This originally was going to be about how I was feeling at the time with a little bit about my background to let you know where I was coming from. However, once I started I couldn't stop and as you can tell, there is more to be said with all the extra blogs to be done.
So where to start...Maybe at the beginning? I was four years old and taking a shower. I won't go into too many details because
1. It's just too painful in hindsight to think about.
2. Back then I didn't think anything was wrong,
3. I thought it was just a game my favorite grampy was playing with me. and
4. It would break the rules about sexuality and stuff.
So, I will just say that he molested me in the shower from the age of 4 to 11. He did not live with us or anything. However, we did live with him the beginning of my kindergarten year because my father did not have a job and my mom had to stay at home with me because I was sick with epilepsy and couldn't find a babysitter to watch me cause of the liability. This was in the 70's. So, we had to move in with him and his wife, who was my mom's age: rolleyes: for about 6 months. This is when the abuse started. I honestly believe that he tried with my older sister, Ritalia (not her real name) first. However, she had the guts and the spirit to fight him off. Yes, I still feel even in hindsight, some 40 years later that 2 years makes a big difference. Though to be honest, when I was 8-19 I didn't think it made that much of a difference...maybe even older than 19 and younger than 8: smile: .
I was 11, when the rape occurred. Again, I found out in hindsight that he tried it with Ritalia first. This I know for a fact. The earlier instance is just circumspect. This Ritalia admitted to. Why she never told our parents I will never know. To be honest, I hold some anger towards her for that. However, most of the harm had already been done. It wasn't till after the rape that my mom gave me the "Sex Talk." In the "Sex Talk" she said, "If any man touches you in your private area in any way. You just tell me and I will kill them." So, you could see my dilemma. I knew that mom could go to prison for killing my grandfather and I loved my mother a whole lot. I also still loved my grandfather. However, I was very angry with him now. I went to church and Sunday school so; I knew that if you prayed to God that He would answer your prayers. This I believed. So, I prayed for my grandfather to die. Two weeks later he died. I believe, even to this day, that my prayer, caused him to die. Therefore, I killed my grandfather.
So, that leaves me at age 11. At age 12, I joined Civil Air Patrol an Auxiliary of the United States Air Force. It gave me sanity till the age of 16 (when I had my first major suicide attempt). I loved it. I was the only female cadet for the longest time. I don’t know if it was a sign of the times or just happened to be what it was to be. However, I loved it. Until they made me Flight Sargent. And then things just went downhill from there. Oh, I did take a 1 year hiatus from 15 to 16 to live with my Aunt in CA. That was the life changer there, good for the most part. I lost 100 pounds and met my 1st and only boyfriend. However, that was also when my parents found out about the rape and tried to get me help.
Now that the rape was in the wide open, I felt even dirtier. Though I forgot a few things. When I came back from CA, there was a new member to the family: Sue. She was a paranoid schizophrenic. My mom had become a foster mother, sue was 20 (if I remember correctly). They had us meet in the park because they didn’t want either of us to feel proprietary over the house. It went well at first. I thought she was nice and all. However, when I moved in weird things started happening. All of us – kids ( Cat and Bob- both female) my younger sisters plus sue – had clothes baskets in our rooms for dirty clothes. I would find my dad’s shirts and Sue’s toothbrush and paste in the basket. I would also wake up in the morning to find Sue staring at me about 5 feet from the bed. We would also get in arguments over the food in the kitchen. She would eat all the cookies instead of the food mom put aside for her to eat and I was having issues with that because I had just come from my aunts and learned how to eat right and all. I started going back to what I refer to as my Old self.
Anyway, my first open SA, was when I was 16. I was in the hospital for four days. They had to do exploratory surgery of my stomach because the doctor dropped an instrument in and had to look for it. Then I had my first psych admit for six weeks in Arbor at Jamaica Plains, MA. It sucked. Their “school” was playing games. I wanted to do my school work, I was a junior in high school, they refused. I had to refuse to go to “school” and do work outside the “schoolroom” so I could remain caught up with my classes. I was on the honor society and wanted to remain there. I know kind of weird. I wanted to die but if I wasn’t allowed to die I wanted to be the best I could be and the only thing I was good at is books/schoolwork.
So, we go from 16 to 25. After graduation, I went to Russia as a student ambassador. It was great. The people there were great, my peers were jerks. They made it a living hell for me. When I was 19 I got beat by my dad. It was one of my cousins’ birthdays and my dad told me to clean the house. I didn’t. So, he called me downstairs and started screaming at me and then just stood in front of me and started punching and kicking me. I suppose you could say, I deserved it, for not cleaning the house. Cause I believe at the time I was living there rent free and without a job. I just couldn’t find one and I looked. Went to unemployment office (way out in the boonies and filled out the sheet they gave you), and went to future works to find more ideas and get training. I finally got a job at the big M, then as a HHA, then at the big M again, then when I was 24 I started College, then at Old Country Buffet and College, then I had a breakdown. In high school, I knew I couldn’t work part-time and school full time and now I was doing both full time. It was inevitable.
