Thursday, March 31, 2011

Skeeta Jenkins Hosting ACT #17

Teff, being interviewed about the blog and herself! Check it out!

Avril Lavigne - Basket Case

The Nightshift

It was a normal day at the Liberty State Hospital, which is to say it was constant chaos and insanity. I was working in the admissions office, receiving patients from law enforcement officers. My job was to verify who the patients were, conduct a short interview to see if they were going to attack me, and then take vital signs. This went pretty smooth usually, many times because of my promise to take the patient outside to smoke.

This night was fairly calm compared to some. The resident psychiatrist on call was perhaps the oldest psychiatric resident in the world; but he was nice, did his job quickly, and always ordered pizza for the staff. I received a call from a mental health deputy from Liberty County who we saw on a regular basis. “I’m bringing in a patient; we will be there in 15 minutes.”

I asked him, “Has he been screened by a county mental health worker?”

“No,” he replied, “He has been holding his family hostage with a shotgun for 24 hours.”

What the hell? “Why don’t you take him to jail?” The deputy informed me that he was a fellow deputy who had been shooting up speed for three days, and just needs to go into rehab.

Any police officer can commit any person for a 24 hour period, as long as the doctor on duty agrees. So, the door buzzes and I push a button and in comes four Liberty County deputies and a very disheveled, glazed eyed man that looked like he had not slept in weeks. The patient was 6’4 and around 240 pounds, outweighing me by about 100. As a former deputy, he was granted immunity by his “brother” deputies and brought to us. For a county that never met a law they didn’t love, these laws did not apply to the police, they were above it. Apparently bringing me a violent, psychotic, meth filled trained killer was no big deal. As with everything else, it’s all about who you know.

After their arrival, all four of the accompanying deputies went straight back to our area to get coffee, leaving the psycho deputy alone in our waiting room, which was not designed to hold patients who wanted to get out. But, his buddies removed his handcuffs and took a coffee break.

Ring ring. “Yes doctor.” “I ordered a pizza, should be here in ten minutes.” So, I leave the safety of our office and stand in the waiting room, waiting for pizza and hopefully dissuading this guy from running away.

The door buzzes. I walk to the door, keeping this guy in my peripheral vision. As soon as I open it, I see him running like mad toward the door. Knocking the pizza guy on his back, he makes his escape.

We did not have to chase escaping patients, but, being used to physical altercations at this job and being 26 years old, and because I believed this guy to be very dangerous, I ran out the door. I catch him in about five steps, grab his waist, and take him to the ground.

People with severe mental problems can exhibit almost super human strength, and people with mental problems who are on meth are a whole other issue. As soon as I tackled him, he threw me up from a lying position and slammed me on my back. I got up, and he got up.

He said, “Don’t mess with me boy!”

Unfortunately, no one else had seen his escape, so the cavalry was not coming out to help me. He takes one step and hits me in my temple, causing my glasses to fly ten feet. He then takes off running and stumbling. I jog behind him to see where he is going. Over the fence he goes.

As I begin my walk back to admissions, I see a car coming straight at me. I see it is a DPS Trooper. Well, better late than never.

The trooper opens his door, gets behind it, and points his gun at me. “Hands up, get on the ground now!!” I put my hands up. I then replied “I am not the escapee, I work here, and if you look over there, you can see the mental patient lumbering down the street. I’ve already been on the ground twice; I guess you can shoot me if you want.” Not the smartest thing to say, and my long hair and goatee did look a little crazy. He looked at my ID badge around my neck and got into his cruiser and sped toward the psycho cop….

As for me, I start walking back to our office in admissions. When I get there, I find about twelve law enforcement officers. After making and writing various incident reports, the trooper who almost shot me came in with the crazy cop. He was a nice guy, and apologized sincerely for his drawing a weapon on me. But, there was still work to be done. I took the remorseful cop's vital signs as he wept and said how sorry he was for running away. We then walked him to his unit, accompanied by five law enforcement officers.

