us. She has found grace as well. She has forgiven me.
My step sons are finding their way and laugh daily so that’s a good start.. they don’t know the story and they may never need to.
My husband never left my side when he had every reason to. My ex-husband and I have forgiven one another and even attend the same church.
We don’t live in a mansion with a pool and a housekeeper or a nanny.. but we do still have that Golden Retriever and now a Cocker Spaniel.
My God..? He never left my side. And HE will never leave yours.
I am here for you. So many people are waiting to help. You have a life to live. Even in the darkest moments where it seems you can’t come back. You can.
As a mom, a woman and a human I often pick up more than I really need to. Can I get an AMEN??
Matthew 11:28 says "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." (In other words, park that wheelbarrow for a second.)
This morning, as one of my boys headed out the door late for school, I felt heavy. I felt irritated. I felt angry and I felt all those things towards MYSELF! I heard a voice inside me quickly tell me that I was slipping. The same voice told me I was losing control of my family. Things were going to fall apart. Life was going to become unmanageable.
Now let me backtrack for a minute. I wake the boys up at the same time every morning. They have the same expectations to follow. It is not rocket science. The youngest today decided he needed to sit in his corner and play his IPad instead of getting ready for school. Now, as a mom to five, I'll admit I often go to autopilot mode and tend to function as a robot checking off things that need to be done each morning just to GET THEM OUT THE DOOR. I often forget to scream (I mean ask nicely) if everyone is staying on track. This morning, I let a little too much time pass before checking in and the window of grace had passed. The little booger (almost TEN) was still in his pajamas, bed unmade, teeth and hair unbrushed, looking at me like I was an alien with a new request to make it downstairs on time.
Instead of putting it on him, where it belonged, I turned his choices into my bad parenting and that's just dumb don't you think? I mean it's one thing if today's requests were new; if this morning was simply a trial run. Ya'll, it has been the same routine for nearly five years. He needs to know it by now.
My point here is simple. Be KIND to yourself and don't pick up the stuff that's not yours. If he's late for school, he misses a part of recess. NOT my problem. If my twins don't work on their school project and they get an F, they lose after school friend time. I can't be on everyones journey with them. I can guide them, expect certain things, and give them the tools to accomplish what they need to, but their ultimate choices will lead to their own natural consequences and if I try to carry and manage all of that, this mamma, woman, wife, is gonna fall flat on her face every day.
I was quick to realize the voice that tried to shame me and my efforts this morning and was also quick to put the "blame" back on the offender.
Own it if it's yours. Work on it, redeem it, find the grace. Don't pick it up when it's not your load.
I believe God also equips us with what we need to know. He loves us, teaches us and gently nudges us in the right direction but that free will thing often leads us into places we probably wish we had avoided. Like God does to us, I will still love my running late, IPad playing son and I will continue to remind him often of what will make his life easier but I can't force it upon him. I can stand back, watch him learn, and love him gracefully until he starts to see it, get it and own it. I won't take his choices on as my own. I can't carry all of that.
Lay it down, park it. Love yourself and know you are doing the best you can.
You've read my posts before about my daughter who is a surviving yet struggling drug addict. She didn't ask for this path she's on and she continues as we speak to fight for freedom from this addiction in a program in Florida.
At the age of 11, my "other daughter" realized her big sister was going down a scary path. For the past six and a half years, she has spent most of her time away from her sister during her stays in treatment centers, sober schools apart from her and sober homes. Her vision of growing up with a sister looked a lot different than she pictured. She has attended family meetings in treatment centers, support groups and felt the fear and desperation as we drove to hotels, looked under bridges and inside abandoned homes all the while praying that her sister would come back.
She has worried, cried herself to sleep, said goodbye in her mind when we lost contact with her sister and seen and heard things no little sister ever should.
She has seen me on the closet floor in despair as we waited for a sign of life, a phone call, a promising word. She has held me when I should've held her. She is angry at this disease. She is hurt. She has lost a sister to drugs even though she is still alive.
So to you, my "other daughter," the sibling of an addict, you matter. You don't have to be perfect to make up for the fear and sadness and despair. You get to mess up. You get to be greedy, you get to ask for things.
As you walk this path, as pictured above with your Bubbie, I hope you feel freedom. I want you to live your own life and not look back. I want you to embrace goodness, experience joy and move forward. I want you to continue to love and pray for your sister, as I know you do and to understand she never chose this on purpose but I want you to shine. I want you to laugh without holding back, to succeed without feeling guilty, to argue, be a pain, annoy me or upset me without the feeling that you need to protect me from something. I encourage you to be obedient to God, to honor His purpose and to seek it.
I love you both. As you are. Always. And most importantly, I will continue to believe in the miracle.
(If you or a loved one are a family member of an addict, I have a lot of helpful resources, a lot of understanding and a lot of encouragement for you to build upon.)
The Rock and the story it belongs to..
If you are familiar at all with Al Anon or AA, you know that there is story night.. where participants share their story, hope and strength.
I am not an addict but I do have a story to share. I don't believe this story is for everyone.
I don't want to make someone endure the story if they are not ready.
I do believe I can share hope to some who need it, understanding to those who may not feel seen or heard and a light of sorts to shine on your path.
If you feel you or someone you know needs to hear a story of darkness ending in light, please email me today.
firstname.lastname@example.org (you won't be added to a mail list I promise :)