I feel helpless

Sometimes the anger fills me up. Sometimes I get frustrated at my dad and then I am angry at myself for feeling angry. It can be a never ending cycle.  

My father has a mental illness. At this point my dad who is 59 years old seems to have the understanding of a teenager. It is such a hard thing to explain. I don’t know if this is caused from him taking so much medication over the years for his schizophrenic episodes or if it is part of the progression of his mental illness.

He seems to keep getting himself into trouble. He calls me and he is upset over the next thing he has gotten caught up in and I feel helpless.

I feel helpless that he won’t listen to me and nothing I say changes his actions.

I feel helpless that I reach out to those I think are there to help him and there isn’t much that can be done.

I feel helpless that I am always concerned for my dad’s safety and wellbeing but there is nothing I can do about it.

I feel helpless and how I feel really doesn’t matter.

My father has lived with my family in the past but moves around a lot because of his paranoia. Right now he is back living with my grandmother – his mother. She is elderly and she gets extremely upset at him. They constantly argue because she wants to help him make good decisions and he seems to defy everything she says.

There are a lot of people over the years that have taken advantage of my father. One female had him returning stolen items to Wal-Mart and getting the cash in return. He also purchased her a car and took out several payday loans for her. He was sending her money while she was in jail and supported her and her family when she got out. She continued to tell my dad she would marry him while she was seen with other men.

Another woman mistreated my dad so badly that she would pull his hair and force him to do drugs (my father had never done drugs or alcohol). She did horrible things to him as he gave her money every week and drove her anywhere she wanted to go. She ALSO made promises of marriage to my father.

This last female also has a mental disability and is younger than I am.  I am talking over 20 years younger than my father. My dad was married to her at one point but he feared for his life so they divorced after a little boy was conceived. This boy is now 10 years old and is also mentally disabled. This female blames my father saying his genes were bad. There have been constant fights as my dad has gone back and forth. She dangles the carrot (so to speak) in a constant effort to get money from him. The sad part is I have a brother I barely know and more children are involved.

I have come to the conclusion that my dad is lonely and I cannot control what my dad does. I talk to him and try and reason with him but that doesn’t seem to work. So, right now I just love him and I pray. I pray that he will make smarter decisions and that he will just be happy. I just want him to be happy because I know, really, that is what he is truly searching for.

And I pray that I can let go and stop being angry at my dad, at these women, and at myself and just be the supportive daughter that my dad needs me to be.

Me and my dad

Me and my dad


My Story

When I first decided to start a blog I was so anxious to share my story. To tell you my history and how I became the person I am today. This has been a struggle because there are people I have reconciled with that could be hurt badly if I “spill the bean” so to speak. So my heart says to protect them which makes for a not so interesting or juicy blog.
I had also decided to share my story as a mental health advocate because I strongly believe in standing and supporting families that have loved one that are dealing with mental health issues.
I have also had my own struggles with addiction, personality disorder and anorexia/bulimia (which is a physical issue with a huge mental aspect). However, I was somewhat reject by the mental healthy advocacy community on Facebook because I wasn’t promoting advocacy to the level that was expected.  I found myself discouraged because I have a dad with a mental illness that I have spent the last 25 years supporting and if that doesn’t make me a true advocate nothing will.
So I have decided that I will share aspects of my own life, daily events, and struggles I face. This may include things from my past and my advocacy for mental health.
Basically I will share with you what God leads me to share because the point of this blog isn’t just me or what cause I support… It is YOU.
It is giving glory to God and showing you how I have made it only by His grace! It is reaching out to you so that you will have a desire to reach out to Him.
I am here for you, to pray for you, to counsel with you. Never hesitate to reach out to me and don’t ever give up because there is always hope for your life! There is hope for your future! You are a warrior! Be blessed.
xoxo – Cindy


I have been hiding

Today was a hectic morning getting the family ready for church.  It usually is. And like every Sunday nothing goes as I expect it. First I am pressing my dress and the iron has some black stuff that transfers to my dress. (I am certain the iron wasn’t dirty the last time I used it which mean my teenage son likely burned an article of his clothing in an attempt to iron). I get a wet cloth and I am able to scrub the black spot with success while mumbling under my breath.
I get dressed, throw some makeup on and fix my hair. It seems I am always running behind so I grab the baby and start gathering my things just in time to head out the door when I see another spot of makeup or something (who knows) right in the middle of the front of my dress. Grrr…. I am complaining out loud now, “how does this always happen” as I grab a cloth to scrub the spot. It won’t budge. I am beyond frustrated and if I don’t hurry we will be late for church. I decide forget it and I leave the spot as my husband assures me that I am the only one who sees it.  I proceed to tell him that other women will notice. That where men don’t care women do.

