Ann Marie: My Story

I was born in 1948 and by the time I was a year old my grandpa was my world. He used to hold me, hug me and rock me. I felt very loved and protected by him. I never got that kind of love from my mom and dad. In 1956, my little world came to an end, my grandpa died! I felt so lost and alone. That was when my challenges began.

My mom was addicted to prescription drugs and my dad was an alcoholic. They kind of went their own ways and we suffered. In 1965 I got married. I had my sons Howard and Tim and they became my world. My dad died in 1966 and it tore me apart. I handled everything. By 1974 I was divorced with two boys to support and a husband that no longer loved me. I hated all men! I started with all men, drinking, and drugs. I had been going to see psychiatrists since I was 17 years old and couldn’t understand why I hated all men so much. With all my heart I loved my boys but I was doing so much partying I lost them for a while. I had to pull myself together and get my priorities straight.

That is when I met my husband Jerry in 1976. We married in 1977. I truly believe God sent Jerry to me. Jerry and I loved each other deeply; his mannerisms reminded me of my beloved grandpa, so kind and gentle. As far as Jerry was concerned, Howard and Tim were his boys. He was a great dad. That was about the time I found out with years of therapy that I had been sexually abused by a family member! Now I finally knew why I had hated men so badly all those years! I was both devastated and relieved to finally know! I will never get over it but at least now that I know I am learning to deal with it.

I started taking care of my mom in our home when she found out she had breast cancer. I took care of her for almost two years and the night she died was a total nightmare for Jerry and I both! Luckily I was still in therapy and finally bounced back. By the time a year or two passed I got word that my nephew had committed suicide. We were all devastated. Again I bounced back. By then my weight had risen to 244 pounds and I was so guilt-ridden over my mom’s death that I was just a shell of a person. That was when I started coming to see Dr. Monteith, a therapist, and was put on meds at CMH. I felt so bad about myself and just wanted to die. I then found out that I had Fibromyalgia and also had to have both knees replaced. Then I was told I had lifelong depression and suicidal ideation. They all told me that I am a survivor. I’m thinking I must be after all I have been through.

After a time had passed I got word that my brother had died unexpectedly. In a very few months after, his wife died, also unexpectedly. It didn’t take me long to bounce back and that was when I knew I was on the road to recovery. Jerry and I renewed our vows on our 25th anniversary. I was so happy about it and loved him ever so much. Then my world came crashing down around me. We found out Jerry had lung cancer. I took care of him and every night I made sure to tell him I loved him. In 2003 before our 26th anniversary I had to watch my beloved Jerry die. He too had left me and I was guilt ridden, traumatized, sad, but trying to keep my sanity. I just wanted to be with him.

With my sons, Dr. Monteith, Pathways to Recovery group, and DBT group, I made it. It has made me a stronger person. Thank God for all my friends at CMH! In 2006 my weight was 294 pounds. I was told that I had to lose 40 pounds before they would do my weight loss surgery. I was very disappointed and struggled with it for a year. In 2007 I was given the ok for it. It was all so hard without Jerry but I did have my sons and all of my friends at CMH by my side. Both physically and mentally I knew I was in Recovery and was ready! In 2008 April I had lost 162 pounds. Once again I knew I was a survivor. With my family and some very caring friends in group I am starting to believe that “I AM WORTH SOMETHING” and ‘I DO DESERVE TO BE LOVED’!!!!

My Recovery is ongoing but I want everyone to know that, no matter how many times you feel down and out, We Recover! With our doctors, therapists, groups and friends at CMH, we do Recover!