I know this is long but I highly encourage you to read all the way through. It is condensed to bits and pieces but I think it gets my point across.
This, is my story.
I grew up without a dad. Nine years as an only child and mom’s only concern. Then I had two beautiful sisters that are 3 years apart. In the midst still growing up with my mom and the man she married but just wasn’t alive, he gave us a roof and food but otherwise I wondered why he lied, why he treated me and mom the way he did. But still, I was completely oblivious of the future to come.
You see, 11 years old, I was pushed halfway across the kitchen simply because I gave my dad a hug because he made waffles for me and my friend. He told me to never touch him again and for an 11 year old it hit hard. I quit telling him goodnight, quit getting up at 6 a.m. to pack his lunch when I realized he’d just come home and throw it in the trash. I quit talking to him and engaging with him, I just gave up.
Jump forward a few years and I’m 13 years old, working summer camps for a barn, 40 children, 20 horses, 12 stalls to clean and gut once a week, Monday through Friday, from 5:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. 10 minute lunch break, no sitting, and by the way I came home made dinner and helped clean the kitchen.
Yes, I had help, there were usually 8 of us total working the summer camps and three adults. But for a 13 year old that’s a lot. After several of those weeks, I sat at the dinner table after I had come home and made dinner, listening to my dad tell me and mom that we were lazy and never did anything. Again, crushing blow to a hard-working 13 year old.
Now, skip forward a few more years living like that, and we have moved to a new house and had been hurt by the first church that we went to because it fell apart and those I thought I could trust uprooted and left me no way of contact with them. I had determined that no man was going to get my trust at this point. My deepest desire was to have a father figure and because of that when I met a man who I thought I could trust I would put ALL of my trust in them and then they’d leave.
Skip forward another year and we’ve found a new church and there’s this one young man, a leader in the youth there, that I had one of the strangest connections too. I was trying to form a relationship with God however after I met this man this, at the time, weird phenomenon would happen when he’d pray for me. The first time he prayed I hunted him down and asked him what he did, because I’d prayed for my dad relentlessly with no change but he prayed and I actually had a dad for a week. Every time this person would pray with me, overall whatever we prayed for or against it happened, every time. I’m not joking. My relationship with God began to hit its peak due to being able to see God work in this way.
As time went on my trouble with my dad only grew worse and worse and the only time I was ever truly at ease was when I was either at my church or outside worshipping or praying. I had the most amazing support from this group of youth and this strange person that I began to grow very close to as a friend. Honestly, if it wasn’t for him and that youth I’m not sure how I would have made it that year. In fact suicide was very heavy on my mind for a period of time and this crazy man who seemed to capture my emotions so easily unknowingly, until months after, had made that thought something that was out of the question. Suddenly I was better than that, I had a purpose because God made me and I’m important.
In that year or two that I was guarded by that youth my walk with God had reached its peak at that time, I was on fire and it was amazing I could see God in everything and all around me.
Well, one day without warning my beloved mentor up and disappeared. No one had a clue to where he’d gone; no one could reach him by internet or phone. I was at a loss.
To make a long point quick, he finally answered me and we grew, or at least I grew, very close to him, we talked quite frequently and he continued to be an amazing mentor even though I couldn’t see him, and even though he has the most amazing reputation for being harsh but gentle at the same time and sarcastic but loving, that caring but blunt personality had helped me to learn a lot, anyway he was still there for me and for that I am extremely thankful.
After he left the leadership position in the youth yet another man stepped forward to make sure I was taken care of and once again I don’t know how I would have made it without being able to see his perky goofy moods. But Mr. Dale was always tender and caring, always without fail helped me shake off the worry and depression.
For someone who was never letting another male take a mentor role I did a pretty crappy job but even to this day, even after minor sexual harassment by putting my trust into yet another male. I still do not regret in the least bit letting Chris and Mr. Dale mentor me. I learned so much from both of them and I love them both dearly and I’d move mountains for either of them even though we don’t talk much at this point.
Alright, I’ll get back to a little more of my home life, my dad never laid a hand on me as far as abuse goes and I’m glad. However it wasn’t a rare occasion that I got the lecture of being useless and worthless and lazy and the list goes on. I am naturally a strong willed person. My dad and I couldn’t get along for that reason, he’d never given me a reason to respect him therefore I didn’t. I would try to keep things at bay and just do what he told me and I really did try to be respectful of him but when it came to him arguing with me I was not respectful at all.
I eventually left the church after the youth group began to fall apart and in my opinion their two best youth leaders left, and the fact that I didn’t have a ride didn’t help either. My dad had moved out and mom was working and I was babysitting. Mom would be gone all day every day and I was left with the kids. With this all being said my lack of church eventually caused me to realize that life was running much more smoothly without God and unknowingly slowly began drifting away from Him. Still continuing every once in a while to pray or worship but that might have only been once a month.
