Living With Schizophrenia

January 18, 2008

How I Got PTSD; Part 3, My exes

After boot camp they sent me to the Naval Submarine Base in Groton, Connecticut. I worked in an office for the students of the Naval Submarine School. In February, 1988 I met my ex husband, Donald David Newsome. He was a dungeon master of Pallidium games. I though he was smart and creative like me. Shortly after we met, we exchanged poems and started dating. He pushed himself on me in a hotel room. I believed at the time, he had just gotten carried away with passion. He was delusional, he believed in a pantheon of Gods and told me my diety was Baal Gortha. He believed he was some sort of wizard. I believe he was talking about devil worship now, because he tried to summon a demon once when we were together. He got out on a mental health discharge.

I got out on April 17, 1989 after I told them about the pot I smoked in DEP. I did not tell them it was my father's pot. I had discovered his stash. This lead to my discharge, as I knew it would. I was frustrated with not being allowed to go to a school, the rules, and depression. I moved out to Ferndale, Washington to be with Don, who I believed loved me, because he said he did. We moved in with his father, who he had said raped little girls right in front of him. I allowed his sexual abuse to continue. He pushed anal sex on me many times. He also pushed LSD on me. He loved pornography, not me. We had a daughter in 1990, and I gave her up for adoption because I didn't trust him with a baby. He pushed me up against the stove once and threatened to punch me once. He obsessed about me, calling hospitals and police if I was a little late. He threatened to destroy my stuff. The only way I could figure to get out of it was to push marraige on him, so we got married on April 19, 1991. He raped me because I told him I didn't want to and he kept insisting we had to consummate the marraige. We moved shortly after the marraige and I forgot the top of the wedding cake in the freezer of the old house. He finally asked me for a divorce on July 9, 1991 (One year and a day after the birth of our daughter) and we separated. I did not get my divorce until 1995.

For a long time I suffered from major depression and the anxiety that comes with PTSD. I also felt a learned helplessness and a lack of self respect that took years to overcome. I drifted in and out of sexually abusive relationships, leaving when I felt I had killed whatever interest these men had in me to begin with. Depression and anxiety kept interfering with my work life and I had a history of absenteeism from calling in sick, except when I worked as an Assistant Head Housekeeper at Park Motel in Bellingham, Washington. I worked at that job until they dissolved the position. I didn't feel good at a job until college where I worked as a writing and math tutor. I started college in 1992, graduated community college in 1994 and attended the university in 1995.

College was good for my self esteem. So was Wicca. But I kept running into men who'd push anal sex on me. Although nobody really beat me up until I met David Gallacci, aka "Oak," who was a cross dresser, an artist and a pot head. He threw me on the ground, pushed me down and broke my things on purpose. Apparently he had bipolar too. I interfered with him and his ex-girlfriend Autumn. I was "the other woman." I'm still not sorry I broke up that relationship.

I finally dropped out of college in 1995 because of paranoia and a rape that happened in the computer lounge I always used. Shortly after this I went on a spiritual journey. Somewhere in California, I met some Native American men in a cafe. I went to their house because I wanted to tell them about the relocation of the Navajo in Arizona. Three of them raped me, and a fourth, a half breed (for lack of a better term) punched me six times in the head. I hit him with a kitchen chair and threatened to poke out his eyes. He stopped then. I said "I'm leaving your house now." I reported it, and because I wouldn't let them pull out my pubic hairs, nothing was done about it.

In 1995 some time I went back to Verona, Wisconsin where my biological father lived and paid him a visit at work. It was the first and last time I ever gave him a hug. He put his hand on my rear end.

In 1997, I was being stalked by a convicted rapist. He had been a friend at the time of his date rape. He had sex with all my friends and then pushed sex on me. He kept calling even though I asked him to stop. He wrote me nasty letters. He fathered my youngest daughter after he pushed sex on me. I could not get a restraining order even though he was convicted of rape. In 1997, my schizophrenia became full-blown. I gave birth to my youngest daughter. I ran, on foot, away from a crack addict karaoke singer, and hitchhiked. I was really paranoid and lost in delusions. I was out of my head when they took my daughter away from me in Missoula, Montana. I tried suicide that night because of depression and schizophrenia. I was institutionalized at St. Patricks hospital for several weeks. I had them send me back to Bellingham, Washington.

They put my daughter in foster care. I lost all hope of getting her back when CPS and the courts gave the father unsupervised visits, refused to drug test or treat him, believe me about him, and wrote nine paragraphs against me and one against him. I gave her up for adoption to the foster family to keep her away from, a child molestor who molested the daughter of two friends of mine. After this I lost my housing and ended up homeless until 2002 when I finally got treatment for both schizophrenia and PTSD.

Only one guy beat me up during my stint as a homeless woman. This was at the Greyhound bus station in Seattle, Washington. He worked behind the counter. He tried to lock the bathroom door and almost shut the door on my arm. My arm was in the way because there were older women there and I tried to prevent him locking the bathroom door. He shut the door anyway and I slapped him. He threw me outside. I got back up and went inside. This time when he threw me, I landed on my head. The police charged me with assault, and I spent a month in jail before the judge threw the case out of court. He was a mulatto, and I don't know his name. This was in 1998. Although I spent most of my time in California, where it was warm and dry, I travelled all over the country. I rarely stayed in one place long enough to be found by any person who'd prey on the homeless. I was scared of stalkers. Nobody in my family, except my older brother, Chris, offered me shelter or money.

For a long time I could not handle being in crowded places or sitting with my back to an open room. But I took example from Peggy, and stepped in wherever I saw abuse going on. That helped my self esteem a lot.

Now, I see a light at the end of that tunnel and I'm sure it's not a "freight train coming my way." (to quote Metallica). I'm sure now there is such a thing as love and God and that I will find justice. Jim, the man who raped me at seven, got away with raping my cousin, too. He only got probation for that. I pray that next time he gets caught raping a child, he will get sent to prison for life.

That is my story. Thank you for listening.

January 18, 2008

How I Got PTSD: Part 2, Mike and Sue

My adoption by my biological father effectively stopped Steve's beatings of me, but I wasn't thankful at first because Sue was handy with a belt, too, and she liked to slap me across the face. She'd also grab me and dig her nails into my arm until she'd draw blood and bruise me around the wounds.

Neither her or my biological father ever told me they loved me or hugged me. They never attended any of my sporting events to cheer me on or anything. They didn't want anything to do with God and openly mocked my requests for love. But I was thankful I no longer had to attend Christian church (Lutheran to be exact) like I had been doing when I lived with Peggy and Steve. I still believed my biological mother was an angel in Heaven.

My biological father kept pornography in the only bathroom in the house we were allowed to use. We were not allowed in my "stepmother's" bathroom, ever. She never turned him in for the drugs either. He put LSD in my older brother, Chris, kool-aid when he was about four years old. He remembers going on the trip. Sue never said one bad word about the pornography to him or anyone else. She was emotionally and psychologically abusive. She made me use OB tampons and go to the gynecologist when I was 16 to get birth control pills.

We also had to do a lot of work around the house with no pay. They never gave us money for anything but lunch at school. We did all the yard work without even a polite thank you. She'd also lock us in the basement when they weren't home and even when they were or we had visitors, we had to stay in the basement. They kept their marijuana upstairs.

I was severly depressed, had really low self esteem and I was suffering from paranoia but they refused to take me to a counselor. I presume because they were afraid I'd turn them in for abuse and neglect. Finally, at 17, I signed up to join the Navy because Sue told me if I didn't join she'd take me to court for being an incorrigible minor and put me in foster care. I had been caught shoplifting and I was afraid of her threat. They put me in the Delayed Entry Program (DEP) until I turned 18 and was legal to join the military.

While in DEP I met Steve Harried, and he sexually abused and raped me. He pushed sex on me in public bathrooms and at his house. The first time he raped me was when he drove me home from a DEP meeting after I told him I didn't think it was a good idea that we sleep together. I had such low self esteem I didn't expect any better. I put up with it for almost a year because it was better then the rapes I experienced at seven, and I confused this with love. I dumped him because he cheated on me with a girl he met in Guam.

I left home 22 hours before I turned 18 so they couldn't report me as a runaway. I stayed at the Salvation Army until September 21, 1987 when I was shipped off to Orlando, Florida where I went to boot camp.

January 18, 2008

How I Got PTSD: Part 1, Peggy and Steve

I find peace having forgotten a lot of the awful things that were said to me by the perpetrators of violence. Having a sketchy memory is sometimes a curse, like in science and history classes, and sometimes a blessing, when it comes to my family. However, I remember fairly clearly what was done.

My biological mother, Elinore Sanford, was both lucky and unlucky. She escaped the violence of this world when she ran her car into a telephone pole on August 23, 1973. I was three. She died and went up to Heaven when she went through the windshield. God only knows why she wasn't wearing her seatbelt.

This happened within a couple of years after she divorced my biological father, Mike Lennon. He left her to marry our babysitter, Sue Nielsen, who was fifteen at the time she started babysitting us. This is only part of his tacky behavior. He was a drug imbibing second-rate musician at the time. Most of my family thinks it's amazing that he completed college with a masters degree in Electrical Engineering. I suppose with all the drugs he was doing, it was quite the accomplishment, after all.

I can only speculate on how he treated my mother, but considering his unwillingness to communicate with or forgive me, I'm sure he was the same with her. My mother did not smoke, and he did. I have no idea if she partook of the drugs my father did. My father loves pornography, and I'm sure that had something to do with the divorce.

After the divorce, my biological mother married Vietnam veteran Steve Coach. He was not a nice man. He liked to drink and play drums. He used to beat me with a belt for no reason at all. He probably was not just violent with me. He was probably violent with my mother too. I don't remember though.

Steve remarried Peggy after my biological mother's death. Peggy is a Native American Buddhist. She does not know which tribe she is from since she is a child of rape. Her biological father never told her white mother what tribe he was from. They both adopted me after my biological mother died. It wasn't long before I started to call her "mom."

The beatings continued. Occasionally Peggy would step in between us and put a stop to it. This was very brave of her, although she hit me too, sometimes. I can't honestly say she hurt me. She used to put Tabasco sauce and soap on my tongue for lying.

