Who's Judy?

My Journey Of Self Discovery

I grew up in a small city in Southern California that had more orange trees than houses. I was the second of three daughter’s. Yes, the peacemaker, and people pleasing middle child. My dad was a Baptist minister so I almost spent more time in the church building than I did in my house.

Growing up in the 50’s and 60’s was liberating for kids because we could ride our bikes anywhere and everywhere and played outside until the street lights came on.

I was a natural “tomboy” who was forced to wear dresses most of the time. But if given the chance I would exchange my dress for a pair of jeans, a t-shirt, a gun and holster, and my cowboy hat. I loved sports but girl’s had to wait until 6th grade to participate in a team sport.

Ron and I have been married for 46 years. God blessed us with two wonderful daughter’s, Stephanie Ann and JJ (Jennifer Judy). Both girls are married to wonderful Christian men both of whom are named David! Ron and I have also been blessed with our two beautiful granddaughters! Lucy Love is thirteen and Nora Grace is ten.

Ron & Judy
David & Stephanie
Dave & JJ
Lucy & Nora

I grew up in a small city in Southern California that had more orange trees than houses. I was the second of three daughter’s. Yes, the peacemaker, and people pleasing middle child. My dad was a Baptist minister so I almost spent more time in the church building than I did at my house.

Growing up in the 50’s and 60’s was liberating for kids because we could ride our bikes anywhere and everywhere and played outside until the street lights came on.

I was a natural “tomboy” who was forced to wear dresses most of the time. But if given the chance I would exchange my dress for a pair of jeans, a t-shirt, a gun and holster, and my cowboy hat. I loved sports but girl’s had to wait until 6th grade to participate on a team.

Ron and I have been married for 42 years. God blessed us with two wonderful daughter’s, Stephanie Ann and JJ (Jennifer Judy). Both girls are married to wonderful Christian men both of whom are named David! Ron and I have also been blessed with our two beautiful and special granddaughters! Lucy Love is nine and Nora Grace is six.

Ron & Judy
David & Stephanie
Dave & JJ
Lucy & Nora

The Pretend Judy

Just like you, my life’s journey has had its ups and downs. Where mine could be different from yours is that I spent the first 50 years of my life pretending that there were no downtimes. I was a ‘stuffer.’ Denial became my answer to dealing with painful events. If I didn’t think or talk about what had happened or what was going to happen, then it couldn’t hurt me.

My motto: Self-protection at all cost.

Unbeknownst to me, until just recently, the reason I chose to hide my hurts and live behind a protective wall was due to sexual abuse. The abuse started when I was about seven years old and continued until I graduated from junior high school. I told no one and just hid it away with all my other painful memories.

I chose to protect myself from being hurt by not allowing anyone to get close enough to know the real Judy. I intentionally kept people at arm’s length and introduced them to the Judy I wanted them to see.

The real me has a deeply compassionate heart. As a youth, I felt emotionally devastated when I witnessed someone crying. Their pain became my pain.

 

Judy – 7 years old

Due to that pain, it became my heart’s desire never to be the cause for someone else’s sadness. So, I made a covenant with myself that I would never cry.

What would cause a child to make such a bizarre promise like that? Doesn’t a child understand that emotionally shutting down is going to be very self-destructive?

Sadly, when Judy the child made that covenant, she was unaware of the enormous price she was eventually going to have to pay.

After several decades that impenetrable wall of self-protection, that I began constructing as a young child, began revealing a couple of small cracks.

Even with these cracks I still believed that my wall was strong. It had served me well for the last 50 years, and the Real Judy would continue to stay hidden for many more years to come.

But gradually, my world began changing from gray to black. This time as my tears began forming deep in my soul I could no longer stop them.

My real self, the Judy that I worked so hard to protect and hide from the world, was becoming visible and people were beginning to notice.

The payment for my childhood covenant had finally come due.

FEBRUARY 2003

After completing a series of incredibly stressful tasks in my role as a Junior High School Vice Principal I was given public accolades and kudos’ from my fellow administrator’s, peers and staff. I was experiencing an over-abundance of adrenaline and endorphins were flowing through my entire body. I was feeling an enormous amount of energy and positivity.

Professionally, I was at the top of my game.

My husband Ron was in the middle of his 40th year of coaching and teaching high school Bible. He had just been recruited by a nearby Christian High School to start up a varsity football program.

