- BA, BS, RN, MSSW, DD
"December 11th, 2013 is your day,
make it all that it can be and then some."
Welcome To My World:
Hi my name is Mary-Anne Schmittle.
Let me introduce myself and why this Blog has been created.
First a little about my background and my life just so you and I are not complete strangers as we start on this journey that has all the ingredients of a Hollywood movie; though you could not write this kind of script and make it believable. Yet it is all true. It all happened, is happening and the ending is still an unknown.
I have my degrees in Psychology, Nursing and my Master's in Social Work. I am also an Ordained Minister for which I practice Spiritual Enlightenment.
My expertise is Behavioral and Social Psychology. I specialize in Adolescents and Young Adults.
Where I started from:
I had my life all set up. I was set, with my degrees fulfilled. I knew what I wanted, what my dreams were and where I was going. Everything was basically perfect for me. I had no doubts that I was going to fulfill my goals and come out on top. I had myself positioned well. I worked for HCA, the first "for profit" and largest Medical Corporation in this country. I was given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to design and develop the first Crisis Assessment and Intervention Department for HCA.
I was very much an overachiever and believed the only limits were the ones I set on myself. I was financially secure. I owned everything I had. I had investments. I had myself set up well for retirement. I lived within my means. In fact sometimes I would forget to deposit my paycheck because many times my check went into my investments; that is how well I was living within my means. I had absolutely no debts. My credit was perfect. I had everything I ever wanted and I was terribly happy. I was 35 years old, healthy, considered quite a looker. I had a great body. In fact I was terribly pleased with the whole outer package of myself, which is a lot for a woman to say. I just couldn't find anything wrong with my whole life at that point. I had actually done it. I had put together a life plan, set it up and worked like hell for every part of it to unfold as I envisioned it. I earned everything I had and I never forgot that. Life actually worked like I was taught by my parents it would. If you do the work you will reap the rewards. What I always called "if A then B". It was so safe, so predictable and that made me feel so empowered and most of all life made sense.
I had proven to myself that I had what it took to make whatever I wanted to happen, happen. I used all my assets; my looks got me far. Then I had the brains to back up my looks. I had the degrees, the drive and the attitude to carry me the rest of the way. My future was limitless. To finish my perfect picture I had just met what I thought was the man of my dreams, right on schedule and was going to get married. Who could ask for more??
Mary-Anne had it all and the future could not have looked brighter or more promising.
Little did I know that the celebration of my marriage, my honeymoon, would be the beginning of the scariest nightmare and the longest journey of my life, that has not yet ended.
Nothing about me as the person Mary-Anne, or Mary-Anne's life today resembles in any way the self and the life I had on my honeymoon in May 1987.
I am on a journey. I did not choose this journey. No one would "choose" this journey. My journey is one that has evolved, slowly stripping away every part of my life, as I knew it. I lost my identity as I had known it and every part of what I had come to know as my reality no longer existed. I lost my self and became my journey.
Let me make it very clear at the onset that what has happened to me has happened to countless others, with a wide range of handicaps, challenges and losses. I know this oh too well. I am not saying I am unique nor do I feel that I was singled out. I do not represent anyone else or speak for anyone else who may be on this journey no matter how similar our circumstances are. I speak only for me. I am writing what has and is happening to me from my professional and personal perspective. If what I am going through relates to, or what I may speak also identifies, others in a similar situation I am not in any way representing what they may or may not think, feel or believe about what they are experiencing and how they choose to deal with their journey.
I set up this blog because I feel compelled to complete my story by sharing my thoughts, feelings, experiences. What I create out of all that I experience through taking all of it outside myself and putting the words down in my chronicle, writing about what has happened to me, is happening to me and whatever is going to happen to me as I complete my journey through debilitating pain, multiple chronic illnesses, unexpected crises and now deafness.
I hope that through my background in Behavioral Psychology, Social Psychology, being a Minister as well as all that I have endured, experienced and learned through being a chronically ill, disabled and deaf person I can bring a unique insight and hopefully awakening to others who are experiencing anything that I have or am experiencing. I also hope that for those of you that have not experienced any of what I am sharing through my journey from Victim to Victor, you will find a new understanding, insight and awareness that will help you understand how precious life is, how unpredictable it is, how complex and resilient the human spirit is no matter the outcome. Most of all that if it can happen to me it can happen to anyone, as I say I do not believe I was singled out nor is anyone who is fighting a battle in life that is not of their choosing.
Most of all I hope through following my journey I can wake up the comfortably numb in all of us through a rare and completely candid look and a real inside perspective into the many facets of what we call "life". Please at least find some sensitivity and awareness that when you come to someone who may act rude, ignore you, seems confused or anything different from the norm think first before you react. Don't automatically think the worst of people just maybe they are deaf or disabled in some other way. I have been punched, pushed, screamed at, cussed out almost every day that I try to go out into society because I did not hear the person asking me something. The two physical acts, punching me in the back and pushing me out of their way, were both violations done by grown men.
I am writing this Chronicle as it unfolds so you can follow along with me to see what happens when you no longer fit into the societal definition of normal, and see how much profiling is done in this country from the lowest level all the way up to those who are not supposed to even judge.
I have had every part of my life challenged from my inner core, my inner self, my spiritual self, my whole life, society and myself to the point where I did not know who I was anymore.
I have learned through experience so much that I never knew before I got ill, what is not typically known by everyday people, including me even though I was a Nurse and Social Worker. Knowledge and insight that comes only from experiencing all of life from a side other than the "norm" about the challenges of life beyond the norm, about our medical system, our religious sector, our political system, our very defined societal system and just everyday life, friends family and ourselves.
I hope you will follow along with me on my journey, my quest that I have been traveling for 19 years now. This is one woman's story and fight to win her battle from victim to victor and take her rightful new place within herself and within society as a disabled and deaf woman, whatever that ends up being.
I hope you find just one gift, one insight, one positive something you did not know or have before you visited my world. If you do then that has made a lot of what I go through along my journey worthwhile.
No matter what my outcome turns out to be, I hope I have planted one seed of hope, of understanding, compassion and enlightenment. Most of all I would like you to take away with you a vision that the world is made up of multidimensional people who all have a story. I call all of us the rainbows in this world; without us it would be just drab black and white. We have all been wounded somewhere along the way. Let's try unconditional love with a dash of patience before we go for the anger and retribution.
Patience My Friends Patience,