Peggy's brother, Jim Basacker, is a child molestor. He came over to babysit when I was seven once and he was 18. He french kissed me, which grossed me out at the time. He raped me. He licked my nipples and did everything but penetrate me. He crushed the breath out of me when he laid down on top of me, because I was so small and he was not. He left his sputum in my underwear and on my vagina, and lied to me by saying it came from me. I knew he was lying, even though I had no idea what it was. He babysat me about seven more times after that, and he raped me each time he babysat. Finally, the last time he babysat, I shouted "no!" at him. He offered me a quarter to let him molest me, and I threw it against the wall. The rapes stopped after that and he stopped babysitting me. I think he was afraid I'd tell someone if he didn't quit.

I must have been suffering from paranoia at the time because I really believed my mom, Peggy, put him up to it. I had no name for what he did to me, at the time, and it didn't occur to me to tell my adoptive parents. I didn't trust them. I had no idea what he might've done to the baby, my little brother, and it didn't occur to me to ask. I didn't figure it out till I learned about sexual intercourse in my freshman year of high school. I really wish someone had taught me about child molestation or talked to me about sex before that.

Finally in 1979, Peggy got tired of me allegedly hitting my little brother, Shane. Which he was doing to himself and saying I did it. I also had other emotional problems including rage, which was not violent. I was against violence because of the death of my mother and the violence of my stepfather, Steve. I stopped hanging around other kids in the neighborhood after they stoned a crow to death. They saw me throw one stone at it and they never stopped. She sent me to live with my biological father.

My biological father had never sent me a letter, birthday gifts, Christmas presents or an "I love you." on the phone. But, I went willingly because I knew I had an older brother that I wanted to see. I believed I was just going for a visit, but it was really an adoption. Imagine my surprise when I found out my biological father and his wife were adopting me. I said, "I don't suppose I have a choice," when they asked me, and indeed, I didn't. I was against it because Sue seemed mean and not very compassionate.

January 18, 2008

How PTSD affects me.

I am a survivor of physical, psychological, emotional and sexual violence.

First, I must say that the medication I take for both depression and PTSD helps immensely. It's Zoloft. Most of my PTSD symptoms have disappeared. I still get nightmares and have trouble with sleeping, especially due to the disturbing dreams I sometimes have.

I was re-experiencing symptoms for a long time. I was raped repeatedly when I was eight. I would have frequent memories of that. I never forgot those nights when my babysitter would come over and rape me. I get intense memories of him telling me that his sputum came from me, and of me having to clean it off of myself. I was mystified by it. I always get a sense of horror when I remember that. I also could not forget that I could not breathe when he was on top of me, and therefore could not cry out. I have vivid memories of his french kisses too, and experience a strong sense of disgust, just like when it was happening. To this day, I don't like french kissing very much, although once in awhile a french kiss is okay. I also experienced marital rape, which has led me to avoid a second marriage like the plague. I often felt that that experience was happening to me all over again. I still have disturbing dreams about my ex husband where he's trying to "get some" from me. I hate the fact that my ex husband would ignore my dislike of kissing and force kisses on me. To make this worse, he was a terrible kisser -- like kissing a fish. I have vivid memories of him trying to get anal sex from me. Sometimes he'd succeed. I'd get shaky around the adoptive family that abused me. I still remember my stepfather beating the crap out of me. One very vivid memory is of him picking me up by the collar, holding me against my bedroom door and screaming in my face. I also vividly remember him telling me to take my pants down so he could beat me with a belt. (Am I mistaken, or is that a form of sexual abuse?) My heart would beat fast whenever I came to Eau Claire. I now live in Eau Claire, and seem to be all right with that today.

I also have avoidance and numbing symptoms. I often try to avoid memories, thoughts and feelings associated with all the violence I experienced. I used to go out of my way to avoid both sets of parents and anyone who took their side. Obligation would sometimes take over and I would call them about once or twice a year. They never called me, and after Christmas of 1990, they stopped sending correspondence altogether. I only got Christmas correspondence from my blood father's wife. I felt, and still feel, detached and removed from them. I often feel a little bit numb.

I still to this day cannot remember what my babysitter (my adopted uncle) looked like. All I know is that he had blonde hair. All the details of what he looked like physically are missing. I stopped enjoying sexual activity quite some time ago. It always brings up memories of either my ex husband or my babysitter. I still have a hard time believing, with all my "hang ups" that I will marry (somebody nice this time) or raise children .
I also have hyperarousal symptoms. My sleep problems are getting better now. I don't seem to have so many problems falling asleep, but I definitely have problems staying asleep. For several years, I had problems getting to sleep. I also have anger problems. I still find myself being irritable from time to time, and before I started taking the Zoloft it seemed I was either irritable or depressed or both. I recently learned about splitting. It seems I have done that with anger. It would build up until I would explode, albeit briefly. It often seemed out of proportion to what had triggered it. I could not contain it. Once, fed up with having to clean up the kitchen after all 6 of my roommates one too many times, I dumped all the dishes and stuff on the floor. I broke the window in my YWCA room one night when I came home and threw my keys across the room. I don't remember what triggered that incident. I used to throw things a lot when I'd get mad.

Sometimes I had real problems concentrating, especially when I had to memorize stuff, and I would often startle easily when I was concentrating on something.

I also have a lot of the problems that come with PTSD. It affected my sense of self. For a long time I felt helpless, especially when I'd get involved with another sexually abusive man, and I'd have a hard time taking the initiative to get out of bad relationships. When I was a lot younger, I used to blame myself, but I learned slowly how not to do that. I felt very alien compared to other people. I often felt much older, and believed myself to have lived several lifetimes. For a long time I really believed in past lives and that I could remember bits and pieces of them. On the other hand, It took me until just recently to believe that I was an adult. I often felt like I hadn't reached adulthood yet.

I had distorted views of the perpetrators too. I suppose I still am a little preoccupied with the idea that my uncle is my uncle. I don't know what to make of my old relationships to the perpetrators. Perhaps I shouldn't make much of it at all.... For awhile I felt grateful to my uncle, my stepfather, and my ex husband for showing me what men are really like, and for not being worse. I loved them, which is called the "Stockholm syndrome." I like to think I'm over those feelings now. For awhile I believed my relationship with my ex husband was karmic -- that I had abused him as a man abuses a woman in a past life. He told me we were soulmates and I believed him. I bought all of their ideas about sissies, and magic, and other things hook line and sinker. It took much soul searching after the fact to realize they were liars, and that my stepfather was a racist (not to mention very sexist.)

These experiences caused me to lose a lot of my faith in the good nature of most human beings, as well as God/dess. I despaired for a long time that I would never find a good man to be mine or that I would find love. At least, until I became comfortable with being alone.

My learned helplessness caused me to feel trapped in several sexually abusive "relationships" with men. I always went back for more, or would call these men again asking for a second "date." It would take mental gymnastics on my part to escape from these "relationships." I had a limited view of others. I saw my best friend as a rescuer -- she helped me escape from the marriage from hell. I suppose I put her on a pedestal. She had a beautiful daughter, but she is a drug addict. She did love me, and I'm sure she still loves me. But the drugs get in the way. I also saw her as a victim. Her husband was as abusive as mine. I saw perpetrators everywhere for awhile. I had difficulty coping with my anxiety. I often, especially while stoned, was extremely anxious, and avoided men like the plague.

I think all the visions I had of children I knew being sexually abused was a combination of my schizophrenia and my PTSD. For years I'd have invasive visions of sexual abuse of others. Some of these visions I beleved were real. These visions would make me extremely angry, since I couldn't stop them. And I'd feel guilty for seeing them.

Depression and suicidal thoughts were common for me since I lost my mother at four years old. It's hard for me to believe it was all a chemical imbalance. I think my problems are a combination of environmental and biological factors. The fact that my depression went untreated for about 25 years may have caused my schizophrenia. I did not believe it was a chemical imbalance at all for years; I thought it could be blamed entirely on the abuse. I did not believe, until I tried Zoloft, that medication could help me with that at all, but it did, and for that I am very grateful to God/dess and science.

January 17, 2008

Becoming Homeless

I became homeless in the summer of 1999. I was kicked out of my apartment on Franklin Street in Bellingham, Washington by the cops.

First, I should explain how I got the apartment. It was my first apartment that was all mine. I'd previously rented rooms, either in apartments or the YWCA.

In the Spring of 1997 I applied for housing through the Bellingham Housing Authority for myself and my unborn daughter. I waited with baited breath at the YWCA, and in September of that year, my housing came through. I found a place on Franklin Street that had a dishwasher and a washer and dryer. I moved in at the beginning of October, approximately two weeks before Aeyre was born. I was happy for a little while. My friends Bonnie and Shari helped a little bit with furniture, and Bonnie's mom, Fran donated a microwave she had found.

I got a credit account with Fingerhut, and got myself some pillows, a vacuum cleaner, and a fake Christmas tree. (I do believe I still owe them money....) I got a few other things too, but I no longer remember what they were.

I should have been set for a long time. I wasn't making any money except what I was getting from welfare, and I did not have to pay any rent at all. After Aeyre was born I could afford diapers, and since I was getting WIC I got milk and cheese and other stuff. I was getting food stamps of course.

But I was smoking a lot of marijuana (which was against the housing rules, as well as illegal). I blamed a lot of my symptoms on the marijuana. I must have been addicted, because I just couldn't seem to quit even though it was, in theory, causing so much chaos. I tried not to smoke cigarettes or marijuana around the baby, but it wasn't too long before I was smoking cigarettes while breastfeeding and marijuana in front of the baby. I realized that everything was totally out of control and told God/dess several times that I just couldn't do it (raise a baby, that is).

Her breastfeeding worsened the rape hallucinations too. I could not handle the combination of her suckling on a breast while I felt like I was being raped. Sometimes she wouldn't latch on correctly or would chew. I'd get so frustrated and enraged I'd shake her. I shook her about ten times total the four months I had her in my custody. I knew it wasn't her fault but I couldn't really help it. It was so uncomfortable. In the day time, the hallucinations were really mild, if they were there at all, but at night, they would go on for hours. Fortunately she seems okay now.

She began to avoid my eyes when I held her, and that frustrated me too. I had been screaming at the voices occasionally, and a couple of nights I let her cry herself to sleep. I could not seem to calm her while I held her. Other people could, and I flirted with the idea of adopting her out, but did not know who I could adopt her out too. I lacked the mental resources to research adoption, and probably would've trusted no one anyway. I didn't want to adopt her out to Leslie, the adoptive mother of Chelsey, my firstborn, because she had not sent me pictures since Chelsey was a baby. I knew if I lost my daughter, I'd lose my housing. At this point in time I had no explanation for what was happening to me.

