Guest Blogger

Healing Through Anger

Healing Through Anger

 

Healing Through Anger

In this piece, my guest blogger talks about how she is healing through anger.  Anger is a valid emotion, as Jesus was angry when He turned over the tables in the temple.  Anger is secondary to fear and/or sadness.  In this piece, you can see her fear, clearly.  Also, you can feel her sadness.  Please pray for this young girl as you think of it.

I Am So Angry With You

I know I have said it a million times, but I am so angry with you. If I were in the business of hating people, you would be first on my list. The thought of you makes my blood pressure skyrocket. Why couldn’t you be a normal stepfather? Seriously, why did you have to abuse me? Why me? I was a child. What kind of man likes children?

I wish my mom would have never met you. Honestly, I wish I did not blame myself for what you did. I know I was young, and I know it was not my fault. It’s yours. You are the one who abused me not the other way around.

Tell the Truth

I have had a few opportunities to tell you the truth, to say whatever I wanted to you, but I did not. Part of me wishes I would not have been such a coward. I want you to know how much you hurt me. The other part of me knows that it would not matter what I said you would not care. You would enjoy the attention, you always like all the attention being on you.

What I Want to SCREAM

I want to scream at you and tell you that you hurt me. To tell you that you traumatized me. I want to tell you how I cannot even change clothes in the comfort of my own home without feeling uncomfortable or like I am being watched. To yell that you took my childhood and my innocence away from me. That is something I will never get back. I cannot go back and act like a child again. Not all of that is your fault, but a big piece of it is.

I am never a violent person, but I would like to punch you in the face a few good times. I bet that would help me release some of my anger. That sure would make me feel better. I do not understand how you can have four different types of cancers, and still be alive. I guess that is just how my life goes.

Papa T is Crossing the Line

I heard a phrase today that I had not heard in a long time. A phrase that makes me nauseous. “Daddy T” I never understood why you made us call you that. Mom does not understand why that name makes me uncomfortable, and to be honest, I don’t completely understand it myself. All I know is the name makes me physically sick. My sister told me today that you want her daughter to call you “Papa T” And it incited some rage in me.

Yet, That Baby is Safe From You

Luckily that baby lives far away now so you cannot get your hands on her. If she were still around, I can promise you that you would never meet her. I would go to jail before that happened and I would be okay with it. You will never get the satisfaction of her calling you “papa T” which I feel is WAY too close to “Daddy T”

You will never get the satisfaction to take that baby’s innocence away from her, and that brings me just a little bit of you. Your abuse ended with me, and I will do everything in my power to make sure it goes no further.

Working on Forgiveness

I know it does not sound like it, but I truly am trying to forgive you. It is just a slow process. The thing is, I am not forgiving you for you. I am doing this for me. To heal. I am doing it so I can put you in the past and finally move on. To better myself and be the best person I can be. I know in the end you will get what you deserve, and I will not even have to lift a finger.

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Ending the Stigma of Mental Illness

Ending the Stigma of Mental Illness

Ending the Stigma of Mental Illness

In Ending the Stigma of Mental Illness, my guest blogger shares her thoughts on this subject.  I have a mental disorder that can be crippling at times. When I say crippling I mean I cannot get myself out of the bed. I have thoughts in my head on a continuous loop that should not be there, to begin with. Those days when I don’t call, text. or even speak to people.  Hell, I don’t even come out of my room. When I say I can’t get myself out of the bed, I mean, I literally will stay in it for days.  I will only leave to go to the bathroom or to eat.

The “Happy” Place

There are also days when I am “happy” these are the days when I can really get myself into trouble. when I talk ninety to nothing and spend all of my money in one place. Or I could get in the car and just drive in one direction not knowing where I am going but going anywhere is better than where I am. These are the days when I bombard all of my friends that I haven’t talked to in days that I want to do something. On these days I don’t sleep, I could be up for days at a time and it wouldn’t bother me one bit. I make poor choices when I am like this.

This is Bipolar Disorder in a Nutshell, at Least in my Case.

I am tired of the stigma on mental illness or mental health in general. If you have asthma, everyone can tell by the physical complications that you have. However, when it comes to mental illnesses we dare not speak of them. They don’t exist to people who don’t have them or at least they perceive it as a negative.

You don’t see people not talking to people with asthma so why shouldn’t they for people with mental illness. Honestly, I should feel free to share that I have bipolar disorder without having people think that it means I’m crazy. Furthermore, I shouldn’t have to own that lie but yet here I am pretending it doesn’t exist or calling myself crazy.