Our oldest daughter, Stephanie was set to graduate from San Jose Christian College (now Jessup University) and had her sights set on teaching at a Christian High School.

Her younger sister, JJ (Jennifer Judy), had finished her coursework at San Jose Christian College in January.  JJ and her fiance David were getting married in 6 weeks, and they were actively pursuing a music career.

Life was good  …  or was it?

FEBRUARY 2003

After completing a series of incredibly stressful tasks in my role as a Junior High School Vice Principal I was given public accolades and kudos’ from my fellow administrator’s, peers and staff. I was experiencing an over-abundance of adrenaline and endorphins were flowing through my entire body. I was feeling an enormous amount of energy and positivity.

Professionally, I was at the top of my game.

My husband Ron was in the middle of his 40th year of coaching and teaching high school Bible. He had just been recruited by a nearby Christian High School to start up a varsity football program.

Our oldest daughter, Stephanie was set to graduate from San Jose Christian College (now Jessup University) and had her sights set on teaching English at a Christian High School.

Her younger sister, JJ (Jennifer Judy), had finished her coursework at San Jose Christian College in January. JJ and her fiance David were getting married in 6 weeks and they were actively pursuing a music career.

Life was good  …  or was it?

In May 2003, I experienced my first of four, 51/50′s which was a mandatory 72-hour stay in a state-mandated mental health facility.

I was transported to the hospital by ambulance. Tears were streaming down my face as I was wheeled through a door that had previously been locked. I continued to cry while anxiety continued tightening inside my chest. Then someone handed me a white gown, walked me to my room and then quickly disappeared.

Here I was, just sitting on the edge of a cold metal twin size bed. It was a small room that was void of any color, pictures or anything personal.

My world had stopped spinning.

My mind had stopped functioning.

My body had stopped feeling.

I was completely alone.

The Pretend Judy

 Just like you, my life’s journey has had its up’s and down’s. Where mine could be different from yours is that I spent the first 50 years of my life pretending that there were no down times. I was a ‘stuffer.’ Denial became my answer to dealing with painful events. If I didn’t think or talk about what had happened or what was going to happen, then it couldn’t hurt me.

My motto: Self-protection at all cost.

Unbeknownst to me, until just recently, the reason I chose to hide my hurts and live behind a protective wall was due to sexual abuse. The abuse started when I was about seven years old and continued until I graduated from junior high school. I told no one and just hid it away with all my other painful memories.

I chose to protect myself from being hurt by not allowing anyone to get close enough to know the real Judy. I intentionally kept people at arm’s length and introduced them to the Judy I wanted them to see.

The real me has a deeply compassionate heart. As a youth, I felt emotionally devastated when I witnessed someone crying. Their pain became my pain. 

Due to that pain, it became my heart’s desire never to be the cause for someone else’s sadness. So, I made a covenant with myself that I would never cry.

Judy – 7 years old

What would cause a child to make such a bizarre promise like that? Doesn’t a child understand that emotionally shutting down is going to be very self-destructive?

Sadly, when Judy the child made that covenant, she was unaware of the enormous price she was eventually going to have to pay.

Then it happened, that impenetrable wall of self-protection, that I began constructing as a young child, began revealing a couple of small cracks.

Even with these cracks I still believed that my wall was strong. It had served me well for the last 50 years, and the Real Judy would continue to stay hidden for many more years to come.

But gradually, my world began changing from gray to black. This time as my tears began forming deep in my soul I could no longer stop them.

My real self, the Judy that I worked so hard to protect and hide from the world, was becoming visible and people were beginning to notice.

The payment for my childhood covenant had finally come due.

My first antidepressant was Prozac. It would have been great if that medication would have been the right one for me. Unfortunately, it wasn’t that easy.

Throughout the years my psychiatrists and hospital doctors prescribed a plethora of medications in an effort to find something that would help my brain to function properly. At one point during my “medication discovery” phase I had been prescribed 17 medications. I am pretty sure that wasn’t the best plan.

Medication is important but so is psychotherapy. Talk therapy. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). CBT teaches that the way we think about a situation can affect the way we feel and behave.

I began seeing a Licensed Therapist even before I had my psychotic break. I was overwhelmed with feelings that I had never before experienced. I needed someone to walk me through the process of sorting out 50 years of packed down emotions.