I almost left her alone a couple of nights, but did not do this. I felt trapped in my apartment and helpless as she was. When CPS showed up for the first time, I was labeled hostile. I had been rolling my own cigarettes and the worker inquired whether all the butts in the ashtray were roaches. I told him no, but did not admit to smoking marijuana.

About a month after I came back from the hospital in Missoula, Montana, Aeyre was sent to Bellingham, too. She moved in with a foster family. I was on Haldol at first and had to stay at a respite house until the Haldol wore off, because I could barely move or talk on the stuff. They put me on Seroquel. But it's sedating effects scared me. I was afraid I'd stay asleep through some night terror or rape hallucination and die while asleep. I guess it helped with the rape hallucinations, but I never noticed any change. In the meantime, I took the trip down to Navajo country and tried to help them against Peabody Coal. I saw aliens and imagined all sorts of things while I was down there. I remember one night in particular I saw a huge (ten foot tall) feet and two transparent aliens. I thought it was God at the time. I slept alongside the road a lot while travelling the reservation.

I had weekly supervised visits with her. It really seemed like my case worker from CPS had it in for me. She'd write eight to ten paragraphs against me in her reports and one paragraph against the father, who was a crack addict and a convicted rapist who was pretending to be mentally ill. She recommended treatment for me, but not the father. She just refused to believe John Michael smoked crack or did other kinds of drugs. They never even tested him. (While he was on probation -- or parole -- from his conviction of date rape, he would drink. Perhaps I should've turned him in, but he had been a friend for about five years before he went to court.) I really didn't get it, and my paranoia didn't help. The drug counselor recommended inpatient treatment, but I knew that they'd monitor my meds and make sure I was taking those. And I had no intention of quitting the marijuana, since it seemed to be helping my depression. So I refused to go to drug treatment. In an attempt to pacify them, I lied and told them I was going to NA meetings. This did not work. I still couldn't quite believe I was mentally ill either.

Some time in 1998, I believe it was summer, John Michael showed up at my apartment carrying Aeyre. He had gotten unsupervised visits, and was going to use Aeyre as leverage to get into my apartment. I hid from him and called my public defender immediately. I was floored. I could not believe it. I would not have left that helpless little girl alone with him, and was stunned that CPS had allowed him, a rapist, to watch my daughter unsupervised. The unsupervised visits did cease after a little while.

They made a big deal about me not talking enough, or asking them questions like was it safe to feed the baby baby carrots. Once I did not do the dishes, and they claimed my whole apartment was filthy. It wasn't. They also made a big to do about unspecified delusions. I don't remember sharing any of my delusions with them, much less much of what I believe about God/dess. They wouldn't identify the delusions in question for me. I suppose she wanted to sound professional.....

I didn't want to tell them who my friends were, especially Bonnie, because although Bonnie's parenting practices could be called questionable and she was addicted to painkillers, the father of her daughter was really abusive. She had been embroiled in a nasty custody battle for quite some time, and I didn't want CPS to investigate her. I was certain, since she is part Cajun, they would've taken the children away from her. I just knew they were too white for my friend....

Bonnie and I had become estranged during this time. I had found a wicker bathroom shelf outside by the garbage dumpsters that looked exactly like one I had given her. I found out later that it had just been coincidence, and she still had the wicker furniture, but I had assumed she had been poking around in my garbage. She had also scared me when Aeyre was three months old and she was swinging her around. Her head came within six inches of the corner of the wall. She smiled, and it seemed like the evilest smile I had ever seen. I thought she was threatening to bash Aeyre's head into a wall. It took me about a year to recover from that scare.... I refused to talk to her, and even went to the police, leaving my daughter with Oak, who had proven himself violent before.

I managed to attend Western Washington University for a quarter during the Winter of 1999. That's where I learned to program websites. I'm still not sure how I managed, since I was still halfway sick, and still smoking marijuana. I was careful with my marijuana, careful not to get caught by CPS. Sometimes, though I'd smoke it within a couple hours of them coming over with my daughter.

Finally the foster family offered to adopt Aeyre after I completed that one quarter at WWU. It took me about a month to take them up on the offer. I had no intention of stopping the marijuana, going to inpatient treatment or accepting that I was permanently mentally ill.

It turned out that somebody told the Housing Authority about the adoption within a month or two of it happening. I don't remember who did that. They gave me a couple of weeks to move out. I couldn't find anyone to move in with. And I didn't know how to get housing for my disability. I was on SSDI and SSI by this time, but that didn't seem to matter to the Housing Authority. I was ticked off at a combination of things, my meds for making me so sleepy, the adoption, my failure as a parent, and the voices and hallucinations. I stopped taking my meds, stopped going to appointments with a therapist and my nurse practitioner. I got enraged at the voices for accusing me of raping my daughter repeatedly and sent coffee cups sailing through the window and porch door. My housekeeping went to pot. I couldn't seem to find the energy to clean the house or get off the couch.

I managed to give away several things before I was kicked out. I donated my clothes to Wise Buys. I donated my vacuum cleaner to the YWCA. But I lost most of my stuff when the cops showed up at my door and kicked me out then and there. The apartment was totally trashed. I had painted on the walls, and then washed off most of the paint (although some of it remained.)

I told them John Michael had busted out the windows during a fight. I wanted him punished for something, and I didn't want to pay for the damage.

I kept hearing screams at night. I'm sure now they were hallucinations. I tried to walk on water. I thought John Michael had my daughter and had thrown her in the stream by the apartment. I had no friends at this time, either rejecting them or being rejected by them. Shari stopped speaking to me shortly after I accused Bonnie of threatening to bash my daughter's head in. Most of my so called friends at this time were drug addicts, and by this time I was too. It wasn't necessarily a bad thing that I lost these friends.

I spent the night after they kicked me out under a bridge in Bellingham. I got scared that someone who liked to beat up bums, would find me, so in the morning I moved on. I started hitchhiking, and went down to California. My aunt in Eureka would not have me, so I asked her if I could use her address. She agreed to this, at least. I got my SSDI and SSI transferred to California, where they paid more. One has to have an address to get SSDI and SSI. I proceeded to check out California, keeping as much of my delusions and hallucinations to myself as I could. But occasionally I would break down and start screaming "Faggot" at God/dess, the voices, the devil and whoever else was in earshot. I tried to fight off the rape hallucinations several times, my fists encountering empty air.

During my time as a homeless woman, I decided to make it an objective to see all 48 continental United States. It took me a couple of years of hitchhiking around to accomplish this, but I did accomplish it. I had no ID, having burned this "symbol of government oppression" shortly after I became homeless on the road out of Washington, and could not visit Hawaii and Alaska without it.

I spent three years homeless, total.

January 17, 2008

My Waking Nightmare

I think God/dess was trying to tell me something was wrong....

I remember walking along the tracks in Bellingham, Washington down by the bay in 1994 or so and feeling like something just wasn't connecting in my mind. It was a sensation like a cog slipping or a belt which should have been running smoothly was broken. I attributed the sensation to my depression at the time, which was untreated. I didn't notice anything strange about my thoughts at the time. They were the typical hopeless thoughts of a depressed person. I was wondering why I just couldn't make a success of myself, and believed that a lot of the people I worked with had hated me for some unknown reason.

It was shortly after that in the summer of 1995, I started volunteering at a coffee shop called Miracles. It was really close to the university in Bellingham. The owner was a man named Matt, who loved marijuana. The coffee shop was in the upstairs portion of a two story house. I wanted the experience of making espresso, so I didn't really mind volunteering. Matt paid people by getting them stoned, which for the first couple of months, I refused to do. I had been living in a room at the YWCA for about three years and was tired of the rumors and everything else. So I moved in with David Gallacci, aka Oak, who lived in the bedroom downstairs at the coffee shop.

David was an artist who liked tarot cards. He got the room because he painted murals on the walls of the coffee shop. It was kind of foolish for me to move in with him, because the first night we spent together, I had no intention of having sex with him. I just wanted companionship, and I thought he knew that. But when I climbed in bed with him, he kept rocking against me and shoving his penis up against my back. Eventually he turned me over and "did it" with me. I kept saying that I didn't think it was a good idea, so he knew I didn't want to, but I got tired of resisting, and gave in.

It was while I was staying in this room that I had an interesting experience. I had been into meditation and chakras and Kundalini energy for quite some time. I put crystals of coordinating colors on each of my chakra points and attempted to open my chakras with my hand. I heard musical notes with each chakra I opened. I had also been experiencing some intense visuals concerning my soul. I felt as if my soul was shaped like a blue hourglass of light and was spinning. I spent many hours with my eyes closed, allowing my soul to spin.

I also stepped into a "fairy ring" during my stay at Miracles cafe. A fairy ring is a ring of mushrooms or toadstools. I was kind of scared when I did this. I wondered if I'd be transported to the fairy realm. I used to perceive fairies with my mind's eye in the trees and forests. I used to believe I was talking to them in my thoughts.

When I started having "sexual" hallucinations, I had several explanations for this. I believed it was Pan sometimes, and a couple times, while outside, I thought I heard Pan pipes. I thought sometimes that I had opened up my Kundalini and was not able to close it. I thought sometimes it was the fairy folk. These hallucinations happened constantly. I felt that some creature had enveloped me and was feeding off of me. It was kind of an interesting experience at first, until I realized I had no control over it. That was when they became rape hallucinations. My belief changed from interacting with Pan to interacting with demons. One night, I saw lights in my mind and reached out for them. My mind told me that I was raping angels. I was horrified at myself.

This was long after I moved out of Miracles Cafe and was back at the YWCA.

I still went on with my life as if though everything was normal. I did drop out of college around that time. I had experienced a sense of horror when I recognized the portrait of a man who had raped a girl in the bathroom down by the computer lounge in the university. The man looked just like Sean Hull. A man who had initiated sex with me in Boulevard Park. It made me realize that there had probably been some hostility there. I had thought him cute, but we never discussed sex and he pulled my hair hard when we were together. The thought of "You can't rape the willing" has been in my mind for quite some time, so I often pretend I'm willing when I don't feel safe.

I continued to go to karaoke every few nights, and pretend everything was normal. It occurred to me to tell someone about the hallucinations, since it was a lot like being with my ex husband all over again, but I was too embarrassed to tell someone. I finally found some literature on PTSD and assumed they were body memories. I didn't think medication could help PTSD, so I told nobody. Most of the other symptoms of PTSD fit, too, so I knew I had that. That was when John Michael pushed sex on me in 1996.

