When It’s No Longer in the Cards

**** Trigger Warning: This post may contain triggers for some readers. Please proceed with caution.

I guess we all reach that point in our lives when we realize that certain events or special moments will never happen for us. That realization has once again come upon me today, as we have welcomed a new addition to our huge family. One of my cousins had his second child today, a baby boy. An adorable and brand new life, filled with so much hope, dreams and innocence. Ah, innocence… it’s the only time in any human being’s life that is filled with true innocence. He’s free of all the troubles, stresses and pain with which life is filled.

It’s a special moment when the birth of a child occurs, especially when it’s one in our own immediate circle. However, as much as I am filled with happiness and thankfulness that my new little cousin is here safely and healthily, I’m still a bit saddened. It’s a reminder for me that I will never experience that joy of having my own child to hold someday. Selfish? Maybe, it is. After all, it’s a wonderful moment for our family right now, but I can’t help what feelings are going through both my mind and heart.

It Used to Be a Dream

Steve Martin in 1989's movie, "Parenthood"

Steve Martin in the 1989 movie “Parenthood”

When I was a kid, I never wanted children. I wasn’t one of those little girls who dreamed of having a baby of my own someday. Maybe it had to do with the fact that I grew up with most of my nieces and nephews. I was exposed to the real life of being a parent at a young age. It wasn’t all roses as I learned early on, and so it set my mind on a different path. I was a tomboy too, so not sure if that made a difference. I still loved playing with dolls or stuffed animals and pretending they were my kids, but that wasn’t what I wanted in my future. I dreamed of being a career woman. I never thought of it that way until high school, but that’s what I wanted. I wanted to be everything that the world had to offer. One year I was going to be an astronaut, the next a doctor, then for a few years I was going to be a teacher. Then, there was the time I was going to go into astrophysics, but changed my mind. I wanted to be everything. Heck, when I hit thirteen, I was going to be an actress and begged my mom to let me go to auditions. I am grateful she didn’t allow me, ‘cause my personality is not that of someone who can handle such a career. I think I wanted that more back then, because I thought it would make me more popular in school. I wanted so desperately to be accepted.

Thankfully, it was not too long after that, when high school came into the picture. It was then that my love for three quite different careers starting taking center stage. I wanted to be in law enforcement, nursing, and filmmaking. I told you… three very different careers. Filmmaking seemed to always be on the top, though. I saved up for two years to afford my own video camera to make my own movies. And, when I finally did just that, I wrote, directed, edited and produced my own movies that starred my nieces and nephews. As I’ve stated before, my love for art and writing won the battle between the three.

I tried to be a cop, but it didn’t quite work out. I tried to be a nurse, and well, that should have worked, but I chickened out. However, my prospects eventually took me to graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Media Arts and Design and I now write more than ever, especially with my blog.

So, where am I going with this? Well, I guess what I’m trying to say is that dreams and goals change, either voluntarily or involuntarily. When it comes to my dreams of becoming a mother someday, those were somewhat taken from me against my will.

What Happened to Motherhood?

As I stated, I never dreamed of motherhood as a child. Not even through my teenage years. All I wanted was to be successful and work. I wanted to be someone of whom my parents could be proud. However, then when I was in my early twenties I went to a family reunion. I was standing there next to my sister as one of my cousin’s little girls (about four-years-old at the time) was dancing with my uncle, her grandpa. She looked so cute and was laughing and smiling. I watched her and suddenly I blurted out loud, “I want one of those.” My sister – who always wanted nieces and nephews from her sister to add to those whom she already loved dearly from our brothers – became excited to say the least. It was the first time I had ever shown interest in becoming a mom someday. Having kids? Wow! It was actually finally in the cards for me. I actually finally wanted some of my own. It was a revelation for me that same day as it was for my sister, and I thought maybe… just maybe… I’d someday be walking into a family reunion with a baby Summer in my arms.

Unfortunately, that is no longer in the cards for me.

Some may be asking why. Why would that suddenly not be in the cards for my life? I’m not physically unable to become pregnant. It’s prime time for me to have a child. I’m the youngest of all of my female cousins, and the youngest of all of my cousins with the exception of one of my male cousins who is one month younger than me. He’s also now expecting to be a father soon. They’re all having kids right now. It’s baby central in my family. So, why would I not be able to become a mother? The answer is simple… because I have bipolar.

Now to make it clear, I am not saying that having bipolar makes becoming a parent impossible. Plenty of bipolar parents are out there in this world and are successfully raising their beautiful children and doing a damn good job at it. Mental illness does not stop one from becoming a parent, most of the time. However, for myself and others whom I know throughout this blogging community, I know mental illness has been a reason for not wanting children. We have our reasons and they are enough to make us choose our own personal paths in regards to this subject in life. Months back I read a great post by Cate from Infinite Sadness… or Hope? It was on this same topic and I thought she was so brave to talk about it. She inspired me to write a topic on my own reasons for not becoming a parent myself, but I didn’t have the courage to do so back then. However, now after the birth of my cousin’s baby, I suddenly feel I can finally write about it.

Am I Afraid?

Is it fear? Yes, a little of it is being afraid of not being able to take care of my child properly. I can’t even properly take care of myself during a bad episode, so how can I think that I can take care of a child. A child is fully dependent upon his or her parent(s). I do not want to leave my child struggling for my attention or just a hug from mommy when I hate myself and can barely get myself into the shower. I’m afraid of scarring my child.

Fear also comes into play in regards to genetics. Bipolar has a genetic connection, and the fact that I could pass it down to my children is not lost on me. I don’t want to have children, only to have them suffer through a mental illness that I know I gave to them. And, to be fully honest, I’m also feeling selfish here too. I don’t think I can handle dealing with my own problems with this illness, while also trying to handle the problems of my child’s illness (if he or she were to have it). As I’ve said, it’s hard enough for me to manage my own issues, and I just don’t think I have it inside of me to also manage my child’s. I know… that’s selfish.

Finally, and probably the strongest reason for my not wanting children anymore, is one that is difficult for me to share. I have family and friends who read this blog (only those whom I have the utmost trust in), and I’m worried that this might worry them. Please do not feel worried (anyone who is reading this), as this is not how I feel right now, it’s just that I’ve been there many times before and it is from those places that I write this.

This life is hard. It’s hard for any human being who lives and breathes on this planet. It doesn’t matter how one’s brain functions, the fact is that life can suck horribly. It can be extremely beautiful, but let’s face it; it has some horrible moments too. Well, throw a mental illness on top of all of that, and it’s a mixture of much more distress, heartache, crushing blows and a world of stigma from people who do not understand what it truly is like to live with it all.

