Life or Something Like It

The Loss of Donna

The Loss of Donna

 

I started writing this on October 6, 2021. It has taken me all this time to finish because I have needed to grieve, process, sit in the quiet, remember, and honor those I have lost that was so dear to my heart.

I have been doing and posting a lot of reviews and having a ton of giveaways lately. It has been good to see some positive, heart-changing things on the big and small screens. Yet, it is also a way for me to dissociate and remove myself from being vulnerable or sharing anything that is truly painful.
So, here I am, not posting a review or giveaway. I am sitting in my new dining room, listening to a fan dry the mud from the drywall where we had a flood in our new kitchen, looking at my cat, who appears to want to murder me, and pondering on how this month has been affecting me.

Fall. I love this season. With the cooler weather and the changing of the leaves, the world is preparing for everything to die in the winter, only to regrow with beauty and new life in the spring. I love it. Yet, this month, in particular, brings tremendous sadness and grief.

October 1 is the fourth anniversary of my Lady’s death. That day never passed without me reflecting on our friendship and what she meant to me. How I miss her and how I have never really mourned her loss. I just push it down, push it down, WAY down. Thankfully I had a sweet distraction on that day. CM was here to love me and keep me extremely busy. I simply can’t wait until my next grandbaby makes a grand entrance next year. Grandchildren are God’s way of saying, “you survived raising children, now enjoy the fun part.”

Yet, today, I find myself struggling again. Today is my friend’s 62nd birthday and her first birthday in heaven. We met years and years ago; she was Leigh Ann’s mom, my friend that passed away a few years ago. I would not have made it through Leigh Ann’s death if it weren’t for Donna. I should have been a rock for her, which I was when she needed me. Yet, she was my rock in coping and reminding me of the fire that was Leigh Ann. A few years before LA’s death, Donna lost her husband to cancer. David was a sweet man. Quiet in nature unless you ticked him off, and then BOOM, he would explode. Those episodes were few and far between. He was the love of her life. Donna and I became incredibly close after the death of her daughter and my friend.

She was in the thick of raising LA’s kids and her grandchildren, and I was raising kids around the same age. We bonded over the silliest things. There were things we disagreed on, there were things we debated together on, yet our foundation was strong. We could love regardless of those differences. That is what friendship means.

We talked every night or every other night. I would watch Detail Geek and describe it all to her. She watched it vicariously through me. We would solve the world’s problems, discuss our day, and she would make fun of my suppers. She called me the Casserole Queen. That woman never made a casserole, and I made one every night.

Donna had not been feeling well since her granddaughter’s hospital stay. We both thought it was just stress, exhaustion, and adrenaline from what we thought was cancer which ended up being a severe kidney infection. The kidney infection led to the removal of her granddaughter’s kidney. She wasn’t eating well, drinking anything but soda, and smoking. Man, we mama’s can live off of anything in a stressful situation.

I encouraged her to go to the doctor, but she refused. She had a fear of doctors. You go in and never come back out was her mentality. We talked about her quitting smoking, which she did because the cough got to be too much. She began having dizzy spells and not being able to keep food down. All of these symptoms started in about March, I would say.

We thought maybe it was Co-Vid and that she just had a horrible case. Still, she wouldn’t go. She was just going to wait it out. Then, when it didn’t go away, we thought grief was beginning to settle in her. She never really had time to grieve her husband and daughter’s loss. Grief can, quite literally, kill someone.

She lived with the age-old question, “Is it better to know someone has something terminal, so you can prepare yourself and say all the things you need to say? Or, “Is it better for it to be quick, so you don’t have to see your loved one in pain?” She experienced both in a very short amount of time. Frankly, they both suck.

Then, she began losing weight. She had no appetite. She would say that nothing tasted good and she was just so weak. Nothing her son, her grandchildren, or I could say to her could get her to eat. She quit smoking and mainly just slept. There were times I could not understand her talking on the phone. That’s when I knew. I knew something was wrong, and I had to try again to get her to the doctor.

On her birthday, I surprised her and popped by her house. I knocked on the door (much to her dismay) and heard the dogs. Then, I heard Lexi running to the door. She opened the door, and I hugged her sweet little neck. Lex quickly disappeared back to her dungeon (LOL). As I walked in, my heart sank.