Again, I was just looking for companionship. And he knew that because I told him no sex. I spent the night with him after karaoke one night, and he initiated sex with me anyway. I figured somehow I had invited it and commenced a relationship with him. For a couple of months, I referred to him as my boyfriend, but got really tired of the coerced sex every time we slept together. I was really tired to of the anal sex he pushed on me. I got pregnant and in October of 1997 I gave birth to Aeyre.

It was just a few days after that that the nightmare really began. I started hearing voices.

Occasionally it occurred to me that something was wrong with me, but more often I was sure that there were microphones in the house. I cried out to God, Goddess, Jesus, etc. looking for relief. I had an experience where I felt the voices I was hearing were coming out of my heart. For awhile I thought that I had a microchip in my brain, and that the microchip had a microphone and speakers in it. I was so certain my father had arranged for it to be put there. He had sent me a phone with an answering machine attached, and the code for retrieving the messages was on the back of the phone. I was certain he had sent me the phone only so he could listen to my messages. I ended up donating the phone to a second hand store.

The voices asked me questions about sexual experiences I had had, and about ex boyfriends. I thought the voice was the devil for awhile.

I saw several things after the birth of my daughter. I was petrified I would molest her while she was sleeping next to me during the rape hallucinations (which often happened while I was asleep). So I started putting her in her crib. John Michael came over about three weeks after she was born and tried to insist on sleeping with me. I refused and was quite adamant about it. I was still healing from the birth. I remember he kept telling me that his ex wife had been ready within a week of giving birth. It didn't help that he came over about two weeks after that, with the excuse he was too drunk to drive home. He climbed in bed with me and the baby and started kicking me. I was laying down careful not to touch him. I swear I had seen him outside, when I stepped on to the porch earlier that night, fleeing across the street. I got up and went to the couch with my daughter and tried to sleep. I had been having problems getting to sleep because every time I tried to sleep, I heard dripping noises and clicks.

Jay Perlman, a man I knew because of marijuana, showed up outside of my house one night, too. I thought I heard a noise outside and went out on the porch. He was there alongside my house. I asked him what he was doing, and he left. This freaked me out entirely because he had been accused of being a child molester.

I slipped into full fledged paranoia. I kept seeing the trees as monsters. I knew it didn't make any sense, but every time I looked at the trees or their shadows, I'd see creatures. I no longer went out at night. I saw ghostly figures in the house. Once I saw the "ghost" of Freddy Kreuger standing over by the front door. I kept seeing and hearing God, too. I was confused and I studied the bible, having given up on Wicca at the time because of the people from the evangelical church down the street, who came over and told me to get rid of all the Wiccan books and stuff I had. I hated Paul, and didn't want anything to do with Peter, whom Jesus had called Satan. (Most of the time I was convinced that the Devil had everything to do with my problems) So I tore out most of what Paul said and burned it. This scared me more... Sacrilege! Blasphemy! etc.

I kept hearing noises outside my window and was convinced that Jay was outside or John Michael. I got scared of a male acquaintance who I had been sharing pot with. That was the last straw. CPS had been investigating me for awhile, the mistook my paranoia for hostility. CPS started showing up after I discontinued services with another social work agency after the social worker kept insisting I pull up my shirt and show her Aeyre's breastfeeding skills long after Aeyre had learned how to breastfeed properly.

So, I took off with my daughter in the middle of the night. We hitchhiked and I swore I saw her doctor in McDonald's early that morning. The doctor had been something of a weirdo too. He asked me when I was in labor, if I had been molested. Then, when I took in Aeyre for her shots he'd wave his hand in the air over her private parts, all the while staring at me, after her diaper was off.

I continued on East. I thought I was being followed by Predator (from the movies) -- I could see the Predator and that we were being pursued by vampires. I thought the vampires could read my mind. I perceived this dark sticky energy coming from my daughters back and I "pulled" that out of her. I just knew it was connected to vampires. One night, we were offered a motel room. I had just started to drift off to sleep when I felt something touch my calf. I was sure it was preceding a rape hallucination, and that it was the devil. When I got up, exhausted but very frightened, I saw the walls glowing. I remember issuing a challenge to the people downstairs, because I believed it was my last night as a human, and that they were causing all of this with their vampiric powers.

I had stopped smoking pot for a couple of months, although during the hitchhiking I was offered some. I thought at times, that the nightmare I was experiencing was due to the marijuana.

Finally in Missoula, Montana I was in a truck stop. A man who looked like a typical vampire offered us a ride. I told him I didn't ride with vampires. The waitress heard me, and began interrogating me about vampires. They had found me outside after I left crying because I was just so depressed. (At times I had thought I was in Hell) They had brought me back inside and offered me a meal. A woman in the place had a scarf on and I thought she was trying to cover up bite marks. I was wary about accepting any help because I wanted my independence. Finally I got tired of dodging questions and I took my daughter and walked down the street to the convenience store not too far away. That's where the police met me. The police women had fangs, I swear they did. They took us to St. Patrick's hospital. They took my daughter into a little room and made her scream for a long time, like she was in pain. They would not let me go to her.

I was interviewed by a shrink, and he pronounced me suffering from PPD.

A social worker from CPS showed up. As soon as they gave Aeyre back to me, I handed her to the social worker and asked her if she could hold my daughter while I went out to smoke. (I had not had a cigarette the whole three hours I was at the hospital). She said okay, so I went out to smoke. When I came back in, she had given my daughter to a foster mother.

They put me in a shelter for the night. I had bought a small bottle of sleeping pills. I tried to sleep, but I saw a blackness, and heard chanting, and was certain my soul was being eaten. It didn't help that I felt that I was going to hell, because I had an abortion once. I thought one of the ladies there was committing my soul to the devil. I was determined to kill myself before I became a pawn of the devil, or a vampire, and was certain I'd never see my daughter again, so I took the pills.

About four hours later, after wandering the streets with a Blackfoot Indian man, I asked him to take me to the hospital because of the sleeping pills. They put me in a darkened room. I got up, because I was terrified to go to sleep and left the hospital. They brought me back and I left again, this time running away. They brought me back again and restrained me. By this time I was convinced that the charcoal they were going to give me was vampire blood and they were going to turn me into a vampire. I refused to take it, so they shoved tubes down my nose and forced me to take the charcoal. It really hurt. I sensed Jesus there....

They committed me after that, and eventually diagnosed me with psychosis nos. I kept denying that I had schizophrenia. Even though the symptoms fit, even down to sometimes (especially while relaxing) feeling like my skin was on fire. I did get to see my daughter while I was there. It was when I was in that hospital that I became convinced that something must be wrong with my mind. After that realization, all the subsequent hallucinations, and remissions (from meds) became much easier to deal with.

January 16, 2008

A confession.... That poor dog.

I remember when I was in California. I had met this man named Rick in a bar. He was in a wheelchair. He had had no legs. He found out I was without a place to stay and offered to let me stay at his place. I was paranoid, but figured a helpless man like him could not hurt me, so I took him up on the offer.

He liked to smoke marijuana, and at the time, so did I. So we smoked a lot of ganga. We talked about a lot of stuff, none of which I remember now. My home base (where I kept my stuff) was in Willow Creek. I had a little corner of the woods just off the road. It was a little ways off the trail, behind some bushes. Hayfork, where Rick lived was about 30 miles away. I had followed my friend, Freedom, down there to listen to him play. He didn't seem to care that I was homeless, so I went to the bar in big downtown Hayfork and met Rick.

There were a bunch of dogs on the property. They belonged to the neighbor.

I left because he hit on me. I had only been there a couple of days. I don't know if he knew there was something wrong with me or not.

About a year later, I decided I missed him and his capsule for Sputnik. He owned a capsule, which sat out in his front yard.

So, I went to his place. He had crashed his special van, so he was basically trapped in the house. He offered to let me stay again, and I took him up on it. I remember that he wanted me to sell his rocket capsule on the internet. He also told me that I could take one of the dogs with me when I left. He was tired of them running around.

He hit on me a couple more times, and I got really paranoid, so I left again, with a dog in tow. It seemed to me that the dog was just trying to irritate me. We'd walk places and my coffee would spill out of my cup because he would freak out every time a car went by. I only had two hands and found this extremely frustrating. We hung out for awhile in an abandoned garage. I had gotten some food for him from an extremely nice man, who had seen us outside of the store in town. This was hard to carry as it was a big bag, and I dropped it a few times and had to find an alternate container for it since it burst open.

Finally, feeling trapped with the big bag of food, and extremely pissed off at myself and the dog, I cut him loose and threw my empty coffee cup at him. He ran off. I have no idea what happened to him after that.

That was the second dog I tried to have while homeless. The first was Blue (I named him Blue before I found out about Blue's Clues) a neglected and abused animal I tried to rescue from my acquaintance Randy's farm. I had thought Randy was a decent sort, till I saw him try to kick one of their cats. I let him off the leash a couple of times, and the second time, he kept eluding me, and would not let me put him on a leash. The animal control people caught him in downtown Fairhaven, WA and took him away. He had mange, and was not a likely prospect for adoption.... I couldn't afford to set him free from the shelter. So, it's unknown to me what happened to Blue.

The third dog I tried to adopt was a stray pit bull I found in Watts. I named him Fat Albert. He had gotten nudged by a car. He had a huge swelling in his side, and I was a little afraid of him. He was too strong for the makeshift collar I made for him, and he eventually escaped and ran off.

I miss my dogs now, and wish I hadn't been so afraid of vets, the dogs themselves and other authority figures. I don't own an animal now, and am not sure I trust myself with one. But, I vow to take better care of an animal if I ever do get another one.

September 30, 2007

My spirituality

I consider myself to be a spiritual person, not a religious person. I have a real problem with dogma. I don't believe in Genesis, I don't believe God/dess told Moses it was okay to conquer people and take all the girl children who had never known a man for themselves much less to kill all the girl children who had known a man, I don't believe God/dess turned Lot's wife into a pillar of salt. I'm not sure I believe there ever was a Sodom and Gomorah. I don't believe in the Great Flood, or that Noah's descendants populated the Earth. (After all, who would his sons have mated with?) Personally, I believe that Moses wrote the ten commandments himself. Not that that makes them bad laws to live by, it's just that there is no commandment against lying, slavery or rape. Which, it seems like to me, that there would be, had they come from God/dess.

I believe that God/dess has a male and female aspect. The only God/dess I worship is love. I do believe God/dess is Love. The Spirit is Love.