It’s no secret that the pain of mental illness can lead to suicide. It’s a sad statistic that no one really likes to address often, but it’s real and should be addressed. I’ve been in that place many times since my symptoms began to arise in my late teens/early twenties. I’ve hurt beyond words and felt as if this world wouldn’t miss me if I were gone, because I was merely a burden on my family and friends and everyone else. When no one understands, it makes it hard to find hope that all will get better.

As I stated already, I’m not in that place right now. I am thankful for that. But, the fact of the matter is, I have been in that place too many times to ignore it. And, it is for that reason most of all that I no longer want to bring children into this world. I guess it’s a reason that’s based upon both love and selfishness. It’s love for a child not yet born. I would not want him or her to have to grow up without a mom, and leave that child to wonder if it was his or her existence that made mommy go away. I would not want to leave that child with the thoughts that he or she was not loveable enough for his or her mommy to stay. I guess that is where the love foundation starts, but that’s also where it ends.

The selfish reason is one of much less love. I hope this doesn’t make me look like a horrible person. But, I don’t want anything tying me down to this life. I don’t want to have to worry about a child depending on me as a mother, when I’m done with this life and ready to leave on my own accord. I don’t want anything holding me back when the time comes that I’ve finally had enough of the pain and hopelessness. I’m not saying that I will definitely take myself out of this world someday, but as I look forward in my future, I can’t see a real life. I can’t see myself in five years, ten years, or twenty years. I can’t see it in my mind. As a child and a teenager I could. I had dreams and hopes. I had goals of how I’d reach what I wanted. Now, I live each day, one-day-at-a-time. I have dreams of where my writing can maybe someday take me. I’m writing a novel and hope that someday I can reach a point of publication. But, at the same time, I can’t truly see it. My life is bits and snippets of production today, in my present life. But, in my future, those bits and snippets are even smaller. So, if I can’t see a clear future for myself, then how can I bring a child into this world knowing that I may just very well want to leave it someday? I don’t want that hovering over me.

I know this probably not only sounds awfully selfish, but also extremely dark and morbid. However, as I’ve said it’s based around how I’ve been in the past, when the depressions have gotten me so low that I feel that the best option would be to leave forever. I’m not discounting the possibility that someday I may just be an 80-year-old woman sitting on her porch watching the children play along her street. But, what I do know is that those children won’t be my grandchildren. Believe me when I say that is one goal of mine, though, that I can at least hope will happen. I may not be able to see it clearly in my future, but I do truly hope it will happen. I want to survive this illness. I want to make it.

A Closing…

I don’t want to leave this post on a depressing note. I know that’s kind of hard to do after laying all that out there for the world to read, but I want to end this post with a bit of hope.

I may not want to be a mother anymore, but I will say this… I absolutely love the little ones in my family. They are all special to me and I have a special place in my heart for each and every one. Not all women are meant to be mothers, and I think some of us who aren’t are accepting of that. I know I am. I am saddened that I will never have a little one of my own, but I’m not so saddened that it will kill my spirit of love. I love children, and the ones in my circle of family and friends will always be ones that I look forward to seeing. I have been blessed to watch one of my cousin’s three little ones grow up before my eyes. I held them each as newborns and they now sit on my lap with such happy innocence in their eyes. I’m watching these three little ones, as well as three of my great-nephews, grow up and form their own personalities and become these little people who will someday run this world.

As a child, I grew up with most of my nieces and nephews; therefore I didn’t get the chance to appreciate that growth in them, because I was growing myself. But, now I am old enough to watch it and take it all in and it never fails to make me look on in awe at their development.

I’ll never be a mom in this lifetime, but I can still love on the children who are in my life and be the best aunt, cousin, or friend to them. Mental illness may have taken motherhood away from me for my own personal reasons, but it can’t take away my love.

So, take that, bipolar… I’m stronger than you thought.

 

This is a beautiful song about parenthood. Written and performed by Ben Folds for his daughter Gracie.

 

Living in a Fantasy World? You’re Not Alone

Back in April of last year, I published a post on a special and – until I announced it on my blog – private experience. The post was called Living in a Fantasy World, and it was my way of finally revealing this place to where I go when I need to escape from this world of reality. I tried my best to explain what such an experience feels like and how it looks when my mind is lost in this world of imagination. It’s a unique place in which to be, that’s for certain, and it’s something that I wish I could bring you all into for at least a day. Then again, it’s also quite personal and a place of refuge and meditation, so it’s probably best it stays that way. However, I’m so glad that I decided to share it on my blog, because it has been a place for others to feel comfort. I have received many comments on my post since April, but especially in more recent months, which has inspired me to want to write this follow-up.

Refuge and Meditation

Refuge and meditation… those are two words that I hadn’t really associated with my fantasy world until I finally told my therapist about it, and posted here on my blog. When I first revealed my fantasy world to my therapist a couple of years ago, I was so worried that she would think of me as being completely crazy and in dire need of more help than previously realized. I mean think about it. When I enter this world, I become lost inside of it. I’m not just this world in my mind as I lay down on my bed. No, I am ‘lost’ inside of it in every sense of the word. I am mentally, emotionally and physically there. I see it, feel it, touch it, and even more dramatically… live it. It is my world for that time being. It becomes my reality and it is the most magnificent place to be, because I become free of all pain, stress, and feelings of being the hopeless and pitiful loser that I so often feel like in the real world. Therefore, when the time came that I revealed this private world to my therapist, I expected the worst reaction. Although, she had proved herself trustworthy to me, which is why I finally felt I could tell her. So, I guess there was a part of me that hoped that she’d respond in a different way. Well, she didn’t let me down.

The telling of my world to my therapist was a wonderful experience. It started off nerve-wracking as heck, as I recall not even being able to look at her when I talked about it. I also read to her a description about it that I thought would help to better express this world to her. That helps with the no eye contact thing too. And, her response was so supportive that it made me feel like such a better person than I had before that day. Prior to that day, I felt as if there was something seriously wrong with me. Ok, yeah, I have bipolar, so it’s not like I can say that I’m all ok in the head. My family and friends can tell you just how bad I can be at times. But, this isn’t anything about mental illness. My worries weren’t of having a mental illness (as this was prior to my diagnosis anyway), but rather, that I was somehow becoming distanced from reality and heading to a bad place of losing touch with it all together. I worried that I was somehow stuck in some unending childhood. I felt almost as if I was stunted somehow and that I was unable to leave this world of make-believe that I should have left by the time I hit my teenage years. I felt that it was time to grow up, and yet I was struggling to do so.

