Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Hurting people, hurt people

I've always known this saying...."Hurting people, hurt people." But there is no greater lesson than experiencing it for yourself. I don't think it is any secret to anyone that I have pretty much completely abandoned church and many of those who call themselves "Christians." Yes, I know some of you reading this right now are already constructing an email in your head to me telling me how Christians aren't perfect, just forgiven. And I've heard it all before that at church, there are "No perfect people allowed." I've heard all of the little sayings such as "They're only human."

If you are a follower/reader of my blog, you know my story. You know what I have been through and you know what I have endured right along with my children. I have not been blogging much lately, let me finally explain why. When my divorce was final, I lost my health insurance and for me to get Obamacare, it was going to cost me $600.00 per month. I have spent about $200.00 this entire year on doctor visits and medicine. Anyway, since I lost my insurance, there was no way I could stay on the medication I was taking after my attempted suicide. I had been diagnosed with severe situational depression and PTSD. It is my belief that chemotherapy caused this depression and as I have said repeatedly in this blog, I have never been the same after taking chemotherapy. I have had doctors and psychiatrists completely agree with me and tell me it is their belief that chemo causes this as well.

I was doing really good off all the meds. I was actually very happy and proud of myself. It is nearing two years since my husband walked out on us. I started feeling like it was finally time to start dealing with it all emotionally. Just as I started to work on it, I fell into a very deep, dark, scary place. Worse than the place I was at when I attempted to take my own life. Only those VERY close to me, which are very few, knew what was going on. I spent every minute of every day not wanting to live life and being very angry with God that he allowed me to live. Enduring 60 seconds of life was excruciating for me. If you have never struggled with this, you will not under any circumstances understand it.

Since he left, I have cried just a little, a handful of times, over the entire situation. At this time, I didn't realize I had sunk right back into severe depression again. I spent 5 entire days straight unable to stop crying and couldn't even keep it together in public.

When I was like this before, I did not tell a single soul and I never, ever cried. No one, and I mean NO ONE, knew how bad I was. No one knew I thought of death as my friend, the only thing that could possibly bring me relief.

I have always been very skeptical of anyone who tells people they want to kill themselves because I have always thought it was for attention. I now know first hand that that might not always be the case. This time, I knew I needed to reach out to someone. THANK GOD, I have one very faithful and true friend left. I haven't known her too long, only a few years if that. But I knew I had two options on this particular day. I could end my life or I could make a phone call. That day was the beginning of my downward spiral that led up to all the crying.

As I got worse, I had some very disturbing things happen to me by someone who has never been dearer to my heart than any other soul. I have been accused, slandered, belittled, humiliated, gossiped about, lied about, and there isn't enough space here for me to continue. And yes, this not only happened to me, but to another person as well. Both of us at the time were extremely depressed, seeing a life-coach and seeing a psychiatrist. When I got wind of the first bombshells, it was on a day I spent trying to talk myself out of jumping off a damn bridge. This also came on a day this other person was fighting suicidal thoughts. Had it not been for me and my newer friend being able to talk so frank and openly that day, I believe I for sure might not be here today and who knows what would have happened to her all due to someone else's ignorance.

So hurting people, hurt people? Words cut very deep. If you claim to be a Christian or anyone I guess for that matter and you are hurting people, please remember that you have literally NO idea what someone is going through. Something you do or say could send someone over the complete edge and all for what? I wish I knew the answer. My suggestion is that if you give a damn about anyone, pray for them in your OWN prayer closet. You know why there even IS a prayer closet? So you and GOD and you two only can hash things out. If you go to any other person and tell them something all so they can "pray" for the person, it is only pure gossip and is straight from the pit of hell. This behavior causes more and more people daily to end their relationship with church, church people and potentially their very own lives.

 This is a VERY SERIOUS matter!!!!

I don't let too many people get close to me and I'm guessing I never will after this experience. But the good news is, I am back on medication and although it was about three weeks of complete mental hell, I feel like I am back to my old self. I have a new friend who was very helpful to me during the darkest of those days. If you feel suicidal, please reach out to someone. I had a couple of friends, my sister, the lady I live with and my adopted sister that I reached out to for the first time about this issue. People suffer in silence. Why? Because so few understand or know what to do. But you know what? Every single time I got up enough courage to call one of these individuals it helped me get through another day. One friend and my sister were able to just listen as I told them I did not wish to live life. They listened as I bawled my eyes out like they had never witnessed me do before. They listened with love and without judgement. They prayed with me and for me. They didn't go share my issues with other people or in their weekly "Prayer meeting." To those people, YOU are the ones who give me hope that there are still genuinely good people in the world. Don't be alarmed, I have a very close relationship with God and I always will have. He will never abandon me, nor I him. He alone is the only constant and faithful friend until the end of time.

I know these people were very scared for me. Hell, I was terrified of myself. I felt like I was a danger to myself. But I know for a fact that if I had not had them to talk to, I probably wouldn't be writing this blog today.

I hate having to take medication. I hope it is not something I will have to do forever. But, it is a must for now. I cannot be ashamed of it. And, I think that there are too many people just like me out there that need for this to be talked about. I guess my biggest message to anyone out there today is that sometimes, suicidal people don't take their own lives....it's someone else's cruelty that actually pulls the trigger.


A life should be honored and valued while the person is still living, not after they are gone. Some consequences for mistakes made are totally and completely permanent. Sometimes, there are NO take-backs.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Hand me downs...and I'm NOT talking about clothes here!!

I remember what a blessing it was to have two daughters. When they were young, I could pass down the older ones clothes and save a ton of money. Hand me downs were always nice. Being a girl myself, I have had friends give me hand me downs and I have given away a lot myself. Hand me downs were always a good thing in my mind.

I was sitting here this morning thinking about hand me downs. As a life-coach, I listen to stories on a daily basis of some not so helpful hand me downs people have been given. In our lives, we have life altering events that take place and those very events create limiting beliefs in our minds. Those beliefs are "seared" into our brains literally. They form a new neural pathway in our brain.

It can be compared to the pathway around your yard if you have a dog. After going around the same path for so long, you can see the path as it gets worn down. It is the same way with our minds. When we hold onto these limiting beliefs, when we think the same thoughts repetitively, it gets further engrained in our brain.

I'll give you an example. I have suffered a lot of loss in my life. My father left my life when I was a young girl, I lost a 4 month old child when I was 17, lost my mom when I was only 23, lost my breasts to cancer at 40, lost a 20 year marriage at 43, etc, etc. I remember when my dad left, even at such a very young age, I formed a belief that you can just "lose" people. So when I lost my child, it further confirmed that belief. With every subsequent loss, the belief became pure reality in my thinking brain.

Every single trauma or tragedy that we have suffered creates a limiting belief. Dr. Jayne Gardner owns The Gardner Institute where I received all my life coaching credentials. I have worked with her for many years. She has a fascinating tool she created called a re-wire. Neuroscience has proven that we can actually re-wire our brains with NEW beliefs. Going back to the event and figuring out what limiting belief was created is the first step. It takes a lot of work to install a NEW belief and therefore creating a NEW neural pathway. But it indeed works.

Dr. Gardner is having a one day event at the end of January where she will do demonstrations of a rewire LIVE!! It is one of the most phenomenal things I have ever witnessed. If you want to learn more about this event, you can check it out here. Evolve Retreat

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

A peek inside the suicidal mind...

I wish I could boldly say it never crosses my mind. I wish I could turn back time and never had made the decision to have chemotherapy. I wish I could have my precancerous mind back. I wish I would have never fallen into such deep depression. I wish...I wish...I wish.