We get to church and I do what I always do. I try to look put together and proper as I carefully glance around at how others look. Then suddenly it occurred to me that I had been hiding.

Let me explain.  You see for years I have prayed and asked God to call me, to use me. To let my testimony reach others but everytime I seem to gain ground I find myself going backward again. Why? Because I have been so caught up in the perfection of things. Hiding behind the perfectly put together outfit, hiding behind the just right makeup and hair, and hiding behind my cute shoes.
At my last job they called me a fashionista and I had pride in looking my best but was so insecure I would dismiss any compliment I might receive.  It was so much work and pressure as I daily gave into my desire to impress. Continually seeking approval.

God showed me something today and He was completely clear….

How can He use me when I am so obsessed and occupied with my appearance?

I obsess over my hair, my clothes, whether I have gained a few pounds or I think I look like I have. You see I have been hiding myself. I have been hiding my insecurities behind the presentation of myself. Hoping to portray this really put together person when in reality I am obsessing to the point of distress.  You see God sees our hearts and who we really are on the inside. We can look perfect on the outside and be ugly on the inside. I rather get ugly for Jesus by crying and preaching and sharing how he changed my life then stand looking perfect and being completely dead inside and so caught up on how I look, say, or present myself.  I am tired of satan and the attack of insecurity I have battled my entire life!!  I am tired of the constant fight. God says I am His and it doesn’t matter if my outfits are perfect. I am no longer hiding!!  I have hid for long enough!!

I choose to no longer be bound and caught up in perfectionism!!  I will no longer believe that in order to be accepted I have to meet a certain criteria or standard. God loves me regardless! He loves you regardless!  In Luke 10:40-42 Martha was stressed over making everything perfect while Mary sat peacefully at Jesus feet.


I don’t want to miss out on what God has for me because I am so worried about what people will think or say. Insecurity is an attack of the enemy. He wants us to be insecure and question how we measure up compared to others and uncertain on where we stand.
We must look to God to complete us and not for man’s approval. You do not have to earn God’s love. God already loves us fully and completely and there is no need to prove ourselves to Him.

It’s Not About YOU – (When Children Make Bad Decisions)

I have always been open and honest with my teenage boys when it comes to discussing alcohol, sex, drugs, and well, most anything. I have even discussed times when I have fallen short in hope that they would make better decisions in their lives than I had. But even though I always pray that God will give me wisdom and insight to be a good parent, my boys have not always made the best choices.

I recently discovered something about one of my sons that lead me into panic. I cried, man did I cry. I was hurt. I knew I taught him better. I was always a good example in this area but yet… my son’s actions did not reflect any of those things. I wanted to have a fit, sit him down and ask “how can you do this to ME?”

My son at the time was away for a few days and I had decided that the day he returned I was taking him and giving him a good talking to. He would have to see things my way and change his actions.

That night before I would see him, I prayed. I prayed about how to handle the situation.

My prayer was simple “Lord, what should I do? I do not know what to do!” I am glad I prayed. God showed me I was taking my son’s actions WAY to personal. I was hurt and offended… Wasn’t I a good enough parent to prevent this? Where did I fail?

Then I realized something. My son’s actions had nothing to do with me. YES, his actions were against anything I would want for my son. NO, I did not condone his behavior but it was not about ME. He wasn’t intentionally doing something to hurt me. He had made a decision… It was about him and what he decided and not about me at all.

I think one of the most painful things to do is watch our children make bad choices.

