There are so many reasons why I went away. I simply could not manage day to day. Locked away inside my tainted haven. Coping with what was beyond comprehension. I have to protect myself as I struggle to survive in this world. Energies hitting me from all sides. Draining my spirit while my soul swims in white light. My mind works overtime just like the machines of this time. Filtering all the vibes takes more time while my body declines. It is all connected….the heart, body, soul, and mind. I go at my pace now after falling so far behind. Living in the moment as if it’s my last time. Loving has saved me and losing has taught me. I do not see what many others believe to be. I believe in what I feel, think, and see. The beauty all around me and the good in all you see. That is the best life for me, full of music and the sea. Mountains and plains as far as the eye can see. I am finding my home and getting lost on the way. Endless journeys through space and time, leaving miracles in it’s wake. ~Jennifer Steen
Ok so its high time for a feel good story and it is one that is very close to my heart! Anyone who know me well can tell you how much I love music and the stories they tell. There are a few bands who take the top spots in my book and I am going to share with you the amazing experience my family and I had with one of them, Breaking Benjamin!
In October 2015, my husband took me to my second Breaking Benjamin concert with VIP tickets. Our daughter at the time wanted to go so bad but was not able to do so. I promised her that one day I would take her to see them but until then she decided that she was going to record a message for Ben and begged me to show it to him. Alrighty then I said I would do my very best, if allowed. Lucky for me their band manager was kind enough to allow me to show it and Ben was great in answering her question. It was an amazing night and an emotional show. Ashes of Eden live for the first time, having not heard it before, was something I will never forget!
Five months later, I fulfilled my promise and took my daughter, Kaitlyn, to their show with VIP tickets. Wow what a night it turned out to be, one for the record books for sure. I finally learned the name of the man who allowed me to show her video all those months earlier, the bands tour manager, John Phillips. After our meet and greet with the band and a mini emotional meltdown, Kaitlyn was taken in by the crew and we were all treated to an experience of a lifetime!
Five months later, we got to go see them again in Houston, the day before our vacation began. Kaitlyn was so excited to see her bestie, John, and the band again!
John and Kaitlyn
Waiting for meet and greet
Then just a few short months later, we all meet up again in Tulsa for another amazing concert experience thanks to John! I was able to bring my nieces to their first ever rock concert and my mom came too! I would not have been able to give them that experience without his help and it is a memory I hold very dear to my heart!
So now in closing, I have two very important things to say…….
First to John, I can never thank you enough for what you have done for not only Kaitlyn, but for me!(I will explain that part shortly). For allowing us the opportunity to see these shows in a way not everyone gets to and for taking Kaitlyn under your wing and being her friend. She truly cares about you and the friendship you both have developed. It means a great deal to her and after the past year, she needs it more now than ever! You saw something that day in Amarillo, took action, and forever altered both our lives! We are both grateful for that!
And now I get to the hard part and share with you why it means so much to me. In 2009, two years after overcoming an addiction to meth, I began to experience chronic unexplained pain. Over the next seven years, I tried anything and everything to manage and I did well until August 2016. What was once just pain, turned into a health crisis I am still battling today. Here is a page from my journal……
I thought I knew what agony was, turns out I had only known pain. It was not until my pain became sickness that I truly got a taste of agony. Not until I read the burnt pages of my soul did I understand. The days I laid on the bathroom floor screaming into my hands and begging for relief. The nights I dreaded to sleep for fear I would not wake up. The people I lost because they could not handle my suffering for they did not understand. The hopelessness when you beg for help and no one listens or believes you. Living everyday as if it’s your last because you have been so close to death. Grateful for the people who decided you were worth sticking around for, and even more so for the stories that give hope.
I could go on for days explaining all the ways that Ben’s words and story helped me to keep going and still does to this day. How the songs gave me a voice when I was to tired to speak. I will admit, it is hard sometimes to listen too, the feelings are so raw and emotional. I ask myself often why I never said any of this face to face? Four chances and nothing. What do you say? How do you begin? I do not like to live with regret I can do something about but I have to believe that THIS is the way it was supposed to be. I was meant to write it down and share it in written words instead. My first poem was born from that inspiring night and my writings have grounded me as my life imploded around me. I am finally able to express my pain and thoughts and it was inspired by Ben, the band, a few other amazing people who encouraged me to break through fear and find the courage to share my story. So now I have no regrets when it comes to this amazing experience!
In closing I leave you with that poem and one last thank you before I sound like a broken record…..