One thing those closest to me know is that I do not show emotion. Also, I’m a rockstar in stressful situations. When I am alone, that is when I process and stuff emotion. Healthy? No. What I do? Yes.
I turned to look at Donna lying on the couch. She was nothing but bones, and she was so jaundiced that the whites of her eyes were yellow. She had lost more teeth and had no strength. I stood in the doorway. Frozen. I put my head down, and the tears flowed freely. I could not hold them in.
She first asked me why on earth I knocked. Family does not knock. I still couldn’t move. Then, I heard her say, “Brandi, come here.” I walked over and sat next to her. I lay across her frail body, weeping uncontrollably. She just stroked my hair and said that things would be fine. She said she drank some that day and hadn’t thrown it up.

That moment froze in time for me. Again, here Donna is, knowing what she knew, and she was comforting me. See that day, she had called me earlier and told me that the good news was she did not have Co-vid, but the bad news was that she had stage 4 pancreatic cancer.

You don’t realize it until you see it. I knew Donna’s time was limited. She was going to fight and do all the right things. She was going to drink more water, eat more, and do whatever the doctor said, but by then, it was too late. She knew. I knew. We all knew. Yet, we hoped that it would be different.
I begged her to let me take her to the ER just to get some fluid. Her belly had begun to swell, and I knew she was hurting from losing so much weight and laying in one position. She refused. Every day I would go over there and stay for as long as possible. Most of the time, it was just us. Sometimes her grandchildren would come in and out of her son. They all lived with her.

With each passing day, she would get weaker. One day, she wanted me to brush her hair. One day she wanted me to rub her feet and legs. They were so swollen, but the pressure of me rubbing her feet made her feel better.

There were some days when her older sisters would come. One lived in Michigan and came home to be with Donna as much as possible. I tried to lift as much of the burden off of them so that they could spend good quality time with her.

Hospice had been called in, and Donna told them to get out out out. She refused them because she knew what that meant. I know David was flooding her mind in the last few days of her life. She knew hospice meant death. She was not ready for that. Her sisters bathed her, which seemed to exhaust her yet refresh her. Her great-granddaughter also came for a visit, which lifted her spirits; plus, she was expecting her second great-grandchild, a boy.

We had some excellent conversations once we were alone. A misunderstanding for a season took us apart for several years. That was the first time that Donna ever said she was sorry. It took me back because I had let that go years ago. She said that she remembered saying all those things, and then Donna looked into my eyes and saw the hurt and pain of what she had just said. Also, she stated that she couldn’t bring herself to talk to me because she was so ashamed of herself. That touched my heart and humbled me.

We talked about her daughter and all the things that come with her. It was so healing. She spoke of David and the plans she wants for her son and grandchildren. I have never really spoken to someone with such clarity towards the end of their life like that. We talked about the worst-case scenario and what we would do when she got better. Everything was covered.

Then, it was the afternoon of chaos. So many people had come in and out. I had found out some things I never knew and made phone calls I never wanted to make. Her granddaughter was overcome by it all and was acting out due to the trauma. I was called, and she was in the back of a cop car. It took me an hour to calm her down. I had to remind her of my love for her. L needed to know who she is in Christ. I am so glad the officers understood the situation and showed her grace upon grace. These kids have been through more in their lives than most adults will ever experience.
On October 15, 2020, As I walked into the trailer, strangers (to me) were there. They didn’t stay long; eventually, it was just her grandkids, her son, and her sisters. Donna was very uncomfortable. I rubbed her belly, legs, feet, head, hair, anything she wanted, but I couldn’t get her comfortable. I begged her to let me call 911 because her belly had so much fluid on it. I explained that I would go with her if she went, and she would not be alone.

Finally, she said yes because the pain was unbearable. I called, and we immediately moved things around to make it easier for the EMTs to get in with the stretcher. They got there and realized that the stretcher wouldn’t fit, so they had it out by the bus and brought in a wheelchair-type thing that she could be safely strapped to. I informed them of her bed sores and her protruding tailbone, and the discomfort that she was experiencing. They were so gentle with her.

As they were picking her up, she was screaming in pain. She was afraid she would fall out of the chair. I was holding her hand and explaining that they were going to strap her in, and I promised her they would not drop her and she would not fall. That I was right behind her, watching and monitoring the situation.

