When Your Kid Suffers, Your Faith Gets Tested

I used to write a lot about spiritual abuse on my other blog, but it got exhausting rehashing each heartbreak over and over again. I lost a lot of friends when I spoke out, so I took an enormous break from writing about my beliefs and my faith to focus on something more practical, home remedies and essential oils. When our daughter was hospitalized and toxic doctrines came flooding back during her psychosis, I was faced with reliving it all over again through her eyes.  When your kid suffers, your faith gets tested.

Doctrines and practices don’t bring comfort or hope. The argument of whether a woman should wear pants or not, or if you should vote Conservative Republican or as an Independent, nor even whether you baptize in a pool or a creek…these debates won’t offer what a desperate mom needs when she sees her daughter’s mind and personality disappearing.

Battling with people on Facebook about whether you should attend church weekly, tri-weekly, or monthly won’t bring your daughter’s mind back. Throwing down a gauntlet on whether you should tithe ten percent or give to the homeless on the corner won’t give your daughter’s her health back.

Trying to memorize verses and sitting silent as a woman in the church won’t be what you grab a hold of when you’re bracing yourself for caring for an adult child who may or may not get her life back.

I’m deeply grateful that she is healing now and will be able to provide for herself, but in those moments when we weren’t sure… in those moments when I slipped out to the car so I could sob, when I bit my quivering lip in front of the nurses, when I had to face her younger siblings…when holding back the tears to be strong… yes, those moments that made me feel so weak and unsure.

It wasn’t which denomination to belong to that held me up. It wasn’t which bible version I read. It wasn’t wearing a cross necklace or rubbing beads.

When these kinds of moments hit you like a ton of bricks and you feel like you can’t even catch your breath, it’s  times like these that you look within and realize a lot about your faith.

There’s a huge difference between faith and religion. This experience has taught us a lot, it’s brought us closer together as a family, and it’s made us each re-examine our own individual paths.

All of a sudden things just don’t seem to fit into neat and tidy little belief boxes. Thank God, Jesus is found in the chaos.

*Disclaimer: As an Wellness Advocate I provide my personal opinion and experiences with essential oils, and am not endorsed by dōTERRA Corporate. None of what I testify of has been evaluated by the FDA, nor is it intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. I am not a registered medical professional and I encourage you to discuss your health concerns with your own doctor. I simply share resources and tools to raise consumer awareness. This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclaimer here

I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com

Photo hosting, photo sharing, stock photos, Family Friendly Photo Community on Pix-O-Sphere

How Spiritual Abuse Became a Living Nightmare Through a Psychotic Break, Part 4

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

When our daughter’s living nightmare progressed into that first night with hysterical screams about pulling her eyes out, we were baffled at why this would emerge from a young lady with gorgeous blue eyes and a vibrant personality. Her entire young life has been filled with compliments about her stunning sky blue eyes from the waitresses at Apple Bee’s to the receptionists at the dentist office. This spunky girl who dances to her own music and invites others to enjoy life had suddenly become one of those teens. You know, the ones who get judged for not wearing just the right clothes.

Moni

As each hour passed she would reach out from her hospital bed and beg me to hold her hand, eyes barely opening. The tension in her room could suck the oxygen right out of your chest. We would gasp together then she would whisper, “breathe with me”. Deep and long, we would focus our energy on breathing steady…with intensity. With purpose. To stay alive.

While we knew her vitals were normal, her perspective was quite a different story. It wasn’t until several days later that she would retell what was happening in the chaotic world of her psychosis.

This THC induced psychosis from ‘medicinal marijuana’ prescribed by a doctor to alleviate anxiety and sleeplessness turned out to conjure up a week of insomnia and waking nightmares.

When we asked her why she tried to pull her eyes out, she held her breath. Tears filled her eyes as her memory went back to that night in the emergency room…”something in the Bible”. It was all she could say when she stumbled into uncontrollable sobbing.

Matthew 18:9 “And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.”

We held her close and caressed her back as she caught her tears in her cupped hands.

Two more days went by before she could search her mind for what she experienced from the bed in her cold hospital room. “The door kept opening and shutting”, she explained. But the door wasn’t closed. There was a curtain there. They wouldn’t let the door close because she was classified as a 5150. “I heard men’s voices, mom. I was afraid…”

“Afraid of what?” I asked.

