Posts Tagged ‘abuse’

See that one over there?

The one walking with a limp…  no one actually cares.

Wearing clothes that are hand-me-downs,

because face it, no one like her ever wears ball gowns.

She has always had trouble fitting in.

Her siblings, they just grin.

They watch her get hit, or shoved or threatened.

Standing by, they have their lesson:

“As long as we set her up,

We won’t get beat down.

As long as she gets the brunt.

Only she wears the frown.”

The little girl keeps trying to tell people about horrors abound.

No one believes her unless they witness it for themselves.

Or perhaps in a gutless act of mercy, just protecting oneself.

 

These kids grew up in the same town,

Two look up while one looks down.

One goes home at night, unable to sleep.

Yet, all who are able to help, do not… and the girl, she just weeps.

Locked behind doors because her eyes won’t shut.

Praying to the sky that this isn’t a permanent rut.

As the thought of kidnappings or murders in the night leave her frozen.

She wonders each time, “why was I chosen?”

Chosen to live a life full of love, devoid of chaos.

She pours her heart into living each day.

As it gets harder and harder to live, she sways.

Always on the brink between life and death.

Emotions long gone, she’s told she’s insane.

In a journal entry from age nine, she acknowledges the pain.

In a vain attempt to let others in,

She climbs further and further into the hole, hoping someday she’ll win.

 

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I thought I could do it. I thought it wouldn’t matter since I’ve spent plenty of time alone in the past. The problem or difference is that usually, I find ways to numb myself to the pain of being alone. This time, I haven’t done that. I become depressed and in a state of despair when alone. I’m just speculating here that the reason I do can be attributed to a long history of abuse and neglect. Constantly on my mind is the fact that my biological family is not present for me in any form. Tonight seems exceptionally hard. Instead of inducing harm or numbing myself tonight, I think it’s time I convey my message in words.

According to ongoing recent research, people who have a history of severe attachment problems tend not to do well in life. I’m sick of my disconnect from the world. I want to immerse into the world, not hide from it. A pit of despair formed in me throughout the day. A telltale sign that I’m starting to feel unwell is when I seek out triggering videos. For the past few weeks (or months?), I’ve been watching these sorts of videos or clips online.

Tonight, I needed to cry, and I’m watching something that’s fulfilling that need well. Yet, it began to hit home in how relevant it was to my current situation and I began to think. My thoughts just take off to the moon once prompted. I was reminded of how I don’t have a family, how I have no relationship with even the one person I want to-my brother. He’s sick, physically sick. It’s been an emotional roller coaster for over 20 years for everyone. He believes I’m sick, except that it’s serious mental illness.

The places I’ve been in treat people like animals. After a while people will embody the aspect that they are treated as. I’ve acted like an animal in the past. My brother has no wish to see that I am no longer that person. I feel a bit crazy tonight, but hey, I’m starting to think that’s actually something many people experience. It’s only when it becomes chronic that maybe it can have an attribution to mental illness. I’m not mental, I’m in the process of repairing my insane past. It doesn’t have to define me. My history will not defeat me tonight.

 

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When I was six years old, I went to the neurologist. It was a simple check up and ended neutrally-nothing better, nothing worse. For all intensive purposes, it was a good day, a reason to celebrate. It was also the day I had to grow up immediately.

Following my check-up, my mom, step-dad, brother, and some aunts, uncles, and grandparents from my mom’s side went out to lunch. It was a boring lunch and my brother and I were the only kids present. As such, we sat next to one another, giggling at my brother’s finger.

For some reason, unbeknownst to our six and eight year old brains, his finger had begun shaking really fast. We laughed throughout the meal. By the end of the meal, his finger did not cease shaking and it was at that point he declared, “I think I’m gonna go tell Mom now”. I shrugged my shoulders and continued on with my meal, while observing my brother walk over to our mom, show his finger and see my mom’s happy face go frozen, almost like “into war” mode.

She made a call somehow (this was before cellphones were common to carry though she may have had one since she’s been on top of that technological advance) to a doctor. Little did I know it was my doctor. All of thirty minutes later, back we were in my doctor’s office, and my brother was seeing the doctor with our mom while my step-dad took me for a walk around the neighborhood. I remember glancing up at the trees in that neighborhood, it was a beautiful autumn day. The sun was shining through the trees, and to me it looked somewhat like this:

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During this walk, I remember thinking to myself, “Today is the day I have to grow up.” I don’t know how I knew this, I certainly didn’t know what this would entail, and yet I distinctly remember knowing today was going to begin a new way for me. Already being robbed of a “complete” childhood (free from worry or despair), I knew childhood was now a thing of the past.