I am Tired of Comparing Myself to “Normal” People

What does that mean anyway? To be “normal”. The definition of normal is conforming to a standard; usual, typical, or expected. So what I’m seeing is that everyone is supposed to be the same, act the same, and do the same things the exact same way? Maybe I’m looking at it in a negative way but it sounds to me like normal people are nowhere to be seen. Because no one is the same no one is conformed to the same standards.

So why do we make ourselves feel less than just because of a mental illness? Bipolar disorder is my normal just because it isn’t yours doesn’t mean that you have the right to tell me that I am wrong, not to be trusted, or dangerous because of it.

Thankful

Today, I am thankful for modern medicine.  It has helped me look at life a bit more clear.  God is bigger than all, but He created man to create medicine to help.  Never feel weak because you need a medication to help you even things out.  You are not weak!  Honestly, you are brave and strong.

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From the Outside Looking

From the Outside Looking

From the Outside Looking

From the Outside Looking In {my family}

We were a happy family

{We} went to church

We spent time with other people

{We} went places together

 

But what you don’t see

Is the mother that can’t get out of bed

Or the stepfather that won’t help feed the kids

And the nine-year-old raising her younger brothers.

 

All that is seen is what they want you to see

Happy, healthy children

Children that spend time with other kids

And parents that provide the best they can

 

Truly my parents did try the best they could

But sometimes that’s not enough

Sometimes the best is not good or bad just an effort

On the days that everyone was happy

Everything was fine

 

But those days when the yelling was too hard to bear

Or the throwing of things was upsetting to hear

Those are the days that stick with children

 

Having a stepfather that could care less

Or can’t stand to look at you because you’re not his

Or maybe because of jealousy of the bond a mother has with her kids

 

That is hard

And then there are the days

When your mother can’t get out of bed

Because she has massive depression

Not that you understand because yet again you are nine

 

Those days are the days that are the hardest

Because you’re alone in the house

And in charge of the kids

Who are five and one

 

Don’t get me wrong I love those kids

And I would do anything for them still

But there is so much one child can do

And somethings are just too much responsibility

 

And even though no one knew what was going on

Or maybe no one was observant enough to see

Either way, I choose to believe that it all happened for a reason

And I would still choose to help even though it took away my childhood

At least they got to keep theirs

Thankful

Today, I am thankful for this young lady.  She is a beautiful human who is loved tremendously.  I am so proud of her journey and watching her grow and heal.

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How to Separate the Good Mom from the Bad Mom

How to Separate the Good Mom from the Bad Mom

My guest blogger writes a letter to her mom.  She is working through How to Separate the Good Mom from the Bad Mom.  Her path of healing has been long and difficult.  She is wading through the good memories and the bad.  Right now, sadly, the bad memories are more prevalent.  I pray that one day, she will remember the good memories she had with her mom.  Somehow, someway, it makes the bad memories more bearable.

How to Separate the Good Mom from the Bad Mom

My Dearest Mother,

My Dearest Mother, you have caused me so much pain for the past ten years of my life. I cannot count how many times I have laid in bed at night and cried because of you. Sadly, I have cried because I was not good enough for you. I have cried because at the times I have needed you most, you were not here. Also, I have cried because when I have had a hard day at work or school, I cannot call you. It is so frustrating to me that you are so thickheaded that you cannot see what you did wrong. I have written you numerous letters in hopes that they would somehow reach you, and you would come to your senses.

Spoiler alert, you have not.

For years, I walked on eggshells just to be sure I did not hurt your feelings. At this point, I do not care. I am fed up with the lies you feed everyone. Imagine saying that your eleven-year-old daughter made up a story about how you locked your sick son up in his bedroom and would not give him food. Like, I did not just wake up one day and say ‘Hm, I think I want to make up this lie and make my mom look bad today.’ Imagine trying to blame you and your husband’s actions on CHILDREN. Honestly, I have not asked you for much, just for you to admit what you did and apologize.

I know that is something I will never get.

One time you told me you were raising us the way you wanted to be treated. That just does not make sense to me. Who wants to be sexually abused by their stepfather for years? Because I certainly did not. I did not want him to watch me every time I took a shower. Also, I did not want him to watch me get dressed. I did not want him to put his hand on my butt every time I stood remotely close to him. Furthermore, I did not want him to take me and my sister up to the garage that day and assault us. I did not want all this trauma you gave me. All I wanted was a mother.