Well, my therapist – over the course of quite some time of discussing it in the sessions to follow – helped me to realize quite the opposite. She told me that there wasn’t anything wrong with having a fantasy world. She thought it was such a great and beautiful thing to have in my life and I should embrace it. Wow! Embrace it? Really? I never expected that to come out of her mouth, that’s for sure. Yet, it did. She had also began to help me understand just how important this world had become for me. I wasn’t diagnosed with bipolar until late 2009, and up until that point I was lost for years in a downward spiral into what can only be described as my own personal hell on earth. It’s quite an upside-down-topsy-turvy-complete-loss-of-control feeling when the world continues to move along normally around you, while you are slowly disintegrating into nothingness.

So, what does this have to do with my fantasy world? Well, my therapist helped me to finally see that my world of imagination was in actuality a refuge for me. It had become the place that would save my life. I can’t say that I would have ended my life without it. I know I wanted to many times, but I can’t say that I really would have done so, because obviously I didn’t. But, I also wonder now, thanks to my therapist, if maybe my fantasy world saved me too. When I was too depressed, then my mind was too exhausted and numb to be able to imagine my place of happiness. Happiness was gone. Before I even reached those points, though, I would sometimes head into that world and it would help me during those times. I would feel good for that period of time. As I wrote in my initial post back in April, coming out of that world was a different story. If I was interrupted somehow, then it was jarring and I was left angry and not the most pleasant person to be around. That’s still the case. If I naturally come out of it, though, I do not feel like that. Unfortunately, though, the depression will return and often sometimes worse knowing that my world of success is only in my head.

However, through it all back then, that world still provided me with a refuge during times that could have otherwise been spent obsessing on the negative that surrounded me. It did indeed save my life during those times when I had no therapist, no psychiatrist, no meds, and no diagnosis as for what on earth was happening to me. It gave me a place to go where my life was not upside down. That is where what my therapist described makes so much sense. And, I thank her for helping me to view my world as more than just some childish, losing-control-of-my-reality type of experience. And, then there is the blogging community. After my posting, I had several responses from people who read my post and not only appreciated me sharing, but helped me to feel like it was a place of meditation and importance that was creative. They, along with my therapist, helped me to see just how much creativity it takes to go into such a world in my mind, and that it was something that I should embrace and of which I should be proud as well.

I now realize, loud and clear, that being able to escape into my fantasy world is a gift that God has given me. He knew I would need some way to survive through some of the most tormented times of my life. And, having that place allows me to escape from a world that does not understand me. No matter how much my loved ones may try (for which I appreciate and love them dearly, and hope they never leave me), they just can’t understand what I feel inside. What those thoughts are that drill into my skull and cause pain that makes me want to use a sledgehammer to shatter my dysfunctional brain. The pain it feels to be high on top of the world. To feel happy, carefree, and enjoying life like I have the right. But then, suddenly crash to the bottom and wind up curled up on the couch in tears and exhaustion, and many times not even know what triggers it. It’s not fair, but mental illness isn’t fair. It sucks beyond all meaning of the word ‘suck’.

Why I Wrote This Post

As I stated in the beginning of this post, I wanted to write a follow up to my previous post back in April on this subject. The reason for this is due to all of the recent feedback I’ve had on it. I feel that lately, people have been suddenly hitting on the post again and a few have commented recently, and that tells me that people are searching for the topic. These people want answers to what I also so long wanted answers. I couldn’t find many responses or articles on this topic back when I used to search for it, and so it makes me feel good that my post can help others to not feel so alone. I felt alone when I couldn’t find any, and that just made me feel – even more so – that I was losing touch with reality.

One person, in a recent comment, talked about his/her own experience with their fantasy world, and then followed that up with, “Am I crazy?” I assured them that they are not, and thankfully, due to the loving support and advice that I have received from many of you and my therapist, I was able to say that with confidence.

I find it quite telling that such a post has been hit on so much recently. I think more people out there have these worlds, and want an answer to that same question… “Am I crazy?” I know I always wanted that same answer. I want each and every one of those people out there who are searching for answers on this subject to realize that there is absolutely nothing wrong with having a fantasy world. Take it from someone who has one and has been in that boat of worrying about my sanity due to it… there isn’t anything wrong with it. I love that I can finally say that. It’s OK. It’s our normal. It may not be the normal for most people in this world, but it is for many more than who come forward. And, that’s ok. No one has to reveal this place of private pleasure to anyone. It’s your world and no one else’s. If you choose to share about it, then great! If not, then great too! It’s great, because that is your choice, and you need to do what is best for yourself.

It’s important for me to emphasize that just because you may have a fantasy world, that doesn’t mean you have a mental illness. Such worlds can be a place for all people, no matter what is the source of his or her stress, pain, and need for a refuge. My therapist told me that. So, please don’t think that just because you have a special fantasy world that you go to, that it means you are suffering from bipolar like myself, or any other mental illness. It can just mean that you have a wonderful imagination of which you should be proud. And, hey, if you do happen to have a mental illness too… well, that’s OK too. You are not alone. We are all in this together. Mental illness or not, you are not alone.

Tap Into Your Imagination’s Energy

One of my favorite artists, Greg Olsen, and his perfect illustration of imagination.

One of my favorite artists and writers, Greg Olsen, and his perfect illustration of imagination.

Fantasy worlds can be a place for great material for books too. Think about it… our imaginations are taking us to places of happiness and enjoyment. Or, maybe for some, it takes them to places of darkness and scary scenarios, but if that’s what provides them with some sort of response that they desire, then that’s a place which is welcomed. It can be a place where one gathers up all of his or her creative thoughts and turns it into material for art, writing, music, or even interpretive dance. Basically, wherever your heart and mind can take you. So many places can be reached in reality with the content that comes out of our imaginative minds during these periods of fantasy. When you come out of those places, write it down. Have a notebook or journal nearby, and just jot down different parts if you can. And, who knows, someday you may come up with your own way of expressing it all to the world to share with others. Suddenly, the world can go into your world and experience the same joy, fear, or wherever you want to take them.

My therapist told me that another way to view it all, along with my dark thoughts that stem from my obsessive-compulsive disorder, is that Mary Shelly, Stephen King, Edgar Allen Poe, and many others, all had to get their ideas from somewhere. Sure, the culture around them can inspire them, but without their own dark thoughts and imaginations of their own, they wouldn’t have been able to sculpt those inspirations into the works of Frankenstein, The Shining, and The Tell-Tale Heart. Those works have entertained generations, and in some cases for over one hundred years. That says a lot. I can now understand what my therapist meant by, ‘embrace it’.