They got her down the three steps, and then I saw her arm fall off the side, and her head dropped. I screamed her name as the EMTs rushed to get her on the stretcher and get her O2. I could hear her grandchildren screaming. Her son with a panicked look on his face. Her sisters. There was no time for me to console them.

At that point, I jumped into my van with Stevie (her son), and we beat the EMTs to the hospital. Her sisters were not far behind. I parked and ran to the bay as they pulled into the bay. I feared that Donna would be gone. She wanted me beside her when she died. Donna didn’t want to be alone. She wanted to be with someone who loved her.

As they backed in and got to the back, I saw them drop her legs to the stretcher. I stood in fear with her sisters and son beside me. I looked up and saw Donna wave at me. At that point, I dropped to the ground. It was like my legs had no bones, and I wailed. That was not crying that came out of my mouth. I felt sick, scared, relieved, and like someone had taken an iron skillet to my body. I couldn’t move. Her sisters just stood there, trying to help me.

Finally, I pulled myself together, got my mask, and ran into the ER. They let me back (only because her family asked me to), and I stood/sat by her bed there. I was watching her. She looked over at me and asked me if she was going to die.

I told her yes. We talked about her salvation, and then we talked about what she wanted for each person in her family. After she had settled all that, and the doctors couldn’t do anything, they left us for a moment. She looked at me and said, “Well, we have got everyone figured out. Now, what about you?” I asked her what she meant, and she wanted to know if I would be okay and who would take care of me. In awe, I just looked at her and told her I would be fine. I would miss her every day and would keep an eye/ear out on her family and always be there if they needed me. I thanked her for her love and friendship. Without missing a beat, she said, “There’s room in the bed…I will scoot over, and you can lay down with me.” My heart. She knew that that was my comfort.

I told her they would probably kick me out if they saw me do that! Then, I asked if she wanted her sisters and son to return. She did, so I went to get them and let them have quiet moments with her without my intrusion.

They released her from the hospital because there was nothing they could do, and she wanted to go home. Stevie and I watched them pull out, and we beat them home again. We got the couch ready. By then, some people had begun to stop by again.

I was trying to stay out of the way and let those who needed to be by her side. At that point, she was not awake. Not long after I had gotten there, it was late into the evening. Bart called and said I needed to come home now. There was an emergency that could not wait. When he explained what was going on, I lost it.

I wanted him to try and explain to the person waiting for me that I was at an end-of-life friend’s house and couldn’t leave. They didn’t care. I hugged and kissed Donna. I told her I would be back shortly, and I flew home.

I can’t even with what happened at home. I do remember, after talking for what seemed like forever and completely losing myself, where I had been. I told her I had to go and she could come back or follow me. She let me leave.

As I was flying back to Donna’s, her sister called and said to hurry. I did the best I could. She took her last breath right before I got there. I walked into everyone sitting around, not knowing what to do.
As I did a week prior, I stood frozen in the doorway. I looked at my friend, and I went and laid down beside her. It was hard for me to catch my breath. She was gone, diagnosed precisely a week before. She went from okay; I’ll fight this to meeting Jesus and being reunited with her husband and daughter.

After I collected myself and the coroner came and took her body, I sat in the big chair. Her sweet granddaughter came and curled up in my lap. Grief had overtaken her, and I was the warm body that she fell on. With me, there has been nothing but love since she was 3. I had been there through it all, and I was again comforting my sweet girl.

I have been faithful to my word. I miss Donna daily. There are days when I miss her more and some days when I don’t think about it until the night. That is when we would chat. I have not watched Detail Geek again. Her son is okay, as okay as he can be. Her grandson is a father of 2 and working. Her granddaughter is living with a relative, and she is doing well now. She is working on school and has a goal for her future. We chat as often as a teenager wants to speak with a 49 yr old woman 🙂
I am ready for this month to be over. I am ready to heal. I am glad to remember the good times instead of the end. One day. Maybe when I see her again in heaven!

The Loss of Donna

 

 

Depression, Medical Issues, Suicide Awareness and Prevention

Leigh Ann Came in Like a Tornado

Leigh Ann Came in Like a Tornado

Leigh Ann Came in Like a Tornado

Ten years ago, I met a brassy blond girl at a ballpark. She had a crass mouth and a nasty smoking habit. She was loud and obnoxious. A person people moved away from when they saw her. She did not dress the part, talk the part, and certainly did not behave the part of what society deems “normal.” 

