About Me · Mental Health

The Road to Finding Myself

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“The way she flew, I chased her like a firefly to put her in a jar, but I learned again what I learned as a boy, that wings don’t belong in jars.”

-Atticus

Dear Friends,

I’m back. ❤

And what a fight it was. If you didn’t get a chance to read my last post, a few months ago I went to a mental health treatment facility. I left my loving husband, my two children, and what felt like my whole heart behind. And I drove 9 hours to finally get the help I needed. It was one of the most difficult things I have ever done, but boy was it one of the best decisions of my life.

Before I left, I was diagnosed with Complex PTSD, regular PTSD, Bipolar II Disorder, Depression, and Anxiety. Though it finally gave me a word for my mental condition and made so much sense for why I thought and acted the way that I did, my head was still a complete wreck and I was incapacitated by what I was experiencing. I had finally opened up the box of grim memories that I had suppressed for years, and I was actively reliving every single emotion in the form of flashbacks.

So I guess its time for me to open up to you and explain how I got to where I was at and where I still teeter now at times…

I have lived a difficult life.

Though I still love and care for my mom and sister dearly now – they have reformed tremendously – my upbringing was one that was emotionally and physically painful,  fueled by my father’s oppressive and tyrannical ways. Verbal, physical, and emotional abuse were all too customary in our household.

How My Childhood Traumatized Me

One of my first memories starts at 2 years old, cowering under the dining table watching my parents argue to heights that were above and beyond. It was always 0 to 100, and there was never an in between.

Often times I’d sit in between them on my knees with my hands put together, pleading for it to end. Begging for the verbal slurs to stop being slung, and for hands to stop meeting flesh over and over. I was so young, yet even at that age,  I would be howling in between them that I didn’t want to live through it anymore. I sobbed angrily at God for placing my fragile soul in such a situation, and wondered why no one was noticing how much it was shattering.

I can still feel the utter terror, panic, and deep sorrow that 2 year old experienced.

This only continued throughout my childhood.

The Teenage Dream, Right?

The controlling and fighting eventually went from my father with my mother, to us as kids. I was confined and trapped within my own home. I would tell friends that my parents were strict, but no one completely understood exactly how far that went.

I wasn’t allowed to have a cellphone. I never had sleepovers with friends and never went to a dance, let alone prom. I wasn’t allowed to listen to music, or watch anything on TV that wasn’t a cartoon. I never participated in extra curricular activities; my friends had to be and act a certain way for my parents to allow me to see them. At some point even family became “negative influences” because they were too “modernized”.

My father forced me to go to an all girl’s religious boarding school for 8th grade, that likely had some extremist ideology. When I begged and begged for months to come back, my father finally allowed me to under the condition that I would have to home-school. Oh, and I would have to wear a hijab, niqab, and burqa. (Headscarf, face veil, and a black garment that covers the entire body.) My mom was able to talk him down to allowing me to wear just the head-scarf. If it meant freedom from the absurdity I was facing at boarding school, then I’d grudgingly agree.

So I was forced to home-school from freshman year until I graduated high school, being reminded repeatedly that I wouldn’t be allowed to go to college unless my future husband allowed of it. My father would tell me constantly how unnecessary it was for women to be educated, when their sole role in life was just to be a house wife and child bearer.

It felt like I wasn’t allowed to breathe unless I was told that I could.

If I dared to do anything wrong, if I dared create a Facebook account, or talk to anyone or did anything they disapproved of…I’d be slapped across the face, have my hair pulled, and beat. And then I’d be locked in my room with a padlock on my door every night or forced to sleep on the floor of my parents room for days, months or years so that they could keep watch on me, as if I was a dog. I’d have to prove for months that I could be trusted, before that padlock came off my door.

At some point, the alarm system in our home became less to keep strangers out, and more to keep us locked in.

And just like that, the outside world would be shut away. The darkness enveloped me and I’d be back in the sad, lonely world of myself. “Why the heck did I try and talk to my friends? If I hadn’t, maybe I would have been allowed to play games on the computer or talk to my cousins on the phone”.

I would be stripped of everything… including my freedom.

I just didn’t understand why my life had to be like this.

