Daddy

dady

BY: ANONYMOUS AUTHOR

It’s play time on the bed. Me and my sister are hiding under the covers, trying not to breathe. To make a single sound. Thinking we can hide from Daddy. Our hearts are racing with excitement.
The smell of mom’s perfume on the sheets is comforting and strong.

We feel SAFE. We feel LOVED.

All of sudden we hear Daddy’s footsteps coming from around the bed. We squeal with laughter. How did he find us?

Daddy is the best.
Playtime is our favorite time before bed. Wrestling, tickle wars. We are gasping for air from laughter. Faces red.

It’s bedtime now. Me and my sister fight over whose in the middle. Who gets to sleep next to Daddy tonight. We hug him tight, finish our bedtime story and sing….

“Now it’s time to go to sleep S-L-E-E-P spells sleep goodnight, sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite….goodnight.”

It is reflecting on those moments that get me through the dark ones. Right now I’m sitting in a stale, frigid hospital waiting room.
We are nothing but a number.
Mama’s eyebrows are frowned. Eyes look drained. It’s 3 a.m. and they’re telling us there’s “no room” for Daddy here.
We cry to the social worker… “Do you understand us?”
No. They don’t.
We are exhausted, empty. Young children explaining medical terms we barely comprehend. Daddy has been sick lately.
He told us this would happen. 
We look into his eyes and it’s as if we are looking into a strangers. We just want Daddy back. We beg to the nurses to take him in. To fix Daddy.

We miss play time, we miss laughs.

I close my eyes, drained from long nights watching over him. Babysitting. Making sure he didn’t leave the house. We don’t want people starring at Daddy. Thinking he’s crazy…
We need to protect him. Like he protected us.
Mama promises us it will all be over soon. But just for now. She looks us in the eyes and tells us to be STRONG. To not be AFRAID . We look back at her wondering how she ever did this without us.

We are Daddy’s fighters.

I close my eyes after finally getting home. They finally took him in.  I go to lay down in my room. Picture myself back in my Daddy’s arms. Listening to bed time stories. drifting asleep
Daddy has been away now for almost a month now. We visit him, but sometimes it’s scary. He’s NEVER scary. But it’s a frightening place. Honestly, it’s a nice break for Mom. But we miss him home.
Family and friends are starting to wonder.We are good at making up stories, excuses. No matter what…we protect our Daddy.

His ideas are less GRAND. His eyes are becoming more recognizable. Finally he can come home.

We re-set the clock for ‘the next time’ – it’s only a matter of time. Days and years pass. Routine continues.
Check his pills. Look deep into his eyes. Is Daddy still there?

We’re on our toes.

I’m older now, so this time I’m more prepared. I know how this works. This damn system ONCE AGAIN denying him a bed. Is he suicidal? NO. But he is sick. How can you deny care?

Why can’t you help my Dad? I want to SCREAM.

We continue to fight this battle, this routine of life. But whenever we end up in the same damn frigged room, fighting to protect our Daddy…I take myself back to my happy place. Where Daddy is just Daddy. Where life is normal.
And I rest my head on my Mama’s lap, close my eyes and repeat..
“Now it’s time to go to sleep. S-L-E-E-P spells sleep goodnight, sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite…goodnight.“——

You are not alone. For family support of the mentally ill please visit
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Mental Illness Doesn’t Have To Be A Terrible Thing

by: Anonymous Author

drug-addict

A few months ago I read the article “Living With Bipolar Disorder” and it hit so close to home. It encouraged me to write this and share my own story. It has taken me a few months to write it (well, more like 28 years and a few months) but, I am finally ready.

I grew up without a dad. It’s not that he died or anything, but he just never really existed in my life. I have no memory of him other than that I hated him for not being there. I hated him for not being normal. Dad has suffered with alcohol and substance abuse since before I was even born.

It has consumed his entire life. There were stints of “sobriety” here and there, but never long enough for me to remember any positive memories.  My only memories are of my mom crying so much when I was little. She was so alone and angry with him but she never put him down. She would only ever say things like, “he’s really sick” or “he’s not well” and her favorite “mental illness is a terrible thing.”

And it was a terrible thing. It was terrible not knowing if he was roaming the streets or if he was even alive. It was terrible not having any traditions with him. It was terrible feeling anger and resentment for someone I hardly knew. But most of all, it was terrible whenever the phone rang from the mental hospital letting us know dad was there. I never wanted to go see him.

Every birthday and every holiday gone by was another reason to hate him even more. I hated the excuse of mental illness – because thats all it was to me, an excuse.

