Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Semicolon Mormon; (and more!)

There are no words that can fully do justice for the day I am about to share with you.
My absence from this Nation was spent finding myself and finding the words to share the story of the miraculous. Me. My miracle. 
The tragedy & the triumph.
Nearly a year has passed since the day I died and was miraculously saved and brought back to life.
I had chosen to keep this private until now, shared only with family and close friends, because it's sacred. It's spiritual. Now the Spirit is prompting me to be vulnerable and write it down to help and inspire others. This is for you. Friends, girls, and staff I met in treatment afterwards have made these comments: "You are a waking miracle."

"You are living proof of God's existence."

"Your story made me believe in God again."

I post their feedback here not as praise for me, but rather praise to Heavenly Father and His unconditional love and perfect plan for every single one of us.
This is a story of miracles made possible only by Him.
This is a story about how even when we couldn't feel further away from him at times, He is actually closer than He's ever been.
This is a story of being broken to be rebuild stronger.
This is a story of redemption through the Atonement of our Savior and His infinite grace.
This is a story of finding eternal, lasting happiness in the midst of our most intense trials and despair.
This is a story triumphing over adversity with His help.
This is a story of finding the light that's been inside of you all along.
This is a story of endurance--how we will never be put through more than we can handle.
This is a story about a life saved in order to save countless more.
This is a story of ending the stigma, silence, secrecy, and shame of mental illness, depression, and suicide.
I survived to share this story.
This is my story and now it's yours too.
On the eve of the eight month anniversary of that dark day, I present to you lovelies the prologue of the manuscript of the book I'm working on publishing. If my story can save one life it will have been worth the pain it took to get here. 
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), one person dies of suicide every 40 seconds.
They predict that number to increase by the year 2020 to one every 20 seconds
This is an epidemic that needs to change. I'm always saying more needs to be done. Well now I am doing and becoming the "more" to end this cycle.
Don't Take Your Life; Take Your Life Back.

 The Other Tattooed Mormon.
The meaning of the semicolon is this: an author uses a semicolon when they choose not to end the sentence. You are the author and the sentence is your life, and your choosing to continue and move forward.

The Legacy Project I made.

Untitled by @Charley Brooke Chriswell
(copywrited @IN)
"Nothing good comes without loss and hardship and constant struggle. There is no 'riding off into the sunset' like I used to imagine. We are never out of the woods, because we are always going to be fighting for something. People can say whatever they want about me, but they can't make me lose my mind. I've learned how to shake things off. Who you are is who you choose to be."
-Taylor Allison Swift

"Depression is the most unpleasant thing I have ever experienced... It is that absence of being able to envisage that you will ever be cheerful again. The absence of hope. That very deadened feeling, which is so very different from feeling sad. Sad hurts but it's a healthy feeling. It is a necessary thing to feel. Depression is very different."
-J. K. Rowling

"One of the greatest weaknesses in most of our lack of faith in ourselves. One of our common failings is to depreciate our tremendous worth."
-L. Tom Perry

"There may be some among you who feel darkness encroaching upon you. You may feel burdened by worry, fear, or doubt. To you and to all of us, I repeat a wonderful and certain truth: God's light is real. It is available to all! It gives life to all things. It has the power to soften the sting of the deepest wound. It can be a healing balm for the loneliness and sickness of our souls. In the furrows of despair, it can plant the seeds of a brighter hope. It can enlighten the deepest valleys of sorrow. It can illuminate the path before us and lead us through the darkest night into the promise of a new dawn."
-Dieter F. Uchtdorf

"In the quiet heart is hidden sorrow that the eye can't see."
-Hymn no. 220

Do you remember where you were and what you were doing on Thursday June 23, 2016? Was it just another average day? Did it change your life forever?
My mornings I was most awake for were spelled with a "u" in them. This one was no exception. As my family and friends went about their just-another-days they didn't have the slightest idea how horror beyond their worst nightmares would take over their night. This would be my last day on earth.
There are things about that day I don't remember...
...And there are the things I will never forget.
Everything happened so fast that it almost didn't feel real.
The sound of gunshots sent my ears ringing that soon blocked out all sound include my screams. I've never screamed so loud in my life. The smell of gunpowder filled my nose. It hung heavy in the air threatening to drown me. 
The pain. The intensity of the pain surpassed all the pain I'd ever felt in my life combined and times a million. This coming from the girl who was no stranger to surgery and health problems. The girl who had been given Narcan after surgery because they'd given her too much pain medicine to try and combat her pain. I've felt what it's like to have been cut into right after surgery and it didn't come close to touching this pain. This was real pain. The pain of metal bullets burning, cutting, and shredding my insides leaving two gunshot wounds like holes in my body like ghosts. (Yes, bullets. Plural. Although I had no idea at the time that I'd been shot more than once). On the infamous pain scale from 1 (no pain) to 10 (the worst pain ever) I'd rate mine at a 100. 
As I bent over in pain, I noticed my shirt was drenched in a warm liquid. I glanced at my hands to see they were covered in blood. 
Yes, I am still haunted by what I will never forget.
It's what I will always remember that matters most.
I remember with all of me the moment immediately after the gun fired.
A voice spoke to me, not out loud, but to my soul. I knew with one hundred percent certainty and conviction that it was Heavenly Father. I could feel Him. I will never forget the words: "It's not your time, Charley. You aren't meant to die yet. Your words are going to save someone."
The rest is where things get hazy and out of focus as I was going into shock.
I had been on the phone with my dad who heard it all and called paramedics.
He got to me before they arrived and pushed a towel to the wounds to try and stop the bleeding.
I remember screaming even after the ambulance arrived and I was told to "Calm down" and "Breathe". Breathing felt hard like my lungs were collapsing. I still screamed in agony and fear. "I don't want to die!" I sobbed and meant it. I could tell by their faces that this was serious. They couldn't even lie to me and tell me everything would be fine. It was the furthest thing from fine.
"AmIgoingtodie?" I managed to get out. The paramedics words haunted me: "I don't know. Maybe."
 By the time I arrived at the hospital, I was less than a minute from bleeding out entirely. I remember arriving at the hospital and being in the ambulance bay. 
The trauma surgeon who was called for my code saw me and shouted: "Oh my gosh! I know her!"
And then everything f a d e d away.
6/23/16 20:48 Status post gunshot wound to abdomen x2. Female. 26. Tachycardia. Acute respiratory failure. Hemorrhagic shock.
74 minutes of life resuscitating critical care.
In 74 minutes you can fall in love... or you can fall apart.

For anyone suffering, please never give up. Hope is always there. It took dying for me to come alive and realize I wanted to live. You are not alone. The world wouldn't be the same without you. And you're dead wrong if you think your friends and family would "get over" it if you died. (I survived and my family are still traumatized and not over it) Trust me, it gets better.
If you're thinking of suicide please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
Talk to someone. 
Don't make a permanent decision based on temporary feelings.
I would like to send a huge shout out to you and my incredible family and friends. I am beyond blessed to have all of you in my life. My heart overflows with gratitude to my parents, step-parents, siblings, extended family, and close friends who never gave up on me and loved me unconditionally. Happiness comes from within & Time heals all are true. 
Exciting things are happening with turning my manuscript into a book!
Aspire to inspire, lovelies.
<W/L3 (with love),
Charley Brooke