Tag Archives: cutting

Caitlyn Jenner and My Chemical Dependency

Before you begin, please take a moment to read this entry.  I need to remind you that I am writing about varied topics; controversial subjects in the church is my poison of choice today.

Yep, I’m one of the 17 million people who watched the Diane Sawyer/Bruce Jenner interview and all 8 episodes of “I Am Caitlyn”.  Out of curiosity?  Intrigue?  Boredom?  Nope.BRUCE-CAITLYN-JENNER-SPLIT-618Concerning Bruce Jenner, I’m of the ‘in-between’ generation.  Too young to have my own memories of his Olympic days and too old to know him as a Kardashian.  While I can’t attest to knowing of him through watching the ’76 Olympics (I was a one-year old), I do remember him from the Wheaties box and television commercials (those two might actually be one and the same, as I have no idea if I actually consumed Wheaties in 1977 as a two-year old J).  As a child, I knew Bruce Jenner as “The World’s Greatest Athlete”.

As an adult, I’m aware of his marriage to Kris (Kardashian) Jenner, his role on the TV show “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” and his adoration of his children, both real and step.  My knowledge stems solely from binge-watching at my BFF’s.  About once a year I visit her home and we spend a day chilling on the couch – snacking, surfing and selling our souls to the Reality TV gods.  She’s a DVR whiz and we can watch days’ of shows in just hours, all while our children enjoy their own binge-watching and freedom from us, upstairs.  Cuz what respectable mothers would allow their children to watch crap TV?  Certainly not us – we will watch crap in privacy, thank you.  I have seen enough of the show that I recognize him as Former Olympian and Gold Medalist, Former American Hero, Former Husband x2, Former Celebrity and Current Kardashian.  Whatever that means.

To teenage girls, twenty-somethings and even some in their thirties, it means he is relevant.  To my parent’s generation his relevance once was, and his American legacy still is.  The rest of us don’t have any real affection for or familiarity of Bruce Jenner’s life journey, yet the media and our news feeds believe we want to, we need to.  To know his story.  To feel his pain.  To listen to that journey.  To know why this man who had (has) it all needs to get more out of life, to be something different than what he has been – what he was born as.  Different than who was createdI, too, want to be something different than how I was created. 

I have Clinical Depression.  It is likely I was born with this condition as my mother, her mother, my grandma’s mother and even my father dealt with debilitating depression.  In addition to being genetically influenced, I was sexually, physically and mentally abused as a young teen.  In addition to being abused, my father died suddenly when I was 17.  My teenage son went through a difficult time that involved cutting.    My husband was diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia and we spent 47 days in the hospital while he had round-the-clock chemo treatments.  We were basically separated from our children during this time, as we were an hour and a half away from home.  The first night we came home his mother told us she was diagnosed with Melanoma of the liver – it had spread throughout her entire body, and she passed away 6 weeks later.  We buried her, then moved to Denver for my husband’s bone marrow transplant, again being separated from our son and daughter.  He was sick and hospitalized for weeks at a time, then finally came home on hospice.  We then decided to shut down our successful business that we had run for 8 years, using his disability insurance as income as well as paying latent business debt.  My sister’s family moved far far away to California after living only an hour and a half from us.  A close ‘friend’ of ours (albeit she disappeared when Jeremy got sick) accused us of being lying, cheating assholes; that we have used other people’s money to remodel our home (my brother and sister-in-law put in a new floor for us after tearing out the nasty, old and worn 13 year old carpet ruined by pets, greasy muddy drivers and mechanics and regular ol’ wear and tear while Jeremy was on hospice.  Word got out and I guess she assumed we used our vendors’ money to completely gut our house to ‘fit our lifestyle’).  Most recently, Jeremy passed away in May, so I am now a widowed mom to our 17 and 11 year old kids.

I have plenty of reasons to be depressed, on top of being born with skewed circuitry, low serotonin levels and a small hippocampus (not a college for hippos, but the base of the brain).  However, being clinically depressed with depressive situations does not necessitate suffering.  Being born with jacked up wiring and sluggish neurons does not mean I just accept it as is.  Who wants to live every single day feeling worthless, useless, burdened (and burdening), lost, sad, lonely and out of place?  And even further, who would ever insist that I must – just because I was born that way?  That I shouldn’t be treated and medicated?  Counseled?  Maybe even changed?  Who would suggest that I cope with my mental illness without these things?  That I power through, learn to deal, accept myself because that’s how I was born?

No one.

But Bruce Jenner?  He must power through, learn to play with the cards he’s been dealt, accept himself for who he was born as.  After all, that’s who he was created as.  A human being who identifies as feeling like a woman and having a male body.  Suck it up, Buttercup.  It’s who you are.  Too bad.  Don’t change who God created.  You have no business doing such a thing, you fame-whore.  And at 65 years of age?  Why even bother?  You’ll be dead soon anyway.  You’ve suffered most of your life already, why can’t you just continue?  God doesn’t make mistakes.  If He wanted you to be a woman, obviously you’d have a vagina instead of a penis.  Just like if God wanted me to be sane and stable, able to raise my children and give to my marriage, I would have the proper and intended brain chemistry, giving me the mental and emotional capacity for love, patience and selflessness.  Wait, what?

