A Letter I wrote to my Family

Sent: Thursday, April 10, 2003 12:31 AM

To: family

Subject: Hello from Leah

Hi everyone,

Well I guess I have a lot to tell you all, some of it you know..

I should start by saying that I could not be happier to be your relative… I am very proud of my brothers and our courageous birth mother.  (Even if I hate that term).

Okay so, since most of us had any in-depth conversation(s) my life has pretty much spiraled out of control and I am currently working hard at trying to piece it back together.

Chuck and I separated in May of 2002, divorced in October.  There were a lot of painful dirty tricks pulled by his cutthroat attorney and since I had no money to hire a good one I basically got a very raw deal.  Chuck has full custody of our children.  No, I was never deemed an unfit parent; it was not like that at all.  It was just the most realistic option given the fact that I had no job, had not finished college, and had nothing but myself to offer the kids; Chuck has a high salary, his mother nearly lives in with them, and they are cared for well.

In December Chuck began dating and then, in turn to use my children to hurt me.  In order to prevent him from doing this anymore I decided to move away.  Specifically what he would do is want to go on a date with his new girlfriend on a weekend that was not my visitation.  So, without calling in advance, or asking, he would get the kids packed up for an extra weekend at Mom’s and show up on my doorstep and say, in front of the kids, “I thought you would like to spend time with the kids this weekend so I brought them over”.  This was on-going behavior.  And contrary to that he would often enroll the kids in some Church activity during my visitation and I would spend a lot of the time driving them to and fro and not really being able to go do anything with them…

So I now live in Florida.

My sister offered me a space of land to put a trailer on in Arizona; and I know that any of you would have helped me if I came there or to Colorado.  However I was an emotional wreck at the time and felt that I would not be all that capable of being good company to anyone…  I have always loved the ocean and the water, and fishing – just anything at all to do with the water, and I decided to move to Florida because I knew the water was here.  Also, unlike out west, it is a mere 10-hour drive to see my kids from here.  And finally, Chuck’s project may have him living in Orlando in a few years anyhow.  So, I chose Florida.  I live about 40 miles north of Tampa Bay.

I have been suffering from an illness called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD for short.  Yeah, it is the same thing that many veterans have so you may have heard of it.  It is caused by severe emotional trauma.

Part of PTSD is severe clinical depression.  In 2001, immediately after the World Trade Center Bombing I became very depressed and went to my room and basically stayed there for part of September and most of October.  I really could not get out of bed except for necessities.  I finally asked my husband to take me to the hospital because I just could not function and it was very scary to me.

They over medicated me and (in my opinion) nearly killed me with anti psychotic medications and anti-depressants.  I was a zombie for the rest of 2001.  In March of 2002 I stopped taking the anti psychotic drugs and began to feel somewhat better, but they had me on 850 MG of a drug called Effexor and it was that medication I had the hardest time getting off.  It took me about 8 months to get off Effexor.

You may recall that I had a business, a small boutique in Madison.  I lost it, all of it.  I take responsibility for that loss but I do harbor some animosity toward my husband who could clearly see that I was not functioning and should have, in my opinion, stepped up to the plate to see what could be done to salvage any of it.

So now I am 38 years old, no husband, my children are not with me, and I am in a strange land so to speak, and yes, all of this is my own doing.  My decision-making processes are not exactly fine tuned at the moment at all.  I hope that this note is not making you feel I want your pity or anything like that.  I am writing to you to explain what happened to put me in this place in my life.  I would ask you for help but I have no idea what help I really need.

I am buying a small ranch house on a lake in a town called Holiday, Florida.  It is the nicest I could afford and it is waterfront, something I wanted very badly.  My closing is May 9th.  I am terrified half the time.  I really do not know if buying this house was a good decision or not, I guess you could say that the past 5 years or so has eroded my own self confidence to the point that I second guess every choice I make. Chuck only pays Alimony until September 2003.  So I have anxiety related to that purchase.  Also a fair amount of guilt for not staying in Alabama, but again I felt I had no choice but to leave to protect my relationship with my kids.

I was down here less than a month when the people who rent the other side of the duplex I live in, who were all crack headed up, broke in while I was at school and took most everything of value I had.  Since then, and through my cooperation with my investigator both of them have been arrested and confessed, but I have not received any of my property back.

This neighborhood where I live now is not dangerous, but it is not the best either.  The move will give me more of a sense of security and so forth…  Also my landlord has not done much around here, the septic system is once again backed up (I had it pumped before when I first moved in) and the bathroom is missing a window… not good.  I need to move because despite written notifications and so forth she does nothing.

Well, that is pretty much what has happened over the past few years.  I could sure use some cheering up here….

I love you all so much!

Be good.

Love, Leah

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