Those of use who can relate to having a fantasy world have so much in common. We have a shared experience that not all can say they have. So, be proud of your fantasy worlds, no matter what they may be. Take them for what they are and enjoy every minute of your experiences, because it truly is a special place to have the ability to visit. And, even better than that… you own it! It’s your world! Your mind created it, no one else! You took inspirations from around you and created a world of your own. How freakin’ awesomely amazing is that!?!? EMBRACE IT!

In closing, I would just like to add that to those who do not go to these places of wonder and enjoyment, please do not look down upon those of us who do. For we may just be the people that provide the entertainment that you may one day add to your list of all-time favorites.

 

A song about loving imagination, by one of my favorite musicians, Adam Young (Owl City). Please give it a listen… it’s a beautiful song.

 

 

Dreams Gone By – Regret #1

Life is one heck of a roller coaster. I’m not referring to the bipolar roller coaster either, but rather the roller coaster of life. That “topsy-turvy, make you want to hurl at times” track that every human being rides from birth to death. Yeah, I know… after that, I doubt God would ever hire me for Heaven’s marketing team for advertisement on life, but I’m sure He understands from where my thoughts are coming. After all, He made us humans, and He gave us the ability to feel and think how we do, even when that deals with regrets.

Regrets. We all have them, men, women, and even children (although, depending on age, they may not always realize that’s what they’re feeling). So, this post is finally the beginning of a project that I wanted to start about two months ago. The project is one regarding regret, and getting rid of those unwanted pains that have stricken me long enough throughout my life. Is that going to be easy? Heck no! Is that going to be possible? I’ll just leave that at a, “Maybe”. My goal in this project isn’t to forget about my regrets. I don’t think that’s even possible without slamming my head into a brick wall enough times. But, at least I can “try” (hey, my favorite word) to do my best coming to terms with them, and in doing so, moving past them.

So, for my first regret, I’m going to start with one that causes me much disappointment. It’s my regret of a dream gone by. A dream that I did not follow through long enough to realize if it was something that I should really do with my life. It’s my regret of not becoming a registered nurse, or at least trying harder to do so.

I guess I should give a little professional background before continuing. Only a handful of people I know are actually aware of this little fact that I’m about to talk about. And, three of those people read this blog. So, here I go spreading the word to everyone else. In the 11th grade, I began to have a serious desire to go for a career in law enforcement (yeah, don’t worry, this leads to the nursing dream). I come from a family with a few law enforcement individuals, and growing up around that knowledge always made me think that it was a possibility for me to enter the same field. However, as a child I wanted to be everything in the world. I was never set on just one profession. As many kids, I wanted to be every profession with which my mind was inundated. By the time I was sixteen years old, though, I was feeling the law enforcement bug a lot more strongly than ever before. So, when I graduated from high school, I knew that if I really wanted to become a police officer, then I’d better lose weight. At the time I was 100 pounds overweight and I knew that if I didn’t lose that weight, then I’d never have a chance to be a cop. So, I went to college and while there, I started losing weight. I was exercising, eating healthy and feeling great physically. And, by the time I was eligible to apply, I had lost 104 pounds, and was fit and thin. Of course, as previous posts of mine have shown, that weight loss did not stick. But, at that point in my life, I was thin.

I made it! I had reached the goal that I had set out for myself, and followed up that drop in weight with an early departure (I hadn’t finished) from college, while I tried to continue toward the goal of wearing a badge, and basically continue to find myself. See, I knew that I wanted to be a police officer, but there was still doubt inside of whether or not I’d make it. And, as I worked up the courage to try, I worked hard at my job, while I tried to weigh all of my options. It was during this time too that I had been dealing with the early stages of what I now know to be my bipolar. However, at the time, there was a part of me that thought, “Hey, if I become a cop, then I’ll be happy, ‘cause it’s what I want to do with my life.” I was looking for happiness in something that I now know would not have given it to me, at least not to the degree that I wanted.

Well, the time came that I felt I was ready, and I sent in that application. A month later, I received my letter of approval for taking the written and physical exams an hour away, over in the next county (where my city held its exams). So, I bought the book to help me prepare for the written exam and I continued to work out like crazy to prepare for the physical fitness test. So, how did it all turn out? Well, considering what you all know about me from my blog, I’m sure you can figure out that answer.

I passed the 3-hour written exam with flying colors, but the physical fitness test… well, let’s just say some pretty dazed-induced colors passed by my whirling head, before they filled up the huge lumps on both my head and knee from a failed jump over the wall. Yep, I missed. I thought I was ready, but alas, my upper body strength was not as built up as my lower body, so I was able to get up on the wall, but just not over it. What did I look like, you may ask? Picture someone with both arms stretched out and hanging onto the top of the wall for dear life, while her feet are firmly planted on the side of the wall. Now, imagine in your head that person saying, “Oh crap! How do I get out of this position?” Imagine all of that and you got me, trying climb that stupid six foot wall. Oh yeah! I forgot to mention that, didn’t I? I couldn’t climb over a SIX FOOT WALL! If there ever were a zombie apocalypse, I’d be the straggler, hanging onto the wall as bait while my fellow survivors jumped over.

Thankfully, the guys I was taking the test with (all but myself and one other girl were guys) were extremely supportive. The first time, when I ran up to the wall, my foot slipped off the side of the wall, forcing both that leg’s knee and my head into it (leading to the colorful lumps). It was then, though, that the guys were yelling, “Come on girl! Shake it off! Shake it off! You can do it!” So, that snapped me out of the stunned pain I was in, and I turned around for my second (and last allowed) try. It was that final try where I just hung there on the wall. I really think I should have gotten some points for some kind of Spiderman skills and stamina. Unfortunately, however, this is real life and in real life, you often don’t get points for effort. So, I walked away from that experience a failure (at least in my eyes). I was immediately disqualified, as part of the rules stated that if you miss any of the individual physical tests, then you’re immediately gone, until another year when you may try again.

As I walked away with both swelling in my knee and head starting to form, I was strong and thanked the police officers and trainers for their time and opportunity. I then walked off alone and cried once I was out of sight. After working so hard to lose weight and get into shape and study for the written exam, I failed because I literally hit a wall. Believe me, the cruel humor of that is not lost on me.