On returning to the office, my co-worker advised me to sue the pants off of Liberty County. I guess I should have, but at that time it was just another day on the job.

just another day on the job

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Bob Marley - Waiting In vain original

The Bassist Updates

The CD Release show ended up being rather amazing, but nothing happened afterward. It's not a surprise considering that I didn't plan anything afterward. In a way, it's an affirmation that I have a lot of weight on my shoulders to carry. I can either take it by trying to guilt my friends into pushing this forward with me, or I can push forward, serving as an example to get things done.

I decided that I'm tired of playing the victim.

That's why I started signing us up for festivals and applying for shows out of town in January. Nothing has come of it yet, but I did take the week off from my real job to attend the SXSW 2011 festival. I'm writing this on the last day of the fest - Friday, March 18.

I'm sitting in a Starbucks sipping an Iced Cafe Mocha wondering why I haven't stepped into this world of SXSW before. I've seen amazing 8-bit music, crazy dub step, insane metal and rock, and HUGE stages built into parking lots where buildings were a week before. They don't mess around. This is a terrific collection of personalities and talent that I haven't ever seen before.

People are speaking what appears to be Russian next to me - I saw a dude from China skateboard down the side of I-35 to cross the traffic laden 6th street. There was a half-pipe on 4th. I had someone thrown into me, then they writhed on the ground in an intense fervor while screaming - photographers ate that up.

This is a place you can act like you've got no responsibilities, and everyone will think you're a genius. This is my kind of world., A couple of days ago, I got in touch with the right person regarding our performance in an upcoming festival. See, SXSW isn't the only festival in Austin around this time. There are tens if not hundreds of smaller festivals that spawn from SXSW. From anti-SXSW to independent music situations to non-SXSW bars taking advantage of the visitors from all over the world that descend on this great city.

I can't believe that I was so cynical before. It makes so much sense why it wasn't working before - I was trying to neglect and work against the current. Turns out, if you can't beat them, joining them really is the best solution. How else are you going to learn to overcome if you can't become?

A conversation that I had JUST NOW with this fella next to me (yes, there are people who have polite conversations with random people) confirmed that Austinites methodically hate SXSW. I can understand. The people who come in town don't tip. They trash bus stops. They sneer at locals and take massive number twos at bus stops.

Well, that's what I thought too; there are bad apples in every bunch. Realistically speaking, the people who come into Austin for SXSW are generally the insane looking for a getaway - and they respect Austin. SXSW uses them, spits them out, and they leave here either really upset or satisfied. Eh, different perspectives provide different levels of cynicism.

Regarding the band, the guys are excited because I was able to secure an outside stage. A NICE outside stage in the middle of the day. The lady who booked us has since been let go, and I'm trying to confirm the show without being a douche - that's going to be accomplished by attending a show today and checking the schedule for tomorrow. If we're on, that's awesome. If we're not - I'll have to see what else I can pull out of my pocket to secure something similar. I wish that I didn't get them excited about something that may not happen. I couldn't help it - she confirmed the show, then the next email said that she's done. Regardless, I'll find out what it's like to confirm a show for an organization with someone on their way out of the organization. It's enough to make your head spin.

Patience will be my best friend this weekend...

How else are you going to learn to overcome if you can't become?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Weird Science (full version)- Oingo Boingo

The Mortal

Occasionally there’s a science fiction plot which involves an artificial intelligence, or sentient robot that goes around questioning its purpose, its reason for existence. I think as an audience we respond to this fictional existentialism with a form of pity. In these instances, the robots, androids or what have you, usually express a subtle envy or jealousy of our humanity.

In the original Tron, I found inspiration in a line from the movie. If you’re unfamiliar, the premise of Tron is that there is another world inside or a computer system or network and the programs perform their functions, much as we go to work or school. All the while they believe in the existence of “users”, mythical creators and benefactors that employ them to do their will and care about their well-being. At one point in the film, the main character, a human, sucked into the digital world or grid, confesses that he is in fact, a user. The titular program then says, “If you are a user, then everything you've done has been according to a plan.”

Ha, you wish.

In both these instances god-like attributes are given to us mere mortals and we feel better about ourselves, responsible for being an example to these wayward entities and desire to live up to our reputation. The alternative, and usually the rest of the plot, revolves around the revelation that we’re no more perfect or self-aware than our artificial counter-parts. Then the remarkable part happens, it doesn’t matter. As with most things revered, it is nearly impossible to fall from the pedestal.