Unfortunately, it is what it is and there is only so much I can do about it. I am so grateful that God put someone in my life a few years ago who has turned out to be a rock for me on my super rocky days. This woman sat on the end of my bed shortly after leaving the hospital while I still wanted to end my life forever. She didn't need to "say" anything. She was just there and it was exactly what I needed.

But since then, I have been afraid to ever tell a soul that the thoughts still sometimes cross my mind. My life is very different now. It is different in ways I have never experienced before. Sometimes, I get afraid and fearful of how the rest of my life is gonna go.

I feel like I have no choice but to share my story with others. It frightens me sometimes at who will read these posts and think I am crazy or if it might prevent me from doing something in the future job/client related. But I have to let all that fear go because I know my life was spared for a purpose. And this I have NO doubt about.

This past week or so has been very difficult and challenging for me. It all came to a head yesterday and suddenly the suicidal thoughts came rushing in like a flood. For the first time in close to two years, I had tremendous racing thoughts and I knew I was headed somewhere really bad. I know from experience that suicidal thoughts aren't the worst....it's when you start creating the plan in your head that it turns dark and starts to become your reality. One thing I knew for certain is that I was about to explode and if I didn't tell someone right away, I could be headed down a terrible path.

I am so very thankful that I reached out to the friend who sat with me for hours when I first got home from the hospital in early 2013. She didn't freak out, she didn't call me selfish, there was no judgment, she just listened. But then she turned around and sent me some messages reminding me of who I am at my core and just what I am made of.  A couple of hours later, an opportunity presented itself to chat with my big sister about it and she too spoke life into me and reminded me of the much bigger picture...that I have a calling and a purpose to fulfill in this life of mine.

I am very proud of myself. It took a lot of courage to open up about some raw feelings....it was very brave for someone in my position. I knew it had to be done and I knew that if I could just make it until this morning when a new day started, I would be fine and be able to face the days ahead.

Through my blog I have discovered how many people struggle with these type thoughts. I know that many people have ended their lives within the darkest tormenting hours of their lives. I know what that short window of time is like. I am here to tell you that if you have a dark place you are in, please trust me and know that it truly passes. I know at times it can be so very difficult and sometimes regardless of what anyone else may think of you, it seems hopeless. But since my failed attempt, the only way I have muddled through some of the dark times is to hold onto that teeny tiny glimmer of hope that if I can just hang in there until the sun rises tomorrow, I'll be okay. And you know what? I AM!!

As always, please feel free to reach out to me at ANY time through my blog. I'd love to be a listening ear for you. I'd be honored to help you on your journey the way a few have done for me. YOU are here for a reason. YOU are here for a purpose that only YOU can fulfill. YOU are MORE than enough. YOU are valuable and worthy. The world NEEDS YOU!!!! Sending much, much love to all my followers, especially to the survivors, my self-harming friends and my suicide survivor friends!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

"Cancer free" isn't all it's cracked up to be.

Don't get me wrong, being cancer free is great. I know it makes others happy to ask if I am cancer free and hear me say yes. But the harsh reality is that cancer survivors can never say they are free from scars...neither physically or emotionally. We can never say that we are free from what it took from us. I've been done with treatment for almost four years now and I hope with everything that is within me that one day I can say I am free from the effects of treatment.

For instance, to this very day, about every four months or so, I will get that terrible chemo taste in my mouth. It lasts for three to four weeks and then just goes away. It is a reminder of what I went through. It is short sided for anyone who hasn't ever dealt with the disease to think we as survivors should just be "grateful" to be alive. You have NO idea how difficult life is forever changed from the very moment you hear the words, "You have cancer."

On one of the darkest emotional days I ever had during treatment I couldn't sleep at all and was up in the middle of the night, alone, bawling my eyes out. Alone with the dark thoughts cancer patients can't confide to their friends and family. I wrote the following poem that night and I hope it brings you hope or that you can share it with someone else to bring them hope if they are facing this terrible monster.


The busy streets, the hustle and bustle, the cares of today all rushing by. Then one word enters your life and everything stops. Time is suspended. Oh...all the rest of the world is still rushing by as you stand in the middle of the freeway wondering how you are not getting hit. Although being hit is exactly what has happened. Hit by the word "Cancer." Your world starts moving in slow motion and your mind a complete fog. Day by day is spent trying to let this sink in, how can this be true? Maybe there's been a mistake, it just can't be you. 

Slowly you start to understand that you will never wake up from this horrible nightmare because you are already awake. As you settle in with the reality of your new existence you ponder many things. Somewhere, somewhere deep within you starts to rise. She rises and keeps rising until she is completely standing. It is the you that shrunk many years before too afraid to ever come out.

You stand tall and take a look around. Only this time you don't see what you used to see. You see new beginnings, you see so many possibilities. You start to have ideas, dreams, hopes for your future. Then, you grab hold of those and you hold tight with all that is within you and you fight. You fight to live, to learn, to grow and love. 

And then you realize that this is the new you.


Written by Kelley McElreath


Thursday, August 28, 2014

Yes, my name is Kelley, but I am SO much more than that! Who are you?

Who are you? If someone were to ask you this question, how would you answer? I think a lot of us would just say our name. I think a lot of the time, it is just our human conditioned nature to not give ourselves credit for who we really are. Sometimes, when I think of who I am personally, I think of all the things that are wrong with me. I think of all my mistakes and failures. I think of all my many shortcomings. That is until I help someone. Or when I share my story and the things I have overcome with someone.

There are days when I totally and completely struggle and fail. Usually, this is all mentally. I think about all the many readers of my blog and the different things that we all struggle with. And I wonder to myself how much of our struggles are just in our own minds....our own mindsets. I have come to realize that while others can offer me comfort and hope, only I can change my mindset about ME and anything or anyone else for that matter.

In general, I think that if someone were to talk to you or I about their greatness, we might think of them as egotistical. I myself think I might think that way if someone told me this. But again, I feel that this is a limited mindset. Something I have found that helps me greatly, and I think will help you as well, is to come up with affirmations for myself. Sometimes, the best ones come to me when I am at my best and feeling the strongest.

Recently, after having days on end of not feeling so hot about myself, I started wondering to myself and just thinking about when I am the happiest and when I feel the most joy. I had a moment when I was really, really overcome with fear and stress and in that same moment an opportunity came up to encourage someone and I did. The reaction from this person was so full of gratitude. And I didn't really do anything special at all. At least it wasn't that amazing from my view point. Then I thought about the people who self-harm, are depressed and suicidal, cancer survivors, other women who have reached out to me through my blog. Just thinking about all of this made me feel better. I realized that when I reach out to someone else, all my thoughts are on them and off of myself and suddenly life just feels better.

So, some of the affirmations I tell myself are...
  • I am a ROCK STAR
  • I am a life-changer
  • I am a power house
  • I have a driving force within me
These are just a few, but the ones I use regularly. When I am hard on myself or just down, they remind me of who I really am at my core. So, who are you? If you could shout it out to the world and could not care less about what anyone thought, what would you shout? Maybe you are an awesome leader, maybe you are a free thinker, maybe you are an extremely dedicated individual. Regardless, think about what makes you happy and brings you the most joy. What are you doing at those times? What are you feeling and why? Make a list in your phone to remind you. Then, when you are struggling or feeling low, read your list. Say them out loud to yourself daily so they get in your head, but even better...down into your soul.

I just want you all to know that YOU are more than your name. SO much more. We ALL, each and every single one of us, have something BIG to offer the world. Let's stop focusing on all the things we aren't or can't do, and focus on the great parts of us. One of the greatest things I have ever heard is "What people think about me is none of my business" as well as "You don't have to believe every thought you think."