I made it a point to roll my eyes at my mom every time she said the words “mental illness”. We would have fights about it because I couldn’t believe it was an illness. To me it was a choice to pick drugs and alcohol over me and my mom.

I spent the majority of my life with this unwavering opinion. This opinion and this hatred was like an illness in itself. I was sick of feeling so trapped by these feelings of bitterness, so the last time we got the call, I decided to go see him— and it changed everything for me.

I walked into the Behavioral Institute or “mental hospital” where dad was currently residing. I brought a list with me of things to say while I was there. Questions, complaints, regrets. But when I saw him, the list disappeared. He looked so sad and lost amongst his peers of mentally ill patients in the room. He looked so ashamed and embarrassed to be there. But most of all, he looked helpless. I knew the last thing he needed was a list of topics to discuss. I don’t know what came over my heart in the moment but I just declared to show him love. I was kind, loving, patient, interested in everything he had to say, I listened to him, smiled with him, and started to create memories – our first.  I acted as though we were the best of friends and not strangers. I realized that I didn’t know if this could possibly be the last time I saw him, and if it was, I didn’t want it to be a terrible thing.   I had had enough terrible things. This meeting wasn’t going to be one of them.

Instead, I wanted this to be a good thing – and it was.

Once I made the choice to be kind and loving instead of bitter and angry, I was set free. I only wished he could have the feeling of being set free too. Mental illness can hold you captive and hostage for years until you seek recovery…and sometimes even then you’re still never fully free from your addictions and demons.

The look on his face was of light and also of shock. I’ll bet he was ready for me to scold him and cry about my lifetime without a dad. And so when I didn’t, something wonderful happened inside of him.

It was the greatest gift I could ever give to this perfect stranger. And I’m thankful I have at least this one good memory with my father.

As of today, I don’t know where my dad is. He checked himself out of the hospital (because the mental healthcare system is f%$ked up and it happens everyday) so there is no way of knowing where he is. I have to wait for the call from the hospital the next time he surfaces.

But while I wait, (like I waited all my life)… at least now I can say I have a happy memory with him. It’s as much of a healing process for me as the one he needs to experience for himself on a deeper level. I just have to keep the faith that someday, he will.

Finding Beauty in the Pain

by: Cierra Jackson

cierrajackson

“Consider it PURE JOY, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James1:2-4

“Really Jesus?! You demand me to deviate from anything other than joy as I sit in the emergency room screaming at the top of my lungs in excruciating pain?   You require me to ‘rejoice in your name ALWAYS?’ Even in the midst of my torment?”

There is no doubt that I have had an extraordinary life full of God’s favor;  this thought has crossed my mind on a weekly basis since I was an adolescent.  As I reflect on my life, I am overwhelmed with the amount of challenges I have faced; anguish, hopelessness, worry, fear, depression, loneliness.  Although there are a multitude of experiences that left me feeling forsaken by God, the center of every problem has always been illness/sickness.

I was born with Sickle Cell Disease, a blood disorder in which red blood cells are crescent shaped.  Due to the lack of oxygenation and the ‘sickle’ shape of my cells; they get caught in my veins and organs which causes ‘crisis’ (agonizing pain.)  These pain crisis’ are usually very erratic and can sneak up at any moment.  My entire life has been surrounded and interrupted by these pain episodes.  My eyes would often times be extremely jaundice and while in elementary school the kids called me ‘green-eyed gremlin’ Not only did I have to endure teasing for the way I looked on the outside at times; but I was constantly missing school due to frequent hospitalizations.  Life with Sickle Cell was burdensome and there was nothing more I wanted in life except to be rid of this horrible awful disease.

Now I could tell story after story about the many times I have pleaded with God to take this pain away.  Everyday for four years I have ingested a chemotherapy drug that has slowed down the hospitalizations and damaging effects of the SCD, however January 2014 I hit a wall and began experiencing life threatening side effects from the drug.  After many conferences with my medical team we decided that Bone Marrow Transplantation would be the best option for me.  Between January and April the psychological preparation began for me to enter the hospital for 3-4 months to undergo 17 rounds of chemotherapy to kill my marrow and to give me a new marrow that would produce healthy cells.  The doctors explained that during this process I would develop mouth sores, various forms of GVH (the body rejecting the marrow), infertility, skin discoloration, and many other problems that could occur.   It was finally April 8, the day of check in; and my mom and I held our breath as I signed the admission papers to my new temporary home.  I was terrified of what the outcome would be but I was also elated.  This was the game changer, THE pivotal moment of my life. “Yes Lord, I am finally going to be FREE from pain, I will get this transplant and receive that clean bill of health in 5 years.”  (One isn’t declared healed until 5 years post transplant)

