But is this really fine?

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Photo by Max Kukurudziak on Unsplash

With crises and chaotic events around every corner, I have heard “this is an apocalypse” referenced frequently. Both as a dramatic description for comedic relief yet also as a fearful, worrisome concern.

We all have had generous portions of doomsday-like experiences.

When we are stressed-out and life feels unmanageable, it’s easy to shift into extreme thinking.

Exposure to both religious and secular predictions of an ultimate finale can simmer in the background of our minds when we experience catastrophic events like hurricanes, snowstorms, political unrest, and a global pandemic. Let alone our day-to-day personal struggles added to the mix.

Our…


And how I escaped both

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Photo by Josh Boot on Unsplash

I survived both a religious cult and chronic domestic abuse.

These hazardous experiences did not occur simultaneously but transpired one after the other, a baton hand-off of the possession of my mind.

In retrospect, I see how these relationships operate from similar postulations and tactics and can have a domino effect.

The brainwashing from a religious cult groomed me to be less resistant to and skeptical of the brainwashing from a narcissistic abusive man.

I submitted to these powerful entities who claimed transcendence, unaware that undertaking these lifestyles would eventually take me down.

Domestic abuse is defined as “a pattern…


This reaction of fear is not about me

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Photo by Dan Burton on Unsplash

After twelve days, my distressed breathing finally calmed down.

Right in time for anger to surface as I realized what was happening. The reactions to my difficult course of illness with COVID-19 was shockingly laced with victim-blaming, a concept typically understood in reference to victims of a crime.

But who would dare to blame someone for struggling with an illness? Lots of people.

Though thousands of people have died from this virus, there’s also an astonishing amount of our population who experienced COVID-19 and “did just fine.” …


Part two of my COVID chronicles

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Photo by Marcelo Leal on Unsplash

For my COVID-19, I’m using an inhaler and corticosteroids for distressed breathing, but even in the Emergency Room, the physician primarily prescribed one thing: Rest.

“I see how labored your breathing is,” the doctor told me as I sat awkwardly reclined on the ER stretcher. “Your oxygen looks stable so we won’t keep you, but your body may be on the edge of crashing. The average adult is crashing day 7–10 from viral onset. You are day 6. I don’t know what you are doing at home, but you are overdoing it.”

I gasped a few breaths, then chuckled in…


Chronicles from inside the chaos

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Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

Almost a full year ago, I was on the frontlines of the COVID-19 disaster relief, managing terrified patients in a drive-thru clinic. In full gear, I feared I would be the next victim.

But I dodged it.

Eventually, my work specialty went back to a modified, sad version of what it was before. With a mask on, I rode the waves of controversial responses, and never claimed to have the right answer.

I parented in the pandemic, juggling my young preschool-aged sons and my stepson. We cruised, watching this horror film unfold.

Then we lost a family member and a…


The stigma of mental illness is still a problem

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Photo by Marina Vitale on Unsplash

It’s in our human nature to want to appear like we “have it all together.” If I don’t want you to see my flaws, I surely don’t want you to think my mind is unraveling at the seams.

So I have put on quite the show.

“Where are you going?”

“To the doctor for a check-up.”

“Okay, I hope everything goes well!”

I have noticed that many people, including myself, talk about their physical health issues with co-workers, friends, and family as a form of reaching out for support. …


Though I escaped, the ghost of my abuser has lived in my mind

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Photo by Olaia Irigoien on Unsplash

Every abusive relationship dyad has its own unique characteristics. For some, the roles of victim and abuser can be blurred and maintained by the abuser’s accusation that the positions are reversed. Abusers sometimes claim that they are the real victim in life.

I did not know I was enduring abuse until after I found the ability to leave it.

I saw my role in our relationship in the way he portrayed me: as the pathological problem. I didn’t have the right to consider his behavior as abusive. I was too busy juggling his critiquing complaints of my overreactive and harsh…


Gaslighting left me confused, without evidence, and spellbound

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Photo by Christian Sterk on Unsplash

This piece incorporates reflections of abuse and may be a trigger. Proceed with care.

I thought that real abuse would never become a part of my personal story.

I was too intelligent, too religious, too enlightened, and too strong. Surely, I would never be like the poor souls who fumble into harmful relationships. That could never happen to me. But it did.

Like many people, I felt confused why anyone ever stayed with an abuser. I incorrectly assumed it was a simple choice to make, with full awareness.

I was raised in a society that downplays and undermines verbal and…


The power to heal and the power to hurt

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Photo by Michael Dziedzic on Unsplash

Words hold kinetic power.

We have all heard that it is important to be careful with our words, knowing they can be used to either heal or hurt. We often think of this in application to how we speak to other people.

But what about the words we say to ourselves and about ourselves?

“I am barely going to make it to tomorrow.”

“Work is going to kill me.”

“I’m going crazy.”

Pick an over-the-top hyperbole, and I’ve said it far too many times. …


These are fragments of my memory, not figments of my imagination

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Photo by toan phan on Unsplash

This piece incorporates reflections of abuse, and may be a trigger. Please proceed with care.

It’s starting to come back to me.

Memories are tricky and leave impressions, like fireflies flickering and zooming around. Sometimes you aren’t sure they exist. Was it my imagination? Sometimes you don’t know where they will appear, blacking out then lighting back up with a zap.

Sometimes you just might catch one.

Memory is defined as “the faculty by which the mind stores and remembers information,” involving the processes “to acquire, store, retain, and…

Scarlett Jess Perrodin

Empath, mental health advocate, anxiety juggler, abuse escape artist. Personal stories, sometimes hints of humor. A diamond in the rough is still a diamond.

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