Friday, August 14, 2009

Song for the Prodigals - Brian Doerksen

This is a song I only found about either last fall or this past winter, I can't quite remember. It means a lot to me. It partially played a role in my blogging name, or well, to be honest...the "found" part of my blogger name. I've very much been the "Prodigal Daughter" in my journey called life.

~~~
Taken from yourdictionary.com:

prodigal Usage Examples:

Modifies a noun

  • son: He is a lost sheep, a prodigal son, a storm tossed ship in a wild sea.

Preposition: in

  • parable: God makes us go through hard times, like the Prodigal in the parable, to bring us to our senses.
~~~

I've struggled with depression and anxiety since childhood. During my teenage years it became severe and by the time I was 19 I was in and out of hospital frequently. Partially because of my despair and extremely intense suicidal thoughts I behaved recklessly. I often took life-threatening overdoses and engaged in other self-harmful behavior. I pulled away from many people except for a few close friends, I would cut myself on a regular basis, I experimented with drugs and alcohol, I had run-in's with the police, and various other problems. I'm happy to say most of that is in the past, thanks to therapy, the right medications, a lot of hard work, and deciding finally that I want to follow my Lord and Savior. I, however, will be the first to admit my relationship with the Lord is nowhere near where it should be and I still make poor choices and have crap days. Afterall, I am human. It's been less then 2 months since the last time I engaged in cutting. Choosing to live God's way doesn't automatically make things easier...in fact...often things get harder. It just changes your perspective and outlook.

The last month or so has been the best I've felt in years! Yes, years! And it was earlier this year I made my mind up that yes, God was going to be a part of my life. And for the first time in years I am actually happy that I'm alive and looking forward to things.

Going back in time a few years, uh...okay...back to the teenage years...when I started to really struggle. Well, I probably first started struggling before I was a teenage, while I was still in elementary school. Around 14 I tried to drop out of school, I got involved in mild drugs and drinking, I got caught shoplifting, I was angry often and would fight with any one close to me. I'd kick holes in the walls, baracade myself in my room or the washroom for hours on end. I would take whatever pills I could get my hands on in the hopes of having a break from the pain I felt inside. Thankfully I got caught doing many of those things early on and so started my experiences with therapy. High school was much the same...except that if I went to school I would spend more time in the office because I would get so anxious about going to classes that I couldn't go.

I did take a year off of school after I graduated from grade 12 and then did a one year program at a private college. I struggled through it but managed to stick it out until I graduated. Got a good job...and things really started going downhill from there. While I'll never take back my work experience, working in the Emergency Room definitely took it's tole on me. I was so scared of what I might face at work that I started missing shifts, I started taking extreme overdoses, because in my head it made more sense to take an overdose to avoid going to work then to quit. I became very ill, doctors and nurses still tell me I shouldn't still be alive. Especially with no major damage. I also developed a life threatening allergic reaction to one of the medications that is used to conteract the medication I often took. It wasn't that I was looking for attention, it was just that I didn't know how else to escape the turmoil I felt inside. I would often be discharged and then be hospitalized again within 48 hours.

My parents finally made an ultimatum. If I took another overdose, if the paramedics had to take me to the hospital again, then I was no longer aloud to live at home. My behavior at home was out of control anyway...I am horrified that I acted the way I did towards my parents. When I was 19 I was officially kicked out. I didn't know how to stop my behavior...it was how I coped. I ended up living in homeless shelters for a few months before eventually getting a place on my own with a roommate. That was back in 2003.

The problems didn't end there. I was still often in and out of hospital. I still struggled with overdosing and self harm and would regularly have the police on wild-chases through the night and eventually they'd get me and take me to the hospital. I can't even imagine being that way now. I ended up off work on disability in 2006 and have been ever since. I'm hoping in the first half of next year I'll be able to return to work somewhere. I am in the process now of setting up some hours volunteering at a local Salvation Army Thrift Store.

The last real bad spell was only this past fall and winter. It started last spring or summer but by the fall it was out of control and meds were not helping. So things were really rocky again and there were some close calls. The differences was that I knew when to get help. The problems were exhaserbated by the trial and error of medications (and being on and off the various ones) and trying to find one that worked without severe side effects. Finally this past January, around the time of my last hospital admission I was started on a med that has helped. The dose has had to be tweaked a few times but it has made a huge difference. I have physical problems (not related to my behaviors) that made the trial and error a little more difficult because it eliminated a large group of medications that would normally have been used. Also, over the last few admissions I had too many things happen to simply be coincidence. Things I can't explain but proved to me that yes there is a God and I needed to make a choice whether I was going to let Him into my life or shut Him out. Well seeing as I wasn't liking how things were going without Him in my life I knew what decision I had to make. It was not an easy choice for me. I'm stubborn, I want to do things my way on my timeline...but that's not how it's to be, although it still does happen.

So...that there is a bit of my history from the mental health side of things. I mentioned there are physical issues as well which actually play a role in the mental health part of things but I will save that for another day.

I've chosen not to write my diagnosis in this blog entry but if you're curious (or nosey) don't hesitate to ask. I don't hide it. It is a part of who I am but it is not who I am. If that makes any sense. Oddly enough, as much as I'd like to be able to say that I didn't go through those things, I'm thankful for the experiences. I've met some really interesting people because of what I've been through and I've learned a lot along the way and I now like the person I am turning out to be. Without my experiences I may not be able to say that.

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