Yet, I was drawn to her. I saw myself in her—the girl that no one wanted to be friends with, the outcast. I have a deep love for those who seem unlovable. I see through the facade of what someone presents. I see their heart—that deep desire to fit in, yet the complete inability to do so.

Seeing a Bit of Jesus in Her

In my mind, I can close my eyes and see all the bright dots of Jesus throughout her. I just knew when those dots connected; she would be an unstoppable force of nature for the Kingdom.

I fell in love with this girl, her children, her brother, and her parents. We were a tight-knit group of misfits. I was blessed to be able to lead her to Christ one spring day. After she accepted Christ, I gave her a hot pink Bible. It was her favorite color. She loved Jesus with all her heart.

Mental Illness

She also struggled with mental illness. Despite her love for Jesus, she had good days and bad days. What bonded us was that I, too, suffer from mental illness. I have clinical depression. She had onset bipolar disorder. 

One thing I want you all to hear is that you can still love Jesus without abandon and still struggle with different types of mental illness. That does not mean you love Him less than someone who does not struggle.

How Did She Change My World?

She taught me how to accept those who were not “normal.” Also, she taught me to walk towards the waves instead of away from them. Live life without fear of abandonment and to hell what people thought of you.

Did I change her world? I hope I did. She made me a better person, and I hope I had some effect on her. Her mom always said that I did. I sure do love her children and now grandchildren. We were good for each other, for the most part.

Does it Change the World to Stand in the Gap?

Yes, it does the world when you brush and braid a friend’s hair for the last time? Also, when you begin painting her nails and toenails her favorite color? Does it change the world to wipe the ants off of her body while you are bathing her? What about closing her eyes for the last time?

Yes, it does change the world. It changed for Leigh Ann’s children, her mother, and her brother. It also changed me. It showed me what the phrase “be Jesus with skin on” really means. Sacrificial love and service for her and her family.

Leigh Ann, you are loved, thought of, and missed daily.

Depression, Medical Issues, Suicide Awareness and Prevention

Pity Party Hosted by Yours Truly

Pity Party Hosted by Yours Truly

Pity Party Hosted by Yours Truly

Dear LA,

I’m hosting a pity party this year on your behalf. It is just now beginning, and it won’t end until, I don’t know, Jesus returns. I want to love this time of year. Basketball is in full swing, and oh, how you LOVED to watch your kids in sports. So loud you were so loud at the games. God bless those children.

This month is B’s bday month, Father’s Day, my anniversary, and yet, it makes my heart heavy. I wish things were different. In the end, I wish it didn’t even happen. Your children are healthy yet struggling. You are grandma times two! I can’t even fathom you and me being grandmothers! Seriously, how did that even happen? We aren’t old enough.

It’s the Month

The month. The month that changed me forever and a day. That phone call, the screams, your children’s faces. Your face. Your eyes. The smell of your freshly washed hair. It was still damp when I took it down. It had gotten so long. I don’t remember where the hair tie went. What did I do with it? I don’t know.

Honestly, that is now going to bug me. Maybe I used it to tie up the little bit of hair I snipped off to give to your mom, brother, and kids. I don’t know. I just had to call a friend and check in because my mental status is not good right now.

Hair Tie

Honestly, I went to call your mom to ask her, and it hit me. She is gone too. Your kids will only have each other, their uncle, and me. In reality, I don’t even count. I’m going to have to stop now. I can’t finish.

Be at peace, my friend. Dance with the angels. Smile your smile. Talk your loudest. I miss you, and you were loved. Your life meant something, and I’m sorry you lost sight of that for a moment.

XOXO

Suicide Prevention Hotline 800.273.8255

Depression, Faith Journey, Medical Issues, Suicide Awareness and Prevention

Get Over It Speech by My Lady

Get Over It Speech by My Lady

Get Over It

 I have struggled with depression my whole life. There are short seasons; there are long seasons, then there are ** long seasons. A couple of times, I missed a year because I could not remember due to my depression. Some seasons are circumstantial, and my sad cloud leaves once those circumstances have been resolved. The other seasons are just plain ole crappy.

 I withdraw, sleep, do not get out of my house, do not change my clothes, or get out of bed. It takes too much effort. My husband does not know what to do with me. In our early years, he was oblivious because I was great at placing my mask. He recognized and then tried to fix the problems in our middle years. Well-meaning spouses cannot cure depression. 

