August 19, 2021 I’ve been hyperventilating, trying to catch my breath since 1980. My heart doesn’t know how to handle the world’s painful cries for help. It’s weighing on me so heavy today. Maybe, you say, “maybe this is what you were made for.” OK and I am here for it, but some days the silence feels too damn loud, the mighty ones I needed to stand up with me were fast asleep. My feet are burning, my legs are heavy, and my back is breaking from the weight on my shoulders. You say, “that weight isn’t yours to carry.” To which I say, “You’re right, it is all of ours to carry. So help me, God.” I take the deepest Shallow breath that I can, and look up to the sky with tears in my eyes, asking God for the strength to keep standing.
Almost 2 years ago, I attempted to apply for a scholarship with the Amen Clinic. I had heard a out them from a member in my Complex PTSD online support group and their program seems revolutionary!
Unfortunately, right as I was applying, the position of head of the scholarship department was pending fulfillment, so I was put on hold. Several months went by without change, so I was forced to find another path for healing. This important enough for me to share as it shows my effort and the persistent “bad luck” that seemed to follow me everywhere.
Here is a very condensed version of my story that I was planning to submit in hopes of getting awarded the scholarship for treatment at the clinic.
So much love sand hope for each of you here.
February 10, 2021
To Whom it May Concern,
I have spent 40 years, my entire life, merely striving (going around in circles) in survival mode. I was born and raised in an offbeat, religious cult, and grew up as the scapegoat for my parents’ cult extremisms, neglect, and consistent abuse. The past 25 years, through more and more significant traumas, threatening to consume me entirely, I have sought relief and healing in therapy, self-help books, churches, mentors, God, doctors, and all of the wrong medications, to only mask a small amount of the pain for short periods of time.
Just a little over one year ago, I stumbled upon a website for Complex PTSD. I had never felt so seen. My lifelong fight to live a ‘normal’ day had a name, but I still couldn’t get my therapist to validate my desperate need for trauma therapy. A few months later, as a single mother of two teenagers, I accepted my therapist’s request to rest my weary self and trust the hospital’s mental health system. After my three days stay in the hospital, on a new medication, I now had access to resources with Ventura County Behavioral Health, where I began group therapy. The group leader, Miss G, reached out to me after group one day and explained that she had been listening to me share for the past few weeks. She said she was thoroughly trained in trauma work and wanted to help me! She technically didn’t have room for a new client but she would pull some strings if I wanted to see her. I couldn’t believe it. She was the first therapist to ever acknowledge my trauma. In March 2020, due to the worldwide pandemic, I had my first appointment with Miss G on the phone. I had never experienced this kind of hope before. With only two months of diving headfirst into trauma therapy, I was told that Miss G was leaving the clinic. I was left to flounder on my own, once again.
Through a friend, I found a therapist who was not intimidated by my story and who believed in his ability to help me. I have been seeing Mr. B for several months now, twice a week, and I am slowly re-learning how to function in this world. I have not been able to hold a job in years, my physical health is suffering from a multitude of stress-induced illnesses and all of my money goes towards paying for therapy, trauma coaching, nutritional supplements, and doctors that are not covered by my insurance. I am in desperate need of consistent, skilled medical and mental health care that all of my life experiences have proven are beyond Medi-Cal’s scope of expertise. I cannot logically afford this financial burden, but I also cannot afford to discontinue this path toward healing. It is my dream and my hope that my daily life will become easier as I get free from the damage that was done to me. This is all I’ve ever wanted, to be a whole woman, a whole mom for my kids.
I have knocked on countless doors, praying for solutions and help. I have searched for years. I have researched many methods and outcomes of treatment that has always been just out of my reach. When I heard of your program, I was intrigued. I could never fathom how the most powerful and complex body part of all, my brain, could be so neglected, yet over medicated. I believe that your program would be such an enormous breakthrough in my lifelong journey to finally heal, so that I may become mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually whole.
Past trauma and triggers have prevented me from holding on to good things. They create barriers in my relationships with everyone, even my kids. Daily, I struggle with even the smallest of tasks, ie. Shower, brush teeth, eat, etc. My brain threatens to shut all the way down as its internal ‘overwhelm’ protector is activated, I self-isolate and push away the people I love. In my heart, I imagine that if someone could really ‘hear’ me and ‘see’ me, that they would finally understand. I need someone to understand the damage that comes from being overlooked for so long. I need someone to believe in me and give a wholehearted chance on me because I have been through the wringer over and over and over again. I sure as hell am not giving up, God help me; this is too important and I have fought too hard. This is my story and I am knocking on your doors with a humble and hopeful heart.
