Continuing My Story

The last post, I was telling how it came to be that my son was born. After I had him, Husband got a lot more controlling in some ways. We couldn’t go to the park until we drove around it for quite a while and Husband decided it was ok for Son to go and play, with us near by, of course. There was a lot of other things like that. Clean laundry had to be put on the bottom of the pile under the other ones in the drawer or closet so that the towels or what have you, would wear evenly. First in, first out for everything. Husband had been severely abused as a child. His father would beat him and his brothers for no apparent reason. Many days there was no food in the ‘fridge but there was always a bottle for dad. I did not grow up in a home like that. I was so focused on doing everything right so he didn’t yell and scream at me and so that Son would be taken care of, all his needs met, I didn’t realize that I was being abused.

I worked really hard at losing the weight I had gained being pregnant. I gained a whopping 75 pounds and Baby was only 8 pounds 8 ounces so I had quite a bit to lose. I nursed Baby for one year. I had him fully weaned by 13 months. (Another requirement of Husband). I lost about 25 pounds right after I weaned him. I lost another 45 pounds over the next year and a half. Then I became pregnant again.

Continuing My Story

And Baby Makes Three

I am deeply grateful for those of you who are standing by and watching me unfold my life before you. Today is my birthday and I felt it important to chronicle the events that led me to seek healing.


…A short while later, I had to go back into the hospital. This was because I had to come off of the psychiatric medication I was on. It was unknown in 1991 if that medication would hurt my baby or not. The daddy and I found an apartment of our own in the same building as his brothers. This was on the “wrong side of the tracks” from where I was raised. WIC, bus tokens and a low income health clinic were the hallmarks of my life at this time. Nine months plus 7 days later, I was delivered of a bouncing baby boy. When he was born, he had to stay in the hospital under the lights because his bilirubin wouldn’t go down. After we went home I was contacted by his doctor who said tests showed he had a problem with his thyroid. Had to take Baby to the Big City to University Hospital when he was barely 6 weeks old. After pumping him full of radioactive iodine it was revealed that he did not have a functioning thyroid gland. What this meant was that he would have to take medicine for the rest of his life.                                                                                                               The function of the thyroid gland is to take iodine, found in many foods, and convert it into thyroid hormones: thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). T3 and T4 are then released into the blood stream and are transported throughout the body where they control metabolism (conversion of oxygen and calories to energy). And in babies, growth and brain development. (Reference: www.endocrineweb.com/…/how-your-thyroid-works ; bold addition by me)

 Now the real fun started! How in the world do you get a tiny baby to swallow a pill because, of course, it doesn’t come in a liquid? Literally, this is life and death! I was nursing so I  couldn’t just put it in his bottle. So, creative problem solver that I am, I crushed the pill in between two spoons. Next, I expressed a small amount of breast milk into the spoon and mixed. I drew it up in an eyedropper and practically squirted it directly down his throat! As he grew and after he was weaned I had to get even more creative! Baby-Daddy and I were married in a small family only ceremony in the church Mom went to on holidays. Our “honeymoon” was a night in a hotel away from Baby.

Husband worked a menial job because he had never graduated from high school and a GED was out of his reach. I also picked up part-time work wherever I could find it to make ends meet. Fortunately Husband’s boss helped us get a car so long bus rides were a thing of the past. Amazingly, I did not have to go back on psychiatric meds after I had Baby. I am not sure if pregnancy and nursing straightened out the chemical imbalance or if I was so busy taking care of my little person that I didn’t have the luxury of being able to fall apart! During this period both Husband and I smoked “pot”. We never smoked it around Baby and I did not smoke it while I was nursing or when I was pregnant. We smoked in the bathroom with the exhaust fan on or in the basement with a window open. This was  self-medication for my bipolar depression. It must have worked too because I didn’t have to be hospitalized again for many years.

