I have to run… by Suzanne Gero 4/2/2018

I couldn’t “do people” today. And yeah, I know that isolating myself is a bad idea for coping with depression/ anxiety/ PTSD.

I had plans to go to the Rapids Waterpark today and manage my stress by a day in the sun riding the Flowrider. That is the little-known secret to happiness. A man-made simulated wave upon which I ride for about 60 seconds – until my attempt at a trick goes sideways – and that usually relieves most of my woes. But today life’s hurts got the best of me. I sobbed ugly, hot tears. I cried out to God in mostly unintelligible uttterances. My heart was unraveling. And I had to run.

By God’s grace, I live minutes from the beach. And it is an amazing place to heal. I needed the chemical release of endorphins that I was desperately lacking and needing to get back to some form of functional existence. Because life sucks.

Yep – it does. The cops were here for the upteenth time responding to an anonymous call from neighbors concerned about the screaming coming from my home. That happens when your bipolar child who is home for the Easter holiday on pass from a mental health facility decides to NOT use her coping skills. Our now 12 year old adopted daughter doesn’t live at home. After her first stay in a residential lockdown facility, M held it together for 6 weeks before sabatoguing her family’s peace. All was “peachy keen” – not really because living with a volatile bipolar child who had gained 55 pounds to a whopping 165 weigh-in isn’t ever peachy. She was asked to unload the dishwasher. And she decided that wasn’t happening … so she ran… Away. Cuz that makes perfect sense. She punched dad in the face after he jumped in the car and attempted to bring her home safely. The bloody face of a 275 lb. dad from his 11 year old screamed… “She can not do family- She’s not healthy enough, not strong enough.” She still needed a placement outside the home.

For a child neglected from birth and having never formed an attachment to a caregiver, the idea of letting someone be in control was insanity. Mix in some toppings of bipolar and an IQ of 68 with that, and you have a pretty unpleasant ice cream sundae. Let’s imagine that dessert beginning with milk left out.. for hours, days, months. Then add in chopped dead fish and smelly socks. Btw, no one had disclosed the ingredients in our dessert. We also hadn’t had a full diagnosis completed at this point in our meal ending treat. (And with 30 hours of a diligent psychiatrist searching for answers, we also got autism.)

We had expected something sweet. Life had been somewhat sweet for the first 3 years. But that’s not the case with our ice cream sundae. Neglect doesn’t allow pathways to form in the brain in healthy childhood brain development. There is not much healthy brain development happening when you exist in survival mode without decent nutrition. Ice cream has milk in it.  Getting milk as a baby may have helped. M was hungry.

So was F.

We also adopted F.

He steals.

He lies.

That’s another post.

So life sucks as my youngest children (notice I did say “my” because we are often asked if we can return them by acquaintances or questioned if we intend to return them by DCF) ..push buttons I didn’t know I had. And for someone with a lower IQ, M is a genius at coming up with original ways to create instability.  Stability seems too “nice”.  Stability screams “watch for the other shoe to fall!” for M. Stability sneaks up and scares her… I guess. Because she ain’t having it. Too much happy and my RADish is agitated, which then morphs into being upset over some innoculous question like “Who left out the peanut butter?” These moments can easily end in a litany of “I hate this family anyways” and “You know I don’t like your ugly hair”.

And by God’s grace, I can manage the trial. I remain calm, I usually giggle at repeated patterns of foolishness, I speak loving words in trade for poisonous barbs.

But it is the aftermath that obliterates me. See, I had used all my energy to remain calm in the crisis.

So then when M is no longer front and center and life goes on.. As it surprisingly does every day… The hyper-sensitivity kicks in and my other family members interactions with me leave me convinced I am utterly unloved and alienated from everyone who ever cared about me. At this point, I am absolutely sure my family thinks I am pathetic, weak, worthless and a burden.

This is the journey God has called me too.

I don’t like it.

Yet I have a hope of heaven and a trust in His ultimate goodness. I got nothing else. And I have lost so much in this process.

The things I have gained:

1. Knowledge that running and/or some form of physical exercise helps replace chemicals that have been exhausted and depleted because of the strength in the storm to stand firm and resolved . Practical help. Run, momma Run!

2. A compassion and understanding for why people engage in hurtful, self-destructive behaviors- They have deep hurts. Prior to MY OWN deep hurts, I was more indifferent to people’s pain and looked more at their behavior.

3. An ability to cope by doing something out of the box.. A little crazy.. Still a good girl but I may be seen dancing around a soccer field during my son’s practice in a full dragon costume. TRUE STORY.

Oh so much more..

Heartache and healing.

So I headed for the beachfront and hit the pavement running.  If ya don’t get it, that’s okay. We don’t all react to stress the same.  My husband overeats.  I don’t eat.  My husband struggles more with depressive coping skills- overeating some not so healthy huge portion of anything,  sitting in a Lazyboy and not moving until nature calls or just sleeping.

I run because a dear friend who has dealt with the completely unexpected suicide of her husband when she was 7 months pregnant with girl #2 went on to birth another “child” after she became a widow.   Through her heartbreaking circumstances, she created a grief and loss ministry, an incredibly helpful book, a year-long workbook/journal because ya don’t get over grief in a month or two.  180 Your Life helped GREATLY in my healing.  And a big component of getting back to somewhat normal involves taking back control of my health.  Goal setting and exercise is vital.  I didn’t lose a person like people normally equate with grief but I AM GRIEVING the loss of my normal, healthy, happy family.

Some days it is so bad.. I have to run.

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