Now if you haven’t figured it out, in these stories we are somehow superior to these, less than human, characters and yet we aren’t made of metal and plastic or have super strength or intelligence, we’re just human. Again, this doesn’t matter, simply because we are human. Is it lonely at the top? In our arrogance do we have to contrive stories that, although cast a spotlight on our weaknesses and faults, still portray us as some sort of god? Maybe it’s not arrogance; maybe it’s self-consciousness that inspires stories like these.

After all, if one day a god-like entity is revealed to us as less than perfect and our own existence is discovered to be a happy accident, where would we fit into the story? How would this make us question our own existence any more than we already do? And so it is, that just like the characters in these stories we walk this Earth in constant search of purpose, a reason to rationalize and justify our existence.

I can say this. Some of the most interesting people in our lives have no idea what their purpose is. It is the pursuit to find that answer that inspires the rest of us. We are entertained, amused, distracted from our lives by the fruits of their labor and the beauty of their lives. In the seeming lack of purpose and the insatiable desire to find a solution to life’s questions, their purpose becomes them. Personally, even though I am unemployed I am not without purpose. I believe that somewhere out there just might be a creator that is not only proud of me, but encourages my own musings and loves me all the more for it and at the risk of sounding pretentious, perhaps I can be an inspiration to others.

End of program. . .

I can be an inspiration to others

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Second Child

Okay, here it goes.....I am the second child between my mother and father. My mother was raised in Selma, Indiana. To this day there are still not other races living there but white people. My dad was born in Tennessee, but lived in Muncie, Indiana when he met my mother. As you know the mixed race thing back then was frowned upon.

My older full brother died before I was ever born. He was killed by his babysitter. I don't think my mother has ever really gotten over that. My mother did have another child, which is my sister. She is my half sister, but I have grown up with her from the start and never thought of her as anything else than my real sister. My dad has had several other children throughout his life. A couple I still don't know. Two of my dad's other children are my brothers. Justin who is the same age as my sister, grew up with me too. Whenever I came to visit my dad, we were together. Johnathan, my youngest brother, is 17. I knew him when he was a child.

The backdrop for my story begins here. My mother and dad divorced either after my brother died or when I was a small child. Don't actually know when. My mother joined the military and my dad joined the railroad.

As a small child with a single mother I had a blast! We traveled a lot because of the military, but I didn't mind because my mother was my best friend as a child. We did everything together. I can close my eyes and remember those times.

Then my little sister was born. I love her to death and always have, but deep down I blame her for having to share my mother and losing my best friend in my mother. I think I actually had a wonderful childhood, but it seems to me that once my sister was born my life was on the turn of getting worse. It didn't start immediately, but one outside the family could see the change. My mom got busier, I had to help with my sister, and I just didn't have any mom time!

I started acting out the older I got. Started getting in trouble. Stealing change from my family. Even from my sister's piggy bank!...I remember one time, I had been stealing from family so much and getting in trouble, that when my cousin stole five dollars from my Uncle Joe, everyone swore it was me! Even to this day they think it was me! I was there when my cousin did it and he still won't admit it.

I had a great childhood and teenager years, I just wasn't getting the mom time I wanted and then started to not get the positive attention I needed, so i turned to negative things. I can remember times when my mother was at every sporting event I had and cheered me on like no tomorrow. Then one day it stopped. Everything stopped. Praising me for good grades, watching me play sports, and going to do things as a family. She was too busy.

Somewhere around this time my dad went to prison for selling drugs. he did two six year stints. From day one of my mother finding out and telling me, her words were always, "You going to grow up just like your dad!" That hurt me to the bone because to me I loved my dad and he always showed me love and attention, so in that aspect I loved him, but also he was in prison! So, not only did she talk about my dad who I loved, but she was saying I was going to go to jail too! My mother loved me with toys and stuff like that when I got older. I knew I was loved, but I needed to see it and hear it by other means than just hardships? Not hearing I love you. You are a good son. I'm proud of you. My mother loved with an iron fist, not abusive, just not loving.

