Posted in Abusive Relationships, Adulting, Blogging, Bullying, Condo, Family, Grief, Health, Marriage, Mental Health, Relationships, Writing Challenges

4 years (give or take)

Long time readers of this blog will remember that this used to be a place where I would come to talk about big and challenging things that were happening in my life, or big and challenging things that had happened in my past.

And then I changed things up a bit, deleted some old posts due to some changes in life circumstances, hoping that they would no longer be relevant.

And then I stopped blogging altogether for a while, although I still considered myself a blogger.

Fair warning: This post is going to be a bit heavier than the sort of stuff I’ve written about for a while, but I’m hoping to keep it to a fairly short summary of my last 4 years (give or take).

4 years and 2 months ago in November the US election happened, and, although I am a fairly privileged white woman, I was terrified.

4 years and 1 month ago, 2 days after Christmas, my parents house burned down. An electric blanket that my Dad was asleep under caught on fire. My Dad was lucky to escape with only minor injuries.

4 years ago when the fire happened I still lived across the country from my parents. I spent all my time afterwards organizing things online to get them the help they needed, including creating a fundraiser.

4 years ago at the end of April my mother was finally given permission to let me know that my sister not only was pregnant, but had actually had the baby about 4 months earlier on Christmas day, 2 days before the fire. I had not been in contact with my sister for several years because she is abusive, but during the time that she was pregnant I had been trying to reestablish contact and give her another chance. I did not know that she was pregnant when I was reaching out to her. She never responded to my attempts to contact her. She could have told me she was pregnant, but instead I was the last person in our family to find out when my niece was already 4 months old.

4 years ago at the end of April I tentatively reestablish contact with my sister.

4 years ago in May my Grandfather suffered a major heart attack, had quadruple bypass surgery and was fitted with a pacemaker. He was then readmitted to the hospital later in the month because of an infection and has been in and out of the hospital over the last few years because his heart condition causes him breathing issues.

4 years ago in July my parents and my brother were able to move into their rebuilt house.

4 years ago in July my husband, Curtis, found out that the project that he’d been working with for almost 10 years was going to be moving to a different company and everyone would be losing their jobs by October. We had a choice for him to try to find another job within the company or take the severance package and try to find another job in Utah or move back to Connecticut. We ultimately decide to try to stay with the same company.

4 years ago in September Curtis started a work from home position within the same company.

4 years ago shortly before Christmas Curtis finds out that his new position is going away. This time there won’t even be a severance package. We have no choice but to move across the country to live with family. We set up a fundraiser to help us do that.

3 years ago in January we leave Utah and drive a U-Haul truck filled with all our belongings across the country to Connecticut. Along the way we spend one night with my sister and we meet her child for the first time.

3 years ago in January, 2 days after meeting my sister’s child for the first time we are driving through a blizzard in Ohio when I get a text from my sister. She informs me that she will be moving into the room at my parent’s house that was promised to us and tells us that we need to find somewhere else to stay. She is only supposed to stay a month.

3 years ago in January we arrive at my parent’s rebuilt house. We stay a week before having to move in with my in-law’s in a different part of the state.

3 years ago in February we realize that my sister is refusing to leave. We cannot stay long-term with my in-law’s because they rent an apartment. We move in with my Grandparent’s next door to my parents.

3 years ago in March Curtis finally found a job in Connecticut. He is working second shift.

3 years ago in June my sister finally moves out of my parents house. She had been abusive to everyone the entire time she was there. She moved in in January, was supposed to be gone by February but stayed for 6 months even though my parents wanted her to leave. She had a house that she could have moved back to at anytime while Curtis and I were homeless and staying with family who never planned on having us living with them.

3 years ago in June Curtis and I are finally able to move into the room that we were supposed to be living in since our move from Utah. My sister throws a fit when she finds out that we moved in.

2 years ago in February my Grandmother on my Mom’s side dies. She had been sick for a while and eventually slipped into a coma. My family had to make the decision to let her go because it’s what she would have wanted. My sister was around constantly and was abusive towards my mother who was losing her mother. I was unable to truly grieve of be a part of my grandmother’s funeral as I might have wanted to be because all my time was spent trying to deal with the trauma of my abusive sister making everything about her. I was overwhelmed.