On this day, I went into surgery, the doctors placed the Hickman catheter in my chest and then I went to receive an exchange transfusion (when 80% of my own blood is taken out and replaced with new blood.)  As I was having blood pumped out of my body, the team of doctors, nurses, and social workers walked in and said, “Cierra, we are so sorry, but there seems to be some problems with the insurance company and you will not be receiving the transplant at this time.” I WAS DEVASTATED.  Here I was with no home because I moved out of my apartment, no job because I took an extended leave of absence, and now NO TRANSPLANT after 4 months of emotional/physical/spiritual preparation.  How was I going to explain this to all my family and friends?  My family in Texas and Illinois was preparing to come to LA to help my mom, individuals from every corner of my life had gathered to wish me well and I felt like a fool.

“JESUS ARE YOU KIDDING?  Did I really just spend 4 months of my life preparing for a period of hell to get rid of my existing hell? Is this really happening to me?  God, these doctors have already cut me open, and taken me through the emotional roller coaster of this transplant.  This is definitely some sort of sick twisted disgusting joke.”

I could go on and on and on about the 26 years of pain that I have endured because of this Sickle Cell. I could tell you how I took Benadryl everyday to sleep the days away after this happened.   It was horrible, it was embarrassing, and it was a hopeless situation. My heart physically hurt; it felt like someone ripped it out and squeezed it to death.  My body was alive yet lifeless…I couldn’t breathe…I couldn’t think…all I could do was cry…literally.  I sobbed day and night.  This hurt…this was the ultimate rejection…the grand scheme the enemy planted in my mind to further propel my insecurities, inadequacy, and unworthiness.  I felt like I was back at square one, back to worrying about the quality of my life.

After a month or two of self-sabotage I decided it was time to get help.  I had allowed over a decade of problems accumulate in my life and the transplant situation exacerbated everything else.  Working with a therapist significantly helped, however, it wasn’t until I began to go back to my roots with Jesus is when I began to truly heal.  One of my favorite singers, Vicki Yohe, has a song entitled “In the Waiting.”  The very first line of that song is “Pain, the gift nobody longs for still it comes.”  I have been listening to that song since I was fourteen years old but one day as I was in my room listening to that song I broke down weeping.  I had an encounter with the Holy Spirit and suddenly I understood.

 “Cierra, PAIN IS YOUR GIFT.  Sickness is not of me, but I have allowed you to go through these things because this is how you will touch others.  As you continue to live your life, individuals will see the ‘handicaps’ and the ‘roadblocks’ and they will wonder how in the world you do what you do with what you have.  And the answer won’t have anything to do with you but EVERYTHING to do with me.”

The only way that that I get through life now is to know that pain is a gift from the Lord.  It absolutely sucks when we are being beaten down by the hardships of this world but the only way to surpass it is to know that Christ is using these things to strengthen you.  It is way too easy to love Him when things are going great.  It is simple to walk around joyfully serving others when you have complete health, dependable family members, loyal friends, success, popularity, and money in the bank.

C.S Lewis, a great author said, “We can ignore even pleasure.  But pain insists upon being attended to.  God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

Growing up I always heard my mom and elders in the church reiterate that our problems are not for ourselves; that they are for someone else’s benefit.  That always sounded religious and kind of dumb to me.  It irritated me that others would validate my suffering for someone else.  In the last ten months I have finally stopped praying “Why God?” “Please take this away God.”  Instead my prayer is “How do you want me to use this to benefit you Lord” “What do you need me to do Jesus?”  When I ‘face trials of many kinds’ I truly have JOY, because I know that God is working.  I know that He will NEVER give me more than I can bear and I appreciate that He trusts ME to do the work. So I stopped praying for the pain to go away.

Perhaps you’re depressed, perhaps your mom and dad have abandoned you, perhaps you have cancer, or maybe you keep facing rejection in your career…all of these things cause pain.  BUT how will you use your turmoil to help someone else?  Your pain and your heartache will be the leverage God gives you to help someone.  Sometimes He even allows you to go through things just to prove to you how much He loves you and how much others value you.  I have not arrived, but I am so excited for the doors God has been opening and I know that the ‘seemingly grievous times’ are BLESSINGS.  I take PURE JOY in the struggles because I know those overlooked gifts will bring the most value to God’s kingdom.

I compete for the title of Miss California USA this upcoming weekend. I cannot wait to stand  on that stage and showcase inner beauty and resiliance. i feel so beautiful on the inside after overcoming so much with my health, and that’s what I hope people see in me.

Incurable Means Curable From Within // In 5 Steps

by: Alicia M. Blanco

incurablewithin

Sunday’s message at church was so compelling that I had to share it with you.