Here’s the thing – I don’t have the brain chemistry that God intended, I have the brain chemistry that sin has ruined.  Just like you have the male pattern baldness that sin created.  God gave you healthy hair follicles, yet somehow in your early 20s they stopped functioning.  God created us in His image, yet we all know someone plagued by cancer.  Or mental illness.  Or Down Syndrome.  Childhood disease, being born with two genitals, cleft pallet, blindness, SIDS, juvenile diabetes, heart failure.  All of these are a direct result of sin.  Not the choices we make when we know we shouldn’t, but the sin that is in us and part of us.  The sin that separated Adam & Eve from God; making child bearing hard and working the ground even harder.  The sin that has interrupted and attacked our DNA.  We were created in God’s image, but sin has completely altered that creation.  It has permeated every generation and will continue until Christ returns and the New Earth is reinstated.  Nothing is as it was originally intended.  As it was created.

I depend on my counseling, my EMDR therapy, and my man-made medications and I don’t think any one of you would shame me for doing so.  My chemical dependency is what makes me function ‘normally’.  Concerning Caitlyn Jenner I truly believe God loves her just as he loves you (You think she’s fake?  Are you genuine in all circumstances?  She’s disgusting?  So are some of your habits, and at times, your character.  Caitlyn is confused and messed up.  You better check yourself before you wreck yourself.)  He created her.  In His image.  I don’t think He cares if she is male or female.  I don’t believe our souls are male or female.  They are souls.  Spirits which belong to Christ, not vaginas or penises wearing dresses or pants.  This world is so screwed up and painful due to indwelling sin – why are we adding to it by making people believe that God hates them?

He doesn’t, btw.  God. Loves. YOU.

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Such a beautiful morning

I went into Caedmon’s room early this morning to borrow her comb and spray bottle. She was sleeping, and my attempts at being quiet of course made more noise than necessary. She awoke, but the most amazing thing happened. Not only did she wake up, but when I looked at her, she had a giant smile on her beautiful face. It was a smile that lit up her eyes and lifted my spirit. There was no apparent reason for her joyful countenance, but it touched my heart in a way I haven’t felt in a while. Immediately, her pearly white beam said to me, “Another day! How exciting! I can’t wait!”.

I don’t know about you, but I can assume the vast majority of us do not start our days with that kind of enthusiasm! For the past few months, not only have I not looked forward to the start of a new day, but I have dreaded each start, afraid to feel only anxiety and loss and sadness. I have very reluctantly dragged my broken spirit through every roller coaster of a day; either not feeling at all, or feeling so much I can’t concentrate or even breathe; fighting every invasive thought that enters my confused and angry mind.

Many years ago, long before it had a name, I began ‘cutting’ myself. I would carve tiny incisions into my wrist, just to feel something – to let myself know I wasn’t completely dead inside. For a few days this past month, I wanted so badly to cut myself again, this time engraving words of hate and anger and disgust. Loathe. Hate. Sick. Fear. Hell. Gone. Void. Dead. Fall. Fail. I could envision myself doing it. I contemplated how to go about hiding it from my husband. I imagined what a release it would be to experience the knife in my skin again, shredding away the unwelcome thoughts that trespassed.

A friend of mine reminded me that lamentation is one of many parts of worship. Another friend brought me back to Job, showing me where Job’s relationship with God was purely hearsay before God allowed Satan to destroy everything that was his life, less his beating heart. Job did not truly appreciate the awesomeness of God before he suffered through every adversity imaginable. He learned through writhing pain that because it was from God, it was good and flowing with purpose.

I am struggling without Rhonda. I miss her so much, I think I actually feel my heart ache. Jeremy and I felt so abandoned when we couldn’t be a part of her funeral. Now, it seems Papa Boyd is doing all he knows how to include us. Because of this, we are spending quite a bit of time with him. Wonderful? Yes. Without pain and agony? No. But, we are so grateful for the time he is giving us. Life is just different without Rhonda – she was such a moving force in our lives.

This summer, my family and I have undergone some fairly intense crap. My mother-in-law’s husband of 10+ years somehow decided he was going to come to my house to sleep with me. Ewww. We then found out he had actually invited me via note (which I did not read) to come to his house while Barbara was out of town, and had been planning his visit to my house for quite some time. Needless to say, my kids were crushed, as they loved their papa. That has been the most painful part of this entire drama. That he would do something so stupid, only to risk his relationship with his grandkids he adored? My mother-in-law left him, and is now divorcing him. He is no longer part of our lives, as Jeremy put a stop to that as soon as I told him what happened. Unfortunately, just because he’s not a physical presence, he is the elephant in the room. The kids don’t know exactly what happened, only that it was wrong and we are protecting them. I can still feel him kissing me, touching my shoulder, hugging me, stroking my face…yuck, yuck, yuck.

Life is full of pain. Full of heartache. Full of problems. Trouble. Affliction. Irritation. Torture. Agony. Sin. Only through all of this do we see the beauty of what Christ did for us on the cross of Calvary. The magnificence of His sacrifice on behalf of His creation who sinned against Him. The brilliance of God’s plan to save our souls through Love, not law. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians how important suffering is to our relationship with Christ. Because we suffer, we understand Christ’s suffering. Because we fall, we appreciate the blood that flowed from His sinless veins. Because we hurt, we reach out to those who are hurting, expressing Christ’s love for them through His death. And, as I am going to get tattooed on my hand as a constant reminder, it is the ‘but nots’ of life that give us hope in Jesus :

2 Corinthians 4:8-10

We are hard pressed on every side, BUT NOT crushed;

perplexed, BUT NOT in despair; persecuted, BUT NOT abandoned;

struck down, BUT NOT destroyed.

We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus,

so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.