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“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.