The end result to all of the love my mother stopped showing me was me being a man whore as Debbie would say. I dated two or three girls in high school all the time, looking for someone to love and love me back.

I played all sports in junior high, but in high school our basketball coach didn't like you playing if you played football too. So one of my favorite sports I had to quit to play my best sport, which was football. I played soccer and baseball too, but for some peculiar reason I always seemed to fail a class the first part of baseball season and never played for high school. I think if i had have played my life might have been a little different. Same goes for football. I was one of the best receivers we had during my time of playing for school, but the head coach didn't like me. In his terms, I was a trouble maker. So I played only defense my junior and senior year.

A highlight of my high school year was a picture in the Cove paper talking about Cove Soccer Team gets arrested. It actually wasn't all of us, but most of us. We were breaking into houses and cars and taking whatever we wanted. Stupid stuff. None of us needed anything. We always had money and did whatever we wanted, just being stupid teenagers bored to death, so we created our own adventures. Though I truly enjoyed doing it - the excitement of it all.

My best friend, who I feel is a brother to me, has always been there with me. Through the good and the bad. If I was there so was he. We were so close that both of us could walk right into each other's house, go in the fridge and get whatever, or just go to sleep in each other's rooms. We were family. Once in 10th grade we said to each other that one of us was going to go to prison and one of us was going to be successful. happened just like that......

I have been one who has seen his blessings go by and not grab them. My high school years were a mix of good and bad experiences. Though even the bad experiences brought me and my friends together. My best friend Chris was like a brother to me. We didn't always do right, but even through the bad we were always there for each other and our families. I love him as much as I love my my own family.

My Dad was always my role model even though he wasn't there for me. He was in prison....I was a good sports player in school with a not enough drive to reach the upper levels of play to go to college. Wanted to, but had no one to push me towards that dream. So many things happened in my life to get me where I am right now.

I went to prison myself. Something I never had to do but made it my destiny. I went to prison for 10 years on a 15 year conviction. I will tell you that prison was a dangerous, yet vast learning experience. I met quite a few men I could and do call my friends, prison guards and inmates.

My other best friend, is a stand up guy and my brother also. I love him as much as I love Chris. He not only kept me going, but kept my relationship with my wife going. He saw what i didn't see. He saw the good when I wanted to see the bad. He saw the future when I only saw the present.

I got involved with a gang in prison and had to do a few things I will always regret. Luckily, I made it out of prison healthy. Scarred emotionally, and mentally, but in one piece.

I can still remember the day I got out! It was a very emotionally draining day. I was going to get out and almost at the end of the day they tell me I wasn't going to get out til the next week! You can only imagine what that felt like. It felt like someone had torn my heart out! Thankfully, God, stepped in and made some things happen. I knew then that God had a true plan for me and my family.

It hasn't been all peachy keen for my family with me being home. Not only have my wife and I been through the ringer, but my oldest daughter has had some issues too. Mostly because I haven't ever been a real father to her. I question myself every single day, because I know I want to be, but how? How do you love your children when you can't even love yourself sometimes?

Thankfully, I have some good Christian friends and a great support group in my family and my friends. I can honestly say that without GOD in my life and in my heart and in the heart of my family and friends I would not be here today. I take one day at a time.

There is nothing better in life than to see your children smile when they see you. To see your wife smile when she sees you. To see your father and mother smile when they see you.

I am here to tell anyone, that when life gets bad and you want to quit..don't! There is hope. Seek Him and He will be there. Pray and he will listen. Ask and you will receive. People love you no matter how they show it, they do. And for all my family and friends, especially my children, Audreanna and Channah, Daddy loves you to the fullest!

Every day I take a step forward. Sometimes I take two. One day I will be the person everyone expects me to be and I expect to be. I hit rock bottom and slowly but surely have climbed that ladder to success.

Thank you everyone.

Thank you God

Thank you for reading my story. It is real. It is sad. It is beautiful!

take one day at a time

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Fleetwood Mac - Dreams

The Premonition

After divorcing my first husband, I wondered how someone knows if the person you are with is your soulmate. How does one go about finding him? Will I know right when I meet him, or will it take time for me to know he's the one?