“Rape. I was afraid men were going to come in and rape me. Here I was, a vulnerable girl in a bed just steps away from them.”

She further described the door she kept hearing…”the kind where you push the long bar and it makes that sound..you know what sound, mom.”

I asked, “Like an exit door in a large industrial building?”

“Yes” she said, “like the one at the church we used to go to”.

church

We discussed memories from church when the preacher and youth pastors would tell the girls that the “devil would have men steal your purity from you”. Only years later to find out a youth pastor and the church school’s basketball coach were both in the newspaper for molesting young teen girls from that same church.

Over a decade of nightmares imposed upon girls about keeping themselves pure and modest so they don’t get taken advantage of. Warnings about beauty and how it draws a man’s lustful desires into your lives.

The tellings from the wood pulpits, pounded with fists, about how some women bring it on themselves by how they dressed or acted. You know, those women…the ones who are just “a dime a dozen”.

At one time Monica lay still on that bed, holding my hand and began singing, “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me…” By the end of the song she was sobbing again. I hugged her and kissed her forehead, “you’re okay” I whispered.

I took only a few breaks from the room so I could walk out to the car and cry. To use the restroom. To change my clothes and wash my face.

She goes on to describe how she felt when I came back into her room. The moment when I whispered, “I’m back”.

She was frightened and confused about those voices..the men she heard.

“Mom, were the men left behind and us women got to go to heaven?”

Another day later I asked her about these confusing statements and questions she had been asking me over the last few days.

She stood to her feet and extended her hand. I asked what she was doing and she sweetly explained, “Come with me mom. I know the way.”

I curiously inquired as I sat in the chair at the psych ward, “Where are we going?”

She nodded her head and piped up, “Heaven, mom! I’ll show you how to get there.”

I didn’t want to upset her by informing her that she was still in a psychosis so I played along, “Oh, you’re right, but we need to wait in line, Let’s sit for now and let others go first. A lot of people have been waiting longer than we have.”

She look confused, but sat with me and I changed the subject.

I just wanted to keep her *with me*. “Lets talk about what you had for dinner. You did eat dinner, right?”

Had I dared entered her psychosis with her, I wasn’t sure *where* we would end up. I didn’t want her to stay lost in that waking dream state.

Every day she would attempt to recall *where* she was, even though she had been laying in a hospital bed. She had *been* somewhere else. Somewhere…other.

It still took another few weeks of being at home to bring her back to earth. With her feet firmly planted on the ground she was finally able to venture into her experience without getting caught up in it again.

We talked about Jesus and God. We sorted out why we left that church and what we believe about Jesus now. I explained about what happened in AD70 and what 4 out of 6 of the early churches believed about Jesus saving all mankind…not just the ones who utter the “sinner’s prayer”.

Monica describes a memory from that psychosis involving her flesh being ripped from her arms and flapping back on with burning that wouldn’t stop.

Flesh that burns yet never consumes is a popular topic in the hell-fire-brimstone churches.

She was able to consciously remember how we studied about John Darby creating the whole “Left Behind” theory and how imaginative story tellers embellished upon that in the popular movie based on the book series. I reminded her that even C.H. Spurgeon said John Darby’s “rapture theory” was hogwash.

Besides all that, Jesus invites us to live by faith, not by fear.

Our mother-daughter talk included a firm understanding of how *some* men (not all men) do indeed have desires, but that they are drawn away by their OWN lust…not by us.

We’ve spent several weeks sorting through these things again and realizing how deeply embedded those church fears really were.

We met with her therapist and explained what our family had been through at the church and in the hospital.

This wise African woman so sweetly nodded and explained in her incredible accent , “but that’s not who the real Jesus is and that’s not how church is supposed to be.” I wish you could see this mature woman of God, this Sage of the Faith.

We agreed with her. She’s been so understanding and gentle with Monica. We further explained this all again to the psychiatrist.

“PTSD”, she said…not just with your experience at the hospital, but with the church too. We’ll work through that together.”

The first doctor at the ER had said this was his suspicion to begin with. “Drug induced psychosis”, he said, “sometimes a drug can open up unresolved issues.”

Who ever would have imagined that over a decade of church would come out like this?

Church was supposed to be a safe place from the world, but for Monica it was a place where fears of being raped and having her eyes plucked out had been embedded in the deepest parts of her mind and soul.

She still finds comfort in some of the music and she knows the Jesus who loves her, but this ‘other jesus’ still needs to be dealt with.