Think highly of yourself. Think the best about YOU. See the best in yourself. Really think about it and come up with all the many reasons YOU are so amazing. There is only ONE you. You are unique beyond description. Since there is only one YOU, only YOU can do what you were put here on this earth to do. So don't wait around waiting for someone else to do it! Discover who YOU are and go out and fulfill your purpose!!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

When my world got rocked, I decided to rock my own world.

When my world got rocked, I decided to rock my own world. Hmmmmm.......Most of you know that I am a life coach. I just spent the past four days in a training class and it was great. I wrote down the title for this blog post on the last day of class. I love helping other people. I love watching a person get better, feel better, live better lives and helping them discover their greatness on their own.

Things have been tough in my life emotionally lately. Today has not been a good day. I have been left to be the single parent to be the anchor and emotionally available person for my children. I in turn take it all on my own shoulders. One of the most difficult things as a parent is to not have the answers for your children or a solution to offer them as they face the hard things that life throws at them.

Sometimes, when days like to day start to get me down, I have to "coach" myself and this is me doing that. I sit and wonder to myself often why I am still here. I wonder how I will live the rest of my days out in this crazy place called my life. Do you ever get like that? Do you ever just want it all to stop? I know I sure do. But thank God I know I have an internal strength within myself that I can pull from. When days are good, I can say to myself, I AM A FREAKIN' ROCK STAR!! I can remember all that I have endured and yet still sit here on top, alive, helping others be the best version of themselves that they can be. But on the bad days, it is hard to do this.

So, although today hasn't started out well, I know that only I can make it better. I know that only I am in control of my happiness. And it all starts within. I never expected this blog post to be what it has turned into when I wrote that title down. But here I am and I have to ask myself...what can I do to rock my own world. I hope the words that follow will encourage you to do the same.

In order for me to take charge and full responsibility, I have to dig deep. I know that I have a driving force that resides within me. It is a force that goes untapped sometimes. But I know it is there. I have to remind myself of the power that lies within ME. No one else can make me better. Others might be able to offer me some comfort, but true lasting change can only happen within myself.

In the past couple of weeks I have had some very incredible things said about me by different individuals. So, I take the time now to try and see for myself what it is they see. It is so hard to see the qualities in yourself that others find very valuable by just your presence. I think it is human nature to focus on all of our flaws and all the things we do wrong.

So today I must CHOOSE to see the good in myself. CHOOSE to see how much I have accomplished. CHOOSE to see all the wonderful things that ARE happening in my life right now. I think the single greatest thing to do is focus on RIGHT NOW. It's easy to get caught up in what HAS happened and what COULD happen rather than what IS happening. And at this very moment, everything is fine.

I hope you can pull some strength from inside of YOU to get you through the not so good days. And let us not forget, YOU are a ROCK START too!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Everything I've learned after the ending of a failed marriage

This list is definitely not EVERYTHING, but it is what I've come to learn about life and myself up to this point. I'm proud of myself for taking the time to learn from it and to gain knowledge and understanding about myself. I believe that not one single marriage ends because of one person...EVER. The only way for ME to grow and become all that I am destined to become is to face whatever MY part in it was and move forward.

And in my learning, I think it is my responsibility as a human being to share these lessons with others.

  1. Don't be a bitch- It just isn't worth it. It isn't right and it is a choice. Sometimes it just feels good, but it doesn't make it right and it never helps the situation.
  2. Don't take what you DO have for granted- It is so easy to fall into a pattern where we get "used" to the good things others do for us. I wish I would have spent more time focusing on all the things that were good....back when they were good.
  3. Gratitude- There are so many things to be grateful for. When in a relationship or really in any situation, you can find something to be grateful for. There is a fantastic video that is worth taking the time to watch about this. You can view it here...http://ow.ly/zc4ME
  4. Honesty- I have always been extremely honest and maybe to a fault. But at least I don't have any regrets for being honest. I know telling the truth is a quality many just do not possess. Telling the truth might be scary, but it is the only way to go and I have never, ever regretted it, ever. When you tell the truth, it builds credibility. When you tell the very first lie, the other person will NEVER trust you again like they did before that lie no matter how sorry you say you are you or how bad you feel, ever.
  5. Encourage- Take the time to encourage your partner. It doesn't take much time and it really doesn't take that much effort.
  6. Remember- Remember why you fell in love with them in the first place. Again, focus on the good.
  7. I'm not a failure- Just because my marriage failed does not by any means mean that I am a failure or make me lose my value and worth as a woman. If anything, I value myself more and I know more about me. It makes me MORE worthy because of the experience and what I have learned from it.
  8. SEX- You must find time and a way to make it work. It is vital for both parties to feel wanted and needed by the other. 
  9. Perspective- Take the time to see it from their perspective. I wish I would have done this more. I see time and time again in my mind's eye how doing this would have made a huge impact. Don't wait until it is too late to see things in a different light other than your own.
  10. The end- Don't sweat it. It sucks. Life is different. There are many challenges. And did I mention, it sucks? Step back and take a good hard look with the biggest magnifying glass you can find turned on YOURSELF. Search your own heart deeply. Don't even think about what all THEY did, but what all YOU did. What can you do differently now in your new life? How can you apply ALL the lessons you have learned to your new existence? How can you use this experience to make you better and the lives of those around you better? What do you now want to take into a new relationship you might eventually get involved in? What are the new standards you want? Ask yourself all the hard questions. Then, be determined to move on with all that life has to offer you. And if you look hard enough, you will discover the universe is waiting to give you all that you want or could ever need. Start looking!!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Life after death

I have discovered many people who have read my blog. It is always interesting and exciting to find out who reads it and keeps up with me. I'm sure I would probably be really surprised to learn just who all reads it.

I have found that a BIG number of teenagers read it. I don't think I ever realized that my story would impact a teenager. I've always had the desire to reach out and help women. But, I am open to helping teens. It saddens me at the amount of them that self-harm and struggle with suicidal thoughts.

Ya know, I have a real issue with attention seekers when it comes to suicide. I don't think it is funny in any way whatsoever. The people I try to reach are the ones who would never tell a soul. The ones who suffer in silence and are out of hope and are in complete desperation. The ones who are at the end of their rope and only just want to end their pain, not their lives.

I know that there are so many people out there who just don't "get" suicidal people at all. I really try to understand their perspective, but it is difficult for me to do. I think it is kind of like the super skinny girl you love to hate. She just eats whatever she wants and just continues to look awesome. She ages and still doesn't gain a pound. How does she do it? She was born with good genes. That girl will probably NEVER struggle with her weight and she will NEVER understand people that struggle with their weight.

I guess that is how people who never really contemplate suicide are when faced with a friend or loved one who has attempted it. I wish I could sit here and say I don't struggle with it anymore. I know that is what people want to hear, but it just isn't that easy. I think often of that day. I sometimes get angry with God for allowing me to live. I know it is a selfish thought, so please don't judge. I would never attempt it again because the pain would be way too great for the people close to me in my life. I am in a much, much better place emotionally and no longer deal with severe depression.

My life after my near death is so different. I'm better in so many ways. I truly believe that the old me died and this new me rose to life. But finding yourself after cancer, infidelity, divorce can be difficult. I am so strong and so very confident in many, many areas of my life. But then there are those places where I am definitely not. Sometimes, I am afraid. I mean, after having another human being take care of you financially for close to twenty years and then having to go it alone, it is quite frightening at times.

