I am the only child from my Mama and Daddy. They divorced when I was three years old. Mama moved to Kentucky, remarried when I was fourish to my stepfather Kevin. They had four children to whom I was extremely close and we never considered ourselves to be half-siblings. Daddy remarried my stepmother Surelle and they had John-David.
I've been told that Daddy was an alcoholic at one time but went sober before or when I was born. I do know that he only drinks a couple of times a year and each time it's only one beer or one margarita. On Mama's side of the house, it's a completely different story. Alcohol and drugs have always been a part of our lives except for a short stint when Mama and Kevin became religious fanatics. Substance abuse was something they genetically passed on. I have memories as far back as two years old; memories such as Mama driving drunk in Daddy's car and hitting a mailbox while I was in the back in my carseat. I can also remember sitting on a bar stool while Mama and Kevin were on the dance floor on one of their dates.
Before moving on, I think it should be noted that Mama and her sisters were physically abused by their father and sexually abused by their stepfather. Their mother knew of all this. This plays into my story as Mama's baggage became our baggage.
Growing up, we regularly visited Mama's sister's family. She had a son my age. Often, our other cousin was there and he was a year older. Both cousins were named Chris. There were other cousins but everyone was younger. We all played together and watched TV. When I was nine years old, or thereabout, the two Chris's molested me in Chris's bedroom. While I never felt comfortable in that house nor around them ever again, I repressed the memory until a few years ago. By the way, the younger Chris grew up to be a psychotic criminal and the older Chris went through some trouble but has straightened up. I also should clarify that while I know something happened, the entire memory has not surfaced. I didn't share any of this until I came home for Shadonna's funeral. I was concerned that the Chris's would be there and I expressed this to Mama. I decided it was probably time to tell her what happened. Mama then told me that Shadonna had admitted to Noah, our brother, that the Chris's had raped her. So, not only had my cousins managed to make me feel dirty and bad about myself, they took my sister's innocence and I couldn't protect her. Why didn't she share this with me? Now that these things have been brought out, I'm not sure if things are better or worse. The older Chris denies anything happened. Grandma (Mama's mother) doesn't believe it happened (surprise, surprise.) Mama doesn't really want to deal with it because she's working on her relationships with her sisters, their mothers.
The days we spent growing up in Demossville, KY were not all good. Mama suffered from her own depression and there were days we bore the brunt of it. There were times I went to school with knots on my head from Mama banging it into the wall. The times my siblings were left with me, I saw that side of my Mama come out in me and I would hit one of them. So, I decided at a very early age I would not have children. There's no way I was going to pass that on. She still tells stories about beating Shadonna or Noah and laughs about it; laughs. When I had to find homes for Junior, Lexi and Cisco, It was because I was going through a psychotic break and I was scared I was going to hurt them, I felt that dark side coming out again. I can't tell you how hard it was to make that decision or how bad it hurt.
While we're on family, I might as well bring up my Daddy. I grew up wanting nothing more than to be with my Daddy. As a matter of fact, as soon as I was legally allowed, I chose to live with Daddy. It didn't occur to me that I would need to ask or that he would not immediately say yes. This really hurt me but I shoved it down. And after thinking about it, he did say yes. Daddy has never shown emotion. Whether he meant to or not, he taught me to not show emotion. He also taught to never ask for help; to be independent enough so that I would never have to depend on anyone else. All of this, along with his actions and words led me to believe that emotions and things like depression were weaknesses. Over the years, Daddy's inability to show emotion, his lack of emotional support, has hurt me, still does. When I left home/got kicked out, he didn't even put down his paper. Over the last several years, he's offered me no emotional or financial support even though I've been one night away from homelessness and I've lost my car among other things. I made excuses for Daddy in my head until the last year or so. I finally had to see him for what he is and my role is in his life. Unfortunately, I'm not Daddy's girl. He did pay for my plane ticket so that I could go to my sister's funeral but I have a feeling that was more Surelle's doing. I have a closer relationship with Surelle than I do with Daddy.
Moving on, in high school, I was raped three times. The third time was an abduction and I was threatened with violence. I couldn't escape as there were no inner doorknobs, just deadbolts. When I was let go, I couldn't go home because I knew I would get in trouble. I knew Daddy and Surelle would think I was lying. I went to Mercer to stay with some friends. Of course, eventually, I had to go home. I was made to think that the rapes were my fault. So, I stuffed them way down; didn't talk about them again for a long time.
I've dealt with a lot of sexual harassment from people I know and people I don't know. It happened to me in the military and instead of my Chiefs correcting the issue, I would get moved to another division. I was the one to be inconvenienced or indirectly punished. I was never a "victim" type of person. I was always strong, I never put myself in positions that put me in danger. Yet , it seems I had a sign on my forehead that said " Harass me please. I enjoy it." or "Even though I'm saying I don't like you, I really mean I want you."
Let's leave the sexual trauma history. As I've mentioned, substance abuse is a huge issue on my Mama's side of the house, including my siblings. I'm the only one who hasn't had a problem with drugs or alcohol. However, I do have Binge Eating Disorder which is an addiction in its own right. This was set off, along with other mental health problems, when Nathan died. Basically, up to that point, I had been using all my energy to function on a normal level everyday. So, when Nathan died, I had no energy left to deal. I spiraled down, hard.
Since then, everything that was shoved down has come back. I won't bore you with details. My current diagnoses are Bipolar, PTSD (sexual trauma), Personality Disorders (OCPD, Paranoid, Borderline), Binge Eating Disorder, Anxiety Disorder. Some of this stuff has been there ever since I was a kid, it just wasn't apparent or it took a traumatic event (Nathans's death) to come out. I can't hold down a job because of the personality disorders, there were major problems my last two years in the Navy but I didn't realize I was the problem until recently. I've had several psychotic breaks and a few hospitalizations I stay holed up in my apartment for the most part because of the paranoia, but a lot of times I even think someone is in the apartment. Medication has managed my Bipolar from going to the extreme but I still have both depressive and manic episodes. Unfortunately, my manic episodes aren't the happy, go really fast kind. They're the angry, irritable kind. My in betweens aren't extremely happy either. We're working with lithium to see if that helps. Luckily, my bingeing has been controlled by medication. My dogs are service dogs. I trained Miley to detect my panic attacks and to stop them. I'm working with Hickory to anticipate my depressive episodes so I can head off the suicidal/homicidal ideations. I get really anxious if I have to leave them. I can't even walk down the street and forget riding the bus.
I've mended my relationships with my family on my Mama's side but the relationships have gone as far as they're going to go as there are still substance abuse issues. My Daddy......I'm angry and hurt and I don't think he much cares. It's difficult to find people who truly understand, especially considering it's difficult to explain a lot of these things. Even when I try to explain things to doctors, they don't completely get it. It's also hard to get across my workplace difficulties.
So, to reiterate, I'm not looking for pity. I also realize there are people who have it WAY worse than I do. I'm lucky in that I have Surelle to help navigate talks between me and Daddy even if I don't see much of a future there. Surelle has been amazing in her roles as stepmother, friend, and support system. I don't know what I would do without her. I'm also very lucky to have an Aunt Nancy and a Gigi who were willing to step in and help me when I really needed it. I have some amazing cousins, biological and adopted, who have shown a tremendous amount of caring. Lastly, my friends have really been invaluable, surprising me around every little turn. Facebook has definitely been helpful in keeping me in touch with all these people, even when I disappear. :)