Another SHOOTING! 🤦🏼‍♀️

Another SHOOTING! 🤦🏼‍♀️

I rarely am out on weeknights. But tonight Jack and I met friends for dinner. My phone was tucked away at the bottom of my purse that sat on the floor. Yes, I realize that’s disgusting but not the point. We met at 6 and left at 7:30. I couldn’t hear my phone but when we walked outside I had 36 text messages and countless missed calls.

I answered the phone and was told that there was a shooting at a local restaurant 4.2 miles from my house. A mother and her children were shot, possibly others, and the shooter by another person dining there. What??? Why???

The person is believed to suffer from mental illness. When will this stop? WHY are people not being treated for mental illness? I have a couple of theories — 1) anytime our state wants to make budget cuts it’s usually in the form of mental wellness. 2) the stigma that is placed on people for being “sick” has.got.to.stop.!

We are all broken to some degree.

*This post was written in May of 2018 & apparently I forgot about it and didn’t post. So let me add this now..

Since typing this initial blog – there have been several other shootings. This is beyond my comprehension. And innocent lives being lost is EFFED up! Having to second guess whether or not you attend CHURCH or the MALL or go to WORK or take your child to SCHOOL is sick!

Bless the hearts of everyone effected in any of these past events and future ones. You want a gun? Cool. Pass a background check AND a mental health exam. ANNNND using resources to help those that are mentally ill.. you know, early intervention? Will that end this all? Certainly not but I bet it would sure lessen it. 🤷🏼‍♀️

Toxic People

Toxic People

My friend recently sent me this text message

And I thought about it since yesterday. Do I want to get so personal? Do I want that part of me exposed? No. I don’t. BUT I’m going to and here is why….

And that was just a quick google search.

I fell and when I say fell I mean I dove head in an empty pool in love with my middle school crush after running into him years later. Safe right? I mean I knew him. He was so funny and charming and smart and quite easy on the eyes just to name a few. He drank… a LOT but I just didn’t see it strangely. My mother was an alcoholic and I’m pretty no tolerance when it comes to that but was completely blinded. It took me a good 2 years AFTER leaving that I could even utter those words about him – alcoholic.

Our relationship was coming to an end after I found myself (a non cryer) sobbing nightly realizing that this relationship was not just toxic for me but for him as well. I was classically enabling him. Hindsight really sucks sometimes. AND then I found out I was pregnant. Needless to say he wasn’t very happy about that but we continued until Jack was 5 months old and I literally couldn’t take it anymore. Things were getting worse and I refused to allow my little to grow up similar to me — my mother wasn’t abusive FYI but still not a road I was willing to expose him to.

I had no idea how much worse it could get AFTER leaving. But it did. The verbal abuse began, the allegations began, the broken windows in the middle of the night began, the doorbell ringing (knowing the dog barking would scare my infant) began, the social media bashing, the defamation of my character, destruction to the outside of my house, the threats, the child welfare checks accusing me of neglect began, and the stalking. With that MY anxiety began, counseling began, playing in the backyard vs front yard, calling the police, filing VPO’s, countless VPO violations, constantly looking over our shoulders, not trusting anyone, guilt, shame, anger, etc.

If anyone thinks that verbal and psychological abuse isn’t just as awful as physical try telling that to a mother holding her screaming baby that climbs up her like a tree and physically shakes when the doorbell rings.

So why am I writing this? On a blog about my adventures with my child? Because this has unfortunately been a four year adventure that has yet to stop.

Based on stats from www.americanaddictioncenters.org 8 MILLION American adults battle both a co-curring mental health and substance abuse disorder.

In our case he struggles with alcohol & drug use coupled with Bi-polar disorder. The combo of these is scary in and of itself.

On average 24 people PER MINUTE are victims of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner in the US every year. That is 12 MILLION people. Let me repeat – 12 million people! 1 in 3 people in their lifetime (nearly half of all women) have experienced physiological aggression which is about 48%.

Was it hard to walk away? Yes. Do I pray for him and his health daily? Yes. Do I pray that Jack received the very best of both of us – since he was in my womb and continue to. Am I sad sometimes still? Yes. Is that okay? Yes. Why? Because this wasn’t The dream I had hoped for for my family nor was it a walk I wished for him.