We will do everything in our power to prevent our children from making the wrong choices. Especially when we know that it may be something that can affect them later in life. As a parent it is our responsibility to guide our children, to teach them and to take control of situations that can harm our children. In my case, my son is an adult so I cannot control his actions but I can still talk to him about the consequences of making bad choices and most of all… I can give loving advice and pray for him.


As parents we want to jump in and control a situation and when we don’t have control we get upset, we panic and we want our way.  I wanted my son to see it my way.  He did not. I had to step back, give him motherly advice and then leave it in God’s hands.  I can get angry and try and force him to do things the way I want which may drive a wedge between us, or I can make sure he knows where I stand, continue to pray and show him love.

I am a firm believer that more can happen, more lives are changed, more hearts are open to listen and receive if we give love rather than hate.

Right now all I can do is take it one step at a time knowing that I am teaching and leading my children the best I can and pray, and then pray some more. The rest is between them and God.


Marriage – The good, the bad, and the ugly

I don’t think anyone is really prepared for marriage. Not really!!  You can get married at 19 or 32… there is not a single person that goes into marriage knowing what it will really be like.  Many of us even took classes to prepare us for a lifelong experience but nothing is close to living it out on a daily basis. We can prepare ourselves by reading books and being educated on the “what ifs” but truthfully you really do not know how you will respond when crap hits the fan until it happens.

Don’t get me wrong… there are so many amazing things about marriage. For one thing you have a lifelong partner who can and will be your best friend. In marriage you have a shoulder to lean on, a sense of belonging and security. You have someone to tell you that everything will be okay and sometimes just hold you and let you cry when you need it.


When things get bad, they can get really bad.


When things get ugly, when people act ugly, it can get really ugly.

Stuff happens, life happens and it can be so bad sometimes that you start to think to yourself that there was no way that you signed up for this. There are failures, and sometimes things hurt you to the point you just want to walk away.  Money gets tight and feelings get hurt. Rejection and other traumatic things happen. In some cases there is mental illness or a life threatening illness.

And then there are times you will fight… you will have knock out, dragged out fights.

couples boxing 2

Then there is sickness… and by sickness I mean imagine being married to someone that gets a bad case of the stomach flu. (Things can get messy and some things happen in marriage that you cannot and should not share with another person).

Marriage is life altering. So from the moment you give your life to another person you need to make a choice. A choice from the very start of your journey to establish in your own heart that marriage is a covenant, a promise you will uphold no matter what comes your way.

Bob and Audrey Meisner wrote in their book Your Supernatural Marriage that real, outward proof of a covenant life in action is the presence of genuine truth and honesty in the relationship between a woman and a man no matter the circumstances.  These benefits include security, assurance, protection and hope (2006).


A covenant is a commitment to honor continually and completely to each other. It is choosing to be accountable to each other with such honesty that you learn to overcome failures and walk through difficulties together.

This is easy to say… and not always easy to do.  This is put to test continually. We are not perfect people and we do not always live up to expectations. We mess up, fail, and make wrong decisions.

We have to choose to be accountable to each other and decide early (before you walk down the isle  or even right now – if you are already married) that this is an agreement that cannot be broken. It is a commitment you are making for life.

When you make a decision from the very beginning to choose love… above all else, no matter what… you are then able to see past the bad and have confidence that even at rock bottom things can get better.

Someone once said to me, “When you hate him, find a reason to like him. When you only like him, find a reason to love him.”  

I married at 19 and I failed my marriage because I thought the world was about me and my wants and needs. I did not see marriage as a lifelong commitment. I found out I was expecting and I thought it was a way to make things right. I look back now and I believe I could have survived every bit of garbage (his and mine) if I would have had the maturity. If I had taken it upon myself to practice love, it may have been different. If I had decided, “I am going to put into this relationship even if at this time you are unable to give back.”

I am now remarried and some ugly stuff has happened and we both could have walked away many times but we have taken a step back each time and saw potential in our marriage. There were times it took us bringing in a third party such as a counselor to see this. We even had one counselor tell us they could not help us (we were that much of a mess). But we did not give up and we sought out more help. And because we did not give up we learned that a marriage that is falling apart can be replenished and restored if two people are willing to put in the work.