I was crushed, and I felt even more lost than I was prior to making the decision of going for the academy exams. Now, with the bipolar, I know that I most likely wouldn’t have made it past the psychological exam anyway. But, back then, I didn’t know anything about what was going on in my head and failing that test hurt… badly. So, I headed back to work the next day without the opportunity to tell my boss and co-workers that I had succeeded. Instead, I headed in there as if the previous day was just as ordinary as the last. A couple of months later, I received a call from the Lieutenant for my city’s Police Department, offering me a rare second chance to take the physical exam again. He said my written exam scores were high and that he felt I had it in me to pass the physical exam, if I just built up my upper body strength a bit more. He remembered my fantastic ability to plant my head so firmly into a wooden wall, and said that he could see that I was strong, just not strong enough at that point. I flipped out (once I was off the phone with him), and was so happy that I was being given this wonderful opportunity. I was excited. However, that excitement was short-lived. A couple of months later, as I was still prepping my body for the test, one of my police officer family members was seriously injured in an accident while on patrol one night. It was an extremely serious set of injuries, and it was a frightening time in our family’s past.

After a long recovery, he made it through, and is now ok. Thank God! That experience, however, made me start to re-evaluate my goals in life. At that time, I obviously knew that dangers come with being a police officer, but there was something about a car accident while on patrol that never occurred to me before. I had thought getting shot or stabbed would be a rare encounter if ever while being a police officer. But, a car accident… that was something so much closer to home. It was something that would be much more likely considering my role as an officer. I did a whole lot of soul searching after all of this, and decided that the best thing would be to leave that dream behind. I no longer wanted it. I was hit in the face by a fact about that career that I had never considered before. I realized right then and there, that it was a dream that I may have once ached for, but no longer did. It was something in my past.

Therefore, to this day, I do not regret it. I followed through with that dream as far as I could, before realizing it wasn’t for me. I realized that it wasn’t the place in the professional world where I was meant to be. And, I’m now content with that. I do not regret being just an ordinary citizen without a badge. I don’t regret it because I followed through with it. Unfortunately, though, I cannot say the same thing for nursing.

Nursing was something that was on my mind off and on throughout these same years. It was always in the back of my mind, and then would often move to the forefront before moving backward again. Throughout the beginning of my college career, I took prerequisites for the program, and was working toward that goal, while also working on getting my body to a point of law enforcement eligibility. And, after deciding that being a cop was no longer for me, I quit my job months later, and went back to school full-time for nursing. I took almost all of my prerequisites, before the doubt began to set in. Once I reached the point of the anatomy and physiology courses, I started doubting my ability to be a nurse. I used the excuse that I didn’t think I could handle the blood and guts, but that wasn’t true. I was merely using that as an excuse for those I knew, so that they wouldn’t see me as the lame loser that I knew I was. I didn’t know what was wrong with me. Why was I suddenly losing the motivation? Why was I feeling so low, again? It was that depression creeping up on me again, and I could feel it. So, I lied and said I couldn’t handle the blood and guts. What was the real reason for my not following through with my dream, aside from the creeping depression? Fear. I was afraid. I was so scared of failing as both a nursing student, and even worse… as a nurse. I also worried that in doing so, that I’d hit a whole knew realm of defeat in my already confused life. So, I stopped. Just like that, I stopped going to classes one day, and that was it. I was stuck in limbo for the next months. During this time, I spiraled into a deeper depression, due to feeling so lost and out of place in life. I didn’t know what I was going to do. I was without a job, without school, and even worse… without a plan. I had no goal left for my life. All that I could focus on was what I was going to do with this pitiful life.

But, then, the conversation happened. One day, I was at one of my aunt and uncle’s houses. My uncle (a law enforcement officer) was the only one home and we were just hanging out and having a great conversation about all sorts of subjects and issues. Eventually, the conversation worked its way into my future plans. I told him I didn’t know what to do at that point. I was at a loss. He had recently seen a video I had created, though, and he told me that he felt I should go back to school for arts and design. He told me I had a talent that needed to be explored and developed, and it was important for me to do so. I have great respect for this man, and so hearing those words from him did something to me. I guess you could say that they lit a fire under me and made me really start wondering if he was right. So, over the next couple of months I kept thinking about what he said and how he said it. So, as I fought against my depression, I also juggled the words and advice that my uncle had given to me… words that meant much more than I think he realized that day. See, that’s the important part. What he said was so nice to hear. However, it wasn’t just what he said, but rather how he said it that made the difference. He wasn’t lying to me. He wasn’t patronizing me. He wasn’t just giving me some pep talk filled with bulls**t. He was speaking from his heart, and I could see that. He’s one of those reputable people in my life whom I respect and admire. It was the tone he used that day… the words he used, and the fact that he looked directly at me, staring me down with the encouragement he was setting forth. He really meant what he said.

So, by the next semester, I was back in school and on my way to my bachelor’s degree in Media Arts and Design, which I earned in 2007. I made it a point at my graduation party to pull my uncle aside and give him a private, yet strongly appreciative thanks for what he did. He gave me the encouragement that I needed, during a time when the still-unknown bipolar was starting to push me further into emotional unsteadiness, leading me into deeper doubt about my own capabilities.

Am I happy that I graduated with my bachelor’s in that field? Yes! I am extremely happy and grateful for all who helped, supported, taught, and endured me throughout those years of both academic exhaustion, and emotional turbulence. I’m not sure how I managed to make it through school and actually graduate, but I did. Through all of the turmoil that bipolar was starting to throw at me, I still managed to bypass it for that time being and pull forward. And, I’m satisfied with that achievement in my life. I’m not sad about it. I’m not regretful about it. I accomplished something that had always been a goal of mine… to receive my college degree. So, if I am happy with reaching that educational goal, why on earth would I be regretful about not attending nursing school?

Well, the disappointment in my not following through with nursing school didn’t begin to show its face until after I was diagnosed with bipolar in 2009. It was then that I began to feel that I may have missed my calling. I feel that with everything I have dealt with – and continue to deal with – in my life, that I could have been a better nurse than I had ever realized. I was so afraid of failing at such an important role in the medical field, that I let that keep me from moving closer to that goal. I never stopped to think what qualities I had that could have been useful in that very field. Then, again, maybe I just couldn’t see those qualities back then. After all, I hadn’t been diagnosed as having a mental illness yet.