At this point

I do not even try and wonder what my life would be like had you not met my stepdad because it tends to hurt my feelings. Why wasn’t I good enough for you? Honestly, why? Why? Just why? I have so many questions for you, and I know I will not get a single answer. All I want, is a mom. Someone to look out for me, give me advice, and most importantly I just I want to experience a mother’s love.

Every night, when I pray, I pray that I am not like you. I pray that I never cause my children pain. Also, I pray that my kids will NEVER lay in bed at night crying because they feel I do not love them. I will be nothing like you, and that is a promise. Maybe one day you will come to your senses, but that is doubtful.

Best Regards,

Your Daughter

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A Letter to Myself

A Letter to Myself

In this A Letter to Myself piece, my guest blogger wants to step back in time and parent that child who was abused and never truly parented.  She wants that little girl to know that what is happening is wrong and that she is not at fault.  What a beautiful way to begin the healing process.

A Letter to Myself

 

Sarah,

I have written numerous letters to other people who have greatly hurt me, but I have yet to write a letter to the person I feel has hurt me the most.

That person is me.

For years I have “punished” myself for things that were not my fault. Its been hard for me to keep in mind that when bad things were happening to me, I was between the ages of 7 and 11. U have blamed myself for years for the people around me dying. I have blamed myself for not being there for them while they are dying. Like for goodness sake, Sarah, you were like 9. It is not your responsibility to take care of people who are dying.

Changes

When my dad got divorced for a second time, we had just moved, and we were tight on money. It is not that my dad was not making enough, it was because he was giving a good chunk of his money to his ex-wife. So, I started skipping meals just to make sure everyone else had enough to eat. When I would eat, my brother would make comments on my weight or how much I was eating. That’s when I stopped eating for weeks at a time and started working out six days a week.

After over a year of doing that

I finally realized that it wasn’t my responsibility to make sure everyone was eating. It was my fathers, and he was incredibly absent at that time. So I slowly started eating again. I have better eating habits now, but I still have my days where I feel I shouldn’t be eating. To this day, if I have to get weighed, I can’t look at the scale because If I see what it says I will spiral.

Absent Parent

Around that same time, my dad was incredibly absent. All of the cooking, cleaning, and children basically came my responsibility. I was basically the parent in the household. I juggled all of my responsibilities at home, schoolwork, and band.

About the only thing I remember from this period of my life is being incredibly exhausted. It was at this time sister would hardly sleep. And she became violent. So I would wake up at three in the morning to her punching me in the face or her pulling my hair. I remember countless morning of me just crying because was so tired and in pain.

That was a super dark time in my life.

This was the beginning of a super dark time for me. I had zero will to live, I didn’t care what happened to me. Honestly, I wish this part of my story had a happier ending, but I’m still learning that Madison isn’t my child or my responsibility.

I feel guilty when I go out while she’s at the house. Also, I feel anxious that something bad is going to happen to her while I am gone. I feel like I have been better about leaving her home, so that is a step in the right direction.

The Shooting

Then, I guess the last piece of this story is about the shooting. I remember that morning going into the band room with my friends and I stood across the room from him and I just stared at him. The atmosphere that morning felt off.

I used to blame myself for not talking to him that morning. I used to think that if I had just talked to him, that he wouldn’t have killed two people. That was his choice, not mine. It’s not my fault. It’s not my fault. It is not my fault. After a while of repeating that to myself, I finally believed it.

Love,

Sarah.

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I Wonder What I Will Be Like

I Wonder What I Will Be Like

I wonder what kind of mom I will be

{I} get anxious thinking about it

I wanted this for so long

But now that it is here, I am scared

 

Love and Fear

I love you more than life itself

But you scare me 

I don’t want to blink and you will be gone

The thought of losing you is unbearable

And you aren’t even here yet

 

My Desire

I want to be a good mom

But I know I will make mistakes

I want to admit to you when I make a mistake

So you know that it’s ok to make mistakes

As long as we learn from them

 

What I See

I see so many families

Hurting, every day

Because of poor choices, the parents made

I can’t be that kind of mom

You don’t deserve that

 

What You Deserve

{You} deserve everything

You deserve the world

I want to preserve your innocence

Shield you from this world

 

Will I?

I wonder if I will be good enough

That is the theme of my life

It has always been there

It always will be

 

Love

I love you more than life itself

But I wonder if I will be a good mom

You deserve a good mom

I want to be that for you

 

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Powerful Note to Self

This Powerful Note to Self is by a guest blogger who is working through some intense emotions and trauma.  Remember, if you are a survivor of anything….it is NOT your fault!  That can be so hard to believe, especially if you struggle with implicit memories and you cannot remember.