What does soulmate mean, anyway?

According to the dictionary, -a soulmate is a person with whom one has a feeling of deep and natural affinity, love, intimacy, spirituality, and/or compatibility; the one and only other half of one’s soul.

Will I ever find that someone with whom I have this deep connection? Does everybody find theirs? How will I know? I found the answer to these questions about two years later.

When I first met Joe, I thought he was attractive, fun and easy-going. He made me laugh and we had a great time together. Soon after, we started dating and everything was going great.

One night, he was over at my place and we were watching TV. I had had a long day and started dozing off. I then started having a weird dream. In the dream he was driving down an empty road at night. Suddenly, he had a flat tire. He got out of the car to take a look. Out of nowhere came a man with a knife. He looked like a serial killer. He grabbed his arm and pulled him. I had a terrible feeling inside of me like I was never going to see him again. For a second I imagined not being able to hug him, see him smile, nor grow old with him. The pain inside of me was so intense.

I woke up at that moment and was relieved to see him by my side. I didn’t tell him about the dream. After all, it was not real. It had just been a nightmare.

It was getting late. He had to take a plane to San Diego early the next morning. He was going to be away for three days. We had plans after his business trip to go to Vegas with friends for a couple of days.

After we said goodbye, I sat back down on the couch, grabbed the remote and started flipping channels. It was close to midnight. I was tired and I fell asleep on the couch.

It felt like just a minute had gone by. I started having a dream. This time I was running in a hospital, looking for a room. Finally, I found the room and walked in. There was Joe. He had a lot of tubes and monitors around him. He was in a coma.

I woke up in a panic. It was 3 AM. I forgot to ask him to call me when he made it home. It’s 3 AM.

I can’t call him now!

What am I going to say, “Did you make it home? Are you okay? Sorry I woke you up. By the way, I have a feeling you’re going to die.”

He has an important meeting tomorrow. I’m not going to call him.

The feeling would not go away.

It’s just a dream, calm down. Why is this pain so intense? Why does it feel so real? I even felt physical pain, like someone was pulling my insides. I have never been so anxious in my life!

What if something happens to him? I can’t lose him. I want to spend the rest of my life with him. God please, let this be just a bad dream. God, please, protect him wherever he is now.

I started crying. I had never had that feeling in my life.

What’s going on with me?

I wanted to talk to him so bad. He’s going to think I’m crazy. I kept trying to calm myself down.

He’s going to go on his trip, come back, we’re going to go to Vegas and I’m going to ask HIM to marry ME. In Vegas! That’s what I’ll do. Everything is going to be fine. When will this anxiety go away? God, I love him. Did I tell him that today?

By then, it was 4 AM. The phone rang.

“ Is this Lisa Carlson?” the voice asked.

“Speaking”, I replied. I knew what she was going to tell me. I knew something was wrong. I felt so guilty. I could have prevented this. Why would I have this premonition, other than to do something before it happened? Why didn’t I do something about it?

“Joe was in a car accident,” the lady said. “He’s going to be fine. He has several broken bones. He’s badly injured. But he’s going to be okay.”

I don’t even remember the ride to the hospital. I was numb. I walked into his room and saw him. He was all bruised with tubes connected to him, and his right arm had been amputated. His eyes were closed and as soon as he opened them and saw me, he smiled so big. I was so happy he was alive. I looked into his eyes and a thought came to my head.

Now I know what soulmate means. Now I know who my soulmate is.

the one and only other half of one’s soul

Thursday, March 3, 2011

That's What Friends Are For - Dionne Warwick & Friends HQ

The Instructions

I was working and reading posts on Facebook the other night, well mostly reading on Facebook as opposed to working, but I digress. As I was logged on to Facebook, an old friend popped up to chat with me. That’s the neat thing about social networking – all the friendships and memories that were once lost are now found again. I’ve been able to connect with people from my childhood through my college years.

Some people I do not recognize, but others look like they did back in high school! I am shocked at the political undertones many people write in their status updates and thrilled to see pictures of newborn babies! Anyway, my childhood friend asked me to write a story for this blog – he gave me the rules and I told him I would have it to him after the semester ended.

