Friday, June 27, 2014

Vacation Time

Where do people who live on the ocean go for a vacation?  To the mountains, of course.  I'm off for a week or so to the Great Smoky Mountains.  If I don't post while I'm gone, I'll do so when I return...my next post will be something positive.  I'm tired of the negativity from my past.  Sometimes it makes me feel like I'm suffocating if I let myself get too caught up in it.  They say what doesn't kill us only makes us stronger and that's great if it's true but I don't want to have to be on oxygen just to tell some of my stories!  Time for a break!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Last Mile

When I walked away there was no turning back. I knew from that point on my life would never be the same. Yes, I longed for the familiar surroundings I called home, yet that house would always remain with me no matter where I went. Running away only made the things I loved no longer a physical part of my life.

Looking back on it, I know now that my decision to leave was totally wrong, yet at the time it seemed I was trapped and had no other choices. That few weeks I spent on the psych ward after my 1st overdose, made me realize I had very few real friends. Each night when Wayne's mother came on duty, I would sit with her at the nurse's station and talk until I could fall asleep. We never once discussed her son or why I was on her floor. I knew she had read my chart and was familiar with all the notes written in it. What was there to discuss? I know I should have been ashamed, but she never made me feel uncomfortable. She talked to me as if she cared and I always appreciated that. I acted horrible during the day...defiant and always questioning authority. I refused to participate in any group therapy and used any recreation time to create weird things to decorate my room. My pride and joy were the bats I had made from modeling clay. I had painted them black with red eyes and then hung them with thread from the pipe near the ceiling in my room. It seemed everything I did was aimed at getting a reaction.

I still remember the outrage I felt when my mother had brought me an electric razor so I could shave my legs and underarms and it was immediately taken away from me. I asked if they thought I was going to shave myself to death. Surely, they couldn't think I would try to hang myself with the cord...it wasn't long enough to cause any real damage and besides hanging just isn't my style. They never did give me a reason why they took it. They didn't have to give me a reason, so I went on being my usual obnoxious self. Why they didn't medicate me was a mystery, but in reality it probably had something to do with the fact that I would have enjoyed zoning out on some good psychiatric drugs. The law required any drug overdoses to be sent to the psych ward for 2 weeks of observation after surviving the ER and the ICU, but many people weren't that lucky. For most the only trip they took was to the morgue! The two weeks I was on C-4 was some of the hardest decision making time I have ever had. Due to impaired judgement and being so screwed up, I made all the wrong decisions!

So I was alive! The overdose had not been intentional...I simply was out of control and on a very self-destructive path. I loved getting high and staying high. I feared nothing...not even death itself. I slowly retreated into a silent, safe place where I no longer felt pain. Along with feeling no pain, I discovered I also felt no happiness, joy or love. Wayne had threatened to leave me if I didn't stop getting high. Now, he was gone and I was truly alone...except for my drugs. Somehow they had replaced everything that was good or right in my life. They dulled the pain and I learned how to live being comfortable numb.

Lynne, someone I had considered a friend at the time, offered me a way out and I took it.  I believed that nothing could be worse than what I had been experiencing. It wasn't until much later until I discovered that things always can get worse. It only took me a few days after being discharged from the hospital to realize going back to school and trying to straighten out my life was just not going to happen. The day I left home, I took one last look at Wayne's house before I walked down the street and towards the interstate with Lynne. That last mile was my point of no return.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
 
-Robert Frost-

Monday, March 10, 2014

Musical Monday #2

Growing up as a child of the 1960's something scared me more than the boogey man...more than a werewolf, Frankenstein, Count Dracula and invading aliens from outer space all rolled into one huge, very real threat.  The Cold War between United States and Russia had escalated to a fever pitch. I remember having air raid drills during school hours in case of a nuclear attack.  Since Bangor was home to Dow Air Force base we, Bangor residents were very aware that our small city would be just one of the many ground zero targets. Even as a small child I knew that there was no bomb shelter secure enough that could save me and those people I loved. What I saw in the faces of the adults around me was that we really were on the eve of destruction and our fate rested in the hands of our elected leaders. The whole world held its breath while the nuclear scenario played itself out.