11/27/2020 A miracle happened on this day. I literally felt these words flow through me as I wrote; I had been unable to write for a long, long time.
Since yesterday was Thanksgiving, I was thinking a lot about some of the blessings that God has given my kids and I. Most of us have struggled to keep our heads out of the mud this year; these months have been quite a roller coaster of emotions without promise of the ride ending soon enough. But as I was filling my mind with only positive things, all of you stood front and center. Throughout my day, there you stayed and my heart swelled with sparkles of joy and thanksgiving. YOU are what I am most grateful for this year, every year. You have given me a voice and a safe place. Your voices, and specifically, your hearts are the healing balm to the little girl inside me that dreams of freedom and fields of greener pasture. In my mind, each of you is an ever-growing, blooming flower rising up beside me. We shield each other, drink from the same stream of living water, some of us grow when others need a little longer to be still, yet we never cease to bask in the glory of one another’s shine, or to sit with a bleeding heart for a long as it takes.
What makes this so profound to ME, is that magnificent field. This is the same field that Jesus took me to many times as a child. He met me there when darkness on the outside threatened to take me. This is where I was free to play, where He would take me up in His arms and was happy to play with me. We would run like the wind, hand in hand and JUST BE FREE.
Each of you is here with me in this safe place that God gave me all those years ago, all of our individual bright colors wildly blooming.
Welcome to my magical, peaceful, abundant, glorious field of hope and love.
To be apart of something so beautiful is what this weird girl’s dreams are made of and I just cannot bring justice to what each one of you means to me. I don’t think there could possibly be a greater village of humans anywhere in the world that I would rather be apart of.
July 10, 2022 When the darkness feels like it will consume me, I give myself permission to FEEL. Sometimes I fear that I might die or go insane from the weight of it all, but something inside me keeps holding on. I take a rest and I fight again the next day. I don’t give up because as many times as I’ve asked God to hold me, cried out desperately for Him to show me that He is God. He keeps right on proving it to me. I need tangibility; at times I have only the faith of a mustard seed. He doesn’t shame me. He knows exactly where I’ve been.
My brain doesn’t comprehend why He doesn’t stop the pain or always rescue or perform a miracle when He can. We all know He can. I think most of us who “lose our faith” believe that He can and that’s why we ache inside/ We push the pain down to survive and “turn away from God” in order to hold it all together by ourselves because this is what we thought would help us continue life at the time.
If God is real, if He is as great a creator and majestic and loving (which He has proven to me so many times over), then this life is not all there is. Life here wasn’t meant to be free of suffering. We are humans. We are messy, complex, abstract, all different yet all the same. When I remember that He has already proven Himself to me, I remind myself that this life isn’t even a fragment of what is to come. I can live another hour, another day, and then the next. Because what is an hour to mere humans, but a speck to God? Nature bows down to Him, the never-ending sky proclaims His infinite majesty, and every living thing that has breath praises His name simply by BEING. When I remember this, there is a stirring inside my soul and I decide with all my heart that I WANT to live another day.
Years ago, I had the urge to start a blog to write my heart’s longings for myself and this world, to organize my thoughts and share my insights, and last but not least, to document my journey toward wholeness. As you can see, it has taken me quite a long time to begin. The number of times that I sat down to start the process of “How to start a blog,” I became increasingly overwhelmed. The feeling of hopeless helplessness became a regular occurrence whenever I thought about how stuck I was. To know that life was passing me by as I couldn’t get myself together enough to function like half of a human, persistently trying hard to fight the voice inside telling me “I will never figure it out. Give it up already.” At some point in adolescence, I was taught the importance of using my gifts. I learned that every person has gifts that they were born with, it pleases God when we use them for His glory, and that if we don’t use them, we lose them. In my 40’s, I have labeled myself as having that diagnosis of “failure to launch.” Every dream I’ve had has been crushed or has felt too far out of reach to even get my hopes up for. But, what I am learning now, is that THIS is my gift. The fear that has kept me incapacitated is only an emotional response from past trauma. If I never use my gift or do the things my heart aches for, I am not actually protecting myself from anything; I am only preventing myself from EVERYTHING. I can acknowledge that I am afraid, but the way to change my sadness to wholeness is by being brave in the face of my fear. So this is my contribution to myself and to all who need to hear my story today. We don’t know each other yet, but something I am sure about is that I am still here on this earth BECAUSE OF YOU. You are who keeps me fighting and striving to heal myself so that I might one day be able to show you that no matter how irrevocably broken you feel, how many doors seem to slam in your face. there is ALWAYS a way out of the dark and you have SUCH an important purpose. Let me hold your hand while we walk through this together. ❤️
July 20, 2012 I am a dreamer. And as most girls dream, I thought I would be married to the man of my dreams at the age of 22, like my mother, and THEN start a family within the next couple years. Well, life didn’t quite turn out as I planned. My birthday is in 2 days; I’ll be 32, and every year since 29 has thrown me into some kind of minor crisis. I have a beautiful daughter, who just turned 10 going on 16, and a 5 year old son, who is brilliantly funny. It is quite possible and unfortunate that I am your typical, struggling, single mom with 2 baby daddies.