Marriage might be the hardest thing you ever do and in seasons of fear and anger you may feel bombarded and overwhelmed with emotions, but if you fight for your marriage you will also discover it can be the most fulfilling, most satisfying, most beautiful commitment you will ever make.


Meisner, B. & A., (2006). Your Supernatural Marriage, 49 & 65.


The thing about schizophrenia is it takes…

Not only does it take from the individual with the disease but it takes from nearly everyone who is a part of their life. It doesn’t care who you are. You can be a doctor, a parent, a husband, a pastor… the list can go on and on.

There are many creative minds that have been linked to schizophrenia, showing us that no one is exempt. Schizophrenia can affect anyone regardless of their financial or social standing.

“I have lived part of my life with the fear that my dad’s disease would find me. Almost like I have been secretly hiding, hoping, praying that it will somehow pass me by.”

My dad’s brother was also a schizophrenic and experienced psychotic episodes. Some of my family members say his episodes were caused from the time he spent in Vietnam but some of them remember things about my uncle from the time he was a teenager.

My grandmother still today will not admit that my uncle had a mental illness.

Maybe it is because he was highly intelligent. He knew how to rebuild cars and was what the family considered a mathematical genius.



Unfortunately, my uncle did not have a good support system and his life ended in tragedy. He went missing a few years ago during the summer months. He would often say that voices would tell him to go to the desert.

This was a common practice for him but this time he never came back.

His house was so bare that people assumed he just left, even the police, but my grandmother (his mom) knew something was not right. There were no search parties sent out to find him. Especially because during the summer months it is often over 115 degrees in Casa Grande, Arizona.



So we waited…

and six months later…

My grandmother received the call in December. My uncle had been found. It is believed that he stopped to rest under a tree and never woke up.

palo-verde tree

The autopsy showed that his heart had stopped and he had been there for approximately six months.

I often wondered if things would have been different if my uncle had a good support system. He didn’t have many people that cared because he wasn’t what most would call a “good man.” Some believed he deserved his death. They called it Karma… but when I look at his life I notice little glimpses of good. I am not sure if that means anything. It may just be me… I often tend to see people better than they are.

Sadly, even I was afraid of him. I do not know if his mental illness contributed to his negative actions. I just know that it is easier to blame his illness than to search deeper.

It always baffled me how my uncle and my father had the same illness and how I feared this man while my father was so gentle in spirit. Maybe it was because my dad cried out to God so much. I would like to believe that even in the midst of his madness, my father has found some temporary times of comfort in God.

“That he has glimpses of peace even if it is only for moments and for those single moments my dad is on the receiving end and the taking has subsided.”

I have hope that my uncle has in death found peace and that the mental suffering he experienced here on this earth is no longer. I also know I cannot live in fear, hoping and praying that this disease isn’t hiding, waiting in the shadows for its chance to pounce on me or even worse one of my boys. I have read the statistics and I refuse to accept them. I pray that this is one place where God will show his mercy.


If you have a family member or friend that is struggling with mental illness, you can seek help and support for them or yourself by visiting http://www.mentalhealth.gov/get-help/index.html.

You need to know you are not alone. Other people have experienced exactly what you are going through and can help.



The Military Stole My Father


I recall as a teen hearing Reba McEntire’s song “The greatest man I never knew lived just down the hall.” I remember thinking “she is singing about me and my dad.”

I often wondered if my dad’s suffering would have been easier if he had passed during his service. (I know that sounds cruel). Instead he came home damaged. Not physically but mentally.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my father but to go mad and not be able to control it must be… well, maddening.

Would you want to live that way?

I do have some nice memories of my dad. When he was stationed in Germany he used to record himself talking and singing songs to us and he would mail the tapes to us. My stepmom would play them at night and my brothers and I would sit and listen as my dad spoke to us about how he missed us. He would sing to us an old hymnal “one day when the battle is over we will wear a crown.”

He wanted to be home with us.

I wish I had those tapes.  How could we have known that those tapes were going to be a sign of a better time for my dad? A better times for us? They were evidence of a man that once had clarity and not the “zombie” I remember growing up.