In Later Years

In the later years, he sits and loves on me. He lets me be me, and he loves me through the valleys. We have come a very long way. I have learned to take off my masks and ask for help through lots of prayers, Jesus, therapy, and medication. He has learned to stop trying to fix me and to stop trying to understand the darkness that can consume me. 

 In 2015, I was struggling with a hard season of depression. There were days when I struggled to get out of bed, get dressed, brush my hair, etc. I did the best I could, but at the end of the day, depression won. I would sit in my bed, sobbing about being a failure as a believer, wife, mom, daughter, sister, and human being. Deep down, I knew my worth in Christ. Sadly, I listened to what the evil one was whispering in my ear. Instead, I should have been listening to the Truths of my Jesus.

In Walks My Lady

 On a Wednesday night, my family and I went to church for dinner and our classes. We got there, got our food, and sat down to eat. The side door opened, and my Lady walked through the doors. She is a fantastic lady, and she has taught me so much, and I knew, regardless, that she loved me. 

I got up from my seat and hugged her while my son ran and grabbed her some dinner. She cannot only look at me, but she can also look THROUGH me. 

That night, she looked through me and asked me what was wrong. Tears rose in my eyes, and I said, “I don’t know, I’m really sad and I can’t shake it.” My Lady looked at me and firmly said, “well, get over it. You have a life to live, a husband who needs you, children who need you…now get over it.”

Shocked

 I think you could have knocked me over from the shock of that statement. There has never been a person, over my long history with depression, that has ever said anything like that to me. I almost let it hurt my feelings. I almost listened to the evil one saying, “she does not love you, she does not care, that was mean.” 

Instead, Jesus took me and shook me that night. With Jesus by my side, He flicked satan out of my ear and said, “I sent her to you. She is my gift. This is your kick in the pants from Me through her. Now, get over it!” I walked around in a bit of a daze that night.

Purposing to Follow-Through

 The next day, I got up and proposed to do a few things to better myself. I am well aware of my deficiencies in the “follow-through” department. There is also the thought of wanting to succeed at something, and if I set my goal too high, then I will not follow through, and I will fail. I put the bar VERY low. 

My first set of 30-day goals was straightforward. The first thing was to brush my teeth every day. The second was to put a bra on every day (you laugh, girls, but you know what I’m talking about, especially being a homeschool mom).

Next Up

I also purposed to read 1 chapter of Psalm and 1 chapter of Proverbs daily. I did this by starting on whatever day of the month it was. It made it easier for me to remember. I had just received a great study bible, a new journal, highlighters, and pens for Christmas. I was set. In my journal, I listed five blessings first. Next, I listed prayer requests. Then, I would read my chapters, highlight the verses that meant something to me, and write them in my journal.

 I made it through that first month! I was so proud of myself, and the Lord revealed SO much through His Word. I also maintained my two tiny goals of brushing my teeth and wearing a bra. 

Month 2

The following two goals were pretty simple. The first was to take my medicine regularly (always take your meds as prescribed by your doctor) and not wear my husband’s clothes but my own. Again, you people might be mocking me, but my husband is a big man, and I feel skinny when I wear his clothes. I like to feel skinny! 

I had powered through Proverbs, and I still had a ways to go with Psalm, so I thought I would add a short book of the bible to make myself feel good about accomplishing something again. I still kept my journal, but I was on a new journal because I had filled the first one up!

Getting Wild Up in Here

 This time around, with my prayer request, I got wild and mixed things up! I went back through my prayer request and highlighted the answered prayers, dated them, and wrote how they were answered. In my dark times, I could flip through my journal, and I could physically see the answers and that God still moves even when I feel He is not moving. 

I also began branching out with my prayers. When I felt myself closing up and moving inward with sadness, I forced myself to look to someone else. I texted people in my contacts about how I could pray for them. The replies to my texts were humbling. 

My friends would say, “How did you know? What do you know? Who told you? I was praying about that, and I feel I have confirmation. In my darkest, you reached out.” Oh, my goodness. The reaction of others was a source of light and comfort for me. The Lord was using my depression to further His Kingdom!

My Prayer Journal

 My journal filled up quickly, and I had to upgrade to a notebook. I asked each person how I could pray for them; I gave them their page and added any requests. I would follow up with their requests to see if the Lord had answered them, and when they were answered, I highlighted and dated that request. 