I’m a mixture of a hippy in crisis, because I wasn’t born a free spirit, but serious and insightful, yet I long to sing and strum on a guitar while sitting barefoot in the sand….and I wish I was Anne of Green Gables, when days weren’t so busy and worldly, when boys pulled a girl’s hair to get her attention, when there was time for sipping tea on the veranda with a dear friend, or when nothing was more important at the moment than a prize cow that strayed into your neighbor’s yard. Instead of these things, I was born in 1980 in LOS ANGELES, one of the most worldly, highly stressful places on earth.
Life is HARD. Anyone who says differently, has been exceptionally lucky, and are most likely the same people who think you are weak minded if you’ve ever needed the help of antidepressants just to make it through the day. I have met them, and have been rejected by them, so I know they exist. Quite possibly just a few of the reasons why I am “too much” or “not enough” for some people, I have listed below as my personal “downfalls.”
I don’t believe I’m as pretty as you tell me I am. I am often misunderstood. I have often taken abuse. I come from a dysfunctional family. I often don’t know what I’m doing and I don’t read directions, I always forget what I was just talking about, I am not a great cook, I am so afraid of getting older, I can’t stay organized to save my life, I’m pretty bad at keeping in touch, I am deathly afraid of snakes, I’m shy and a bit of an introvert (often mistaken for being stuck-up), I take things personally when I shouldn’t and love people that don’t deserve it, I suffer from PMS (thanks Mom!), dramatically change my hair when I’m depressed, I don’t exercise, I drive faster than I need to, I am completely random and inconsistent, I shut down when I’m overwhelmed, I hate the act of abortion as much as I hate suicide, but I’ve been there. I could probably use a drink at times, but don’t. I don’t smoke weed, but have. I don’t smile as often as I should. I’ve never been in a fight. My credit isn’t that great, and I’ve been on Public Assistance.
Sometimes I feel insecure, and am filled with self-doubt. Sometimes I hate my legs, wish my nose was smaller, or that my boobs were bigger. At times, I’ve wished I was overweight and plain-looking so people would like me more, because I’m so tired of men looking at me like a piece of ass or women not wanting to be my friend.
I’ve been hurt and broken, crushed and bleeding until I couldn’t breathe, talked down to, misunderstood, UNKNOWN, cheated on, lied to, used, raped of my womanhood.
But……………… I’ve also been loved, held, and carried when I couldn’t carry myself, put back together by the loving hands of the One who made me, embraced, understood & KNOWN, empowered, graciously given new strength and made beautiful.
The greatest passion of my innermost being is to be a messenger of hope, the one human hand to hold when you feel alone, the voice praying on your behalf, to share my story if you’ll let me, and to help carry some of the weight of yours.
I love with my whole heart, and you might not understand why I care as much as I do. How I can cry for what someone else is going through. I am filled with compassion for them. I have been mistreated and accused of having ulterior motives, because “how could someone genuinely care as I do?”But I keep going, my faith sustaining me. Some days I want to give up because people who don’t care seem happy and free, but a voice tells me it’s not yet time.
One day, when I am allowed a peaceful existence, whether the day comes here on earth, or up above, I will sing at the top of my lungs and give Him all the glory! If He gives me wings, I will fly down to comfort you, watch over your precious children as they sleep. I’ll be the voice in your ear when you don’t know what to do, and the voice that tells you how loved you are. I’ll be at the front line, fighting in the battle that your eyes can’t see, and I will protect you when trouble comes.
Until then, I put my strength and ever last bit of trust in Him, I will love my children with everything I have, and keep on fighting for all I believe in, while hoping to make a difference to someone along the way.