From the age of fourteen I had been medicated to treat mental health disorders and was put in therapy sessions. When everything seemed to fail, God was still trying to get my attention. I was becoming a person that was intolerable and had no direction in my life. I was seeking attention and had mastered manipulation beyond compare. One day I was excited about life and doing what I could to enjoy it and the next day I was sick with worry and confusion. I had started working when I was sixteen and would take the money to buy things for my mom or a friend I had hurt. This alone was like an addiction, money in, money out. My thinking on all this excessive spending was very simple;  I could please everyone and be loved and the more I would give, the more they would love. I was excessively spending and even buying things that were unimaginably ridiculous. Disco lights for my sister, haircuts for all my friends, drugs, and even a guitar for my mom, because she said it reminded her of one she had as a little girl. Mom never could play a guitar, so the gift had definitely left all realms of practicality. She actually made me return it; I had felt so much rejection from that. She did the right thing and I simply wish everyone else would have made me return bought items. I was so unstable with my emotions that I was crying or contemplating the best way for me to die. I became paranoid, thinking everyone hated me and they were looking for ways to make me miserable. I would isolate myself. Thinking became my enemy at this point. I hated my life. Nobody cared. The was no reason for me to live and I questioned God as to why He brought me in this world. I felt guilty over all the money I spent and had nothing to show for it. I was angry and wanted to fight anyone over anything. I would get so irritable that life was too unbearable. I was on edge and simply begging to be pushed.

My mind couldn’t cope with things in a healthy and appropriate way. More labels were being place on me but, for the sake of understanding, let’s disregard any label.  My surroundings were not always healthy. I do believe, now, that your environment is one of the biggest factors in who you become. My dad was young and loved to drink. The first eight years of my life he wasn’t around that much. Drinking, fishing, and women were his routine, as with most men in their 20’s. It’s not like I didn’t see him in passing, and then, that was the normal, if there is a thing as normal. He wasn’t the calmest man. I think regret and alcohol made him angry. Mom had custody of me from birth until about six years old. Her lifestyle wasn’t the best, then when things became too financially stricken, I had no choice but to move to my grandparents home. Mom too, had been labeled by therapists. She has struggled her entire life to cope with the rage within her. I don’t think she and I are very different in how we handle things. Actually, out of all her children, I did become more like her in many ways. Don’t misunderstand what I am saying there. She is a very loving woman that expresses her affection very similarly as I have over the years and she a bull in a china shop when she can no longer hold in her anger. Ah, sweet anger. She and dad both didn’t tame that emotion very well.  I had loving grandparents that I spent most of my time with. Grandma was the breadwinner, and the structure of the home and grandpa was the one on rampant spending sprees and showing no regard in the area of responsibility. He saw it. He liked it. He bought it. He grew bored with it, not long after. They were an amazing couple and very comical, to say the least. They loved in their own way, but they lacked affection. I can’t remember one time I ever seen them kiss, have physical contact, or even said I love you. I had siblings abroad and the two most important people of my life were absent. I don’t hold it against them today, but learning to retrain the mind to to feel things I had never experienced is very hard on me.  I don’t have much memory from age eight to age thirteen. I often wonder what thoughts I have suppressed and can’t help to want to pass blame from time to time. As I age, I do wonder what would it have been like if we were a Leave it to Beaver kind of family. How much would genetics have played a part, since my environment would have been different?