And so our journey, together as a family, continues.

The journey of rediscovering the love of God without the brainwashing. The walk of faith without the religion. The rebuilding of our future, of our lives, in the freedom Christ has given us. Freedom from the nightmares, a resurrection of new life.

Monica is continuing with her wellness journey with three compassionate doctors, with her family to support her, and she just got a new job which begins in March.

She acknowledges that nightmare for what it was and for what it is…a metaphor to tell her something old has been washed away and behold..all things have become new.

For me, as a mom…it crushes me that in whatever way it happened…”god” had been an abusive tyrant. Our family has discussed spiritual abuse at length many times since we left that church. I had felt that our kids were able to bounce back from it well and I figured I had the toughest time coming away from it. I had mistaken their journey as healed.

One never knows what it will take, how long it will take, or what will open those trenches back up again in order for a person to truly heal from it.

*Disclaimer: As an Wellness Advocate I provide my personal opinion and experiences with essential oils, and am not endorsed by dōTERRA Corporate. None of what I testify of has been evaluated by the FDA, nor is it intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. I am not a registered medical professional and I encourage you to discuss your health concerns with your own doctor. I simply share resources and tools to raise consumer awareness. This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclaimer here

I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com

Photo hosting, photo sharing, stock photos, Family Friendly Photo Community on Pix-O-Sphere

The Frightening Reality of Dabs, Part 3

Part One

Part Two

Earlier that morning as I left the ER in a frantic sob session, I attempted to drive home with tears pouring faster than the rain hitting my window. I had to catch my breath and dry my eyes while my faith was struggling to overcome the fear I was feeling. “This too shall pass,” I kept telling myself. But what if it doesn’t? What if our daughter was going to struggle with whatever this is..for the rest of her life? Should I just accept the possibility or was that called doubt? At the same time I didn’t want to live in denial of what was actually happening.

Whenever I tried to take a deep breath, the exhale came out pummeling my throat. “Pull it together, Lisa. You can do this.” I had to get through this and no matter what, I needed to be there for my daughter.

When I arrived at home to update my husband we both shared our feelings on the “what ifs” of this seemingly bleak situation. We both agreed that no matter what, we were prepared to do anything we could to take care of our daughter.

Just prior to taking her to the ER we had asked her if she was drunk or on drugs. It was our first suspicion, given the very confused way she was communicating with us. She insisted she hadn’t drank and wasn’t abusing drugs. Her partner came over so we could ask her some questions and have her see what we were seeing. Ten minutes into talking to our daughter, her partner started crying. “Monica, this isn’t like you. What’s wrong?” she pleaded with her, asking the same thing we had asked. But they had been together all day and she didn’t see Monica take anything.

“What about the night before?”, we asked. She shook her head.

Our oldest daughter was here witnessing this and the expression on her face was growing more concerned as the minutes went by. I shot over a message to her in sign language, “Go to  Walmart and get a drug test kit. The most extensive one they have!” She nodded and quickly grabbed her purse. Someone could have slipped her something and we needed to know for sure.

The three of us continued to ask her questions to try and figure out what was happening and her heart was racing. I made her some Nighty Night tea to see if it would help her calm down. She drank it quickly and seemed to be trying to indicate to us that she realized she wasn’t feeling ‘right’. She tried talking to us, but nothing made sense. Jessica returned with the test kit and we begged her to pee in the cup. She assured us she hadn’t taken anything, but she agreed to try. She couldn’t get it to release. Then she started panicking.

My husband made a call to the county help line for distressful situations. They advised him to go to the ER and she agreed to go with us.

When we arrived she was finally able to go in the cup and they drew her blood for testing.

The ER doctor asked her all the pertinent questions and if she was taking any prescribed medication.

“Medicinal Marijuana.”

No, this wasn’t a shock to us. We knew and although we always expressed our deep concern about it, she is an adult and we couldn’t interfere between her and this ‘doctor’ she went to. Since she was given this pass to the pot clinic from a ‘doctor’, it wasn’t considered illegal by our state.

The tests came back all clear except for the THC and the urinary tract infection. She was severely dehydrated so they started an IV with antibiotics to treat the infection.

The ER doctor had worked there for 22 years and his suspicion for her condition was ‘drug induced’. My first article about this nightmare eluded to this ‘mysterious’ condition, but who in the world would believe that pot could open the door to this terrorizing event that made our daughter want to have her life end?

