I have been caring for a baby who demands most of my time and I have found that blogging is not the best way to write a book. I need to do more editing and polishing before I make it public.
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (NIV)
I was twenty-six years old and reading the names of the pills my psychiatrist prescribed for me. One said anti-depressant another one anti-anxiety. These labels did not bother me but the last one really got to me. It read anti-psychotic.
So there it was in black and white I was insane.
I have never gone without food, though I have known poverty. But when I read those pill bottles I realized how terribly hungry I was. A deep insecurity filled me. My life was not supposed to turn out this way and I wanted things set right for me as well as for anyone else who suffered as I did. My hunger has always been there though. A few days before this, I asked my therapist, “What happened to me.”
“It’s not a package you can tie up with a pretty red bow.”
I retraced my life to see where things went wrong.
When I was sixteen my future husband told me, “I had a dream we were married and lived in a big house.”
This dream intrigued me and I believed him. “We were old and sitting on our front porch in rocking chairs. We had a huge lawn and all our family came to see us, there were so many of them. We had three children, two boys and a girl. I couldn’t make out the middle boys face but our daughter, the youngest one, had long blond hair. She was beautiful, she looked like you but it couldn’t be true because our oldest son looked kind of Japanese.”
My husband’s dream almost came true. We had two sons and our oldest has some Japanese blood. But there was no daughter and now there wouldn’t be one.
Flashes of the past few months crashed into my mind. I closed my eyes desperately trying not to remember but most of my memories insisted to surface.
I had been noticing things that were not quite right with me. I would have small lapses of memory, an obsessive fear about my children, and I was so tired. I would take care of my children in the morning and when my husband got home I would go to bed. One day my husband got home and my thoughts started racing. It was like my world speeded up ideas just flitted through my mind like lightening and only a few stuck. I thought my husband had gone crazy and wanted to kill our children. I had to save them from him, but how?
He was playing with that heater again and I knew he put plastic explosives in it to kill the children and me. Then I knew what I would do. I would wait until night and after he was asleep I would take my children to Cheyenne where he would never find us.
When the house was quiet I feigned sleep until I could tell my husband was sleeping. There was no time to waste so I went into my children’s room and got them up. We hurried into our Blazer and horrendous images came into my mind I was having delusions of my children being tortured. I decided I would find a lake and drown them to save them.
“Momma, where are we going?”
The scared voice of my young son from the backseat was a slap that made my heart brake for them both and snapped me back to reality. I found myself driving without my glasses heading somewhere late at night with my children still in their pajamas. My mind clouded again I thought we were being chased but now I couldn’t tell by whom. My husband? Whoever was after them I would kill. Or, he would have to kill me before he could even look at my children wrong.
“ We’re going to grandma’s.”
My mom’s was the safest place I knew of to take my children. I concentrated on driving and got them to her house without any accidents. When we arrived, my mom brought us into her kitchen and asked, “Peggy, are you alright.”
“No, my husband has lost his mind and is going to kill us.”
“Are you having a fight?”
“”No, he’s gone crazy.”
I started spewing more nonsense and my mom knew I wasn’t in my right mind. I would slip in and out of reality for the next three days. On the third day I finally got in to see a psychiatrist and she gave me pills to take. That night when mom gave me my night time medications, she told me, “Here Peggy take these.”
I put the pills in my mouth and held them in the back of it. When I took a drink of water, my mom sternly said, “Did you swallow them? Open your mouth so I can see.”
I opened my mouth wide and said, “Ah.”
The pills were now under my tongue. “Good, now get some sleep and tomorrow will be better.”
I spit the pills out because some male person was manipulating mom, trying to get her to poison me even though she didn’t want to. Was this person my husband? I knew some man was trying to kill me and end the world.
All of this made me want to remember everything fully because if I did I would be able to find out who the man following me was. Maybe I would be able to find out what went wrong, and get my life back on track.
When I was seventeen, I was snorted speed for two-months. One day I got so tired and I was sick of everything going on around me. The drugs, my boyfriend, friends, and work I knew I couldn’t keep up this kind of lifestyle or I would die so I just gave up. When I stopped I crashed and spent a week in bed. On the last night I started hallucinating. I left my lamp on because I was afraid and as I looked at my lamp, it started spinning, lifting up off the stand, and turning off and on. I pulled my blankets over my head and tried to just go to sleep.
I got a phone call from my sister the next day. “Peggy, are you alright? I had a dream last night that something dark is following you.”
I lied and told her, “I’m fine.”
My sister’s warning sent chills down my spine so I never took speed again.
Could I have caused my breakdown because of this? I was a Nurse Aide and I knew illegal drugs could make you more susceptible to psychosis. But what was this dark thing my sister told me of?
I thought back to the third night of my first episode when I was at my mom’s house after I spit my pills out.
The house was dark and quiet but I left the lamp beside my bed on. I heard steps come up to my open door. I thought it was my mom but as I looked up, a shadowy figure was there and in a loud commanding voice said, “How do you want to die?”
Trembling, I said, “By pills.”
I really didn’t want to die. Not by pills or anything but the voice was domineering, and demanding. “Take your Medicine.”
This was not my mom it was a deep masculine voice. I thought there was nothing I could do but obey him so I went to the kitchen and got my pills. I knew he wanted me to take the full bottles but I didn’t want to. I thought I could trick him so I grabbed a bottle of Maalox, went back to my room, and drank the whole thing. I was so confused and thought the Maalox was going to kill me so I prayed. “Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name…”
I continued pleading the Lord’s Prayer and asking God for a second chance to save the world. Afterward, the figure went away from the door but was lurking around me, watching and waiting.