2 years ago in February and March my sister finally leaves again and I help my Mom and Aunt clean out my Grandmother’s apartment.

2 years ago in April Curtis starts a new job. We go from going to bed at 5:30am to getting up at 5:30am.

2 years ago in September I self diagnosed myself as being autistic. My brother, who was living in the room right next to ours, had finally gotten his autism diagnosis in his mid 20s. He and I are polar opposites, he needs constant noise and is loud where I need quiet and am quiet myself, but when I realized that autism presents differently in everyone, everything finally made sense. I finally understood why living in such a loud house since we were able to move in was so traumatic for me, among other things.

1 year ago in January I finally start to get help for my extreme anxiety. I go on medication. I go through a few different people before finding the right fit. (Mainly someone who actually believes autism is a thing…) I am unable to continue talk therapy because it is too expensive, I am only able to continue to see the person who prescribes my meds.

1 year ago at the end of January my mother slips into a deep depression when the grief of losing her mother catches up with her. I am left to pick up the slack around the house. She seeks help, gets back on medications (this isn’t her first bout with depression) and is finally starting to feel like herself again when…

10 months ago in March the Pandemic hits. Life changes for everyone. My mom must wait longer before returning to work.

4 months ago in September my husband and I magically buy ourselves a condo during the middle of a pandemic. We become first time homeowners.

4 months ago in September I am no longer living at my parents house and can now officially cut my narcissistic abusive sister out of my life again.

2 months ago the election happens. There is much stress until the election is finally called.

1 month ago around Christmas my body and brain decide that now that we have our own place again I can start to process all the trauma of the last 4 years, starting with the house fire. I have been living in trauma for the last 4 years nonstop.

Just a couple of weeks ago there was domestic terrorism in Washington DC and I seriously began to doubt my brain’s sense of timing.

So, that is an abbreviated (believe it or not) rundown of all the serious things that happened over the last 4 years (give or take) and all of the trauma that I am trying to work through now.

I felt that you all deserved to know what was happening while I had disappeared from my blog. Hopefully my next #PepperDayūüĆ∂ post will be more lighthearted.

Posted in Blogging, Mental Health, Poetry, Writing Challenges

April Cheer Pepper – Day 27

I’m taking five meds

That can cause some drowsiness

But mostly I’m fine


During the daytime

I’m “let’s go, let’s go, let’s go”

(Might be the coffee)


But once I can stop

And finally fall asleep

Meds catch up to me


In the morning time

Wakefulness is slippery

Sleep has a firm grip


I struggle to wake

To get up when I want to

It never works out


Need to make a change

Need to break this cycles hold

Reclaim my lost time

If you look closely, there’s a dragon in this coffee.
Posted in Blogging, Mental Health, Writing Challenges

April Cheer Pepper – Day 8

Have a mental health

Appointment this afternoon

One tomorrow too


I don’t need to leave

My house for either of them

They are virtual


One to figure out

If my medications are

Helping me or not


The other one a

Second meeting with someone

To start therapy


I already had

So much to work through before

The pandemic hit


There is so much more

To talk about now that the

World is upside-down

Posted in Abusive Relationships, Keeping my promises, Mental Health

Keeping my promises, part 5…

Previous “Keeping my promises” posts can be found here.

After that first time that Justin and I hung out with John and Lauren, I think we spent more time with them than we did alone together. Part of it was when we hung out over at Lauren’s house in Lauren’s room there was no supervision. Lauren still lived at her mother’s house, but even when her mother was home, her mother never bothered us. John and Lauren were both adults, and therefore in our parents’ minds they¬†were¬†the adult supervision for Justin and I. Our parents had no idea what the nature of our friendship was of course. They had no idea that we were all drinking beers and smoking cigarettes while listening to music in Lauren’s room. John and Lauren were both legally old enough to do so, Justin and I were not. But what our parents probably would have been most upset to find out was how the theme of nakedness that started in the car on the way home from Salem, MA continued in our friendship. I don’t remember how it started, but eventually we were naked pretty much all the time that we were in Lauren’s room together. We weren’t necessarily engaged in sexual behavior all the time that we were hanging out together, but shedding our clothes once we entered Lauren’s room and the door was shut behind us just seemed to become a habit. It was almost like her room had become a nudist colony space.