Coming back from our walk, I found out that my brother was to be admitted to the hospital that day. It took two years for them to figure out what disease he was afflicted with. Neurofibromatosis Type II was the catalyst in completely tearing my family away from me.

Every time I complained about having Cerebral Palsy and how kids would make fun of me or how I couldn’t make the Junior Olympics in gymnastics because I wasn’t flexible enough or my legs not strong enough to perform certain maneuvers, I was invalidated by my parents. My dad always yelled at me to pick up my feet (my loud shuffling embarrassed him). He insisted I didn’t have Cerebral Palsy (CP). Barbara always told me to not complain, look at my brother, he has it worse. Yeah I suppose spending the first two months of my life in a hospital where I almost certainly lost my twin to premature labor and birth and having three major reconstructive surgeries before the age of 7 just wasn’t severe enough in her eyes. After all, we’re talking about the woman who had breast cancer and made no big deal of it because my brother and I both had incurable conditions and she knew hers had a cure.

If only it were that simple, to think oneself well. I want to think my brain damage will go away from her negligence of not seeking immediate medical attention when she began bleeding 3 MONTHS before her baby(s) was due. Whenever I had any sort of negative thought about my affliction with CP, I was told, “You don’t have CP, you have Spastic Diplegia”. What? I shrugged this off and it wasn’t until the internet became a common place to look up information that I realized that Spastic Diplegia is a form of CP. Really, who knew? Certainly not me…

Throughout my childhood, I formed the belief that my brother’s disease didn’t impact me and that I should be grateful I don’t have hundreds of tumors growing at will throughout my central nervous system. Thinking about it now I realize how irrational this train of thought is and how often my emotions were invalidated, how often I was invalidated.

I’ve been seeing a Somatic Experience Practitioner for a few months now (thanks to internet, I continue to have video sessions with her while I’m studying abroad). In our initial session she explained how the body stores trauma if there is no way to release it. She expanded upon this concept, explaining that we can react in 4 ways to trauma. 4? The conversation went as follows, with her asking me to list the ones I knew of:

Me: Fight, flight, freeze.

Her: There’s a fourth, can you guess what that is?

Me (very quietly with a smirk): Party?

Her: Nope

Me (again quietly): Dance?

Her (smiling): Closer… it is an action of sorts.

Me: (shoulders shrugging) I don’t know.

Her: Inquire. Ask why someone is doing something. However, kids don’t have the capacity to do this, they…

Me (interrupting her): No, no I did. One time I asked ______ (evil ex-step-mother) why I was abused and why ____ (brother) wasn’t. Evil ex-step-mother said it was because, “he’s too sick”.

The abuse I’ve endured, the hatred, and utter anger that has been projected unto me is something I’m able to understand now. The trouble doesn’t lie in my rationalizing this though because I believe there is no justifiable reason(s) people willingly choose to hurt a little kid. Back to basics for now though, at least to understanding defense mechanisms.

Defense mechanisms are often employed when a person’s capacity to cope is beyond his or her tool belt. There is no screwdriver to fit into the square peg, so what does one do? He or she tries another tool and another, until the tool that works is found. Sometimes it may not be the optimal tool, yet often at this point a person is overwhelmed and tired because finding the right tool is a difficult task. So, one takes what they have.

I think this analogy applies to the family dynamic I grew up in. Distancing myself from my family throughout the years, first physically, then emotionally, then pretty much all together, I have been provided with the chance to look inward and at the family dynamics, particularly while studying abroad.

The day before departing, I found out that my brother was to have surgery to remove a tumor from his brain stem in no more than four weeks from that date. There wasn’t much I could say or do as the only communication he and I have is the occasional text or e-mail. He’s essentially deaf and anything I relay to him immediately will be told to our mother who I have had no contact with in over 1.5 years after a messy ending. My brother and I are not close, and he sees me as crazy and not part of the family. I understand where he gets these thoughts from, though I must say I don’t agree with him. I simply responded to my environment the best I knew how to and my environment was not the model of Utopia, especially when it came to facing stress and dealing with emotions.

