I Choose Joy

 

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Believe me, this wasn’t always the case…

I spent the majority of the last year unable to choose anything. My Bipolar Disorder had morphed from being mainly depressed or stable to being mainly manic. I ran up all of my family’s credit cards, then took one out in my own name and maxed it out. The final tally was near $10,000! When that manic spree ended, I was devastated by my actions. Just about the only good things that came out of my madness were that my husband didn’t leave me and that I painted a bunch of pretty decent art.

My husband and I couldn’t get along because I was so out of it. I remembered what my dad had done to me when I was 17 during my parents’ divorce–the sickening memories from my childhood that I had dissociated from for years had returned after 22 years. I couldn’t manage the memories of being raped by my father, of him coming into my  room once I hit puberty, of him telling me during the divorce that he wanted to date someone just like me, of my stepmother telling me years ago that my father had himself been a victim of incest…It was all just too disgusting and too much, so with my marriage on the brink of divorce, and those memories of my sick father, I took the pills and hoped for the best outcome for me, my daughter, Chloe, and my husband.

But I was saved to continue my personal journey–to write novels, poetry collections, articles and memoirs that focused on overcoming mental illness and abuse. My husband may not fully agree with this statement, but I believe with everything I am that God saved my life because I felt such a strong burst of air fill the lungs I was too overdosed to fill myself, the breath that saved my life that night…

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And so, I choose to be joyful when I open my eyes in the morning. Most days, the majority of days. And I work on myself, my marriage, my relationship with Chloe, who is 6 now.

It’s not always an easy choice, but if I don’t choose joy for myself, how can I help my family choose it, too? So, sometimes it’s a hard decision, but I do it anyway.

And my life is rich now, filled with beautiful people and beautiful things. I am looking for work for the first time since I went on disability in 2008. My husband converted our guest room into an art room, and Chloe and I have been painting every day since. I have a few friends. I am trying to stick to a schedule of writing everyday. I thank God for the good things in my life. Chris and I are doing a kind of couples therapy that consists of me finding worksheets and workbooks online so we can work through our issues with each other. Chloe tells me I am her favorite person! My extended family and I are repairing the damage I caused by being symptomatic for almost an entire year.

And something wonderful is about to happen–I’m turning 40 in August 2017, just six weeks away…I remember when I first got super sick in my early twenties, I looked ahead to my future and never thought I would make it to this age. It is truly a miracle, that after 7 serious suicide attempts, I am healthy and happy at 40! Every day is a blessing, every moment is a gift!

Maybe I’ll even get published in 2017! Six months left! Fingers crossed!

More to follow!

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