Tuesday, March 4, 2014

A Cry For Help

Each summer during my mother's vacation from work my family would go stay at my Aunt Leah's camp on Eddington Pond (what's the difference between a lake and a pond anyway? depth? size?) or at some other family member's camp. As I got older, my brothers stopped going to camp and opted to stay home so they could have legendary parties. While the cat's away the mice will play! The highlight of my days at camp as I got older were the boys who had a camp next door. As with any 13 almost 14 year old girl, I immediately developed a crush on one of the boys and I immediately learned how rejection felt. How humiliating it is to feel like the ugly duckling and the odd man out. I hated feeling not good enough. I hated being me.

I've always had self-destructive tendencies as far back as I can remember. Although I've only half-heartedly tried the big "S' a few times, I do wonder now what really was my goal when I downed a whole bottle of aspirin chased by a massive amount of straight whiskey. My mother had brought a whole gallon of Canadian Club whiskey along and now I wonder why she did that. My mother wasn't a drinker. Did she have plans of entertaining after the children were tucked snugly into bed in the loft overlooking the pond? Were my actions a cry for help or was I just looking for the attention I obviously wasn't getting? So many questions in hindsight, but never in foresight!

After going on a very animated teenage tirade that probably resembled the Tasmanian Devil going after Bugs Bunny and ingesting the only things available to me at the time, I remember continually vomiting until all I could do is dry heave and heave and heave. At that point the desire to die was more than just a fleeting impulse. I felt so bad, dying would have been a welcome relief. The next morning when asked about my "illness", I passed off what was wrong with me as being some type of intestinal ailment when in reality I probably should have been in the hospital. It always amazed me how strong my mother's sense of denial was. She was a nurse and never "saw" all the classic signs I exhibited of a teenager in crisis. All my stunts went unnoticed until I eventually overdosed on barbiturates at school a couple years later and was rushed to the ER. Since she worked at that hospital, it was out of the question for me to try to cover up that one. Oops! I got too high and forgot how many I had taken! Actually that was the truth. I ate pills like candy. If 3 were good, 6 were spectacular. Who knew how many drugs I had in my system at any given time? Like an alcoholic, one could never be too high unless unconscious or comatose. Oh, what a wonderful genepool from which I come!

My ears rang for the better part of a week and I felt like I had a severe case of the flu. I hurt all over and I couldn't keep anything in my stomach for several days. A friend who was with me during my dark period and who accompanied me to camp that summer, fretted over me and when I look back, I wonder how close she came to ratting me out. That must have been hard for her to watch me be in so much pain and self-destruct. (I'm sorry, Margie!) Now, I look back and wonder where my mother was during all this and why she had left my friend and I unattended that evening. The unattended theme carried through the next summer as well when I did have a boyfriend and that boyfriend was allowed to come stay at camp with me. Oh what a summer that was! Skinny-dipping, frolicking in the summer sun and lazy nights and early mornings spent listening to the loons while wrapped in each other's arms. For awhile, I got the attention I needed and wanted and then poof! It was gone and so was I. And to this day just the smell of whiskey makes me nauseous.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Musical Monday #1

Mildred Ratched's idea of Musical Monday is an excellent way for me to chronicle my younger years in Maine.  My first selection for Musical Monday is a song that has stuck with me since I wrote Where Have All The Flowers Gone.  Build Me Up Buttercup by The Foundations reminds me of the hours I spent with friends doing our own version of American Bandstand. Instead of rating the song, we'd rate each other dancing ability.  Now, that's a hoot because I cannot dance, but I thought I could then and I guess that's all that's important.  Of course, we all gave each other high marks for all those dance moves we had perfected.  We weren't shy or self conscious while shaking our tail feathers...I guess all those insecurities come later when a person finally gets out of their comfort zone and around strangers who might not give them the high marks their friends did.
 
My mother had bought me a portable record player when I was young and that thing got sacked around everywhere I went. Most of us had collections of 45's because they were cheaper than buying albums. Besides, albums in those days seemed to have only a few good songs on them at best.  My cousin, Debbie had a collection of 45's to die for.  I think I might have stolen a 45 or two from her (sorry about that Debbie) to supplement my own puny collection.  I believe that might have been the start of my days as being a light-fingered Louie (another story for another time).