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Miracles Do Come True - I am Living Proof! My ATS Christmas Story

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posted on Dec, 23 2014 @ 09:06 PM
One year ago tonight, minus three hours, I was sitting in a cafeteria eating Christmas dinner. Honey baked ham, some instant mashed potatoes and baked beans. There was cake for dessert. All in all there were about forty of us in that room, staff included.

You see, I was residing in a group home.

How I got there is a story unto itself but the short version is that I had spent several years fighting Social Security for disability benefits. Anyone who has ever dealt with this can attest that, short of a life and death illness, the process is very slow and meant to confuse the applicant into making mistakes - forcing one to return to step-one over and over again. During that fight a relative developed a drug issue and I offered to take him in, as family is family and I thought I could scare him straight.

Instead his presence simply helped pull me down into bankruptcy far faster than it would have taken me alone.

My family, whom I love to death, are very much in the Ayn Rand crowd. Social Darwinists. So, when I fell and hit bottom, what I got was a lot of pep talks about boot straps and the promise that they would never embarrass me by enabling me. For those who don't know this type of logic - the rough translation is "You need help? Oh Hell no! That's MY money and I earned it!"

No money, no home, no anything, I broke down and ended up in a "mental health crisis center" for eight days. That is where my miracle began.

For years I had been seeking help with depression and anxiety and simply not finding it. I have reactions to most antidepressants and doctors seem trained ( or paid ) to want to prescribe the same ones over and over again. Thus my life had become a cycle. I would go to a doctor, be prescribed medication that made me dealthly ill ( I was hospitalized twice from just one popular antidepressant and my allergic reaction to it - a reaction most doctors swear is impossible ), argue with said doctor, quit said doctor and begin looking for a new one.

In my world this was me trying to find help. On paper it became known as "Doctor shopping / drug seeking". This little addendum to my medical records ( now removed ) crippled my ability to find help much, much more deeply. Doctors no longer patronized me, they simply refused to talk to me.

The doctor in the mental health crisis center, however, ignored the bulk of the garbage, and actually treated me like a person, quickly finding meds that worked.

That week flew by - weeks spent in donated sweat clothing and non-stop group therapy probably usually do.

As the week ended I became acutely aware of a very difficult fact. I had nowhere to go. I brought this up to my case worker and she pulled a few strings and got me a bed in a group facility. I don't know how to describe the place, as it was not a homeless shelter, nor a halfway house, nor a rehab, nor a nursing home... but a bit of each of the above and then more. It was not a charity either ( though they say they are - they actually charge a pretty steep rent of $1,200 a month - paid, after the fact, by my Social Security lump sum.)

But it was a home. And there I sat a year ago. Eating some pretty bad food ( that I was very thankful for ) and having received a few gifts from Churches that had come through over the previous week. It's funny how many people think that soap is the perfect gift for people in facilities. We got soap whenever we needed it - yet I walked away from Christmas with about twenty bars and about ten different deodorants.

Fast forward a year...

I am typing this from my own home. A home I share with a sibling and pay half of the bills for ( In truth I pay more than half - but don't bring it up because greed isn't worth it and the rate is fair enough to me ). Where I used to share a middle sized bedroom with three other men, I now have a finished basement that is far larger than I will ever manage to utilize. I could build a full gym in here, toss in a pool table, and still have enough room for it to feel empty.

it's a nice feeling. Privacy and space.

My family, as self-absorbed as they used to be, finally evolved a bit during my year away and began to understand that illness is illness and not something to shame or punish. A HUGE leap for them. Where they once saw me as weak, they now comment upon how strong I am to have carried my burdens as far as I did - and continue to do.

My children, formerly estranged from me - with me too self-conscious and ashamed to approach them, are both now a part of my life. It is still a work in progress and things are slow - but there is progress and it's the most beautiful and wonderful thing life has ever given me. I can't blame them for being slow to accept an absentee dad at face value. It's up to me to rebuild bridges and explain the reasons why.

The point is that a year ago tonight I had a place to be, but not a home - and I could not, for the life of me, see any light at the end of the tunnel. I was alive - and that was about it.

Today? Today I am in that light I could not see. It's not all rainbows and unicorns by any means. Life is hard work. Being happy takes effort. Being positive takes even more. But I am doing all of it. I am living and not just surviving. I am filled with the joy of life again. I am grateful for so many things...

