Chapter 7, Simply Broken

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“The broken clock is a comfort, it helps me sleep tonight, Maybe it can stop tomorrow from stealing all my time, I’m still waiting though I still have my doubts, I am damaged at best, like you have already figured out”—Lifehouse

My second year at CCHS started out much differently than my first.  There was new leadership, which always brings with it change, which is hard, even if the change is good.  I taught the same classes as the year before, I was still teaching 3 chemistry classes, 2 anatomy classes and 1 college level business course.  The kids were awesome, but that was something that didn’t change and those kids are still some of my favorite people in the world.  I loved teaching them, I loved interacting with them and I loved teaching science.  The schedule though, the schedule was relentless.  I still say that it was the most difficult job I have ever had.  My first class started at 7:45, meaning I had to be at a staff meeting at 7:15.  

Sleep was (and still is) my biggest issue.  Every time I would fall asleep, I would wake up, terrorized.  I could go for days at a time but eventually it would get to me and I would finally fall asleep, usually on the weekends and would sleep for 20 hours straight. I had managed to see a counselor in Tampa just a few times during the first year I was in Clearwater, but it didn’t really help.  My reality was pretty rough and at times it just was more than I could take.  When I moved in with Crissy she suggested her counselor in St. Petersburg, I saw him one time before the giant crash.

“The broken locks were a warning that you got inside my head, I tried my best to be guarded, but I am open book instead.  I still see Your reflection inside my eyes, they are looking for purpose, they are looking for life. 

I am falling apart, I am barely breathing, with a broken heart, that is still beating, in the pain, is there healing?” Lifehouse

I walked into Dr. Petit’s office one afternoon after school.  I barely remember the day.  I know I sat on his couch and spewed 35 years of trauma on him like I was giving him driving directions.  There was no connection to the words and the deep, deep pain of my heart.  I agreed to see him on a regular basis, drove back to Clearwater to commence with my life, as sleepy as that often was. 

When I could not go to sleep, I would often turn my laptop on and write.  Here is an except from my blog on October 20, 2008 at 1:19AM: 

The blog was just entitled ANGRY




I am angry and I am working on a way to let it out. I am angry….
at God, where were you, where are you now?
 I am angry at him, you took who I am from me and made me insecure, untrusting and a bunch of other things I can’t even list here. We could have been something beautiful, yet you monopolized on my good traits and exploited my fears. Unless God decides I will never be that person again. I thought you were my redemption, a chance at a good life, and you took that all from me. I am so, so angry.

I am shocked when I look back at it now that I was able to identify that emotion.  It wasn’t one I had ever identified as an appropriate emotion, but apparently there was plenty of it.  He had not managed to leave me alone and it had been almost two years.  He would, very much like he does now, go away for awhile then show up in some big way whether it was having my car repossessed because he failed to pay or some toothless law suit claiming I was doing things I wasn’t.  Then there was the IRS audit.  There was just no rest, and I was so, so tired.

I am hanging on another day, just to see what You throw my way, and I am hanging on to the words You say, You said that I will be ok” Lifehouse

I was settling into Crissy’s nicely, I felt safe.  I felt less alone.  I still would come straight home from school, sneak into my room, and stay there leaving only to go the bathroom.  And as the days piled on top of each other I began to feel less and less like I had a grip on any of it.  It was so weird and I was so hard on myself as the time I had given myself to move on had long passed.  Why now, why is it all crumbling down on me now? 

Here is another excerpt from my blog during those first few weeks of that school year:

 I can’t sleep.  I am living in somebody else’s house, my world is spinning as I truly set myself up to live the rest of my life.  And I am good with that, but I want to be careful not to try to do it all on my own, because I know that will be like a crazy person running in place.  It is my sincere prayer that God will meet me here and that He will help me not do this on my own.  It is after midnight, I am getting tired…

I ended that blog with “Is all this pain for nothing?  God Forbid, God, please help it to all make sense, or take me, take me now”

I am not sure how I ended up in the Principal’s office the next day.  But on that day I told him I did not want to be alive.  The night before, I took an anti-anxiety pill for every time I saw the clock change.  We figured out it meant I took 9 of them over a 7 hour time.  As it turns out, it wasn’t enough to be dangerous, but we didn’t know that.  The bell rang and I went back upstairs to teach my last class of the day.  As I left the school that day my boss called me in his office.  My friend Cheryl was sitting there.  Apparently, we were on our way to the hospital. I did not fight them.  I was completely at the end of my ability to fight.  I was just so, so tired. 

“She turned her head as if to hide, there was just nowhere to go, cause standing tall on every side the mighty fear of letting go, she said ‘My God I am so ashamed, I still believed he could change’ but he pulled me down like gravity.  He broke my will, but it’s deeper still, deeper still….the Love that heals me is Deeper Still” Bebo Norman

Chapter 6, Broke outside the Old Apartment

New to the blog? Start from the beginning.