I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on what I would write and when I was in my office the other day I spotted a book that I’ve carried with me since graduate school – Life’s Little Instruction Book, 551 suggestions, observations and reminders on how to live a happy and rewarding life. So, I picked it up and took it home with me. I read through it once again and had a moment of “if I only knew then, what I know now” – what great little lessons! Here are a few which really struck home with me and made me think about my friends, how quickly time passes, and the importance of life, not which side of the political fence you are on because inevitably, all sides are wrong:

Attend class reunions.
Don’t take good health for granted.
Remember that all news is bias.
Call your mother.
Don’t use time or words carelessly. Neither can be retrieved.
Select a doctor your own age, so you can grow old together.
Have some knowledge of three religions other than your own.
Tape record your parents’ laughter.
Be open to new ideas.
Count your blessings.

Why did I select those 10? I am finding that I as grow older, I realize the importance of keeping in touch with friends, that I am facing health related issues that I thought only happened to “old people”, that as I grow older, my parents do too and they will not be here forever, and that politics is politics and it’s not worth ruining family or friendships over, so keep your thoughts and opinions to yourself, don’t post them for the world to read.

One other little piece of advice to my friend that asked me to write this posting for the blog – walk with your friends to school!

if I only knew then, what I know now

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Sage and The Stork

My “story” is not very different from those of others. I’ve experienced happiness, heartache, and pain throughout my life. Fortunately, I’ve had more happy times and fond memories throughout my 38 years.

I am an only child and have been fortunate to have a large, loving family around me my entire life. My childhood prior to 11 was pretty typical, aside from the fact that my parents always argued in front of me. My father was more of a “buddy” than a father figure, leaving all of the discipline to my mother. My parents divorced when I was 11, the summer before I started sixth grade. My life changed forever at that point.

After the divorce I would see my father occasionally, and I remember him living at a different place at each visit – always living with a friend or girlfriend. When I was in eighth grade, I began asking my mother more and more questions about the divorce and my father. I believe at this time my eyes were merely beginning to open to the situation before me. I came to learn that my father was verbally abusive to my mother from early-on in their marriage constantly belittling and yelling at her. Until this point, my mother never talked negatively about my father to me. The more I learned of his affairs, drug usage, and abuse, the more troubled I became. Shortly after I learned of the “truth” of his behaviors, he called me on my 13th birthday. I told him that I never wanted to speak to him again. These were literally my last words to him.

You can imagine that middle school was quite difficult for me. Not only was I an emotional wreck, but I was an “early developer”. Unfortunately as I developed my figure early, my body also reacted to the hormone surges and I was overweight. I was teased quite a bit by others, primarily girls, which only compounded my emotional issues. I began getting involved in sports in the seventh grade, which helped me to slowly lose weight; however, I was not able to ever be as thin as I wanted to be. It took me years to realize that I will never be a size 6, merely due to the fact that I have a large frame.

I have always been a very outgoing, friendly personality, and for this reason, I have always had a lot of friends. Most of my friends were always older than me in high school. I attribute this to the fact that I was more mature than most people my age because of my experiences. I did not date much in high school because of two reasons: 1) I was consumed by sports, which took up the majority of my free time 2) I saw how all of my male friends talked about the girls they dated and slept with – which was rarely positive. So, as I got further along in high school, my closest friends kept graduating, which ultimately left me alone my senior year.

My first serious boyfriend was my senior year of high school, when I was 17. The boy was the cousin of one of my closest childhood friends. The relationship was a textbook case of codependency for both of us, which was interesting given that fact that he was in college and lived an hour away from me. Despite living in a separate town, we spent every weekend together and often saw each other during the week as well. A month into the relationship he told me that he suffered from bi-polar disorder. At the time I had a vague understanding of mental illness, but soon learned that I was going to get a crash-course in dealing with the disease directly. Our relationship was very intense for several months, but ended at the end of my senior year right before my senior prom. I learned recently that he came out of the closet in the last few years, after he divorced he wife.

