Shadows Of The Mind

                                              Sneak Peek

      And Sew It Begins..

    1991 

Christmas was only a couple of weeks away. I was very depressed and feeling the effects physically.  I had turned the small room in the basement into my sewing room and I dreamt of the day that I would be able to have my own dressmaking business, creating custom clothing. Sewing and crafts had always helped me keep my sanity. I found sewing relaxing and it helped relieve my stress.  But as the events of my life came and went, that tiny room without a window became so much more to me than just my sewing room.  It became sacred - a place of my own.  There I could breathe, allow myself just to be and temporarily escape my reality. 

In that tiny room without a window, I spent hours sorting through the broken pieces of my life.  With painstaking care I mended old rips, stitched up the tears and slowly sewed up the holes that had been left in my soul. 

One day as I sat alone in my sewing room I was trying to understand why I always ended up with losers and why it was so hard to find a good man to share my life with. What was it about me that even my Daddy couldn't love me?  What was I doing wrong that men treated me so badly?  I started feeling like it was my fault that I couldn't have a healthy relationship and at times thought about just giving up.  But where would that leave my three kids? 

I had started to keep a journal in the hopes that by putting my feelings into writing I would be able to understand where I went wrong.  All I wanted was a man to love that loved me back and treated me with the respect that I gave to him.  I was thirty-three years old, feeling alone, hurt and very angry. All I wanted was a happy family and a comfortable home, which I thought was a reasonable expectation for someone who put everyone else’s happiness above her own. It was time for me to re-examine my life and find some peace of mind if I was ever to be happy, something I didn't see any time in my future.  I tried to have faith in God, asking for help to find a reason to go on.

I was having horrifying nightmares as well as serious pains in my stomach and groin and there were days that I could hardly move.  After about a month I decided that I should go to a doctor. I didn’t have much faith in doctors and thought most of them were quacks after what had happened to Mom, drugging her instead of finding out that she had a kidney stone.  I had no alternative right now.  There was definitely something wrong with my body and I couldn't function normally. When I looked back over the last few years I wasn't really surprised, so I decided to get help. As I wrote in my journal it stirred up a lot of unhappy feelings and at times I was afraid to continue writing. When the pain in my groin became unbearable I finally went to my doctor and his diagnosis was Irritable Bowel Syndrome, which he said was caused by stress. His solution was some little white pills that would settle my bowel temporarily, but I would have to reduce the stress in my life. That sounded like a great idea, but how to achieve it? I told him I thought I should see a psychiatrist and he said he would set up an appointment for me.

Right after New Year's, only five days into 1992 my kids all came down with chicken pox. They spent the next two weeks home from school, scratching and complaining. Susan had it the worst and was pretty calm, but the other two were "full of beans" as Grandma used to say. Trying to keep the three of them from scratching off their scabs was a full time job and I thought I would go crazy.

I was still waiting to hear from my doctor about setting up an appointment with a psychiatrist, as I needed professional help to deal with all the stress. Gary, my Children’s Aid child management worker, had told me that my youngest child Jen had a need to make everyone around her anxious in order for her to feel comfortable and she was doing a great job of that. I was climbing the walls.

Jeff worked as a driver/salesman for Weston Bakeries, so he usually got home from work at around 10 a.m. every day.  I would make sure I was busy with some project when he arrived as an excuse to stay down in my sewing room until the kids came home from school. He would usually call me upstairs to smoke a joint with him shortly after he got home, then I would go back downstairs and spend the rest of the day alone, while he sat upstairs watching TV.

That day after we had smoked a joint I went back down to my sewing room and decided to do some writing instead of sewing. I loved to write and according to my English teachers, I appeared to be quite good at it. I believed that was because when I wrote it came from the heart, rather than from the head. I sat there alone in that room and wrote a poem that came straight from my heart, tears streaming down my cheeks. My tears were for the writer, in extraordinary pain, unable to function anymore day to day. I felt the hopelessness of a lost soul as I wrote on through my tears …