Let me explain what I mean by that. Bipolar is a curse, but, strangely, it can also be an odd blessing. I’m not sure how many sufferers from the illness would concur with me on that, but here’s my reasoning. I’m in touch with emotions on a different level than people who are not bipolar. I’m not saying that people without the illness aren’t in touch with their emotions. I’m absolutely not saying that. Rather, what I’m saying is that through my highs and lows, I have not only experienced a range of emotions, but I’ve also had to face them head on… often on my own, but also through therapy. I’ve been from points of suicidal ideation, to points of feeling like sleep was a mere hindrance to a better and more productive life of creativity and fantasy. Due to this extreme range of emotional experience, I often wonder if maybe I could have been a good nurse. Of course, I would have had to be stable to do so, but in that stabilized state, what if I could have been there for patients in a way that not all people can understand? What if I could have been that person who understands them in a way that most people don’t? To be a good nurse, you definitely don’t need to be bipolar, but you do need to be in touch with what others are feeling. I have such deep respect for nurses, and know a few in my family whom I admire.

I don’t know if I would have made a good nurse. I don’t even know if I would have been able to handle the stress of it. I would hope that I could have been the kind of person that could calm the fears of a patient and comfort them in times of pain and trauma. I would hope that I could have been there with the family of a loved one for whom they are worried and distraught. I would hope that I could have been a hand to place on their shoulder, or the arms to place around them in a hug of support. But, that is something I will just have to dream about. This is one regret that I have which I am currently trying to just move beyond. I went to school, got my bachelor’s, and spent a lot of money doing so. Going to school for nursing now… well, that’s something that for a time I thought could still happen, but that dream has been fading.

I guess I just need to continue to wait for what God really has in store for me. I’m trying to figure it out. I want to know what He wants for me. I want to know what I’m supposed to do with all of this craziness that is my life. I want to know why I can’t live my life without putting my family and friends through my crap. I often ask myself the question, “Of all the people I could have been in this life, why did I have to be me?” However, then I ask another question. Who would I want to be if I wasn’t me?

As Leona Lewis says in one of my favorite songs (and puts it best), “I just want to be happy.” But, I don’t know what would truly make me happy anymore. All I know is that I want it. I want to be happy… really, truly, happy, for more than just a day or two before something sets me off and I become an unpleasant annoyance for those around me.

Yeah, I guess that’s it. I just want to be happy.

 

 

The Girl in the Corner

Dear Journal,

I’m so glad to be awake now. I had a horrible dream tonight and I had to write about it.

It started off in a bedroom, similar to mine. I could see a girl who looked to be thirteen, just like me. She didn’t look like those 13-year-olds going on 21. Rather, she looked just like me, a 13-year-old who was very much still a little girl. She had the television going and was wearing headphones as she listened to her music. It was late, almost 11pm or so, and oh what fun she looked to be having on her Saturday night. Dancing around the room as free as could be. I wanted to join in so badly. I swear that, for a moment, I thought I could see a Broadway theater. I wonder if that’s what she saw too. I wish I could have joined her.

But, that part of the dream didn’t last very long. As she danced about the room, there was a knock at her bedroom door. She didn’t respond to it, though. It was obvious that the music was too loud for her to hear a knock. I was waving at her, trying to let her know, but of course she could not see me. The knocking continued, and so did her lack of awareness. I couldn’t blame her, though. She looked so absorbed in that world of hers that the real one seemed far from her mind.

That’s when it happened. I couldn’t believe my eyes. This man just opened her door. She had it closed for privacy, but he just opened it anyway. How did he know she wasn’t sound asleep? How did he know she wasn’t changing? He had no right, yet he did it anyway. And, the look on his face… ugly! He reeked of beer and his face was one of anger. He glared at this little girl with a look of so much outrage, and for what? I couldn’t understand. Was it her father? I didn’t know. What I did know, though, was that she wasn’t doing anything wrong, but there he was staring at her as if she had been. That’s when she turned around.

She jumped as she was immediately frightened to turn and see this man standing in her room, watching her. I think it was a combination of both anger that her privacy had been invaded, as well as embarrassment that he had caught her in a fantasy world of some sort. I don’t know for sure, but that would make me angry and embarrassed for sure. She quickly removed her headphones, revealing just how loud the music was, which lead to him fiercely asking his first question.

“What the hell are you doing?”

The little girl looked at him, and responded in a tone of both frustration and frightened shakiness.

“What?”

He just glared back at her and in a tone of such entitlement, he responded.

“What the hell are you doing? I was knocking on that door and you didn’t answer.”

The girl then meekly told him that she was listening to her music. But, that didn’t make the conversation go any better. The man just went on to tell her that she is to open the door when he knocks. He, then, walked all the way into the room, closing the door behind him. At this point, the relationship of the girl and man became clear, and I realized that it was not her father. It had also become apparent that this man was smashed out drunk.

He walked over to the girl. I could see the fear in her eyes. She looked at the bedroom door. I’m not sure what was going through her mind, but I couldn’t help but think that maybe she was hoping someone would come in. I think she wanted her dad or mom to walk in and catch this person. I kept hoping the same thing for her. But, no one came.

This man was tall compared to the girl, and he looked to be quite muscular. He was frightening with that body and look on his face. That’s why I don’t blame her for just backing into the corner of her room, as he walked her into it. He knew what he was doing. He walked in a way where she had no escape around him, and just kept walking toward her until she was pushed into the corner. I could see her turning her head quite a bit as he towered over her. She couldn’t have been more than 5 feet at the time, and he stood over her, looking down right at her. She kept turning her head toward the door and downward to the floor. I could see she was trying to hold her breath too. As bad as his clothes smelled, I can’t even imagine his breath.

That wasn’t the worst of it, though. She was trapped in this corner, as he started telling her things about when he had been in a horrible place. How he had to be careful because men would rape other men, and stick stuff up their backsides. They would hurt each other ,‘cause there are no women in there. I didn’t even understand a lot of what he was telling her, and I could tell that she didn’t either. She knew enough, though. And, unfortunately, she was also learning a lot more that night. He then went on to tell her that he was going to die just like one of their relatives.

“I’m going to die just like he did. He couldn’t take the pain from war and he drank himself to death. The same is going to happen to me.”

This scared the girl. For one, she didn’t know that was the reason that family member had died. I could see it on her face. She knew how, but not why. Secondly, she didn’t want the same thing to happen to this person. I could see how much she loved this man, no matter how awful he was being toward her. It was the alcohol that was making him this way, and she didn’t want to lose him from her life.

She was hurting. She wanted to get out so badly, and I think she wanted to scream at the top of her lungs for help. I know that she wanted her mom and dad to save her. She wanted someone to catch him. But, no one came.

The man just wouldn’t stop, though. He kept talking about his girlfriend and how much of a “b**ch” she was. He was detailing fights that they had, no matter how inappropriate. I guess at that point, though, wishing for appropriateness was pretty ridiculous. He continued on, telling her that he would see other pretty women and want to be with them instead of his girlfriend. He was saying dirty and nasty stuff. I could see her body language and that she hated hearing all of this. Her face looked sick. She wanted out. She wanted away. She wanted help. But, no one came.

