Wednesday, November 3, 2010

WTF, god?

I'm pretty empty of inspiration these days, and what I can get out of me doesn't end up all that cohesive. So I thought I'd take an oldie but a goodie from my livejournal account.

From August 10, 2009

I prided myself in my intuition, if you would call it that. Fellow LDS would consider it the spirit of discernment. I was a Mormon psychic, in a way. But I loved how I just knew things. I knew I'd be married before I could even put in my papers for a mission--and I knew I would marry Eric specifically before I even met him. I can't explain it. Not even now.

But this--this came only five months after Jason was born. Our little red Kia sped along Highway 680 to Oakland to participate in the temple endowment session; Eric was at the wheel, my eyes were fixed on the rolling landscape around us. The car was quiet.

Then, it seemed, the world around me slowed and cleared, and I knew I was supposed to have another baby. Soon.

Abbie was eight months old when we decided to have Jason. The pregnancy with Jason proved more difficult, probably by virtue of having a toddler around, still in diapers. Not to mention the severe case of baby blues I suffered with after he was born--we had just returned home from a hospital in Sacramento where Abbie underwent surgery and dealt with some complications. And my family was not as excited about Jason's arrival, so nobody was at the hospital. Jason came early, too, just by a week but enough to make it impossible. Eric had to work nights during that week, not to mention a full load at school. I was alone with a new baby. When Abbie was born, she was taken away at twelve hours old to a new hospital, and so I had no idea what to do with a newborn baby boy. The nurses certainly weren't of any help.

It became increasingly difficult to find a reason to get out of bed.

So with my revelation--almost as strong, if not stronger than the one I had regarding Eric--came astonishment. Add to the mix a very personal but very universe shattering experience I will not discuss here, and I just wanted to be done for a while. To be normal. To be a parent to the two kids I had--two kids I'm almost comfortable enough to say came from expectation and probably a dash of immaturity rather than so-called "revelation." This time I didn't want to be pregnant again. I didn't want to go through the bullshit.

But Eric said he had the same impression. Without my pressing for it.

We were taught to never question God's will, that the faithful follow without hesitation. I was a martyr, after all. It lent an air of strength, of resiliency. I had always taken a certain pride in doing impossible things, and this was in so many ways an impossible request. I figured the impression was so strong as to overshadow my doubt. This was a must.

Still, it brought me to tears and a few screaming sessions. I tried to rationalize something else. Maybe we could wait. God wouldn't want this for me. Not now. Besides, we couldn't afford it. Eric didn't have a job that would support three kids. His employer had just made it crystal clear his chances for promotion were slim to not-a-chance-in-hell. We had one car and lived in a small apartment. We struggled to get laundry done--so if we were to have another baby, we'd have to move. Again. Into a more expensive place.

But I sucked it up. This was my time, nobody else's, to pull up my pants, strap up my boots, and just do what God asked me to. After all, he'd asked more impossible things of others. This was a test of my faith.

Joseph arrived nine months later at 11:30am on the dot, December 26, 2005.

This was quite literally one of the hardest things I've ever had to even initiate on a few levels. But things worked out. A head clerk position opened up at the store for twice a week and Eric grabbed it right up. Then we took out a student loan to supplement our savings to buy a mini van. And we moved only three months after Joseph's arrival into another two bedroom apartment (couldn't afford a three) with a washer and dryer.

The following June, I found myself getting three hours of sleep a night and writhing under the pain of daily migraines. I had little to no help since Eric was gone all the time, either sleeping, at school, or studying. I had to deal with this alone, and the kids suffered because of it. I was worrying about when we would be able to get into a bigger place, trying to control things I had absolutely no control over. But I couldn't stop. I had to know if we could move in a year, if he would get a job, I wanted a house, etc, etc. This went on for months, but it wasn't until late July, desperate, I decided to see a doctor. I wanted to know if she'd give me some muscle relaxers. I'd been to see her six months prior for sinus headaches, but the sinus headaches always blossomed into migraines. And I wasn't sleeping. It wasn't fair to the kids, not at all.

Instead, and after listening to my stories, she determined I had Generalized Anxiety Disorder and put me on Cymbalta.

It was like a revelation. I was outgoing, chatty, and not afraid anymore. I didn't feel compelled to control everything anymore. I had more patience with the kids, with Eric, and with myself. And although the manic-like honeymoon period lasted only a week or so, I still felt great. In time, however, I discovered I suffered a side effect I didn't want to live with (I drenched myself in sweat just by unloading the dishwasher--no exaggeration). So I went back to my doctor. She placed me on Wellbutrin which only made things worse.

I went through at least four different pills. After the Wellbutrin I discovered the pills would only work for a little while. I kept going back.

"This isn't working."

"Okay, let's try this," my doctor would say.

Finally, and only about four months ago, I threw my arms in the air. Nothing was working. In a bout of desperation I went to a counselor who suggested I was to my ears in depression.

I went to my doctor, who has known me for some years now, with that knowledge and she wondered aloud if I could be bipolar. I dismissed her with a wave--no, I said. i've never experienced a manic episode.

Of course, to my knowledge, bipolar was the extreme. People who jumped off cliffs and did stupid scary shit all the time. But on my drive home from that appointment, things came to my mind: times I had needed little to no sleep, times I hurt myself on purpose to make the anger and hurt go away, racing thoughts and words, compulsions, obsessions--unbearable forgetfulness. Times I felt I could do anything only for it to go away the next week. Times I woke up early and spring-cleaned the entire house before 7:30 in the morning. Times of uncharacteristic and sudden aggression. Times I often forget about so I write them down. I have to remember.

So I went home and I researched it out and discovered the different kinds of bipolar. In tears, I called a friend of mine whom I've known for a while now who suffers from the mental disorder.

"I've wondered about you for a while," she said. "I just didn't want to say anything."

Eric said the same thing.

I called my doctor. "What's that you said about bipolar?"

"Let's just try something, okay?" she said.

And while I'm not 100%, I'm better.

But still: All this fun stuff after the supposed revelation from god. It was bad enough before, but manageable. I could've worked with that. It became scary only after I toyed with my individual limit, only after I deigned to follow what I believed was god's will.

I don't want anymore of his revelations if this is what it means. It's affected my family negatively. It brought me from being an overanxious but patient mother of one to a bipolar mother of three.

And though I wouldn't consider this an active part of my disaffection, it's yet another thing for me to be angry about. What is the point of hearing from God if it brings me to this low?

Why would I want to hear any more?


  1. Glad you shared this. It's amazing what it takes sometimes for us to come to our senses -- so much so that many never do. Congratulations on your realization.

  2. So many good reasons to be angry with God ... until we realize "God" isn't the one who is really culpable.

    Lisa -- have you perused over at and talked to Shannon, JackMormon's Wife? She's awesome. Your experience made me remember her nightmares that began when she followed "God's prompting" and adopted a little Russian girl. Turned out the little girl had been the victim of unspeakable abuse and had some serious issues as a result. Heart-wrenching doesn't begin to describe it.

    I'm so glad you found your way out of that cycle. Thanks for sharing your story.

  3. Oh, I have many memories of following "revelations" only to end up waist-deep in shit. You are a tough lady to get through this.