truth

A Mother’s Battle Through Dependence

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Ah. The quote above. That’s exactly what I had to say to myself sometimes – and I still do. I have clearly faltered. I have made mistakes. When it comes to being a mother of three – and getting through this battle – courage is one way to describe it – the other – is to say I will keep trying – tomorrow. And the next day – and the next.

I often wondered after I revealed my struggles publicly – what people would begin to think of me as a parent. I was having a tough enough time coping as it was with chronic pain – cleaning, walking, simple things – like, say, lifting my tiny baby boy – my numero tres – now approaching 10 months old.

It is no secret that my two oldest (ages 6 and 4) live with their father upstate. They are two and a half hours away – so they are not in my house but every two weeks. This in itself feels like a failure. It has been this way since we separated in December 2010 – and my current battle was not even a glimmer in my eyes. It almost makes me feel worse that they are not with me around the clock – because clearly issues (ghosts) of the past took away my opportunity (for the moment) to parent them full time.

Flash forward to now – and this struggle – after the birth of my third who is with me around the clock – I know people wonder: how do you remain a good parent – if you feel you are not 100% a good person?

Who said I was not a good person?

I have to keep repeating this line in my head – because I believe it is my own brain that convinced me of that when I realized exactly the hill I was climbing – the grave I had tumbled into – let us not forget that becoming self-aware in itself is a huge milestone.

It has taken persistence, dedication, and above all: SUPPORT.

I was not afraid nor ashamed to ask for help from family members and friends – and especially my husband – for help with my children. This was an absolute must. If I am unable – I find someone who is able. I have always been that way – I am brutally honest to the bone. I think this journey as it began was the first time I ever considered hiding. Who wants to admit in public to hundreds, thousands, and then there’s family, friends: I had a problem. A huge debacle with dependence – that needed to be fixed – and I could not do it alone.

For the record, I consider myself an amazing mother. I feel my recent efforts to better myself and my body – my health, my mind – are clear signals that my love of my children takes precedence. This continued path towards full recovery comes at the price of admitting that I cannot do everything by myself – especially parenting.

Parenting is – and forgive my bluntness – not always fun. I get vomited on, peed on, snotted on, yelled at, kicked, smacked, “I HATE YOU FOR TAKING AWAY MY CHOCOLATE”….

These little innocent beings grew in my belly – they came out with those beautiful cries of life that changed me in so many ways. Who knew there could be so many moments where I would bow my head and want to cry – why do my children seem to not be able to stand me some of the time?

Oh – I slapped myself just then writing that. I know how much my children love and adore me – and how much love, passion, patience, dedication I give to them – and this current experience is what I feel certainly defines what true motherly love really stands for.

It’s the courage to become better – to admit imperfection.

If anyone so apt to read my blogs is a parent – you know where I am coming from. This is not an easy task. I remember those days of sleep, watching a football game uninterrupted (“I NEED A JUICE BOX NOW” “NO I WANTED CARTOONS!!” ) – I can break down over the easiest of things – “No you cannot have a juice box. Grab a water, and go read a book.”

It really seems so simple.

Then we add in that for 8 long months I could barely walk – let alone had the motivation to get out of bed – could barely stand in the shower for more than a day a week, did not even feel like brushing my teeth, washing a dish, cooking a meal.

And then we remember the events of Christmas week 2013.

How exactly did I parent while battling a substance dependence and withdrawals and my own mental demons – suffice it to say I had to learn another skill and it’s clearly a double-edged sword:

Selfishness.

I asked for a rally around me for help with my children – other people’s time, especially my husband’s time. My husband, for anyone who does not know, works two jobs from home to support our family – and he works from home because I am seemingly incapable of going an entire day with a 10 month old (then add the other two on their visits) without help from another adult body.

“How are you not ashamed of yourself?”

What is there to be ashamed of in asking for help? Thus the point of my blog in its entirety – and the punchline here of this particular ranting.

I am a wonderful parent because I am so passionate about becoming healthy for my children – and because they are inspirations to me – their little bodies full of so much hope, imagination, and future.

I dig deep. Tonight I was not feeling great at all – tired, anxious, still having to run to the bathroom at times (could be up to a month for this, hey, at least it’s not as painful as before) – had some racing thoughts – then got my little baby boy up to find he had a 103 degree fever, could not drink or hold down milk, and was screaming in pain.

Off to urgent care we went – where we found this cute little boy with so much pizzazz – has strep throat. Instead of thinking about me, I held that child so close, and I almost wanted to cry with him – but I held strong.

