Tag Archives: child abuse

Free Sowing

Free Sowing.  It’s a gardening term that my therapist taught me as she gifted me some parsley, basil, and chia seeds.  It means seeds that do not require much tending to grow.

The last year and a half, I have required so much tending and care, that I am happy to be at my free sown phase.  I have happy days.  I have real moments when the dark foggy abyss abates, and I feel the sunlight on my face.  Those moments are longer and longer.  Words cannot adequately give gratitude to how that feels.

The pivotal moment for me occurred when I saw my friend on the street and presented with the opportunity to tell him forgave him. I reiterated I knew his daddy caused him to do the things he did to me.  Something happened that day, he told me that he was wrong, relating also, his father often told him to do things he should not have done.  I was no longer the only one saying these things happened.  I  no longer doubted my memories.  A tender mercy that I prayed for, answered very directly.  My husband witnessed his confession as he sat silently in the car beside me.

Since our conversation, surprisingly, days passed without a thought of the abuse or my abusers.  The long-awaited mental reprieve granted.  Not to spread all sunshine and roses, some days are still hard, but many more happy days of light than before.

What of my alters?

They still remain vigilent.  I am learning to live with them and they me.

Gidget fulfills her job as protector, and gets quite upset if I do not let her do her job.  She speaks up in situations that I should speak up and don’t or won’t.   She also loves to laugh and play jokes.  A few weeks back my husband and I went on a date.  Gidget came out.  I had shrimp on my plate.  When she allowed me to come back there were green beans in a smiley face with one shrimp as a IMG_2272nose staring at me.  Apparently she had told Mother she was not going to let me eat all the food at the restaurant.  She really likes Ole Times, and shrimp.

Squirt, or Little Shanna, her feelings are so tender.  She has been happier.  She watched Curious George a couple of times.  Mother said she gave her a play- by-play of what George was doing.  She still has some of her fears, but she is feeling safer.

Adrian.  I do not know what to say about Adrian.  Mother can talk to her and get through to her.  She does not like me, AT ALL.  She is very angry.  Though relatively quiet the last few weeks, she still makes part our “family”.

I suppose the dream of being “normal” – alter free- when I started to feel better, isn’t going to happen.  They are my normal.  Learning to live with them and accepting this part of my life is key.

 

 

 

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Hiding Out

I have always loved children. Never been afraid of them or timid around them. Lately though, I have found myself hiding and terrified. I can say that I walk on glass around myself, afraid that I will wake the sleeping child within. She scares me. I am held hostage by her.

I feel my anxiety sky rocketing. I know that I am not communicating with those around me like I need to. I am scared of life, and any wave that might come and make her surface. The smallest ripple sets my PTSD off and it seems to be like shaking her awake.

The first few times I experienced her, I felt bad for her. I still do, to a point but more than anything I am angry and scared of her now. In her insecurities and fears, the fact she does not recognize the promises that I have made. I do not know how to deal with that. I do not want her to return, but if she does I want her to make the same promises that I have made. I am referring to the promise I made my Mother that I would not kill myself, that I would always reach out for help.

Honestly I have tried to absorb myself in TV so that I do not have to deal with real life. I know that is not healthy. There are things that I need to do.

Tonight though I am turning Glee back on.

Songs of the Heart Sunday: For can a woman forget her sucking child..

This is an essay I wrote for an Institute class several years ago.
I wanted to share it with you, in the hopes that it might help anyone
that is struggling with the trials this life has to offer.
It is truly my testimony of our Father in Heaven and the love He
freely gives to each of us.

“For can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have
compassion on the son of her womb? Yes, they may forget, yet I will
not forget thee, O house of Israel.” 1 Nephi Chapter 21 verse 15.
During the past summer months, this scripture’s meaning enlarged my
life. The experience I cannot relate for, the deep spiritual nature
of it, but through it, I learned the greatest lesson a daughter
could learn. My Father in Heaven loves me, and He knows each step I
take. He, as a loving parent, allowed me to learn this lesson the
hard way. You see, I reached a point in my life that though I praised
my Father in Heaven with voice, the internal person drifted in to waters
occupied by the Grand Spiritual Crocodile. I only allowed one toe
dabble with an impure thought here, and a word in anger there, but
once my toe touched the water, he grabbed me. I fell. The fall
hurt, the most excruciating pain. Not quite the intensity Adam must have felt
knowing, his unworthiness to be in the continued presence of Father,
but my own personal detachment from Father. I chose to walk away. I
felt lost, the testimony that once sustained me, ceased to exist. The
comfort I felt I merited, He denied, or such I assumed. I tried to
depend on my own strength, but my strength failed me. For as a wound
from a crocodile will make you bleed and lose life blood, a wound from
Satan if not tended by the Great Physician, will allow your spiritual
blood drain, therefore a permanent fall into Satan’s realm.