Implicit memories are memories that are from conception to three years of age.  However, explicit memories are from the age of three until the present moment.  Those are the memories that you can pull from and have validation, so to speak.  Implicit memories are ones you just “feel.”  They, to me, are harder to process and reconcile.

Sadly, any type of sexual abuse or molestation is devastating.  It can take years to heal.  Honestly, it may never heal this side of heaven.  That is something that I’ve had to settle within myself in order to process things.  My guest blogger is deep in the trenches.  I am so proud of what she is doing to get help.

Powerful Note to Self

Powerful Note to Self

Note to self

This is not your fault

You are not the one who made the choice

All you did was follow a voice

A voice of someone you were supposed to trust.

Someone everyone else said you could trust

 

Not Your Fault

 

It’s not your fault

that you are scared to love

Or scared to be loved

{Or} that you are afraid to be touched.

 

Stating Truth

 

If anything it is his fault

He chose to hurt you

and He chose to betray your innocent trust

He chose to do the unthinkable

and steal the innocence that you shouldn’t have lost

 

Stop!

 

so stop blaming yourself for his mistakes

you were not and are not at fault.

You didn’t make those choices

So stop claiming it as yours

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Depression is Gray and Black

Depression is Gray and Black

In this piece, Depression is Gray and Black, my guest blogger discusses what depression looks like to her.

Depression is Gray and Black

 

Depression 

Is a dark and twisty place

It’s when your inner thoughts are gray and black

There is no light 

There is no white 

Just gray or black

 

The gray is sad but bearable thoughts

This is where you look back at what’s wrong

 grieving the way you handled it

Wanting to do something to change it but can’t

 

These thoughts I think are easier to voice 

To seek help for.  Ask someone to hold you accountable

To try and continue your life 

 

Which is Worse?

 

The black well that is the worse 

The dark and the bleak 

These thoughts are much more dangerous

 

These are the thoughts that keep you imprisoned in your mind

Keep you in bed for days 

Give you the feelings of why even try?

 

These thoughts are almost impossible to voice 

The darker the thought the harder it gets to talk to people 

The harder it gets to seek help 

And the harder it is to continue anything in life

 

The In-Between

 

Somewhere between the gray and black, there is a turning point

From being sad to wanting to crawl under a rock and die

I’m not sure where the begins

I just know that’s where it ends.

 

But surely there is a way to continue life looking towards something 

Instead of looking back at the past 

If you can get there that’s when you can see a light

It starts off small almost like a dot

 

Finding the Dot

 

For me trying to find that dot is the hardest part 

Trying to find something worth looking for the dot.

But once I find it I plan on holding on to it.

 

Because the dot will eventually grow 

It will become the light that I seek. 

I just have to hold on a little longer. 

And keep looking ahead.

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How It Began

My guest blogger today talks about How It Began between her and her “first” boyfriend.  In it she reveals the emotional abuse, manipulation, and pain that she endured during the almost 3 years of dating this boy.

How It Began

This is Something That is Considerably Difficult for Me to Write

I still have not been able to let it go after all these years. But I feel like now is the time to write about what my experiences were like when I was dating someone. I had not been in a relationship (or at least a serious one) until I met him. Online dating is the hip and cool new way to meet possible relationships.  You can talk with random people all over the world.  I was sadly one of the suckers that got sucked into all of the fun profiles and nice looking men.

 

How It Began

 

He showed up in my Facebook messages.  Then he told me that he found my profile on the dating website.  Sadly, he did not have the premium services.  Because of that, he had to message me via Facebook. He was a nice-looking man and I thought, why not? Maybe I should open myself up and see if this might go somewhere. We started talking and we talked online and eventually started texting and calling almost daily for quite a few months.

Eventually, We Met and He Took Me on a Date

 

He was incredibly tall, 6’5 which seemed like a dream come true to my 6’0 tall self. Our date went really well and I invited him to come to church with me the following day. We started dating even though he lived in Alabama and we shortly declared ourselves in a relationship after only dating for a little while. My friends, family, and church family were so supportive of us and our long-distance relationship. It was so hard for him and me to only see each other every two weeks for only two short days. And sometimes I would go months without seeing him because of him working two jobs.

 

The Honeymoon Phase

 

I was in such a “honeymoon” phase that I did not truly see how screwed up our relationship was at the time. Honestly, I made it very clear that I did not want to do anything further unless we got married. I made a choice a long time ago to wait until marriage to have any kind of relations with a man since that is what God says in his Word. After about a year of dating, he kissed me and touched me even though I did not say yes or no. And from there we continued to make poor choices and follow fleshly desires rather than focusing our eyes on God and working on our relationship.

