Forgive me if I seem a bit all over the place, but this is my very first blog. Today, I picked up my contract as an educator for the 2017-2018 school year. Very exciting! Then, I went and picked out a few pairs of work pants and found some adorable brown boots that I fell in love with! My aunt, nephew, and I then went to Chick-fil-a for lunch. Overall, it was a good day.
I’m beginning to have some anxiety about court tomorrow. I’m appearing before the Juvenile Court in Athens-Clarke County in the morning for my DFCS case. How did I get here? I was strong for so long. Well, I’m still strong. I just needed help, and I asked for it. I did what was in the best interest of my two youngest sons at the time. And that my friends, is the true meaning of strength. I set my own feelings aside to make the heartbreaking decision based on their need.
Fathers Day, 2017. I felt it coming. For days, I knew that something wasn’t right. I knew I was at my breaking point. Depression doesn’t even begin to explain how I felt. I had no strength. There was nothing left in me. I remember my counselor being worried about me, she reached me over the weekend by text and phone calls to make sure I was okay. I suffer from PTSD and Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). I went back and forth about what I should do. I was on my feet, with my four-year-old and five-year-old little boys. I had no job. I was unable to function, literally. I finally came to terms with what the right thing was to do. I had been suffering with severe dissociative episodes for days at this point.
I told my boys that “Mommy is very sick right now, but I’m going to make sure that you are going to be taken care of while I get help.” I let them know that they would be safe and that they would be back home with me as soon as possible. We walked from our apartment to the Athens-Clarke County Police Station. It was a Sunday, so of course they were closed. I had just walked that same route two days before. I had no idea that I would be back under these circumstances.
I held a hand full of prescription medication in my hand tightly. (I had just had my medicine refilled the day before). I didn’t want to die, I have so much to live for! But the hurt of what I was about to do, weighed heavily on my heart. I pressed the button on the wall, where you could speak to an officer and have one dispatched to the station. I told the officer that I needed help.
“Sir, I have my babies here with me. I need you to send an officer and an ambulance. I need mental help. I can’t stop the thoughts that are going through my mind, and they are strong. Please.”
“Mam, are you thinking about hurting yourself? I’m sending help right now. Please stay right there. Have you been thinking about ways of hurting yourself, if so, how?”
“Yes, I have sir, but I can’t give you that information right now.”
“Fair enough, stay put, I have officers and an ambulance on their way.”
I debated for the longest time. Running out into traffic, stabbing myself in the gut with the butcher knife that I had carried with me in my bag. I had hit my rock bottom. At one point, when I saw the police car pull up, I held the knife towards me, turned with my back facing away from the boys. I looked over at them, and I couldn’t do it. I put the knife back in my bag.
I hugged the boys tightly. I told them to be strong and that everything would be okay. I waited until officers arrived and I knew the boys would be in safe hands. I then took the entire bottle of sleeping medication. I was coherent and able to speak with the officer who I immediately recognized. He was the one who responded to my home on one occasion. He looked at me and asked if he could have my bag. He noticed the butcher knife. I remember reluctantly handing over my bag.
I talked to him briefly and looking up to see a domestic violence advocate from Project Safe run up to me. She was my angel. I felt at peace. I knew we would all be okay. She held my hand, as the police made phone calls to see if we could find a place for the boys. After awhile, the ambulance pulled up. I informed them about the medication I had taken. It didn’t take long, before I felt dizzy. My words began to slur, and I couldn’t walk. I became extremely sick. The paramedics told the officers that arrived, (at this point several officers surrounded me), that they needed to get me to the hospital.
The domestic violence advocate promised to stay with the boys and see that they were taken care of while I received help. She kept saying, “Jennifer- your safe now.” I was extremely tired and couldn’t keep my eyes open. That was one of the longest rides I have ever had. I barely remember much after that. The paramedics did everything they could to keep me awake. Not long after arriving at the hospital, I began to have seizures. I could hear everyone, but I couldn’t speak. I drank the charcoal, which is used to absorb the medications that I had taken. I spent one night in the Athens-Clarke County Hospital, until I was later transferred the next day to Peachford Behavioral and Mental Health Hospital, where I stayed for a week. I was notified that the boys were in state custody with a foster family.
While at Peachford in Atlanta, my caseworker came on a Saturday to visit me. Not typical, but I was very thankful. My gut says that everything is going to be fine. I know the boys will come home. I know that everything will work out the way it’s supposed to. I was able to visit with the boys the same week I was discharged from the hospital. They looked fantastic! I’m looking forward to my next visit.
I tried, with everything in me- to make it work on my own. I am confident that I will get there. I know I will. It just takes a little time.
That was my second trip to Peachford Behavioral and Mental Hospital within a year and a half. The boys and I had been living at a Domestic Violence Shelter four times within one year, moving to nine different counties in Georgia within a year- out of state to Bryson City, North Carolina at one point. That’s enough to make anyone’s head spin!
I will never publically state my location or the children’s for our safety, but I will say that I am surrounded by a wonderful support system.
Each time I tell my personal story, I have to re-live the painful and traumatic experiences. If your reading this, please know how extremely difficult it is for me to write the most intimate details of my life. Overtime, I hope to give insight into how domestic violence has impacted my family and I.
Please pray for the children and I tomorrow.
We have a long road ahead of us, but we will make it. I know that this is just a thing. It’s a season in my life.
It’s only going to get better, and I can’t wait.