Okay, so it's now April-ish of 2011 and Spenser and I have been hangin around each other for about four months. And things between us have gone NO WHERE. We're friends. And that's it. I don't know what to make of his awkwardness and my insecurities. So, you know what happens when two people fail to make a move? NOTHING. Go figure right?
Looking back I can see why everything that happened next had to happen for us to end up together. Or even have the CHANCE to end up together. But our next chapter is not the typical beginning to anyone's fairy tale ending. And it has very little 'Spenser' in it. Literally, that is. He was very much in my thoughts, just not in my life. And what I'm about to publish has never been told. So, here goes nothing!
The last time I saw Spenser was at the Festival of Colors that Spring of '11. After the festival a group of us went out to IHOP and then dropped me off at home. I didn't know for sure that would be the last time I saw Spenser for five months, it just worked out that way. And because we didn't know, there was no formal goodbye. He rightfully assumed he would see me again, and soon. But I had a different idea...
I couldn't stand being around that group of friends anymore. I had to get out. And the only way I've ever known how to do that is to cut ties, cold turkey style. I walked up my steps that day and slammed the door, knowing it would take some serious mending for me to EVER want to be around those people again. It wasn't Spenser specifically, though the pressure I felt from our friends to date him was starting to give me serious anxiety. But it was the general way in which I was treated. I wanted a group of friends that valued me, my interests, my morals, my goals. No, I NEEDED friends like that. And I wasn't finding it with them. So I left. It wasn't easy. I loved them, and we shared a lot of good memories. But it wasn't healthy for me. And I'd been through enough in my life at that point to know that if it's not making me happy it's wasting my time.
Because I left so suddenly, and stopped responding to all correspondence with those friends, they eventually stopped trying. Wouldn't you? I wasn't surprised and actually felt a bit relieved that I could close that chapter of my life and move on. However, Spenser kept in touch. Via facebook of course. Every now and then he'd catch me online and we'd make small talk over chat. It felt good to talk to him. I didn't want to admit it, but I missed him. He was always so nice. He never questioned me. He never dug for answers. I didn't want to give them, and maybe he sensed that. Or maybe he just didn't care. Either way, I liked the way he kept subtle tabs on me. I just couldn't take it further than facebook, not yet. I still wasn't ready. I had some serious demons at bay...
That year, following Sophie's adoption, was probably the hardest year of my life. I was struggling with things I would never admit to. They seemed so stupid. They shouldn't be happening to me. I was SO MAD that they were. I didn't know where they came from. And they weren't going away. I WAS A MESS. You wouldn't have known it by the way I walked, talked, and dressed on a daily basis. Unless you saw me at night, crying in my bed, you wouldn't have known it. You wouldn't have known I hated myself, that I couldn't concentrate, that my insecurities had consumed my every thought, that I felt worthless. And that I was addicted. To compulsive eating, compulsive behaviors, and pain medication. I was too young to get alcohol, but not too young or healthy to get pain killers. There were times when I would down two hydrocodons twice a day to keep myself from doing something stupid. I didn't take them because I wanted to feel 'numb'. The reason most people take them. I took them because my compulsive thoughts had literally taken over my entire being. I couldn't function without something to dull my thoughts, make me stupid. I
felt like I needed them or I would spontaneously combust. That 's the best way I can describe it. I would lie on my floor and dig my nails into the ground, as my body trembled, pleading with God to make me normal.
To this day, I can't pin point a time or place these problems began. I just know that as time went on, it got worse. I knew I needed to tell someone that I was binging and purging, that I couldn't bear to look at myself in the mirror, that my worst enemy was myself, and all that pain was too much to bear. And most importantly, that I felt like a schizophrenic. I just didn't want to be 'that girl'. Just like I didn't want to be 'that girl' that got pregnant. Just like I didn't want to be 'that girl' that left high school. I didn't want to be a freak, I was SO ready to move on and be normal. To succeed at life and accomplish my goals. I felt like God had given me a second chance when I placed Sophie for adoption. And life was so good...for awhile. And then it was as if someone planted a poisonous seed in my head that grew, and grew, and grew. But that seed was an opposing personality I didn't know how to control.
So, finally I asked for help. On my own, I didn't want anyone to know, especially my family. I sought professional advice from two wonderful counselors who knew a lot about personality disorders, and psychological illnesses. They changed my life forever. And after a full summer of working with them I finally started to feel like I, ME, SHANAE, was in control again. I can't even express to those reading this, what a RELIEF that was. I felt like I could breathe, think, work, and play without losing my mind, literally. It was the most liberating time of my life. And I was SO ready to perform at full capacity, to really LIVE, and move on with my life as the best version of myself.
There is a lot of stigma surrounding psychiatric illnesses. Which is
probably why it took me so long to admit to myself that my upstairs was
all sorts of screwey. But now that I've been educated and treated and
made aware of when and how to fight those demons I hope and pray for
those who ARE where I WAS. Don't let the stigma keep you from getting
help. Never fear the labels. It's not worth it, it's not worth your
LIFE. Which is exactly what you'll lose if you don't accept 'YOUR
NORMAL' and fix the parts of it that don't work. I am and always have been me. There were events in my life that messed with my brain. And because of the way I'm wired, my body reacted differently than others' would. And I thank my Heavenly Father every single day for guiding me through that troubling time. For NEVER leaving my side. But also for giving me that trial to overcome. I can now empathize with THAT many more people. I can now add that to my list of what's made me strong. I can add it to my list of what's made me, ME.