I think the Bible is full of fiction. I believe sometimes people hallucinated God or heard the devil instead of God. I do believe in the devil. I do believe I heard him call me a "sh*thead" and "sh*t for brains." I don't believe he's capable of doing more then talking to people inside their heads, but still he orchestrates wars, racism, and rape. All of those things are anathema to my God/dess. I don't understand why people would worship the devil. He doesn't create; he only destroys through others. I don't understand the romanticized notion that he's a gambler who makes bets. I don't believe he's in charge of Hell, like most people do.

I read an interesting anecdote once that described Hell as a vast desert. In charge of the water was a ten foot tall black angel who wouldn't give water to anyone in Hell unless they asked, nicely, for water. I believe that rapists, child molesters and serial murderers end up there. I believe you have to do something seriously evil to end up there. I believe that angel is God. I don't believe that people who commit suicide or refuse to atone for their "sins" end up there. Rape and child molestation is a more serious offense than a "sin." I honestly believe that God/dess hates rape and sexual abuse. There is no rape in Heaven, or the Summerland, as the Wiccans refer to it. I firmly believe that child abuse is a sin. I don't think God meant for us to hit our kids. If you look at what Solomon said more objectively then just believing it because it is in the Bible, you'll see that most of it is nonsense. Jesus never hit kids.

I believe God/dess has helped build all the great societies in the world today. Our leaders no longer kill their subjects (with certain rare exceptions). Christianity made murder wrong. Wicca is trying to outlaw violence in any form, and if you think about it Jesus was a pacifist. He never struck anyone. Not even Peter, whom He referred to as "Satan." I also like shamanism. Jesus followed a classic shamanic path to enlightenment. In my humble opinion, the only thing worth listening to in the Bible is what Jesus said, and anything that promotes civil rights and respect for the Earth.

I believe God/dess has many names. God/dess has been there for people since the dawn of time. I believe God/dess will answer to any name you give him or her. That's why it seems like there are so many different gods. God/dess has communicated with people in various ways. I respect people that talk to their ancestors. I believe firmly in life after death, and that the dead can hear the thoughts of the living. I believe they can even communicate with the living if God/dess allows it. I believe those ancestors are what the Christians call angels. Most people become angels when they die.

I believe love is everywhere.

I don't understand all the conflict, really. I don't understand rigid dogma. I don't understand why certain religions believe they have all the answers. There are many paths to finding love.
In my opinion, friendship is peace. They are one and the same. We have to appreciate the love and peace in our lives. In spite of all the violence today, it is still a less violent world then it used to be. I don't believe in Revelations. I don't believe the world is going to end like that. I believe science, that the world is going end when the sun novas. I don't really understand the conflict between science and religion. Science proved the concept of sacred spirals. We have them in our DNA, in our solar systems, in our molecules and atoms. Scientists wonder what dark matter is. I say it is Spirit. We have miracle drugs now because of science. God/dess even works through scientists.

Many people base their religion on the premise that God/dess is perfect. I don't believe this either. I believe God/dess makes mistakes. Our genes have defects. Only an imperfect God could create defective genes, like those that cause schizophrenia and other diseases. I think it's amazing a living being could create genes in the first place. Why does God/dess have to be perfect to create life? I think God/dess is like us in that way, S/he strives for progress not perfection. Life is amazing enough, why should life be perfect? There is no doubt in my mind that there is a living God/dess in our universe.

I swear I heard God/dess tell me "We miss you up in Heaven." It was the most beautiful, gender-neutral voice I've ever heard. It might have been a hallucination, but I doubt it. To me, this is proof that God/dess can talk to people, if S/he wants to.

I find myself wondering about demons and casting them out. Is it true that Jesus worked with the mythology of the day when He healed people? Are demons and bacteria or viruses the same thing? The truth will prevail. People did not and would not have believed in tiny "bugs" back then. If the devil himself was talking, people would have heard demons talking. I don't believe that the devil has an army of "spirits" at his command.

I am an ordained priestess. I refer to myself as a bard, as I sing, write poetry and occasionally song lyrics, and play the drum. I'm rather fond of shamanism, or more specifically Celtic Shamanism or druidry. I follow Martin Luther King Jr.'s example. I use my spirituality to promote civil rights for kids and adults alike. I believe that God's will is for a more civil world without so much oppression. Racism is not only practiced by white people (in other countries, it's different). White people are people of color, too. Me personally, I consider myself to be red, white, and blue. I have red lips, blue eyes and "white" skin. I am very colorful. So, in my opinion, referring to non-caucasian people as people of color is not very politically correct. I think that people need to keep in mind that caucasians have tribes too. Certain tribes are more warlike and more responsible, in ancient history, for wars between races. I'm not Anglo-Saxon, and it isn't my tribe who is trying to make every country a piece of the UK. I'm not Spanish, whatever tribe they are, and it wasn't my tribe that conquered the modern day U.S.. I'm predominantly Celtic American, to be p.c. about it, and about one quarter Frank.

I believe dogma has done more harm then good. Some people hate the "perfect" vengeful creature that the Bible has made God out to be. In my experience, God/dess is very forgiving except of sexual predators. I believe that God/dess particularly hates those who prey on children. Hate is a natural emotion. Many people believe hate and love to be opposites, yet they can coexist. To me, therefore, they can't be opposites. This would explain the vengeance that Goddesses like Kali and Hecate show. There are some things that God finds intolerable.

Spirit does not look like us, either, so saying that we were created in God's image has to be false. Spirit is pure energy.

Many people like me don't believe in God/dess. To me atheists are as hard to hang around with as fundamentalist Christians. If you look around, you'll find that life is just too abundant and varied just to have happened out of nothing. The universe is just too orderly. I think the premise that God/dess is perfect has driven more people away from God/dess and love, then any other premise. Obviously, the creation is not perfect. Wouldn't perfection create more perfection? "Nobody is perfect" comes from God/dess and S/he includes him or herself. That doesn't mean that love should not rule. Why do we constantly seek perfection in our leaders. Love is a process and a state of mind. It can save your life. Love is about civil rights and respect, including respect for our environment.

One should not just assume the world is going to end, therefore we don't have to try to make it a better place. Revelations was not written in stone.

September 29, 2007

My medications

I am on 15 mg Abilify and 100 mg Zoloft.

After several unpleasant experiences with meds, I have to say that these are the best meds I've ever been on. The first antipsychotic I ever tried was Haldol. That was an evil drug, imho. It did make the voices go away, but it also made my whole body seize up. I could barely move. When I was in St. Patrick's hospital in Missoula, MT, after the social workers took my baby away from me, they put me on Haldol. Before I was discharged, they injected me with Haldol. I put up with being really stiff (I could barely walk -- I was shuffling around and I felt like a zombie) for a couple of weeks.

After I was discharged from St. Patrick's (they bought me a bus ticket back to Washington state), I was put on Seroquel. This made me sedated. I didn't like it at all. I slept ten hours a night.

They tried Zyprexa after that. I got scared I was going to get fat on it. By this time, I was paranoid about the meds, getting fat, and not getting my daughter back, so I gave up. My depression, which had been going on longer then the active psychosis, was still untreated and I still felt bad, even though I was not hearing voices anymore. I've never liked pills or any other manufactured drugs (which has probably kept me safely off manufactured street drugs.) So the depression and the paranoia led to me giving up my daughter to the foster family for adoption, going off of meds, getting kicked out of my apartment, and leaving town.

I lost everything I had in that apartment, except what I could carry with me. My housing, at the time, was contingent upon me having a child. So after I signed the adoption papers, they took away my housing. I had nobody to help me move my stuff, and I was too paranoid to ask anyone. Besides, I didn't know where I would have moved it to. In essence, I lost everything. I did put some papers in storage and into a safety deposit box at my bank, but after I ran out of money (my disability ended several years later) I could no longer pay the storage or the safety deposit box.

I went without meds for three full years. I thought the marijuana I was smoking would help. It did help me take the paranoia less seriously, but it increased my anxiety. It masked the depression, which I thought was helping me at the time. It did not help with the tactile hallucinations though. I think it was those hallucinations which drove me over the edge.

When I was institutionalized, they put me on Risperdal. This also stopped the voices, but I'd find myself having anxiety attacks on it, and having little psychotic attacks where I'd find myself searching for messages and letters on the floor and walls. I'd also have thoughts that would repeat themselves over and over for about an hour at a time, especially when I'd try to go to sleep at night. I'd find myself repeating a word over and over in my head, without being able to stop it.

I researched PTSD when I first was institutionalized, because I knew I had that. I found out that Zoloft can be used to treat that. So I asked them to put me on it. I'm happy I did that. I did finally find relief from a lot of PTSD symptoms, and also from the depression that had been plaguing me since I was a little girl.

Everntually, my psychiatrist, for some reason decided to try Abilify on me. At first I was on Risperdal, Abilify and Zoloft. But, I asked them to switch me to solely Abilify. I have not been plagued by any psychotic symptoms or side effects since. (Risperdal had stopped my periods) I also believe that Risperdal can cause incontinence because I never had a problem with it before or after I was on it. But I did have a problem with leakage during my three year stint on Risperdal. I heard someone mention that her son was on Risperdal and also had a problem with that while he was on it. Risperdal also caused me to gain 80 pounds. I've lost 20 of them since I quit taking it.

These are truly miracle drugs. I am very thankful to the scientists who created them. Perhaps we will have even better and more effective medications in the future.

September 23, 2007

About compassion

To me, compassion and empathy are the same thing. It means that a person is willing to walk a mile in another person's shoes. Compassion means to feel passionately another person's feelings, or as closely as possible. It's not sympathy, which is more like pity. It's feeling another person's pain and/or respecting it. Compassion towards the self means seeing both sides of an issue. It means not putting yourself down or beating yourself up. It's like not assuming you're stupid, just because you did something stupid, or that you're a bad person just because you did something wrong. Admitting powerlessness of an addiction is a form of compassion. It means acception that we are limited, fallible, and human, and not putting ourselves down for being human. My life would have been different had I been more compassionate towards myself in the past when I refused to accept my limitations with other's behavior. I am now more compassionate towards myself, which means I am more forgiving of the things I did and accepting that I just can't control certain things or behaviors in others. I probably would have found peace and serenity sooner had I been different.

September 21, 2007

To Have Loved And Lost

...Is better then to have never loved at all.

I've fallen in love several times. Even though my love is always unrequited (so far), I've learned from each experience.

