24 October 2008

A mother's love.

My mom just told me she was proud of me, and that I was a thoughtful girl. Continually I have this 'battle' of sorts with myself and the outside world.

I see the things I do as my duty. It's how my parent's raised me. Volunteering to help a neighbor or asking her to help someone, someone I think she can help better than I can, that's second nature. I wonder why so many people tell me that what I do is special. I don't feel special doing it...

I realize though that to some extent, I do do things an "ordinary" teenager wouldn't. That's probably because I'm not ordinary. I've had many life experiences that have shaped me and made me who I am.

When I was four my dad was burned in an accident. During the next few years? months? we as a family were continually helped by the people and community around us. We stayed with friends while my father and mother were in Syracuse, fighting for my dad's life. I remember that Christmas, when us kids weren't expecting gifts at all...maybe a few things. When we woke up on Christmas morning though, our living room was filled with gifts. Toys, clothes, the like. It was the community's doing, and my families as well.

We went through some other rough times in NY...I remember things that have made me who I am today.

When I was 8 we moved back to MN, to the town I had been born in so we could live with my father's parents. While we had family close, and all had friends to support us, we also had our struggles. From the time us girls started school in 2nd and 3rd grade, we were teased. And I don't mean the kind of teasing you expect on a playground, or the shunning that normally comes from kids. I mean, teased to the point that most days we came home crying, not wanting to go to school the next day. To the point where I was incredibly self conscious, and knew every single one of my flaws, and couldn't see past them. We were told on one day that it was our fault our dad had almost died in the fire. And when I cried, I was told by the playground monitor to stop being a baby. The school protected them, but not us, because it couldn't.

I was glad when we moved in 6th grade. Not so much about leaving my best friend, or my family, or the small town I knew...but for the fresh start.

With the move came many many changes, and this 'town' was 10 times bigger than our previous home. It took a while to get used to, especially for me to find my feet in school again. I had been doing very bad at my old school, because school wasn't something for me to enjoy at that point.

By 7th grade I had made friends, and was doing pretty well. I liked it here, and the changes were okay by now.

By 8th grade, I was flourishing. I made National Junior Honor Society, something I never would have seen myself doing. I had a lot of friends, and my sisters and I were no longer the ones being bullied. Instead, I started sticking up for the ones who were bullied. I found my independence, saw past my flaws, and became strong. Sure there were a few kids who felt the need to be bigger and better, but I wasn't afraid anymore. I would tell kids to back off if I felt they were disrespecting me. Kids started coming to ME for help with homework, and I just felt good about myself.

I rode the train to MN with Ash to visit my grandparents. We felt independent, and grown up. During the summer I learned about family, and to respect boundaries.

Then high school started and I was still doing well. I found a love for horticulture, photography, and throwing in Track. I tried some things I've never done, like run for office, and a guy actually fell for ME. I was challenged in my classes, and came close to failing a few of my classes, and actually failed 1 or 2. I was having fun though. And I was discovering myself, and learning, and growing, and was just being normal. I had my very first attack that we knew of that May.

Over the summer I did a lot, and some of what I did scares me looking back. I babysat my neighbor's 3 year old son for 2 weeks. I helped Rich a lot, and I went out with my friends. And Eric and I were still dating, we loved each other I thought. I went with S to cheer leading, so she had someone rooting for her too. And I went with T to softball practice so I could help watch the boys. I learned a lot about responsibility this summer.

10th grade started and I plunged back into school with both feet. I loved my classes, and had friends and teachers to look forward to. A few days after school started, Eric dumped me. I confronted him, because I needed the truth. I moved past him. I changed things about myself, how I dressed, and I became slightly more girly. I think inside I felt it was my fault. That I wasn't girly enough, or pretty enough, or smart enough for him.
We also started packing. We had found a house, and were moving.

Then, in October, things started happening. We moved into the new house completely, and the attacks started coming very frequently. 5 in October, 3 of which were at school. By November I had been to the neurologist, and was scheduled for an MRI on the 4th. We started hearing things like "narcolepsy", "tumors", "seizures" scary words for a 15 year old who was previously in near perfect health.

The ER trips, Dr's visits, and tests kept coming. In January, my aunt passed away. While my parents were in NY for her funeral, I got hypothermia. Later that month, I was hospitalized for the attacks. They were so frequent we didn't know what to do. After a 4 day stay in the hospital, I was sent home with a diagnosis and the chair.

I got back in school, and things were getting better. I felt better, and we were moving in the right direction.

School was hard, and dealing with the social aspect of school was even harder. The kids I had hung out with in 9th and 10th grade were no longer there for me. Most of them had just....left me it seems. I did still have a close few, and I appreciated them all the more.

School ended, and we were moving again. The seizures happened, in the first few weeks of July. For the first time since the attacks started, I felt total chaos and confusion upon waking up in the ER. I was so sore, and I could feel the tubes in me. I just wanted everything and everybody to stop and go away.

Another hospital stay followed that first seizure, and 3 more ER visits after that for seizures.

Then came summer and I got to do some things I wanted/needed to do. I went to the beach, and I got to go out without family, and I got to go in a pool.

I also met for the first time with Dr. H, my psychiatrist. He's the one who first diagnosed me with Conversion Disorder, and then re-diagnosed me with Conversion Disorder. And yet interestingly enough, he no longer felt it was Conversion Disorder. So then we started down this road I've been on for a while with the new diagnosis and new meds and such.

Now, here I am. The attacks, they've taught me to be strong, and patient, and understanding. They've also taught me its okay to be sad, and get angry, and to feel bleh. And that I have a much larger support group then I thought.

I've also grown to appreciate the local fire department. The support they give my family and I is unbelievable. I'm not nearly as frightened when they respond for an attack, and have to deal with me, because they know about my condition, and they know what does and doesn't work.

My plan is to make them a Build-a-Bear firefighter bear. They deserve something.

So, this is me. This is what I was raised like. To respect my elders, and do good, and be strong. And that, it is okay to accept support if you need it. And that it's important you give back where and when and how you can.

Blame my parents. It's all their fault.



Laura said...

Wow...what an awesome snapshot of your past and present!! I love your positivity and your optimism. It's clear that you were raised with values and that you have surrounded yourself with good people. I'm sure they are all proud of you. And you should be proud of yourself.

You are a good person with a wonderful heart. You've been through much in life, but like you said, that is what makes us who we are.

I do blame your parents. But I blame you as well. Parents teach lessons. But children still choose their own actions!

Take care!! Talk to you soon!

:o) Laura

Blake said...

You have an amazing amount of strength and love- its easy to see from your posts. I am proud of you and the choices you make. Your parents' done good!