This post is late. Not only in that it’s 9:59PM as I sit down to write it but in that what are you truly grateful for and thankful for sense I didn’t really have a post for that in that in some ways I feel blessed beyond measure and in others I feel like God is dumping the good on it to make up for some stuff that’s not so cool that I got stuck with. But let’s be positive. What I’m truly grateful for in my life right now is my recovery. And my recovery is three fold. I’ll break it down.
I am a survivor of childhood sex abuse. It was severe and stranger than fiction and my mother and stepfather while they know some of the details I choose not to share most of it with them. In fact I’ve shared more about the abuse and my recovery from it on this blog than I have anywhere else save my therapist’s office. It took years to do the work and it wasn’t easy. Confronting those particular demons dredges up all kinds of dark and powerless feelings. And I was always supposed to be gentle with myself, but my mom and dad(John, NOT the predator(s)) didn’t always make it easy.
Coming out of one of those sessions I almost always felt raw and vulnerable and they almost were always cranky or mad at someone else and I became a convenient target. When I tried to put my boundaries in place with them they made it very difficult. While in many ways they are supportive, i.e. letting me live in their house rent free and supplementing my grocery bills while I pursue my creative endeavors, they have no true comprehension of just how damaging their carelessness or anger can be.
In the long run the lesson I’ve learned in coping and dealing with them is that they don’t understand the first bit about what I’m going through and it’s best if I tell them nothing of my recovery process. They fail every time I expect them to act a certain e.g. they zig when I fully expect them to zag.
As it is, I have more interest in pouring my heart and soul into my work than into a romantic relationship. I like the love stories where I can control them. On paper. LOL. But the nightmares have for the most part have stopped. Although last night I had one so vivid I had to wake myself up several times to make sure I wasn’t being raped again.
So, I’m thankful for the demons that have haunted me in that arena have receded for the most part to the background and only seem to bother me when I’m especially tired, or have faced an especially trying day the parent units.
Secondly, but I think of most importance to me, is my mental health recovery in regards to my bipolar diagnosis. If I’m honest with myself high school was when the symptoms started, first with the depression, then with the mania. In college the lack of sleep started and the night terrors were horrendous. Over the next five or six years I cycled like clockwork, but I didn’t really start to lose my grip until I was 23. I was sleeping an hour a day. Every little thing set me off. And said awful things to the person who was in the thick of it with me: Missy.
My writing suffered as a result to the point I wasn’t writing anything. And when I was it was crap. Flat. No real life in it. I didn’t write on my own anymore. As good and as great as it was to work with Missy I had effectively crippled myself to only writing with someone. As my recovery progressed I realized my mojo had left me. And in my desperation to get well I had turned my back on the one thing that brought me more joy than anything else. Writing. And it was Missy who noticed an ad for a contest in 2003, NaNoWriMo 50,000 word book in 30 days.
I took the plunge and HANDWROTE the novel. It took me until the beginning of February to do it but I did it. And boy did my hand ache when it was all said and done with. Was it a great book? No. Was it going to win any awards? Certainly not. But it proved to me that I could do it.
In 2004 Missy and wrote, directed, and produced a movie, one too messed up to be edited. Half our cast were divas the other half couldn’t wait to get the hell out of there because of it.
These steps among others helped in my healing process. And then, a breakthrough. In 2011 my sleep cycle righted itself. I scored three publication contracts and won an award. I kept writing. I kept getting better. I kept racking up contracts and in 2012 I had my first Amazon Bestseller in GLADIATOR: The Gladiator Chronicles. More awards followed. In 2013 I appeared the front of the city newspaper and my screenplay adaptation of my bestselling Bounty Hunter won the Best SciFi Screenplay Award at Fright Night. More than that I graduated from therapy to case management. I have been asked to present my recovery to the board of directors. I find that to be an incredible honor, and even when my memoir based on this blog, and Gemini’s War became bestsellers on Amazon I find that it is what I am most grateful for. My recovery. Because without my recovery I would have none of the success that I have now.
I am fond of saying I wrote my way back from the brink of madness. But it was with the help of Anita, Rose, Ronnie, and Missy and Pam that I can sit still long enough to enjoy a television show, a movie, a book, and even yes the ability to sit down and write any of these is due in no small part to the roles these people played in my life over the last twelve years. It was a long road. But somehow I made it back to tell everyone else who may be at different points in their road to recovery that it can be done. Because if I can do anyone can. And that is truly what I am most thankful for this year.