Thursday, January 26, 2006

Start of a brand new day

I can't believe I woke up this morning looking forward to making another post here! Color me shocked! Maybe there's something to this after all.

Yesterday seemed to be a day of revelation and courage. For one thing, I let my minister and one of the church groups (Unitarian Universalist, btw) know the real truth (as opposed to that pesky fake truth) about what's really been going on with me and why I've had to resign from every obligation recently. I told them that, in layman's terms, I had a nervous breakdown. Oddly, it feels good to 'confess' that. One of the problems with having an anxiety disorder and depression is that you feel mute and isolated, which obviously hampers reaching out to people. Since I'm a relatively new member of this congregation, and this denomination, actually, so I don't know that many people very well. The ones I do know, however, are probably some of the most compassionate, loving people I've ever encountered, and I realized yesterday that if I couldn't be honest with them, there weren't very many people I was going to be able to be honest with. Further, I realize that my own silence helps perpetuate the stigma of what is viewed generically as 'mental illness'. In truth, those who treat anxiety disorders will tell you that many of them, especially panic disorder, should be more accurately classified as a neurological disorder which has psychological ramifications. (See Dr. William Kernodle's book "Panic Disorder: The Medical Point of View") So far the responses I've received bear out my belief that these are the very people (my church group) that I can be most honest with and receive much love and support and, most importantly, acceptance and validation.

The other revelation that was brought yesterday is a little more complicated and requires some background info. Here's the short version: I married too young, picked a very bad husband, and lived a very torturous 6 years with him. He was and is an alcoholic, whether he is drinking today or not. And he was and is, I've learned very painfully, a child molester. There, I've said it. My ex-husband is a child molester. I learned this when he was convicted of molesting his own daughter, before I ever met him. He wasn't arrested for this crime until at least 7 years after the incident with her, but I now believe she was only one of his I'm afraid many victims, even before I met him. What he did while we were married I will blessedly never know, and I'm more than thankful I never had children. The knowledge that I was so very blind to his evil is difficult for me to digest, but I think I'm finally, all these years later (divorced for 13 years), coming to grips with it. I did a search in sex offender registry for him Monday night and discovered that he's back in jail (thank God) for committing 'lewd/lascivious act(s) with a child under 16'. Horrifying, isn't it? When I first found his listing and saw his picture, I felt nauseated, had hot flashes and chills, cried, felt guilty myself, again. Why guilty? I couldn't figure that part out for a while -- it's something I've felt ever since learning about his offenses. But I think I've finally realized what it was for me. I worried that maybe there was something I could have/should have seen to prevent him from harming another child. In reality, there was nothing I could have seen or done, and nothing I should feel guilty about. It is my nature and my lifelong experience to care for children, though I have none of my own. I'm the oldest of 4 children, and always was the babysitter for them. I was also always held responsible for them and their actions -- "You're the oldest! You're supposed to set an example for the younger kids!" -- and would get in trouble for THEIR actions.

Part of my adult working life has been online, monitoring kids' chat room and doing tech support for a teens and up game/chat site. Last year I grew increasingly frustrated with this work because I felt there was so much we were missing, so much was being let to slide -- the tools were buggy, the servers would go down while we were at our busiest -- so I felt I couldn't actually DO my job. I would see offenses but couldn't act on them. Daily the moderators would catch adults trying to or outright soliciting children for God only knows what all. Not being able to act on this was more than frustrating -- it was scary and unacceptable for me. I didn't realize that part until yesterday. I resigned that job in November, realizing I couldn't handle 'the pressure', but it wasn't just that -- it was the tie-in, though I didn't recognize it, with my feelings of guilt deriving from my first hideous marriage. Knowing that helps a lot. I am relieved to find that common thread, because it makes it easier for me to absolve myself of unfounded guilt.

The bottom line is that the crazy, sick bastard is IN JAIL, where he cannot harm another child. I will pray that he stays there for good this time. I also give thanks to whoever for the relief I feel. I've been praying for peace, for release, and I've received it. I am so grateful for that -- it's beyond my vocabulary to express just how grateful. My life is beginning to take a new direction, to a place of healing and of self-acceptance. I believe I've come to the crossroads, met the devil, and am now moving on without having sold my soul, or even rented it! Let's hear it for the gift of peace which passes all understanding! :)

Peace, and I really mean it...

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