I recall at the point of my brother’s first hospital admission that Barbara lost a lot of weight and mentioned something about not being able to eat. Hmmm, wonder where the eating disorder evolved from (that’s a story for another time though, particularly because this is merely one of many factors that contributed to my animosity towards food).

You’d think it was clear that NF2 affected my life. My college application essay was entitled “My Brother’s Finger”. Barbara reviewed the essay as did some of my teachers. If I were asked even at that point if it affected me, I’d deny it, because denial and avoidance of emotions is what I’d become majestically acquainted with.

Fast-forward to present day and my first few weeks studying abroad. I wanted to prepare myself and have support if the outcome of my brother’s surgery was up in the air. During the time before and after his surgery, I somewhat relived my childhood and I began to unravel the intricacies of my past, one reminder at a time.

Prior to the surgery, I told my brother I couldn’t make it, wished him well and loved him. In an angry text to our dad, he wrote:

“I don’t know what you said to Laura, but she’s not coming to visit me. These games you play with your mentally ill daughter to get back at mom, have backfired and now have really hurt me, as well.”

I asked our dad to not mention anything about me being abroad, as it is my life, and they are not involved in my life and them knowing wouldn’t affect the situation in any way. He told me he wouldn’t tell and broke his word. He did leak that I was abroad and even then, it wasn’t believed by everyone. My cousin who I don’t often speak with messaged me on Facebook:

Yeah we heard your randomly in Denmark

 Pretty shitty timing to be going there knowing your brother was having a major surgery
 
And from the female person I am progeny of:
I don't know if you really are in Denmark 

Please remember if I have hurt you in the past it was NEVER intentional
And this lack of communication you are choosing hurts me to the core of my being

 

It’s like my childhood friend said, it’s like deciding between manslaughter and unintentional murder, end result is that someone’s still dead, intentional or not. I’m still hurt. From the male I am progeny of:

“I can’t make the two of u work anything out. U r being to cryptic and secretive to pass it off as just not lying. U r putting me in the middle of the crap your mother started which is not fair to me… U can be a bit more empathetic to ____ (brother) considering what he is going through…

And something I can’t post on here as it was on the phone was Ken screaming at me for how selfish I am after I told him “I wish you would have told me that you were going to tell him that I’m here before you did; it’s your opinion that it was going to make things better, and you didn’t respect my wishes.”

It’s things like this that I realize that all they all know how to do is blame me, use me as the sponge to absorb the mess that they’ve created. Yeah, we got dealt a pretty challenging hand of cards. Many people have shitty cards, and many people still manage to have happy families. There is no need for them to bash me and yell at me and torture me because they can’t deal with their own shit.

Yet, I constantly turn the negativity onto myself in the form of some negative behavior, and sometimes to other, never daring to hurt another lost child’s soul. I do believe I can and will heal, without my family. All I need is love, a healing touch, and a compassionate heart. Hopefully I learn to provide myself with that sooner than later. The darkness is seeping in again.

 

All who would win joy, must share it; happiness was born a twin.  ~Lord Byron

I’ve always thought I was a twin; every time I mentioned it growing up, my parents would act as though I was being ridiculous and scoff or brush the thought aside. Fortunately, I landed in eating disorder treatment two and a half months ago. The outpatient setting and transitional living home I reside in is validating, more so than other places I’ve journeyed to in the past. It was at this place that I was referred to a somatic therapist about one month ago.

To think, it’s been only one month I’ve been seeing this amazing human being is beyond me. I had yet to cry in front of her though I have two session per week with her. Then, last Friday happened, and last Friday was quite an experience.

Quick note about somatic therapy: it’s when a therapist deals with bodily responses to trauma, and yes, we all hold trauma of some sort, it doesn’t have to be abuse, neglect or torture. The somatic therapist I see incorporates touch as she holds a massage therapist license as well.

The first session with her she didn’t touch me at all, she sensed energetically that my system was not ready to handle it. Gradually, she integrated touch, almost always starting with my kidneys/adrenals.

Last Friday, I mentioned to her that my eating disorder therapist believes I hold my trauma in my throat. I’ve been having many throat issues and have had to resort to a soft diet. We ended up on the topic of babies and suddenly, for the first time in her office, I realized I had to close my eyes. I hadn’t yet closed them in her presence because I never know what will happen if my eyes are closed, my safety feels compromised.

However I closed my eyes and put my hood on. Up to that point, I hadn’t worn a sweatshirt on the table. It is ideal for her to have closest access (without touching) to my skin. She asks me to take it off usually, and I obediently do, but not Friday thankfully. My hoodie is a security blanket and extremely soft.