Now we go from 25 to 30. I ended up in Hampstead Hospital, NH. I liked it cause of the crafts but the actual therapy stuff sucked as I didn’t get to use it and they weren’t treating my symptoms. They were supposed to have a Christian Unit but instead they had a Christian Program, which I couldn’t do till the last week and a half (give or take a few days) I was there because I was restricted to the unit and the classes were off unit. I was there for a month. The insurance had said I could have 60 days but the doctor told me only 30. So, he discharged me right around Christmas to a homeless shelter in MA. I had nowhere to go. I couldn’t go back home for reasons I might discuss in a later blog, maybe.
I had no money so the hospital had to pay for my trip. It started out as a cab ride from the hospital to the bus station: ~$50; I had to take 3 buses: $26 1 from NH to Boston, 1 from Boston to Springfield, and 1 from Springfield to Westfield where the homeless shelter is. Then the homeless shelter guy picked me up from behind a restaurant which is no longer there and brought me to the shelter. Now I had told the doc that I still had SI, that I wasn’t, “safe.” Which is a term that is used in the mental health society that to be honest I don’t agree on any more, but for the purposes of this blog I am going to use. Anyway, so the homeless shelter guy asked me if I was safe and I told him no. Now, there is one thing you must realize here. I spent a MONTH in the hospital. I gathered a few things: like crafts, a bunch of them. That is one thing I will say for Hampstead Hospital their craft department is awesome. You make pottery from molds from scratch. I had done quite a lot of them. So, I had those to take with me on my trip. I basically had a duffle bag, a luggage bag and two trash bags to carry on the bus, full of ceramics. I was lucky only a couple broke. I had all this with me.So, off to Noble I went. Once I got out of noble I lived in respite and tried to go back to work. Old Country Buffet was willing to hire me back. However, I was in no shape to work. I was banging my head against a wall, multiple times a day; trying to cut myself with any type of sharp object; trying to strangle myself; basically, trying to kill or maim myself in any way shape or form possible or that I thought possible.
I lived in/out of respite/hospitals till June 1998 when I was asked if I wanted help. I said, “yes.” So, they put me in Olympus Specialty Hospital/Parkview Specialty Hospital in Springfield, MA. For 9 months. So, I had this doctor who didn’t listen to me. I told her what was going on, that the reason I banged my head was the sensation of “bugs crawling around INSIDE my head” (which my psych NP now says is a common sensation for people to have, though maybe back then it wasn’t I still have it to this day). She was more concerned with my weight than she was with my mental health. She put me on this PROGRAM that was all about my weight and none about my psych issues. I was pretty pissed off and to be quite honest did not care about my weight, 389, as I did about my psych issues. To me the big issue was my psych issues and she wasn’t addressing that except to give me pills that didn’t seem to work because I was the same as when I went in. So, anyway she went on vacation and her boss came in. I told him that I didn’t agree with her plan, and he said what plan and threw it in the air and said it was gone. Boy, was I relieved until 2 days later she comes back and tells me she is discharging me because I didn’t want to do her plan. I am like where is your boss? It was the Director of DMH so not her “boss” but yeah her “boss.” Well that’s the way I saw it at that time.
So, in March of 1999 I got discharged from Parkview Specialty Hospital and was in College. I had re-started college while in the hospital with a “shadow” that went to classes with me. In March, I went on my own and in a group home in Westfield, MA. I did not like the group home. I lived with 3 other women. Two were quiet as can be, Laurie and Pam but the 3rd one, Tina, was always in my face. I couldn’t stand her. All I wanted to do was my homework and when school got out read or watch TV. We could not agree on any shows to watch on TV and it seemed like the staff wanted to watch what she wanted to watch. So, I got screwed. I was in/out of the hospital a lot then, too. It all came to a head one night in October 9, 1999. I got into an argument with one of the staff, so I took $1 for the bus because that’s all it was back then, a fork for protection, that’s another story I might tell you another blog, and left the house “for a walk.” Now I had been talking about going to the bridge for months then, hoping that someone could talk me out of it or something, I still honestly don’t know why I told people but they should have known.
Anyway, the bus stop was right at the end of my street. Now I was kind of paranoid, though I have never been given that diagnosis as I am aware of at least. I kept looking for police vehicles and hiding behind bushes that were there till the bus came. The bus stops right at the end of the bridge rotary, I got off and walked to the center of the bridge, took my sneakers off and put my glasses in them on the off chance I would survive. You never know, I fail in most things I do, AS could just be another on that list. Well I am writing this now 27 years later so, obviously, I failed. However, I did jump. I hit a cement pylon and the water, so it’s not for lack of trying.