This is relevant because most of you fall into that category. This place, you people. You are all part of the blessing. You are all part of my light.

Happy Holidays ATS - from a not-so secret admirer.

posted on Dec, 23 2014 @ 09:16 PM
Well done Heff.

You have guts. Sometimes that tiny little bit of help from someone is all it takes to reignite who we are.

I salute you sir.

Many happy returns for the season.


posted on Dec, 23 2014 @ 10:00 PM
Heff, You are my hero..
I love all your posts. I had no idea you were struggling so.. Those borrowed garments and not too tasty meals sure are welcome, but it's nice not to have to need them. Very best Christmas wishes to you and your re- found family!
Wishing you all the best for the new year too

posted on Dec, 23 2014 @ 10:09 PM
What a beautiful post! You are truly an inspiration! I'm so glad you got through that horrible time & things are looking up!

God bless you!
Merry Christmas!!!!

posted on Dec, 23 2014 @ 10:09 PM
a reply to: Hefficide

Adversity introduces a Man to Himself! - Albert Einstein

Happy Holidays Pal...

posted on Dec, 23 2014 @ 10:11 PM
Fantastic Thread, I got a bit weepy reading it but I am a softy anyways.
Your a brave person to post what you have regarding your battles and I and the wife have nothing but respect and awe regarding your personal life.

Merry Christmas Heff !

Regards, Iwinder & YogaGinns

posted on Dec, 23 2014 @ 10:14 PM
You pump me up Heff!

Happy Holidays.


posted on Dec, 23 2014 @ 10:16 PM
Thanks for sharing your ordeal. That alone will help more people than you can imagine...really.

You're an inspiration - the light at the end of the tunnel is not always an oncoming train. Glad you're in such a good place.

posted on Dec, 23 2014 @ 10:31 PM
You know, I feel bad now that I've realized I didn't cover it. But during the rough patch several really good people ( some from ATS actually ) were angels to me and kept me going when I didn't think I could find reason to do so. They sent gifts and kept my spirits up endlessly.

For the first month or two I was gone, nobody in my family knew where I was - so unbeknownst to me, I was a missing person - legally. I'm told that at one point one couldn't go anywhere near Atlanta without seeing a flyer with my face on it. THAT was the work of a single ATS member who took his own time to hang all of those flyers.

Things I will always be grateful for - even though I wasn't missing... I knew exactly where I was.

posted on Dec, 23 2014 @ 10:35 PM
I've read your posts about your struggles, and it feels good to read one about things doing so well for you. I am glad to hear you are doing so well and that everything is looking up.

Happy Holidays To You and Yours!

posted on Dec, 23 2014 @ 10:38 PM
a reply to: Hefficide

You've written so many threads.. I've read so many of your thoughts. I kind of always saw you as your avatar..

Your thoughts are always way better portrayed than I can think. You articulate so well I could never imagine you weren't living the good life.

You must be talking about depression medication?

Merry Christmas Heff.

I've lost everything I thought I could lose this year, and yet I am a happier person somehow.. It doesn't make any logical sense. I was with someone (the love of my life) for 5 years, and now it's gone. I lost my work and my home..

I don't have kids. But I miss my cat. He never knew cats, he only knew humans as he had no parents. He was rescued when he was 2 or 3 days old on the road. I can't be there for him, and he misses me. I feel bad about it. He won't play anymore, unless I come over, but my ex doesn't really want to see me. I know he's a cat but it feels like I'm not a good dad.. I was always there for him, and now I can't be.

He misses me..

The last time I saw him I told him I would be back soon. He knows what that means..
But I never came back.

I'll see him again sometime.. I think.

I grew up with parents who split up. It was hard. But I Love both of my parents. I will always. I will always Love my dad even though he wrecked everything. There isn't anything I could think of that would stop that.

If you Love your Kids and they Love you back.. I think you are in an OK spot.

posted on Dec, 23 2014 @ 10:43 PM
a reply to: KnightLight

Depression and anxiety medication. I have a number of diagnoses. I am Bipolar Type 1, PTSD, OCPD, Aspie, Major Depressive Disorder, General Anxiety Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, Agoraphobic ( working on this one and it's getting better ).

I feel like I am missing one.... but you get the point.

And the funny part is: I am the sanest person I know. LOL

posted on Dec, 23 2014 @ 11:01 PM
a reply to: Hefficide

You are very Sane. and one of my favorite online people to read..