Upon closing my eyes, I saw a baby. Have you ever gone to a museum where they outline the stages of a baby in-utero and you see a small object about the size of an egg surrounded by amniotic fluid? That’s what I saw. Then I thought to myself, “I thought I was a twin” and instantly I saw two of these fetuses, mirror image of one another.

As though I were looking through a kaleidoscope, the image in my mind remained, along with a slight beating or pulsation as though it was to a heartbeat or someone’s breathing (like the carrier of the babies). I saw the color yellow flood through me and then miniature babies, maybe 8 or 10 were in a kaleidoscope image circulating about in a circle, in various positions. 

The image then returned to the two babies, facing one another. One baby detached from the circle and began drifting off. I began to feel an overwhelming sadness. When the therapist asked me what was going on, I explained to her that the other baby was leaving, saying to me, “I’ll be waiting for you.” It wasn’t in a creepy way, just sincere and matter-of-factually.

Suddenly, there was a bright light and I was surrounded by about four sets of arms over me, and a mask on my face. At this point, the therapist had hand placement; one on my lower neck and one on my chest. My breathing was rapid. I told her I barely felt the presence of her hand on my chest and she began a sort of kneading motion with her knuckles, not harder so much as to bring awareness to my body.

I felt an extreme pressure on my chest, not from her and not from anxiety. It was the sort of pressure one would use to stimulate a baby upon birth (as an EMT, I am aware of this tactic). My breathing continued to be erratic, my left hand was tapping up and down on the table. She took her hand off my back and placed in beneath my left hand. I made no motion towards it. She asked me what I wanted to do with her hand. I said, “instinctively, I want to grasp it”. She asked why I didn’t, to which I replied, “because then that would mean I’m in this world. She said, “You are in this world.” I, as the baby speaking, said, “I made the wrong decision, I want to be with the other baby. She said, repeatedly, “You’re here, you chose to be here. I continued to reply that I didn’t want to be, I made the wrong decision. She asked me to decide if I was ready to have this happen, to be present, to let the other baby go. I wasn’t. Usually, she doesn’t push me into any sort of decisions, this day she did a bit it seemed.

We ended at the point of conflict; my choosing to be in this world though I don’t want to be. I badly want to be with the other baby. Not wanting me to think too much about it, she said to not rationalize what had just happened. I haven’t too much though I’ve thought about it most of the days since. Seeing her today, she said, “Happy 5 days since your birthday”.

A few sessions ago, she mentioned that my nervous system is like an infant’s and to my therapist at the center, she said it’s like a newborn’s. Even if my age progresses, if my emotions are never dealt with accordingly, age will remain inconsistent to my developmental state.

I saw my psychiatrist today, the first person to get intimate with my case, “a little too much” as she said in a joking manner. She said I have to consider my situation as though I’m an orphan. Even though I’ve thought that constantly, and said to a few people, this was the first time someone else brought this to my attention.She spent a lot of time with me, much appreciated.

Today, I arrived slightly late to session because my psychiatry appointment today was delayed, resulting in my delay in arriving to the somatic therapist’s office. She didn’t want to use the table today (where touch often takes place). She asked me to sit with being alone, to feel what it feels like to be alone. An overwhelming emotion flooded my body and a steel gate went down, and I went blank and unable to talk.

This has happened before, not in her presence though. She came over to me and put her hand on me. Later on, she explained to me that my cells froze and that was validating because then it was as if someone else was validating my experience, someone so gifted and knowledgeable and attuned to others’ bodies. Someone who won’t run away and enjoys a “complex” case.

Even though my individual therapist can’t handle me too much right now and is struggling through her own stuff, I’m very grateful she referred me to the somatic therapist. My experiences are finally feeling more real as opposed to surreal, and at least one other human being on this earth cares about me.

Someone cares about you, somewhere, somehow, even when you least expect it.

My Body is Falling Apart on Me… or, am I falling apart on my body?

Posted: 20 J0000005UTC 2011 in Education, Entertaining, Health, medication, Update
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interactive symptom checker

I think if I used one of these interactive devices, I’d overload the system.

As mentioned in previous times, I have quite a few afflictions. I’m always fascinated by the medical professionals who look at the piece of paper (containing medical history first) and then at the patient. If you were to “see me on paper”, I look like I’m dying, or should be a 500 lb. couch potato (no offense to you “couchies”- made that one up on the spot. Clever, eh?).

