Stethoscope on a printed sheet of paper
Once I could walk from one side of town to the other without issue. I worked on my own car, I carried my children with ease. These days a simple task such as folding laundry can wear me down. Half way through the day I can feel exhausted and the only thing I’ve done is shower and cook a meal. I spend every day living with Graves` Disease. I don’t believe that most people realize that. I feel when they see me in my wheelchair or with my walker they judge me harshly. I notice the sideways glances and in some ways, I have grown used to them, but it is always in the back of my mind. I want to help them understand what it is like to live with the invisible Graves` Disease.
I was first diagnosed with Graves` Disease when I was 31 years old. For years I had been misdiagnosed with having bi-polar disorder and was told that it was the reason for my mood swings. At the time there was no Affordable Care Act, and I had no health insurance. My husband’s job did not provide dependent insurance and I was working in fast food which provided health insurance, but it was very expensive and not very good. Because of these factors I wasn’t seeing a doctor on a regular basis and went undiagnosed for a very long time. I was miserable and always complaining about various ailments, so much so that my husband regularly told me that he thought I was a hypochondriac. To hear my long list of complaints, I’m sure most people would have agreed with him. Even I questioned whether I was being over dramatic.
We were still living in our first little apartment. It was a one bedroom on the second floor of a small complex. I noticed that over time climbing the single flight of stairs to our apartment became more difficult instead of easier, this was very frustrating as I couldn’t understand why. I also couldn’t understand why I a 31-year-old female was losing hair? This made no sense to me. Hair loss only happened to men, or so I thought. I also noticed that any time I received a small wound such as a scratch it would take an unusually long time to heal. My hands constantly shook and were unsteady, something I originally attributed to drinking too much caffeine. I had trouble sleeping and I was either burning up hot or freezing cold. There was no middle ground. I had developed a goiter which is a large lump on the neck. I had lost a lot of weight, that was the one thing I was happy about. I had spent most of my life being chubby and somewhat over weight, so to finally be thin had me thrilled. However, the longest running symptom I dealt with were the emotional problems. The mood swings I had made me believe there was something horribly wrong with me. Sometimes at night I would lay awake for hours trying to figure out what was wrong with me. Why was I so depressed that I couldn’t get out of bed? This had been going on for so long, that I was desperate to get any kind of help. I no longer wanted to feel worthless. Put plainly, I was sick and tired of being sick and tired.
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I can’t explain the loss I feel when I see you in my mind. I can’t describe the loss I have or the emptiness inside. So many memories from so many days gone by, and yet you are not here to share in the delight. We were not always near and sometimes even years had passed before we hugged again, yet we always knew that we were sisters in the end. I can’t see you in my tomorrows, but I will treasure our yesterdays.
~In memory of Lisa~
My Darlings who are so far away, I miss and think of you everyday. Your little hands I used to hold your precious laughs take away the cold. Yesterday may be gone and time can move so fast, understand though that for you my love will always last.
Just yesterday it seems since I held your hands, but life doesn’t always follow the plans. Your happiness is all I wish to see and in the end when all is said and done I hope you know I did what sometimes painfully must be done……
When the night is darkest and it has been my longest day, you are the light that helps me find my way. The strength you have shown me and tenderness you give are what makes my life so much easier to live. I wish for you life’s happiness and all the kindness that can be found, for no more is your path a lonely one that walks on solitary ground. My hand I give to you when feel you can not walk on, my heart I give to you when you feel that all is gone. Life has shown us travesty’s and pain no one deserves but in that pain we found a strength that no man can bring undone.
I love you Mark and I hope you have a wonderful birthday and I look forward to spending many many more with you!
My name is Angela, my family calls my Angie, my husband and friends call me Angel. I”m 34 years old and the words that follow I attest to being my life in so far as I can recall it. I write these words more as way to cleanse my soul then as any act of revenge or rebellion. I grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio and so my experience”s with certain systems will reflect those institutions. It”s my hope that someone with the proper knowledge and access to proper avenues will read my story and that it will help them to better understand and maybe even help some other child.
~The End of the Beginning~
I remember well the first day I ever set foot inside a courtroom, though now the exact details of the incident that lead to my arriving there are bit blurry, but I was thirteen years old at the time. The courtroom itself smelled of old wood, the courthouse must have been at least one hundred years old. I remember there was a wooden separator in the room which kept those attending court separate from those that were actually running the courtroom. Rows of chairs lined the room, and lots of people had filled them up.
The judge called my mothers name and another man read the charges. I don’t remember exactly what the charges were but I knew she was being charged for not sending me to school. A charge of course that was ludicrous as she had sent me to school, I simply chose not to go. As such my mother had decided the only way to protect herself was to go to juvenile and charge me with what they call incorrigible charges. She told the judge she had done so and the charges were dropped against her.
The next few months after this are a bit of blur, I seem to have a lot of those, lapses in memory or fuzzy memories in my youth. I do know I was lost, confused, and very angry as a teen. My mom was twenty years old when I was born, Most of my early memories in life are of Family gatherings, or parties, most of those parties included lots of people as I have a very large family, there was also lots of alcohol. I have to admit that most of my memories of life prior to leaving home are not happy ones. I”m the oldest of four girls, the youngest two being twins.
