Wednesday, September 3, 2008

My Story...for those who have asked

A little over two years ago, I suffered from depression. I gave up the career I thought I had always wanted to be full-time stay-at-home mom.
I suddenly found myself no longer the same person. I was no longer contributing an income and our financial picture became ‘tight’ to say the least. This was a huge change for me – not just for the amount of income change, but also because I had always prided myself as being an independent woman. This importance of financial independence had been instilled by my parents since I was a child.
The guilt over choosing to be a good mother and watching my family struggle was unbearable to me. We still had enough, but it was often very difficult. I had not had to count grocery dollars before.
I often cried for hours on end and sometimes did not leave my house or even shower for days on end. My marriage and my children started to show the stress as tensions were high and conversations were stalled. Not knowing where to turn, I asked my family doctor for help. He said there really was nothing he could do. I saw a psychologist and spoke with a psychiatrist. No one could help me except with the offer of drugs and the promise that it was only temporary – just a bad case of the ‘baby blues’. I was told that every one ‘goes through it’, just at different degrees.
At home, I became a robot. I cooked meals and sometimes, cleaned my house. To this day, most of my friends and family have no idea how much of this I/we hid this from them. I would pass off my withdrawal as being tired from the kids, or I would say that I was just too busy to get out even for groceries.
At this point, my friends began to call less often. I was pushing everyone away without realizing it. My life was spiraling out of control and I was completely overwhelmed by it. The only one who truly knew just how desperate I felt, was my mother. I even managed to keep some of what I was going through from my husband – or so I thought. I could have won an Oscar.
My mom began sending me books about self-help, and names of groups and people I could talk to. She sent me a copy of the movie The Secret. The books and papers sat scattered through the house gathering dust.
Although I do not remember the actual day, I had reached a point that I never will return to again. As I sat nursing my daughter, watching Oprah and eating a bag of Doritos, I wondered if my family would be better off without me. I even thought about how if I was gone, insurance would pay off a lot of our debt. My husband was a wonderful man – I should have been better to him and my kids. He would meet someone better, and that would be good for my children.
Tears streamed down my face. I sobbed and shook in the armchair. My trance was broken as my daughter made a gurgle sound. I looked down at her, and in that very instant, I realized that I had so much to live for. I thought I was going to go insane. As I fought the guilt coming at me from every direction for the thoughts I had just pictured in my mind, I glanced up at the TV. How the hell did people like Oprah get where they are? I didn’t know a lot about her, but I knew she came from virtually nothing. I didn’t think I could ever get to the same ‘place’ as she was, but maybe there was a way to get myself out this mess and I just had to find it. I looked down at my daughter, and then and there, I promised her, my son, my husband and my parents – all of them – that I could fix it. I knew I had to fix me first, because I knew somehow that I had caused all of this. I had pushed the people I loved the most away from me. The problem was me. I prayed and asked God to somehow show me what to do.
After awhile, I got up to change the channel and I saw a DVD on the top of the television. I picked it up and realized that it was the movie, The Secret that my mom had given me. I blew the dust off and put it in the player. ‘I might as well watch it’, I thought. “I’m sitting here feeling sorry for myself and not doing anything anyway!”
I watched that movie three times in a row that day. I cried ever time, but now the tears were from hope and inspiration. That same evening, I explored every corner, closet and bookshelf in my house. I pulled every book mom had given me, or ‘accidently’ left behind and I piled them all in the living room on the floor. There were books by John Gray, Dr. Wayne Dyer, and Cheryl Richardson; as well as many others. Cheryl’s book looked interesting, so I decided to start with that one. I read it cover to cover in two days. Then I started again, and did the journaling and exercises in one of my son’s empty scribblers from school.
It was difficult to relive some of my experiences as I wrote them all down. But, I did it faithfully every day while I was nursing my daughter or while she slept in my arms. I watched The Secret again and again, and I kept on writing. I asked questions aloud, and wrote every thought and feeling I had. I analyzed my own entries. What had I learned? How did or can this help me? Where do I go next?
I began to look on the internet for more information. I discovered The Science of Getting Rich Program, and I knew the second I saw it that this was the next step I needed to take. The program was expensive - $2000.00, but when I approached my husband he saw my desperation and told me that ho only wanted ‘his Leigh’ back again. We didn’t have the money, but we would use credit if it would help me. I bought the program.
That program has helped change my life. I began going out again – gingerly at first, but I became more confident and started spending time with my friends again. I started my own business, and I wrote like a banshee every day. My journal entries now changed to a story for my son. That same story became my first published children’s book. The whole process and how that little chapter book has further changed our lives is another novel in itself. The main point is – I got out of that place. I vowed that somehow, I would find a way to help others like me find their way out too.
Now, a different person, yet the same – my outlook on everything is best described as holographic. Even as I write this now, I fell my eyes begin to fill. The difference now though, is that these are feelings of gratitude. If is often hard to imagine being thankful for the pain in our lives and serious conditions such as depression, but if you learn the lesson and can move on – you have learned the secret to life.
I have been knick-named “The Rule-breaker” by some of my new friends. I don’t follow the rules. If someone tells me I can’t, I know instantly that I can and I will find a way. I was told I would never publish my book – I am currently on book number four. I was told that couldn’t change – I did. I was told that I could not get to the point to help others – I do. You can too. Believe.

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