We were pretty close growing up. We were typical siblings. We had our disagreements but we also love to play and do other things together.
When I was six years old our family moves to Emery County, Utah. It was a hard transition time for me. I had started kindergarten at a school where the students worked at their own level in reading and math I was now going to a school where they were still learning sight words and basic math like 2+2=4. My first day at the new school I had what I would now call, looking back, an anxiety attack. It is the first one I remember having although my mom says she can't recall a time in my life when I didn't have anxiety. From that time on I hated new and unknown situations. I would get really nervous and usually cried.
Throughout school I struggled with learning and understanding. I was also bullied somewhat by my classmates all through elementary, junior high, and even in high school. Kids made fun of me, calling me bawl baby and saying I was dumb. Sometimes kids would push me around. I didn't have many friends and I hated school. It wasn't until I was in high school that I finally decided that I didn't care what others thought. At least that is what I would tell myself. I don't think I really believed it though.
Growing up was hard in other ways as well. My dad never made a lot of money while we were growing up other than when he was in the coal mines. The problem was he was always getting laid off for one reason or another and would then work minimum wage jobs. My parents seemed to always be struggling to pay the bills. We didn't get to do a lot of the things other kids our age got to do. I didn't really mind because at least I knew they were trying and they did what they could. The problem was that if I knew my parents were worried about something I would worry too. To this day I tend to take on every one else's problems as well as my own.
My parents did a great job of raising us kids the best they could and I am very grateful to them for raising us right. We had our problems but we stuck together because that is what family is all about. I have never doubted that they would do anything they could for us and still will.
I didn't have a car at the time and so I had to rely on walking or waiting until somebody could take me where I wanted or needed to go. There was always the bus but, even now, I get extremely nervous and panic when I even think about having to ride. I am sure I will get lost and there are too many people sitting close together. Just writing about it makes me nervous. So I only looked for jobs close to where I lived. Of course since I only had a high school diploma, job options were limited.
I finally got a job working in a local drive through diner. Day one sucked and day two was even worse. They never really even trained me, just told me what to do and expected me to do it. by the third day I was so frustrated and freaking out that I quit. I went home and called my parents and told them to come get me. I hated living there and I just wanted to go home. They came the next day and I have mostly lived in Emery County ever since
A couple months later my mom happened to talk to a family friend who has her own preschool. Mom asked her if she would consider letting me help out. I loved kids and had thought about becoming a preschool teacher but hadn't wanted to go to college to become a teacher. This friend agreed to let me come volunteer part time for the rest of the school year. The following year she hired me to help out in two of her three classes. By the third year I helped every day. I loved it! It was so fun to work with the little children and to help them learn and watch them grow. It is hard to believe that 20 years have gone by. I recently went back to work at that job and am teaching the children of a couple of kids I taught that first year. That is one thing that makes me feel old.
The next ten years or so were okay. I liked my job and was content to live at home and not do anything else. Oh, I had tried a few times to get another job but my anxiety seemed to always get the best of me. I didn't feel comfortable working with the public. I always felt inadequate
I didn't have much of a social life either. I dated a guy for a couple of months but I never felt completely comfortable around him. I also felt like he was looking for more of somebody to raise his child and take care of things at home than he really cared about finding a wife. He seemed to be rushing things a lot faster than I wanted to go. On our very first date he invited me to go with him and his son to Six Flags over Texas for Spring Break. It was just October. A few weeks later he invited me to come to his home in Colorado and stay between Christmas and New Year's with his parents. I felt a lot of pressure from him and also some of my family to try and make things work. I just couldn't do it. He was a nice enough guy but I just didn't feel anything for him. There have been times since then when I have looked back and wondered if I made a mistake but then I remember that I had prayed about it and knew that it wasn't meant to be.
As school was starting that September my dad got a call about a job working in the gold mines in Northern Nevada. He and Mom went to Elko for the interview and they wanted him to start as soon as possible. We didn't know what to do. I had already started and was committed to that school year but it was a job Dad couldn't turn down.
I happened to mention what was going on to a dear friend whose daughter was in preschool that year. She told me that I was welcome to come and live with them. I kind of thought she was joking. After a few days of prayer and discussion I decided to see how serious my friend was since I couldn't come up with any other options. When I called her she said that she and her husband had prayed about it as well and that they both felt that it was the right thing to do. After more prayer and discussion with my parents we too felt like it was right. In October Mom and Dad moved to Elko and then Spring Creek, Nevada while I moved in with my friends and their family.
We had agreed that I would live there until school got out and then I would try and find another job and my own place or move to Nevada with my parents. It was a good year and I am grateful that I had the chance to grow closer to that family. They have done so much for me and I know I can never repay them for their love and kindness.
It was toward the end of the school year when a sister in my ward asked me if I had ever considered serving a mission. I literally laughed out loud. A mission was the last thing I ever pictured myself doing. I knew that because of the anxiety I had struggled with all my life and the depression that I frequently fell into that it would be extremely difficult to serve. So, I laughed it off and didn't think another thing about it until that sister brought it up again a few weeks later.
School had been out for a week or two and I wasn't sure what I was going to do. I had been praying about it but felt like whatever I did would be okay. I didn't really like that answer. I wanted the Lord to somehow tell me that I should do this and be good with it. I had finally decided that I would just move to Nevada and go from there.
When the sister brought it up again, I didn't laugh it off as easily but I still wasn't going to seriously consider it. However, that night after the kids had gone to bed, my friend and I were talking and she said that the other sister had mentioned the idea of me serving a mission. she wondered what I thought about it. I told her that it wasn't something I had ever planned on doing but that I had been thinking about it off and on that day. Anyway one thing led to another and by Thanksgiving I was getting ready to submit my papers.
I have mentioned the struggle I had in the MTC and I will post later about the struggles I had on my mission. Let me just say that things got to a point on my mission where I became more depressed than I had ever been in my life up to that point. I ended up coming home almost exactly one year after I had entered the MTC. The past seven years have been the emotional roller coaster that I have posted about.
In 2010 I injured my neck and have had problems ever since. After six months of being off work I finally went back part time only to quit two months later. I have had CT scans, an MRI, and X-rays which have all come back negative. In December 2013 I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. I live with pain every day.
In the past, almost, three years I have intentionally overdosed twice. I have live in Nevada, Northern Utah, and now back in Emery County. I am still struggling every day with the anxiety and depression. It is something I will probably fight most of the rest of my life.
Now that I am 40 I decided that I can either have a mid life crises, another breakdown or I can start to take control of my life. I'm going to try harder to not let things get to me. I am hoping to become a healthier, happier person so that 40 years from now I can look back and say that things were much better.
I am going to start by trying harder to trust in my Savior and His love for me. I need to remember that I can't do it on my own. I am writing this blog as a way to exert my feelings and not dwell on them. I am also relying on you my friends and family and anybody else who reads this to give me words of encouragement and support.
For my birthday Mom and Dad asked that my friends and family write emails, texts, and Facebook messages sharing your thoughts and birthday wishes. They asked that you list four things you admire about me and they are going to put it in a scrapbook so that I can read it and know that I am loved and I am not alone. If anybody reading this would like to join in please comment about what you like or make suggestions about this blog.
I was reading another blog the other day of a man I have come to greatly admire. I asked him if I could share the link to his blog and he said yes. A lot of what he has to say really hits close to home for me. His latest blog was titled, THIS is The Most Damning Belief of All Time by Seth Adam Smith. What is the belief? I can’t change. I am a victim of my circumstances.
I realize that I have been a victim of my own beliefs. I am going to try much harder to not be a victim anymore.
So here is to another 40 years. Hoping they are much better than the first 40.