In high school, I was in love with two of the boys in my class, Nathan K. and Mike K. Nathan was something of a geek. He was smart, but quiet. I never told him that I had a crush on him. He'd probably be surprised if he knew. I didn't know that much about him, and have no idea where he is now. Mike was something of a class clown. He was voted "worst dressed" along with me at the end of senior year. He was one of the few popular boys who did not make fun of me. He'd probably be surprised if he knew I'd had a crush on him too.

After high school, I worked at an Easter Seals Camp as a counselor. It was there I met Mike S.. He was also a counselor. He was a good looking man, rippling with muscles, and eyes the same color as mine. I instantly fell in love with him. We partied together a few times when the campers weren't at the camp. I found out later that he was quite the piano player. Even though we were underage, we still drank quantities of beer. He finally confessed to me that he was gay. After drinking quite a few, I cornered him in the bathroom and ripped my shirt off. I had to test the waters. He politely turned me down and began distancing himself from me. I did see him again years later, and he had moved in with a blonde man. Perhaps spitefully, I told him to "grow up." I haven't seen him since.

I joined the Navy, and met my ex-husband, Donald N. who I used to love. He was artistic, imaginative, creative and also a writer. He seemed to know something about real magic, and I wanted to learn from him. He ran D&D games. I joined his game and showed him my poetry. We went on one date. After that he pushed sex on me. He said he loved me. I figured, at the time, he was only a man and couldn't help himself. I was only eighteen and he was 22. So, I figured I'd take the good with the bad. He sure wasn't much to look at. He was pretty fat and had an ugly baby-face. I put up with his jealousy, threats, delusional ideation about God and magic, and sexual abuse for a little over three years. We had a baby girl, that we placed for adoption. It was my idea. I strongly suggested he go along with the idea. I don't think he trusted himself with a baby girl, or wanted the responsibility, so he went along with the adoption. I later learned he was a liar, and a thief. I also ended up in the hospital with some mysterious STD that cleared up, so he was a cheat as well. Eventually, after we got married, and broke up three months after the marriage, I fell out of love with him. It took years for me to come to terms with the abuse I'd suffered, and some education from the local crisis center about sexual abuse, and fall out of love with him. I think I was codependent, because he was a drug addict and I wasn't, at the time.

I met Dan G. near the end of my marriage. He was muscular whereas my ex-husband was fat. He was spiritual, or at least he seemed to be. He knew how to kiss, whereas my ex-husband did not. But, he had a girlfriend. He seemed to be a good friend and listener. Later I learned he was a marijuana addict. He also drank quite a bit. We slept together once and he began playing games with me. He no longer listened to me after that preferring to argue with everything I said. He also seduced me when I was crying over the break-up with my ex-husband. And he cornered me once by the bathrooms in the Bellingham south side Denny's and began feeling me up. It hurt. He was still going out with his girlfriend. I learned to hate him. I figured it was the only cure for being in love with him. Hating him worked, and I fell out of love.

My next love was J.P. Falcon G. He was a full-blooded Blackfoot man. He was the same age as me. He sang like an angel, wrote obscure songs about the Southwest and other women, and played the guitar. I felt for him, because when he was a teenager, one of his best friends was shot right in front of him. The boy who was shot was also Native American and an activist. I also felt for him because he'd been victimized by a particualarily nasty hazing in college. I knew him as a friend for seven years before I got tired of waiting. I did a portrait of him and told him he could have it if he took me home with him one July evening in 1997. He had the face and voice of an angel, but he was really more like the devil. I had seen him push down his girlfriend once, but I figured sleeping with him one time wouldn't hurt anything. On the way to his friend's house, where we spent the night, he put his hands on me and it hurt. That night he got as drunk as a skunk, took me to bed, and immediately tried for anal sex with me. I let him do that, even though it wasn't very much fun. That sexual experience cured me of being in love with him. I knew he was abusive after that.

My next love was Aaron, aka Freedom. He too was in a relationship. He had long blonde dreadlocks, and sang about love and Spirit. We never slept together. I tried getting to know him as a friend. But I got disgusted with people setting up altars to him and him putting up with it. He liked marijuana a lot. (By this time, I was rather fond of marijuana myself.) I also got disgusted with the way he treated his ex-girlfriend who was from Hawaii. He dumped her because she had an abortion, and she no longer was going to pay for his living expenses. I followed him down to California and went to a few of his shows. His music had deteriorated, as it often does when drugs are involved. My mental illness was active and I must've said some bizarre things to him, because he told me to stay away from him. So I did. I don't need any judgmental deceivers in my life anyway.

My next and last great love was Joshua M. I met him in drug treatment. He was recovering from a cocaine addiction. He was one of the smartest paople I've ever met. He had an unbeaten track record at Scrabble, and was a whiz at chess. He was a good friend up until we slept together. After that, he began avoiding me and hiding in his room all the time. He was bipolar and it was probably depression. He looked the part of a nerd, but like all my ex loves was a bad boy. At least he wasn't a fatso. I got mad about him avoiding me, and then him hanging out exclusively with a notorious racist at the treatment center. He had insisted that he loved me as a friend. We had childhood sexual abuse in common. He had been sexually abused by his older stepbrother for years. I'd finally had enough when he accused me of writing a nasty letter as well as him refusing to hug me the day he left the treatment center. He hung up on me when I called him, and I haven't talked to him since. Maybe I'm not being very understanding, but those are warning signs.

Maybe next time I fall in love it will be mutual. I would like that.

September 20, 2007

Sorting out the symptoms of my illnesses....

I've been diagnosed with four illnesses (that I agree with.) PTSD, chronic depression, paranoid schizophrenia, and chemical dependency. For some reason, I keep trying to sort out what symptoms went with which illness. Maybe I do this so I understand each one better.

I believe the depression started with the rapes that happened to me when I was eight years old. I had many incidents that happened in childhood that fed the depression. When I was raped by my adopted uncle, Jim, I was still in mourning for my mother. She died when I was almost four. My depression went untreated from 1978 to 2002. It was also undiagnosed until 1998. I spent most of my childhood crying. I rationalized this. I blamed my stepmother, who was mean, but still should not have caused so much crying. She used to make fun of me for crying so much. I believe she is a drug addict, and that's why she was so out of touch with compassion and her own feelings.

No matter what I did to feel better, nothing worked. I tried Buddhism, Wicca, Native American and Celtic Shamanism, and Christianity. I tried herbs, and the only combination of herbs that worked temporarily was Bach's Rescue Remedy. The Rescue Remedy, unfortunately, was out of my budget most of the time. It's a little bit expensive. I tried serving others as selflessly as I could, doing as many good deeds as I could. I graduated from community college. I even tried a few drugs, like marijuana, acid, mushrooms, and alcohol. The alcohol just made me sick, and tripping on mushrooms and acid led to some scary places. Up until 1995, marijuana only made me really quiet and withdrawn. None of these relieved my depression. I did stop crying all the time after I left my parents house, but I had the other symptoms of depression: low energy, sleeping too much, suicidal ideation, and feeling sad all the time.

I thought about suicide constantly, but never tried until the state of Montana took my daughter from me in 1998. I knew I was depressed, but had no faith in pills, so it went untreated. I wasn't even sure how to access the mental health system, lacked the motivation to look into it, and had no intention of confessing my "secret" desire to kill myself. I had been suffering from low grade paranoia most of the time too. I felt persecuted, which did not help my depression.

I'm not sure when the PTSD finally settled in. I think my marraige is where my breaking point was. The depression kept me in the relationship against all better judgment. When we first started dating, I was impressed with his imagination and ability to weave stories and poetry. That shouldn't have been enough to keep us together. He pushed sex on me from the very beginning, refusing to allow me the room to say no. He was grabby, like an octopus and he kissed like a fish. He was also fat and kind of ugly. He lied about ridiculous things. He also turned out to be a thief and a drug addict. Because of the sexual abuse that happened to me growing up, I believed that men just couldn't help themselves. I believed they all were rapists, or at the very least, pushy. The low grade paranoia that was going on with me did not help. This sexual abuse went on for three years. He pushed me into anal sex quite often, woke me up with his grabbiness when I had to work the next day often, and would not take no for an answer. I rationalized his behavior, telling myself that it was not as bad as the rapes that happened when I was a little girl. I tried communicating what I wanted in bed, compassion, and doing things to please him. Nothing improved the situation, of course. Boy, he really flipped out when I told him I didn't want to be in his D&D games anymore. This was due to the fact he kept calling me stupid.

I married him to chase him off. I figured he was obsessed. People who are obsessed tend not to want what they get when they finally get it. I was lucky; my ploy worked. He divorced me. First he left me a year and a day after our daughter's first birthday. He finally divorced me in 1995. He did try to get back together after he asked for the divorce, but I stood my ground and told him I thought I should try living on my own. He left me alone after that.

My relationships for years after the separation were a reenactment of the sexual abuse I had suffered. I kept seeing my ex husband in every man I dated. Some of them were actually sexually abusive to me, some of them weren't. Many of them pushed anal sex on me. It was when I started smoking pot all the time that I stopped getting in relationships. By then, I was too paranoid to establish any kind of relationship with anyone, and after my schizophrenia became full-blown, even maintain the ones I had. Some of the paranoia was due to my mental illness, some of it was due to the marijuana.

Schizophrenia was like a constant waking nightmare. I'm sure there's some connection between schizophrenia and dreams. We all see things and hear things that aren't really there, except most people only do this at night while sleeping. I had vivid nightmares. One in particular stands out. It was like War of The Worlds. I was being shot at by spaceships. It was a vivid nightmare.

Now I don't have that many nightmares, and being the kind of person I am, I went to the opposite end of the fear spectrum, and am not afraid of much any more. I kill rapists in my dreams now, and stand my ground if I'm being persecuted in my dreams. Bad dreams often turn out good, now. God/dess helps me in nightmares too, often He or She destroys rapists for me. I often have dreams about Jesus and the Goddess.

It took me a long time to realize that sexual abuse is unforgivable. It's the exception, not the rule, I realize now. The evidence was all around me, in the many male teachers I've had, and many professional men. I just did not see it. To me, it isn't love that makes you blind; it's fear. Love has saved my life.

I still have some symptoms of PTSD. I have a hard time seeing myself in a relationship, especially a healthy one or believing I'll ever have a family again. But I have hope.

September 4, 2007

What I did before I got sick

After my marriage from hell broke up, I spent a lot of time with my best friend and her kids. I also attended college full time.

