Turning In A Different Direction – Dungeon Prompts

As a child, I was abused physically, sexually, and mentally, and this shaped my life for many years to come. I started off in the wrong direction as a young child, causing trouble, and allowing others to abuse me, as that is the only way I knew how to behave.

It took many years of more abuse, drowning myself with alcoholism, and sinking into the abyss of mental illness. I was hospitalized, jailed, and put myself into relationships where the abuse continued. When I wasn’t in a relationship, except for the last, I subconsciously sought out people who would sexually abuse me. The relationships I had, were all abusive in one way or another, except for the last one.

After years of living alone, and staying by myself, I was diagnosed with a disease that was incurable, that would gradually debilitate me throughout the rest of my life. This changed my whole perception of what I was doing and where I was going.

I no longer put myself into the hands of others, but into the hands of the Lord. I stopped abusing myself, and letting others abuse me. I wanted to obtain goodness and a different direction in which I wanted to walk, and eventually roll, in a wheelchair. I thought that everything was about this disease, Multiple Sclerosis, and where it would take me, and decided that there had to be more to life than just sitting in a chair.

cropped-035.jpgI started going to a biker church, which is quite different from the church your grandma went to, to quote my pastor. The majority of people who were going to this church at that time were, of course, were motorcycle riders. And they did not act like what most people would think. They lead decent lives, try to raise good families, and try to be quite faithful to God and to the Bible. They also ride motorcycles, and even I got a chance to ride along with someone on three separate occasions, during a church retreat for bikers and anyone else who wanted to come along.

My behavior at home changed. I started to treat others with respect and kindness, and was shown the same in return. I started learning about God, and the Bible. I started to live my life, as best I could, according to the Bible. I no longer look at the disease I have as ‘my MS’, but just plain MS. And I want more out of my life than being a recliner potato. I learned how to play the guitar, which I seem to have an affinity for, to play the piano, and a host of computer abilities, where I took courses in programming, and in accounting.

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I was also introduced during that ensuing year, to wheelchair sports, adaptive sports that were designed for veterans from all over the country, and Puerto Rico and Great Britain, that use wheelchairs to participate in adaptive sports. I started going to the National Veterans Wheelchair Games every year, each year in a different city, all around the country, including Denver, Dallas, and Tampa, to name a few.

I had found my niche. I started to spend more time out of that recliner, and started seeking out different venues for adaptive sports, and become involved with the Valor Games, which are held in the Southeast, which is in North Carolina somewhere, Chicago, which is the Midwest, the Southwest, which is held in San Antonio, and the Farwest, held in San Diego.

I am also discovering other events held for veterans, all around the country. There are the Golden Age Games, for 55+, the Endeavor Games, and the Wounded Warriors games, which are held in Quantico, I believe.

Run Off TrackStarting this past year, I have tried playing different events, pushing myself to become active in different sports, such as Track and Field, Hand cycling, Kayaking, and even wheelchair basketball.

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To this date, I have won medals in almost every sport I have participated in, including two silver medals in Kayaking, a silver medal in basketball, a bronze in hand cycling, and numerous gold medals in everything from 9-Ball and Table Tennis, 100-meter track, and both the motorized Slalom, and the manual slalom, which are obstacle courses, with the difficulty varying, to accommodate different levels of ability, to name a few.

I have started living a whole new life, with sporting activities, doing volunteer work at the VA Hospital Clinic, in the next city, and going to church. I am meeting new people, and making a lot of long-term friends, both locally, and from around the country.

I have found a life where I don’t put myself in abusive environments, except for the physical abuse upon myself playing wheelchair basketball. I have also discovered that I have the ability to write, both prose and poetry, which sort of just IMAG0006started on its own, when I started writing a blog. I found great satisfaction in photography, specifically things that are in patterns, things of beauty, and pictures from cities all around the country.

IMAG0011I have learned that I am not a bad person, that I can live a positive life, that I have a plethora of abilities, and that I can help others obtain what I have obtained, not just sports or writing, but in living in the way of the Lord, by what is written in the Bible.