Finally, after several minutes, the man seemed to finally finish with whatever the hell he was trying to do in the first place. He wrapped his arm firmly around the girl’s neck and hugged her tightly, which made her head feel a sudden pressure from the tightness of his grip. He just kept telling her that he loved her. When he was ready, he began to walk toward the door. However, before he left, he turned and looked at the girl one last time.

“You know I love you right?” He asked with firmness in his voice that was similar to a reprimand.

The girl just quietly and numbly nodded slightly. He then got that ugly and aggressive look on his face again before speaking to her once more.

“Tell me that you know your [his relationship] loves you!”

I saw the girl’s face. It was one of realization. She knew that she had to say that she knew he loved her; otherwise he was going to get angry again and wasn’t going to leave. So, she repeated it.

“I know you love me.”

I felt bad for her. I thought she was going to throw up. But, that didn’t matter to the man. He just got a smirk on his face and said, “That’s right!”

Then, as if he had just come into her room to sweetly say, “Goodnight”, he turned around, walked out of the room and shut the door behind him.

That’s when the tears finally came. She cried all alone. I wanted to sit by her and hold her hand, but I couldn’t. I could only watch as she cried for someone to hold her. She wanted someone to protect her from this person who should have been one of those protectors. She wanted someone to hug her. But, no one came.

What’s depressing is the fact that this isn’t where the dream ended. The dream went on to show this little girl growing up. She continued to endure this man coming into her bedroom. After that first time, she told her mom, who talked with this person, but that didn’t stop it. He knew when her parents were asleep that they would not know when he was in her room. The dream then flashed to her being asleep a year later. She lay in her bed sleeping. He was drunk and just standing at her bedroom door, by the foot of her bed. He was watching her. It was creepy. She woke up, though. And, she got scared when she saw him. He apologized to her, and said that he just liked to watch her sleep. This bothered the girl, I could tell. But, she didn’t say anything. Why would she? No one ever came.

The dream followed this girl through all of her teenage years, when she would heat up this man’s food in order to make sure he got food into his stomach. Most of the time, he’d pass out before he could finish, so she’d just be washing dishes and putting the food away in the middle of the night.

As adulthood hit, she continued to struggle with this man’s situation. There was a time when she was working on final projects in college. Her graduation was getting close, and she needed to finish the projects in order to make it. Unfortunately, there came a family gathering during which she had to work through in order to get them done. She spent the day in the family room, while watching The Simpsons with two of her nephews. She worked on her laptop, while spending time with them. She was trying to be as social as possible, but she needed to finish the projects. Finally, she went into her room toward the end of the day to print out some of the pieces, when the family wanted to take pictures. That was when he came in.

He walked into her room, stinking of beer as usual. He stood towering right over her 5’ 2” frame and stuck his drunken finger into her face. And, with anger reminiscent of the days when she was a little girl, he reprimanded her.

“I don’t give a s**t what you have to do! You better get your a** out of this room and in there to take a picture, or I’m going to rip those f***ing computer cables out of the f***ing wall!”

She listened, as always. After all, he was a father figure for her. He had the right to discipline her all of her childhood. She took the picture. She didn’t smile. I don’t think anyone noticed, though. They were all too busy getting the picture that they so badly wanted. Besides, why would they notice? They were the same people who never came.

When I woke up from this dream, I wanted to go back to the beginning. I wanted to warn that little girl who was dancing in her room. I’m thirteen, just like she was, so maybe she would have listened to me… from one kid to another. I wanted to tell her what was coming, so maybe she could do something differently. I don’t know what, but maybe there could have been something. I wish I could have told her that night was going to be the beginning of everything. The beginning of what would never end. If I received a warning like that, then I’m sure I would listen to it. I would remember it. I would make sure not to let it happen.

Oh well, at least it was just a dream, right? A long and horrible nightmare, that was now over. What a relief not to be in that world anymore.

Well, dear journal, as always thank you for listening to my weird thirteen-year-old ramblings. I think I’ll listen to some music before I…

Oh, I have to go. Someone’s knocking at my bedroom door. That’s strange. It’s late and my parents are asleep. I wonder who it could be.

I better get it.

Your friend,
Summer

 

The Boogeyman

Beware of The Blob!

It creeps, and leaps,
And glides and slides across the floor…
Right through the door.
And all around the wall…
A splotch, a blotch!

Be careful of The Blob.

~ The Metrolites

Those words will forever be ingrained in my memory. They are the lyrics for the opening credits of 1958’s The Blob, starring Steven McQueen (his first starring role).

For anyone who has not been fortunate enough to have their brain engrossed in this masterpiece of a horror film, let me give you a quick summary of it.

Courtesy of Wikipedia.com

It’s a movie about a huge ball of Jell-O taking its gooey revenge on a bunch of people in a small town one night. And, what is the reason for the vengeance it seeks? Well, because some old man pokes the blob with a stick at the beginning of the film, and watches it slowly slither down said stick, only to have it eventually grab his arm. Eh, gravity… you just never know what it’s going to do.

With each victim, the ball of Jell-O grows larger and larger, as it travels throughout the town. Who is going to save the people? Well, of course, it’s none other than 27-year-old Steve McQueen, who is already looking as if he’s in his early forties. But that’s ok, ‘cause he’s not playing a 27-year-old. Nope, he’s playing a 17-year-old. So, it is up to our hero (who also happens to be named Steve) to save the night.

However, no one believes Steve as he tries to tell them that some Jell-O killed the town doctor. His nurse was killed too. She could have escaped, but tripped over a tall lamp that was directly in front of her. She must have been great with needles. I mean, it was right in front of her… Come on!

But, you know… they needed to increase the number of deaths.

After Steve, his girlfriend, and his friends successfully wake up the entire town by blaring their car horns, the authorities finally begin to take him seriously. However, it is not until the theater showing a midnight movie special is overrun by the blob, that people realize that the gobbily goo really means business. The blob makes its way onto the street, where a little 5 or 6 year old boy is trying to kill it with his toy pistol. It’s Steve’s girlfriend’s little brother. I don’t know how he got out of the house in the middle of the night, but I think we’re supposed to just ignore that. As the kid realizes that he can’t kill the blob with fake bullets, he runs into a diner car behind him. As Steve and his girlfriend run in to get him, they realize that they are trapped. This is shown to the audience quite horrifyingly as the Jello is thrust onto a cardboard picture of the diner. Bam! Aw, it got them. Oh, but it didn’t get them! After all, Steve Mcqueen is the star and must not die. Instead he saves the day by realizing that the blob cannot stand cold.