I really miss the kids. Her oldest child, a daughter named Samantha will be 18 next month. The last time I saw her, she was about 9 years old. I helped raise them, since their mother is a drug addict, and I was not at the time. If anything, I consider myself to have been codependent at the time. Aside from school, most of my adult life was occupied with caring for, and, I have to admit it, enabling drug addicts. My ex husband was a drug addict and an alcoholic. And the three women I spent a lot of time around were all drug addicts. All of them had children.

Bonnie, my old best friend, can best be described as Cajun. She's from New Orleans. She was with a real loser named Patrick when I met her. He used to beat Samantha for wetting her pants when she was three or so. I was avidly opposed to their marriage, and tried for years to convince Bonnie to leave Patrick. I offered her a room in the house that me and my ex husband were renting to get her out of her mother's place and away from Patrick. I never liked Pat. He hit on me several times. I told Bonnie about it. She did not believe me. He is an alcoholic and a marijuana addict. Bonnie's mom is convinced he is a child molester. But the kids never said anything to indicate that he is one. I know he is violent, a philanderer and white. I have no doubt, with the verbal abuse he heaped upon Bonnie that he would have eventually hit her.

When the marriage finally broke up, Pat put up quite a fight for the kids. Some of Bonnie's old friends exaggerated her parental faults and filled out statements against her. Bonnie didn't want to say anything bad about Patrick in court or in front of her kids.

Quite often, I stayed over at her place, when she had one. In the mornings, she'd refuse to get up with her kids, so I'd have to feed them and supervise them, so they wouldn't run out in the street or cause too much mischief. Bonnie would often talk over Samantha or ignore her, I would try to pay attention to Samantha, because she often had interesting things to say. I haven't seen Samantha in over nine years. I have no idea what her interests are now. I spent a lot of time with her and Danny, her little brother. Danny was about four the last time I saw him.

It was shortly before I left that Danny told me that he was going to buy me a truck when he grew up.

The whole family was poor. Bonnie could barely afford to clothe her kids. Bonnie has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder because her blood father raped her for the first thirteen years of her life. She relives the nightmare in her sleep and through flashbacks. She didn't have anybody to teach her how to live on her own properly growing up. Of course, the drugs didn't help. She graduated from taking speed and smoking a lot of pot when she was a teenager to drinking and taking lots of perscription pain pills she'd get for a cough she never had.

I had a feeling if I called CPS they'd do to her what they do to most Native Americans, take her children away and give them to white foster or adoptive parents that conform to white societies norms. So, I thought, if I was available and able, I'd take care of the kids when she couldn't or wouldn't. Besides, I missed my oldest daughter, who I had given up for adoption a few months before I met Bonnie. So, in a way, Samantha took Chelsey's place in my life. I defended them from racists and various other predators, too.

I did get tired of never getting a thank you for taking care of the kids, much less any kind of payment for the free babysitting, or, if you prefer, being a nanny to Danny and Samantha. So, when I'd run out of cigarettes, sometimes I'd take one or two out of her pack. She did feed me quite often, and donated some half and half to me. She also loaned me a crib and some other things for the baby I had in 1997. I guess I felt, at first, no thanks was needed, but I got fed up with it.

Bonnie can't hold down any kind of job. She's never coped real well with the demands of being employed. She can't seem to cope with the system. She can't cope with college. She's tried to cope with all of those things, but what her father did to her affects her too much. She did complete two quarters of a community college even though she never completed high school and got decent grades. We started a liberal's club together when we were at the community college together. I had to tutor her in Algebra and precalculus. I am a trained tutor in both Math and English. She never said thanks for that either.

She's been with a man named Randy, who is an alcoholic and a marijuana addict, for almost thirteen years now. He helps her out financially. He's never been violent to either her or the kids that I know of. They live together. They were hand fasted but never married. Bonnie's tubes are tied, which she ordered done after her last high risk pregnancy. Later, she claimed the doctors tied her tubes without her permission. She claims he's been a good father to the kids, but I doubt he's been there emotionally for them. Randy didn't want kids. So it worked out good for him. He has someone to cook and clean up after him. He seemed pretty sexist to me.

Bonnie isn't speaking to me now. When I became actively psychotic, I had visions of her children being molested by both Randy and Pat. I published my "theory" about Randy on the internet. I also accused Randy of rape. The website has since been removed from the internet. She never forgave me for my false accusations. I had delusions that every man was a rapist. I honestly believed Randy raped Bonnie, because he didn't ask permission to touch Bonnie even though she invited it. It was all very black and white in my mind. All the things I did for her and the kids don't count for much since I accused the man she's dependent upon of rape. She also got upset about my accusations of some other men we knew. Some of whom were guilty of sexual abuse.

Relationships should be a two way street. I learned that from Bonnie and her kids, who loved me very much, and were dependent on me when I flipped out. It was the closest relationship I had to a two way street. Although, I have to honestly say I was doing most of the giving. I know Bonnie loved me in her own way.

In a way, the kids gave me the chance to feel like a mommy again. I didn't feel like one when I gave my eldest daughter up for adoption. I had another little girl to love and give to. I don't know how I did as a "nanny," maybe I really screwed things up for Samantha. Or maybe I showed her when it was time to leave bad relationships. In any case, it's impossible to find out since I don't know where Bonnie or her kids are living. I have Bonnie's email address, but not her snail mail address or phone number.

I did a lot of service work before I became sick. Now, it seems, nobody wants my services because of my illness. It was very rewarding, like school, which I also miss. I allowed my loans to go into default after I became actively psychotic. After four years of school, that's a lot of loan money. They want a really high monthly payment from me and aren't the least bit understanding of my illness. I have to pay that high monthly amount if I want them out of default. Maybe someday I'll be able to get them out of default, and become eligible again for financial aid. I'd love to go back to school.

My various odd jobs weren't my real job. My real job was defending my "adopted family" from prejudice and racism, taking care of kids and going to school. I miss my job.

August 30, 2007

My Battle With Drugs

I didn't start using drugs regularly until I was 25. Before that, I occasionally smoked pot, drank and did acid. I actually tried pot for the first time after I found my father's stash and stole a couple of buds when I was 16. I did drink a little while I was a teenager. Once I got drunk on a babysitting job. I found their liquor, and drank myself into a stupor. They came home to me passed out on the couch and never invited me back to babysit. Big surprise, huh?

I got married to a real winner, after we gave up our daughter for adoption. He pushed LSD on me. So I did LSD with him. I stopped liking it though, and quit. I kept feeling this "darkness" overtaking me every time I did it. It would give me anxiety attacks, too. He really liked to drink, smoke pot and be controlling. He threatened to hit me a couple of times, and pushed me up against the stove once. We got happily divorced in 1995 after separating a year and a day after our daughter's first birthday.

When I started smoking pot regularly, it seemed to be the perfect solution to the depression I had suffered from since I had been a kid. I was volunteering at an illegal coffee house, mixing espressos and lattes and making Belgian waffles. Everyone who worked there smoked marijuana. That was how the owner paid the people who worked there. I got tired of feeling left out and started smoking pot when they all did.

I've never liked manufactured drugs and didn't want any pills for my depression, so I never went and saw anyone about it. I tried a couple of St. John's Wort capsules, but that, of course, didn't help. I didn't know that you have to take it on a regular basis. "Herb" seemed the perfect solution, and at first, it seemed to help me have a good time as well. It seemed to make me happier, but it increased my anxiety to the point where I couldn't handle being around people when I was high.

At first, I'd clean like crazy when I was high. It seemed to help me get more work done. Later, I didn't feel like doing much of anything while I was high. It stopped making me happier, too.

I began to have tactile hallucinations that same year. I thought it was the marijuana. It felt like someone was touching my genitals. At first this was pleasurable but soon became annoying, and then unwelcome. It didn't occur to me to tell a doctor about these hallucinations, first of all, because they were embarrassing, secondly, I didn't know how to tell anyone. The hallucinations happened whether I was high or not. Many explanations for these hallucinations occurred to me, including demons and ghosts. They'd happen regularly.

I kept smoking pot. I thought it was helping me cope. I associated with people who I knew better then to associate with. One of them was a child molester who began stalking me. I'd smoke in front of children, which I never thought was right. I ended up getting pregnant with a convicted rapist's child. He'd been a friend before he was convicted of date rape, and he continued to hang around after he got out of jail.
While pregnant, I moved in with a man I'd met in a bar, as a roommate. He was a gypsy. He didn't seem to care that I was pregnant. He kept pressuring me to take acid. Finally I gave in and took a half a hit. My cat killed his gerbil and he made me get rid of her. Finally he kicked me out for not keeping the house clean enough. Before that, I was driving his minivan while stoned, without a license. I'd pick up my pot smoking buddies and go get stoned.

My best friend stopped hanging out with me, because her drugs were "better" then mine. Hers are legal. She takes perscription painkillers. She's never without them. She's always telling the doctor she has bronchitis, but she never coughs. Her boyfriend and one of her other best friends are regular marijuana smokers. She used to be addicted to speed when she was a teenager.

After the birth of my daughter, the whole world went wacky. I started hearing voices, jumping at shadows and having other tactile, visual and audio hallucinations. I thought it was black magic, the devil, that I was in Hell, and that it could all be blamed on the marijuana. But, still I didn't quit smoking it. I had my daughter for about four months before they took her away from me. It was an extremely stressful situation. When I'd breast feed her, the tactile hallucinations would get worse. It was absolutely intolerable. It felt like rape. I'd get in a rage and shake her while breastfeeding.

I began to believe that vampires were after me, and that all my former friends had turned into vampires. Everything seemed to feed the delusion that I was being stalked by telepathic vampires. It didn't help that her father was stalking me and the child molester was stalking me. I could not handle being around anyone for very long, and even refused to let others into my house.

Finally, I decided that my daughter needed her family. I didn't know which family members to trust, so I started hitchiking in the middle of the night from Washington with the baby. I did not smoke pot during the few days I was on the road. I was heading towards Wisconsin or Minnesota. I got as far as Missoula, MT before I mentioned the vampires and had the cops called on me. They put my daughter in foster care. Convinced I'd never get her back I took a small bottle of sleeping pills. About an hour after that, I went to the hospital. They shoved tubes down my nose. At the time I believed the charcoal they were going to give me was vampire blood and that if I took it willingly, I would turn into a vampire. So I kept running away. Finally they strapped me down and forced me to take the charcoal.

After that, they put me in the hospital, where I was diagnosed with psychosis n.o.s.. They treated me with haldol. When they discharged me, I told them I wanted to go back to Washington. So they sent me back to Washington, and my daughter arrived in Washington a month later.