It takes strength to let go of just wanting to take care of yourself –  this path will never be easy for anybody – single, married, alone, pregnant, mother, father, sister, brother – you name it. In 2010, the number of prescription drug abusers in the United States was quoted at 8.76 million by The National Institute on Drug Abuse.

It can happen to anybody – and it happened to me – and I happen to be a parent.

I find myself on some days still questioning my abilities as a mother – but who would not?

I’m sure others read my posts and see my plight and go “sheesh, her poor children.”

Don’t you worry. My children – they are beautiful little beings with bright futures – and their mommy will be there every step of the way – because I am putting myself in the forefront BEATING THIS – making this IN THE PAST – and bringing that bright future for them – into my own future – because I strive every day to be a better parent.

I would have strived every day to be better – even if I was not going through this uphill battle towards freedom.

I know someday my children may ask me – it could come up in a conversation, I do not ever plan on hiding it from them – if we’re in 2014 and we have Google – I can’t imagine 20 years from now what Google will really be able to do (will it be able to tell you if I’m in the shower if you Google my name and ask “what are her current actions?”)

That leads me to this: I am always going to be an honest and open mother to my children. I am always going to love them with every bit of me – and I am always going to try harder the next day than I did the day before – to be better, no matter my health conditions, current needs, medical problems, mental issues … blah … blah… blah…

I am a mother. I parented through dependence – and I parented through withdrawal – and I will parent through recovery – and during that time I will continue to learn how to improve whatever skills may be lacking (let’s get real: no one is the perfect parent – if you think you are, go ahead and take the gold medal – because I do not believe that exists).

As a mother my biggest goal is to never fail my children.

Do I feel I failed them by falling into this trap?

Absolutely not – because I vowed to beat it. And in beating it – I find that courage for the next day, where new goals, new things to learn, new games to play, and new lost toys to find become apparent – and I live for those moments.

I live for the little smiles that after they get their bottle, juice box, or piece of chocolate (or if I switch from football to cartoons, just for them) – look to me and say “I love you, Mommy.”

And I love them too – I always did, I always will – and nothing could have ever taken my will away from me to continue to be the best.

Mommies have problems too – mine happened to be a huge one – but one that I could overcome and use it in the future as inspiration to forward my children off into this world knowing that they are loved, supported, taken care of – no matter what.

Really. They are. They have been.

That’s a mother’s love – and nothing can take that way.

Nothing.

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On Facing Death

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If you read my original post …. what started it all, why I blog here on The Overcoming, you will remember specifically that during my experiences with withdrawals – I mentioned facing death.

I’m sure many wonder – if they haven’t experienced it – what that might feel, look, or resemble.

I did not always have to wonder. Previously in life, I experienced death in a different way. I do not mean seeing a body at a funeral (sure, I’ve seen that, three times) – I saw it that day at the hospital – the second hospital trip – when the withdrawals were so bad that, again, I digress – I felt like I was dying. I saw a man covered in a sheet – his soul recently taken into the other side. Yes – I believe in the other side.

When I was younger, as I recall, about the age of five, I felt something that most think is impossible – that it does not exist, that there is no parallel or scientific explanation that it could actually happen. Yes – I speak of the paranormal.

When I was just a wee tike – riding my bike, playing with Barbies, naming my Cabbage Patch dolls (I’m so sorry I lost you in the back yard, Cindy, during the Winter months) – I was often levitated. I am not sure where this came from, or why in my complete lifetime I have faced whatever has seemed to haunt me since I was a child. I would be fully awake – my body suspended into mid air – looking down – my sheets and blankets crinkled where I once had been embedded – but I did not see myself. I only saw where I should have been.

Were you dreaming?

No. I was not dreaming. It was the same experience to the same level each time it happened. My stomach would turn, I would feel afloat, I would look down – and while being suspended, suddenly drop and hit the bed, where I had been previously before I was ever lifted.

Of course I never said a thing. Who would believe a five year old? I kept that with me for years – until in adulthood I decided to continue my fascination with the paranormal and begin to research and investigate exactly what it was – what was the other side?

I’ve done investigations. I’ve read books. I have thousands of dollars in paranormal investigating equipment. I’ve joined groups – seen seminars. It’s not exactly a hobby – well it is a hobby – but it’s more like an infatuation – a passion – to encourage  the world to believe in what they may not believe could be humanly true (because facts do not support it) (unless you watch Ghost Adventures, that’s genuine evidence, I suggest just going On Demand or on Netflix – even the original documentary – and watching – you will not regret that experience).