The Words That Broke Me

The cherry on top of my home life was the constant bullying I endured. My sister would play a game where I would be her “slave” and I’d be forced to recite over and over that she was a queen and I was a peasant. I’d fetch the queen whatever she desired for days until the game ended. Given the history of my life, I just wanted to please people, so I naively played along. I thought that’s just what siblings did.

The verbal berating was unbearable. For years I was told that my hair was so greasy that I could wring it out and use it to cook eggs in the huge bags under my eyes. Being called fat, ugly, and stupid was so ordinary that I believed it whole-heartedly. It was used the way someone says “Hi” or “Bye”. I viewed it as nothing but the absolute truth.

It wasn’t until just recently that I came to the realization that those words do not define me.

A Childhood Stolen By Marriage

And then, friends, as many of you know, I was forced into an arranged marriage at the tender, delicate age of 15. It was an escape from the torturous life I had lived. It promised me a future filled with education, “love”, and possible freedom. So, I agreed. I didn’t know any better. Right after our religious marriage ceremony, I realized I had nothing in common with this man who was 8 years older than me. But I couldn’t back out. I would be dishonoring my family and they would be ashamed in front of the entire community. So I stayed.

I wasn’t emotionally, mentally, or physically prepared to be a wife. I was just barely 15. I had no idea what I was doing. But he did.

In the 3 years of our marriage, I told him I loved him three times. Only for him to reply with “thanks”. He told me that we may never love each other and that that was okay. We didn’t need love to be married to each other. How could he say all of these things to me but still be so selfish for his own desires? See, friends, it wasn’t until a few months ago that I started coming to the realization that what happened in that relationship was assault. I was emotionally neglected and physically used. I had been searching for love my whole life. Just love. Was I really that unlovable?

And as history repeated itself, I was transferred from one dictator to another. If I said something that he considered disrespectful, I would be made aware that this wasn’t the type of wife that he had agreed to marry. He would show me his hand, and point to the bottom, telling me that that is where I was on his “maturity chart“. And he’d trace all the way to the top of his hand saying, “And when you’re finally here, then we can move forward with legally making you my wife.”

And yes, this was all done illegally while we waited for my 18th birthday, because the law knows what he had agreed to was child abuse.

Prince Charming is Coming

Somehow I managed to convince my then husband and my parents to allow me to go back and take night math classes at the end of high school. While I was at the night school, I managed to be awarded a full ride to Wilmington University. It was most likely because of this, that they allowed me to pursue further education.

I started my first semester and decided to join the Student Government Association. At my first SGA meeting, I walked in and saw the most handsome man standing at the podium…and queue the story of how Devon and I met.  Though in Devon, I had finally attained the best love I had ever known, it wasn’t without its own hideous terror and trauma. I battled my parents, culture, tradition, and everything I had ever known up until that point. Countless hurtful things were said and done that can never be undone. But I’ll have to save this part of my story for a future post. It is a long, intense love story, that has to be given its own book.

How August Saved My Life

So, friends, if you’ve made it to this point in my story, you’ve gotten a glimpse of a few of the horrors I had stuffed away in that box. That box not only was opened for the first time, but its contents came exploding into my face. I couldn’t handle all of the emotional and mental turmoil I was re-experiencing. At many points throughout these months, I didn’t want to breathe through to the next second. My inextinguishable love for my husband and my children were the only things that talked me back from the edge.

So in August, I drove all the way from Delaware to North Carolina to be admitted to HopeWay. And HopeWay turned my life around for the better. I went there a wreck, and came back with a sense of clarity I hadn’t known in months… quite possibly my entire life even. The most precious thing I learned there, was my value. The beautiful, loving souls I met there reminded me of how much joy I was capable of, and how much I had to give. I couldn’t possibly leave this world without making a damn good mark on it. I was constantly reminded of my resilience for making it to that very moment in life, and my courage for taking the leap and leaving my young children behind to better myself for them. I now believe their words.

I am resilient. I am courageous. I am strong. I want to be alive.

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I Survived To Tell The Tale

Though its easier said than done, I now do understand that my trauma doesn’t define the rest of my life. However, that is still a work in progress.

Maybe this will be another story to tell at a later date, but my father is finally leaving the picture for good. It’s been a very messy process that has added to the stress of my daily life lately, but I am handling it as best as I can. I am trying not to allow it to put a damper on my new found views on life.

