My #BeReal guests today are Carolyn Briggs and her daughter Alyssa.
Today Carolyn and her daughter Alyssa would like to share their story. Please… leave them a comment and show your support for their bravery and their courage.
The only disability in life is a bad attitude and I thank my parents for raising me to have a positive outlook on life and to always #BeReal. ~Alyssa Briggs
Do you know what it’s like to have something tragic happen to your child and you were the cause of it?
Unfortunately I do.
The depression consumes me. I refuse to let it win. I know I have a lot to live for even though that EVIL part of me says… I don’t.
POPULAR * FUNNY * PRETTY * PETITE * LIFE OF THE PARTY * CONFIDENT
Those are a few of the words people have used to describe me. But here’s how I see myself.
LONELY * UGLY * FAKE * CHUBBY * WORTHLESS * USELESS
At 16 I found out I was pregnant. Basically, I felt like I failed my parents. Dan (my now husband of 21 years) and I got married. We did the “right thing” and a couple months later we had a beautiful daughter. We named her Alyssa Faith. Needless to say, being married with a child at our age was extremely trying. We were continuously working out our differences and fighting for our marriage.
The year 2000 was horrific. It was the most trying time for us as a couple and as a family. Fast forward 15 years and I am still living with a debilitating guilt because of what happened.
I was 23, Dan was 25, and our sweet Alyssa was 6. We were traveling to Oklahoma to visit family for Thanksgiving. I was not speeding. The weather wasn’t bad. I was simply looking down to see how fast I was going. When I looked back up I was on the shoulder. I tried to straighten out but wasn’t able to control our car. Ultimately, the car spun out of control and into oncoming traffic.
The outcome was a devastating accident which left Dan with a broken hip and pelvis, and me with a broken ankle. But my daughter Alyssa had the most serious injuries. Her spinal cord had been severed leaving her paralyzed from the waist down. AND…. I was the driver. I WAS THE DRIVER.
Here again I failed my loved ones. I failed the most important person in my life, my daughter.
The depression hit full force.
Throughout the years I managed to hide it. I never let anyone see my breakdowns. Whether I was at work or at home, I hid it. I thought so many times of ending my life and for years I would ask myself, “What would be the least devastating for my family to witness?”
Three years ago I couldn’t hide it any longer. I was in our kitchen begging my husband to save me. I was apologizing non-stop to Alyssa for the damage I had caused. She never once blamed me. Never. But she didn’t have to. I had blamed myself enough for everybody.
I was finally ready to admit I suffered from depression. Thank God my family listened. To this day, it’s an everyday struggle. I am on medication. I am open about it. And perhaps most importantly I REFUSE to let it win.
Alyssa is my biggest fan and my greatest supporter. She is my strength. She constantly reminds me that it is not my fault. These are the cards that we were dealt and we just need to play them!
I think the most important part here is that depression is real. REAL people battling a REAL illness. Mothers, sisters, dads, brothers, wives, husbands, uncles, aunts, and friends are fighting this invisible war. If you feel you are battling depression talk to someone who loves you. If you know someone who might be battling this, reach out!!! You could save a life!
If you have nobody… talk to ME!
We can do this together.
We ARE NOT ALONE.
In a blink of an eye, everything can change…but you don’t truly understand until it actually happens to you…
November 22 2000. That was the day my life changed forever. I was 6 years old and my mom and dad decided we were going to drive to Oklahoma from Colorado to spend Thanksgiving with my grandma and grandpa. I was so excited to see them.
An hour away from our destination, we were in a terrible car accident that left my mom with a crushed ankle, my dad with a broken hip and pelvis, and me, a severed spinal cord leaving me paralyzed and in a wheelchair for the rest of my life. When mom told me what had happened and that I would no longer have the ability to walk again I remember saying, “but I just started jump rope in gym” she explained that there would be some things I wouldn’t be able to do anymore but I could find new activities to enjoy. As long as we are alive and healthy is all that matters. I then said, “Okay, well can I roll around in my wheelchair now?” I loved my new pink ride.
I never thought I was “different” from anybody else until I went to high school. That’s when depression began and that is the first time I experienced people making fun of me. I never realized I would have to go through that. Why were they saying those mean things? I never did anything to them. After a while, I learned to just ignore them. I am going to have to deal with people like that for the rest of my life anyway. They don’t know my story or me.
I have heard many stories about people who have been in an accident and are now disabled who have become alcoholics or have major depression. I do understand how they feel but I always said there are two choices you have, 1. You can either lock yourself in your room and feel bad for yourself or 2. You can take what has happened and make something negative a positive outcome. That is what I have done. Life is short and everyone should be happy and enjoy it. I do realize that its challenging at times but I can still take care of myself, I can still drive, I can still have a baby, and I can still do so many things that traditional people can do. Most importantly, I have my family and friends who love me the way I am and support me…that is all that matters. The only disability in life is a bad attitude and I thank my parents for raising me to have a positive outlook on life and to always #BeReal.