I drifted farther and farther away, and no one around me knew it,
because I always portrayed myself as spiritual. What I failed to
realize was Satan tried to fulfill prophesy with me, by “gently leading me
down to hell.” In losing my faith and testimony, I felt like I also
lost myself, my identity. The Hope who existed only a few
months before, could be found nowhere. I prayed, but not in faith
that God would hear me, but to say I had prayed. I read my Patriarchal
blessing, but with my heart hard, I felt like He betrayed me.

One night after realizing, if I did not rediscover myself and faith,
Satan would be victorious over me, I knelt and prayed. I prayed with
the hope that Father would hear me, and send me comfort and peace and
take away the anger. As I prayed vocally, relating the desires of my
heart to my Heavenly Father, I felt peace, but the questions remained
unanswered. I resolved myself to remain kneeling until I understood
the reason, why I had to experience this. While kneeling, floods of
memories came. I recalled my lessons in Relief Society when I felt
the Spirit and I spoke the words of my Father in Heaven. I recollected
my experiences in the temple, the words of my Patriarchal blessing
(one particular phrase), and then the question why? Why if He loved
me so much did He allow me to go through this grievous experience that
almost cost me my testimony? Then they came, the words from a
blessing I received almost exactly a year before, “Hope, you are one
of the Noble and Great Ones who will be called upon to endure many
trials…” I do not recall the whole phrase but I understood, and
thanked my Father in Heaven for reaching out to me when I needed him.

He knew the moment I could no longer bear the burden upon my back,
and He allowed me to go to that point, before He reminded me that He
listened. Not only did He listen to the words in my most recent
prayers, but the words of the prayers I had uttered, though not in
complete faith. Father lovingly extended His arms wide to me, but I
had to walk into them. He reminded me of many wonderful things, that
night, the greatest thing being, my Older Brother, Jesus Christ, and
His atoning sacrifice. At one point even He felt alone asking if He
must endure and yet, He succeeded coming face to face with Satan, and
He didn’t falter, experiencing excruciating pain and anguish to the
point of bleeding from every pore and yet not a murmuring word. And
then to my mind the words of the Prophet, “Art thou greater than He?”

The Godhead, each individual member, takes an active interest in our
well-being. They love us, and work as a team to ensure our happiness
and joy. “Adam fell that men might be, men are that [we] might have
joy.” I believe part of our own personal plans of happiness includes
a fall. For we must experience opposition in all things, to truly
feel the joy that comes after a complete repentance.

All in all, it is my belief that the scripture in 1 Nephi 21, details repentance.
Father in Heaven will not forget us, but He also knowing the minute
details of His kingdom, cannot run after us when we turn away from
Him. He provided us with the freedom to choose, “liberty and eternal
life…or to choose captivity and death.” The beauty comes from the
gift He furnished through Christ, repentance. When trials come and
our flesh weakens causing us to momentarily opt captivity, Father
prepared from the foundation of the world the way for us the erase the
mistake and return again to Him. He brought us to this existence for
the opportunity to prove ourselves and our love for Him.
Sister Mary Ellen Edmunds wrote a book entitled, Love is a Verb and
how correct she is. Acting on the feelings within, and turning to the source
of eternal life and happiness, insures joy beyond imagination.

We should not pray not to have trial, but rather for the wisdom to learn
from our trials. Wonderful opportunities and blessings awaken in the
hours of trial, faith can be nurtured, love expanded, eternal perspective
broadened if we listen without murmur and work without grudge.
We do not give our Heavenly Father credit when we lack the faith in
His wisdom. He will not give us more than we can handle.
“And the truth shall make you free.” I find freedom in this truth.

My testimony is this. We act out the story of the prodigal son
every day, and every day our Father willingly takes us into His loving
arms welcoming us back. He loves us, flaws and strengths. He loves us
so much that He offered our Older Brother as a sacrifice for times that
we do stray. I love Him for that. It saddens me to know that I
caused much of His pain and anguish, but oh what joy I find in the
knowledge that He loved me enough to do it.