For the next six years, I continued to see my therapist at least once a week and my Psychiatrist once a month. Medication changes became the norm, but nothing was moving me out of the dark world of despair.

Hopelessness and thoughts of death had reached a critical level. Nothing could lift my spirits. At that point, my psychiatrist asked me to consider Electro Convulsive Therapy (ECT).

The word “therapy” is misleading. It is a medical procedure where a physician places electrodes on the patients head.

An ECT is like using a defibrillator on a person whose heart has stopped. But instead of zapping the heart to get it pumping correctly, they zapped my head to get my brain communicating accurately.

It is an In-and-Out procedure. The patient gets anesthesia, and then the doctor uses the attached electrodes to generate a short seizure.

After undergoing 12 ECT treatments in 6 weeks, the darkness had lifted, and my quality of life improved significantly.

For the next six years, I continued to see my therapist at least once a week and my Psychiatrist once a month. Medication changes became the norm, but nothing was moving me out of the dark world of despair.

Hopelessness and thoughts of death had reached a critical level. Nothing could lift my spirits. At that point, my psychiatrist asked me to consider Electro Convulsive Therapy (ECT).

The word “therapy” is misleading. It is a medical procedure where a physician places electrodes on the patients head.

An ECT is like using a defibrillator on a person whose heart has stopped. But instead of zapping the heart to get it pumping correctly, they zapped my head to get my brain communicating accurately.

It is an In-and-Out procedure. The patient gets anesthesia, and then the doctor uses the attached electrodes to generate a short seizure.

After undergoing 5 ECT treatments in 6 weeks, the darkness had lifted, and my quality of life improved significantly.

The pain kept coming and there was no place left for me to hide it.  All I could do was stand back and watch as my protective wall began breaking apart.

A lifetime of pain and hurt, rejection, and abandonment, everything I thought I had hidden away for good, was being released and began circling around me.

I stood completely still while my whole world kept spinning faster and faster! As hard as I tried, I could not stop whatever it was that was happening to me.

Denial was now powerless.

Everything was out of control.

Out of my control.

Then, like a quick strike of lightning, something in my brain SNAPPED.

I did not really know who I was anymore. The Judy I had created was now gone, and the child Judy, the little girl that I had tried so valiantly to protect, was now so very sick.

The pain kept coming and there was no place left for me to hide it. All I could do was stand back and watch as my protective wall began breaking apart.

A lifetime of pain and hurt, rejection, and abandonment, everything I thought I had hidden away for good, was being released and began circling around me. 

I stood completely still while my whole world kept spinning faster and faster! As hard as I tried, I could not stop whatever it was that was happening to me.

Denial was now powerless.

Everything was out of control.

Out of my control.

Then, like a quick strike of lightning, something in my brain SNAPPED.

I did not really know who I was anymore. The Judy I had created was now gone, and the child Judy, the little girl that I had tried so valiantly to protect, was now so very sick.

One of the frustrating things about depression is that even though you are doing well for weeks or months or even years, there is no guarantee you will remain there.

Several months after my ECT treatments I once again found myself sitting in complete darkness at the bottom of the “pit.”

Throughout my entire journey, with clinical depression, the thought of suicide was never far away. Most of my hospitalization’s occurred for that very reason.

I wasn’t safe.

I am not ashamed to acknowledge, that I did succumb to the ideation of suicide because it was not ‘me’ that made that choice. Yes, the thought to finally stop the pain, caused by misery and hopelessness, did come from my own brain but it was a brain that science has proven is severely damaged.

You have heard it said, “You are out of your mind.” Well, I can truthfully say that I know what that is like. But I am one of the lucky ones. I was that someone who falsely thought that she wanted to die but thankfully am still alive!

I still have some dark and cloudy days but the clouds are not as black as before and they do not stay around quite as long.

I am still taking antidepressants and I also have a very educated and wise Christian life coach who helps me to filter my thoughts as to what is true and what is a lie.

I will never be “finished” with clinical depression but now that I have a plethora of tools at my disposal clinical depression will not finish me!

If you are interested in joining me on My Journey Of Self Discovery then, please…

It is my heart’s desire to…

   HELP PEOPLE   HELP PEOPLE

How can I help YOU?

Let me know by using the button below to write to me. I would love to hear from you!

It is my heart’s desire to…

   HELP PEOPLE   HELP PEOPLE 

How can I help YOU?

Let me know by using the button below to write to me. I would love to hear from you!

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