If it’s true, who would believe it and would she be ridiculed for it if any of us ever spoke up about it?

The ambulance came to pick her up and we followed behind. We had to wait for them to admit her before we could even see her again. Then we had 5 minutes to say goodbye until the next day. We were escorted down several hallways to a room where several other patients sat. Most of them were sitting alone, some swaying back and forth and in a different state of consciousness. It was a plain visiting room and nothing warm about it.

There she was sitting in a chair, unaware that we even entered the room. We called her name and she turned her head to look at us. She just sat there. No expression on her face. Our hearts sank.

We each wrapped our arms around her and she began sobbing. “Where am I? What’s happening to me?”

We each took a deep breath and tried to explain that they were going to take good care of her to make sure her UTI is clearing up and to get some better rest. She was in and out of partial awareness of her situation, but not fully understanding the magnitude of her emotional and mental condition.

She kept talking about ‘the end times, going to heaven, being in heaven, and something about the bible saying to pluck out your eyes’.

In my mind I said, “oh my GOD!” In this chaotic state of mind she was in, she thought the world had come to an end and we were all left behind. While we had LEFT that cult several years ago, something in her psychosis triggered a cult ‘end of days’ event in her head. The next few days her mind began to clear a little at a time and she tried to explain what had been going through her mind since the day we went to the ER. This, sort of,  explained why she had tried to pull her eyes out.

The next day we called and she still hadn’t eaten. It had been 4 days at that point so we asked permission to bring some protein enriched snacks for her. We arrived for the 90 minute visitation to find her more out of it than before. I spoke to the nurse and she said I would need Monica to sign papers to allow them to speak to me about her treatment. Thankfully, Monica agreed to sign the papers and the nurses began fully cooperating with us.

They had given her medication to make her sleep and keep her thoughts from racing. That explained the increase in confusion, but her emotions were still vulnerable. In fact, vulnerable is probably an understatement. She sobbed almost the whole time we were there. She still didn’t understand what was happening and nothing she said made sense at all. She couldn’t even walk without assistance.

It took every amount of strength we had to smile and assure her that it would get better. All the while inside we were falling apart as we watched our daughter seemingly deteriorate day by day. We tried to get her to eat the food we brought, but she wasn’t interested in eating. We begged her to try one bite, she declined. She kept nodding off so we decided to cut the visit short so she could get back to bed.

The next day we tried calling. She was asleep every time we called, but we took that as a good sign. We hoped that when she finally got caught up with sleep that maybe this entire ordeal would be over.

Another day passed and we arrived for the next 90 minute visitation. She was able to walk into the room and talk a little. She kept wanting to lay down, but we encouraged her to stay awake and try to eat. She finally had some protein shake and we sighed with relief. I asked the nurses to make sure she was offered a protein shake if food was still unappetizing to her. They added Ensure to her meal time protocol.

Each day we visited she tried to explain these horrific ‘awake’ nightmares she was having. She didn’t see hallucinations, but she heard ‘voices’ and imagined scenarios that she thought were her literal reality, including the frightening notion of an apocalypse.

Another day had gone by and she finally called home on her own. She was sobbing and asked, “Why am I in a psych ward?? They don’t send people here for a UTI!!”

As horrifying as this awareness was for her, it was a sign that she was coming out of it. She actually realized where she was, but was still confused about why she was there. I tried to assure her that they were doing everything they could to figure out why her thoughts and communication were so off kilter. I told her we would soon be there for visitation.

When we arrived she saw us enter the room and she got up from her chair to come greet us. This was the first time we had seen her show any physical response to our presence in the room. Another big improvement and while each step she took towards her wellness could have been viewed as small, we took each one as gigantic!

We sat down with her and she began eating several snacks we brought. We were so thrilled that she was eating again. Since she was far more aware this visit we asked if she could remember anything that could have started this whole thing. She sat quietly and then she gasped, “the dabs!”

She remembered going to the dispensary to get dabs. But she said most people she knew who used dabs had never experienced anything like this before. She had enough energy to have the full 90 minute visit and as soon as we left I started googling ‘dabs’ and I was horrified by what I found about this commonly used ‘ear wax’. The description given in that article described her experience and then I called to read the article to her. She said she would inform the nurses right away. Ear Wax got it’s name for the waxy and yellow texture of this THC creation which includes butane. Sacramento County isn’t the only place where doctors have seen this terrorizing experience in medicinal marijuana patients, it’s also been reported in Detroit.

