Friday, April 1, 2011

History

*This was written between the events of the last entry and the next. October 1998.*

  • 1981- Took a couple of dozen aspirin and planned to cut my wrists. I had been scratching my arms for weeks without relief. Told a friend. She told a teacher. Was sent home from school for a couple of days. Assistant principal asked if I was aware I would burn in hell if I "offed myself". Came back to school an outcast and the butt of jokes. Started pretending to faint and talkig of suicide. Took a couple of minor overdoses and made a few trips to the emergency room.
  • 1982-83- Started carrying a small penknife and using it to scratch my wrists. Took ipicac to feign illness and get out of school. Mum took me to the doctor to prove I was faking. Kept my grades up and my behavior at school was good but started taking large doses of cold medicines and falling asleep in class. Kept gin in a thermos in my locker for the last two months of school and stayed drunk as much as I could get away with. I'd given up on home and put my focus into school.
    Two months into my freshman year of high school, I started smoking pot. Started writing poetry and short stories. Stephanie Anne Ross was born. An alter ego 3 years older and far less afraid of authority than I was.
    Created problems at school. Set fire to my jacket accidentally in class. Principal reminded me he knew who I was, hated Quintanas and was watching me. Started running away for a day or night. Spent one night on the roof of a the middle school taking the skin off my left arm with a piece of broken glass. Got so cold I started walking. Was picked up by a couple of guys in a truck. They saw the blood and called an ambulance. Spent the night in the police station. Tried to reuse to go home. Parents decided to try family counseling. Counselor at the Mental Health Department told parents I was a discipline problem and my attention seeking behavior was to be ignored or punished. He told my parents I was simply a liar and to treat me as such. Dad was furious. We did not go back.
  • November 1983- Cut my wrists in the school bathroom during lunch. Ran from the emergency room. After I was caught, the principal, who had come with me to the hospital, threw me into a wall. I was then arrested for assault. My father came to the police station and the charges were dropped. He asked if I wanted to go to a hospital. I did. Stayed inpatient through the week of Thanksgiving.
  • 1984-85- Started seeing the psychiatrist I'd seen at the hospital. Managed to convince him within a few weeks that I was delusional and hallucinating. After running away a few more times and threatening to jump off a building, I was admitted to Dominion hospital in Sleepy Hollow, Virginia. It didn't take the doctor there long to figure out my stories of dementia were untrue. He called me a compulsive liar (true) and nothing I sad was believed again. Was initially diagnosed as Bi-polar and put on Lithium. After the side-effect continued to intensify rather than subside, it was decided that was must not be Bi-polar. I was then diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder and put on new medication. I took 150 mgs of Tofranil and 50Mgs of Mellaril.
    In the hospital, I learned how to break my hand from another patient. Learned about self-starvation and how to hide it. Learned how to turn off the world and how many different everyday items can be used for self-harm. I also learned how to pull myself together when the insurance ran out and it was time to go home.
    Was place in an alternative school. Got caught smoking behind the building and when told to put out the cigarette, I put it out on my arm. That was the beginning of burning. I spent most nights in my bathroom with a razor, cutting the same places on my wrists under running water. Found that if I cut a little each night it would leave a huge scar and that should I get caught, it couldn't be stitched up. Also started burning myself with other things. After putting a 3 inch burn on my face with a curling iron, I was sent to a neurologist. He found nothing wrong aside from attitude. The next several months are a blur of nights in the bathroom, drugs, drinking, running away and minor overdoses.
    Sometime during that summer, I cut into a major blood vessel for the first time. I got scared and called a friend. She called an ambulance and I took off for the river close to my home and hid until they found me. The EMT asked if I had been drinking and spoke to me about alcohol abuse. He suggested AA and gave me the times and places of meetings. My parents were furious at the idea but allowed me to go with the understanding that it was only as a support system for me outside of the hospital.