So, the movie ends with a helicopter dropping the blob into the Antarctic, ‘cause the government figures it would be safe there. After all, the Antarctic is freezing. The last line in the film comes from McQueen, “Yeah, as long as the Arctic stays cold.” Let’s not think about global warming.

So, that is The Blob. That is the movie that terrified me so many nights during my childhood. It is the movie that kept me awake from nightmares, and crying at all hours of the night sometimes, because I thought I saw the blob coming through the crack under the bedroom door. And, it is for that reason that I still love the movie today. I may joke about it from time-to-time, but I enjoy the film and watch it often.

The movie is cheesy and so horrible. Technically, the only great thing about it should be Steve McQueen. It’s a classic B-movie, yet that is its appeal to me. It’s not some gory movie. It’s an innocent horror flick that struck terror into my mind as a child. I have respect for it, and as more than just a classic Hollywood film. I have grown both with and beyond it, and for that reason I now have enjoyment watching it. But, I will never forget the fear I had from it as a child.

It All Has To Do With Fear

Laurie, What’s the Boogeyman?

Does that question sound familiar? It’s asked by Tommy Doyle, in the first – and in my opinion, the best – horror film ever… Halloween (1978). Laurie Strode, played by Jamie Lee Curtis, is babysitting Tommy. He is quite frightened of the boogeyman, as he has heard from kids at school that he is real and is coming for him. Laurie tells him that there is no such thing as the boogeyman. However, by the end of the film she has a change of heart after almost being killed by Michael Myers… one of the most frightening characters of horror movies past. He is the source of many nightmares for people of all ages, but is he the boogeyman?

Tommy asks an interesting question in the film, because I think it’s something that we all have asked ourselves at some point of our childhood, or maybe even into adulthood. Just what is the boogeyman?

Earlier today, I was watching a show called, Primal Fear. It was on one of the History Channels, and it discussed various primal fears that human beings have had since the dawn of man. One of those fears was the boogeyman. The primal fears discussed are those that helped our ancestors to survive in a violent and dangerous world. And, although many of our situations have changed quite dramatically from those times, we still hold on to primal fears, as they are our brain’s way of keeping us safe, alive, and/or functioning positively in society.

One of the segments of the show was on hell, and how the fear of it has kept people terrified for ages. An expert on the issue, whose name I cannot recall, was discussing the topic of hell and how it has been described over the centuries. The focus of the discussion was how it has been a way to keep civilizations in line, through the horrifying imagery that has always been illustrated. She then made a comment about societies of the past. She stated that in ages past, prior to the discovery of accurate medical descriptions and explanations, that the mentally ill were seen as demon possessed. If a mentally ill individual showed any signs of their illness, then they were essentially tortured as a way to draw the demon out of them. And, if that lead to their death, it was just the way it turned out.

Hearing such a fact was just awful. We still have a long way to go in ending the stigma of mental illness and gaining better acceptance and compassion in the world. However with that said, I am so thankful that I was not alive during the time of such primitive thinking. We have a long way to go, but we have also come a long way too. This all comes down to fear, though. People were frightened by what they did not understand, and it is the same in today’s world.

When the Fears Begin

It is during childhood that our fears begin to surface. The show talked about how by the age of 9 months, babies begin to form a general idea of what humans are supposed to look like. They know what a face and a body are supposed to look like for the most part. For this reason, they are frightened when they see something, which interferes with that knowledge and perception. If you’ve ever seen a young child burst into screams and tears at the sight of Goofy in his face at Disneyland, then you’ve witnessed this negatively affected perception first hand. It’s a life-sized monster in that child’s eyes, as they are aware of what a life-sized individual should look like. And well, a huge being that doesn’t look like a human, but doesn’t look like a normal dog either, is going to frighten a child who is still trying to understand the world around him. If that child could talk, he’d probably ask the same thing Vern did in ‘Stand By Me’. “That’s weird. What the hell is Goofy?”

So, what does this have to do with the boogeyman? Well, according to the expert on the show, a child’s mind is full of imagination. When he or she sees something that does not fit into the mold of what they know the real world to be, then the child’s mind will imagine that it must be a monster. If it doesn’t fit into what people look like, but it acts as if it’s a person, then it cannot be good in their eyes. It must be bad. And, if the child does not get an accurate explanation for what they are seeing, then it is at that point that it can become the boogeyman.

My Boogeyman

This is what makes me wonder what was going on in my head as a child. I can only remember so much from my childhood, but one thing that I do remember for certain is my boogeyman. As scared as I was of The Blob, it was surprisingly not my boogeyman. Mine was different. It was terrifying to me, and it existed in my mind all of the time. My boogeyman was nothing more than a shadow of a figure, a silhouette. Whenever I would think of the boogeyman, it was an image of a silhouette shaped like a man. It didn’t have eyes, or any other features. It was just darkness that engulfed its shape, from the inside and out. It was terrifying to me and I would think that I saw it standing in places in which I didn’t want to go alone. I remember as a child, crouching into a seated position with my arms wrapped around my legs, in which my head was buried. I would become frozen with fear when I thought I saw him.

So, as I watched the show today, I wondered why my boogeyman was not detailed. As the topic of boogeyman was discussed, it was stated that children will draw their boogeymen and they showed pictures of such drawings. I don’t recall every drawing mine as a child, although I hid many things back then, so I probably was afraid someone would see it. But, even if they would have, would anyone have noticed it was a bad guy? It would have just been a dark, shadowy shape of a man.

As a child, I was always afraid of my ‘bad’ thoughts. I always worried that I was a ‘bad’ person due to my OCD (which I didn’t even know existed yet). I saw darkness inside of me as a child, and was always too scared to talk about it, due to my fear of what people would think. Growing up within the Christian faith, I knew that my thoughts had to be evil, and would be seen as such.

Today, I have a better understanding of my OCD and how I am not evil. But as a child, I was terrified by what was going on inside of my brain.

Maybe that was my boogeyman. It was my fear of my own darkness. It was my fear of my own thoughts that I didn’t understand, and which didn’t fit into the mold of what I knew to be good Christian thoughts. My mind and its imagery haunted me since I was 5-years-old, and possibly younger. And, it still does to this day.

So, maybe that’s my answer to Tommy’s question. Maybe my boogeyman was not just a product of my mind, but rather my mind itself.

If that’s the case, then I was my own boogeyman, and I still am.