My Mental Illness Recovery Story: Chapter 12

“In the time of darkest defeat, victory may be nearest”. (William McKinley)

In 1999, when I was 26 years of age, I was living with my mother and stepdad as I worked at Hutchinson FTS. One night, as I was eating before headed to my third-shift job, my stepdad started berating me because my grandfather let me temporarily use his truck for transportation, as my car was in a mechanic garage. At first, I tried to be silent when verbally abused. But after the pressure went beyond my emotional threshold, I smart-mouthed my stepdad, and the next thing I know we were in a physical fight.

Ashamed of losing another fight to him, I went to work with a partially-torn shirt and broken glasses. However, in spite of it all, God had a perfect plan as I saw Mike Leninger. After I told Mike about the fight, he told me “he was looking for a roommate. Then next thing I know, we were living together in Hillsdale, MI, at Carriage Parks Apartments.

I lived with Mike for about two years. He wasn’t a Christian but we still got along okay, most of the time. We didn’t push our differing beliefs to each other; however, I started to get tired of his secular ways, so I chose to spend more time in my room than before. He got tired of my uncleanliness and I was getting tired of seeing beer cans all over the place. Overall, Mike was a good guy, and I enjoyed living with him.

One day, the two of us, plus a friend we called “Stinky”, were riding in a car I was driving. Hating my job immensely, I overheard Mike and “Stinky” saying: “Hutchinson FTS was going to work seven days a week for a long while. Very agitated I became, as I was soon driving about 90 mph down the road. Finally, after telling me to slow down, I did.

Mike met a girl who was trouble. She was short, thin, and somewhat attractive. When I was in my room or away from home, she and Mike hung out in the living room. Mike said “he slept with her many times.”

In 2001, I move away from Mike and into a trailer park outside of town. The reason for my leaving was the fact that Mike let a drunk live with us without asking me first. Very ticked I was, as I saw a whole bunch of boxes and the alcoholic unpacking his possessions in the middle of our living room, when I entered my apartment.

One day I found the girl Mike was with homeless, so I sinfully let her temporarily stay with me. At first I thought I was doing the right thing, but in the end, I realized I wasn’t. After enticing me to use my credit card and car to take care of some business, I came to my senses and called Discover card and found out she racked up a bill of over $800. In the end, a friend from work (Steve) and my stepdad helped me and the police to kick the girl out of the trailer park. Even after finding out she had a history of doing similar stuff other boys, I felt sorrow for her and gave her twenty dollars. I never did have any sexual contact with her.

Around 2001, my OCD got diagnosed.

In 2001, after leaving the trailer park, I stayed again at my grandmother’s house. The fact my stepdad lived two houses from her home often made me both vigilant and nervous.

I remember watching TV in the sun room and then hiding into the bathroom as I saw his truck pull into the driveway. After he left the house I was in, I reentered the sun room to continue watching TV. Unfortunately, my stepdad hid the satellite TV remote control, and grandma and I searched for it for about a half hour until she called my stepdad. We didn’t think his prank was funny after he told us where he hid it.

A few months later, grandma decides to purchase an already-built home to be placed on her property across the road from her house. The plan was for me to live and pay rent there, so grandma and I could live independently. The problem was my stepdad lived two houses from there.

There was a lot of work that needed to be done in order for the place to be ready for work. When I wasn’t working, my stepfather and I worked on the property, which wasn’t too bright of an idea in relation to our past history. Even though I was 29 years old, I was still very afraid of him, as my mind constantly replayed the memories of what all he did to me in the past. So I constantly prayed to God for strength, courage, and the ability to do things properly in front of him. But still, I was very scared of him.

My stepdad and I were like oil and water working together – it doesn’t mix well. He was a very strict, volatile, overly perfectionistic, fault-finding, impatient worker; I was a meek, disabled, unconfident worker who makes mistakes easily when made nervous. Case in point:

One day working together alone, fear of making mistakes led me to make many errors which led me getting chewed out and sneered by my stepdad. As he continued the verbal abuse, I tried hard to ignore the emotional pain and anger of his abusive acts.

Unfortunately, I lost control of my emotions and behaviors as I came after him with a piece of wood that was already in my hands. He punched me in the nose, and then we had a wrestling fight, in which I got my butt kicked again. As my blood dripped out of my nose, I remember him saying “Yes, go home to your grandma and cry like a little baby!”

Grandma and I realized that my stepdad and I were unable to coexist together, so about a month later I moved to Litchfield, MI, to start anew again.

2002 – Got fired from Hutchinson FTS

In the spring of 2002, about nine months before moving to Litchfield, I got fired from Hutchinson FTS, for running bad parts one night when I was manic. Playing that game again, where my supervisor was “my stepdad” and I, the “abused kid”, I proved again “I was no good” by making another colossal mistake. And the abuse I received from that mistake: another terminated job.

My friend Steve tried to save my job as we talked to the company’s human resources manager. Nevertheless, Hutchinson FTS still fired me.

Ironically, the job I once hoped to depart now became the one I couldn’t live without. The place I called “hell” was the place I desperately wished to be at. How am I going to pay my bills? Where do I look to find a job? With my terrible job history, who would ever hire me?

Six months go by and no job. Economy sucks and my work history is even worse. What do I do? Where do I go? Please God help me!

Philippians 4:19: “And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which has been given to us in Christ Jesus.

One Saturday morning, after finishing a third shift night at work, I hurried home to get a few hours of sleep before TV football started at noon. On my way home, driving about 70 mph on a country road, the sun got into my eyes, and the next thing I know, I ran over a school crossing sign. Thankfully, no one was near the scene. However, the accident damaged the car, and the game I watched at home was a blow-out.

Listen to these inspirational songs, related to the theme of this chapter:

Rise Above – Fireflight

Fight On, Fighter (Lyric Video) | for KING & COUNTRY

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