By the time I hit nineteen, I had been physically beaten, not just by family, but love interests. I was raped, and violated by family friends. My mind had been raped over and over all these years. I was, and still am at times, prey for these type of violent and out of control men. I had found that shopping wasn’t the only way to gain attention. There was sex. Yes sex. You know, that three letter word that religious folk run from. I never can understand how the people can make this word seem so vile and disgusting. Had people not been afraid to discuss this simple word and explain the importance of not giving it so freely then, maybe I wouldn’t have succumbed to the promiscuous life I found. I found great pleasure in it during that time of my life and suffered mentally from it, because what God created to be a beautiful act between two people, I had learned was more a punishment to my well being. Every example given that was sexual was not in love. It was in self gratification with no concern for me, or the other way around. I thought it acceptable to use sex as a means to gain control, or to use as a tool to increase some lustful power within myself and I could walk away, acting like I never knew you. I could look you in the face and smile as if we had never laid together. I was cold. This is difficult to put out in the open, but I refuse to sit in fear anymore and not express the importance of speaking about this. Abuse is not love. Destructive promiscuity is not love. Being seductive and giving a man what you think is right, is not the path to love. You may have good intentions and may desire to have a future, but there is no future in any relationship without a foundation of respect and trust. If the whole world can have you, then why would any man even consider to step in and take time to seek out an intellectual connection? From my environment, I thought sex was the only way to get respect. Oh it got me attention alright. I would have been better off rolling in a hog pen. The results would have been the same. The saddest part of it all is I feel shame desiring the very things that were taken from me. How can one be raped and want that kind of intimacy? This world does enough on its own tainting a beautiful thing, but when the battlefield of your mind tells you you can’t have that or that you aren’t suppose to enjoy that, because you were violated so long ago, then what do you do? Keep in mind, I was married. That’s when these thoughts really got out of hand because I was standing in the middle of the road, commitment on the left, lust behind me and shame to the right. I could not see the path in front of me for the overgrowth of weeds. My environment, again, was not helpful.

This cycle would happen over and over again. I had become so predictable. Years of off again and on again therapy. Not understanding why shame attacked so much. I still haven’t figured that one out. I have cleared that path a little bit.  I am learning that I am codependent. I have always hit the fight or flight mode. Now I understand the importance of seeking to understand, verses overreacting or running away. It is imperative, for true healing to occur, to be honest with myself and to others. I know I can’t fix people. I can’t make people happy. That is their decision. I can offer small doses of myself to say, ‘Hey. I care about your well being and I can listen if you need me’ but I can’t do it for them. I am learning when to put brakes on and when to hit the gas. I have struggled being friends with guys, because of that dependency. I have cut of many relationships because I felt that arise within and ran from it. I have to have boundaries. I have my faith and remind myself that even the Apostle Paul had a thorn in his flesh. Things are there to keep us humble.

There is hope. There is a better tomorrow. I have great people that are honest and that don’t take advantage of me. I am still fighting and won’t give up and God has been there every step. He delivered me completely from bipolar and He has diligently showed His support by sending amazing people my way to help me.  You see, we all want an easy route and we want God to remove all obstacles from us. The bible says, “Enter through the narrow gate because the wide gate leads to destruction. The gate is narrow and the way is DIFFICULT that leads to life and there are few who find it.” Matthew 7:13-14. These difficult times are what makes us survive. It is a driving force. I can chose to be negative and down all the time, or I can choose to live. It is a mindset. Proverbs 26:13 has always amused me. ” The slothful man saith, there is a lion in the way; a LION is in the streets.” A lazy man sees a beast in the road. He tells everyone there is a beast in the road, but what does he do? Nothing. He isn’t doing anything but complaining about it. I spent years being slothful. I endured horrendous stuff as child and well into my thirties, but as an adult, it is time to eliminate excuses. I changed my environment. I removed those damaging me, whether intentionally or not. I set my home up as a refuge. I don’t enjoy the company of whiners and complainers. I quit being lazy and decided, yes, I was a drugged out attention whore, with daddy and mama issues, but I am now a lady after God’s heart and being a sloth isn’t acceptable anymore. I don’t like being a target, I have to do what it takes to fix that. I want a renewed mind and spirit. I can’t have it, passing blame or staying stuck in mire. I cant use my flaws or failures to define my future. There is a long road ahead and it isn’t straight, but I will choose to walk it. I will not stay in the path of destruction. It starts with a thought and then action put behind the thought. Change is scary, but I think I am pretty scary without it. So what do I have to lose?

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