Having experienced such a significant change in myself over the past
months, I want to share the joy I feel. Doctrine and Covenants 18 has
new meaning to me, “and if it so be that ye should labor all of your
days and bring but one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with
him in the kingdom of my Father.” That soul is me, the “many
souls” spoken of in the next verses include those that I may help to
come unto Christ. I carry much gratitude in my heart for a Father
who loves me enough to send righteous men and women, past and present, to aid
me on my journey back home. I am eternally grateful for His
Priesthood Power upon the earth today. I know when men uphold their
sacred calling, they speak the words of God and act in His name. We
can listen to them and hear our Father’s voice.

I am thankful for the Book of Mormon and the Holy Bible, and new meaning they bring to
my life each day I sup from their pages. When I learn and practice the
principles taught within, I experience miraculous joy. Now I conclude
my humble testimony in the name of He who made joy possible, my Older
Brother, my Lord, my Savior, my Eternal Friend, Jesus Christ, Amen.

____

As I mentioned I wrote this several years ago, almost 20 when I think about it. Reading it now, it has even deeper meaning. The Atonement has deeper meaning.

The Atonement of Jesus Christ not only covered my sins if I would repent, but also during His Atonement, in a way that I cannot fathom or imagine, He suffered the feelings that I am enduring right now as I am walking my journey of healing from abuse. I might meet others along my path that can empathize to a point, but my Savior truly understands what I am feeling even when I cannot find the words to describe the emotions, because He suffered them too. I find comfort in that, not that He went through anything of the sort, but because He willingly experienced every emotion to the deepest depth that anyone could suffer so He could succor us in the midst of our afflictions and infirmities. I am so grateful of the love that He has for me. I am so so thankful that I can call Him my Savior, my Brother, my Lord, my God, my Friend, my Healer…and know that He walks this familiar road beside me.

Daily Post: Strength, Love, Courage, Faith, and Hope

Today’s prompt was about artists. If you read my last post you saw a beautiful painting by Simon Dewey that offers me a great strength and hope.

The artwork I am about to share brings me great courage strength and hope also. I look at it often. It was created just for me when I was going through my trials being diagnosed uterine cancer. That amazing friend Bec you hear so much about created it for me and my support team.

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The words: Strength, Love, Courage, Faith, and Hope. Those words mean so much to me these days as I struggle more than ever with anxiety and depression. I truly thought cancer would be one of the most difficult things I faced. Cancer was a breeze to me. I was able to keep a pretty positive attitude through it. Bec, had no idea, how much I would lean on this art and the words the rest of my life. This is my most treasured piece of art.

The last picture I want to show is one from earlier today from my walk to Narnia. As I mentioned I could not find the wisteria, but I found these tiny flowers. They are so pretty. I think it was appropriate that I needed to look for them, it kept me engaged in the now.

I debated whether or not to post the image because I want to hide behind “Hope” but there are dual purposes for sharing. One to share the art that I love so much, and two to let “Little Shanna” have her day that I show our real name. I will continue to go by Hope on the blog. That is what I am comfortable with. But I am giving her a voice for a moment, to say our name is Shanna.

Flowers of Narnia 6-27

 

Daily Prompt: In His Constant Care

Daily Prompt: The Artist’s Eye
Is there a painting or sculpture you’re drawn to? What does it say to you? Describe the experience.

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This “In His Constant Care” by Simon Dewey. It speaks to me for deep reasons.

I know there are people who read my blog who have lost children through no fault of their own. I hope this image brings comfort.

It brings me comfort through my infertility. We will all be resurrected one day as were laid to rest. There are numerous babies and children that have died at the hands of their parents, that will not be reunited with them in the resurrection. You see such awful things on the news every day, these sweet babies are innocent and will be blessed with all the Father has in store, including parents who love them.

I believe with all my being that my arms will be filled with one or more of these special children during the millennium, and I will raise them in a beautiful world of peace–Governed by Christ. I recognize that I must be righteous to receive such a beautiful honored and sacred gift, I have so much to do before then, but for now, I am grateful to know that my babies are in “His Constant Care.”

Great are thy tender mercies, O Lord. ~ Psalms 119:156

 

I Once Loved Roller Coasters

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This morning is some better. I am still very anxious and depressed, but not teetering. I realize how many kind and good people read my blog, and they are going through a lot right now too. “Our community” helps one another when we are down. Kind words of encouragement, the reminder of the beautiful things in life and in me, virtual hugs, and a simple “like” they let me know someone is listening and cares.

