Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Skeleton In My Closet

Some of these posts have been easier for me to publish than others. Obviously, I'm not referring to 'Taking Out the Trash.' Ha! I'm terrified to put out there very personal information especially when it is my faults or things with which I have had negative experiences or reactions to. But, I told myself that the point of this entire blog was to be real and almost painfully (for me) honest. Specific situations that we go through are what shape us into who we are.

This 'skeleton' is one of the things I have vehemently tried to hide from most people fearing more negative judgement due to their lack of knowledge on the subject. If you have not personally been through a situation such as mine, it is difficult for you to truly understand. Yet, those are the topics we so often quickly judge.

This is how it all started. Two months after I turned 16, a good friend of mine was killed in a car accident on New Year's Eve. It was 1998. She had turned 16 a couple of weeks prior to the accident. At that point in my life, I had not had a big loss that I had to deal with. I couldn't even remember having a pet die. To say that I was unprepared to deal with the situation was an understatement. I still remember every moment from the day that I found out. It was New Year's Day 1999. I had hung out with my boyfriend at that time on New Year's Eve. He lived about 45 miles from my house. Since I was far away late that night, I spent the night at my great Aunt's who lived nearby. Early the next morning, my Dad was there to pick me up. It was much earlier than I was supposed to leave. I wondered why my Dad was the one who came. My Mom was always the one who taxied me around. My Dad never did. I remember what I had on. It was jeans and a purple Abercrombie wool sweater with cream lettering that said 'Abercrombie' across the chest. He had brought me some toast with strawberry jelly spread. It was cold, of course, since it had made the 45 minute trip. He was very quiet, but sometimes my Dad can be. I was very talkative like I always am. When we got home, I walked in the door. The Christmas tree was still up in the kitchen. As soon as I made it up to the stairs to head to my room, I say my Mom on the floor up on the landing. She looked horrible. Her face was tear-stained, and she couldn't get the news out. At the sight, I stopped on about the 3rd step of the staircase. My older sister Ashley came out on the landing from behind my Mom and told me that Alicia (my close friend) had been in an accident. Then she told me she had died. I said okay and nonchalantly headed up the stairs to my room. I shut the door and started to cry my eyes out. It did not seem real. I picked up the phone and called my best friend, Janessa. We were speechless. 'Angel' by Sarah McLachhlan. It was a very popular song at the time. I still have trouble hearing that song today. A few days later was funeral time. I hadn't gone to the visitation. I told my Mom I could only handle one, and I chose the funeral. I remember entering the small chapel that is attached to the First United Methodist Church in Millington, Tennessee. It was packed. The burgundy carpeted aisle led straight to the casket which was closed. We were given a red rose to place on the top of the casket. Standing at the end of the aisle, I remember the lump in my throat and thinking to myself 'I cannot do this.' The top of the casket was overflowing with red roses. There was a picture of Alicia by the casket. Her little sister, Robin Leigh was waiting at the end of the aisle. Her parents were sitting on the pew on the right hand side. I placed the red rose at the front, hugged her parents, and went to the choir loft up behind the pulpit with the rest of our classmates and her close friends. When we left, it was snowing.

It's insane how I remember every detail of those few days. It just shows how those days would shook my world and my entire existence. From that day on, I almost every night had dreams where all was back to normal. When I woke up, I had to re-realize all over again what the true reality was. I felt like I had to deal with it every single day all over again.

That day rocked my world. From that moment on, I would never be the same. I felt completely guilty that I was alive and she wasn't. It made absolutely no sense. Since I did not know how to cope, and I am a control freak, I dealt with it the only way that came to mind. I had to control something. I began to not eat. I wasn't hungry. I didn't get why I could be here and eat, and she could not. After that day, I went in a downward spiral. I stopped eating. Then when I was actually hungry again, I ate. Then, I felt guilty for eating, and 'got rid' of the food I had eaten. I went to several therapists. Finally, I met the doctor who was able to get me on the proper medication that allowed me to process my thoughts and feelings and view all things rationally again.

I am still on anxiety and depression medicine today. My brain has a chemical imbalance that it had always had long before Alicia's death, but her death is what triggered it and sent it into overdrive. Over the years, I have heard so many negative opinions about people taking these kind of drugs. First you have the 'happy pill' opinion. My medicine doesn't make me 'happy.' It makes me able to process my emotions and thoughts rationally. Next you have the 'easy way out' opinion. I do think people can use these type of drugs to try not to deal with things, but if you truly need them, they are not an easy way out at all. They are necessary for you to live and function on a daily basis. And finally you have the 'they just need to learn to control themselves' opinion. This one infuriates me. I am a complete control freak. I try everything I can to control everything around me. If this was possible for me to control, believe me, I would! I hate that I have to take medicine. There have been many times over the past 14 years that I have tried to wean off of them. It has never worked. I have finally accepted that this is just a part of my life. I am grateful that God has provided me with the people in my life who have helped me find the medicines that I need.  

I am not crazy because I take medicine. I am not taking the easy way out. I am just helping myself to be the best I can be for myself, my husband and girls, my family, and my friends. And if you know someone who takes one of these types of medications, please think before you pass judgement on them. Until you are where they are, you have no idea.



10 comments:

  1. Very powerful post. I remember some of the details but I think my mind has suppressed a lot of them too. I remember us sitting in your moms Yukon in my parents driveway and I think we were in pajamas and robes. I think your mom drove us somewhere but I can't even remember where. I yelled at a friend of mine from Munford when she called to tell me the news. I was a horrible person to deal with during that time. Thank you for being there though. And as far as the medicine goes, anyone that thinks those negative things just needs to shut it. Unless someone has gone through it personally they have no room to talk.

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    1. We went to my house and hung out. Our Moms didn't want us to be alone. :)

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  2. So proud of you for posting this. That was such a tough time. I remember I was at Blake's house with him and my brother and Brande and Nick I think. I know how you feel because I lost my best friend since Kindergarten Christen around that same time. It was also really tough when Brett passed away. I'm not good at expressing my emotions or coping with things either. I end up acting like it doesn't bother me at funerals because I end up not crying and then cry constantly and don't know how to deal with it for years later. I wish I could say it gets easier, but I don't know if it really does. It gets harder for me everyday and I know it probably does for you too, but remember we're always here for you.

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  3. Thanks girls for easing my mind of theis post. As soon as I laid in bed to go to sleep, I started thinking it was a bit too much. Glad to know you think I was right in posting. :)

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  4. This post is close to my heart for so many reasons. I think it's bound to touch something in each person who reads it. Losing a close friend so young really is tragic. And weeding through it in the midst of discovering a psychological imbalance must have been very difficult. I am so proud of how you've grown and you are such a fantastic advocate for others suffering with similar conditions. I appreciate that more than you know. When my bestie died in February 2000, Sarah McLachlan's song 'I Will Remember You" was chosen by Traci to be played and quoted. "Will you remember me? I will remember you. Don't let your life pass you by, and weep not for my memory."

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    1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHooH4464dQ

      :)

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  5. Thank you for being honest and brave because not enough are. I am so sorry of what you went through and I understand that we need help at times to deal with our emotions. I went through 5 close deaths in a span of 4 years including my dad and sister and completely shut down before admitting I needed help and I'm so glad I did. Its hard explaining away the stigma of meds but we do what we have to in order to cope. You said it perfectly! Its definitely not the easy way out but a way for someone to be their best!

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    1. I cannot even begin to imagine what you went through, Jen!! You are one strong and amazing woman!!

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