All help All

This is dedicated to Helen Evancheck who recently passed away at 98 years young on September 21, 2022. 

When I walked away there was no turning back. I knew from that point on my life would never be the same. Yes, I longed for the familiar surroundings I called home, yet that house would always remain with me no matter where I went. Running away only made the things I loved no longer a physical part of my life. I could hold them close in my mind and take them with me.

Looking back on it, I know now that my decision to leave was totally wrong, yet at the time it seemed I was trapped and had no other choice. That few weeks I spent on the psych ward after my first overdose, made me realize I had very few real friends. Each night when Wayne's mother came on duty, I would sit with her at the nurse's station and talk until I could fall asleep. We never once discussed her son or why I was on her floor. I knew she had read my chart and was familiar with all the notes written in it. What was there to discuss? I know I should have been ashamed, but she never made me feel uncomfortable. She talked to me as if she truly cared for my well-being and I always appreciated that. She was kind and gentle: warm and loving...all the things I needed most at that time.

I acted horrible during the day...defiant and always questioning authority. I refused to participate in any group therapy and used any recreation time to create weird things to decorate my room. My pride and joy were the bats I had made from modeling clay. I had painted them black with red eyes and then hung them with sewing thread from the pipe near the ceiling in my room. It seemed everything I did was aimed at getting a reaction. But no matter how outrageous I acted Mrs. Evancheck treated me the same way she treated me from the first time she met me when Wayne brought me home to meet his parents. She treated me like one of her own. 

I still remember the outrage I felt when my mother had brought me an electric razor so I could shave my legs and underarms and it was immediately taken away from me. I quickly challenged them by asking if they thought I was going to shave myself to death. Surely, they couldn't think I would try to hang myself with the wasn't long enough for that and besides hanging just wasn't my style. They never did give me a reason why they took it. They didn't have to give me a reason, so I went on being my usual obnoxious self. Why they didn't just medicate me was a mystery to me, but it probably had something to do with the fact that I would have enjoyed zoning out on some good psychiatric drugs. 

The law required any drug overdoses to be sent to the psych ward for 2 weeks of observation after surviving the ER and the ICU, but many people weren't that lucky. For most the only trip they took was to the morgue! The two weeks I was on C-4 was some of the hardest decision making time I have ever had. Due to my impaired judgment and being so screwed up, I made all the wrong decisions at that time! I had no adult I could turn to for guidance.  I just didn't trust anyone that way.

So I was alive! The overdose had not been intentional...I simply was out of control and on a very self-destructive path. I loved getting high and staying high. I feared nothing...not even death itself. I slowly retreated into a silent, safe place where I no longer felt any pain. Along with feeling no pain, I discovered I also felt no happiness, joy or love. Wayne had threatened to leave me if I didn't stop getting high as if that was going to stop me! Ha! Now, he was gone and I was truly alone...except for my drugs. Somehow they had replaced everything that was good or right in my life. They dulled the pain and I learned how to live being comfortable numb. 

Lynne, someone I considered a friend, offered me a way out and I took it.  I believed that nothing could be worse than what I had been experiencing. It wasn't until much later until I discovered that things always can get worse. It only took me a few days after being discharged from the hospital to realize going back to school and trying to straighten out my life was just not going to happen like everyone else wanted it to happen. The day I left home, I took one last look at Wayne's house before I walked down my street and walked towards the interstate with Lynne. That last mile was my point of no return. As we set out on the road, I left some of my pain behind but the biggest portion was something I would carry with me until I learned how to forgive.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

-Robert Frost-

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