I have my amazing family. I know the are weary. It is hard having someone you love with severe emotional problems. I could charter a club, I have been on the other side. Living daily, not knowing what to say or do, fear of triggering them. Fear of the backlash. Not knowing if the will be there in the morning physically or emotionally. Holding your tongue and swallowing your emotions, sacrificing your own mental health while they work on theirs. Crying more than laughing. I hate that I put anyone through this roller coaster.

Maybe Not My Smartest Idea Yet

I used to see him almost daily around town, in the last month or so I have not seen him, actually since I remembered what happened. Debating within myself for a couple of weeks about calling some of his family just to check on him. Not alluding in any way why I wanted to know. They do not need to know. It would not be fair to them or him. I batted the idea back in forth in my mind. I probably should have asked my therapist about it yesterday, she might have talked me out of it.

The way it played out in my mind before it happened was they would tell me that he had moved away, was happy, and I would breathe a huge sigh of relief shed happy tears, and continue with my healing journey, but able to go uptown without the fear of seeing him. My husband hand would start healing too from the tight grasp I keep when we drive anywhere.

Instead the reality played out much different. I emailed someone in his family, and they told me they had seen him just two days ago, only about 1/8 mile away from my house. I know he is no longer a threat to me. But anxiety went into overdrive. I can almost bet my life on the fact that he has no rememberance on what he did to me. I tried to convince myself that I am not anxious, but I step out of my house, I look towards the highway, and again when I leave my parents home, scanning the highway.

My husband said, “Don’t go looking for the Devil, He’ll find you.” Not exactly what I wanted or needed to hear. I really hoped that my abuser, my friend, had moved away and found solitude somewhere else.

You know, just as I do not want to be defined by what was done to me, I do not want to define him by what he did to me. I hate calling him “my abuser”. As I sat in therapy yesterday, I laughed at things we did as children. I really feel like if anyone else had done this to me back then and he knew it he would have stood up for me. He was a good friend, a friend whose life went out of control, and part of that lack of control was doing something awful to me. That awful thing was not him. As a child, I just knew I was going to marry him. He amazed me with his Evil Knievel dare devil and stunt man tricks, and often using his brother in his stunts as a prop. My heart hurts for him, and his family.

The last time we spoke, my husband and I saw him around town, and we talked to him. He shared his adventures as Patton, and walking with Christ, and many other delusions his mind creates these days. How could I be angry with him? I cannot be angry with the friend I love so dearly back then, nor the man who sees and lives a life none of us can see now.

I think where my lack of anger concerning him comes in were best described by Emilee Parker’s Mother, one of the victim’s of the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting when she said of her feelings towards the shooter, “It is not my burden to carry”. I have really been frustrated with myself for not being more angry at him, I had one quick burst of anger, but it came and went. I truly feel love and compassion for him. That is in my makeup, that is who I am. And to be angry at him is not my burden to carry.

I wish I could convince myself that some of these other emotions were not mine to carry either. Fear, anxiety, depression, disgust… one day at a time, it is a journey. I will get there one day.

No Words

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No words. For years only emotion or action, but no words. Self destructive habits, but no words. Self loathing, but no words. Many tears, but no words.

With the promise from me that she will be safe to release her hidden secrets, no words. Another memory, more emotion, more tears, but no words. Maybe that is why she did not tell.

The things that were done to her. What words does a 5-6 year old have for them? That does not even take into the account the fear, the betrayal, confusion, isolation, despair, blame, physical sickness, and myraid of other emotions that were thrust on her. How does a 5-6 year old process that?

I did not. Much like our games of hide and seek. I hid them, deep in most private recesses of my mind. Whether it was subconscious or I actively did it I do not know, but I guess I thought it was hidden well. Thinking out of sight, out of mind, and we would never have to deal with it. I was wrong.

I wish there was an easy fix. I know that it is going to take time. We are going to have to work together. It is going to be painful, there is no easy way around that.

Now that I can give her experience words, be her voice. I hope we can heal. I want to be a whole person.

Just One Voice

May Is National Mental Health Awareness Month

This Barry Manillo song, Just One Voice, has always been a favorite of mine. I cried the first time I heard it many years ago by BYU’s Showtime and Company. Never would I realize the impact the song would have on me 10-15 years later. I cry harder now as my voice is added to other voices singing in the darkness.