This picture was taken the last time we saw our father “normal”

I heard there was an accident. I don’t know the details. I only know it involved him breathing in a chemical or gas that eventually caused a chemical imbalance in his brain. I was young (it wasn’t long after the photo above was taken).

I was maybe 6 when my dad came home from the military for the last time, but this time… it wasn’t my dad.  It was someone else.  He was now a man who no longer interacted with his children.  In fact he couldn’t even stand the noise of children.  We were told we made him “nervous.”

I am certain that we did not understand what had happened.  We had no idea why he didn’t leave his room or speak to us.  We were told to never bother him. He would shut himself in his room and he rarely came out. Sometimes at night I would hear him listening to his Kenneth Hagan tapes and other times I would hear him crying, begging God, and vomiting because he had decided he was going to wean himself off the medication again (something that was a very bad idea and he never was able to do because of the horrific withdrawals). He would usually get sent back to the VA hospital and come back to us heavily medicated.

My stepmom tried to stay with him.

She was married to him for 20 years.  I can’t say I blame her for leaving. I think the years of taking care of a man, along with us was more than she could handle… especially after the schizophrenic episodes began. And there have been some bad ones. His paranoia seems to take over and he will not (cannot) listen to reason.

I love my dad and it took studying and learning about his mental illness before I could accept it. In the back of my mind I felt that somehow he could control it. I know now it is not that simple.

Growing up we did not have support groups or anyone to talk to. There was only secrets and shame.IMG_20150218_204530

I was angry…

Eventually I had to let go of the anger and the blame because it was affecting my life. I had to forgive my dad, forgive God, and even forgive the military who I blamed for stealing my dad from me.

 My dad has had so much hurt and loss and still manages to get through each day and that is saying a lot. 

He truly IS “the greatest man I have never known.”


If you have a family member or friend that is struggling with mental illness, you can seek help and support for them or yourself by visiting http://www.mentalhealth.gov/get-help/index.html.

You need to know you are not alone. Other people have experienced exactly what you are going through and can help.


The Chocolate Mess

There it was… right smack in the middle of my shirt. The small chocolate spot was a tell all to my earlier indiscretion. My four year old was awarded a scoop of ice cream as a special treat. After serving him I continued to heat hot fudge and pour it over the remaining content of the half gallon container and devoured it within minutes.


Immediately the guilt crept in. Seeing the chocolate on my shirt made me cringe and brought on feelings of overwhelming shame. I am no stranger to the guilt. My mind wandered back to a time when I uncontrollably binged and purged. What’s comical is my complete desire or need to be in control appeared to me, even visited me in a form that was utterly compulsive and uncontrollable. I corrected my thinking and decided I would not allow myself to return to that place.  Emotionally and mentally I had come a long way. I knew the trap door was there. It is there… waiting for me to slip up.

I am stronger now…

but continually reminding myself of what once was. My struggle with bulimia was my secret. I hid it like a very special baby doll, that I kept wrapped in the softest blanket, handled with the most delicate care, but hid in a place were no other child could find her. I did not want anyone touching my precious treasure. It was mine and mine alone. I did not realize I was sick. I did not realize that anorexia and bulimia were taking over my life.

The person I saw in the mirror was not the person you would see. I tried to hide her with smiles and cute trendy clothes. What I did not realize was my whole identity was based on the person I was trying to hide.

ful mirror

Glaring at me was person who was not real but was so incredibly real to me that she tortured me daily. She haunted me and reminded me of all I longed to be. Sometimes she peaks her ugly head up, she peers at me with piercing agonizing eyes beckoning me to join her again. I am more aware of her than I have ever been but she no longer controls me. I have found myself free from her grasp as I constantly remind myself of who I am.

I honestly can’t remember the last time I purged. I faced her, I fought her and even when I felt alone I discovered I was strong. I realized I was able to overcome any bondage, any stronghold, any captivity that tries to take hold of me. As my dear friend Christina would say, I am a beautiful warrior chick! The awesome thing is, today, no matter what thought creeps in, I believe it! And that is good enough for me.

If you are battling an eating disorder you may feel isolated. You need to know you are not alone. For information and support please visit https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/.