The next morning she called me after she saw the psychiatrist and medical doctor. She said that she informed them of what she remembered and told them about the article I found.

I began to do more research, spoke to a former dispensary owner, the city attorney, and the Americans for Safe Access, an organization that works to hold doctors and dispensaries accountable for safe medicinal marijuana.

Brian Ruden, a dispensary operator in Denver, Colorado said, “while regular marijuana might contain 15 or 18 percent THC, hash oil concentrate gets closer to 80 or even 90 percent.”

I tried to contact the doctor that gave her this prescription and his office had been closed down. I immediately notified the medical license board and with their help, Monica filed a complaint against that doctor. Apparently, this doctor has been in trouble before and was already on a probationary period with his license for other reasons.

He had given her a script to help ease anxiety and sleep issues. However, what we came to find out is the dispensaries allow the patients to choose the THC product of their desire. Dabs, also known as ear wax, are said to contain approximately 80% potency of THC, as opposed to the approximate 20% THC of their average marijuana.

Monica has no memory of the doctor ever describing potency levels of marijuana products or that the side effect could be intense psychotic episodes or brain damage.

Gary Hill, with the San Diego DEA’a office said this type of marijuana product could cause brain damage. “We have seen people have an onset of psychosis and even brain damage from that exposure to that high concentration of THC,” said Gary Hill, assistant special agent in charge at the DEA’s San Diego office. “Our concern is that this is going to spread before we get it under control.”

Critics would laugh this off as a a fabrication, but Monica has two hospitals worth of documentation proves otherwise. Some would say the dabs must have been laced with something else, but the drug tests she took didn’t indicate any other drugs. Even if it had been laced, that would pose a huge problem for the several dispensaries in Santa Ana, California where these very young adults are getting dabs every day.

If a person has a pot card in California, they can get access to this free-for-all style of self medicating and they give free samples every day. Yes, they can walk in with their card and choose any potency of THC product they have available. They require that the sample be smoked in the dispensary while they inform the patients that they can’t drive after smoking it. Talk about irresponsible! There’s a limit on how much they can get from one dispensary on a daily basis, but nothing to stop them from getting more at a different dispensary on the same day…every day.

The license board, Americans for Safe Access, and the Huntington Beach City Attorney all expressed their sympathy for Monica’s unfortunate experience and supported me with information and resources to help her.

The Safe Access leader for Orange County was very upset, because he explained that kids who get medicinal marijuana for chronic illnesses and cancer patients could be seriously harmed if they were given something so potent. But Californian voters passed the legalization of medicinal marijuana with very loose restrictions.

Monica was finally able to come home, but with 3 different doctors supervising her recovery and with medication to help keep her balanced until further notice.

She still struggles to explain the intensity of her experience, so frightening that she has told her friends and asked them to stop using dabs. She fears that someone else will go through this nightmare too.

Had Monica been driving when the intensity flared up, she could have been in an accident. She could have hurt herself or someone else. The thoughts of death could have led her to harming herself to ‘make it stop’. The lack of sleep and lack of nutrition could have caused more serious health conditions, had she been living alone.

Thank God she had plenty of family and friends around her during that week  so we could notice her behavior changing so drastically. Thank God we all responded with concern and not judgement. Thank God we approached her with sincere love and not condemnation or hostility.

While we understand and support SAFE access to medicinal marijuana (for people who actually need it), we strongly feel that California’s ‘medicinal marijuana’ laws are far too lenient and pose an intense level of danger for people who are unaware.

There’s more to Monica’s story and I’ll share more soon.

Part One When nightmares manifest and doctors flounder to explain

Part Two The Words NO MOTHER wants to hear.

Part Four How Spiritual Abuse became a Waking Nightmare Through a Psychotic Break.

*Disclaimer: As an Wellness Advocate I provide my personal opinion and experiences with essential oils, and am not endorsed by dōTERRA Corporate. None of what I testify of has been evaluated by the FDA, nor is it intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. I am not a registered medical professional and I encourage you to discuss your health concerns with your own doctor. I simply share resources and tools to raise consumer awareness. This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclaimer here

I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com

Photo hosting, photo sharing, stock photos, Family Friendly Photo Community on Pix-O-Sphere