Hopefully by now you can tell that I’m extremely passionate about words and thoughts of affirmation. (This is probably my 3rd entry on this very topic.) So when guest speaker Jordan Rubin began talking about how it literally saved his life and brought him back to health, I was hooked.

When Rubin was 19, he had suffered from a severe case of Crohn’s Disease, diabetes, arthritis, anemia, rapid weight loss, hair loss, and chronic fatigue, just to name a few. At six feet tall he had gone from 185 pounds down to 106 and was confined to a wheelchair for an extended period of time.

“I traveled the world trying every treatment you could think of, conventional medicine, alternative medicine. It all failed.” – Jordan Rubin

In desperate search of a drastic change, Rubin turned to God through prayer, declaration, and a radical change in diet. In record time, Rubin miraculously regained full health without the help of any medicine at all. He felt compelled to write a book about his journey (The Makers Diet Revolution), the changes he made, and even started preaching around the world about his all-natural and miraculous recovery.

But then, something unexpected happened.

He was diagnosed with cancer.

He was told that he had 0% chance of survival without immediate surgery, chemotherapy and radiation…not 1%, 0%…!!!

Rubin was confused. How could HE have cancer? Rubin had already survived life-threatening illnesses. He was eating what God wanted him to eat, preaching and helping others around the world do the same, and was becoming the face of a healthy lifestyle amongst his community. After asking himself these questions, Rubin became more determined than ever. He would not be defeated.

Here’s how Jordan Rubin claimed victory over his health in 5 steps:

1. “WHEN TRAGEDY STRIKES, GO TO GOD FIRST.” – On the day of his diagnosis, doctors told him his ‘numbers’ were at 280. (0 is normal.) They also told him that if he didn’t go into surgery immediately, it would be like committing suicide, giving him 3 months to live. You would think that after already experiencing such a rough chapter in life in his earlier years, that hearing “you have cancer” and a death sentence would trigger a frantic and discouraged response. Instead, his response was racing towards his faith. Sometimes bad things happen, and it’s awful. But we need to remember God doesn’t allow bad things to happen without a purpose. There is a reason and purpose for everything so when something bad happens, take it to God and leave it with Him to work out.

2. DON’T CLAIM THE ILLNESS. – Some people wear their ailments like a badge of honor. They accept their condition and misfortune as fact. “As a man thinks in his heart so is he…” In other words. YOUR WORDS AND THOUGHTS MATTER because thoughts put things in motion. “I have cancer” is a statement Rubin never once uttered or believed. He emphasized how you need to block out all negativity and cut it off immediately. Rubin had one doctor who spoke such negativity into his condition that he fled from his office at once. In times of crisis, there is no room for any negative energy whatsoever.

3. Take ACTION. – Faith without action is dead. You need to actively participate in your healing and clarity. Rubin committed to 40 days of cleansing his mind and spirit, which meant he had to actively remove any toxic people from his life for his cleanse. He turned off his phone, never checked social media, didn’t research cancer, and wouldn’t even correspond with doctors on a regular basis. The only time he spoke with his doctor was every two weeks when blood test results arrived (which were steadily improving without ANY medicine, by the way…) In addition, he also committed to a drastically new diet that consisted of a ‘back to the basics’ approach inspired by The Bible. Learn more about this diet here.

4. WALK IN HEALING .– Act as though you are already healed. No matter the odds that were against him, Rubin walked and talked as if he was healthy. He spoke words of abundance, prosperity, health and wellness over his life. As stated before, the word ‘cancer’ never left his lips.

5. SHARE YOUR STORY WITH SOMEONE. – On the day of his final test results, Rubin and his wife drove to the hospital to pick up the manila envelope that would contain his fate inside. The results were stunning. His numbers were ZERO. CANCER FREE. TUMOR FREE. GONE. From 280 to 0. He was a healed man! He knew then and there the last step to claiming victory was to share his story and encourage the world. He continued preaching his message on the importance of a proper diet and mindset, but this time, with way more ammunition. His message became that much more powerful due to the cancer he experienced.

These steps worked for Jordan Rubin to defeat cancer, so imagine what it can do for you and whatever it is you are facing! I believe it can work in all areas of your life, not just physical health, but also, mental health, emotional well-being, relationships, career… whatever YOU want and NEED.

(Replace the word cancer with whatever is threatening your well-being. It can be depression, addiction, loneliness, stress, insecurity, mental illness…)

Then, apply these 5 steps and watch your world transform. I pray it does.

I hope you are starting to see just how powerful you really are. The mind is a powerful thing, so start using yours with intention, affirmation and above all else, unwavering faith.

You are healed.