My current struggle is my overwhelming desire to never hurt another soul in the way that I have been hurt. But I am afraid it is way out of balance. Sometimes it feels like I would rather destroy and end a relationship before I would be willing to risk hurting someone. It's when I feel these type feelings that I realize the damage that has been done to me emotionally. It's just not a walk in the park. Unless you've been through it yourself, I don't think there is any way to describe what it is like to discover someone you loved with all of your heart for a very long time led a double life. To me, it is just the ultimate betrayal. I would NEVER, EVER under any circumstance want to inflict this kind of pain on anyone else and me be the cause of it...EVER.

I know time heals all wounds and I hope to get better every day. I usually post uplifting stuff and usually after I've gotten through days like today. But, I decided that maybe there are people out there struggling with some of the same things and they need to know this side of it. It helps when you know you aren't alone.

The mind can be a wonderful place, but it can be a terrifying place as well. Tonight I just thought...what the hell, let me just blog about it and get it off my chest. Blogging has been therapy for me for quite some time and who knows, maybe this was meant for a specific person. If so, know you are NOT alone in your struggle.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

LIfe in Texas

Well, life has just been absolutely wonderful since I got back. I've been going about a million miles an hour traveling to meet new friends and old and family and I'm still not done.  It feels good. It feels nice and it feels completely, 100% right.

One thing I have done for a very, very long time is allow myself to believe that my intuition was off.  I believed it because I spent close to twenty years, allowing someone else to tell me my gut feelings weren't actually my gut feelings, but rather me being judgmental or seeing the worst in them.  Although it is refreshing to discover that ALL those gut feelings were dead on, I have to relearn now to trust my instincts.

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to do so and it ROCKED!! One thing I know I have to do is go with my gut.  It's funny, your gut can cause you so much pain and grief, yet it can be the compass for your life.  We can listen to it or ignore it, but the choice is completely up to us.  If we ignore it, it will then be up to us to take full responsibility for any consequences that follow.

I think so many of us actually have a very strong intuition, but we don't realize it for the gift that it is and we take for granted what an amazing gift it is. It is something we can develop and grow with time.

If I would have listened to what my gut was telling me a very long time ago, I have absolutely no doubt in my mind whatsoever that my life and the lives of my children would have turned out very, very different.  I do believe that everything happens for a reason.  So, in light of that, I think that I have learned some very valuable lessons and that I now just have to take those lessons and use them moving forward.

You might be reading this and think to yourself that your own gut is screaming some stuff at you. Telling you to PAY ATTENTION. Well, listen to it. What I can say is that as women, we are NOT stupid. If you feel like something isn't right, it probably isn't. Listen to it. Don't let anyone else make you feel like you don't know what you are talking about. Someone told me once that you should really be afraid of anyone who makes you doubt your doubts.

I finally have started writing my book about my life from the time I was three until....????  I just finished chapter four! It is exciting, but way more emotional than I ever thought possible.  I can't wait to share it with you!

Oh, and one more thing...this Texas heat is SO DARN HOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, May 31, 2014

When hell freezes over, and only then.

That will be the exact moment I trust men again. I am not even sure I have a desire to even "want" to trust them again. You know me, I am just telling you like it is. Why sit here and try to sugar coat anything? I'm not even trying to trust them. You may be thinking to yourself, this sounds sad or harsh or maybe you are worried or concerned about me.

Well, you all know what I have been through with men. I'm sure you understand on some level where I am at. I do trust my brother, a wonderful pastor here in Georgia who I have known for a very long time, and my best friend's husband. If I had even a sliver of hope that one day I would be able to trust men again, it all went out the window when a married, lead pastor contacted me recently out of the complete blue and told me he has been attracted to me for years and has dreamt of having sex with me. Yep, that just happened. Mind you, I have talked to this man ONCE on the phone shortly after I left Texas and the conversation was ministry related.

Not only that, this person knows what I have been through and endured. Knows fully the hurt that has happened in my life as a direct result of men and men in leadership. So, to say that I am hurt, angry, very confused, sad, afraid, furious, that would all be a tremendous understatement. I sometimes feel like the walking dead when it comes to the open wounds I have. I feel like my skin can barely contain them.

But, I can tell you this my friends, I am indeed a survivor. I have survived more things than most of my close friends will endure combined in their lifetimes. If I can overcome the things that I have overcome and still be standing, I can beat this too. I have been through far too much to give up now. When this happened, it was the second of three very serious negative events that took place in my life in a 24 hour period.

I realized how very far I have come since waking up alive in that hospital bed in January, 2013. Here I am off of ALL my medications. And, I did it. I have to admit that I was going to a job the day after the pastor incident and I cried all the way there. I told God, he must not EVER want me to be with a man again after this. I cried out to him and got through it. After my job that day, I was talking to my oldest daughter later in the afternoon and I told her that even though these three big things had just happened, I felt empowered. I used it as fuel for my journey in healing and discovery of who "Kelley" really is. I actually felt on top of the world because I came to realize that depression is no longer kicking my ass, but I am kicking its ass!!

WHEW!!! That was an incredible feeling. So, I leave you with this thought...

"Thoughts are like steps. They will take you to a destination. Where is it that you would like to go?" ~Kelley McElreath

You may wonder how I reconcile all of this. Well, I know I trust me. And for now, I have to be happy and content with that. I can tell you this, since my husband walked out that door never to return, there has only been a very rare occasion that I have wavered in my trust in the Lord. He has taken such wonderful, wonderful care of me and the girls. So, one thing I know for sure is that we make a hell of a good team. I think I'll be keeping HIM around for a long, long time. :-)

Sunday, May 18, 2014

"Buy a pair, save a pair!!"

I'm SOOOO excited to launch "Buy a pair, save a pair!" And it couldn't happen at a better time than on my 4 year cancer free anniversary.

I'm selling hand-painted, personalized (by ME), cancer survivor canvas shoes!! These are mine. With every pair you buy, some of the proceeds will go to help fund my "Sewing for Tata's" gown ministry.

I believe that NO woman should have to be diagnosed with cancer and wear a dingy, worn out gown to any hospital or doctor's appointment. She should be GIVEN a gown to wear that is nice and makes her feel pretty in spite of what she is enduring. You can read more about that ministry here...Sewing for Tata's. 

A pair like these are $50.00 plus shipping and handling cost of $9.95 priority mail. This price is only good through the end of June. More styles to come as I build the business.

You can contact me at kelley@feelthetatas.com to place your order and this type shoe comes in sizes 6/7, 7/8, 9/10. If I can't find this kind in your size the cost of the shoe will be $25.00 more or possibly less if I find them cheaper. OR, you could buy them and mail them to me.


Friday, May 2, 2014

The journey back home to Texas

Well, many people are contacting me and lots of questions are being asked. SO, I thought I'd just blog about it so I can just answer everyone at the same time.

My oldest was accepted to Georgia State. I have been wanting to get back to Texas, but since she was accepted I just decided that I should wait until she got through with college. My youngest lives with her dad. As we started filling out FAFSA forms, going to orientations, visiting the school, etc it just never seemed like that was where she would go. I never mentioned this to her because I wanted to give her my full support.

We went to the BIG on campus orientation and when we got there, there was a panel of students answering questions from new students. One of the students on the panel said that his favorite quote was, "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take." Before the event was even half way over, my daughter told me she was ready to go because she didn't want to miss the shot of going back to Texas. This just confirmed to me that we were supposed to come home.

I grew up in Texas. My older brother and older sister live in Texas. I have an adopted family in Oklahoma and they are a HUGE part of my life. I just can't see myself going the rest of my life being this far from those people. AND, I have lots of friends in Texas!! As soon as we made the decision, God just started opening doors.

