2010 brought with it a car accident, and then 2012′ brought with it a pregnancy. These are two major events that shaped my life completely. When my mum got out of the Penetanguishene mental health hospital, she was stabilized on medications that were working for her, but I was spiralling and getting charges accumulated on my record. My mum decided to take my sister home first to see how she fared with one of us back before she took both of us, which in retrospect was a smart decision for her mental health, but at the time, I was outraged. I felt betrayed. So when my mum asked me if I wanted to go to England for Christmas with my sister and her, I said ‘no’ pretty angrily.
This was Christmas 2009, and my sister and mum went up to England to stay with family for the holidays. While they were away, I stayed at a 28-day treatment facility in Toronto. It was actually relatively helpful, they diagnosed me with a sleep disorder and symptoms of borderline personality disorder along with the depression and anxiety I had already been diagnosed with, but I was in no place ready to accept help. I didn’t want help. I didn’t know what I wanted.
My mum and sister returned to Canada in January of 2010, and on their way home from the airport, my mum’s car was T-boned by a new driver speeding through a red light. They were hit on my mum’s side. My mum was diagnosed catastrophic by the motor vehicle industry but still had to fight the insurance company and try to live a semblance of a normal life. She did so well considering. My sister was in the car too and sustained mild injuries, but nowhere near what my mum endured. My mum was destroyed by this accident… she acquired a brain injury and physical injuries which never went away. After the accident, she obviously couldn’t work because of her injuries so she had to leave her job, and it was 7 years of lawyers and doctors, fighting for help and justice. My sister eventually started dating a guy and went and got a place with him, where she stayed for 6 years.
I don’t know why the accident sent me over the edge. Maybe because my mum had always been my best friend, maybe I was angry at myself for not going to England with them and spending time with my mum before the accident, maybe I felt like I lost her. I wrote a lot of poetry back then and when I look at it now it makes me so sad. I was such a depressed teenager. I just did drugs and alcohol daily to escape and jumped from friend’s house to friend’s house once I was over 16 and could legally do my own thing without Children’s Services or cops picking me up off the street.
I was couch surfing, staying with a bunch of friends and having a bunch of meaningless flings with random guys. I kept looking for something but I didn’t know what I was looking for. I had low self-esteem and low self-worth, I didn’t see the value in life at all. I had friends in Brockville from when I lived with my dad for a period of time there & on one visit to friends in Jasper, outside of Brockville, I got pregnant. I didn’t know that at the time of course. But a few weeks later when I’m back at my mum’s house in Collingwood, I took a pregnancy test and lo and behold it was positive. I remember just crying in the bathroom kind of hyperventilating, I was freaking out. I went into my mum’s room and just plopped the pregnancy test down on the bed in front of her.
It was about 2 years after the accident when all this occurred and my mum decided to move with my sister and me out to a little town called Madoc, she made a deal on the rent of a fancy bungalow with a swimming pool and a forest and acres of land. It was about a 10-minute drive into the actual town of Madoc, we were kind of on the outskirts, but it was a nice house. I had kind of dropped out of school at this point – I had done booklets at home for a while but eventually gave that up too… I was on lists for counselling in that area which were slow as is typical.
I decided to keep the baby even though I was only 16 going on 17. My mum was supportive, the father was not. The pregnancy was super hectic, but it stopped me in my drug and alcohol tracks immediately. It was weird because I didn’t even do any work on my addiction, I just dropped it completely. I was going stir crazy; we had loads of appointments driving to Belleville for the ob-gyn but that was the only reason we went out. I was nauseous the entire pregnancy, I could hardly eat. And the last trimester I remember being so huge I literally could not stand up on my own without my mum’s help. I couldn’t roll over in bed on my own. I was huge. I couldn’t handle it, I was weak and exhausted. They finally induced my labour and I had my son in March of 2013.
I was honestly thrilled. That was the best day of my life, I’ll always remember it. I just broke down in tears, I was elated when I first laid eyes on him. But the first four months postpartum proved difficult… I lost all of the pregnancy weight and more because I was still nauseous and couldn’t eat but was also breastfeeding and losing nutrition there, and couldn’t hold any solid food at all, it was terrible. We went to appointment after appointment – ultrasounds, blood tests, all kinds of things – trying to figure out what was wrong with me. Multiple doctors said it was probably stress and anxiety causing all of it but I brushed that off claiming that something was seriously wrong with me medically.
One time they found inflamed lymph nodes in my stomach in an ultrasound and when I went for a follow-up appointment they were gone. I was literally going crazy with all the appointments and breastfeeding still, so we gradually introduced my son to formula and then cut out breastfeeding entirely. That helped with the weight loss but didn’t help with the sickness. The puking all day every day, can’t hold any food, nausea 24/7 continued. When I stopped breastfeeding, I started smoking weed again to try to ease some of the nausea. It helped greatly.
My mum helped a lot with my son which made life so much easier, but I was sick of being sick. My mental health started to spiral at this time, due to being sick. I didn’t want to live on the outskirts of the town anymore, so my mum found a duplex downtown in Madoc, I took the upstairs, my mum took the downstairs. From this house in Madoc, on the 40-minute drive into Belleville (the closest city nearby), was where I met my first trafficker.
But, again, that’s for another post.