But to be honest, him leaving us has been a huge relief. I am finally breaking free from the oppression, and the religiously fanatic ideology that was enforced on me my entire life. This event is what gave me the bravery necessary to spill my deepest darkest secrets to you.

I am sharing my story because I need to speak my truth, and I want people to know that this is what happens behind closed doors. Abuse exists, and occurs to the people you least expect it to. I want to stop the stigma associated with it, because we don’t deserve to feel shame. We did nothing wrong. We didn’t deserve the abuse we suffered.

I share it so that some boy or girl out there, who may relate, might be saved. So that maybe I can assure you that you are not alone in your pain. And I need you to trust that there is so much more beyond this painful moment. I have felt such deep sorrow, yet have seen the sun shine so bright after. Just hang on, dear friend. I want you to be ALIVE. We’ll make it through. ❤

And from the bottom of my heart, thank you for reading my story. Thank you for checking up on me and asking me how I am. Thank you for the support you have provided for me and for my wonderful husband. Your kind words contributed in my journey to healing, in ways you may not even recognize. Thank you for just being such amazing and supportive friends.

Much love from my heart to yours,

Rummy ❤

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About Me · Mental Health

The Road to Forgiving Myself

“Sometimes the strongest among us are the ones who smile through silent pain, cry behind closed doors, and fight battles nobody knows about.”

-Unknown

Hi Friends. It has been a while.

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I started this blog as a place to write and free myself. But after my last post being so heavy, I thought I’d lighten it up with something as fluffy as my cat. Makeup, cooking, possibly really something about my cat… I don’t know. Something. Anything.

But I just couldn’t get myself to. My mind wasn’t in the right place to try and lie and make something out of my life, that it was not at the time. And actually… I haven’t been in a good place for a while…

I guess that is where I’ll queue in the next story.

The Road to Rummy Forgiving Myself

I’m smiling.

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If you’ve known me for a while, I am almost ALWAYS smiling. I always try to be as positive as I can be. In fact, all I’ve ever wanted to be was a good person. I hold the door open for everyone, I thank everyone almost excessively, I apologize when maybe an apology isn’t even necessary. Or maybe when an apology isn’t even deserved. I’ve always wanted to light the fire inside of everyone else, and show them the joy, beauty, purity, and innocence I saw in life.

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But you see, I’ve tried to light so many candles… that I burnt out my own flame in the process.

My entire life I lit too many other candles, watching the wax drip off of mine. I ignored my needs, for the sake of keeping peace everywhere else. For trying to show everyone, that maybe life wasn’t as bad as people thought. I didn’t know what else to do though, but sacrifice my whole self.

I just wanted to be loved. I just wanted to be accepted. I just wanted to be happy.

I just wanted to smile.

And I wanted everyone else to do and feel the same way.

But now I’ve found myself in a place where all of the wax has dripped away. My fuse completely burnt out. And honestly, I don’t know what I am left with anymore. Sometimes I think every one has drained me. And maybe that is true. But often I wonder if I just drained myself.

So enough of the vague… I am just going to dive right in with rest of it, and I hope it goes well. And I say all of what is coming next in hopes that I may be able to help someone else. That maybe someone else will relate, find their voice and courage as well.

#MeToo

*Sigh of relief*

I’ve been waiting so painfully long for years to say that to someone. I’ve held it inside of myself longer than I could bear. I didn’t want a soul to know that I carried so much pain inside of myself. And I just didn’t and couldn’t understand why it happened to me. I couldn’t make any sense of it even if I tried. And if I couldn’t make any sense of it, I didn’t want others to make me feel more guilty and shameful than I already did.

So I blamed myself for years. If my mind couldn’t explain how someone could do this to me, then it must’ve been my own fault. And had this been anyone but myself, I know I would’ve asked them to give themselves Grace repeatedly. But for some reason, unbeknownst to me, I couldn’t allow myself to not feel guilty.

Maybe I had been too friendly. Maybe I did smile too much. Maybe I said something the wrong way. Maybe… maybe.. I asked for it.

And I know I didn’t.

But try and rationalize with a victim of abuse, and all you get to is a wall over and over again. Nothing but the same questions and same results.

