It was May 2008—as normal of a day as it could be. And I was doing everything I was supposed to be doing. Trying to exercise, eat right, raise my kids, be a wife and see a therapist. I appeared to have it together and thought I was doing a pretty good job.
I was wrong.
We were packed and loaded up for a playdate. My two wonderful kids, Evan, 2, and Abigail, just under 1, were remarkably compliant. The sun was shining bright and we set off for an uneventful trip on a beautiful spring day.
Then, as we were crossing a bridge we crossed every day, my mind drifted nonchalantly to the idea of driving right over the edge. With the same amount of emotion as if I’d asked myself, “Isn’t the sky beautiful today?” I considered, briefly, ending our lives. No fear. No sadness. It was a fleeting thought that could’ve changed our fate forever if I’d acted on it.
Once we got to the other side of the bridge, I knew something was very wrong.
Panicked, I pulled over and sobbed. I called my husband and during a desperate conversation with him, I knew I couldn’t go on with the way things were.
I wanted more. I wanted my kids to have more. Something had to change.
In reality, I had nothing left to give to anyone, let alone myself. As hard as I was trying, nothing was working. I’d been running from all the pain in my past and was slowly rising to a boiling point.
I ran a strict home, and had a short fuse for anything outside of the way I thought things should be. This black/white, right/wrong mentality made me feel like I had control. You see, this illusion of control is how I kept my emotions manageable.
Just like a volcano I had sat “dormant” for 32 years. But we all know that a volcano has a whole lot going on under the surface. The unseen, deadly brew could erupt at any moment.
My past was killing me from the inside out.
So in that moment, sitting in my car with the kids chatting in the back, I made a decision.
It was time to take care of me and I would do whatever it took. I wanted desperately to create a life that I had never experienced but had dreamed about forever.
So I checked myself into a psychiatric hospital. It was time to deal with my shit once and for all!
Just for the record, here’s what things looked like for me then.
- Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, diagnosed at age 2
- Untreated Celiac Disease
- 32 years of suppressing the affects of being abused as a child
- Obesity—yup that’s me in 2008.
Three amazing realizations came out of my 5 days of voluntarily institutionalization:
- After a routine blood test, I learned I also had Graves Disease, aka Hyperthyroidism. Left untreated, a person goes crazy!
- I actually had myself together more that I thought. I needed to give myself a little credit for the life I had created, even if it was highly dysfunctional. It was an eyeopener to see the state of others and that I didn’t have it as bad off as I thought.
- My family didn’t die without me. Yes, things were falling apart at home and my husband was left to pick up the pieces. But he was already doing that anyway. My well-being had to take priority so I could be more emotionally available as a wife and mother.
I risked everything the day I chose hospitalization.
What would people say?
Am I really crazy?
Who’s going to care for my kids?
Will my husband leave me?
And then, slowly, the questions started to shift…
If this works will I not live in pain anymore?
What if I can learn to love? To live?
What if my past doesn’t define my future?
Am I strong enough to change?
YES! YES! YES!
I saw that I didn’t have to do this anymore.
I learned that I can make changes one small decision at a time.
I can feel better. I can be ME…at all costs.
It’s scary to change. Our past can have a strong hold on our lives, bodies and belief of how life is supposed to work.
I chose to not be held hostage by my past.
Change creates HOPE.
Every day, I learn more about who I am, what I want and the journey I choose to live.
I thrive on helping others realize there’s so much in life to look forward to.
Some assume the way I live my life—the food I eat, the exercise I choose—is inconvenient. But these so called, “inconveniences”, are so worth the life I am living because I never want to go back to feeling like that woman on the bridge.
I’ve learned a whole new way of living that inspires me every day to just be ME!
And you can too! You have the power to tap into your highest potential and be the best emotional, physical and self-accepting person you can be.
There’s no quick fix on this journey, but what an amazing ride it is.