I am adding this additional chapter to my introduction, because after I initially wrote the introduction, it was very difficult to come back to it and try to make sense of all that I have experienced through the various stages of my life and the trials that I have endured or overcome.
I wish that I could say that I have completely pulled myself through this period of not knowing who I am, however in contrast, the struggle to regain solid ground has been all uphill and the burden of feeling lost in my world became magnified, more confused, and a period of testing that I am not even sure how I survived this time, except by the grace of God and the support of my daughters and friends. I am confident, however, that these trials that I have been going through are going to work out for the good, eventually.
I should probably give a brief overview of what has been going on this past year. To begin with, when my husband came home from Afghanistan, he was changed, I was changed, we were no longer on the same team or even the same mind set. When he left, he was my best friend; when he came home, life was a roller coaster going full speed with no brakes! We have not yet been able to find what we had before he left, and the loss I feel is tremendous.
In addition to my husband returning as a stranger, my twins were each suffering in completely different ways, one with an eating disorder with image distortion and her sister with depression and disconnection to our whole immediate family. When they began to suffer with problems beyond my ability to help them with, I suddenly felt as if I was a failure as a mother. Although my girls today tell me I've been a great mother and should not feel guilty for what they have been going through, I still bear the burden of a helpless mother who so desperately wants to help her babies but cannot. A terrible depression consumed me and is still weighing heavy over me. Depression is the most crippling disease a person can develop. It consumes the very spirit in a person and takes over, relentlessly destroying its captive in ways I can't even begin to understand or describe.
Because my depression overwhelmed my life, I could not help my Natalie and Ashlie to overcome their problems and both had to leave our home environment to seek help from others who were better equipped than I. Natalie ended up moving to live with my brother, TJ, for a fresh start, and hopefully healing for the eating disorder, and Ashlie ended up moving to our Pastor's home to stay with his family while I began dealing with a physical illness that was brought on by the depression and stress in my life.
My oldest daughter, Nadia has stayed home with me, and truly she has been my strength through many days when I only wanted to give up. This time has given us a new, stronger...precious bond in which we share, and together we are facing some of the most difficult challenges, and I thank God every day for blessing me with such an amazing daughter. Actually...all three of my girls are amazing, and I am so blessed to have them in my life. Jokingly, I say "I don't know what I ever did right to deserve to be blessed so greatly with such precious girls," but truly, and with all seriousness, they are a gift to my life, and I can't thank God enough for them.