“I lived in a constant state of fight, flight, freeze equipped with zero coping skills. My parents coped with drugs, alcohol and destructive behaviors…hence my own learned behavior. We absolutely “live what we learn.” And, we know that mental illness and substance use disorder are genetic, and that environment is also a contributing factor.
At the age of fourteen, I suffered sexual abuse/molestation by an ex-boyfriend, Eddie G., (who was eighteen and had already been in jail once), and five of his friends on the side of the road in broad daylight as I was walking from my home to the local movie theatre to see my then boyfriend. They surrounded me on a busy highway, Route 9W, on a cold February day, and these young men, put their hands inside of my bra, and in my underwear as they laughed and shouted obscenities the entire time. I was screaming and trying to push them off of me, to no avail. When they were done, they walked away laughing, and left me on the ground. I can remember feeling dizzy and a heaviness in my head as I sat there on the cold ground, stunned, for what seemed like hours but was merely just a few minutes. Cars were whizzing by as I stood up, straightened out my clothes, brushed myself off, and continued walking to the movie theater where I was going to see my then boyfriend who was an usher at the theater. I arrived there, smiled, and never told anyone what had happened to me that day. I now know that the trauma I experienced that day, one which I never processed, profoundly affected my mental health. And, as I have learned many years later, our mental health is directly related to our physical health. I would spend the next 40 years struggling with my mental, physical, and spiritual health, and with an addiction to prescription drugs, all in an attempt, albeit an unhealthy attempt, to numb the memories, the noise in my head, the abuse, the neglect, the dysfunction, the rage, the screaming, the threats…all of it, until I could no longer run from myself, my thoughts, my memories, or my reality at age 54.
In early 2013, shortly before I asked for help to save my life, my body was frail and malnourished as I suffered with many health issues in addition to IBD/IBS, such as a Lupus diagnosis, and organs (kidneys and lungs) that were no longer functioning normally, related to my drug use, and my brain’s neurotransmitters were all but deadened by the toxicity of the pills, and the lack of nourishment and fluids. I would fall asleep mid-sentence, could not complete a thought, felt confused and disoriented, slept all day, and stayed awake at night as I was suffering from a drug-induced psychosis where I believed I was being watched through the heating vents in the house, through the television, and through my stereo speakers. Paranoid delusions caused by ingesting over 2,000 pills a month. I was even driving short distances where I would experience severe lightheadedness and fainting spells where I could just stay awake and pull over long enough to call 911. A couple of times with my youngest child in the car, I began to fall asleep at the wheel and she’d scream, “Mom!” This loud scream would save our lives on more than one occasion. My children paid a dear price for my addiction, physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.”
My book, Write Pray Recover:A Journey To Wellness Through Spiritual Solutions and Self Care is my story of living with lifelong Substance Use Disorder and co-occurring mental health disorders, and my “Wellness Approach to Recovery,” now in my ninth year.
My inspirational/interactive book is tentatively scheduled for release this December! Please check back for updates, and upcoming giveaways!
Thank you for following my story. My only intention is to raise awareness, eliminate stigma, and to serve others living with these disorders, and of course, it is cathartic for me in my own recovery to share my story.
Love, gratitude and blessings,