Go ahead and stay
You won’t listen no matter what I say
Infects my soul
Drains my mind
Breaks my heart in all kinds of ways
Wash the day away
I just hope for a better day ~ Jennifer Steen
You would think he comes like a thief in the night
But he creeps up on you in broad daylight
Hey everyone……so some of you know by reading my previous posts, that I have been sick for awhile now. This period of time in my life had been eye opening and haunting. On top of that, we had some really hard and painful things happen to the kids and everyone in our household at the time. These series of occurances left a silent mark on me, one I did not truly realize for some time. I admit, half of it is solely on my shoulders and am responsible for the mental state I find myself in. Trying to do to much, save people who do not want it, and deal with people who only want to see me fail and suffer. People pleasing and trying to be someone I am not. I also have been working on a series of writings that go back to the very beginning of my life in memories. It has brought up a ton of emotional baggage but also healed me in ways that have helped me move on, I will never be sorry for this! This story is meant to be told and it is the most important thing I have done and will NOT apologize for! Ok got it, I own it, and let’s move on.
The poem below was written when I decided to try medication to treat my depression……
The depression so deep
The chemicals will bring it to the surface
Where the spirit will contain it
And it will be washed away
The illness will remain however
Stuck in time
Ticking like a time bomb
Waiting for a sign from within
To destroy everything in its wake
I need more chemicals now
So I can survive the destruction
Shielding me from the jagged pieces of my broken body
My protective angel wraps his strong arms around me
Leading me out of the remains of my own tragedy~Jennifer Steen
I recognized my depression about six months ago, got medicine, and it sucked. I became an emotionless zombie and found that I preferred to cry instead of not. I wanted to feel, even if it brought me to my knees. Its closer to mother earth anyways, having my head in the clouds is not always the best place for me. I get lost and forget my place in this world, forget my purpose and responsibilities. I quickly weaned myself off these meds(my choice, you make your own based on needs amd beliefs) and knew if I took the proper approach and began to deal with what was going on, that I could find my way back to happiness. Well its not an overnight fix! It takes time, patience, and support…..did you get that last part? Support! From yourself and those who call you family and friends.
Now I am going to speak to potential family and friends of someone going through a mental issue such as depression and trauma. First, do not EVER tell them to “just get over it”. Please….for their sake and yours. I know you miss this person but you most likely brought upon yourself more time away from them. Second, you can not not just call or text once and then give up when things do not go your way. It is NOT ABOUT YOU, god forbid you find yourself in the same position someday and faced with self absorbed people who care not about your well being, only themselves. Third, you do not have to be ugly and say hateful things to get your point across. You just don’t, I promise! Not sure why “tough love” is the approach for somone who is actively seeking help. And last, if you find yourself unable to cope with said person and their “crap” do everyone a favor and WALK AWAY!
I have found myself in these situations with people over the last year and I will not lie, it hurts really bad. I am not mad, just sad. Feeling worthless and no good is not an easy feeling to cope with. I have not forgotten the precious ones who have held me up during this time and been my rock, you guys seriously saved my life! You all make the ugly side of this journey worth it! So thank you to those amazing people and a thank you to the ones who kicked me while I was down, you did not stay around to watch me get back up and I was able to leave you where you belong…..behind me!
Now, to all those dealing with depression and other mental illnesses….I love you guys! Even if I do not know you, I got love for you! Please seek help! It will not be easy, ok? Some of the best things in life never are, you have to fight for yourself and the life you want! You are amazing and you are important! Find what works for you, we all deal with things differently, and stay the course. Even if you get lost, its ok, you hold the map so use it!
For anyone that chooses to not to get help and be proactive, I can not say what will happen or who will stick around but I can say with certainty that things will not get better, simple as that. We are all here for a purpose and I hope you find yours, I hope for happiness and some sort of peace in your suffering. Because without suffering their would be no compassion!
Happy Saturday and happy vibes to all……
Hey everyone! Now that I got everyone caught up and we are in real time, I will share a bit of information about my continued journey through my illness, seeking answers and a plan to move forward.
So I have had an MRI and EEG, all normal! According to my neurologist, I have a beautiful brain……why thank you kind sir! So now I wait for an evaluation on my mental state, here is where things will get tricky I imagine. As I said before in my post about trauma, it is assumed that I suffer from feuge state, I can totally see this as an option based on what I have read. I completely am aware of my unique sense of self and that I can be a chameleon if need be. It has been that way all my life, a way to cope with my surroundings and situations I found myself in, and others I put myself in. Adaptability is a virtue I am happy to have. No shame in that! It is not fake, it is survival.
Being fake is pretending, in full knowledge of ones actions, to be someone you know you are not.
Be real, even in your mental illness! Own who you are and what has happened to you and give it the attention it deserves, then let it GO! Not forget, just put away, so it does not continue to ruin the true you! No one ever got help by being ignorant, so wake up and help yourself. Hopefully you have an amazing support system, like I do, and will not be alone in your journey. Even if it’s just one person standing by your side, it is more than some people receive.