 

Being “In Love”

 

I wanted to make him happy because I wanted to be in love so bad and I wanted him to care about me as I saw in the relationships of my other friends. I had never felt that feeling of “being in love” and I did not see how dangerous it was for me to continue in that sin pattern. Eventually, I told him that we could not continue like this anymore and he agreed to stop. From the beginning that we started dating, I told him that if he ever laid a finger on me that it would not end well for him, which he didn’t but he also treated me in a way that is not acceptable in the way a man should take care of a woman.

 

Manipulation and Emotional Abuse

 

He would yell at me and be overly possessive over me for no reason. I told him that I was considering, not even stating I was actually going to do it, but that I wanted to possibly join a sorority. He freaked out and told me he did not want me to join because I would leave him for a frat guy that was better than him. I assured him that cheating was not something that I take lightly and that I only had eyes for him.

He would yell at me even in front of my family to the point where I had to leave the room in order to stay calm and keep my composure. Yet, I still said nothing because I did not want him to leave me. He would emotionally abuse me and refused to communicate with me when we would fight. I tried to put a bandaid on the issue or smile my way through it and say that we were alright. I refused to listen to wisdom from my church family, my mentors, and my family, especially my mom.

Part 2:  Coming Tomorrow

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Take Care of Your Mental Health

Guest Blogger, Jenna Sherman, is writing again to help you to find ways to reduce your stress and Take Care of Your Mental Health.  Due to the subject matter of this month and the continuing pandemic of Co-vid19, self-care and reducing stress is imperative.

Take Care of Your Mental Health

How Families Can Reduce Stress and Tension During the Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has been going on for months, but for self-isolating households, this time probably feels much longer. Keeping up with current guidelines and information is stressful enough.  Many families are also dealing with stress from being stuck indoors together. Fortunately, there are numerous ways to address household tension.  This will help your family grow closer as you ride out the rest of this pandemic.

Take Care of Your Mental Health

Before you can be there for your family, it’s sometimes necessary to take care of yourself first. Prioritizing your mental health is always important, but it matters even more during these stressful times. Following Barefoot Faith Journey and other bloggers who regularly write about important mental health topics is a great way to start your journey toward better mental health.

 

Practicing self-care is also important during the pandemic. Self-care can take countless forms, and it means something different to anyone. You might not be able to practice all of your usual self-care habits.  During the pandemic, it still helps to prioritize simple things.  Things such as exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, drinking plenty of water, and eating nutritious foods.

 

If you find that you are struggling to cope, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has great resources available to help you through these times. For example, some resources can help you locate treatment options during the pandemic, while others can help you find solutions if you are feeling overwhelmed with finances or other stressors that may have worsened because of the pandemic.

 

Keep in mind that your children may also find it difficult to cope well with the changes brought on by the pandemic. Listening to your children’s concerns, providing structure to the day, and giving context to the news are just a few ways to help, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.

Spend Time Outside

Getting fresh air is one of the most effective ways to bond as a family during the pandemic while also eliminating stress and boosting everyone’s mental health. You might not be able to enjoy all of the same activities you did before, such as pastimes that require you to be in large crowds, but there are plenty of other ways to get outside.

 

Going on a camping adventure is a fun and socially-distant way to try something different and get your minds off the situation at hand. Likewise, visiting local parks you haven’t been to before is a nice way to explore your neighborhood and stay active while self-isolating. You can even have fun without having to leave the backyard. Try having a backyard bonfire, playing yard games, or stargazing.

Keep Boredom at Bay

Boredom can easily cause tension to rise despite your best efforts. Going outside is a great way to reduce stress.  There are also a variety of fun indoor activities that are equally fun bonding opportunities. For example, having a weekly game night is a good way to pass the time. Opting for cooperative board games and video games will allow you to keep the mood light rather than having it turn competitive.

 

If you want to get serious about online gaming with each other, make sure your internet connection can keep up. Upgrading to fiber optic internet is a smart move.  Especially if you plan on playing multiplayer games like Fortnite.  Also if you are letting your kids play games while you work from home.

Fiber optic internet can handle several devices at the same time. As an added benefit, a faster internet connection also makes it easier to download or stream movies.  This is good if you want to have a family-friendly movie night.

 

Some tension is to be expected as your family navigates the pandemic and adjusts to the new normal. However, it’s important not to let stress get the best of you. Checking in with your mental health, getting outside, and finding ways to combat stress indoors will help your family weather whatever the pandemic throws your way.