Until I Can Save Myself - A Phoenix Session
This blog post is going to go a little differently. You will get two perspectives of the story. I'm going to give you Casey's story, as told by Casey - because it is hers to tell; but I am also going to give you my version of Casey's story. Being her bestfriend through all of this, I've gotten to see her struggle and her rise from the ashes. It is a truly amazing and beautiful thing.
First, Casey's perspective:
2014 was a rough patch in my marriage. Rewind to 2003, I met the man that I went on to marry and start a family with. We had our first son in 2010 and were married in 2011. We then welcomed our second son in 2012. After having our second, I had serious body image issues. I hated how I looked. I went on to change my life; eating better, working out, I lost almost 70 pounds. This started attracting attention, unwanted attention. I hit a really bad spot in the summer of 2014. That is when I met HIM. HE had me convinced my life would be better with HIM, so in August of 2014, I left my husband. He told me he was taking the kids and I was so blinded, I just went. Shortly after leaving and after a night out with friends, the first fight ensued. It was an alcohol fueled fight. By the next day it was like nothing had happened and we went about our lives. I eventually got my own apartment and HE moved in with me. Things seemed great. Deep down I missed my husband so much. I wanted so badly to turn back because I was not happy. I was living a lie and I knew that. But I couldn't turn back. Everyone would hate me. Did I really want people talking about me and making my husband look like the fool? No, I didn't. So I continued my life with HIM. One night in October after being out with friends and drinking, it happened. an unprovoked fight. It left me with a horrible physical scar, not many people can even see, but I do. It is a reminder that I chose to make the decisions I did. I chose to live with someone I barely knew but we worked through it. A few months later I was pregnant. HE told me HE would never leave me or the baby. We looked for a bigger place away from town as I no longer felt welcome in the town I grew up in. We moved in January. As we were moving I began to have bleeding. I went to the hospital. found out I had a sub-chorionic hemorrhage and was put on bed rest. While I was on bed rest, HE would go out with friends on nights off. That's when I discovered he was cheating. I confronted HIM and was told it was nothing but it continued. I knew. We talked about it and I was told HE was only with me because I was pregnant. In February my divorce was final. I cried the day I opened that envelope. The depression I was slipping into was getting deeper and deeper. After discovering I was pregnant, any fighting with my ex husband had stopped. we were cordial but had to hide it because HE hated it. HE hated I talked to him. I hated that I had to hide it. My ex husband had always been someone I could go to for anything but I wasn't allowed to talk to him. Meanwhile HE could talk to any girls HE wanted, I couldn't even talk to the father of my two sons. August came around and we welcomed our son. The day he was born HE confided information in me and I felt like we had hit a turning point. Skip to October, I had just gone back to work. It was a stressful situation because HE was home with the baby all day and would work at night or go out. The night that changed me I came home after working all day. HE said HE was going out with a friend. I asked HIM not stay out too late because I wanted to see HIM and spend time with HIM. I woke up at 430 to just me and the baby. No texts. No calls. HE wouldn't return my calls. I was upset. Around 5 he got home. HE was drunk. HE said HE broke his phone. I was mad. HE wanted to have sex and I told him no. HE then proceeded to call me a whore and tell me he would go get it elsewhere, if I wasn't going to give it to him. I took the baby to his crib. he continued to say terrible things about me. HE then brought up my two older boys. saying if anything happened to them HE wouldn't care. I snapped but my anger fueled HIM into something I had never seen. I will never forget looking into HIS eyes and seeing nothing but blackness. Not empty blackness, the blackness of hate and rage towards me. For the sake of HIM and HIS privacy I will not continue with that night. The following spring HE took a job out of state. I decided to go live with my mom as HE was moving away. We ended up splitting up when I caught HIM talking to and meeting up with other girls. I tried to stay. I was stuck on HIM. HE had me convinced no one would ever love me because I was a single mom with three kids, because I was "fat," because I didn't put effort into myself. Moving back with my mom had its moments, both good and bad. She and I fought because when I left my husband, I also left my family. I stopped talking to them because HE had me convinced they would always hate me. My ex husband and I would talk. I would see him when we would exchange kids but we would actually talk. Deep down I wanted to spew how i felt. I wanted to tell him I regretted everything but i couldn't. he would laugh at me. He would tell me it was my fault. I felt myself slipping deeper into depression. I went to my family doctor. I was put on Zoloft. I felt no different. maybe it takes a few months. A few months went by and I hated myself. I was so badly depressed. I would put my kids to bed and just sit in my room and drink and listen to music trying to numb the self hate and pain I was feeling. I was never intoxicated, but I found I was doing this too often and it was unhealthy. I finally started talking to my ex husband more and eventually told him everything. I felt some relief, but the pain was still there. After having a complete meltdown one night, I stopped taking Zoloft. I started feeling "normal" again. I had days where even the slightest glimpse of my scar would throw me into a constant fight in my head. I'm ugly, no one wants