We are just following God's lead. It's funny because I am a real planner and very organized. But, when it comes to major moves, I am just lead by the holy spirit, period. We moved from Oklahoma to Seattle, WA without a place to move into when we got there. People thought we were crazy to do that, but God was in it and everything worked out beautifully. We did the same thing, moving from Washington to Georgia. When we moved from Georgia back to Texas the first time, Deryl didn't even have a confirmed job offer! But, each and every single time, God worked everything out.

This time is different because it will just be me and my oldest. I am single now and have to do it all on my own. BUT, I still have God, and he ALWAYS has my back...period. My daughter will stay with my ex sister-in-law. We will be traveling to East Texas to see my sister and to Oklahoma to see our adopted family there. Honestly, when I am not traveling, I have no idea where I will stay.

I am not positive about the city I want to live in yet. I have my own business and can pretty much live wherever I want to. I'm leaning towards McKinney or that vicinity right now so I won't be too far from Oklahoma as I know I will be there often. I am praying God opens the door for me to find someone who has an extra room with a separate entrance or something like that to live during the summer when I am not traveling. Maybe I'll just stay at an extended stay. I work from home so that makes things easy.

When making BIG life changing decisions, I try to be led by my peace and by what feels right. Staying in Georgia doesn't feel right at all. I know God is calling me back to Texas. There are a LOT of details that I just haven't figured out yet. But, I know God is in the details and I trust HIM. So far, as I hand over all my cares and concerns to The Lord, everything has worked itself out. So, we will be heading to Texas on June 4th. I have business in Dallas, so that will take up some of my time in June. But, we are both very excited to see what God has in store for us.

Please pray for wisdom, guidance, provision and for God to provide the perfect place for me to live until I figure out where I want to plant my feet. My daughter will also need guidance and provision to start college in Texas.

Can't wait to see you all!!!! I also can't wait to meet some of my Texas blogger followers and Facebook friends that I haven't met yet!! Let the journey begin!!

Monday, April 21, 2014

How to face depression unmedicated

I suffered with Insomnia for many, many years. I have always been convinced that it all originated from my years of cocaine addiction. I stayed up all night for so many years that I think it just messed me all up.

For many years, LONG after getting clean, I suffered in silence. It got so bad at one point that I would fall asleep with both of the girls on my lap, think I was dreaming, and wake up to discover that it wasn't a dream and that I had really done the things I dreamt about.

Not long after, I got help. I took medication for a year or so. I then quit telling people that I was an insomniac because I knew how very powerful words were. I decided to take myself off the medication and take Benedryl. I spent many countless nights unable to sleep. I literally had to re-train myself on how to sleep. When I woke up in the middle of the night, I would just read or pray until I fell back asleep.

This went on for weeks, but I was determined. And on a side note, many kids who are allowed to sleep with their parents will suffer from insomnia. We MUST learn to get our OWN selves to sleep. ALL OF US!! If not, kids suffer a lifetime of sleeping disorders... I know from personal experience and witnessing this in other kids' lives. Don't believe me? Ask other people you know who have chronic insomnia or whose children have terrible sleeping disorders!!

So anyway, I taught myself how to sleep. I did have to take Benedryl every night, but I could sleep, and every single night I was able to sleep better and better. THEN came my cancer diagnosis. Well, as you can imagine, my thoughts were totally CONSUMED!! My doctors immediately put me back on Ambien, and they put me on Xanax for obvious reasons.

I ended up taking Xanax, Prozac, Ambien, Restoril, and other cancer drugs. ALL of those drugs I listed had a side effect that I had NO clue about. SUICIDAL THOUGTS. When I took my chemotherapy class, they told me that people with a Type A personality were affected the most with severe depression and chemo brain. Well, if you know me, you know that is totally ME. Chemotherapy caused me to fall into a deep, deep, deep depression. I had NO idea it was happening. When I was done with treatment, I knew that I was sad and I had read all the statistics and everything I could expect so I didn't feel too alarmed.

But, many things were combining to create a terrible disaster in my life and I did not see it coming. If I told you every detail, this post would be a book!! So, let me just tell you that after my suicide attempt, the doctors kept me on Prozac and started me on Welbuterin, and pretty much refused to give me any other meds for obvious reasons. The Welbuterin is for people with suicidal thoughts. It worked great.

My biggest complaint was that I couldn't cry. I mean, I literally could NOT cry. I was numb. 

I didn't know it was the meds at the time. I just thought it was because of all I had been through and maybe it was partly that. There were times where an incident would happen with one of my kids and they would be crying and devastated and I could not care less. Something within me knew that this was wrong, but I had no feelings whatsoever about it. I felt terrible. But I literally had no emotions or feelings at all.

This happened on several occasions and I got very concerned. I am such a researcher. I started Googling to figure out what in the world was wrong with me and it all said I was apathetic. Hell, I had never even heard of that! It described me perfectly. It took me months of studying this to realize that this was me, but yet I still didn't put two and two together to figure out it was the damn medication!!! I thought it was just ME. I beat myself up so bad about this and thought I was a horrible parent and a horrible person.

Okay, so fast forward to my divorce being final. I knew that once my divorce was final, my insurance would be final as well. I called to find out how much these meds would cost me on my own and the medication that prevented suicidal thoughts was close to $100.00 a month!! JUST FOR THAT ONE!!

SO, I prayed my heart out about the situation. My conclusion was that I stopped smoking years and years prior COLD TURKEY. I quit drinking when I was a full blown alcoholic COLD TURKEY. And, I quit a major drug addiction the same way... COLD TURKEY. Surely, if I could do that, I could do this.

I had actually tried several times to take myself off the meds thinking I didn't really need them. Three times, on about day 5, I stayed in my bed, pulling my covers over my head wanting to end my life. Luckily, I had a friend who was not afraid to confront me. I must say that this person is the only person in my life strong enough to take me head on.

The first time, she sat at the end of my bed and didn't leave until I had worked myself through it. The next couple of times wasn't as severe. Each time it got easier. Each time I got better and better at realizing that it was only a brief time.

Let me explain. I wrote a guest blog post about how we have to "Just wait".  Part One is here, http://ow.ly/vYAAU  and Part Two is here, http://ow.ly/vYAEC. I basically came to the conclusion that when things get tough and the thought of suicide came to my mind, I could just "wait" it out. These depression/suicide "spells" didn't last too long. I just had to FORCE myself to ride it out. It might be four or five hours or so, but sometimes what I kept discovering was that it usually wasn't even that long.

SO, although I faced some serious hours of depression, I made it through.

I AM NOT SUGGESTING THAT ANYONE, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES quit taking anti-depressants cold turkey. 

But, what I am telling you is that it is possible. I am in a position right now where I cannot afford Obama Care nor can I afford to pay for the medication out of pocket. And I wonder to myself how many countless others are also in my exact position.

Is this a walk in the park? A piece of cake? NO, it is not. I struggle some days very, very much. I don't want pity, but the fact is that I don't have a mother or father, where I can just pick up the phone and call them to lean on. I can't call them for financial assistance. I know I have the Lord, but now that I am divorced, I have to figure things out for myself. But, it is good for me and it empowers me. I must admit that I have never before in my entire Christian walk felt as comforted by God like I do now. I literally feel like I am cradled in the palm of his hands.

The more time and space that gets between me and my suicide/near death experience, the more normal I feel. The longer I am completely medication free, the better I feel. I feel CLEAR. I no longer feel numb. I find myself at the beginning stages of feeling again. I go to the movies now and sometimes feel a tear coming on. That might not seem like much to you, but it is a really big deal for me.