I turned from a life of self-abuse, and abuse from others, to a life filled with many different types of activities. I am not going to sit here and let myself decline both physically and mentally, but push myself to be a better person, to take part in new activities, and most importantly live as godly a life as I possibly can. My life no longer revolves around ‘my MS’, but in positive activities and adventures, that have become available to me, both as a Navy veteran, and as a good person; I have learned to love my God and myself, and to live a life free from abuse. I am living a life filled with as much as I can find available to me. And I love every minute of it.

Drop Outs

Again, after being told over and over that I wouldn’t be able to do anything, I began proving it to her. By her, I mean my mother, who passed away three years ago last Thursday. She never called me by my name, I won’t call her ‘Mom” either.

I had great aspirations when I graduated from high school. I was going to go to college, in a city which was a couple hours drive from home, as a music major. I would learn to play the clarinet, and the alto and tenor saxophones better, and take all the classes I needed to become a music teacher.

My music teacher, Diane Graf, was a great teacher. Whenever I went to the music room when there wasn’t a lesson going on, she and I would play duets, with her playing the flute along with my clarinet. I don’t know where she found such a book, but I guess that being a teacher, she had resources. We didn’t have Google back in the 70’s.

I went to the college, and started learning more things about music than I ever thought possible. My third semester, I made the dean’s list.

bottlesMy fourth semester, I was skipping classes, or not even going to school at all. I was living in the haze from alcohol, and nothing else mattered. During that fourth semester, all my classes were either incompletes, withdrawals, or drops. I was a college drop out.

I became unable to stay in the city and had to return home. I had to live with the abusers that I had run away from, and that was intolerable. I joined the Navy.

Scan_20141111By the time I got to Great Lakes Naval Station, in Great Lakes, I started to drink some, but was limited by school, PT, and everything else that the Navy throws at you while you are in school.

But Christmas came, I flew home, I drove my car back, and by midnight was sitting in a jail cell, in an orange jumpsuit, for drunk and disorderly, and assaulting a Petty Officer. The alcohol was back. Three months later, I was discharged from the Navy, unsuitability due to alcohol abuse.

I had dropped out again.

My first job after the Navy, was with Illinois Bell, the telephone company.  My job was telephone line repair.  I started training.  When I started training for pole climbing, I learned I had a fear of heights.  I was six feet off the floor, clinging to a telephone pole, and promptly slid to the floor, because when you bring your knees in to hug the pole, the cleats on your boots come out of the pole and down you go.  Since I couldn’t climb poles, I lost the job for telephone line repair.

I had dropped out again.

We Must Go On

Once a week I travel several miles away, at a cost of $10 round-trip, to see a therapist who is working to help me to deal with PTSD, which comes from both childhood sexual abuse, and military sexual trauma. It is turning out to be a very long road.
I actually started this journey about 30 years ago, while my life was constantly under the influence of alcohol, which wreaked havoc with me. Education choices were pushed to the wayside, to make room for the alcohol. Career choices were doomed due to the alcohol and the emergence of mental illness.
Back then I was diagnosed with depression, and was in and out of psych units for many, many years, sometimes for two or three months at a time. I was medicated to the point of over-medicated, experienced ECT, and had four auto accidents in two months time.
Unable to hold down a job, more medication than I thought possible, I was put on disability. It was two years later that I had my last drink, found new housing, and tried to build a new life for myself. I tried working part-time jobs, but due to hospitalizations, was still unable to hold down a job.
It is now, more than ten years later, that I have some sense of normalcy, as long as I continue with therapy once a week. If I have to go longer than that, abandonment issues, and anxiety start to rear their ugly heads.
This blog is serving to open new doors for me, people to meet who understand where I am, whom I understand as well. Almost eight years ago, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Add Borderline Personality Disorder, Schizo-effective disorder, and the PTSD, and my medication list got longer. It is so long, I can’t possibly remember everything I take, and have to carry a list around with me, or attach to medical paperwork that asks for medications being taken.
Today, I’m living my life alone, with no family but two brothers and a host of cousins around, but I have a life that extends past my apartment door, but not through the doors of a psych unit.
Along the way, I also found God, which, in the last six years, has turned my life around. With an understanding of my physical and mental health issues, and God in my life, I’m starting to spread out. I’ve made new friends, have turned others who turned away from me, back in my direction.
I’ve learned to accept the way things are today, to thank God for these days, and to go on, living a life that I never dreamed was possible. I learned not to quit, and no matter what life throws at me, I MUST GO ON!