February 13, 2024
When people ask me what I do, I reply, "I am a writer."
I worked as a healthcare systems analyst for 30 years. In April 2016, I moved to Louisville to take a management job with a major health insurance company. I lasted five months. Subsequently, I failed at four more jobs in quick succession. Quite suddenly, I was unable to work in my field.
Summer of 2017, I had a bipolar breakdown, complete with a psych hospital stay. Neuro-psych testing revealed serious declines in my cognitive function and memory. One psychiatrist posited it might be early onset dementia. That has not turned out to be the case, thankfully.
In May 2019, I moved back to Washington State to care for my now 85-year-old mother. She was hospitalized in serious condition with necrotizing fasciitis and was not expected to pull through. She did. A few months later, she had major heart surgery. She recovered from that as well.
Now, she is rapidly declining from vascular dementia and a host of other health challenges. I did my very best in my role as her caregiver. Then last September, I hit a wall. I could care for her no more. After 4 ½ years, I told my brother I’d be moving by the end of the year. I feared if I stayed any longer, I’d not survive. I was afraid I’d take my own life.
I moved to an apartment in Portland last December. I’ve been here now two months. I’ve no regrets. I’m surprised about that; I was sure I’d have a tremendous amount of guilt leaving my mother. But now, every day something happens that confirms I made the right decision and that I’m doing what is best and right for me. I’m living for me. And I’m living. Finally. I’m truly living.
I have always been a writer, but now, I have the great fortune of being able to write hours each day. I write about my life's experiences: recovering from childhood sexual abuse, living with bipolar, living with genital herpes, and my faith deconstruction journey.
I’m also attending seminary. That is something I would never have imagined I’d do, not in a million years. I do believe in miracles. Although I’m the one manifesting miracles these days. I no longer credit God because only God deserves credit. That doesn’t work for me anymore.
My theology is in total flux. When I began deconstructing my faith, it quite took me by surprise. I certainly didn’t plan to pick apart everything I’d ever learned about God; I never saw that one coming. In the lookback, it was inevitable and absolutely necessary for my very survival.
Over time, the terror of having every belief upended gave way to insight, and with that, came peace and acceptance. It’s become easier and easier to embrace unknowing. I now believe that unknowing is the only thing I can really know for sure. And yet, anytime I think I’m sure of something, in the next moment that belief is challenged and it becomes apparent I’m sure of nothing. My mantra is STAY OPEN.
I’ve done some hard hard work and I’ve come so far. I would never have anticipated the direction my life has taken and the woman I have become. But I like myself, now. I like myself very much. So much of my life I didn't think I'd make it. I lived with Suicide for decades. But I Persevered. I wouldn't go back. I wouldn't change one thing. I keep walking it out, just putting one foot in front of the other.