Somewhere around the age of five Somebody, whom I believe to be an uncle, molested me. The problem is I can only remember flashes of this, I don”t remember the face. My reasons for believing it was this certain Uncle were because he was the one who had the opportunity. I only began to remember the event after hearing a speaker tell her story of being molested, at which point I think maybe nobody really believed me, at the age of 15 I was known to tell a few tales. My mom claimed to believe me she says this is why at age five she took me to a counselor, but as far as I know the visit only happened once. I never truly dealt with it, it’s just there.
A few random memory”s of those younger days stick out in my head but I don’t actually recall details of most things. My father, though I’m sure he loves me and always has, was never a big influence in my youth, he was there as my parents are even now still married, but he was never involved very much. My mother ran the roost, and still does.
After those early years my next big memory is the one of which I wrote about already. That first courtroom introduction, was just the beginning of a long road and many, many, courtroom visits. Most of the time I was charged with
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Today I will walk away and forget the pain you burdened me with for so many years. For years you asked me what was wrong, and for so many years I didn’t know either. But, now I realize I was always striving for that impossibly high bar you set, and just when my fingers reached it you would raise it ever higher. What was wrong with me, was that you never protected me, you never said “It’s ok I love you just as you are”, and when I tell you this is the reason, this is what is wrong, you say I never let you. Well my job was not to let you my job was to be a child. If children had their way parents would never put out any stops. When you felt the job wasn’t worth your time anymore, you decided to have the state pick up the slack. Do you have any Idea what it’s like to be a child who feels alone and forgotten. Locked in a room, far away from home a child who feels like the world is looking at her like some tainted soul. I was locked up with murders, and armed robbers, There we’re girls I new well who, started fire’s that accidentally killed people inside, and for what? Because you couldn’t deal with me? Because you washed your hands of actually being a parent to me?
I have spent years hating myself because you told me I wasn’t quite right. For years you tried to convince that I must have some “mental issue” that prevents me from being normal. But I know different now. I know that to be normal is to be different, to stand up for what I believe and to stand up for how I feel, different is normal it’s what makes the world the place it is. For years you blamed me for not being the parent you should have been, and the only time you said you were sorry was in a flurry of drunken tears. You asked me to be honest and when I was, then you told me I was wrong. When I wanted to be and express myself, you looked at me through disapproving eyes. I spent my life looking for your approval. Well today I won’t do that anymore.
You asked me to trust you, but never gave me a reason to. You asked me to be there for you and tend to your feelings, well I’m your child that’s not my job. You say you love me, but your actions say you only love me if…. I may have been a difficult teen, but I was not as difficult as some have been. I didn’t do drugs, I didn’t drink, I wasn’t a horrible person. Just a young person trying to deal with her feelings.
Today I refuse to allow you to have that control over me. I will no longer hope for you to see me for the person I am. I will love myself, I have so much to give. I will not parent my child without the same guilt tactics that you used on me for so many years. I will instead encourage my child to identify his feelings and be ok with them. I will encourage him to stand up for what he feels is right, and I will tell him he doesn’t have to work to please me, because honestly I’m pleased with all my children being just who they are. I don’t expect them to be anything other than who they are.
Today I am strong, and I will live my life in the manner in which I choose, today I will not compromise who I am to bend to your or anybody else’s will. I may have walked the road alone for quite a while, but I know now that I am worthy of love, that the worth of my life is not the value which you put on it.
You told me that you loved me, but then you turned away; you taught me that what I felt was important then you would not listen to what I had to say.
Years I spent trying to define, whose fault it was & all the while it made no reason and I only pretended better with time. Feelings are okay you say and yes you can cry, but when I tried to truly feel you didn’t understand why.
I never meant to cause pain only to understand, yet somehow still I’m caught up in this madness that only you seem to be able to follow.
A raging darkness creeping up on me, Pushing back I can barely fight, grasping upwards pulling at the light. The movement I can feel, is it my imagination or is it just not real. Take away this anger make it a small part me, take away the pain I feel let me not be blinded by what it is.
The deafening sound of silence blasting in at me, unable to express the pain that bleeds forth. I want to feel the grass between my toes the sunshine on my face, and feel the warmth of your laughter in it’s grace.
Dancing in the grove the light’s sparkle shimmering from the sky. The stars in the sky the moon in it’s wonder lends a certain solace to the night air. This is where my happiness in all it’s wonder lies. Does this place exist or is it something that only is a fleeting image in my mind.
I want to dance in the moonlight to feel the innocence that it is. Why can’t that simplicity be mine?
Some might think it funny, others may think it’s sad, but I often wonder if the life I’ve been given is only one I’m worthy to have had.
When lifeless branches shiver in the cold the darker side of night seems to keep its hold. Sometimes it’s good and only for a while can I laugh and feel the warm smile. But most times fractured and fatigued is the only thing I know and a tear will pass my cheeks then I have say my gods will it ever go.
Some say your life is what you make others think it’s what you take. I believe that there must something or someone paving out my destiny. The road trod is not the one I would have chosen these webs could not have woven by my own two hands.
What can life become when as you go you grow less numb and unable to deal with pain and sorrow you feel? How can I look for tomorrow when I struggle just through the today?
Today I spoke and you did not hear, the words that would only make the thoughts clear. How do you live with what you know, how do you keep reaping the pain you sow. I only knew that once I was lost and you were in the darkness so. The fears I felt, and words you did not say. Unbroken silence bound by years and time, thoughtless shadows help with no reason or rhyme. Can you see what is me can you let me not be free. If I wander far away does it not lead your lips to let go and just say. Hindered by the things you know seeking answers in only things that will not answer. See me, see what I have become, let go the things that cannot be undone.