Now don't get me wrong, I still face moments where I get upset with God for letting me be found and for allowing me to wake up alive. But, the person I am now would absolutely NEVER concoct a suicide plan....EVER. And those thoughts are very few and far between. One thing I have learned is that if I am struggling, I just need to find something to do, pray, journal, just wait it out. Each and every single time, I am totally fine within a few hours.

I must admit that it would be much easier to be on medication. I actually miss being even keeled. I am thankful for the time I was on the medication because I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I would NOT be here today if I wouldn't have been on them. I just want to share my personal journey so others know that there is hope for them.

I will blog more on this subject later....don't want to write a book here!! Thanks for reading and please share with anyone you think this will help.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014


A little more than three years ago my husband went missing. I wonder if you've seen him anywhere. My husband and my children's father cannot be found. We see someone who looks kinda similar to him occasionally and every once in a while we think it might be him. But those glimpses are only a very rare occasion.

You see, we miss him dearly. He was the perfect man to us. Honestly, if you are a longtime reader of my blog, you know I wrote many a post about me having the better end of the marriage. He rolled out the red carpet for me. We could talk for hours on end. He cherished me...or so I thought. We laughed so much together. My oldest daughter was 14 years old before she ever witnessed us have a serious disagreement/argument. We did absolutely EVERYTHING together. We didn't want to spend our time apart....EVER. We were best friends.

We would go to marriage seminars time after time and end up leaving because literally every single thing they said couples had problems with, we NEVER had those struggles. And everything they would encourage couples to do, we already did and then some. Marriage was so easy for us. It was wonderful. We were so happy. When I had cancer, he was my rock. He was absolutely amazing. 

Oh, and what an amazing father. He would put the kids to sleep every single night. It was such a big help and gave me such a great break. I loved not having that responsibility. He would talk to the girls and pray with them before they went to sleep. I loved hearing them say "Daddy, come pray with me!"

I remember one night he was out of town and he called to talk to me. He was in the same room as his boss. One of the girls happened to be right beside me when he called. She asked to talk to him when I was done and just like any other night, she asked him to pray for her and he wouldn't. He said it was because his boss was there. I had a major check in my spirit at that moment. That was a pretty big sign that the man he wanted us to believe he was and the man he really was were two very different people.

I still find myself sometimes in just complete shock and disbelief. How could it be possible for someone to "fake" a close to 20 year relationship? How could you just "pretend" to be happy? How could you go to church week in and week out like everything is fine? How could you minister to others and mentor them in their own marriages? How could you do unimaginable things while being the greatest husband on earth taking care of your sick wife?

I KNOW I have the gift of discernment. I KNOW many others who do as well. How did EVERYONE miss this? I guess we didn't really. It's kinda ironic...we have met tons of people. And ya know, especially in church, I would notice that not a lot of men (leaders especially) took to him. I always wondered why and would actually get very offended by this because I just never understood it.

After the many bombs dropped, I had different couples/people approach me and tell me they always knew something just wasn't right with him. They could never put their finger on it. Several people told me he had very clear signs he was in a full blown addiction. I must say, I am not upset that no one came to me with this information. I'm not upset because I would have never believed them.

I will say that if you see my posts on FB or read my blogs and you have certain "opinions" about me, I ask that you try to at least put yourself in my shoes and see things from my perspective where I am now and also where I've been. I have serious trust issues as you can imagine.

It is hard to recover from this kind of event. It is even harder watching your two daughters try to reason it all out and try to make any sense of it. Like I said, I lost my husband and my children lost their father. I have no doubt it would have been much easier to be widowed. At least then we would have known where he was.

So, if you happen to see him, would you let him know we're looking for him? And the scariest part about that is that we have no earthly idea if that person ever existed.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

My first tattoo!!!!

WOW!! Where do I start? I have always loved tattoos....on OTHER people. I have always "thought" about getting one but just couldn't do it because it was just TOO permanent. After going through cancer, I kind of thought about getting a breast cancer ribbon but just didn't want to be like everyone else. So, my best friend and I decided a long time ago that if we ever got one, we would get one together.

I occasionally look at tattoos but just haven't ever seen any I liked enough to permanently put on my body. I was researching some things the other day online and came across "The Semi-colon project". OMG!! I couldn't believe I had NEVER heard of this!! Here is an excerpt that I read...

"A semicolon is used when an author could have ended a sentence but decided not to. I am the author and the sentence is my life."

Although I was the one that decided to take my life, God decided not to. The moment I saw this, I immediately sent a text my bestie and said "LET'S DO THIS!!" At the time, I had every intention of just getting the semi-colon on my wrist. Throughout the day, on the day we had our appointments to get them done, I just couldn't stop thinking of my life and how much meaning this tattoo would have. Anyone who knows me knows that I DO NOT like to follow the crowd. I like creating a path of my own. I like creating and defining myself. So, I just kept thinking of other ideas and knew it would be different but I wanted it to have a very deep meaning. And I just had to incorporate a ribbon somehow for breast cancer.  

When sharing my story I always start it by saying "I am a breast cancer and suicide survivor". So, I knew I needed the word survivor in the tattoo. I also like the infinity symbol but I don't really believe anything lasts forever. I also like the ribbon but don't like the Pepto color at all and just don't like the full ribbon. So my oldest daughter got to drawing. She incorporated EVERYTHING that I was thinking into this amazing tattoo!!

After I got out of the hospital, I obviously told those close to me how sorry I was for trying to commit suicide. I know both of my daughters were upset by what I did but I think I hurt my oldest very deeply and it made her very afraid I might do it again. I told her so many times I was sorry and although I knew that she knew on some level how terrible I felt about it, she was still very wounded. 

So, I can't even begin to put into words what it was like for HER to design something that would go on my body and stay there FOREVER. It brought so much healing to both of us. God is just so good. He works ALL things together for our good.

Another VERY cool thing is that I have never had a logo created for Feel the Tatas because I just didn't want another breast cancer ribbon. But this will now become my logo for Feel the Tatas and Sewing for Tatas. So, Survivor Warrior will be replaced with the other words!!!! I'm SO excited how this is all coming together!! 

Here are some pics!! 

Tattoo artist: 
Cam Yeomans
Find him here on Facebook!! 
See more of his work here on Instagram!!
Getting it ready to go! 
About to get started
The easy part!!
Sharing our testimonies
SO content with my decision
From thought to reality!

Finished product!!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

How I created myself and ruined your view of what a Christian "should" be like.

Trust me, I'm just like you. You might not admit it to anyone else but I know if you are reading this you can relate to me and we have similarities. Usually, people that are drawn to you are like you in some way. The old me, like a lot of other people, I think, came across differently to different groups of people. SO, if I was with my best friend, I was one way. If I was at church, I was another way. When I was at work I was another way. Now, don't get ahead of yourself and judge me.... I'm not saying I was like a hypocrite per say. What I am saying is that I couldn't be the person I am now in ALL settings.

Let me give you an example. If I was around my sister, I would never have a glass of wine or dare mention that I ever did. Why? She doesn't like it or believe in it. Why did I care? I'm not sure, really. Guess I didn't want to let her down. Another example would be at a place I worked where they were EXTREMELY legalistic, totally right winged, rigid Christians that I seriously try to steer clear of now at ALL costs. BUT, that was my job. Anyway, I had to "fit in" and I really don't know of any other way to put it. I was completely terrified to blog about my suicide attempt and struggles for fear of judgment, gossip and ridicule. I know you get my drift. I could give you tons of examples, but I think you know exactly what I mean.