The same pain. Over and over again.

I’ve always tried to be a good person. But why, why on earth would someone do this to me?

“Why me?”

And my mind hasn’t been able to make sense of it to this day. All I’m left with is bits and pieces of myself.

Broken.

Scrambled.

And I so badly need to make sense, so that I can stop blaming me. But I know I’ll never get the closure I yearn for, from the person or people that I need it from.

So I need help. I need to learn to forgive myself. I need to learn to stop bullying myself for those things that happened to me and those people that hurt me.

I need to learn that it was NOT my fault. 

I am NOT who those people made me out to be.

And I can’t do it on my own anymore. The therapy that I’ve been getting here and there, just isn’t cutting it. I don’t know how else to handle my thoughts, and all of the mess that is making up my head right now.

So friends, here I am, and here is where I have been hiding for a while… I was officially diagnosed with PTSD from the above incident, Complex-PTSD from a difficult upbringing, Bi-Polar II Disorder that is genetic, Depression (a combination of what I’ve dealt with my whole life, and a part that showed its face worse after giving birth twice), and Anxiety. And I don’t know how to handle the weight of all of my burdens and pain anymore. And where to go after finding out all of these diagnoses. It’s crushing and crippling me and affecting every aspect of my life.

So I’m going to give myself a break. One that I’ve needed far too long.

I’m checking into a voluntary mental health treatment center. And I start in 2 weeks.

I’m scared. I’m anxious. I’m nervous, and I’m sad. And I feel oh so GUILTY leaving my beautiful kids, and amazing husband behind to do this.

But for the first time in so long, I also feel and see HOPE.

Hope that I’ll learn to stop being my worst enemy. Hope that I’ll learn to finally cope instead of hurting quietly inside of myself. Hope that I’ll be the wife my amazing husband/best friend deserves, and the lively mother my children need.

I have hope that I’ll want to love myself for the first time in a long time.

And most of all, I have hope that I’ll finally learn to forgive myself.

And in doing so, I will finally set myself FREE.

So friends, all I ask for from you, is love. I need to be reminded that I have a purpose, until I know and understand my purpose for myself. I’ve got two weeks to go, and I’ll be gone for roughly 20 days. And when I come back, I will God willingly be the ME I have dreamt of being my whole life.

Thank you for supporting me. For following my journey. For cheering me on. I promise I will repay each one of you with the same kindness you have shown me.

See you on the other side. ❤

MUCH love,

Rummy ❤

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(P.S To my dear husband, Devon… Thank you.

From the deepest depths of my soul, I can’t explain how thankful and grateful I am for you. Thank you for being the best husband, my best friend, my confidante. For wiping my tears, holding me at every hour of the night. Standing up for me. Standing beside me. For being my everything and holding me and our family strong when I was at my weakest. You are a God given gift to me. And I love you more than you will ever understand. I hope you know that. <3)

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About Me

The Journey Begins

Hi friends! Thanks for joining me!

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. — Lao Tzu

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I’ve been meaning to get to this for a while now, and I am so happy to finally be here.

My name is Ramsha (pronounced Rum-sha), though most of my friends now lovingly refer to me as Rummy – a nickname my husband gave to me when we first met. Speaking of the man, I have been married to him for almost 5 years, and together for 6; And boy has our love been anything but calm… Don’t worry, we’ll get to that story soon.

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But the greatest love of my life helped create the two other mini humans that named me Mom.  I am a mother to a rambunctious 2 year old boy and a cheeky 6 month old girl. They keep my mind spinning, my house messy, but my heart so full.

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When I’m not being a wife or a mother – which is rare – I’m usually seated with my trusty glass of red, attempting to finish being a college student, and figure out what the next stage of my life will be when my kids are in school.

Though from the outside, it might look like I’ve got it all together, I’m just a young lady trying to figure my way forward through this world. And I’ve got a heck of a backstory that brought me here.

In this blog, I hope to write a little bit about everything. Life, marriage, motherhood. The great, the bad, and the mundane in-betweens. And the occasional sprinkle of recipes, makeup, and my all time favorite things. I’ll be sure to write something hopefully anyone can enjoy.

So buckle your seat belts, and enjoy the ride.

Oh and welcome, to The Road to Rummy.

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