We’ll start with physical diagnosis and work our way across the board to emotional and psychological diagnoses (current and past included, you’ll see):

Cerebral Palsy-got that one at birth, lovely umbrella diagnosis. If only it covered or explained all of my ailments

Jaundice-birth, but after bright lights blinding me, good to go after a few days

Hyaline Membrane Disease (severe), also at birth, due to swallowing mother’s blood- ewww! No longer an issue, but am I now a vampire?

Not sure if this warrants its own line, oh well…. Multiple blood transfusions as a baby. Glad in this case to not be a Jehovah’s Witness (nothing against them, just might not be alive if I was one considering they don’t believe in receiving blood transfusions).

ADHD-definitely super duper severe (according to one dr., even with meds.) An acquaintance once said I was the poster child for this. Though I believe I have this, I wonder if the diagnosis is correct. The signs/symptoms didn’t appear until about 9.

Anemia-on and off since young adult-ish era

Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome/Disease-diagnosed at age 20, essentially reversed illness by age 24, doctor was surprised, but I got off of Glucophage (a medication for Diabetes as I was considered pre-diabetic)

Hypothyroidism-unsure if it was lithium-induced or biological in origin. Doctor never took a baseline level prior to initiating lithium therapy. First blood test showed poorly functioning thyroid levels. Have tried (with endocrinologist’s approval) to discontinue drug therapy. Unsuccessful with attempt, levels did not remain consistent off of medication.

Insomnia- this one can pretty much go back to as young as I can recall. Horrible sleeper as long as I can remember. This resulted in a diagnosis of

Narcolepsy- yep that’s right, I have clinical primary narcolepsy and primary insomnia. The doctor is mystified. Note, cataplexy though a hallmark sign of this disorder, not a necessity to make an established diagnosis. I do not have cataplexy just random falling asleep usually when under stress or extremely bored and unable to move.

Exploding Head Syndrome-yes, this is a real diagnosis as I have to explain to most healthcare professionals upon giving them my full health history. It’s just as it sounds; a large noise occurs in the head (not schizophrenia thank you) during the period between wakefulness and asleep. It is rare to happen more than a few time, rare to happen in females, non-smokers and usually only occurs in obese, over 50 years old populations. Well, I am female, under the age of 50, not a smoker, not obese and it’s happened countless time (more than 3 dozen)

PNES- also know as (Psychogenic) Non-Epileptic Seizures or NES. Traditionally, it was thought that these were “pseudo seizures”; until recently it was thought that the person was faking these seizures. It is not false advertising folks, it is an actual seizure without brain wave alteration. These seizures are brought on by stress as the name indicates.

Borderline Personality Disorder-if you have read any of my previous blogs, you’ll see where this one stems from with a heavy history of abuse and neglect.

Situational Depression- Sometimes I think I’m lucky for it to be merely situational. At other times, I am considerably frustrated because there is not a medication which alleviates situational depression and I often run into situations which trigger it, alas, it is a constant on/off battle with my brain.

EDNOS- Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified- I alternate between periods of Bulimia and Anorexia, and ordered-eating, so I get this essentially throwaway diagnosis.

OCD- I used to believe that I had the rarest diseases. My doctor even said to me, “most people come here thinking they have cancer, or AIDS and you present with this (Hanta virus)? I mean it makes sense considering my family’s medical history and my personal medical history that I should be concerned about having the rarest of diseases, right? Fortunately, I went on a awesome medication at age 15 and discontinued it at age 18. I was essentially symptom-free. Sure, here and there I have medical student syndrome, but as for all of the diagnoses I’m listing, these have been established by medical doctors or professionals.

Seasonal allergies and allergies to half of the world-trees and grass for seasonal, mold (all year-round) mild allergies to Cantaloupe, Honeydew, Coconut (in excess of a small amount), Kiwi (in excess of a small portion), Mango, Pineapple, Walnuts, Pecans, Macadamia Nuts, Chestnuts. There’s probably even more than that, I just don’t always recall it in full detail. I do however know what I’m allergic to if I were to come across it.

Urticaria, unknown etiology surprise surprise. If I’m stressed and don’t react with either eczema, a stress seizure, dissociation, surely something will appear. I’ll guess this is the etiology for the hives.

