#BeReal – CAROLYN AND ALYSSA BRIGGS

My #BeReal guests today are Carolyn Briggs and her daughter Alyssa.

Yesterday Carolyn’s father, Don, shared what being real meant to him and a few weeks ago her sister, Jennifer, shared her #BeReal story.

Today Carolyn and her daughter Alyssa would like to share their story.  Please… leave them a comment and show your support for their bravery and their courage.

The only disability in life is a bad attitude and I thank my parents for raising me to have a positive outlook on life and to always #BeReal. ~Alyssa Briggs


CAROLYN BRIGGS

Do you know what it’s like to have something tragic happen to your child and you were the cause of it?

Unfortunately I do.

The depression consumes me. I refuse to let it win. I know I have a lot to live for even though that EVIL part of me says… I don’t.

POPULAR * FUNNY * PRETTY * PETITE * LIFE OF THE PARTY * CONFIDENT

Those are a few of the words people have used to describe me. But here’s how I see myself.

LONELY * UGLY * FAKE * CHUBBY * WORTHLESS * USELESS

At 16 I found out I was pregnant. Basically, I felt like I failed my parents. Dan (my now husband of 21 years) and I got married. We did the “right thing” and a couple months later we had a beautiful daughter. We named her Alyssa Faith.  Needless to say, being married with a child at our age was extremely trying. We were continuously working out our differences and fighting for our marriage.

The year 2000 was horrific. It was the most trying time for us as a couple and as a family.  Fast forward 15 years and I am still living with a debilitating guilt because of what happened.

I was 23, Dan was 25, and our sweet Alyssa was 6.  We were traveling to Oklahoma to visit family for Thanksgiving. I was not speeding.   The weather wasn’t bad. I was simply looking down to see how fast I was going. When I looked back up I was on the shoulder. I tried to straighten out but wasn’t able to control our car. Ultimately, the car spun out of control and into oncoming traffic.

The outcome was a devastating accident which left Dan with a broken hip and pelvis, and me with a broken ankle.  But my daughter Alyssa had the most serious injuries. Her spinal cord had been severed leaving her paralyzed from the waist down. AND…. I was the driver. I WAS THE DRIVER.

So…

Here again I failed my loved ones. I failed the most important person in my life, my daughter.

The depression hit full force.

Throughout the years I managed to hide it. I never let anyone see my breakdowns. Whether I was at work or at home, I hid it. I thought so many times of ending my life and for years I would ask myself, “What would be the least devastating for my family to witness?”

Three years ago I couldn’t hide it any longer. I was in our kitchen begging my husband to save me. I was apologizing non-stop to Alyssa for the damage I had caused. She never once blamed me. Never. But she didn’t have to. I had blamed myself enough for everybody.

I was finally ready to admit I suffered from depression. Thank God my family listened. To this day, it’s an everyday struggle. I am on medication. I am open about it. And perhaps most importantly I REFUSE to let it win.

Alyssa is my biggest fan and my greatest supporter. She is my strength. She constantly reminds me that it is not my fault. These are the cards that we were dealt and we just need to play them!

I think the most important part here is that depression is real.  REAL people battling a REAL illness.  Mothers, sisters, dads, brothers, wives, husbands, uncles, aunts, and friends are fighting this invisible war. If you feel you are battling depression talk to someone who loves you. If you know someone who might be battling this, reach out!!!  You could save a life!

If you have nobody… talk to ME!

We can do this together.

We ARE NOT ALONE.


ALYSSA BRIGGS

In a blink of an eye, everything can change…but you don’t truly understand until it actually happens to you…

November 22 2000.  That was the day my life changed forever.  I was 6 years old and my mom and dad decided we were going to drive to Oklahoma from Colorado to spend Thanksgiving with my grandma and grandpa.  I was so excited to see them.

