Everybody has a story. For what it is worth, this is mine; the story of me, a very strange and unique individual. It’s the story of a young lady in her late teens and 20s, a mom in her thirties, me, now middle-aged, and my daily triumphs and failures through nearly 30 years of dealing with pain, turmoil, and periods of mental illness. I will share what it is like to live with debilitating depression, what may have been bipolar or may have been post-traumatic stress disorder, depending which doctor you believe, and the tough lesson of the importance of boundaries. You will perhaps relate to my horror stories of the years-long struggle to navigate the treacherous waters of health care in an attempt to obtain accurate diagnosis and proper treatment. I’ll take you on an adventure over the brink and back again, and describe what it is like to live life “without a skin”. At times while reading this, you may get the feeling you are reading the story of someone with multiple personalities. There were certainly times I wondered about it myself. It’s a roller-coaster ride, so strap yourself in. At times you may think I must be making it all up, as it may sound unbelievably relentless. You may feel camaraderie, or at least empathy, as my story resonates, because at some time, maybe even now, you or someone you love has “been there”. It may be a relief that finally someone has put the experience into words. If you have never experienced anything like it, you may be put off, close the book in disinterest, discounting me as a malingering, whining hypochondriac, who should pull herself up by her bootstraps and “get over it”. And that’s okay. You may simply be fascinated by the truth you read here, in its candor and honesty, and drawn like a witness at the scene of a horrific accident, from which you can’t seem to turn away even though you want to, and that is okay too, because even ugly truth can set someone free.
I had a normal childhood in a lower- middle-class family, two parents who loved their kids and each other and stayed married, 2 brothers and one adopted sister. At the age of 15 I was a bubbly, outgoing and very idealistic teenager. I wanted to go to a Christian College and become a missionary. But as these things often go, my life didn’t turn out that way. This book, more than anything, is about that detour, and how God makes beautiful mosaics out of broken pieces. But reader, beware! A glimpse inside this particular mind is not for the faint of heart. Before it’s over, you will likely have laughed, cried, talked out loud to a book, vowed you wouldn’t finish it, and picked it up again. But when you turn the final page, you will walk away with a feeling of satiety only otherwise gained from a good home-cooked meal, and for the same reasons. No artificial ingredients!
Yes, I am the Rachel Ray of words. I am reclaiming the right to skip therapy and call a spade a spade, to let my mind wander over the battlefield and talk about it, speaking directly to and from the heart, because there really is no better way. I don’t care much for today’s soundbites, and “status updates”. I like the old-fashioned way that takes time. So kick off your shoes, and come wade in with me, into the not-so- still, but very deep waters.
© S.T. Lloyd 2012 Purple Morning Glories and Gold Lady Bugs
Chapter 2 From Potters Clay to Predators Putty
Chapter 3 Out of the Frying Pan Into the Blender
Chapter 4 My Real “Come to Jesus” Moment
Chapter 5 Her Sins, Which are Many, Are Forgiven
Chapter 6 Now For Happily Ever After
Chapter 7 Mirrors
Chapter 8 Fathers and Daughters
Chapter 9 Let’s Get Real
Chapter 10 Morning Glories and Lady Bugs