I did all of these things, when I cared. Now, the only thing I care about is being ME. I want to be raw, real, true, authentic and whatever lies in between. I just want to be me and THAT is so very freeing. Look, you either like me, you love me or you hate me. Really makes no difference to me. I've never really been a people pleaser or anything but when I look back at the person I was before I was diagnosed with cancer and compare that to the person I am now..... WOW!!

I was thinking about blogging all week and wondering what I would write about. I thought about this topic and as I started mulling it over, I imagined cussing in the blog post. My mind IMMEDIATELY thought of a dozen or so people that I know read my writings and I have absolutely NO doubt whatsoever they would have a negative or critical thought if they read curse words in this blog. So, that is when I decided to write this damn post!! Ha, ha.

You see, I DO have a glass of wine and you know what? I like it. I don't get plastered and wasted and such, but if I did, it's my business. I used to judge people who cussed and drank and did anything that I was taught was a "sin". When I tried to commit suicide and was in the hospital for days on end, I woke up and I think the first sentence out of my mouth after over a decade of NEVER uttering a curse word was, "You have GOT to be F!@*ING kidding me!!" I dropped the "F" bomb probably 100 times that day. My pastor's assistant came to see me and I used that word repeatedly. Now mind you, I don't have hardly any memory of this. My best friend told me.

I do remember when I finally really came to that I kept using that word. It was like a coping mechanism. You may or may not understand that, but it worked for me. Used to, I would have been so worried about what you or anyone else would have thought, but those days are freakin' GONE. I'm not trying to be mean or hateful. But what I am trying to say is that too many people live their lives according to how they "think" different groups of people "think" they should act and I have come to realize that that is ridiculous!!

Living your life that way can make you SICK. You have ONE person to answer for and that is YOU. You were put in this world to live ONE life. I love blogging because you have NO doubt who I am, what I am like, or what I stand for or believe in.

Someone paid me the greatest compliment the other day. They told me that nearly every woman out there can relate to me on some level because of the things I have been through. And the only way that is true is because I share EVERYTHING. I say the things others only "think" because it is such a relief to hear someone say the very thoughts you have thought yourself and realize you are not alone.

I may never, ever know how many lives I have touched through this blog and with me being as raw and real as I am but I know God has called me to do it. And you know what? I AM A CHRISTIAN. I may not be the version of a Christian that you have in your head. But don't you DARE tell me I'm going to hell or that I'm not living my life right. I serve the same God you do. I have a relationship with him and I am not superior or inferior to anyone. I love God with all my heart and he is my absolute EVERYTHING. I like my life. I like how I am living it. I am at peace.

It astounds me to see so called Christians point out other people's sins. I just do not get it. We are ALL sinners. So for anyone to go tell me about my sin regardless of how big they might think that sin is while smoking or judging or gossiping or stealing office supplies at work or whatever, is completely WRONG.

I may look back and read this 5 years from now and wonder, "What in the hell was I thinking?" But no matter what, I'll be glad I was true to who I was at the time. I'll be glad I wasn't a people pleaser. People pleasers are really Self-pleasers and I just don't want to spend my days living like that.

SO, I guess I should get off this soap box. My advice to you is this, be yourself. Have tact, but be you. I understand that who you are at home and who you are in a business meeting are very different. But be as authentic as you can. Don't hide. Who knows how many people you rub shoulders with each and every single day that needs to hear your story. Go out and be who God created you to be. YOU are God's gift to the world. And NO one can fulfill that destiny, but YOU.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

My gig as a guest blogger for a nerdy pastor...

I met a couple in California and immediately connected with them. We've stayed in contact over the years and they have planted a church. I really admire this man because he isn't your "typical" pastor. He thinks outside of the box, he challenges you, and well, his blog title says it all....

"The Nerd Pastor" Link to Pastor Adam's blog

I have so many new readers of my blog that didn't find me because of the church, or breast cancer, but rather because of my suicide attempt and survival. I was so honored when Pastor Adam asked me to be a guest blogger on his very cool blog. Finally, I can direct my male readers to something they too will find interesting!! You're welcome!!

If you have not followed my story throughout the past few years, this is the perfect blog post for you to read that sums up my entire story. Read this post and you will be all caught up!!

Here is part one of my post on his blog...