Eventually, I branched out even further and extended prayer to my friends on Facebook. The responses were overwhelming. I was and still am humbled to stand in the gap, with prayer, for people. My notebook got full, and I have since moved to a binder! I love my binder. It is never far from me, and I have my pens and highlighter ready.

What I Learned in my Season of Depression

 In this season of depression, I not only learned how to pray, but I also ended up reading through the entire bible in about a year and a half. There were the dreaded books of the bible that came to life because I was reading it through a new set of eyes. The Lord revealed so much that I started sending out lessons I had learned along the journey. My season lifted because one person spoke what I needed to hear. “Get over it!”‘

Ending the Stigma of Mental Illness

 Depression is real, and it is not talked about in society. Please, I am urging whoever is reading this to seek counsel. If counseling does not help, go to your doctor and look to get on medication. There is no shame in that. I have been on medication, on and off, for several years. 

There are seasons of your life when “get over it” does not cut it, and you need more help. I hope that the stigma of depression and other mental illnesses is eradicated and that we can talk freely, get support, and become free from this disease. 

If you, or someone you know, has any mental illness and are afraid they may do the unthinkable, the Suicide Hotline is 1-800-273-8255. People are there 24 hours a day. Never be ashamed. Never think you are alone. Know your options. Reach out! Live! Teach others! Through your ashes, beauty will be found.

 

Depression, Guest Blogger, Medical Issues, Suicide Awareness and Prevention

Lockup: Extended Stay

Lockup: Extended Stay

Lockup: Extended Stay

In Lockup: Extended Stay, I just completed a four-day stay in the hospital because of my mental health. I am not ashamed to say that’s why I was in the hospital. I needed help, and I can admit that now.

Things have been bad for me for basically a month, and I had nothing left to give. It started with me realizing that even though I had forgiven myself for my brother’s death, it didn’t make it any less painful than I was expecting. I thought that if I had forgiven myself, the hole in my heart wouldn’t feel as big.

Trauma Relived

On top of that, I have started remembering things from ten years ago, which just hasn’t worked out in my favor. I also had anxiety about what to do with the information I remembered. Do I report this even if it may ruin my family?

Do I report it even if I will have no biological family afterward? The decision was made for me. Now I’m dealing with the anxiety of waiting to hear from the police. Every time the phone rings, it’s like my world stops. I start shaking, and I get nauseous. I hate this feeling.

First Few Nights

 

My first few nights at the hospital were very lonely. I didn’t even start to make friends until the night before I left. I only knew those people for a short time, but they made a massive impact on me. I can’t help but think about where they are in the world.

 

Did Katie and Michaela get out today? Did Jamie’s mom ever pick him up from the hotel room? Did the other Katie get the Job she interviewed for right after she got out? Did the girl with super long hair throw a chair through the window? Where are they now? Are they doing okay?

 

Dawn, the Night Nurse

 

My night nurse made the most significant impact on me. Dawn deserves a raise because she doesn’t make enough money for what she does. From the moment I met her, she was nothing but caring. The nurse answered any question I had. She got me food from the fridge when I was too anxious to do it myself. She treated me like I was her child.

 

On my last night there, she shared something with me that she had never shared with anyone. I won’t say what it was because that’s not my story to share, but it made me believe that I could talk to the police. I am strong enough to get through this.

 

I am Home Now

 

Now that I’m out, I feel like there’s this pressure that I have to be good now. Like I feel like I can’t be anxious or depressed. Don’t get me wrong, I am the best I have ever been, but it’s still not great if that makes sense. The bar was literally on the floor before now. I now appreciate the people around me a little more.

 

Looking back, I know I wouldn’t have made it through the past month without them. That’s not something I’ve been shy about, either. I’m so grateful to Bart (you guys may know him as “Big Daddy”) and Brandi. They have completely changed my life. I love them wholeheartedly, and I could never thank them enough for what they’ve done for me.

 Guest Blogger

This was written by one of my favorite people. She is so precious to my soul. I am so encouraged by the strength it took for her to admit that something was not quite right. There have been so many days and nights that I have seen her struggle to maintain. The dam broke. Without the help of her medical provider, his nurse, and my son, she would have never had the strength to stand up for herself. She would have never sought the help that she needed.

