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Single Mother, Recovering Addict with Severe Mental Illness, & Autoimmune Disease, "Hashimoto's"

I have a mental health diagnosis that actually made a psychologist's jaw drop... And then 2 minutes into my intake, she was in tears! LOL

Is it difficult to raise 3 kids alone? Of course! Would I trade it for the world? Hell no!

I didn't plan on being a single mother at all... in fact, I was engaged to marry my oldest son's father, but I refused to be his punching bag- and at times he got violent when he drank. I told him once the baby was born, if he layed a hand on me, I would leave and this time never look back.... Apparently he didn't believe me.

So, fast forward 17 years, I now have 3 boys- Gavin's 17, Elias is 8 and Daxton will be 2 in September. I never knew what true love was until I became a mother... I thought I did, but the real deal is the moment your baby looks up at you for the first time... That strong bond is the reason I'm still alive... it's the reason I get up every morning and keep on going.

I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, Anxiety and Panic disorder, ADD, PTSD and Major Depressive Disorder in about 2007 when I started going to therapy after I was brutally raped. I thought that the diagnosis was wrong because of the drugs and alcohol I had been using... My addiction started getting very serious after that sorry excuse for a man raped me in my own home, with my son sleeping in the next room.

I didn't realize how bad it had actually traumatized me until years later in rehab when they made me do a timeline of events... Well surprise, surprise.... I became dependent on opiates later on that year, and started using alcohol and meth quite often. It has been one hell of a journey, but with a lot of hard work, I am proud to say, have been clean for two years now!

A lot of folks tend to judge people (especially mothers) for becoming drug addicts. They say things like, "why doesn't she just quit?" or "She doesn't deserve to have her kids."

Addiction is a very powerful, sneaky, tricky, manipulative, and complicated disease. In my case, my mental illness played a huge roll on my addictions. The depression made me weak...unable to function... desperate to feel better.... Percocet, Vicodin, Booze, some meth... Whatever was available or easily acquired was what I was doing.

The anxiety attacks were so severe that my mind raced and I couldn't breathe.. But I discovered at a young age that alcohol was a quick cure for those awful anxiety attacks. Meth got me out of my funks and out of bed... But then again, so did pain pills... Gave me motivation to get my housework done, and a smile on my face, dinner cooking when the kids got home from school.

I used each substance as medication for my mental illness. But when I switched from pain pills to heroin, I was terrified....I would leave my kids with my parents for hours.. Sometimes an entire day and into the next morning... Chasing heroin. It was pure hell.... If I didn't have heroin, I was so sick I couldn't even fathom the thought of functioning... I needed something huge to happen... I needed someone to save me.

I became pregnant with my little angel, Daxton in 2016, right when I thought I was going to die or go to prison. God must have decided it was a good time to bless me with another amazing, perfect child, which told me, "you gotta get out of this heroin hell NOW!!!" So, I got into the Methadone program and they saved me and my kid's lives. I'm still in the program now, and I absolutely love it.

A lot of people think Methadone is "synthetic heroin" and that it's "trading one drug for another", but that is very false. Methadone doesn't get you high.. It doesn't give you any euforic feelings whatsoever, after you have taken the same dose, every day at the same time. It's a preventative method for most because it is an opioid blocker.. If you took any opiates you wouldn't feel them at all becauze the Methadone blocks it from entering the receptors in the brain.

So here I am, living with my parents, raising my 3 amazing boys, going to therapy and acupuncture regularly, AA and NA meetings and groups at my clinic, watching out for triggers and surrounding myself with clean and sober people who are supportive of my recovery.

We will be in our own place again soon, but I am a little nervous about that because I will be out there doing this literally alone again, and this time I'm terribly sick with Hashimotos Disease....(Ill write about that in another article). Here I have my dad who watches the baby for me for appointments, he sometimes will keep an eye on the kids when I'm really exhauated and sick, and I just feel like we are safe here.... (I'll also write in one of my other articles about the time my dad had to pull his shotgun out when my psychotic ex wouldn't leave.) Our last experience out in the world was pretty scary... But Ill talk about that in my next article.