This isn’t your typical TNP post.
There’s no movie, tv, sports, or zombie story in it.
There’s no pop culture at all.
But I love stories and this is definitely a story worth sharing.
Carrie and I met Kelley and her (then) husband nearly 5 years ago. This Michigan couple met that Texas couple in California. We were all there as part of an assessment for church planting with an organization called Growing Healthy Churches Network. We became quick friends with them and kept in touch after returning home.
It wasn’t long after that we were introduced to Kelley’s health struggles but what came out over the next few months a years was a life story filled with abuse, betrayal, cancer, addiction, heartache, and somehowgrace.
I’ve asked Kelley to share her story on our blog because I believe in what God has done in and through her and believe that her story needs to be shared.
What you’re about to read is raw and I believe it is best that way.
The story will be published in 2 parts over the next two days.
My prayer is that regardless of your story you can get some hope from Kelley’s.
With that,hit the break for part 1.
Wow Adam, I am so honored that you asked me to be a guest blogger! I’m so glad that you understand and see why it is so important to talk about the things others only think about. The only way we can ever see real change is to bring whatever it is out into then light rather than live in darkness.
My life has been colored with tragedy. As I’ve been pondering and praying for direction on what to post about I realized how many different and wide ranges of people my testimony can help. So, with God’s help, I feel I should just start writing from my heart knowing and trusting that God will speak through me and that I would be able to touch the lives of many through my testimony.
Where it all began (Part one)
I sat on the bed so sad, but had no understanding of why, at such a young age I was this sad for another person. My mom was sitting on the edge of the bed, I was about 3 years old, and I just kept asking “What’s wrong mommy?” This is my earliest memory from my childhood. My mom and dad were getting a divorce. My brother, my sister, and I all lived with my mom in an apartment. Looking back now, I realize that my mom was so deeply hurt and wounded that my dad would leave our family and move in with another woman and her children after 15 years of marriage. Even at such a young age, I had such great respect for my mom. She was a fighter.
After my parents divorced, we would drive out to see my mom’s parents in Oklahoma. Every time we went, my mom’s dad would load us up with a bunch of meat and some vegetables from his garden so we didn’t go hungry. I had a cousin who was a few years older than me. She had three brothers and she was the only girl. So, when we came into town, we would be glued together because we were the only girls. Because of the situation, we ended up always sharing a bed. Unfortunately, this girl had been abused by her father and in turn did the same thing to me. This happened every single time we went to Oklahoma and no one had a clue what was happening to me. It truly amazes me how grown people can witness things and sit idly by without saying a word. 
Every time I had to go see my father, I was alone during the day while he was at work. Well, I was a nosey kid, so I went snooping. I didn’t have to look far to find a bunch of Playboy magazines. As I thumbed through the pages it was like a light went off. Now the divorce all made sense. At that very young age the following was seared into my brain…
“My mom doesn’t look like these girls, she doesn’t dress like these girls, and I’m almost sure she didn’t act like these girls!!” No wonder dad left. When I grow up, I am going to look, dress and act just like the girls in these pictures and my husband will never leave me”
I held that belief in my mind for many, many years. When I started getting attention from older men, I liked it. It felt good to actually be wanted by a man. I never, ever felt “wanted” by my father. By the time I was 15 years old, I went on my first date and had sex that very night for the first time. I was too embarrassed to say no because then he would have known I was a virgin. Just a couple of months later I realized I was in a very bad situation and broke up with him. One week later, I found out I was pregnant. Back then, you just got married, it was the right thing to do. So, I did. The baby was born 12 weeks early and stayed in intensive care for about three weeks then he came home. He died from SIDS when he was four months old. It wasn’t long after that when I found myself desperately trying to escape my dysfunctional marriage. 
Imagine at the precious age of 17 losing your first baby boy. I had NO idea how to cope with this. The only thing that made the pain lessen was when I did drugs. So, that was how I coped. I became not only a drug addict but at the age of 18 years old, I became a stripper. So there I was, doing drugs, drinking, and making all kinds of money. Such a terrible combination for a teenager. I knew I was living my life wrong but couldn’t stop. I did end up going to school and became a nail technician but that didn’t stop me. I just worked a full time job, got off work, went to clean up and change and went straight to the clubs. I woke up the next morning and did it all over again. 
There were many, many mornings where I had spent all night doing drugs and when I saw the sun coming up I realized I had been up ALL night. On those mornings I would say to myself,
“Oh my gosh, not again. I’m out of money, I’m out of drugs, and what am I doing to myself? This is just stupid. I’ve got to stop. But how?  What is it going to take to wake me up?! I really think the only thing that would be bad enough to make me quit is if mom died. What?!?!? What in the hell am I thinking?! I’ve got to stop, I’ve just got to stop.”
This went on for three years just getting worse by the day. I got a call at work and was told my mom had just been diagnosed with breast cancer. To make a very long story a little shorter, she ended up dying from it. As I looked at her in her casket I said out loud to her that I would never, ever touch drugs again, and I didn’t. 
In part 2, the story gets more difficult before it gets better. Come back tomorrow for the rest of the story.
PART 2.....
Yesterday we started a journey with Kelley. Today, we’re going to get current with her story.
Here’s part 2:
Mom passed away in April and in December I met an amazing man. He was a new manager at one of the clubs I worked at. He was so handsome and so sweet and he liked ME. We started hooking up and a friend of mine at the salon asked me if she could pray with me. I said I guess and so she did. I left work and headed for the club but decided I didn’t feel like working that night so I just hung out for a while. Usually, I would have downed who knows how many shots by this point. I had one beer ALL night and no shots. 
Day after day went by and I just kept not wanting to work there. I would walk in and look around and just be mortified that I actually worked with these people. The men were disgusting to me now. I decided one night when I was up there to just sell all the outfits I owned to the girls. I went to my boyfriend and told him that I was going to go visit a church and that I just couldn’t live my life like that a moment longer. 
Long story short againhe came with me, we loved it, he gave his two week notice and he gave his heart to the Lord!!!! We immediately quit cussing, quit smoking, quit drinking, and lastly he moved into a different room and we stopped sleeping together. It was hard but we did it. We got married and had two little girls. Our marriage was wonderful. We never, ever fought or argued in any way. He was my prince charming. He adored me. He was such a great daddy. He rolled out the red carpet for me. He was my very best friend in the whole wide world. 
We were married 16 years when I got the call telling me I had breast cancer just like my mom. He left work and came home immediately. I had several surgeries, chemo, terrible drugs to prevent a recurrence, and more. He was amazing during that time. He took wonderful care of me. I am such a very private person. I remember after my first surgery not being able to wash my super long hair because I couldn’t lift my arms. He got a chair and put it in the bathtub and made me feel totally safe enough to allow him to wash my hair. It was a beautiful time that I’ll never forget. Water poured down my back as tears rolled down my face. I couldn’t even look at him. 
The next several months went on like that and he was fantastic. Funny thing is, I met a man who was a breast cancer survivor and he was also a pastor. The first time he talked with us at length, he told us he counsels people in our situation on a regular basis. He went on to tell us story after story after story of men who had cheated on and abandoned their wives after breast cancer. Well, I sure was relieved that I wasn’t a statistic yet again! Then I finished treatment. 
A month or so after my last treatment, my brain started to get clear a little bit from all the chemo. I noticed something was really, really wrong. I ended up investigating a lot and even hired a private investigator all to find out he had been cheating on me, traveling saying it was business and actually meeting other women, conversing with MANY, MANY, MANY women online and who knows what else. To tell you I had been punched in the gut about 1,000 times over or that I had been stabbed in the heart a million times would be a complete understatement to how I felt. Something literally physically happened in my mind and body. Until this very day I have never been the same. 
It would be impossible for me to tell the rest of this entire story in this blog. So I will wrap it up by just letting you know that I felt as though my life was completely over. I had never been a depressed person but chemotherapy threw me into early menopause and made me extremely depressed. Shortly after all of this, my husband got a job in Atlanta, GA. So, I was really stuck. We all loaded up and went. We just thought this would be a great fresh start. We moved and went to counseling every week for two years. 
One day, I got an e-mail saying he had changed his password. Well, I knew then from this terrible pattern of his that he was right back at it. I sunk into the greatest depression you could ever imagine. BUT, I didn’t realize that I was that bad off. Once I found out for sure that not only was he doing it then but he had been doing the same old things since the very day we arrived in Atlanta, I was done. And when I say done, I mean DONE. 
He took the girls to the mall and I watched out the window until they were gone and then quickly proceeded to end the pain. I asked God to please forgive me for what I was about to do. I told Him how deeply I loved him. I cried out to him telling him how terribly sorry I was that I messed this crazy thing called life totally up. I let Him know that no matter where I ended up, He was my everything.
The rest of my story and all the “details” and missing pieces can be found in my blogwww.feelthetatas.com 
This might seem like a tragic story and yes, I agree that it is. But you know what? God delivered me from cancer and most importantly, he delivered me from myself. I give God ALL the glory. I wrote a post titled “I am a suicide survivor” and let me tell you, countless people I knew and some I had never even met before started contacting me. I gave the world my email address and my own personal cell number. Oh my goodness my heart broke for these people. Some of these people I KNEW personally and knew them very, very well!!!! 
You may be going through some things that seem impossible. They might be weighing you down a bit. You might even have some crazy thoughts in your head. And you might even be thinking that it would sure be a lot easier to just be done, done, and done. I’m here to tell you that YOU are not reading this by accident. You my friend are being “found” by God himself. You can run from God as far as you would like. But He LOVES you. Oh my how He LOVES YOU. He will go to GREAT, GREAT lengths for YOU. 
The greatest advice I can give anyone is to wait it out. Just wait it out. Even though I am so much better now and am not in that depression anymore I still struggle. I hate admitting that, but it is just true. How I get through it is just wait. It’s like a blip on the radar. It’s just a moment in time that is hard. It’s just tough, ya know? But within a short period of time really, it just leaves as quick as it came and there I sit having beat it yet again. And with every time that I conquer it, I win. Then, the reward is that these hard times get further and further apart. When that happens, I can see some light at the end of the tunnel. 
Thank you so much for reading about my life. I feel very blessed and honored. And as always, you can contact me at kelley@feelthetatas.com for any reason. I love being there to walk people through their journey of cancer and even through the tough stuff like depression. I am NOT a counselor in any way, shape or form but I am ME!! I would love to be a listening ear for you even though you will probably be a complete stranger. Sometimes it’s just easier that way. God bless you and don’t forget to “Just Wait”.

For more of Kelley’s story, be sure to check out her blog mentioned above. It has a lot of raw emotion that I think many are afraid to admit or deal with. I’m glad for people like her who are willing to put their own lives out there like this so others will realize they are not the only one.
As C.S. Lewis once wrote: “ Friendship is born at that moment when one man says to another: “What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .”"
If this has been similar to your story, you are not alone. 
Thank you, Kelley and thank you to those who took the time to read.