When I reached my deepest levels of despair at hour 72 – I distinctly remember facing, and posting on Facebook – I had met death. At the time I referred to it as the Angel of Death – and at another point, The Grim Reaper.

My childhood dealings and continued research when I became older – I suppose it somewhat prepared me for what I was about to go through when I began this journey to recovery – but in all honesty, feeling like death – or seeing death at your door – is totally different than I ever could have imagined – or what I set out to discover when I started investigating the paranormal, death, the other side, myself.

My body felt twisted. I have no other way to describe it. My insides felt hollowed out, yet raw, wounded – like rubbing salt over a recent cut or wound. My heart felt deflated, my breaths felt short, tired, worn. I could have sworn in that deepest of moments – I was about to cross over.

I do remember balls of light – but it wasn’t as if I was being invited. My dreams of my Grandmother and Grandfather reaching to me, those were just that, dreams. They appeared motivational as if to say – if you are invited, don’t come – stay, face your trials, win. Even though during the dreams they would say “Come” – I felt it was more as if to say, sure you can, but you are better off with the living and sharing your story, recovering, and staying in the human mecca.

I distinctly remember inside just waiting – my eyes closed, shaking, breathing in and out, almost praying – when the moment hits, I will know it hits, and it’s coming.

It did not.

Most would say – are you not aware that part of withdrawals from drugs is – well, hallucinating. Shaking. Feeling sick. Shortness of breath.

Well, sure I am. I went through it myself. I talked to what felt like a gazillion doctors.

Yet, as a believer, I really truly feel my body felt what death may feel like upon its true entrance – its grand appearance – the charade that brings your soul above, in flight, levitating to cross over.

I had hoped really, that it would have been a more compelling experience – like an awakening – not a painful moment – but almost a happy one – a hello to all my loved ones who have passed, a pathway to Heaven, into the light, no more pain.

It was pain. I believe the reason I felt pain, and really feel I faced death and felt pain while facing death – was because it was not my time to go – not quite yet.

When it is  – it will be different – I can only hope. In my deepest of prayers during those dark hours, I begged and pleaded for relief. I wanted a break – a reason to get out, to stop breathing, for everything to go away – and it did not – because I am meant to live – here, in the now.

In all of my research I’ve never believed that an actual being comes to take you away when your spirit ascends from your body. To be honest, after my recent difficult times, I do not even prefer to use the word death anymore.

Sometimes even my favorite of investigators ask during EVP sessions (Electronic Voice Phenomenon) “do you know that you have died?”

I used to appreciate this question – but now using the word death, I associate with a painful, dark, horrifying, terrifying, psychotic trip into an oblivion where your body feels stuck, slighted, crazed, pained, and humiliated.

I believe now that this question should be rephrased.

“Are you aware that your spirit has risen?”

I cannot imagine, in all my years of my own hauntings, my own trials, and now this – truly feeling like I was dying – that death (in the scientific form of the word) could really be that painful. I believe if it’s time for your spirit to rise – it will be peaceful – it does not matter how you go (in your sleep, accidentally, other commonly “painful” ways) – I do not believe you will feel the pain I felt when I really saw the Angel of Death coming for me.

And so my life has continued on now to speaking out – bringing others into the conversation, supporting, giving resources, a shoulder, if even a simple “I’m thinking of you” – I am now taking on that role. While my evaluation of the paranormal will always continue (and of course, I will always follow, watch, and learn from my icon – Zak Bagans – and his quote above is so fitting) – and it’s not just fitting for investigation of the other side.

It is fitting for my current journey – some may find my transparency, as I’ve referred to it before, as a fault – for being too honest, setting myself up to let in the negative, to look to others as a failure instead of an inspiration – but I do not find my situation to be scary at all. In the deepest moments of my sorrow on those days when my body was at its worst, my mind in the grossest and gravest of all gutters, I kept telling myself I was not alone – that despite how creepy it may be to others, how spooky, if you will, that this situation should not be so “taboo” (someone used this word today – I like that word, “taboo”) – I spoke out to inspire others, and to inspire myself as I write out my own thoughts, to continue this battle no matter how hard it may get it at times.

Do I still believe I faced death – even though my perspective has changed on exactly what it may be?

Yes. I do.

But I believe I faced death not to leave the living world – I faced it to become more in touch with my fears, to embrace those, and find that warm, comfortable, space that I once had before, and do what some believe is impossible:

Come back to life.

To come home.