  • 1985 continued- Ran away to Vienna, VA to visit a friend from the hospital. I thought I loved him. He didn't feel the same way. Went to a July 3 concert on the Mall in DC. Got really drunk thanks to beer provided by a mental health worker we knew from the hospital. Wound up in the back seat of a car with my 'friend'. By the time he acknowledged my "No" it was too late. Ran to another friend's house in Fairfax. Told her what happened. She didn't believe me. Called my Dad to come get me. Told him what happened. He drew back to hit me and told me it was my fault. Took me straight to a party at the pool club without letting me go home and change. Spent that day in the locker room drinking.
    Ran away to DC for 2 days. Was picked up by a guy who offered me a way to make some money. Stayed with him until I realized what he meant for me to do. Cut my wrists in his bathroom and told him not to waste his time on me. He drove me back to my hometown. Spent the next couple of weeks with a friend and my older sister.
    Became a Candy Striper through the recommendation of my Youth Leader After it was decided I didn't enjoy working with people, I started working in Central Supply. Found it to be a good source of surgical blades, xylocaine and suture kits. (I'd learned how to do stitches staying with my sister, a medical student) I could cut to my heart's desire without feeling pain and could stitch myself up, saving myself from being caught and my parents from more medical bills.
    AA was of little help. My primary problem wasn't drinking and I wasn't physically addicted. No one could relate to my other efforts at self-destruction. I did meet a man named Jim who invited me to baby-sit for his wife and family. Jim became a very good friend and before long, I was showing up at his house on Fridays and staying until after a meeting on Sunday afternoon. Jim's house is where I met Charlie. We were not instant friends but he was the only person who could make me laugh. Before long, I started showing up at Jim's hoping to see Charlie's Nova parked outside the house. I didn't know it then but he was coming over in hopes of seeing me. After I treated him really badly for no reason, he was the first person to show me what true forgiveness was. I had never before seen a person put a wrong so completely behind him and never remind me of it again.
    There were a couple of other overnight hospital visits and a week in a local hospital's psych unit. The it was back to the hospital in Sleepy Hallow by police escort. My parents were told that I would need long term care and to start looking for somewhere that could take me for years rather than weeks. After discharge, I refused to go home and moved in with Jim and his wife. My parents gave Jim and Brenda legal guardianship and paid them for my room and board. I became their live-in babysitter. It quickly became a nightmare and when Brenda pimped me out to a friend, I realized I'd traded one troubled home for another. I walked away one night, swallowed 150 aspirin and hitched a ride out of town. When the ringing in my ears was so loud, I couldn't hear, I made my way back to their house. At dawn I told Jim what I had done and he made me apologize to his wife. By the time their kids were ready for school, I was ready to go to the hospital. My parents were told I could lose kidney function.
    After another few days in a hospital and convincing a judge I didn't need commitment, I went back home.
    Within a couple of months, I'd had enough and spent several days saving my meds. Over 2 days I took a massive overdose of Tofranil. By the time Mum realized I'd OD'd it was completely in my system. I was air lifted from the local hospital to a Children's Hospital in DC. My parents brought my younger brother and sister to say goodbye in the ICU. The next 5 weeks were spent in the psych unit of Georgetown University Hospital. Before coming home, I told Dad about all the sexual abuse I could remember from childhood. I made it home days before Christmas. (I don't remember a Christmas morning after I was 10)
  • 1986- January I was taking anything I could get my hands on. I was punching walls, walking out of school, threatening teachers, running away, cutting and burning my arms. Mom became desperate and took me before a judge for commitment. When I was given the chance to be hospitalized voluntary, Mum was furious. Had I accepted the involuntary committment, they wouldn't be stuck with the bills. Mum had, for the past couple of years been leaving hospital bills on the table outside my room so I could see what I was costing the family. Once more I was taken to a hospital by police escort. It was a state run institution and very frightening.
    3 days after my admission, I got a call from Jim to tell me Charlie wanted to visit. Charlie started visiting a couple of times a week and I started spending my day passes with him. I was discharged in March. In April, Charlie asked me to marry him. I moved in with him in June and we were married in August.

I stopped documenting here because the Pastor had known us for a few years and had been filled in on our history after marriage. Hoping to fill in those blanks as we go.