Here's what gets me. Everyone who I have talked to about it, be it mental health professional or laymen asks the same question: When did you have doubts, when did you decide you made the wrong decision? The answer for me is never and they won’t believe it. They say everybody had doubts: right after they jumped, in the water, mid jump, wherever, you have had to, also. My answer is still: NEVER. Look at it from my point of view. I climbed over the fence, closed my eyes cause I am afraid of heights (you might think that is my doubting moment but if it was, I would have hung onto the rail and yelled for help cause I hadn’t jumped yet), jumped, then the fall seemed to like take forever (I mean it was taking a long time or so it seemed to me) so, I opened my eyes and I was like an inch away from the cement pylon and thought to myself, this is going to hurt (now you might think that is doubt, I call it a reality check), then I don’t remember anything else until the Tinkerbell Ferry was throwing life preservers and life jackets at me to get me to take them so they could pull me in. Now it was October at night, a lady’s birthday party (yeah I am sorry for crashing your party and thank you for the coat if you are reading this), and I was refusing them. So, tell me how is that having had doubts? I mean seriously. If I had, had doubts at any time during the jump wouldn’t I be grasping at anything and getting out of the freezing water BUT NO I wanted to die. I hate it when people tell me how I feel.
So, for that failure, I got to spend 2 years and 3 months in Parkview Specialty Hospital in Springfield, MA. It’s the only local long term hospital. I was discharged to a different group home in Westfield, MA. I don’t know what to say about Parkview Hospital. I got good help this time about. I should hope so being there for as long as I was.
I graduated to my own apartment in 2005. Then in the summer of 2006 everything went to hell in a handbag. I started getting back pain bad. I was in and out of psych wards and ER’s. The ER’s kept doing blood work, urine and x-rays and the hospitals would do those and start to do more until I needed to be discharged. Finally 9/11/2006 I saw my PCP and she said go for a CT scan. So, I went and they found a blob on my spine and then an MRI, which was diagnosed as Osteomyelitis and I needed surgery. I asked the surgeon could I die from it he said yes. So, I told him I didn’t want the surgery. He told me it would be a very painful way to die and is there someone I could call to change my mind. So, I called my mom and she got me to have the surgery. So, I had surgery on the 13th of September (there’s more to this story, possibly another blog)
That was Wednesday. On Saturday, the 16th they started me walking with a walker. I did a “controlled fall” their words not mine. I consider it just a fall. Anyway, they did another MRI that night. The next morning the surgeon comes to my room, lowers the head of my bed and says you have to stay flat on your back till your next surgery. I said, “How will I eat?” He said, “Flat on your back. You are not to move one inch until I do your next surgery to put a rod in your spine.” (continuation of the other blog story) So, he didn’t do the second surgery, Tufts New England did and it was great there. I was only there for 10 days but it was great. Then back to Parkview but this time on its rehab floor. Much better on rehab floor than in psych. I was there from November 11, 2006 to March 31, 2007. They helped me to walk again. (I think I will save this for another blog story)
Then from April 2007 to January 2010 I was hospital free, attended a day program (another blog story), started some crafts: jewelry making, watercolor painting, ceramic painting, etc. until my paternal grandmother died. I knew it was bound to happen, she had been in a nursing home for ~6 years and she was nonverbal, nonphysical, etc. basically, she was practically in a coma. However, I loved her dearly and still had hope that she would make it. I had another breakdown and ended up in the hospital and was in/out of hospitals till March 2013. I was still attending the day program at this time.
On March 27, 2013, I OD’d and turned the gas on in my apartment. Now I lived in elderly housing due to my spinal cord injury. I had thought about it ahead of time and put a notice on my door for the fire department to let them know that the gas leak was from me. I left suicide notes for everyone in the family if I succeeded, if I didn’t succeed I left groups of stuff to go with me to the hospital and then to Parkview because I knew I would have to go there for something like this. I mean this was a well thought out attempt throughout six days. I gave hints, here and there that something was up at the day program but no one took me seriously, or maybe it was that they didn’t and I also didn’t feel like the hospitals were doing me any good. They were just a Band-Aid for a gaping wound. (another blog)
So, I did end up in Parkview/Kindred/Vibra for a year. It is now Vibra. Anyways got discharged from there to another group home in Westfield, MA, MIMI. Mentally Ill/Medically Ill. So, there was five of us there, which rotated out some: Mike, Carol, Deb, Marty, and Me. Yeah it was co-ed. Then Carol left and Linda came and Mike left and Christina came. Or something like that. (another blog) I had an outside nursing service Nihzoni. To make a long story short, for now, they had me made “homebound” in 2014 and in 2015 I fell in the group home from the side effects of one of my medications- Ditropan, and ended up in nursing home for rehab and then the group home wouldn’t take me back cause the nursing service wouldn’t come in to do me cause they got me considered “homebound” (another blog) and so now I live here in Heritage Hall West in Agawam, MA. (another blog)