Monday, December 20, 2010

A Testimony To Brokenness and Hope

.**To those in the blogging community, it is only with the expressed permission of my husband and daughter, whose lives are most affected by this public display of my personal struggles, that I am willing to share this with you.**

A Testimony To Brokenness And Hope

Today I am embracing courage, which I have learned is stepping out, not in confidence, but in fear.  I have reached the end of my treatment in this program  and I've been asked, as all patients are, upon graduation, to give my testimony to wellness.  Wellness, in many ways, eludes me, so I will settle for simply telling my story, with the hope that it evolves into something meaningful to those of you who are listening. 

Over the last six months, three of my four children have been diagnosed with "special needs.:"  I immediately went about reading every morsel of detail I could find, making appointments with specialists, and shuttling each of these kids to doctor after doctor, wanting to find answers and make them "better."  By the end of September I was so exhausted with anxiety and panic that their lives would be frought with difficulties and that I was not the right mother for them.  At my worst point, I laid on the asphalt, just outside of my van, and wept, having taken my youngest son for one more evaluation. I was barely sleeping and no longer keeping what food I could eat, in my body. 

On the morning that I arrived, in this place, I was completely incapable of sitting in a chair without shaking uncontrollably from head to toe. I was sobbing so hard that the Doctor insisted I be secluded in the office so that I would not scare the other patients. There was talk of a trip to the Emergency Room- and I had just left a twelve day stint in the hospital the night before. Fear gripped every cell of my being. My eyes begged everyone that met them for help.  It was Friday, October 15th. In those frightening hours, I could not imagine that the limited time I would be given here, in this place, could undue my brokenness.  I had hoped, though,, that when it was my turn to leave, to fly, it would be with wings that were completely healed; wings that remembered how to soar and could do so higher than they ever had before. I had hoped that I would know that I was ready and that there would be some sort of guarantee that I would not fall again. I had hoped that I would no longer feel pain. That my injuries would be fixed. That I would be whole.

I leave you here today with the reality that brokenness is a part of my life. If I were to choose to speak in the voice of the victim, I would tell of my flawed genetics, of times when terrible things were done to me, of how I will always be predisposed to feelings that may become uncomfortable, or unthinkable or unbearable. But in the voice of a warrior. I see the possibility that there may be a purpose here.  That the very brokenness of my being is woven into the fibers of a universal plan, in order to bolster the fortitude of my spirit, and eventually the spirit of others.  That if every hair on my head is numbered, the struggles which loom so much larger over me must also be counted, cared for, and made part of the larger picture.  In this voice, the voice of "the glass is half-full," the brokenness makes me an artist of my own unique story-an empathetic ear to the weary and the lost-a writer who can communicate my horrific imperfections in a way that reverberates to those who most need to hear them-a sister to the hurt and to those who believe that the sun will never shine on them again-and most of all, the mother that my children most need me to be. Claiming this brokenness does not resign me or my family to a life of pain. It is not a self-fulfilling prophecy of doom. Claiming, in its most organic form, is an act of power- and by owning what is rightfully mine, this brokenness, I can somehow feel peace in the present.

I am not the Judy I was before I ventured through these doors.  I am coming to accept that I can no longer be her.  I am embracing the commitment that I must make to continue this metamorphosis.  I am beginning to understand that in order to move forward, I must leave behind the very idea that I am in control of anything other than what I am doing in this moment.  I must accept that for those of us who suffer with anxiety and panic attacks, the road is uncertain but the map of our lives can be filled with more direction if we work at recovery in the present. This is the recovery  that takes place in the smallest of steps- crafted out of caring for our physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual well-being.

Today is Monday, December 20th. And today is a celebration. Not because I am fixed.  It is a celebration because I am renewed.  I celebrate today because I am able to offer more of myself to others than what I am taking. And today what I offer you, dear friends, is hope.


Leanne said...

Thank you, Judy! So much of what you say is true for me too. I resonate with your knowing that you are the perfect mom for your kids in your imperfectness. I know this is true for me (and for you!) and I continue to forget this truth about me. In my times of insecurity and shame and fear, I wish my kids had someone better. My kids are my teachers. And my mistakes are my teachers. And what seem to be disappointments in my life are exactly the things I need so that I learn and grow and open wider than I otherwise could. I pray that I can continue to remember this. And that I don't lash out with blame, but can see the beautiful gifts. Thank you for your amazing openness, Judy.

Anonymous said...

a agree with leanne's statements she is a much better writer than myself.
i am also in lebo land but i suffer from the mental illness of bipolar disorder- its one of the biggees of the psychiatric illnesses so i struggle to parent my child with my many mood swings and absenteeism from parenting (being in bed because of depression)because of social stigma im will remain behind the curtain but i applaud your brave attempts to parent your blessed kids the best you can regardless.. be well dear Judy..

Judy Ollerenshaw Sombar said...

I tell truths on here because, while they may make me appear weak or weird to those who don't know me or like me, they help to remove the stigma and act as a vessel of comfort to others who suffer in silence. For those people in my life who love me unconditionally, telling these truths is just a whispering of reality. Those who will shy away or choose not to associate with me, because of what I say and who I am, don't belong in my life to begin with. And that is the strength behind the purge of details. I have nothing to hide. My armour is my belief that I am a worthwhile person-regardless of or because of my experiences. But it has taken me many years to get to this point and is easier said than done.

Judy Ollerenshaw Sombar said...

Leanne- you write so beautifully and I am honored by your words of encouragement and communion, as women and parents. I know you as both and I think you are amazing.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you write your blog Judy. With bipolar disorder, it's still strikes fear for tne non afflicted. For axample there is an elderly gentlemen who lives on Orchard Drive with BP and his neighbor was over for a playdate and she mentioned him like he was a monster... I'm not a Lebo alumni and dont have the best of neighbors so i will remain behind the curtain, WIth this difficult diagnosis you have to be a famous person or someone with a lot of courage to reveal.

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Forty-three year-old, mother and staunch advocate of four young children, passionate warrior of truth and self, finding the soul in each day, sharing my struggles and triumphs as I live them. Mostly I do this for me, so my thoughts don't race as much at night as they used to. But I also give this to those of you who need to know, in any or every way, that you are not alone.

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