I continue to be open to the findings and will deal with them in an adult way, fits are for babies! However, I am finding it increasingly hard to deal with educated individuals who see themselves as above me in knowing my own body. Exhausting I tell ya! I still have bad days, really bad ones! My mantra is always the same, this too shall pass! Love you guys!
Never let anyone make you feel bad for knowing your own worth! Be your own champion and cheer yourself on, in the good times and the bad. You will never find the validation you seek, if you do not value yourself first. Simple as that!
Let your thoughts flow and do not be ashamed of them, own them! These negative and positive thoughts, give them the voice they are seeking. We speak to be heard, to communicate. These thoughts become art, they become our haven to understanding ourselves and the world around us. They inspire and save lives!
I now decide what I am willing to sacrifice for happiness. I however will never lose myself again, for anything or anybody. Until we start accepting ourselves and others, we will forever be giving up and giving in. ~Jennifer Steen Sept. 12, 2018
We are souls reaching out to connect with something bigger than us. A way to cope and learn to grow in the safety of ourselves and our tribe. Continue to look inward often and put yourself first! Yes you! Then your job, your kids, significant other, etc. Some people are not going to agree with me on that and it’s ok, I get it, truly. It is not self serving at all, its preservation.
*sigh* I realized today that while I am making progress in my journey. I am still stuck putting other things first, instead of me. Everyday life and challenges become overwhelming and complicated. I feel guilt and sadness in my self imposed isolation from what I struggle to face. The pain, the unknown, It is not designed to be easy, we must find the clues in the labyrinth of our minds. You will undoubtedly take wrong turns but there is a way back, even if it’s from the way you came. They are not called second chances for nothing!
So I think that wraps my late night thoughts and ramblings. It is my go to form of therapy to write and it is my gift. I am proud of that gift and honor it! I hope you all do the same, it will change the world, I promise! Thank you for reading!
~Jennifer Steen ☮💙🕉
The pain of today
The sins of yesterday
How do we cope with the memories
I dare not say
For all of us are different
We handle in our own way ~Jennifer Steen
March 2, 2018
I’m so very scared
A silent foe lies in wait
Within my soul
I slowly die inside
Wrought with agony and pain
Scared for tomorrow
Will I make it to that day?
Or just fade away……
Absolutely no way!
I continue to fight and vibe on my way
When we face our shadows
They all fall away
And we are like the stars shining so brightly, nothing can ever take that away
Now I feel hope and resilience
In the face of my fate ~Jennifer Steen
10 days was all it took. From ER to truly the sickest I had ever been up until this point. It started with a headache that never went away……to save considerable time I am going to list the symptoms that followed, I wrote this list while in the waiting room at BSA
*excessive underarm sweating and dark spots
*dizziness and light headed which led to numerous black outs and a nasty concussion
*foggy memory and forgetfulness
*neck stiffness, swollen throat
*deep painful all over body ache(like a full blown flu)
*tingling hands and feet
*on and off fever
*trouble falling asleep
*sensitive to meds
*heart racing feeling with sweating and chills
*rapid weight loss
*skin changes on my face and legs, large red patches that burn when exposed to sun or lotion
Six weeks. That is how long I lived like this. In a blur, a realistic soul sucking abyss.
“Yet out of darkness was this gift, of vibes and rythmes. Of sight you can not see and words which you can not hear. Touch that you can not feel yet moments that came alive”. ~Jenn
So you can see while reliving the memories, I have gained perspective on the situation. Makes it tolerable to endure when something hopeful and optimistic can come from it.
They ended up telling me what I already suspected, it was an endocrine issue and there was nothing they could do, they tried giving me morphine but I had a horrible reaction to it and thus solidifying that I would no longer take prescription meds to handle my pain. My body was shutting down slowly and it was only a matter of time, I knew if I did not figure out what was wrong that I would not make it at the rate I was going. It was time for a change and to get down to the bottom of what was happening and why.
I was referred to an endocrinologist and that is where I started to get some answers. He originally thought I had Addison’s disease but turns out I have something even more rare. Hyporeninemic Hypoaldosteronism, meaning my kidneys do not make enough of an enzymes called renin which decreases the aldosterone in my adreanal glands. This disease is seen in people with chronic kidney failure and end stage cancer, I have neither. Leave it to me to be difficult huh? I have had numerous scans and tests and so far nothing else has came up. I take a steroid twice a day and it has helped thank goodness! Hoping after my neurologist visit, I can find a functional medicine doctor to run more extensive tests. I have chronic kidney stones and rashes that pop up and then go away. I tested negative for lupus. So far no thyroid disease put I do have a goiter on my right thyroid gland. I have also been experiencing slurred speech, balance and memory issues, and stomach problems. I am still fatigued and sick often but it is getting better with proper rest, food, and a positive mindset!
I will be coming back and updating as I get information and of course I will share how I am feeling from time to time. The support and love for me and my family has been a blessing to us and we will never forget it, thank you all so much!!