The War Within: Battles with an Invisible Illness

I did not tell anyone what I was really going through.

As far as anyone knew I was not going through anything at home. To only hear of my behavior when I was a child, sounded bizarre because as far as anyone knew our family was highly privileged and were known to be upstanding people. It was shameful enough to be a sham but for others to know would have been worst than committing a sin. The only option was to maintain a united front while the kids were known for just acting out. No one asked any questions, only took what they heard and as we got older, just left us alone.

I grew up in dysfunction, violence and abuse.

I’m talking about father jumping on son, uncle fighting nephew, husband fighting wife. If there was a disagreement or an accusation it led to an argument until each individual were within arms-length then fights led to brawls. By then if anyone had a weapon of some sort in tow, it would be drawn. Either way, nothing ceased until the cops arrived. There were some incidents where that didn’t stop anything. One or more were often arrested or hospitalized each time.

It seemed the only way to solve a problem was to use hands or weapons.

I was the youngest in the house. Auntie wasn’t always there to distract us whenever hell broke loose. I often witnessed the rage that was unleashed. My grandma Ola always jumped in the middle to attempt to break it up. She was usually pushed out of the way, with having a weak hip, she would hit the floor, Hard! Once I learned how to use the phone, that moment was when I would call the police myself. One time it was my brother and dad fighting, not thinking my reaction through, my brother was arrested along with my dad.

Again not to many people knew because I didn’t say anything. Only the ones who witnessed the violence themselves knew. We never discussed what they had seen. As far as I knew, this was normal so why would anyone want to know about me?

In a house full of people, I was the odd ball out. I would go through whatever the day would bring at home, until I began going to school. I met other kids my age and I got a chance to go somewhere else sometimes.

I used school and hanging out with “friends” as an escape. I did the worse thing I could ever do to myself.

At an early age, I began to live a “double life” without knowing it. I thought I was keeping it together but signs were showing. I was a blind thrill seeker. I was very naive and withdrawn. To avoid facing the truth and everything going on at home, I put myself in compromising situations. There were times I even hoped for the worse.

I use to skip school to go to steal, I use to fight a lot, I began having sex at an early age, self medicating and didn’t recognize love when it was healthy. I rebelled against “tough love.” I only knew violence, yelling, destruction and manic behavior.

After I was released from the Juvenile Detention Center in Pelham, Georgia in 1997, I was on probation for 18 months. I was reassigned to my old probation officer, Ms. Gail Galloway. She assigned me to go back to Riveredge Behavior Health Center instead of reporting to her.

I remember asking her one day, “Why are you sending me over there with those crazy people?”

She said, “I have tried to remove you from that household several times for abuse. I even sent DFACs to your school in an attempt to get you. Every time they asked, you said No. Because you are 13, they can’t make you leave if you don’t want to go. I know, if you remain in that household and grow up, you are not going to be right.”

I didn’t fully understand what she meant at the time but it did stick with me ever since.

If a child is abandoned by their parents, while living in a household safely with family members, they could still be, “wards of the state” even without a court appointedguardian of the child.”

I did not notice anything until something bad or traumatic would happen. I had impulse control problems and I was highly unstable. Once my dad died when I was 15, I became suicidal. If provoked, I noticed my reactions went way passed the scale of “normal.” After my reaction, I would look up to see other’s reactions. You know that look with wide eyes and mouths hanging? At first, I use to be proud of that response.

With Change comes Growth

I wanted to see life beyond my at home life, I just didn’t know how.

I didn’t know how to pick people, I didn’t know how to make healthy decisions, I didn’t know how to maintain healthy relationships and I didn’t even consider what I wanted to obtain for my future.

I could not focus, I failed school so much I eventually dropped out, I had trust issues, I had a manic maybe violent nature, I was emotionally unstable, a loner and I was to depressed to have mood swings.

Since age 16, I got a chance to get out of that house and far away from my own family several times. I got a chance to be around people who didn’t have to touch each other in order to get their points across. I visited with other people’s families and seen what “loving” households looked like. Never wanting to gloom everybody out with my stories but deep down inside, I wanted my own life to have some of the qualities they showed me.

I decided instead of trying to change the family I was born into, I would make sure the family I have wouldn’t conduct themselves in the same manner. I would be obedient to my Creator by playing the part I was given in the family with no grief. I was a daughter, granddaughter, great niece, niece and baby sister then an aunt.

The universe even blessed me with a spiritual family.

From age 17 to now, I have the desire to create the life I deserve. Each time I returned to my hometown, Riveredge was my next stop.

This time around I’ve had enough experience and confidence to enter that office of the doctor I was assigned to and told him what he was going to do to help me. Prior to that day, I use to ask them what they could do to help me.

I have a case manager for my emotional and mental well-being. Through counseling I am more aware of my triggers and know ways to cope with whatever I am experiencing. I have a few people I consider as confidants, I can confide in when needed. I asked my doctor about a medicine called, “Trintellix.” I like it. I am making better decisions for myself and my life everyday. I finally started getting this “making a life for myself thing.”

One thing I noticed about myself at an early age, no matter what I was going through, I always felt compelled to help others whenever it seemed like they need it or me. Because of my own experiences, I can offer what I call, “constructive understanding.” It’s easier for me to be empathetic because of the experiences I have endured and conquered. Whenever I am needed, I am compassionate enough to go over and beyond for anyone. I won’t quit until my job is done.

In 2007, I decided I wanted to go by a name that sums me up personality wise. I wanted to be to others what I needed as a child.

Someone who helps, supports, encourages, motivates and will brainstorm with you if they have to, in order to figure out the best solution to your problem. Someone who does this without expecting anything other than for the help to work.

Along with working on my nonprofit motivational speaking organization, I found myself being overwhelmed with feeling like I am not doing enough. I love reaching out to people, not just the ones within my reach. That is one reason I am blogging today. I am working on a podcast and other ways to reach people as we speak!

I hope to have shown you that no matter how dark or deep your hole is at the time, there is always light on the other end. Sometimes we have to go through it, get over it, go under it. When we get out of it, We Are Always Stronger and Smarter than we were before!

Thank you for reading! Until next time…Take Care and Keep Shining!

Yours Truly

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