Since doing that, it was discovered that she has Serotonin Syndrome. Many symptoms range from excessive sweating to goosebumps. All of this is caused by an accumulation of serotonin. Antidepressants cause some your body produces and some.

Thankfully, she is on the proper medication. She was on too many SSRIs and has completely leveled out. There is no shame in getting help. Had she not gotten the help she needed, she would have never discovered the meds to help her were hurting her.

 

Depression, Guest Blogger, Medical Issues, Suicide Awareness and Prevention

Open Letter to A Brother Who Left This World Too Soon

Open Letter to A Brother Who Left This World Too Soon

In this Open Letter to A Brother Who Left This World Too Soon, my guest blogger remembers her brother, who died of cancer six years ago. What a thing for a family to go through. The loss of a child, grandchild, brother, and friend. He was a few days shy of turning 19 when he met Jesus.
Lord, bless this family. Bless them with peace and sweet memories as they navigate this difficult week as they remember this sweet boy. Please give them the knowledge that he is healthy and happy and hanging out with your Son, Jesus. He is waiting for them to all be reunited one day.

Open Letter to A Brother Who Left This World Too Soon

 

Dear Z,

It has almost been six years without you, and I don’t feel it has gotten any easier. This wound is taking forever to heal. I miss you so much, and naturally, I wish you were here with me. This is my least favorite time of year. I know you are watching over me and taking care of me. 

I Wish You Could Answer Me

I’d give anything to have one final conversation with you or give you one last hug. If I could go back and change things, I would. I would have stayed by your side through it all. I think about that all the time. Does it make me a bad sister for leaving you there? I could have taken whatever our stepfather threw at me to stay with you.

Missing All The Things

My mom told me a few years ago that you asked for me every day. You asked when I was coming back from dad’s. You know I like to take care of people. I took care of you for the longest time. Honestly, I miss waking up at 3 in the morning to refill your feeding pump. I miss helping you walk around, even though you protested the entire time. For six years, I have been waiting for you to appear in front of me. To give me a chance to tell you my final goodbye. To tell you I loved you just one more time. 

It Hasn’t Happened, so I’ll Keep Waiting.

I think I can finally start to let go of the regret I’ve had for the past six years. It’s time. You know I love you more than words could ever describe. I know your biggest fear of death was being forgotten, but you are unforgettable. You made an impact on everyone’s life. I will never forget you or the things you did for me. 

You were one of my best friends. I promise you my kids will know what a fantastic man you were. They will know how strong you were and how hard you fought. They will know that you are my hero, and I aspire to be as strong and brave as you were. 

After Six Years, I Can Let You Go and Let You Rest in Peace

That doesn’t mean I will forget about you. It means I don’t have to worry about you hating me for leaving. I know you loved me as much as I loved you. I know you weren’t upset about us leaving Mom. I’m just upset she wouldn’t let you stay with us. 

I am letting go of my regret because it wasn’t my fault you got sick. I was a child, and I know it wasn’t my responsibility to take care of you. I am moving on and trying to start the new year off right. Thankfully, I know you will be with me and watching over me every step.

Love,

S

 

Depression, Guest Blogger, Medical Issues, Suicide Awareness and Prevention

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. Also, you can feel her sadness. Please pray for this young girl as you think of it.

I Am So Angry With You

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 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 what I said would not matter; you would not care. You would enjoy the attention; you always like all the attention on you.

What I Want to SCREAM

I want to scream at you and tell you that you hurt me. I want 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 after 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 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; honestly, 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,” 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. I could promise you that you would never meet her if she were still around. 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 of taking that baby’s innocence away from her, which brings me just a little bit of you. Your abuse ended with me, and I will do everything I can to ensure it goes no further.

Working on Forgiveness

I know it does not sound like it, but I 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 to 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.

 

Depression, Guest Blogger, Medical Issues, Suicide Awareness and Prevention

Three Words I Can Say Could Make You Hate Me

Three Words I Can Say Could Make You Hate Me

Guest Blogger

In this piece, Three Words I Can Say Could Make You Hate Me, my guest blogger begins to outline her life when she was younger. She has a powerful voice yet is still too scared to let it out loudly. Time and Jesus will cure that. I’m so proud of her and all she has been doing to heal.

