Happy New Year! I welcomed 2018 with open arms and a full heart! It’s been awhile since I last blogged, so I figured it was about time to give an update!
Sometimes, I just need to live in the moment, and I tend not to dissect or reflect upon the present. Sometimes, I find that if I’m doing well, why go back to the things that bring the intense, excruciating pain?
At some point, therapists will say that this is necessary to accept our past, and the traumas that still haunt us day to day.
Last night was the first night in quite some time that I encountered nightmares. Overtime, I’ve been able to recognize ways to manage my life the best that I can, having been diagnosed with MDD (Major Depressive Disorder) and C-PTSD (Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). Will it be lifelong? Yes, more than likely. But I’m finding ways that help me live a normal life, one that does not constantly hurt.
Back in late September of 2017 I officially signed a lease to my new apartment. I desperately wanted someone to guide me, tell me, if you will- what choice to make, where to go, etc.
Ultimately, only I could do that. I had been traveling quite some distance for months to visit my boys. It was financially hard, and draining. I decided to set out to a new place, a new town- one that would give me the opportunity to start over. I am about ten minutes from the boys. For awhile I traveled back and forth from work, and eventually transferred my Pre-K teaching job during the middle of October of 2017.
It takes me less than fifteen minutes to commute from my apartment to work now. Everything seemed to happen so fast. Like, in a blink of an eye- just like that.
My case is in the process of being transferred for a second time. I’ve been told that because of all the transfers, my case is dragging out. The good news is, I have and am successfully completing my case plan!
I am back in therapy, and have sessions once a week. I think I took a 4-hour long nap after my first session because it was emotionally exhausting. I really enjoy my new therapist! She is very down to earth, and reminds me a lot of the Victim Advocate from the Athens-Clarke County District Attorney’s Office.
I am consistently visiting with my youngest daughter, Hannah. She can enjoy visits with me to see her brothers!
In middle to late December, we drove near Macon, Georgia to see my oldest daughter, Aubrey’s, musical- “Annie”. She was amazing! I am blessed to have children that are so very talented! It had been over a year since I had seen my two girls. We cried, we hugged, and we did not want to let go. The last memory of them I had was when my abuser and his girlfriend sabotaged our weekend visitation by leaving us at a gas station in the North Georgia mountains. I knew it would be awhile before I saw them again- and it was. But all of the hardships that I’ve had to face, was well worth it.
I am beginning to rekindle broken relationships with my kids, and although it takes time, I know that we have a wonderful future to look forward to.
Given my circumstances and what I have, I think I’m doing a pretty good damn job.
We send pictures back and forth, text, and call regularly.
I’m doing my best to find balance. It can be difficult with everyone displaced, but one thing is for sure, I don’t give up!
After my last hospitalization in June of 2017, I donated all my furniture to “Project Safe”, the domestic violence agency from Athens, Georgia who helped me so much throughout the past two years.
Moving into my new apartment, I had a handful of things from storage- but all the furniture and appliances, gone.
Then, a friend from church reached out to a pastor’s wife who was helping her parents move. They were offering beds, dressers, tables, home décor, appliances, among other things for free! With the help of that and two other good friends of mine, I ended up furnishing my entire apartment with only the cost of a U-Haul!
I had a home visit, and my caseworker was very pleased! The only thing left that I will need to get is separate beds for the boys (either bunk beds or two twin sized beds) and chairs for my kitchen table.
It feels great to have my own space. The energy is positive, I have self-affirmations placed all throughout my apartment.
The boys have a place to visit, and shortly we should be able to begin overnight visits.
I found that cooking and baking is a therapy within its own. I’ve tried different recipes, and for the most part- not too bad!
While my visits are currently still supervised, a Judge from Gwinnett County Juvenile Court signed off saying that once all parties agreed, my visits would no longer be supervised. After a few sessions with a Parent Aide, I will be good to go!
My relationship with the foster parents has blossomed since moving closer. I attend church with the boys outside of our visitations every Sunday. While the boys are in Sunday School, I attend service with them. Sometimes, we have lunch afterwards. Times when visits are cancelled, we still meet up- whether its for dinner or fun at the park!
