I’ve had my moments in life. It’s been a crazed road paved out of tiny pebbles that slowly wash away with the rain leaving a muddy mess to only be repaved again and again.

Just when you think your dad is your dad, turns out he’s not your biological dad at all. After 14 years of people saying, “Wow, you look like your dad.” I found out that he wasn’t my biological dad. My early life started out with 14 years of lies from my entire family.

The way I found out that he wasn’t my dad was just a fluke. My best friend and I were snooping in my moms closet only to find my hospital birth certificate. From what I recall after seeing the paper, I thought, “Who is James Lindsey McGowan?” I was very confused. I didn’t ask my mom about it for some time. I don’t know exactly how it came out to my mom, but it did and she wasn’t happy. She was mad at me for snooping. It wasn’t until two years later, when my mom and dad divorced and my maternal grandfather passed away that my mom offered to help me find my biological dad and then I was informed of the story of the beginning of my life.

Let’s just say in those days, if you got pregnant, you got married. Even if the other parent was “from the wrong side of the tracks”. After about a year of being married and a short time after I was born, my dad was basically banished from my life. My maternal grandparents decided that he wasn’t good enough and they wouldn’t let him see me anymore.

When I was two my mom had remarried and this is the man I called dad. He adopted me when I was two. He was pretty good to me, he treated me like his own.

Not long after my mom started looking for my biological dad she found him and a meeting was planned. We met at the Peppermill Restaurant in Sacramento, California. It was nerve wracking, this is when I started to feel that crazed anxiety, the inability to focus on what was really happening. As we sat there, he told me about his wife and my half sister. He also pulled a picture out of his wallet. The picture was tattered and frayed and had been in his wallet many years. This was a picture of me in a light pink dress when I was about 8 months old. He told me that he carried this picture with him all these years and never stopped thinking about me. It was a heartfelt moment, one that I will never forget.

In those moments I felt so many emotions, but the one emotion that stayed with me was that anxiety, which turned to panic. It was as if it had been triggered by this moment. It makes me wonder if that moment had never happened would I today have anxiety and panic disorder. Or was it the next moment in my life that caused the anxiety and panic disorder to stay with me?

I’ve had my moments and this moment was one that sticks with me the most. This moment is the one that has kept me from committing suicide. The moment after my parents divorced and I met my biological dad, the moment I came home to find my dad, the one who raised me, on the ground, in the garage, unresponsive with a noose around his neck. The rafter had broken from his weight. He wasn’t dead, he was breathing, but I was scared to death. In that moment I couldn’t think, I was panicked, I was 16 going on 17 and my life had been turned upside down. In that year my parents divorced, my grandfather died, I met my biological dad and my real dad tried to commit suicide. Life changed from this moment. Nothing was the same ever again.

As depressed and suicidal as I have been at times, this is the moment that keeps me from suicide. I can’t put my kids through this. It is scary, it is sad and no matter how depressed I get and how stressed I feel from life or how many times I’ve sat on the bathroom floor crying with every prescription I have ready to take them all, I just can’t put them though that. Life can be very sad, life can be scary, life can be tumultuous, but life changes daily and if I end it now, my kids life would never be the same.

I have many more days to live, to laugh, to cry and to be a mom and wife. And laugh is what I hope to be doing the most.

This is the first in a series of three blogs about anxiety, depression, and coping mechanisms. Please if you feel suicidal call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. Feel free to email me if you need to talk. Call a friend. But please get some help, there are people who love you and need you.

 

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