So what has this last FOUR years taught me? I was broken too. To allow that treatment while we were together and by not seeking help earlier. Is it my fault? No. We are all a little broken. BUT we are worthy – all of us – of being treated with love and respect and not intimidation. That although my little doesn’t see his father he has now a very healthy mommy that puts him first ALWAYS and always has. That I will fight my ass off and heart out to change the laws regarding abuse of any kind and the process of VPO’s and the repercussions of violations and that my story IS worth telling.

If this reaches ONE person and gives them hope then my horror hasn’t been in vain. And that my friends is why I shared. ❤️

Mental Health Awareness Month (May)

Mental Health Awareness Month (May)

Growing up I only thought depression existed. My mom battled with it and still does. I always just loved life. I was and still am an early riser, “sad” folky music makes me happy, even mundane things like laundry make me feel great (when they’re finished and hung up… I mean who really likes laundry? I could go on.

And we have all felt and dealt with our fair (unfair) share of heartbreak and aches. I remember dealing with something traumatic that lingered for a few years and went to the doctor. She suggested I took Lexapro. I was terrified and mortified. I couldn’t be depressed! That’s for broken people or so I thought then. But you know what? I was a little broken. Praying, exercising, eating healthy, enjoying my one healthy child (I hadn’t had Jack yet) wasn’t “fixing” me. And I needed some help. I took it for 2 1/2 years and I have zero shame in that NOW. I got pregnant with Jack and prayed I wouldn’t get PPD. And I didn’t! 🙌🏻 BUT so.many.moms.do.! And are afraid to reach out for help because of the nasty stigma that goes along with that. I’ll post again on PPD because I think it’s an important topic but this post is about something different.

Bipolar disorder.

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/bipolar-disorder/index.shtml

Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks. Sometimes, a person with severe episodes of mania or depression also has psychotic symptoms, such as hallucinations or delusions. The psychotic symptoms tend to match the person’s extreme mood. For example: Someone having psychotic symptoms during a manic episode may believe she is famous, has a lot of money, or has special powers. Someone having psychotic symptoms during a depressive episode may believe he is ruined and penniless, or that he has committed a crime. As a result, people with bipolar disorder who also have psychotic symptoms are sometimes misdiagnosed with schizophrenia.

People with bipolar disorder may also misuse alcohol or drugs, have relationship problems, or perform poorly in school or at work. Family, friends and people experiencing symptoms may not recognize these problems as signs of a major mental illness such as bipolar disorder.

Bipolar or any mental illness really coupled with substance abuse is scary. It’s the feeling of waiting for a bomb to go off. Never knowing what that person is capable of and fear taking over the amount of love, compassion, hope, & patience that once existed for that person. It breaks up families.  They aren’t in control. How could they be? And no amount of reasoning, pleading, reassurance, etc. will work.

I don’t struggle with bipolar disorder or substance abuse but I’ve been directly effected by it. And it’s awful beyond words. In one study for example (Psychology Today) of 314 people, 8.4% were capable of or had committed violent crimes when substance abuse was present as opposed to 1.0-1.5% of those that just had the disorder. That’s quite a difference, right? It’s not only awful for the loved ones but for the person themselves living with this disease(s) and something must be done.

A 2009 DOC study revealed,

https://www.ok.gov/odmhsas/Substance_Abuse/Oklahoma_Drug_and_Mental_Health_Courts/index.html

that 55% of incarcerated offenders with some form of mental illness had been convicted of only non-violent offenses. Among the prison population, over 40% were for drug and alcohol offenses. Putting people with mental illness or addiction behind bars is not effective in either reducing crime or helping these individuals recover from their illness. Also, for someone on a prison mental health unit, the cost jumps to approximately $175 per day as opposed to $48. Providing appropriate mental health services to someone in the community to keep them from entering the criminal justice system costs approximately $15/day!

Certainly, I am NOT saying that those that have VPO’s for example, violate them, etc. shouldn’t have to have consequences. They absolutely should. Nor am I saying that someone that commits a violent crime shouldn’t be penalized. I am saying that if that individual has a mental illness along with substance abuse rehabilitation should be looked at first. Mental illness NEEDS to be treated. And the stigma that goes along with it needs to disappear.

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/find-help/index.shtml (mental illness)

https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/national-helpline (mental illness and substance abuse)

http://www.thehotline.org/blog/get-help-today/ (domestic violence)