Mental health conditions, though taboo in society, are nothing to be embarrassed about or ashamed of. The weight firmly rests on our shoulders, those with these conditions and our family members, to educate others. Both of my parents deal with mental health conditions, both were hospitalized during my childhood. They are the best parents in the world, thankfully, but sometimes they found it hard to deal with life. That was extremely terrifying for a child. Leaving your Mother behind locked doors, asking if she would be able to come home this week, and getting same answer “no” week after week. Not being able to talk to your Mother when you are used to having her there day in and day out. It was rough, but she was doing what she needed to do be healthy. This was in the 1985, I was 12. It was just explained that she was sick. The last person I knew that was sick and in the hospital was my Granddaddy, and he died. In 1991, my senior year, my Daddy enterred those same locked doors. Those same questions. When will Daddy be home? He had gotten addicted to Xanax the doctor prescribed for his anxiety. Both continue to be on medication, both continue to be the best parents in the world.

While all of this was going my own demons raised their heads. After recieving a double dose of clinical depression, coupled with my situational depression, days can get awful dark. One of the darkest nights, I took the blade out of a razer, and tried to cut my wrist. I wanted so badly for the pain to end. I did not know where the pain came from, but I even failed at trying to kill myself. The blade would not cut. (I look at that as a blessing now.) I remember other times kneeling in my room at my bed praying that Heavenly Father would stop me from walking into the kitchen and taking everything in sight, please make the pain stop. With my depression, there is not always something to trigger me. I recognize that now, only in the last two weeks that is partly because of my chemical depression, partly because of the PTSD I face from my childhood oral rape.

The pieces of the puzzle are starting to fall into place. My fear of the dentist. I recall one time trying to run away from the dentist office. I told them I had to go to the bathroom, I was going to make a run for it. The hygentist was waiting outside the bathroom door for me. I hated going to the dentist. I still have anxiety about going and do not go unless there is a problem.

Fear and discomfort with certain touches. Anxiety out of nowhere. I once remember calling my Aunt, she was the only one that I could reach. I sat on my bed, terrified. I was at home alone, looking at my closet door, paralyzed with fear. I had no reason to fear my closet door, but this fear was real as any fear that can ever be experienced. If I hear a siren, my hand immediately goes to the phone to call my loved ones to make sure they are ok. If I cannot reach them, I panic until I do. My heart racing, palms sweating. Fear and dread.

This blog is my first time admitting the term, my family will probably will probably agree with me as I type. I begin to shake as I type it. Many, if not most of my relationships have been codependent. I have often stayed in relationships to avoid being alone or avoid feeling abandoned. I am always scared to be abandoned. I take responsibility for the actions of whoever I am with, apologizing way too much. I have often been told that I have the lost puppy syndrome and often mistake that for love. I do not trust myself or whoever I am with. I could go on and on with these symptoms of unhealthy relationships that I have often taken on myself. Relationships doomed to fail, because of my fears. Relationships borderline abusive. Diving out of the way of a wretch thrown in anger because I laughed when he was working on my brother’s bike. Feeling worthless because I was never good enough. Never thin enough. Never pretty enough. The cycle repeating again and again.

I love the musical Les Miserables. There is a line in one of the songs that I sing quite often…

I had a dream my life would be
So different from this hell I’m living,
So different now from what it seemed…
Now life has killed the dream I dreamed…

I add my voice to those whose dreams are hidden or killed behind their mental conditions. My voice is added to those who want to find a new dream. As we sing and let our chorus be heard, may we be healed and strenghtened, and NEVER ashamed or embarrased of our conditions…

Just.One.Voice.

Karly’s Story

I mentioned last night reading the blog of a friend as she talked about her abuse and how her words resounded in my soul. I have spoke to her and she gave me permission to re-post her blog. I am grateful for her courage. She is an amazing lady.

I hope that as we come forward, it gives other victims the courage to do the same, so that they can start healing. I know my inner child is ready to heal, Karly’s inner child is ready to heal, and many other voices are ready to be heard and healed.

Here is Karly’s post.