I want to interject here that Husband didn’t have any parents that were still living. He grew up with an extremely abusive father so, he never had an adequate role model.  Looking back, the first time he lost control of his anger, he punched a wall because I didn’t complete the list of tasks he had indicated for that day. This is when I was pregnant and having morning sickness. Things progressed to him waking me up at 3 or 4 in the morning to scream at me for a couple of hours. He would explode into a tirade for ridiculous reasons. He would threaten me with his hands but didn’t use them on me…at least not yet. Several hours or a day later, he would apologize and say that he didn’t know what came over him. That it wouldn’t happen again. The first few times I believed him, but after that I knew it would happen again. Most days it was okay but just when I was thinking things were going to be alright, the Rage Monster would attack.

Eventually I am going to tie this all in to crochet. So, just be patient as I bring into the light all of the machinations the Enemy used to try and destroy me. Thank you for reading.

To be continued… 

baby-christopher2

And Baby Makes Three

My Story (continued)

I want to apologize for the brevity of yesterday’s excerpt. I just wasn’t “feeling it”! It is really draining and emotional to go back and remember all of the things that have happened to me in my life. I am choosing to write about it though, because I need to expose evil and I hope it helps someone.


 

After bouncing around from place to place in the Big City and searching for meaning in life by practicing a pseudo-Buddhism, I moved back to the suburbs near where I grew up. I was working 2 waitressing jobs. One in the morning for breakfast and one for dinner. One day after my shift at the dinner job, my roommate picked me up to give me a ride home. She started driving away from our apartment. I asked her, “Where are we going?”. I don’t remember exactly but I believe she said “You’ll see.” or something like that. She drove onto an expressway and I was getting very anxious because she is driving further and further from the suburb where we were living. An hour and 45 miles later we arrived. By this time I was in a state of near panic because I suffered (and still am suffering) with panic attacks. The street was pitch dark, in an obviously rough neighborhood, in a larger suburb of the Big City. All I saw was a neon cross with the words “Rescue Mission”. She disclosed that she was leaving me there. All I had was my purse and the clothes on my back. My stinky work clothes.

It was a requirement that after the evening meal everyone attended chapel. I went to church as a kid and my Grandparents were devoted Christians. This was comforting and familiar in a place that was so incredibly foreign to me. I became attached to one, specific person there. I fancied myself in love with him.  We left the Mission together to sleep on the floor of his brother’s small apartment. I can not recall how long we stayed there. I encountered an attitude and a lifestyle that I had only read about. Food stamps, roaches, drugs, gangs and slapping the s*** out of someone just for fun. My anxiety was on high and I was so self conscious. I wondered what everyone thought of me. I knew I was different. I acted differently than the other people in the house and neighborhood.

A short while later I missed my period…

More of the story coming soon!

 

 

My Story (continued)

My Story: Part 2

Yesterday I established that I have Bipolar II disorder and I have been hospitalized numerous times. After I was released from the hospital in 1984, I had a terrible time getting the hang of taking care of myself. I lived in a nursing home of sorts for a short while. I then lived in a young adult group home but I chaffed under their restrictions. I turned 21 and I left that place to live on my own in a rooming house. I spent most weekends in a bar, stumbling home after last call. I lived in a big city so it was a miracle I wasn’t attacked. I was also searching for the meaning of life and, of course, love. I went through several jobs, being let go from each for different reasons. Basically, I was immature and “institutionalized”. I latched onto anyone who showed me some affection. It was during this period of time when I went to my first AA meeting. I talked myself out of it though, since I had only been legally able to drink for less than a year! I also smoked “pot” occasionally and tried cocaine when I was drinking in the bars. Anything to keep me from feeling so deeply. I was on a medication where I had very strict dietary restrictions and I should have stroked out many times with my irresponsible behavior.

Finally I ended up homeless…

To be continued

My Story: Part 2

My Story

Dear friends. This is going to be a different sort of post. I would like to share with you some of my story and in my next post, how and why I came to be a yarn artist.