During Thanksgiving, the foster family invited me to their grandmas’ house for dinner. It took everything in me not to cry, because I was able to eat Thanksgiving dinner with my boys. I played family games afterwards and it was a blast!
Christmas Eve we went to service together and the boys opened their gifts, which they loved!
The foster parents gave me a gift of a sled with the professional Christmas pictures taken of the boys. It sits in my living room near my curio cabinet. It goes nice with the poinsettias that were bought Black Friday at Home Depot for .99 cents each.
I’m back to work after about a week and a half off from Christmas break. Hannah came to work with me today, and will go with me tomorrow since she is out of school until Monday. She loves it!
As many know, I don’t tend to idle very well, so I am stoked to be back!
At my last therapy session, we labeled the cognitive distortions that I am dealing with. For people who suffer from depression it is common to have these. Cognitive distortions are inaccurate thoughts that are used to reinforce negative thinking or emotions.
I think for me, gaining self-awareness was what helped lead to me making the appropriate changes needed.
It took some realizations to discover that although I officially had let go of that one toxic marriage- that nothing in my life would ever begin to change until I changed my way of thinking. I would always go back through the same cycles- over, and over.
It wouldn’t take me seven years this time to figure out- but I’ve had my fair share of lessons learned the hard way.
I think when we go through life changes we need to be careful of opportunists. I used to be vulnerable, and at times- maybe I still am. But through my experiences I have learned how to better defend myself and make choices that will lead me down the righteous path.
My love for God has grown stronger over the course of my journey. I love attending church with the boys, and have scheduled an afternoon appointment with one of the Pastors to discuss potential membership.
There is something for everyone, and I love that. My goal for this year is to strengthen my personal relationship with God. I don’t want to just “go to church”. I want to study, learn, and KNOW the word.
It wasn’t that long ago, I recall constantly feeling in fear. I blogged about it often. Not to say that there aren’t times I’m still uneasy, but overall, I no longer live in fear. I have accepted who I am, what I’ve been through, and where I need to go.
I’ve accepted it.
I have faith that no matter what, things will all work out as they are meant to be.
The move has not only allowed me more time with my children, but time with myself, with no distractions.
For the longest time, I lived in the fog. The fog came with confusion, uncertainty, and memory loss. It was exhausting.
I have started to receive feedback and responses from local agencies that will support me throughout the process. I feel compelled to help others, and have decided to work specifically with my local domestic violence resource center.
The celebrate recovery groups that I attend regularly are great- but it amazes me how uneducated people are about domestic violence survivors. I want to use my testimony to help others, and increase awareness. There IS life after abuse.
I’ve always just “settled”. I was so determined and desperate for “love”, I was emotionally starved in a way. I would do almost anything to be accepted. I never realized how unhealthy my life was- in more way than one.
There are so many people who are amazed at my progress, and for whatever reason, I am unable to see what they see. I am humble. I know I’ve come far, but I still have so much work left to do.
I’m a work in progress, aren’t we all?
As for updates on the legal side of things- there is a scheduled court date for Gwinnett County Juvenile Court at the end of February (if my case has not been transferred by then).
My abuser recently plead “not guilty” to the aggravated stalking charges, a felony offense, out of Madison County, Georgia.
We are still pending divorce in Athens-Clarke County, Georgia. This was filed back in July of 2017.
The boys had dentist appointments recently, and we will consult with the pediatrician regarding Jake’s significant tongue tie. It causes a speech impediment, so we will take the necessary steps forward to ensure that we can take care of this!
No cavities for Jake; Tony had a small cavity that is touching his capped tooth, but the dentist says it will be an easy fix!
I was able to visit Tony’s school back in November 2017 for his Thanksgiving play. When he looked up to see the foster parents and I, his face beamed! He was a Native American. Proud moment!
This morning, I took Hannah to church with me and we enjoyed service! Here in a little bit, I will be off to my visit with the boys. I can’t wait to see my superheroes!
– “Blessed is she who believes He will fulfill His promises to her.”
And I do, whole heartedly. This scripture was read in service, and I felt the Holy Spirit.
As I continue to blog throughout the year on my experiences, and what my life looks like before, during, and after domestic violence- I pray that my testimony will be nothing less than glory to God. He gave me a second chance, and for that- I will forever be thankful.
Here’s to a new year, searching and serving my purpose.