Another long story condensed, my mom met this guy. I thought I had it made. That vulnerable little 8 year old that was in my mind screaming for a daddy, she thought she’d finally found someone who she could trust fully. They never gave me a reason to think that he would be leaving any time soon. Well… If my 18 year old self had known what was coming I think I would have made changes in the way I handled that relationship instead of allowing the 8 year old in my mind to let down most all the barriers I had created to save myself. We were good for many months and then I realized how much we just don’t work together. I want a reason to respect your authority don’t let me doubt it otherwise my respect for you goes south fast. I’ve been hurt by to many people to allow myself to get hurt like that again.
With all this said, little did I know the eye opening but grueling journey this would lead me on. One where I would have periods of deep depression, bouts of unexpected explosions and fits of anger, one where very little happiness was to be found. It honestly was miserable and I didn’t know what was happening, why it was happening, or how to stop it.
I began looking for an answer and for me a part of that answer was talking to Mr. Dale who stayed up with me till 2:30 in the morning praying for me and talking me through what was going on. After a little more time I began to realize that I was falling into the habits of my dad which I said I refused to do. I began looking for an answer, with Ted Dekker’s book Outlaw, I began to see where I needed to make changes, as time went on I became more and more aware of what was going on. I also realized that I’m mirroring in a more extreme way the way my mom’s boyfriend handles me. I also realized that though I had forgiven my dad in my head I hadn’t forgiven him in my heart. I wasn’t ready to forgive him years ago or even months. I honestly forgave my dad about three weeks ago when I finally understood where he was coming from. Seeing how my actions reflected what he did for the same reasons he did what he did, if that makes any sense. I realized if I am acting the same way he did and my mom can love me despite my unexplained mood swings and she’d forgive me for them and start on a new page almost every day. I realized I wouldn’t have had anyone to talk to if it wasn’t for her forgiveness and love for me and on that note I had made the decision to forgive my dad. Are we talking yet? Are we best buds? No, however, I would leave when he’d come to pick up my sisters and last weekend I willingly complimented him on his shirt. Also, three weeks ago, he wasn’t my dad; he was my sperm donor or mom’s ex-husband and before he left, I always referred to him as mom’s husband ever since that incident in the kitchen when I was 11.
Now to conclude, at this moment, do I have a fix for bipolar personalities, manic depressive, or depression? Yes and no…
Yes in the sense of, I had a couple that are elders in the church I go to. I haven’t talked to them much but I’ve always trusted them deeply for some unexplained reason. So, I told them what was going on and they prayed for me and other than a couple days here and there I have been in a pleasantly good mood and I’m loving the new change in personalities. It’s much more enjoyable! So my answer is God. God is that fix, find a church who will love you, one you can trust with your deepest and darkest secrets and begin your journey in creating a relationship with God.
As far as a no to those behavioral problems, I have not yet figured out how to snap out of those moods. I mean, overall I know, but honestly I think for me it is going to be one of those things that can only be done when my heart is ready. I know the “you just have to forgive them and not let them get to you” bit and the speaking against it part, but it is hard to put that in action. When one of my whacky mood swings pops in, I don’t have the ability at the moment to just set it aside and tell it no. I do still struggle with it just not nearly as much as I was, now it’s down to a few mood swings a week instead of multiple times every day.
My goal is to learn to control these mood swings and not let them get me down, I’m doing my best and it will take time.
I don’t have an answer for an in the moment problem other than if you can find it within yourself to start seeking God and to start seeking help these long dark days that you may be used to will eventually begin to disappear. I myself was in that pit of believing I’d be this depressed explosive person for the rest of my life but I’m seeing that changing very quickly and I hope that my story as it is will help others to begin pulling out of those… Hell holes.
If it’s of any consolation, I am writing this after resolving some major issues but also still trying to resolve some new problems that are causing these erratic mood swings. Hence the whole, not sure how to handle the in the moment problems…
When I figure the rest out I will definitely put out an update.
I’d like to give a quick thank you to those who have helped me through this process.
Mom, Chris, and Mr. Dale, you’ve put up with my junk and have taught me so much. Honestly, I don’t know how I ended up with such an amazing group to take care of me. I love you all and as I said earlier, I would move mountains for you. I’m convinced that only God could have picked y’all out to help me because I don’t even know how y’all stuck with me. I don’t know how I stuck with myself to be honest…
L.J. you were a huge inspiration to me honestly, shortly after I met you one of the thoughts that crossed my mind was “when I grow up I want to be like him.” Yes, I know I’m like 2 years older than you but your walk with God was so intensely inspiring to me, you helped me a lot and even taught me more than you may know. Thank you.
Elisa, you are absolutely amazing. I just can’t even begin to tell you how thankful I am for you. You’ve stuck by my side through thick and thin for YEARS and my gratefulness for that is never-ending. A lot of times I always had this concern at the back of my mind that you would begin to not like me because I would go a week or two only being able to talk through what was going on. But you always listened to it and put in advice when you could. You will always hold a special place in my heart.