me, I'll be alone all my life, I chose that life. I left a good man and a good family." Certain songs can trigger me. It puts me into a place I can't even describe. My heart races, my mind is going so fast I can't make sense of anything. It has been two years since we split. I have made peace with HIM and we are in a good place. HE is happy and I am happy. I still fight with my demons but not like I did. I have found peace within me. I have built relationships back with people I lost. I made my feelings well known to my ex husband. I know I can't take back what I did, but I can pray that I can build this back up. I let someone put out my fire and start building a wall around my heart and life. I have had to fight the demons that protected that wall to even start breaking it down. Once in a while they rear their heads and start to build back up, but with God, my family and mind over matter, I defeat them. I have had so many people tell me I don't have anxiety, depression and certainly not PTSD. That is fine. you DON'T have to believe me. This is invisible unless you know me and know what to look for in me. People think PTSD is all about being in war. It isn't, but it is. It is a constant war in your head. It is flashbacks clearer than the day it happened. It is everything. Sights, smells, sounds, everything you never want to relive but do when it hits you. It puts you at war with yourself. I know I have posted in the group how I am still in love with my ex husband, because I am. We don't know what our future holds, but each day is a new journey together. So stay tuned for the rest of that story. Living with this "disease" is not easy. You have to get a groove that works and pray you don't hit a rut. One of the best things that has happened to me through all of this, was meeting Chelsey. She is my Godsend. She has been there for me through everything. She knows my story inside and out. She has seen me at my worst and at my best. Helping her with this group has given me a sense of purpose. This group is my tribe. I know I am never alone with her or any of you. This story is not meant to bash my EX or make people hate HIM or say awful things about HIM. We were never meant to be and we went about this all wrong. Unfortunately we are both left with demons we will always have to deal with, but we also learned about ourselves and how to cope with them.
Next, my perspective.
I met Casey when I posted about doing All American Kids Mini Sessions in 2016 (my work was terrible back then just BTW). She was so excited about them. I came to find out later its because she is legit the All-American Girl. Hard working, hard playing, firefighter, EMT, nurse. She's truly an amazing person. Anyway, skip all my sappy nonsense. After chatting about that session, she booked a Family Session for her, HIM and their son. They were literally the perfect little family or so I thought. They interacted wonderfully and weren't awkward in front of the camera. Their family pictures were adorable and I way over delivered. Case and I continued to talk here and there. Nothing too in depth, we didn't know each other. Then I started offering Boudoir. I so badly wanted to get into it. I was running crazy low specials and reached out to here telling her that it would be a great gift for HIM since I knew he was working out of state. It was then that we because best friends. Literally in that moment. "He left me," she said. ...... INSERT FOOT IN MOUTH. I felt like such an ass. For real. I apologized PROFUSELY. That's when she told me that he cheated. More than once. With more than one person but SHE was the problem. NOPE. I started building her up right that second. I couldn't let this beautiful person struggle or be made to feel like she was anything less than the amazing person she was. The day of her Boudoir session, we talked more. The whole story came out. All about HIM and all about her ex. All about their perspective lives together. The good the bad and the indifferent. We've been best friends and inseparable ever since. We talked about friends and ex friends, our kids, our dreams, all that sappy nonsense that girls talk about. I'm not going to lie, watching Casey struggle with her anxiety, depression and PTSD over the last two years made me HATE HIM. Like with the burning fires of hell hate HIM. I hated what HE put her through. I hated what HE did to her. How HE made her hate herself. It wasn't fair and it wasn't right and I wasn't going to let her continue doing it. I suggested counseling and seeing her PCP for antidepressants because there is NO SHAME in asking for help. She went. She was prescribed Zoloft. What a disaster that was. She finally got put on a medication that helps and I've seen her rise above so much. I watched what HE did to her for a long time. Head games, controlling, psychological abuse. I watched HIM jump from girl to girl, parading them in front of her face, while she struggled to even look at herself. I watched him more or less forbid her to speak to her ex husband even though they weren't technically together.
I, on the other hand, encouraged her, from the moment I met her ex, to try to get back with him. He is such a sweet man. Loving and loyal. He is wonderful with not only his sons but with her son by HIM as well. He treats that little boy like he is his own. Casey may have made mistakes but who doesn't? Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. No mistake deserves a lifetime of sadness, self hate or loneliness and I will be DAMNED if I let my best friend think she deserves that.
She is now "cordial" as she says with HIM, but, I still hate HIM.... what can ya do? She is also now working hard to repair the broken trust and rebuild a relationship with her ex husband. No one knows what will ever become out of that, or even if anything will... but at least she is trying.
She tries each and every day. Whether outsiders can see it or not. She tries. To love herself. To trust. To move forward. And I am SO DAMN PROUD of her for all she has done.