It has been a while

It has been one hell of a ten weeks, but I am excited to say that I have made the Presidential List for straight A’s again for school. That included a math class I did not think that I was going to do well with. With the break I have, I have decided to take you into the depths of what has been going on in the Lotus household.

First, I am happy and healthy. I have noticed different changes in my behaviorisms with my service animal Bandit. I seem to oversleep, and not need that much medication. That is only if I am not triggered. I did get triggered this weekend, and discovered an item I have been putting off: the death of my father-in-law, or as I called him “Dad”. Little Liam was only a month old, and we were heading to husband’s hometown, about three hours from here, to introduce him to the family. Dad said his stomach was not feeling well, and he decided to stay at the family farm instead of the house so not to get little Li sick. That night I had a nightmare, a strange one, and I knew dad was dead. I woke up at three a.m. and could not get back to bed. When my mom went to go search for him, she could not find him. I am glad that she did not find him by herself, I cannot imagine how alone she would have felt. She came back home, and my husband went with her. I stayed at home with the kids, and then the phone rang. The echoes of my husband’s voice are still a constant “DAD’S DEAD. HE’S DEAD! DAD’S DEAD!”. I had never heard so much anguish in someone’s voice before. He did not know what to do, and frankly neither did I. I had to find a way to get to them, and fast. I did not know the way to the farm, husband always drove it. We have a neighbor down there that is a part of the family, but I never knew where his house was. I always just saw him coming to our house from a direction. I ran down the sidewalk screaming his name, one baby on each hip. A concerned neighbor came out, and I placed my infant and four-year-old in her care as I walked down the street banging on doors. I came to the last house and rang all the doorbells on that townhouse over and over. No one answered, and as I turned to leave John came to the door asking what was wrong. “Tom’s dead,” I blurted out and collapsed into him. I believe that is when John and I bonded on a deeper level. I do not really remember much more of this event, and very few from the days after. Johnny of course knew the way the farm, and I for some reason was insistent on the kids eating. Johnny told me to get the kids fed, and he’d pull his truck around. I remember heating up some Pizza for my oldest while my youngest got some breast milk. I do not know how long we were in the house. We went outside, and Johnny was there waiting while smoking a cigarette while shaking. I remember calling Aunt Sharon, who is a tough old bitch whom I love dearly. I was crying, and she said to calm down she was calling Precious (grandma). “You need to be there for Dan, be there for Dan,” and the phone call was done. I do not remember the drive, I may have been holding Johnny’s hand but trauma blocks items from your brain to protect it. Next thing I knew, I was climbing the hill to find my husband. I found my mother-in-law first, and she was just shaking her head and hugged me. She did not cry, just said “I love you,”. At the very top of the hill stood my husband. He is slight in build, but I remember him looking smaller than normal. Like someone had punched him in the gut and fled. I got there, he dropped the phone and fell on he’s knees crying into me: “he’s dead, how can he be dead?”. I looked over to where my dad laid, his color was yellow on the top, and purple on the bottom. This would indicate he had been laying there by himself all night. Then Precious came, I do not know who drove her, and she started howling from the loss of a son. My memory is faulty at this point, I was in the house the next that I can remember. Gabe, my brother-in-law walked into the house, looked at me and said “well, shit.”.  I broke, I broke into this gigantic man’s chest while he patted my back and we watched as my cousin came up the hill and demanded to see her uncle. She quickly fell over too. Word travels fast in a small town. By the time we got home, the lawn was mowed and there were people everywhere. Chuck, my dad’s best friend, was smoking and had a case of his Dr. Pepper next to him. He just kept shaking his head back and forth. There was beer and wine and cigarettes and my mom. My mom surrounded by friends and family. She had loved Tom, and Tom had loved her with the patience of a Saint. The time came when I had to call my biological parents, so I rang Dave “daddy?”, choking back tears, “Stephie?” dad said immediately picking up on my tone. “Daddy, Tom is dead,” it came out so matter-of-fact that I think it stunned both of us. My dad kept asking if I was talking about Tom, then kept saying “oh shit, oh shit, oh shit,”. They were on their way with more clothes, and their camper. I did not know what to do with myself, I just kept making fresh coffee. Then I went down into the basement to do laundry. Dad’s dirty clothes were still there, the clothes he had sweat in and smelled like him. I sat down in the basement smelling his dirty clothes and screaming into them to muffle my cries. No one came down to check on me, there was no reason to. Both the kids were surrounded by family, and Li only needed my breast if he was hungry. I cried, and cried, and then it was time to do laundry. I waited for the swelling in my face to go down, and then I went back upstairs. My biological parents arrived the next day. My husband made a beeline to my dad, I do not know what was said but my husband was crying and shuddering. Tom died at the age of 61, and after an autopsy it was determined it was a “widow maker” heart attack. He did not even brace himself for the fall, there were contusions to the back of his skull that were proof of this. His stomach was not feeling well because his brain was not getting the oxygen it needed. 30 years of marriage, two children, 4 grandchildren, and two add on children were there dumbfounded by his release from this life. I am telling you this so you see that there is a trigger here. I only got to know dad for a few years, and he was an amazing man. When I hear someone talking in perceived negative tone, I trigger. I go back over that entire occurrence in my head. It happened this weekend, I saw my sister, cousin, mother, husband, and countless friends and family fall in disbelief that this man had left us all in such disbelief.

Life is finite.

I have chosen to start calling my biological parents by their first names, it somehow has let me distance me more from them and the abuse that happened. I realize that therapy will probably not happen, and I am okay with that. I am okay, because I must be okay. I do not want to give them more power over life than they already do have. That is why I have chosen this life, an orphan who still has living parents but cannot handle the abuse anymore. NO, my parents did not beat me. Emotional abuse happened consistently: “I love you…but,” …no, you say I love you. There is not a “but”.

I have broken off an increasing toxic friendship, that I should have broken off years ago. It was one final trigger, it threw me into flashback that night with Bandit licking my face whining, and applying pressure to my chest. I no longer have time for liars, and those that do not at least have empathy for post-traumatic stress disorder. They do not understand, or they do and do not care. Either way there is no reason for it.

I have decided to move forward with the name change. My middle name comes from biological mother, and I want it eradicated. I notice that I started doing something weird when I bathe. I scrub my belly button, the one thing that connected us for 9 months. I scrub it, inside it, and all around it. When I am done, I place champa oil on a Q-tip and swab the inside. It is like a cleansing experience of shedding that negative thought process, and psychological abuse from my very being.  I am changing my first and middle name.

I have been having night terrors persistently now. They have changed from me being tied up while a family member is being raped and me being forced to watch to me being tied up, my mouth duct taped, face swollen from crying, face wet with sweat and tears as my biological father hurls insults at me while my biological mother crochets in the corner laughing. I have woken up covered in sweat from it. Yet, I am the only one that is having this dream, I think I know why but I am trying to do lucid dream diaries so I can pull myself out of this type of dream.

I needed to get this out. I needed you to hear me. I need everyone to hear me. Mental illness is real. One in five adult Americans have been diagnosed with it. Suicide is on the rise per the reports. It is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States, and the number toll keeps rising. I must make a hypothesis here. I believe these are people not seeking treatment for the mental illness because mental illness is perceived as a weakness.

Mental illness is not a weakness. You wake up each day to fight the same demons, and you are still standing.

Thank you as always to Jenn Bovee.

Light up the Darkness,

The Lotus