I think agoraphobia comes from the rest..

I know for me personally I have issues with relating to people. Talking, small talk.. kind of thing. So in general I wouldn't want to run into people.. so I don't like going outside so much. One of the main reasons is that I can't relate to people who think the news is the news and the weather is the weather..

I need something more personal to offer up my own personality. So in talking to you online I see REAL. And so I offer up my own experience and thoughts..
edit on 23-12-2014 by KnightLight because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 23 2014 @ 11:01 PM
a reply to: Hefficide

A year ago today, I was waiting or had had open heart surgery. I had the right coronary artery replaced and an aortic valve replaced. The valve was the main problem. It is all kind of foggy. I remember being admitted, Dec.9th, and being discharged Jan 19th, the in between is mostly nightmare, with blueberries. lol I ate tons of blueberries, they tasted like heaven to me, and they were offered on the menu daily. Yummy.

I respiratory arrested when I first got in the hospital, I don't recommend it. After surgery I went to rehab at a long term care facility, as I live alone and I was scared to go it alone, so fresh from having my chest opened up. It was not very fun living there for 21 days. I hear you about privacy Heff, and quiet. I love me some quiet. lol

As if that was not enough, I just had a biopsy of a lump in my neck to check for Hodgkin s disease, which I had when I was younger. The biopsy was negative, wooo hooo.

So this year I am GOOD. Grateful to be alive and feeling well. I am a miracle too. Have no idea why I am still here, or what the future holds, but hey, I'm game.

Heff I am so glad you are back. Your compassion and caring, way of presenting information and sharing is like no one else. I always enjoy reading your threads, and I am always glad you are here.

Merry Christmas everyone, have a great time with family and friends, or being on here with us loners.

edit on 23-12-2014 by Iamschist because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 23 2014 @ 11:07 PM
a reply to: Iamschist

I had open heart at 18 and can totally relate to the whole foggy thing. I have patchy memories of the hospital - like I remember throwing a large container of yogurt out of a 15th story window because one of my visiting friends dared me to and I had no clue what I was doing.

( no friends were allowed to visit after that )

But I get it. I have a rough time explaining to people that I was in the ICU but had no clue that being in the ICU was abnormal at all. It just seemed like any other day to me. Of course the morphine pump probably assisted in that feeling. LOL

posted on Dec, 23 2014 @ 11:24 PM
I also love your posts and know where you're coming from after many years of fighting with depression and the Ayn Rand family syndrome. A few days ago I was in a little town that was the centre of my downward spiral and though the memories were torture, I felt truly honored to have survived and healed and cultivated a new life.

Its a good feeling and it's hard work to get there... you should be proud of yourself.

posted on Dec, 23 2014 @ 11:45 PM
I'm glad to see that things are going so much better for you. I hope you never have a setback again.

If you have to go to a doctor locally, watch out for them trying to give you similar meds to what you are intolerant to. Many try to add mood stabilizing drugs to your regiment using them to treat other problems.

posted on Dec, 23 2014 @ 11:49 PM
a reply to: rickymouse

Actually I got lucky and the doctors where I was sent to found one that I can tolerate ( Celexa ). I take a very low dose ( 20mg once a day ) but it gives me just enough of an edge to stay on top of everything. And that's all I ever really wanted - not to be numb or to feel perfect, just to have a slight edge... a little help.

posted on Dec, 23 2014 @ 11:57 PM
a reply to: Hefficide

Sometimes our bodies lack enzymes to clear medicines and they start to either sicken us or drive us a little looney. I had bad experiences with some of these drugs to treat my Temporal Lobe Epilepsy. The meds I was given were all some sort of antipsychotic meds that suppressed some enzymes. I was not nuts, I had epilepsy, but they chose to dope me up so bad that I had all sorts of health problems. I have a fairly rare genetic problem that they failed to recognize, even though the symptoms were evident. I even got some genetic testing done that pretty well proves I have AIP.

edit on 24-12-2014 by rickymouse because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 23 2014 @ 11:59 PM
a reply to: rickymouse

My nephew has seizures and they treated it with Dopamine and then a slew of atypical antipsychotics - so I totally relate to what you've been through and have seen it first hand. One of the drugs they prescribed him caused him to become hyper violent. We dropped him off at church and about five minutes later got a call, he'd punched the Pastor.

Took the neurologist a solid month to put two and two together on that.

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