Blogger Widgets

Be A Lifesaver

[Today's post was tough to write and may be upsetting to read. Please try anyway.]

Over the past few months I've mentioned a family member who's been in and out of the hospital.  My roommate (I call him Zeus, but his name is Sam [it's also Amanda, but more on that in a bit]) has gone from not wanting anyone to even know it was him to wanting me to share a bit of his story and what our family has been going through over the past few months.

First though, there's a reason I'm posting today specifically.  He'll be walking in the Philadelphia Out Of The Darkness Walk (to benefit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention) on October 6th and is seeking donations.  On our way home from his last hospitalization, I saw a bus shelter ad for the walk.  I pointed it out to him and he decided right away that this is something he needs to do.  I'm really proud of him, for this and so many other reasons.  He is also seeking donations to fund a service dog to help him continue his recovery.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention uses a ship's lifesaver as its logo.  This is perfect on so many levels that it's almost poetic.  I knew exactly what I'd do as nail art for this post.

done with SpaRitual Osmium, LA Colors Reckless, and SinfulShine Wisp

Suicidal depression is a lot like drowning.  You feel adrift, pulled down, sinking.  Like drowning, the people around you may not even realize you're struggling until you go under.  If you're lucky, someone is there to throw you a rope and help you come back to life.  For me, years ago, it was my best friend who brought me back to life and I'll always be grateful to him.  Zeus started to capsize in May, but it had been on its way since long before we met.

When Zeus and I first met, he was painfully timid.  My partner, Stewart, and I had been dating for a few months and he decided it was time that I met his roommate.  He'd explained the situation a bit, but it took some getting used to.  He'd met Zeus while going to college in Florida.  Zeus had run away from an abusive home and was homeless.  They bonded over video games and Stewart took Zeus in.  Not much more was explained to me at first.  It's not an easy story to tell, but I'm going to try.

Zeus was born female, but is transgender and lives as male now.  It's something he's always felt, but we've worked over the past year to help him start to transition.  When I first met him, he was still "she".  He was the result of an unplanned, and unwanted, pregnancy.  He doesn't talk much about his mother, his grandmother, or his childhood.  It's still very painful for him and he's only just starting to confront his past in therapy.  He was abused, physically and verbally.  He has scars and severe emotional damage.  He was also neglected, which worsened some inherited health problems.  He was sexually abused too.  It's a testament to his strength that he managed to survive and escape that life.

His life started to improve when Stewart took him in.  He treated Zeus like a person, something few others had ever done.  Stewart describes Zeus as being like a "feral child" back then.  He became a sort of surrogate father to Zeus, doing his best to socialize him and mend some of the damage.  This overwhelming kindness for someone so downtrodden is part of what "sold me" on Stewart, so in a way we're together because of Zeus.  I became part of their family and I started doing my best to try to help Zeus too.

There's only so much that love and kindness can do though.  Zeus needed more help than we could give.  One Sunday in May, he told me he needed to go somewhere safe.  He couldn't handle it all anymore and was scared of himself and the things in his own head.  I brought him to a hospital to be committed.  This wasn't weakness.  It's one of the bravest things I've ever seen someone do.

He's gone back twice since and is now in therapy and on medications.  The diagnosis is mostly Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  Memories of his abuse are very real for him, to the point of hallucination.  He literally can't escape his fearful past.

Still, the change in him since starting to get help has been unbelievable.  It's like the color's coming back to his personality.  When we met, everything scared him and he was just moving through life.  He barely even spoke some days.  Now, he's becoming such a character.  There's warmth, humor, interest....and hope.  He talks about the future he wants.

Zeus has come so far in the past few months, but he needs help to go further.  He's stuck at a half-way point.  He's come back to reality enough to want to stay here for good, but he's still very limited by his PTSD and social anxiety.  He did a lot of research and found that while medication can't do much to treat his flashbacks, a service dog could make all of the difference.  As he is now, he can't risk leaving the house alone.  A flashback could happen at any time...even in the middle of the street.  Dogs can be trained to recognize the signs and keep the sufferer safe.  One of his own could bring him freedom like he's never had and restore his self-respect.  Please consider donating to help him keep moving toward a more normal life.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.  The past few months have been difficult for the three of us, but have also brought us all even closer together.  The night before his third hospitalization, Zeus told me I'm a better mom to him than any other person's ever been.  He's very special to me.

18 comments:

  1. He is very fortunate to have someone like you and your partner in his life. I wish the best for him and his recovery.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you :) We're lucky to have him too

      Delete
  2. My mama is the best, and I'm lucky to have you in my life.

    ReplyDelete
  3. this is a wonderful exhibition of bravery, loyalty, love and strength from all of you and you are so lucky to have each other . I wish you all the very best and especially to Zeus on his continued road to recovery.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you :) We definitely all lean on each other in this house and I'd be so lost without these two.

      Delete
  4. Thank you so much for sharing Zeus' story. When I get paid on Friday, I plan on contributing what I can. You guys are all lucky to have each other! Tell him we love him! <3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you :) And thanks for donating when you can. He read these comments and appreciated them all a lot

      Delete
  5. Thank you for sharing. This honestly made me cry. I wish I could meet Zeus, as well as you and your partner. You are amazing people! Since finding out about Zeus I find myself thinking and wondering about him. How he's doing and if he's okay. I wish the three of you the best and Zeus a safe recovery.

    With love.
    -Lisa.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Is it okay if I share this? I want to get any and everyone I can to donate.

      Delete
    2. Thank you :) You can absolutely share this!

      Delete
    3. Is NB okay? One of the networks I want to share on.

      Delete
  6. I know I am getting to this a couple of days after it was posted, but thank you for sharing. The three of you, especially Zeus, are amazing and wonderful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you :) It took me a few days to be able to reply, so this doesn't seem late to me

      Delete
  7. Sorry for the late replies, but I needed a long "moment" after writing this.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I can tell from reading this what a blessing you each are to one another. I hope Zeus is able to get and train his dog really soon. He's a brave young man who deserves all the best.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. We both smiled when we read this. :) I need to actually *wear* the Zeus polish sometime.... lol

      Delete
  9. Amanda, I just read this after your end of the year post. I was crying reading this. How heartbreaking what Zeus had to go through but how wonderful that all three of you found each other. I hope you all continue to find strength in each other for the long haul! Did Zeus get his dog?

    ReplyDelete

We love to hear from you! Your feedback, comments, compliments, questions, etc are always appreciated...especially the compliments! ;)

Please don't post a link to your own blog *unless* you're linking to a related post (same/similar technique, theme, shade, etc). If you comment using your Google account, your blogspot blog can easily be found in your profile. If you want us to check out your blog, please contact us through email or on twitter.

Spam, harassing comments, and those blatantly promoting blogs or websites will be deleted.