I grew up in a “normal” family  for the most part. Dad taught college biology and botany. Mom stayed at home. She took college courses in the evenings. Before I was born she worked in a bank. This is where she saw the name “Tanya” on a check. It struck a cord in her and decided to name me that in 1967. When I was 12 she graduated from college with a degree in elementary education. She then started working at a local elementary school. I have 1 sister who is 6 years younger than me born in 1973. I have a soft spot in my heart for her- my little sister, and all that. Mom’s Dad was a Pastor and my Dad’s Mom was a devout, born again, Christian. The only darkness that was over my life at that time is that I was being molested by someone not in my immediate family from 6 years old to 14 (I will not use names to protect the living, the dead, the innocent and the guilty). I should add that no one knew. I didn’t tell anyone because that was a taboo in the ’70’s.

When I was 14 my Mom filed for divorce. It seemed to me, at the time, that it was out of the blue. (I should add that I adored my Dad). Then the war started. Profanity in a house that never heard a curse word. From zero to Rage in 10 seconds where anger wasn’t ever shown. Things being thrown in a family where throwing things is “not nice”. Words yelled from the person that taught me  “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”. This was a horrible, confusing time for everyone in my family. Add all this to the regular teenage angst. My Dad was SO devastated that he had to withdraw and move “far away”. He only wrote letters and sent them through my Uncle so we wouldn’t know where he was. PLEASE do not judge him. He did what he had to do for his sanity, at that time. Don’t we all just do the best that we can at every given moment, using what we have access to?

Needless to say, this affected me greatly. I was in High School in a very affluent community. I went from living in an upper middle class home to a lower middle class rental. I felt like the majority of the people in our community and my school were above the status that I could achieve. I felt that they looked down on me. I started working at 13 so that I could buy some of the clothes that were status symbols in that area , in the early ’80’s. At 14, during THE DIVORCE, I started drinking and/or smoking “pot” after work with some older friends to cope. This was not a daily or even a weekly occurrence. It was only occasional.

Right after I graduated from High School in 1984,  Mom remarried. I was 17. I didn’t think that he was good enough for our family. He was Blue Collar and my REAL Dad was a Professor. My Dad had a Ph.D. and I think  Step-Father only had a GED. The wedding was in June and I left for College in August. After I left Mom, Step-Dad and sister became a family…without me.

I was ill prepared for what awaited me. The alcohol flowed freely at the parties and if you were lucky someone would pull out a bong. I soon became very anxious, depressed and overwhelmed. I tried to kill myself on November 9.  This became a defining moment in time for me. It was the beginning of a 2 1/2 year spell in a Psychiatric Hospital.  In 1984, this was still done. I was misdiagnosed then, but many years, and hospitalizations later, in approximately 2007, I was diagnosed Bipolar, Type 2. Here is Wikipedia’s definition:

Bipolar II disorder is a bipolar spectrum disorder characterized by at least one episode of hypomania and at least one episode of major depression. Diagnosis for bipolar II disorder requires that the individual must never have experienced a full manic episode. Hypomania is a sustained state of elevated or irritable mood that is less severe than mania and does not significantly impact quality of life. Unlike mania, hypomania is not associated with psychosis. The hypomanic episodes associated with bipolar II disorder must last for at least four days. Commonly, depressive episodes are more frequent and more intense than hypomanic episodes. Additionally, when compared to bipolar I disorder, type II presents more frequent depressive episodes and shorter intervals of well-being. The course of bipolar II disorder is more chronic and consists of more frequent cycling than the course of bipolar I disorder. Finally, bipolar II is associated with a greater risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors than bipolar I or unipolar depression. Although bipolar II is commonly perceived to be a milder form of Type I, this is not the case. Types I and II present equally severe burdens.

I am telling you all of this because just last week I was released from, yet another hospitalization. I had to be “in” for 12 days in an unfamiliar hospital. I will  tell you the rest of my story tomorrow and why I have so much hope.

Part 2 Coming Soon…

My Story