A Born Fixer

Ever since I was a little girl, all I wanted to do was please and helped you. All I have done my whole life is what you need. You needed someone to bathe a kid. I did it. You needed someone to help feed a kid. I did it. You needed someone to complain to, and that was me. 

I grew up listening to everything wrong in your life, your husband or ex-husband’s drama, your “my kids hate me,” my kids are terrible, and my kids don’t love me. Did you forget I was your kid too? Or am I just an ear to listen and a body to help work? You’ve groomed me well for the job I would like to have one day. If anything, I am a listener and want to help others to the best of my ability. So at least there is a positive within all the negativity. I have listened to and experienced this during my life.

This Thing Called Life

My life has been a series of what mom needs me to do next? What does my youngest brother need? Or even what can I help another brother with that day? He may have had most of your attention growing up, but that also meant that he got the attention of the men in your life. So many negative things were going on in his life as well. As much as I don’t like him, I do love him, so I didn’t want to see him so upset. 

You have complained to me so many times about so many different things that it makes me scared to share anything good or bad with you because I am afraid it will upset you. If I tell you some things, you’ll stop caring, stop loving me. Instead, I would bottle up or ignore it because I know you wouldn’t approve of or hurt your feelings.

What About Me and My Feelings

Like sometimes, I want to point out that I have feelings, too, and I’m tired of having only one-way conversations about you and your kids like I’m not one of them. I know you don’t mean anything by it towards me, but it still hurts me. Especially when you say we are all unmotivated kids, that’s don’t care about you. Maybe not in that order, but they have both been said. I am motivated. I work. I’m trying to move out. I do love you. Stop putting us all together like we are all the same. 

One day I would like to have a conversation with you about my life and the things I am learning about myself. Like I remembered what it was like to be motivated to finish something. Sure, it’s just a sweater, but that is an accomplishment to me. To be able to wear something that I made. Just because it’s not interesting to you doesn’t mean it’s not essential.

My Dreams

The same with schooling; just because it’s not what you want me to do doesn’t mean that it’s not something I can do. I want to work in the psychology field with kids. But that’s not good enough for you. You want me to be able to support myself, and I get that, but why can’t you help me in my decision on what I want to do? It just might take me a while to get there.

The Truth About My Engagement

I would love to sit down and talk with you about why I truly didn’t get married. How it was a lie, to begin with, sure it wasn’t intentional, but a lie nonetheless. I want to tell you that I have recently learned that I am not interested in men but more confused than anything. I’d like to have your support while I try to figure everything out all the way. But you’d disown me for that thought or try to shame me out of it. 

I have listened to everything you have had to say about everything and everyone. I have supported you through good and bad decisions. In short, I have loved you and accepted you as you are. But you would not do the same for me, I am sure. You would hear the words, and then you’d be done. Done with me and done with everything else because without me, who will you talk to?

Three Words I Can Say Could Make You Hate Me

Without me, who will help you when you’re down? Without me, who will help pick up the pieces left and glue them back together when anger or sadness strikes?

I love you, and I worry about you more than anything or anyone else. So me keeping this one thing from you. Keeping it under lock and key may hurt me, but at least I know you’ll be okay. Cause I’ll still help you. The sad thing is there’s nothing you can do to make me stop loving you, but just three could make you hate me.

Thankful

Today, I am thankful for the bravery of this young lady. She certainly has powerful emotion behind her words. Also, she is using them to help her sort through the muddy water. She is loved and a treasure. May she be blessed in her courage and continue to speak for those who do not have a voice.

Depression, Guest Blogger, Medical Issues, Suicide Awareness and Prevention

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 bed. I have thoughts on a continuous loop that should not be there: those days when I don’t call or 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 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 get myself into trouble. When I talk ninety to nothing and spend all of my money in one place, I could get in the car and 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 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. 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. Everyone can tell if you have asthma by the physical complications you have. However, when it comes to mental illnesses, we dare not speak of them. They don’t exist for people who don’t have them or perceive them as unfavorable.

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 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 I see that everyone should be the same, act the same, and do the same things the same way? Maybe I’m looking at it negatively, but it sounds 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 regular 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 clearly. God is more significant than all, but He created man to create a treatment to help. Never feel weak because you need medication to help you even things out. You are not weak! Honestly, you are brave and strong.

 

Depression, Guest Blogger, Medical Issues, Suicide Awareness and Prevention

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 some things 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