“How long have I been in this storm, so overwhelmed by the ocean’s shapeless form, the water is getting harder to tread with these waves crashing over my head” Lifehouse

 

I was sitting in my little (dark) apartment at 2 AM one spring night in 2008.  Nights were (and still are) the hardest times for me.  It is the time that the ghosts of pains past come with a fury seeking to devour my heart and soul.  So, it was not unusual for me to be awake at 2AM on any given morning, despite having to stand in front of a Chemistry class at 7:45 the next day.

 

Here is an excerpt from my blog at the time.  I hated writing about this stuff (still do) but I think it is an important story to share.  This was written almost a year to the day that my divorce was final, lest anybody think there is some amazing bounce back time for a divorce, let alone an abusive one. 

April 17, 2008

       
The Sacrifice Is In the Living Part… I have been reading the blogs from the past year, I was really glad I wrote about it, but I am not going to lie, it kind of sucks seeing it all in print.  There were a few days about a month ago when I found myself thinking I would survive this after all.  Then pain, as if often does, found it’s way back into my heart and began terrorizing my mind, and robbing my sleep. I have spent the last few days feeling every emotion describable. By far the most prevalent emotion has been one of resignation.  Breathing is of a premium for me; trauma has a way of taking your air from your lungs; every breath is shallow because that is all you can do.  I really don’t care if I take my next breath, I would be really ok with just not being here.

“I know you didn’t bring me out here to drown, so why am I 10 feet under and upside down?  Barely surviving has become my purpose cause I’m so used to living underneath the surface” Lifehouse

I listened to that song over and over that warm April night in that dark apartment with the broken air compressor in the refrigerator.  I didn’t even have the energy to call the apartment complex to ask them to come fix it. 

“if I could just see you everything would be alright,  If I could see You this darkness would turn to light”

As I sat at my computer using a stolen WiFi (true story) signal I began chatting with my friend Crissy.  One can never know when a moment or a series of moments will change your life forever.  Like Cheryl, I met Crissy at a Bible study at church.  On this night we used instant messaging to chat back and forth the lyrics to this song.  I found that she and I share a musical passion. I think it is fair to say I had walls built all around my heart and Crissy knew to get through to me she was going to have to work for it, and work she did.  She sat up countless nights like this one chatting with me and giving me her mama’s advice.  I remember thinking what a cool mama she had.  I know now that staying up into all hours of the night was uncharacteristic for her, but she wanted to be there—and there she was.

That summer Crissy and I were inseparable.   I found out very quickly how deep her faith is and I needed that at that moment.  She never judged my self-effacing behavior.  She wanted to walk along side me, and walk she did.  Still, my desire to not be alive far outweighed my desire to live.  Nobody knew how serious I really was about “not-living”—had it not been one of the most selfish things in the world I would have checked out of this world.

“I would walk on water, and you will catch me if I fall.  And I will get lost in Your eyes and I know everything would be alright.” Lifehouse

I knew that I had a choice, to choose to live or choose to die.  It was a hard and sometimes daily decision.  I would go to work and teach 6 classes then went home, took a handful of meds that would make me go to sleep and stay on my couch from 3 in the afternoon until whatever time I woke up and walked the 10 feet to my bedroom.  It was a spiraling darkness, a huge dark pit.  As I have said before divorce is painful and leaves you feeling empty.  I had never lived alone, ever.  I’d forget to pay the electric bill or my rent because I just wasn’t used to doing that.  I am fortunate that I had Crissy at that time because she had her eye on me, and stayed up into wee hours of the morning talking music to me.

“Hello, good morning how are you, I could use a fresh beginning too.  All my regrets are nothing new.” Switchfoot

When I got my divorce, I didn’t ask for much.  I didn’t want a 50/50, I just wanted out and fast.  This meant that I was going to poor for a while, well for a good while.  I was being robbed for the 600 square foot apartment in the ghetto.  That apartment was part of the problem.  Crissy understood this (later I would find out by counsel of her mama) and in a leap of faith asked me if I wanted to move in with her “for a couple of months” so that I could save money.  I know she was scared to ask and I was shocked at how fast I responded with a resounding YES.  So, I began the new school year with a new address and a whole new set of problems related to my divorce.  I finally felt safe; and who knew that meant things would get worse before they got better?

 

 

…there is so much a left behind even more that waits in time, everything so undefined, I am standing on the edge of my fear and I see it clear; this is my resolution I’m letting go…breathe, it’s my resolution.” Nick Lachey

As it would turn out, I would need way more than resolve to stop the downward spiral.  I would need pastors, friends, family and doctors, lots of doctors.

 

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