My Purpose Story
When I sit down to tell my story, I find it difficult; not because it’s terribly traumatic, but because I don’t always understand how it’s relevant to what I do NOW, nor do I find myself interesting enough to share. I’ve come to realize that my story is VERY important to the work I do, and, not only do people find it interesting, often they find inspiration when they hear it.
I grew up in Butte, America (Montana). My parents moved there for a job transfer when my mother was pregnant with me, but she drove back up to Great Falls, Montana to have me because she didn’t want Butte, MT on my birth certificate. I think this says a lot about my mother and her feelings towards the move. I lived a very happy, bright childhood, but I always felt a little different (I think my sister felt the same way, but I can’t speak for her). I was always well liked, although I didn’t have a core group of friends: I was just pretty much friends with everyone. Looking back, I did start to show signs of mental health issues when I moved schools in third grade: missing a lot of school, zoning out, not paying attention, etc. I remember feeling overwhelmed, stupid, and unlikable. I moved through school with grades that reflected my interest level in the subject matter: the higher the grade, the higher the interest level, the lower the grade, etc.
My family moved back to Great Falls when I was 15, and it was definitely a shifting point in my life. I went from decent grades, to retaking classes (the ones I didn’t like). I partied with my friends, stayed out all night sometimes, and snuck on to the Air Force base to party with Airmen five years my senior (or more). This is also the time when I started to realize I had psychic gifts, but I didn’t know that’s what it was at the time (I look back at a poem I had published which was written at this time, and it spoke of one of my primary gifts). I muddled through high school with a smiling mask covering darkness, and ended up at a cross roads. College was pushed at me, but I didn’t want to be in school anymore, so I got a job as a teller, and continued partying my ass off. I started working for the Cascade County Treasurer’s office and excelled at my position whilst staying out at the bars until 2am every morning. I spent a lot of time trying to drown out what was going on inside and forget my existence. This was when I was diagnosed with severe mental illness and the seed to die was planted. I worked at the Treasurer’s office for a couple of years, and I became close to one of my supervisors (we’re still in touch). She was a spitfire, dark haired Norwegian (we have this in common), and she lived a lot of years at the bottom of a liquor bottle. She often told me I was too smart, too talented, too GIFTED to waste my life in booze and mediocrity.
She finally got her way in 2009 when I decided to move to Billings to get my college degree. I choose psychology for the same reason everyone goes into psychology, which is to find out what the hell was wrong with THEM. While in school, I started working with kiddos who are labeled as “Severely Emotionally Disturbed” and carried burdens a child should never have to carry. Upon graduation, I started working with young women who were homeless and either pregnant or parenting a child. I guided them to finding housing, resources, and employment in the community, which was a great experience, but I wanted to work in the mental health field again. I obtained a job working for my previous employer and started working with SED kiddos again. I moved into a management position for an employment program, and I quickly realized I was not cut out for that work. I couldn’t handle the pain I saw in those children at that time. I began working for our family business as a low-voltage contractor and stopped having passion for my work.
During this time, I got married and had a baby. My only reason for opening my eyes in the morning became my child. I began partying again, and my marriage took a toll. I really didn’t care what happened to me. I had convinced myself that I was not deserving of life and that my family and friends, and especially my daughter, would be better off without me. I started making the plan to end my life. The first time, my husband caught on, and a statewide search went under way to find me. I was caught outside of Canyon Ferry, and I was escorted to the hospital in Helena for evaluation. Beings that I have experience in the psychology world, I said what I knew I needed to say to get the fuck out of there, and vowed at that point I was going to be more vigilant the next time. Next time would be THE ONLY other time, and no one was going to tell me I couldn’t kill myself. I made my arrangements, I filed my beneficiaries, and I had professional pictures taken of just me and my daughter: as a mother, I’m always behind the camera. I wanted her to have something to remember me.
The photographer seemed to take FOREVER to get me the pictures back (I think it was only a couple of weeks). When I finally got them back, smug satisfaction filling me with smiles knowing today was going to be the day, I started looking through them. I got to one picture, and I found myself entranced. The smugness faded away, and I started to feel the worst pain I’d ever felt: deep, dark, breath-taking emotional pain. I was then gifted with what I now know to have been a premonition, and I found myself years in the future, staring at the picture from my daughter’s perspective. I realized the pain was coming from her, and I felt the tears flow down her cheeks and the hair stuck to the snot on her lip: she was sobbing and trying to catch her breath. I felt her anger at me for the million robbed memories, I felt her gut-wrenching sadness at never knowing the woman in the picture. I felt her self-loathing, and what ultimately broke me, I heard her wonder if SHE was an easier child, if SHE was more special, maybe her mother wouldn’t have left her.
I closed my eyes as my world shattered around me, and my new mission shifted from DYING to making sure my sweet child NEVER feels that pain. I gained strength in knowing I had the power to change that future. When I finally opened my eyes, I realized that I had taken every “What is WRONG with you?” and built myself inside a dungeon with each criticism as a brick. I boiled with rage: at the criticisms in each brick and at myself for building it, and I began punching and kicking with a “FUCK YOU” to every brick I destroyed. After the chaos and destruction subsided, I realized that long ago, I had built my dungeon at the bottom of a well. I sought out help in other psychics (I was always very enthralled with that world) and mental health counselors. I attribute my first counselor to being the person who heard me cry out from the well, tossed me a rope, and helped pull me up as I climbed from it’s depths. When I made it out, I saw that the well was in the middle of a dark forest. I stared out in horror, at wells as far as the eye could see, hearing cries for help from some, most silent. I turned to my counselor with concern on my face, and she pointed to a path where I would find another counselor to guide me through the forest. I started to protest, to tell her that I needed to help get these people out, but she stopped me, and told me I had to first find my way out of the forest. I walked to where she pointed and found my new counselor.
She was a very gentle spirit, with more strength than she looks, and she gave me her strength as we walked through the trees. Along the way, she would point things out: situations, behaviors, little leaks of light from the treetops. I found it was all familiar, I’d been there before. I walked through the forest as a child, lost in darkness, looking for solace from the pain. I started REMEMBERING; remembering who I was before I got lost, before I fell down the well, before I built my dungeon. She frequently asked me if I’d ever considered that I wasn’t mentally ill. I’d heard it once before, from a psychic who told me I wasn’t crazy, I was gifted, but it was swiftly dismissed as ludicrous and never really considered. We began looking at my “dysfunction” and started flipping the coin: there’s always two sides, positive and negative, black and white, and I began seeing myself in a different way. I finally went to a psychiatrist to evaluate my medications; one with years in psychiatry that exceed my lifespan, one who was well respected. After a few sessions, he asked me the now familiar question for the third time: “Have you ever considered you’re NOT sick and just gifted?” I was pretty taken aback, but I started digging deeper into this idea. He ended up taking me off all of my medications, and my gifts began to flourish.
As I started to see the edge of the forest, bright sunshine and open meadows, I began to look around at my team: most had moved on to help others fight battles, and I realized I was now fighting my own. I ran as fast as I could to that clearing, and when I made it there, everything was calm. There was only Light. It filled every bone in my body; every tissue, every cell, every atom. I was filled with Light. As I stood, soaking up the energy, I realized my purpose. I had to live in the forest, I had to see darkness, I had to feel that pain, so I could get the lay of the land. I had to know every leaf, every branch, every winding path, so I could go back into the forest, deep in the middle, to the land of the wells. I know how to get there, and most importantly, I know how to get out. I still spend most of my time in the forest, guiding the lost or helping fight battles against darkness, but I always stay tethered to sunshine.
How can I help you Find Your Light?