The next day I started having visual hallucinations and saw the shadowy person on T.V. He was dark with no light in him at all but I didn’t get any close up views so I couldn’t make out his features. I couldn’t come out of the hallucinations and delusions and had to be taken to the hospital.
He followed me there and I was fighting him. I started pulling my hair out and some nurses came into my room and gave me a shot of Thorazine, which took a long time to kick in. The next thing I knew I woke up in the hospital and my children were gone.
Where were they? Had he taken and killed them? I started running down hallways trying to find them but every time I did E.M.T.’s (Emergency Medical Technicians who I thought were the man’s helpers) chased me down and took me back to my room. One of them said, “Quit running down there its the children’s ward. You don’t want to go there and wake them up.”
Now I thought I knew where they were keeping my children, I would wait until they were gone then get my kid’s and get us out of there. The E.M.T.’s led me back to my room again but I couldn’t sleep so I went to the nurse’s station and sat behind the desk waiting to search for my children again. I noticed a clipboard and turned it over. Written on the back were the words, “YOUR IN DANGER.”
That did it I was off and running toward the children’s ward. The nurses and E.M.T.’s got a hold of me and I yelled, “Where are my children?”
Couldn’t they see I had to protect them from that man?
This time they couldn’t stop or calm me down and put me into a padded room called lock-up. I don’t remember much of what was going through my mind in there except I could get on the other side and turn time back so I tried climbing the walls. I also felt the presence of that man. He was somehow in my mind and condemning me of horrid things I had never done. Some sins and his accusations swirled around in my head and I knew I was worthy of death. I realized I could never be good enough for God so I died emotionally and spiritually, although, I had a nagging feeling this was all so unnecessary.
Over the next two days everything started getting darker and darker. I lost myself and even forgot my own name, I could feel but I was a shell. On the third night a steady calming masculine voice said. “Let go.”
Then he said, “Go toward the light.”
I started searching for any light I could find in the dark room and found light pouring in through a vent so I went over and tried to unscrew it. Then I remembered Jesus is the light so I prayed. “Dear Jesus, please save me.”
I remembered my full name.
Jesus’ calming, familiar voice talked to me. His voice is gentle and smooth and I had heard Him many times before. 1Kings 19: 12 of the NIRV version of the Bible describes His still small voice as a gentle whisper. That is how I hear Him. His voice resonates within me, is audible and I can make out complete sentences.
Time and memory started returning the same way they slipped away. A little at a time. The next day I had my name back but I was still having some delusions. My children were being held somewhere and starved. When a nurse came into my room I yelled, “Feed my children.”
Then I became the seventh angel and I was going to fly out the window and pour out my vials on the earth but I couldn’t get the window open. My husband came into the room with pictures my children made for me. A little later my mom came to visit. Instead of calming me, the pictures scared me. I was going to yell and start fighting everyone again but I started choking. This upset my mom so badly she was crying and had to leave the room. Shortly afterward my psychiatrist and mom came back. I couldn’t clear my throat. I belted out a tune with everything I had. It cleared my throat and she said, “That was beautiful! She hit every note.”
Then everyone left the room. After a while my psychiatrist came back in and said, “If you don’t pull yourself together you’ll never be able to see your children again.”
Her words opened up a deep yearning to see my children and know they were safe. Reality came closer into view. I unsteadily told her, “Alright, I’ll be good now.”
“We don’t want you to be good. We want you back. Do you think you’re ready to move into a nice room?”
Hope of being able to see my children again finished bringing me back completely. “Yes.”
She took me to my new room and my family was gathered around me. She asked, “Peggy, what happened to you. “
I answered, “It’s just something we must all go through.”
My sister interrupted. “Oh, no it’s not!”
I hadn’t meant we must all suffer a breakdown and I was about to tell them everything Jesus told me in that room but my sister’s comment made me keep quiet. The next day I woke talking to my psychiatrist who was sitting by my bed asking me questions. “I had a dream I went to hell…”
With a sigh she said, “We already heard this.”
Then she left the room. Again, I was about to tell her all Jesus said and I wondered if there was something preventing me. After this I forgot what He told me except, “You must write you’re experiences in a book.”
Two days later my psychiatrist was making her rounds and came into my room. She told me, “You’ve done a three hundred and sixty degree turn around in just three days. “I’ve never seen anything like it before.”
I did not want to think about the dark one nor God anymore so I pushed them out of my mind.
Anyway, I tried to but I would have many more episodes and incidents of God acting in my life. There would be triggers that made me regress. But there were also ones to make me think of Him. Little things here and there over time forced their way into my conscious mind and I would never be able to fully walk away from God.
Oh Christ Jesus,
When all is darkness and we feel our weakness and helplessness
Give us the sense of Your presence.
And Your Strength.
Help us to have perfect trust in Your protecting love and strengthening power,
So that nothing may frighten or worry us.
Living close to You,
We shall see Your hand,
Your will through all things.
~St. Ignatius of Loyola
I have been working on my memoir for so long now. I cannot remember how many years I have spent wrestling with it. After all these years I have only gotten the prologue finished but I have decided to write the book here. I hope this forces me to write it. I also know I do not want paid for this book so I will not seek to publish it because God has told me, “You must write your experiences in a book.”
I will post the prologue and then write and post one chapter at a time until I finish it.