I picked back up with the marijuana habit when I got back. I continued to take my meds until I adopted out my daughter to the foster family. They would not give my daughter back to me while I was still in denial about my mental illness and still smoking pot. I didn't want to quit smoking pot, and I couldn't accept the fact that I was mentally ill. The foster family offered to adopt her. I told them, finally, that as long as they didn't change her first and middle names, I would adopt her out to them.

I lost my housing, which was conditional on me having a child. I could not deal with the idea of moving, so finally they came to kick me out with the cops and I had to leave all my stuff behind, except what I could carry.

That was the beginning of three years of homelessness. I travelled down to California. I was too paranoid to beg my so called friends to let me stay with them. I smoked pot whenever I could get my hands on it and drank occasionally. I hitchhiked around the country, making sure I went to every one of the continental 48 states. It was a dangerous lifestyle, but it seemed less dangerous then making like a sitting duck sitting in one place. This also enabled me to find more pot, money, and food. I was too paranoid of landlords, etc. to move into a place. I did not feel like, with my mental illness, anyone would let me move in with them.

It all ended when I came back to Wisconsin in 2002. My sobriety date is July 12, 2002, because the day before that date I was arrested for burglary. The night I committed burglary, I had been getting drunk and singing karaoke. I'd been having many conversations with "God" in my head and He "told" me to burn down my dad's house. So I did that after taking a blanket and fishing pole from his garage (burglary). They later charged me with arson.

I spent a year and a half in jail before they let me plead NGI to arson. They sent me to a mental institution where I was committed for twenty years. They gave me ten years probation for the burglary. I'm now out on conditional release. That's where they diagnosed me with paranoid schizophrenia. I've since come to terms with my mental illness, and my need for medication.

I'm thankful I'm back to a sober lifestyle. I'm even more thankful I've got sober people to hang around with. I learned my lesson about hanging out with and associating with drug addicts. Eventually, they'll drag you down with them, if they aren't in recovery.

And, that's my story.

August 25, 2007

Losing my best friends...

First off, I wish to say that I have made new friends, although none I could call a best friend. I still miss my two best friends, Bonnie and Angie.

The stigma of this illness, I'm sure, is what caused them to cut off all communication with me. Maybe, they just don't trust me to make sense or act "normal." In the past, I've acted very irrationally, and when I was paranoid made accusations that weren't true. Bonnie isn't speaking to me any more. I thought, when I was actively psychotic, that I was receiving clairvoyant and precognitive visions. I also thought I had telepathy. I saw her boyfriend molest her son in my head and assumed it was a real experience for the boy. I saw many children molested in my head. The thoughts were very bothersome. I assume this was caused, in part, by the fact that I was seriously molested when I was eight years old. I actually saw people that could be child molestors when I was travelling around. People who would hold their child by the crotch or set a child on their crotch. At one point I actually believed every man was a rapist and a child molester. I was quite paranoid. It was very scary. I did try to stop these people from possibly molesting children by calling the police on them or talking to firemen about it. I was scared of all cops, too, and believed they were all perpetrators of domestic violence. I did have some violent experiences with several cops which only fed my paranoid delusions.

Anyway, I wrote about what I saw Randy, Bonnie's boyfriend, do to her son in my head and published it on a website, along with the names of several men, some of whom were actually sexually abusive, and some of whom weren't. I also thought that he was raping my best friend. She never forgave me for that.

Actually, she's no saint. I should know better then to expect forgiveness from a drug addict. But, I figured after 9 years of loyal friendship, free babysitting in the mornings when she refused to get up with her children, helping her out in general with her two kids, and other things I did for her, she'd miss me enough to forgive me. But, alas, no, it was not to be. She never did say thank you for the things I did for her kids. If she ever saw me crying, she'd get disgusted with me. But then again, she was there for me after my divorce. Her mother let me stay with them after me and my ex husband separated, because I didn't have anywhere else to go. I was happy to let her do most of the talking, since I've always been the quiet type. She can be quite charming when she wants to be, and is a consummate actress. I was always amazed at all the puns she could come up with. I even tutored her in precalculus when she was in community college.

She expected so much, though. I have to honestly say she took me for granted. As soon as her son was old enough not to run out in the streets in the mornings, I left Bellingham, WA where we lived and went down to California. This was the time I gave my youngest daughter up for adoption. I didn't trust any of the friends and other associates with my daughter, and I was afraid Bonnie would talk me into ignoring my daughter or spanking her, like she used to do with her kids. We spent almost every day together. I really miss her. At one point, I thought she had turned into a vampire. I got my ideas about vampires from the author, Anne Rice. This is when I stopped talking to her or visiting her. I thought she was inside my head.

My other best friend, Angie, was my childhood best friend. As we grew up, we kind of grew apart. We had vastly different philosophies on whether or not to have children, and religion. She's Christian; I'm not. But we managed to preserve the friendship anyway. We were friends from 1980 to 2002 (22 years). She found out that I tried to burn down my dad's house and joined my family in obtaining a no contact order. Her mother died when I was in jail for that crime; she had a massive heart attack. I wish I had been able to comfort her.

I may have drove her away when I was paranoid that she was getting beat up. Songs on the radio suggested to me that she was getting beat up, and I was really worried about it. She actually became a little irked that I grilled her. I met Walter, her live in boyfriend, once a long time ago, but don't remember what he looks like.

She's a vetrinary technician. Apparently she makes enough to buy a house, which I've never seen. I really miss her too. She was a good source of support when I was growing up and going through my awkward teenage years. She and her mother would let me help myself to fruit in their dining room, and provided an empathic ear when I'd go off about my stepmonster's (adoptive mother by law) emotional abuse.

Maybe, someday she'll become better educated about schizophrenia and forgive me for what I did to my father and stepmonster. She doesn't understand that my father is abusive too, since I never complained about him growing up. I think I was trying too hard to love the man.

Anyway, thanks for reading this. I had to get this off my chest.

August 9, 2007

Living with schizophrenia

It's been about three years since I was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is an organic brain disease that affects all areas of its victim's lives. Dopamine, a brain chemical, overloads the brain with stimuli. I couldn't believe at first, that I had this disease. It was denial at its finest. It has affected me all my life.

It started with delusions of persecution. I really believed I was being picked on and that my parents and all the kids at school were out to get me. My stepfather's abuse and my father's refusal to communicate didn't help matters any. I had depression and would have fits of crying. Anything said to me could be interpreted as an insult. I would lose my temper as a result of paranoia.

I also had delusions of grandeur, although these didn't develop until later. I believed I was a powerful shaman, clairvoyant and an empath with magical abilities. I went on a spiritual quest that involved hitchhiking. I believed God was talking to me inside my head, and I heard Him say He would provide shelter every night I was away. I did manage to find shelter the entire time I was on my spiritual quest which further strengthened the delusion that God was talking to me.

Madness had its benefits. Convinced I could be a powerful healer, I studied herbs and graphology. I studied Buddhism and considered myself enlightened. I learned a lot about religion and herbs. I always have been smart with a gift for speed reading, math and writing. Knowledge led to greater power. I could predict my friends' emotions, and my knowledge of pop psychology allowed me to help friends. I completed four years of college finally quitting in 1995 because of paranoia.

I truly had a split personality. I had the one who played God inside my head and the one who studied healing. I referred to myself in the third person. Paranoid thoughts were often right about men's intentions toward me. I was afraid of getting beaten up and of manufactured drugs. It kept me out of long term abusive relationships where I could have gotten beat up. Sometimes it paid to be paranoid.

The hallucinations began later. They started occuring in 1997. I had just given birth to my second daughter. I believed ghosts or angels were talking to me out loud. Sometimes I thought it was the devil. It felt like there was somebody touching me in private places and sometimes in other places. The physical hallucinations were terrifying; I was being raped by my own mind.

These hallucinations drove me out of my apartment. I started to believe every man I had ever been with raped me. I believed I was being hunted by telepathic vampires. I also believed at some points in time that Satan or demons were raping me. To protect my newborn daughter from vampires, stalkers and her father, a convicted rapist, I took off hitchhiking with her. In Missoula, Montana they took her away from me because I let it be known that I was running away from vampires. They put me in a homeless shelter where I felt so hopeless and depressed I took sixteen sleeping tablets in an attempt to commit suicide. They put me in the mental ward of St. Patrick's hospital where they diagnosed me with psychosis NOS (Not otherwise specified) and treated me with haldol. Haldol is worse then being paranoid. They put my daughter in foster care.

Shortly after this incident I went down to Navajo country on a bus to save the Navajo with my great shamanic powers. They were being relocated from Black Mesa because of a Peabody coal mine to a nuclear dump site. I wrote about it and sent copies of the article to several newspapers and magazines. Nobody published my article.

I was able to stay on my meds for about a year before paranoia about them took over. I heard they caused weight gain, and I didn't want to gain any weight. I went off them and lost my apartment and everything in it, because I gave my daughter up for adoption and subsequently lost my housing. I was too sick to move out after the state took my housing away, so I became homeless. The hallucinations continued.

I was too paranoid to stay in one place very long. I hitchhiked all over the country convinced I could follow ley lines (lines of power) and heal the Earth. I felt safer outside, by myself, rather then being around people. By this time I had distanced myself from family and friends with my accusations and fears, so I had nobody to stay with. On the positive side, I saw quite a bit of California.

I finally got treatment again after I tried to burn down my father's house because I thought God told me to, and I was convinced he was out to get me. That was in July 2002. They sentenced me to twenty years in a mental institution on October 31, 2003. I spent over a year in jail. All of my hallucinations stopped along with all of my delusions after they put me on Abilify. I was on Risperdal for two and a half years, but I gained too much weight and they changed my medication. The benefits of Risperdal outweighed the disadvantages.

All of these thoughts were out of control, which is why they seemed like they were coming from outside of me. I used to believe all the songs I heard on the radio were songs written to me. I really thought someone was trying to communicate with me. I felt like my thoughts were being broadcast, because I could hear voices responding to them. I felt like unrelated conversations had something to do with me. I was using marijuana for the years 1995 to 2002, but it really only made me more paranoid. I'm glad I got treatment that works now.

I plan to go back to college in the future. All of my knowledge and intelligence as well as my history of helping others as a housekeeper and tutor has been a boon to my self esteem. It has been a long, scary battle with schizophrenia, homelessness, depression, and abuse from stepparents, but I've made it. I finally am finding that all that good advice from self-help books is working.

October 14, 2006

August 8, 2007


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