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.