Sitting in my office, typing this memoir out about how the last 8 years have been the most challenging yet most fulfilling years of all my life, seems strange. I didn’t think I would ever get here, to the point that I can actually write about it all. That is because PTSD fogs the brain. Fibromyalgia aka Fibro fog, has been with me for years. ADD seemed more fitting to me after I had my second son, more than ever. OH, I knew there were issues before but I had made adaptations so that I could function quite well without anyone knowing. Even perhaps hid it from myself. You know there is a little (or big) problem, but you stuff it to the background and cover it with white noise, like a little shopping here, a little sugar there. Just keep busy, you won’t have to sit still and listen to the angst inside that is pecking at you. Something’s wrong, somethings terribly wrong, but if I just keep busy enough, I won’t have to figure out what it is and face the music.
It all began in 1985 or should I say it all began in 1970. I am not sure which. The pain of my childhood, brought to a head by an abortion which I have no recall of at this time, other than through prayer. No wonder I had so much anxiety and depression. A part of me was hiding this big ugly secret that I didn’t want anyone to find out, or else they wouldn’t like me. They would cast me out like the black sheep I already was. More rejection. I just couldn’t handle anymore rejection. So apparently I did the worst kind of rejection by having my baby aborted. It makes me sick to even write this, but the story must be told, so others can be free of the guilt and shame that was never theirs to bear.
Every day since that day in June of my high school graduation year, I have had symptoms that could not be explained. Bacterial vaginosis? Yeast? Pelvic floor dysfunction? interstitial cystitis? Fibromyalgia? Antibiotic after antibiotic was thrown at me in hopes of taking away this pain, burning and itching. Nothing really ever changed. Symptoms would come and go, and meanwhile my intestinal system would blow up like a balloon after almost every meal. At one point, I topped out at 180 pounds, from eating cookie dough for comfort. Oh and Dr. Pepper was also my friend. Fried zucchini was my favorite vegetable, and diet cokes helped ease the guilt.
Meanwhile, the pain continued in varying degrees. And then I met my first husband. Skiing in France, on a whim vacation by myself in the Swiss Alps. Sounds like a good movie doesn’t it? At this point I was determined to keep the relationship pure, but alas, I could not seem to resist. And the impure relationship turned into a quick overseas marriage that I was pressured into. I wanted to please and he seemed so, well, capable. I fell in love hard, with this man who had a darkness about him, guilty himself for leaving his two children in England while we moved back to the states. It was all justified because of the crazy ex he said. We would have the boys over for summers, and build a life and a future for them that they could not have in England. He made it all seem so reasonable. I was in love so deep or so I thought, that I was not making reasonable judgments or decisions. This was my escape. This would make my insides stop hurting. Marriage to this man ended up bringing on one of the worst kind of traumas. Desertion. Yep. Desertion.
Living in Michigan at the time, it was beginning to be the season for snow. Winter was beginning and I had hurt my neck and shoulder at my Physical Therapy job, so I retrained at the local college for computers. I was actually out at a job interview for a secretarial type position when I came back to an empty apartment. Not totally empty, but void of his presence and his underwear.
It’s funny, you know, not ha ha funny, but the other kind of funny, but the night before when we went out for dinner, I actually checked his underwear drawer to see if they were all there. Something inside me must have sensed what was about to happen.
Upon my return from a job interview that was so far beneath my school qualifications of Physical Therapy, I came home to find he had cleared out the majority of his clothing and much of his office. Apparently he had just done to me what he had done to his first wife as well. Desertion. Desertion. There is no pain quite like it, when someone you are married to, who is supposed to care for you and protect you and give you security up and abandons you without a word.
Fear. Fear entered in at that moment like I have never known it. Or I thought that I had never known. It actually came in when I was a three year old child with sexual abuse from family members and a neighbor, as well as my pastor. The list goes on, but those were key players in opening the door in my life to a fear and terror that keeps the body in fight or flight mode permanently. Until you can no longer function.
What happened to me unfortunately is not uncommon. One person abuses you and then it is like you get this target or sign on your forehead that says, abuse me, I will take it. What is that??? Ugh. To be continued…