Paralyzed vocal cords-for nearly one and a half years, I didn’t have a voice. Initial speculation was cancer, followed by unknown (for most doctors), followed by overuse, stress, hiatal hernia. The whole time I presented to the doctors that it may be attributed to mold toxicity being that I tested positive for three types of mold in my system. Each physician shooed that diagnosis away aside from the non-traditional physician who initially mentioned and tested me for it. Unfortunately, he was 3.5 hours away from where I was living at the time, and I only had one day off per week, spending it going to doctors a bit closer, and occasionally relaxing. The voice came back after leaving the moldy environment and then disappeared again when I returned to an excessively humid, and therefore moldy environment, complete with breathing challenges.

Hiatal Hernia-one day my stomach felt weird, I went to an urgent care, and was referred to a GI doc. I had an endoscopy where they biopsied a part of my esophagus and this lovely diagnosis was made.

Nasal Fibroma- removed when I was 18. Removal lead to site infection which spread and led me to stage 4 antibiotics, the summer before I was set to begin college. My freshman orientation was a blur to me as I was still recovering from the infection and doped up on pain pills. Great way to end high school and start post-secondary education.

Thornwalt cyst-yeah I think I still have this one, no need for removal though as it’s not causing any signs/symptoms that I’m aware of.

Scotopic Sensitivity- sensitivity for me includes to light, and certain colors. It’s a perception disorder. Irlen Lenses can help

Speaking of perception disorders, I probably have Sensory Integration Disorder. That’s not diagnosed though believe it or not. There’s a time and place to see a doctor for things, particularly when it is necessitated. I have gone to far too many doctors offices and spewed out my history. As I’ve conveyed, on paper it looks like I’m dying, so I try to avoid stepping foot into a doctor’s office unless I have to, or because I’m observing a super awesome surgery (as I did a few weeks ago). Plus, our healthcare system does not make things financially feasible to go for any condition, never mind the significant ones.

xxx (Ken’s partner at the moment) has unofficially diagnosed me with Aspergers syndrome. I don’t take to heart what she says, even if she is a physician because she’s full of issues herself, namely an untreated personality disorder.

As a child, I had processing disorders, namely auditory processing and reading comprehension challenges. These can be referred to as learning differences or learning disabilities. Semantics.

Well, that about sums it up for now. I assure you, that if I think of any more or I receive additional diagnosis, it will be posted on this here lovely page in due time.

Thank you as always, for choosing to use your limited time to read this blog!

I sit in class, amongst people, most younger than myself by at least half a decade.

What was I doing when I was their age?

Oh, yeah that’s right, I almost forgot.

I almost forgot the reason I didn’t graduate on time. Why it will be more than 10 years after high school graduation when I receive my college degree.

Almost.

I was in college at their age.

I was in college, part-time with an entire continent separating myself from the rest of my family.

My family who sent me to the first program.

I was excited at first when I heard I may be going to California.

It was two weeks after I was discharged from my first psychiatric hospital stay.

The stay that according to Conroy, the social worker who admitted me was supposed to last between 3-10 days.

I stayed 18 days.

No outdoors. No light aside from the fluorescent ones beating down on me in the halls, in the rooms, in the showers.

After discharge, no one knew where to put me. They said it would only be once that I’d be in the hospital for things like this, that I was just going through a “transition”.

I guess I have a lot of “transitions”… 8 hospitalizations, 3 residential treatment centers totaling 2 and a half years and half a dozen IOP/PHP and 3 attempts later.

I remember sitting in class half a decade ago wondering if I’d make it to college graduation.

I remember thinking that I would get in trouble if I was seen chewing gum, not by the professor but from someone also in program going to school seeing me. We weren’t allowed to chew gum in the lower levels.

I remember not being able to accept rides from friends at school, even from my professor the night that it was pouring rain, pitch black, and I was all alone at the school bus stop with nothing or no one around late on a Friday night after class finished.

I remember begging my parents to get me out of the first place, saying, “I’m sorry, I made a mistake.” They told me it was either the program or the streets.

I didn’t even do anything wrong to deserve long-term residential “treatment”.

I was severely depressed, I needed love.

Love is not what I received.

I received way more fake hugs than I’ll ever get in my life real hugs.

I saw people try to kill one another.

I saw other people struggling, constantly talking about suicide and the next attempt.

I saw people attempt.

I saw people relapse.

I got abused, mostly verbal and emotional abuse.