An hour away from our destination, we were in a terrible car accident that left my mom with a crushed ankle, my dad with a broken hip and pelvis, and me, a severed spinal cord leaving me paralyzed and in a wheelchair for the rest of my life. When mom told me what had happened and that I would no longer have the ability to walk again I remember saying, “but I just started jump rope in gym” she explained that there would be some things I wouldn’t be able to do anymore but I could find new activities to enjoy.  As long as we are alive and healthy is all that matters.  I then said, “Okay, well can I roll around in my wheelchair now?” I loved my new pink ride.

I never thought I was “different” from anybody else until I went to high school. That’s when depression began and that is the first time I experienced people making fun of me.  I never realized I would have to go through that. Why were they saying those mean things?  I never did anything to them.  After a while, I learned to just ignore them.  I am going to have to deal with people like that for the rest of my life anyway.  They don’t know my story or me.

I have heard many stories about people who have been in an accident and are now disabled who have become alcoholics or have major depression.  I do understand how they feel but I always said there are two choices you have, 1.  You can either lock yourself in your room and feel bad for yourself or 2.  You can take what has happened and make something negative a positive outcome.  That is what I have done.  Life is short and everyone should be happy and enjoy it.  I do realize that its challenging at times but I can still take care of myself, I can still drive, I can still have a baby, and I can still do so many things that traditional  people can do.  Most importantly, I have my family and friends who love me the way I am and support me…that is all that matters.  The only disability in life is a bad attitude and I thank my parents for raising me to have a positive outlook on life and to always #BeReal.

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41 thoughts on “#BeReal – CAROLYN AND ALYSSA BRIGGS

  1. Thank you both for sharing your story. You show that after a tragic accident you still have to get on with the rest of your life and how you do that defines you much more than the accident itself. #BeReal

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Both stories are so inspiring, because it shows that the one thing we can control is our attitude and that may be the most important thing of all. And when life gets to be too much, as most of us will go through those dark periods, we have to be there for each other to help each other out of the holes. Thanks so much for sharing your stories.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I am so proud of both of you. This family may have difficulty and differences as all families do but we LOVE. Carolyn I have watched you nurture Alyssa into the beautiful and high spirited woman she has become and you have done an amazing job. Alyssa I am so proud of the young woman you have become and you are so right we all have things in life that we may not want but if your attitude is right you can overcome. Proud mom and grandma. 😍😘

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Well , obviously I’m intimately involved in both stories…..both the tragedy and the triumph of both…pride that these two “are mine”. Both are inspirations.
    To Carolyn; you never disappointed us….you drive us completely nuts at times…. But never disappointed.
    To Alyssa: you are the face of courage.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Dearest Carolyn and Alyssa,
    I have written many poems and articles on dysthymia (chronic depression) but nothing as real and poignant as your stories. I am so proud of both of you for selflessly sharing your story.
    Each of you are on a unique journey. What happened to you and your family with the accident is not fair, but pales in comparison to what happened afterwards. You are both incredible women, who came into each others lives for a reason. Despite the challenges, you both continue to meet life on life’s terms. You have each other, and each other and you have people like Angela and myself. You are heroes by virtue of the fact that neither of you have surrendered. You preserve.
    Carolyn… I have suffered from chronic depression since childhood. It is a darkness that no one who doesn’t t have it can ever fully understand. It defies words. When I write articles about utter, I struggle just to find words to convey what it is like. But I do understand. Angela understands. Please, reach out to us, or anyone liked us when it gets heavy. Write about it. Writing about it can help you get through the voucelessness .
    Alyssa did not die in that accident, an outcome many parents face every day. Start with that gratitude and build from there.
    I am so proud of both of you. Email me if you ever want to unburden yourself when the fog of this depression seems too thick to navigate. Let others who do understand be your lighthouse in the storm. Dennis. L. McHale,@gmail. Com

