I Don’t Even Know Where to Begin?

Where to begin?  
I am not even sure where to begin.  Yesterday I got a note from a friend, Kristy, asking me to call her, she had some news that she didn’t want me to read on the internet.  She assured me her family was okay.  So with trepidation I called.  The way my mind works, I could only imagine the worst ~ someone we knew mutually had died…well I was some what right.
A friend of mine had been involved in a horrible tragedy.  You can read about it here.  How sad to learn that a sweet lady I have known over 13 years had admitted to shooting her hubby and baby and then tried to commit suicide.  I just sat quietly on the phone.  Neither Kristy or I saying anything. 
Oh, how E must have been hurting.  Oh, how my heart hurts for her now.
 After a few minutes we hung up.
I went to find the article, still not believing what I had heard.  I contacted my friend, Dee.  I was just feeling the need to be on the phone with someone, especially since we are in Missouri and all our mutual friends are in Washington state.
And I sat and zoned out, trying to get my mind around it.  I must have sat in the chair, reading what I could find out about the whole thing.  Seeing her name in print and reading the details made my heart hurt.  Feeling horrible for E, thinking of how desperate and hopeless she must have been feeling.
And then I thought “but by the Grace of God go I.”
Some of you reading this blog, know my story yet many of you don’t.  
Remember a couple of weeks ago I went to the Story Rope retreat and wrote about telling my own story and how I felt that the Lord is leading me to share it over and over again.
And now today I am sharing another part of that story.
But by the Grace of God…I could have been E.
Yep, that’s right.
Many years ago, when our son’s were little I struggled with the issue of child abuse.
My own abuse as a child and as a teenager began to reel it’s ugly head in my own life,  I was the abusive parent.  Am I proud of that ~ Absolutely not!!  Am I thankful that I was able to get the help I needed to change my parenting styles ~ You bet!!!
And yet as I have sat here the last two days I could E in this story.
One afternoon, I became so overwhelmed with everything in my life, trying to take care of my family on a very limited budget, multiple life problems ~ a car that didn’t run, children who weren’t the perfect children I expected them to be ~   I know, I know children are not perfect, heck we as adults are not perfect but in my warped mind, if my children weren’t perfect I was the lousiest mother there could be.  I was dealing with PTSD due to abuse in my own childhood that was rearing its ugly head and I didn’t know what to do.  I felt so alone, so helpless, so hopeless, believing my children had the worst mama in the world, hubby had the worst wife in the world and life would be better for everyone if I was not here in this world.  Yet I couldn’t imagine anyone else raising my children.
And in a moment of extreme
I lost it!  I mean I really lost it!!
I drove like a mad woman, yelling and screaming at my innocent children in the backseat of our car that I was going to kill them when we got home!!!  Over and over I yelled that.  It was not something said in jest…I was at a point I could not take it any more…life was more pain than I could stand.
But by the Grace of God, 
when we got home, our children went into their bedroom. 
All was quiet!
But in my mind I knew something had to change…my children could not live with a crazy mom!!! Heck I couldn’t live with the crazy woman I was in that moment.
But by the Grace of God, I could have been E.
I called a friend, actually hung up on her three times,
before finally letting the phone ring long enough for her to answer.
I told her what I had said.
She said, stay in the kitchen, leave the kids playing in their bedroom and I will be right over.  She lived about 30 minutes from our home, but she was there in less than 10 minutes…God had her flying on his wings to get to our home.  Just after Karalee arrived, another friend arrived and went into the bedroom and asked the kids if they wanted to go to a sleepover – they jumped at it!!  They gathered some clothes, hugged me tight and in their little voices told me they loved me.  I told them to have fun at the sleepover and then I watched them walk out the door.  Not having a clue about what was gonig to happen next.  I just knew that something needed to change, I could not and did not want to be the awful mom I felt I was at that moment.
And for the next twenty years I battled depression.  
It reared its ugly head in many ways
~ anger at the world, any and everyone
~ suicidal thoughts
~ destructive behavior 
~ embarrassing family and friends
~ tears and more tears
~ hospitalizations that others didn’t understand
Yet by the Grace of God
I never pulled the trigger.
And so I sit here, thinking of E ~ wishing I could have reached out to her, 
in some way, some form to let her know even the darkest of days can have a 
little light at the end.  
Yet I know it is hard to share ~
Sometimes the prettiest smiles hide the deepest secrets. The prettiest eyes have cried the most tears and the kindest hearts have felt the most pain.
to let E know she was not and is not alone!
More than ever, E needs her friends and family to love her.
We may not know exactly what she is going through,
but it is not our place to judge,
it is our place to love her!
It is not easy to discuss Mental Illness.
It is not easy to ask for help for something you don’t understand.
And answering the stupid questions when you do try to share is so hard ~
Example 1:  After being in the hospital for two weeks, I had a friend (I say that loosely) ask me what was it like being in there with all the crazies?  Umm…I guess I must be really crazy.
Example 2:  Stop being so emotional.  You have a great life, a great husband, wonderful children..what do you have to complain about?  Umm…yes I do have a wonderful husband and great children ~ don’t you realize it is not them, I have something wrong with me.
And after many years of dealing with mental health issues I finally came to the conclusion that because people can’t see the hurt, the pain, there are no broken bones, I can talk and smile along with the best of them, I can work out in the public and function “correctly” most of the time, that because no one can put a pretty
on it, it is kept a big 
Who wants their friends or family to think they are
YES I have been called all of these.
So question arises ~ What do we need to do?
We need to be able to 
that when we risk to share our deepest and darkest secrets, fears, inadequacies, pain
that others will not 
come beside me,
listen to me,
cry with me,
but please don’t judge me;
please don’t judge E either
In closing, I want to encourage anyone who reads this, family, friends, people I may or may not know, IF you are feeling alone and hopeless, I ask, please reach out to me.  I may not know the answers but I don’t want anyone to go through their pain alone.  And know together we will move forward on the path of life, we may not know how but we won’t have to go it alone.

4 responses to “I Don’t Even Know Where to Begin?”

  1. Our community here has some resources, but there is an incredible lack of understanding, as well as a shortage of mental health prifessionals. Here is a good nationwide resource. http://www.nami.org

  2. Ali, I knew a bit of your story. I'm ashamed to admit I was afraid to tell you about my own abusive stepfather… that I recognized the hurt in your eyes because they mirrored my own, and so the opportunity for supporting each other slipped past. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for telling it, and know we have much more in common than I could even imagine! Please feel free to get in touch. I love you now as I have since our school days…you and Ron are part of my extended family, and God bless us, every one!

  3. Oh Corrine…you don't know how much your friendship and support during my jr/sr years of highschool meant to me. I shared with Ron very early in our marriage about our friendship and when we were able to reconnect thru Facebook it was like opening a very special Christmas gift. Thank you for loving me and being my friend longer in my ife than anyone else!!! I love you!!!

  4. Ali, you are so brave to share your story and I pray that your heartfelt words will reach someone in need.

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