I thought that was in the past. I thought the abuse was done.

It was thrown in my face constantly.

My current classmates have an average age of 20.

At the age of 20, I was taking 20 prescribed pills a day.

Once, someone from the program had to call my professor prior to the school year beginning to let him know that I was heavily medicated and may fall asleep in class.

My classroom experiences at a traditional college age are skewed.

So, when I sit in class, a bit ashamed that during the working hours I’m in a classroom at a desk, I wonder what happened, I almost forget what went on.

I know others wonder why I’m in class at the ripe old age I am.

If they ask, I tell them, usually surface-level things.

Usually, I just say I did the college route backwards, went to work first after high school and now I’m in school.

If only they knew the real story, the fucked up shit that I was locked away for, years of my young adulthood taken from me, because of depression stemming from abuse, neglect, and in-affectionate beginnings.

When I sit in class, I start to think of all these things. I think about what I was doing when I was their age, what I was exposed to, what was going on in my life.

Absolute madness.

First to clarify, I am not swaying to any particular religion in this post. I identify as a Jew, and I chose the term “Apostle” because I find it hard to insert a more appropriate word, lest I conjure one.

I’ve been thinking about religion quite a bit lately. It has been in my face in minute amounts for a variety of reasons. I recently was accepted by the study abroad committee that overturned their initial decision and is allowing me to study abroad this fall. In my application to the program’s housing options, it is suggested to mention faith.

A friend on Facebook continually tries to convert me to Christianity, finally I’ve asked him to stop-we’ll see how that goes.

I tried a new temple last Friday for Shabbat. I haven’t attended a Shabbat service in quite some time (a few months) and it was a refreshing service.

I am currently taking a class called Ritual Studies where many religions and spiritualities are examined.

These are some of the instances which have allowed me to think more so about religion and life. In particular, my focus has been on circumstances and unforeseen or unfortunate events. Aside from the cliche phrase, “You’re only given as much as you can handle” (which I don’t believe anyway because then non-religious suicide attempts and completions wouldn’t exist), arguably, some people are dealt a pretty interesting Deck of Life cards.

As I may have mentioned previously, I once worked with someone who knew a bit of my past and present state. Something bad had recently occurred and while talking with me she said something to the effect, “Man I wish I had some significant life event happen, I think it would give me character”. I was flabbergasted to hear this from her, and oftentimes this thought circulates in my mind.

I believe that perhaps some of us are dealt a significant amount of hardships to decrease suffering in the world. If less people suffer, even if they suffer a great deal, would that be better? Out of the thousands (or more) people I have crossed paths with, only three of these people would be categorized for lack of a better term, “Small-Scale Disciples”. Also, I do not mean to say that each of these people lives a joyous life, far from that in most cases. What I do mean by this is that the mass of hardships these people have endured is practically astronomical in terms of what others endure.

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I imagine suffering of other to be considerably decreased with these folks enduring the brunt of extreme hardships.

Person 1:

Youngest child died at 1.5 years old from drowning.

Person 1 has a child with atypical autism. The night the drowning occurred, person 1 had been dealing with said child all day (rage attacks and emotional stress), asked husband to take child out with him at night to a softball game husband was participating in. Husband refused. Person was physically and emotionally exhausted by this time, and in a moment of absentmindedness, child was left unattended in bathtub.

Person 1 has a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder. This Axis 2 diagnosis is challenging enough to deal with in itself, never mind when you’re raising three kids, constantly reminded the fourth is no longer around.

Person 1 is now going through a divorce with husband. Husband has not lived with family for almost two years, mother takes care of kids on her own most of the time.

Person 1 has neglectful family that never attended to her needs.

Person 2:

Survivor of ritualistic sexual abuse/incest for four years.

At 16, witnessed best friend’s brother (2 years old) be hit by a car, while she and best friend were babysitting him. Toddler died as a result of the accident.

Former heroin addict, which was mainly attributed to severe eating disorder and keeping trim.

Severe eating disorder, in and out of hospitals, on the brink of death often.

Much more that can’t possibly be explained in a post (if I want to keep reader’s interest).

Person 3:

Me. I’ve pretty much summed up the majority of my challenges along the way.

To clarify, I’m not insinuating that any of us are martyrs; what I mean by small-scale apostles is that we take many of the burdens, burdens that generally could fill about five people’s lives and yet are compacted into our one individual life to effectively restore or maybe contain chaos to less entities.