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Flipping Pain Into Purpose with Barbara Allen

By The American Snippets Podcast

"Please God, if this is real, and Lou is dead, please let me die too. Right here and right now. Please. I am not strong enough to want to live through this pain.”That was my prayer just moments after the uniformed soldiers told me Lou had been killed in Iraq. But God did not strike me dead as I requested, so I got up and stepped into the worst pain I’d ever experienced.I spent the next few months cycling in and out of suicidal thoughts- from actively willing myself to die, to taking unnecessary risks while driving or horseback riding, to carelessly popping antidepressants and washing them down with alcohol. My body would not allow rest as a rule, and if exhaustion overrode that command, my pain resumed control by sending me visions of Lou in a casket, Lou in a body bag, Lou screaming for help.From the moment I was told Lou died on June 8, 2005, to the moment I collapsed in another broken heap on my driveway on September 30, 2014, my pain was running my life.Occasionally I was granted the illusion of control and resilience, but the illusion never lasted and I would always wind up more broken than before.It took far too many years and far too many traumatic moments for me to finally snap. That day in my driveway, as I flung the phone from my hand and dropped to my knees, was the turning point for me. It was the moment I knew the time had arrived for me to take a hard look at my own accountability for where my life was and take steps to fix it. It was literally the moment that changed my life’s trajectory away from pain - but it had come at a very high cost.

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