“yes, it’s been a year since my last post. i’ve been putting off writing this post for many reasons, but i’m tired of excuses, and it’s time to tell my story.

let me add in a disclaimer here… this is a tragic story about what happens all too often to innocent children… sexual abuse. i have been seeing a therapist for a few months now, and i talked to him a lot about this. he is happy that i want to share my story, but he told me to be careful because many times we can experience “vicarious traumatization,” meaning that someone else may be traumatized by my story. that is obviously not my intention, so if this topic is too hard for you to stomach, i would suggest saving this post for another time.

after years of trying to deal with my trauma in many different ways, i have decided that face it head on, and learn to heal the wounds that were left on my soul so many years ago. i feel strongly that part of my healing process is to tell my story. there is a nine year old little girl inside of me that has been screaming in my head for the last 21 years, and it’s time to acknowledge her and let her speak.

you may be wondering why i would want to do this in such a public place. why would i want to share some of the most intimate and tragic details of my life with people other than my family? the answer is simple. i am pissed as hell. it makes me furious that little girls and boys have to go through this… to have your innocence and trust be shattered in the most traumatic of ways. did you know that 1 in 3 girls (and 1 in 7 boys) is sexually abused in some form by the time they are 18 years old?! let me tell you that statistic again…. ONE in THREE. i feel that as a society we don’t talk about it enough, which is also why i am sharing this here. it’s one of the “unspeakables,” which for me only fosters a sense of shame and guilt for the victims. if my story can help even one other person to start on their healing journey, then it is well worth any of the scrutiny or criticism that may come of this.

i was nine years old when i was sexually abused by an older, male cousin. it only happened one time, and for that i am grateful. i know others who have experienced abuse far worse than what i went through, but that doesn’t make what i went through any less traumatic. as a young girl i was not emotionally ready to handle what happened to me. i felt worthless and dirty, and i didn’t want anyone to know… so i kept it to myself for the next five years. when i finally told my parents i felt like i was somehow broken, but i didn’t want to admit that. i’ve always been the “strong” one, so i refused counseling, which looking back now, was a decision that i will always regret. i then fell into a dangerous and destructive cycle as i tried to “treat” myself, which really just meant i tried to pretend it didn’t happen.

pretending it didn’t happen just made everything worse. i was shattered into a million pieces on the inside, but i put on a happy face for everyone around me. i was an athlete, a good student, a good friend, but this little girl inside of me was always yelling at me to fix her, and i didn’t know how. i went to church on sunday, i went to early morning seminary* every day of the week during the school year, i went to mutual on wednesday, and i went to EFY and girls camp every summer…but it was all for show. i was angry at God, and because i was so angry, i felt unworthy of His love.

i was fifteen years old when i had my first drink, and over the next 11 years i fell into an awful pattern. my life would be going good and i would get spooked because i “didn’t deserve” a good life, so i would go out and do something to self-destruct. i also would attract, and probably even sought out destructive relationships, where i wasn’t treated very well at all. i did this because i blamed myself for what had happened to me, which in my mind translated to me deserving everything bad that happened to me… whether at my own hand or at someone else’s.

Now, i know it wasn’t my fault…well i guess i should say i’m starting to believe that it wasn’t my fault. i am at the very beginning of what i know is going to be a long and painful journey. i feel so blessed to have the family that i do for support and the counselor that i do for guidance. and i also feel blessed to have this outlet to share my journey. i know i set this blog up as somewhere to make and achieve goals, but i am so incredibly far from that. at this point, i am going to be focusing on doing a couple things every day that will make me feel better. i’m going to be trying to replace destructive thoughts and behaviors with positive thoughts and behaviors. i am also going to use this as a place to talk about counseling sessions, and any thoughts i have about what we talked about. i am taking my life and turning it upside down and i am excited for what is in store.

recently my sister came to visit and brought me a present… a piece of her art.

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i had seen her working on this piece over the last couple years and always liked it. i also always thought it was a drawing of her. when she gave it to me she told me that the girl in the picture, was in fact, me…that she has watched me over the years as i’ve fallen and climbed and fallen and climbed… and that she was proud of me. i love this picture for what it represents right now in my life. i have been in the valley of shadows for awhile now, but i feel as the girl in the picture right now. i feel i am climbing up into the sunshine and even though it hurts, it feels good. i know there are some mountains in front of me that i still need to climb, but i’m finally ready for the challenge.

*for those of you not of my faith, seminary is essentially an early morning religion class that lasts your four years of high school, mutual is our midweek activity, and EFY and girls camp are religious summer camps.”

Karly’s Blog can be found here: Journey To A Better Me