“My name is Autumn and here’s a snapshot of my Caterfly Story….
photo cred: Kara Dicarlo
So many people ask me why I am obsessed with butterflies? Why they are in my room, on my walls, and in my car? Why they are tattooed all over this “perfect” pastor’s daughter and why they are so important to me? Well, this “perfect pastors daughter” didn’t always have it so perfect–still don’t and that’s what people don’t see. It’s also the beginning of my Caterfly story…
I’m 19 years old and I used to feel like I’ve lived 100 years…fear will drain you like that, if you let. When I was little, I struggled with something called, “Separation Anxiety Disorder.” It wasn’t that bad…Or so I thought. It started when my mom became pregnant with my little sister. Then we needed to find a new home. Then my parents BOTH got a new job. And, THEN I had to go to a different school and THEN, the panic started. That was a lot of change for me then and my life also dramatically changed from that point on.
I can remember my dad pulling up to the school in our car and me just sweating bullets in the leather seats. Fear would come up through the palm of my hands and bottoms of my feet–it was a never-ending nightmare. My dad had to walk me into school while I was sweating and squeezing his arms each step of the way. The whole dropping me off for school thing…no longer worked for me.
Everyday I walked into that school making eye contact with my teachers, principals, and counselors and everyday I’d hear the same question, “Autumn, are we gonna have a easy day or hard one?” Funny thing is, there never had been an easy day. I would turn my head and start to panic and waited to feel more than just my dad’s hand wrap around my small body. I waited to feel them rip my arms away from him…and this was every day for 2-3 years.
I became physically sick every day at that elementary age because the panic attacks and adrenaline were tearing my body apart. The day came where my mom said, “We just can’t do this to her anymore, we are done.” I left school that day and didn’t return until seven years later. Seven years of not leaving my mom’s side. Seven years of panic attacks and horrible moments. Seven years of going on every date, pastors conference and counseling meetings with my parents. Seven years of doing whatever my mom was doing and going WHEREVER she went because…I couldn’t be without her. Seven years of sitting on the toilet while my mom showered because being outside the door would just be way too far away.
During those seven years, I felt like I completely lost my identity. I didn’t know who I was anymore and I didn’t care. I wanted this life to just stop, even if for only a couple of seconds.
How did I come out of the fear hole? Continue reading