There was a lot of sexual activity that occurred in that room though, and not just between individual couples either. Lauren and I began a sexual relationship, which was what the guys had hoped for, seeing as they always got to watch. But I also began a sexual relationship with John, and Justin began one with Lauren. This all worked out fine for the most part, we were all happy and were all having a good time together. There were some rough times though, like the night that I walked in on Lauren giving Justin a blowjob and was completely unprepared for it. It wasn’t what she was doing that upset me though, it was the looks that I felt like they gave me while Lauren continued to do what she was doing. I saw them as mean spirited, although they later claimed that they were not meant that way. I had to turn around and walk out of the room and try to get my jealous impulses under control. John sat with me on the couch in the living room as I tried to calm myself down. That turned into a pretty ugly night though. Even though I didn’t want to be upset and angry, I just couldn’t seem to shake it. We ended up out on the front lawn of ¬†Lauren’s house with Lauren offering to get me a knife so that I could cut myself ¬†because she said that she knew that it could help sometimes. I didn’t take her up on her offer. I didn’t end up getting home until after 3 am and when I walked in the door I found that my father had waited up for me. And boy was he pissed about me coming in so past curfew. A huge screaming match then ensued, but I can’t remember if I was punished in anyway at all. That was definitely not the best night of my life.

Another not so great night was the one where they all stood me up. They were supposed to come by and pick me up so we could all hang out for Lauren’s birthday. I got all dressed up and was waiting for them to show up. I sat at the kitchen table looking out the window waiting for their car to pull in the driveway for hours until I finally realized that they weren’t showing up. I couldn’t believe that they would just not stop by to get me, so I spent most of the night worrying that something happened to them. When I eventually did talk with Justin the next day he told me some story about John and him deciding to just hang out and play basketball and that they never ended up going over to Lauren’s and that Lauren decided to do something else for her birthday other than hang out with us. I chose to believe him and forgive him, though I made it clear that next time we had plans and he was going to cancel them that he should call me and let me know.

There was also the night (I can’t remember if this was before or after the “basketball” night…) when all four of us were fooling around together. John was having sex with Lauren, and I was kneeling on all fours on the bed next to John kissing him. Then, without any warning at all, Justin was inside me. Justin, knowing my history of sexual assault (which I wrote about here), should have known better. I froze, I had no idea how to react. After it was over, right there in front of John and Lauren, I told Justin that I wasn’t okay with what he did. If he wanted to have sex with me, he could let me know and ask me. Forcing himself upon me without asking was¬†not¬†okay. His response shocked me. He told me that that was how foursomes worked (…like he’d ever participated in any before our relationship…) and that he could do whatever he wanted without asking and that I had no right to be upset because what happened is exactly what I should have expected to happen. I informed him that I had every right to be upset, because when you get right down to it, what he did was rape and that I had every right to have a chance to say no to having sex with anybody. He continued to say that he did nothing wrong and that I just needed to calm down. I decided to forgive him, but that night was probably the beginning of the end for Justin and I, even though I didn’t know it at the time. Soon after is when he told me out of the blue that he wanted to break up with me. (I wrote about our breakup in this post here)

On the day after he broke up with me, when he had come over to my house and then got a call and had just walked out on me, the person who had called him was Lauren. He had told me that he was going to be hanging out with some friends, but had never told me what friends. It wasn’t until John called me to let me know that Justin was with Lauren that I realized that it was Lauren that had called him. John offered to come pick me up, he said that there were some things that I needed to know. When he came and got me he told me what really happened back on Lauren’s birthday. They were all together, but Justin didn’t want me there, so they never went and picked me up. Why Justin felt the need to lie and hide things from me when it was abundantly clear that I was okay with our open relationship is something I will never understand. Justin also apparently thought that he might be able to steal Lauren away from John, which was never going to happen, but was probably one of the main reasons why he left me. Justin had been starting to imply to me before that the only reason that John and Lauren hung out with me, was so that they could hang out with him. But once Justin and I broke up, I still spent most of my time with John and Lauren who kept telling me that I shouldn’t be upset over losing Justin because he was an annoying idiot. My relationship with Lauren was a bit strained after Justin left, but John and I still got along just fine. I really don’t know what I would have done without John reminding me that I was better than Justin and that my worth wasn’t tied to that relationship.