Gavin, Elias and Daxton are my world!!!

My Boys & Me

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Ever love someone so much it hurts? I love my boys that much and then some....

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They make me want to strive to be a better person...

Daxton
Gavin and Eli
Gavin and his kitten Paul
Gavin Eli and me
My sons Elias and Gavin
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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

Comments

Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on December 21, 2019:

Nice and powerful sketch. Thanks.

Sheila A Myers (author) from Elmira on October 03, 2019:

Hi Charlie, Thank you so much! Alcohol was one of my drugs of choice as well .. Boy did I do a lot of stupid shit. Lol

No, I haven't heard of smart recovery... I'll google it for sure!!!

Charlie Halliday from Scotland on September 28, 2019:

Hi Sheila.

I have just read through all your articles and saved commenting until I had read this last one.

I have travelled a similar road although alcohol was my drug of choice.

I can feel all your pain ( your poem on empathy) and the love of your boys, in your moving and inspirational work.

As a side note have you heard of Smart Recovery? I found this recovery programme was what I had been looking for, after many failed attempt to beat my addiction using 12 step programmes.

Suzie from Carson City on September 06, 2019:

Sheila......I am moved beyond words by your story. I believe you are a light of inspiration to so many who find themselves in these or similar situations.

I stand in total agreement with you, Sheila, that the "Love of a mother can (and DOES) conquer anything!" This has been well-proven in my own life. I also raised sons....4 of them...my greatest and most prized accomplishment. Far from "boys" now, they are all husbands, Dads and successful in life. Grandchildren from age 29 down to 6, with the additional blessing of 2 great grandchildren. Wow! Where does the time go?

I am so proud of you. Your sons are simply beautiful & so precious. Sounds as though your parents are amazing......how grateful you must be for them.

I sincerely wish you continued health, happiness and goodness. Looking forward to reading more of your fascinating work. Peace, Paula

Paul Richard Kuehn from Udorn City, Thailand on September 05, 2019:

Thank you very much for sharing your experience, Sheila. You have overcome a lot in your life and I wish you the best in staying drug-free. You have three very good sons and I know they love you as much as you love them. With a positive attitude and praying to God, I know you will make it in your life.

Sheila A Myers (author) from Elmira on September 05, 2019:

Thank you so much Kenneth!!!

Kenneth Avery from Hamilton, Alabama on September 05, 2019:

Nice work, Sheila! You certainly have a beautiful family. Keep up the good work.

Sheila A Myers (author) from Elmira on September 04, 2019:

Thank you ladies!!! You are all so very sweet!!!

Kathy Henderson from Pa on September 03, 2019:

Sheila,

Wow, you are super real and honest. I know you are going to raise those boys the same way and with lots of love.

Many things seek to beat us down, you are choosing to stand up in spite of them all.

Many will be encouraged by your story. Hang in there sweet Mama, you are on your way to your future.

Blessings to you!

Audrey Hunt from Idyllwild Ca. on July 25, 2019:

You are an inspiration and example of everything it takes to overcome obstacles, pain and suffering. Your story is a reflection of the amazing person you truly are.

I, too, have Hashimotos disease which is currently being treated with thyroid medicine. I look forward to your article about this disease.

Thank you for following me. This is how I came to read this article.

My best to you.

Audrey

Melissa Grace on July 22, 2019:

I absolutely love you Shelia!!! This is amazing that I'm here on FB reading your story and actually know you in real life!! You are awesome woman and can't wait to see you again so you can tell me all about this article.

Sheila A Myers (author) from Elmira on July 22, 2019:

Thank you very much, Lorna!!! Your kind words mean a lot to me and I appreciate your comment very much! All I did was write the truth about my experiences... And trust me, that's just the tip of the iceburg.... Lol... "What a Long Strange Trip it's Been"!

Lorna Lamon on July 22, 2019:

You have been through so much Sheila and it is a fitting testament to your strong spirit and courage that you have survived. I am so glad you have a supportive family around you, and your children give you so much joy. Your article shines a light on how devastating mental illness and addiction can be - you are an inspiration and thank you for sharing your story.