In college, I dated often and truly came out of my “shell”. I chose to go to a top-rated private liberal arts university that was known for the diverse nature of its student body. My grades were less than stellar my first year as, like others, I partied too much. I joined a sorority (which I am still actively involved in at the alumni level) my sophomore year and held numerous offices in the three years of membership.

My exposure to the world and others heightened in college, as I learned of other cultures, religions, etc. This is when I became very liberal in my stance on social issues such as gay rights, pro choice and other controversial social issues. Never once, however, did I lose my belief in Christianity. I just believe that I became more tolerant, sympathetic, understanding and a less judgmental individual. These are values that I will hold for the rest of my life.

My last semester of college was quite difficult for me. My grandmother, a dear friend, passed away suddenly three months prior to graduation. Her death shattered me to the core. In middle school and high school, I would spend significant time with her and my grandfather during the summers while my mother attended graduate school or worked. My grandmother became one of the few people I would turn to about my troubles regarding my father. She was an amazing woman, and even 16 years later, I still think of and miss her almost daily.

The months succeeding her death were very difficult for me. I fell further and further into a depressive state. Shortly after graduation, I began seeing a psychiatrist in search of treatment for the depression. After just a few weeks of treatment, I was diagnosed with severe clinical depression and began a combination of treatment with medication and twice a week counseling sessions. After a year of treatment, we finally were able to begin addressing my pain and resentment toward my father and how it affected every relationship with a man that I had ever attempted to have. Psychiatric treatment was the most difficult thing I have ever experienced in my life because it was a sort of “death and rebirth” process. I have been under psychiatric care or monitoring for over 15 years now.

Needless to say, my time in therapy was very confusing at many points. I actually experienced some of my most self-destructive behavior during those first five years. I was quite promiscuous, used drugs and often kept friends at an arm’s length distance. Finally, a breakthrough occurred when I was 26 and everything began turning around for me. Within a year of my turnaround, I met my husband. I know now that we were meant to meet at the exact moment we did, which is why my turnaround happened when it did.

We have been married for over ten years now, and have experienced many trials during that period. The largest test of our marriage and of my sanity in the ten years has been infertility on my part. After numerous years of extensive infertility treatment and surgeries, we learned in 2007 that I would never be able to conceive a child. During the years of treatment, I battled with my depression off and on, despite still being under treatment for the disease.

In late 2007, we received a telephone call about an unborn little girl needing an adoptive family. We dove into the adoption process hearts first, and let our heads never fall from the sky. After three months of doctor visits with the birthmother, planning a nursery and getting ready for the delivery, the birthmother vanished. I learned of the birthmother’s change of mind when her doctor told me that she was no longer interested in putting the child up for adoption. We never received word from the birthmother, nor did the attorney that we were working with. We – especially me – were devastated. I slipped into a deep depressive state, starting drinking a lot, having affairs and doing everything I could to escape the pain. The months afterward I began looking for jobs out of state and also told my husband I wanted to leave him many times. I had officially hit rock-bottom by the end of the year.

I began therapy on a more intensive level again in 2008 after the adoption fell through. It was helping me some, but I was never quite able to move forward. My psychiatrist changed my medication again, and we started to finally see improvement. In early 2009, I was still trying to figure out where my life and marriage were going. The pain of not having a child had consumed me to a point that I didn’t know what to do with my life, except for dive into my career. All I could do was ask for a sign from God or whom/whatever on what I was supposed to with my life. Within weeks of essentially throwing my arms in the air in “giving up”, we received a call to adopt an unborn boy.

My husband and I discussed for hours the possibility of adoption and the state of our marriage, and if adoption was even a decision we needed to make at that point. In the end, we decided to pursue the adoption. The boy was born five weeks after we received the call, and the adoption was finalized with no difficulties in the summer of 2009. I can admit that this child has essentially saved my life, and there is nothing I wouldn’t do for him. We love him as if he were biologically our own, and our marriage has never been better.

I thank God every day of my life for my husband, my son, and most importantly, all of my experiences. My experiences, whether they were happy or sad, have made me the amazing individual that I am today – and I am THANKFUL for them all.

be thankful for the experience