My name is Isla Marie and I need your help. It’s not easy for me to ask for help. I’ve always been very independent and self-sufficient; some might even describe me as being a perfectionist. It is hard for me to admit that I have this issue, but it has done so much damage in my life, to my relationships and career.
I am under the oppressive weight of the worst bout of anxiety and depression I’ve faced in my life. It is an isolating condition. People rarely see me outside my home. I hide in my bedroom or venture into my backyard to sit and watch my pet chickens. I got them as part of my therapy and they may have saved my life. I don’t go out much, except for doctor’s appointments and food or necessities that I can’t get online. The people in my life have mostly fallen away, or been pushed away by me. It’s my fault, I’m miserable company. It’s difficult to relate to me. It’s difficult for me to relate to others without going into tears. As a result, I’ve lost my job and am now on a limited disability income.
I’ve had better times, but I don’t feel I am as resilient as I used to be. If you see my Facebook page, you’ll see pictures posted in better times when I was able to recover from past major breakdowns. This one is the worst yet, however, and I am really scared. Will I be able to pull through? It’s been over a year already. Even in the best of times, I’ve always felt like I was on the outside of life looking in, watching other people find love, get married, have babies. I am alone.
I don’t know what changed me, but changed I am.
Maybe my trouble started back on the banks of a slough in the Yukon River system where, at age 11, I lost my closest sister to a horrible accident. She was playing in the water. A boy threw a large rock. Was she killed instantly by the forehead-sized rock that hit her head or did it knock her out and she drowned? I don’t know. I only know I cannot get the image of her lifeless, watery blue eyes out of my mind.
Maybe it was that bright, sunny November Sunday, 3 days before my 15th birthday when I literally fought for my life for two agonizing hours with two vicious dogs who were determined to kill and eat me. Being eaten alive is a horrific way to go. I can’t begin to describe the sound of your own scalp being chewed from your skull by a snarling Saint Bernard. I was torn from head to ankles; they didn’t get my boots off so my toes are all intact. I managed to escape and, because I bit back, the story made International news. My 15 minutes of fame. “Dogs Attack Alaskan Girl; She Bites Back and Survives.”
Maybe it was that enigmatic Tuesday in September when I watched as two planes, like bullets, pierce through the World Trade Center buildings reminding me of an incident too close, too personal to describe here. As the buildings crashed to the ground the image blurred with vile and tragic loss in my own family. It was so personal for me. The whole world changed and America was never the same again.
There is so much more but some events are even more personal and may be even less appropriate to share in this setting. I apologize to family members who may read this and have pain stirred in their hearts.
I’ve had more than my share of tragedy but I haven’t given totally up. I just got to a point where I said, “Stop the World! I want to get off!” I am not suicidal, but I am not living either. I’ve retreated to where I feel safe. I hope to expand my safety zone through continued work and therapy. In the meantime, the rest of the world keeps on turning. Bills keep on coming. I am grateful for the income I have, but it falls short with the added medical expenses and costly COBRA insurance. I’ve shared my story with you in hopes that if you can, you will want to help. Starting this fund is more than financial support. I hope it will be therapeutic, too. I think it would be good for me to experience kindness.
Thank you for visiting me, Isla on the Island of my own creating.
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