Soon the summer ended and I started my junior year of high school, and John, Lauren and I started hanging out less and less as I started to hang out with my friends from school more and more. And even with how things ended up, I still don’t regret my relationship with John and Lauren. Even with knowing that Justin was a liar and was doing things behind my back while we were dating, I still wasn’t over him. It was months into the school year before I realized that he probably was never going to come back to me. I even dated other people during this time, but still was always hoping that one day Justin would come back into my life and we could pick up where we left off. That obsession with getting Justin back or finding anyway that I could to forget the pain that not being with him caused me, coupled with therapy that had become ineffectual and medication that wasn’t helping (I wrote about this¬†here) are part of what caused the events that soon would turn my life upside down.

To be continued…

Posted in Abusive Relationships, Family, Keeping my promises, Mental Health

Keeping my promises, part 3…

You can read parts 1 and 2 here and here.

To continue on with my story I need to back up a bit. During the time that Justin and I were dating I had a nervous breakdown/panic attack in the high school foyer one day before school. The details of that day are a bit fuzzy, but I can remember all of a sudden starting to cry and not being able to stop. Justin tried to get me to calm down, to get me to tell him what was wrong, but he couldn’t and I couldn’t give him answer. I had no idea what was wrong. He brought me to the guidance counselor’s office and sat with me while I continued to cry uncontrollably. I can remember sitting there on the couch with a deteriorating tissue in one hand and Justin’s hand in the other. When the guidance counselor was unable to help me, my mom was called in to pick me up and bring me home. I had absolutely no idea what was going on or what was wrong with me. I was scared and confused. It wasn’t until years later that I realized that somewhat similar things had happened to me before. Once when I was in Kindergarten and just all of a sudden¬†had to get out of there and go home, and the time that I skipped school and ended up being raped. Only the time that I skipped school didn’t involve uncontrollable tears.

Anyway, when my mom arrived Justin walked me out to my mom’s car. I was still holding his hand and the thought of having to let go of his hand and leave him brought on even further panic. My mom literally had to order Justin to let go of my hand and walk away back to school so that she could get me in the car to go home. All while I was screaming and crying hysterically. Justin had tears streaming down his face while he kept apologizing to me as he pulled his hand from mine and walked away.

Once home I was able to calm down some. My mom called and set up an emergency appointment with a therapist for later that afternoon. I had been dragged to therapists appointments years before, but I never cooperated. I would refuse to talk and would tell the therapist and my mother that I wasn’t going to talk and that continuing to make me go was just going to be a waste of money. I would tell them that I didn’t need to see any shrinks because I was not crazy. This therapist appointment was the first one that I ever took seriously. It was clear from what happened to me at the school earlier that something wasn’t right and that I needed help. Being reassured by the therapist that being depressed and needing to see someone for it did not make me crazy was a huge revelation for me. I was prescribed and started taking my first antidepressant that day: Zoloft.

I continued with therapy regularly and my dosage of Zoloft kept slowly being raised. I thought that it might have been helping some, at least there weren’t anymore breakdowns in the middle of the high school foyer. My therapist told me that it would help me and I believed her and let her continue to up my dosage as she saw fit. She had diagnosed me with major depression in that very first visit and assumed that that’s all that was wrong with me. She saw no reason to question her diagnoses. Looking back now, there were probably glaring warning signs that she should have seen, but she had become more of a friend than a therapist toward the end of my time seeing her. My sessions had turned into times when we could gossip about what was going on in my life. She became too caught up in my social life to see the signs that something was desperately wrong. My recollections of that time are very blurry, but I can remember telling her several times that I didn’t think that the Zoloft was helping and that her reaction was to continue to up my dosage over and over again. This was frustrating to me, but she was the doctor so I trusted that she knew what was best for me.

Oh how wrong I was…

To be continued…