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I am very proud to be your Aunt, Carolyn and your Great Aunt Alyssa. I remember that day like yesterday. We were all so scared what the outcome would be. Out of this, came two parents who loved each other and who worshiped their daughter. The two women turned out to be wonderful, thoughtful human beings. Carolyn, no one blamed you, it was a freak accident. Alyssa, you are beautiful, a wonderful example to everyone what a good attitude can get you in life. And now, you have that dear son and brother, Sean, he keeps you all on your toes. Love and respect all 4 of you

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I can understand this as I also live with depression everyday. July of 2010 changed my life and haunts me daily. My husband was driving and I was enjoying being his copilot. I decided to lay the seat all the way back and put my feet up on the dashboard. One mistake that I will learn too late. We were stopped at the light getting ready today make a left turn on Temple Avenue in Colonial Heights Va. A mini van hit into the back of us cause me today fly forward and pulling every muscle in my back due to the way I was sitting. I take 17 different medications a day just too be able too function not too mention there are times I cannot get out of bed due to the pain being so intense. I also feel like a failure not being able today help my husband support our family. I know I have too much too live for but I do think of if my family would be better off without me…Carolyn knowing you from back in high school together seeing you now through social media I can see the love that you share with your family. The amount of love you have for your children shows in every smile. # teamAlyssa #depression sucks

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ooh Amanda, I love you dearly. Thank you for your kind words, I will continue to be here if you need to talk. Anytime!!!

      Like

  8. What an inspiration you both are to everyone around you! The love that you have for each other and your family is heartwarming. This was a tragedy but you both have taking it by the horns and defeated its sting. You WON! You teach those around you everyday that despite what comes your way, that you have a choice(as Alyssa says…an attitude) to make a difference in other’s lives. You, my friends, have done that! Depression is a silent beast. I don’t personally deal with it but when it robs someone so close to you of their life, it is indeed devastating. As a mother, it is indeed a helpless feeling but as a child of God, it is not hopeless! You have proven that. I am so thankful for you both. Your smiles, your love, your hugs, your journey…..this is only the beginning of your journey! What the enemy meant for harm….God has and will continue to turn to good! Oh, the lives that you both will continue to touch. Love you both!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. It wasn’t a tragic accident, not in the same way, but my parents have felt responsible for giving me the genetic syndrome I live with and that my brother shares. The blame is not felt by anyone but the parent, but my parents taught us to be strong and resilient, just like this mother and daughter. It sounds like you have a remarkable supportive and loving family, despite the extra challenges.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Carolyn and Alyssa, thank you for sharing your stories of inspiration! God has blessed you both with strength and courage. I pray your lives will help many others to face their own challenges. We are so proud of you both!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I’m trying not to cry reading your stories. You both are an inspiration. I know that I will never forget the the words so beautifully written here. I will remember them when I’m going through difficult times. Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

    Like

  12. This is an astonishingly powerful story, and to have had the privilege to read all four members of the family, and to hear the different viewpoints, is incredible.

    Carolyn and Alyssa, you both are marvellously strong, resilient, determined women, and I adore the attitudes you share – of life being worth enjoying and taking part in.

    Carolyn – in spite of all your concerns and your own ongoing battle with depression, Alyssa cited you as having helped her to develop a positive, responsible outlook, and that’s heroic.

    Alyssa – I’m so sad you have to deal with mean people, but I hope that as life moves forwards, we ‘traditional’ people will learn to get a clue and deal more fairly and responsibly with the people who are ‘non-traditional’. I think you might be a bit of an ambassador for people with disabilities, so GO YOU! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Your stories are a testament to the strength of human spirit, and the values of honesty, humility and trust in our relationships with each other. Your own relationship is bonded by the understanding of one another and the empathy of each one’s suffering. It seems to me that this bond is a large part of what keeps you positive in the face of such visible and invisible challenges.
    Sharing your story also gives the reader an insight into the unseen personal side of your lives, and generates empathy in others who may look around with fresh eyes at the people around them and think just a bit more about the challenges that people face in their lives, some less obvious than others, some physical, but just as importantly what they cannot see, the challenges of the mind in dealing with what life throws their way.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Like

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