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[00:00:02]

I started to question everything I could live with the nightmares, I could live with the panic attacks, but the thing that was tearing me apart was questioning if everything I know in my life was real at all.

[00:00:26]

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[00:01:41]

Find your perfect shade at Madison, Dasch read Dotcom. This is actually happening. Listeners get 10 percent off plus free shipping on their first color kit. With code happening. That's code happening. My parents got divorced when I was three and I lived with my mother up until I was about 11 or 12. I was too young to acknowledge the mental elements that living with my mother was doing to me. I thought that I was just crazy. I thought that I was just wrong.

[00:02:33]

She would meet men online and she had a very like teenage rebellious relationship with them that was extremely confusing to watch as my only experience with relationships, there were a lot of them. They never really respected me as a child. There were several incidents where I felt I was being molested by them and I knew that I probably shouldn't be experiencing that at such a young age, but I just kept kind of going with it. One time I had tried to open up to my mother about it, and she was extremely concerned and she was like, oh my God, like, what happened?

[00:03:21]

Did that really happen? I'm so sorry what happened? And I had tried to explain it to her. And she said, no, that's not no. You must have dreamed that that didn't happen. So after that, I was like, OK, it didn't happen. She just never had a stable job, never had a stable income. She was very into drugs. She was always sleeping. She was always really tired. She would kind of get angry and dysfunctional for no reason sometimes.

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I had grown up in such a complex manic environment where every day was a different unstable pattern and I just had to get through the day.

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My brain just couldn't absorb everything that was going on and also have an identity for myself. I remember I would threaten my mom to kill myself all of the time. At the young age that I started saying these things, I would say I was probably about seven or eight and I would write her notes and slip them under her door. And I would say I am incredibly hurt that you slapped me across the face today. You always pick these men over me.

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And because of that, I want to kill myself. I don't think that when it came down to it, I wanted to try hard enough to actually die, I just wanted out of that environment. She came to my room and she started crying. She said a lot of things that were loving and compassionate and apologizing, but I remember her specifically saying if you were to kill yourself, I would kill myself, too, so I could be with you in heaven.

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I was so confused. It was like having not pulled tight in my head and I was like, does she want to kill herself or is she just saying that because I said I was going to? I have never thought that she didn't love me, but I couldn't separate that from her behavior in the way she was treating me when I was so young, I think then I had realized she was conditioning my feelings to make her feel like she was a good mom, but she was not a good mom.

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It was so complicated and complex for my young mind to have to grapple with that while also discovering who I was. I would try my best just to impress her, I would try my best to conform to who she wanted me to be, but it became her behavior became so erratic, it felt like I had to fill a different role based on her behavior. That pattern of conforming to another person's psyche, behavior and being and personality to this day sticks with me where I have a hard time saying no to people.

[00:06:48]

I have a hard time not wanting to ignore someone if they need help. My father ended up getting custody of me, so I moved in with my father and my stepmother, my two stepsisters and my stepbrother and I was going into sixth grade. It was by no means perfect, but it was comfortable and it was stable and I never had to worry about money, I never had to worry about someone taking advantage of me. It allowed me to have the ability to self reflect and try to understand who I was.

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I think it was maybe two years after I had moved in with my dad, so I was in eighth grade, I just decided I don't want to live with these feelings anymore. It feels as though I'm never going to get out of my own head of pleasing other people. So I had written notes to my dad, to my mother, to my step mom and step siblings in the same note. I put them by the door and I went to my closet and I grabbed a hanger, sobbing hysterically, trying to fit the hanger around my neck so I could hang myself up on the closet and die.

[00:08:15]

I just told myself, OK, the hanger doesn't fit, I guess I have to live, and the next day, my best friend Caroline, she said, Are you OK? What's what's going on? I kind of tried to kill myself last night. She was appalled and she wrote me a long note of how happy she was that I was alive. The world needs me. There is so much more to my life than things I think that I'm going through when really I'm just stuck in my head and I'm allowed to ask for help to talk about what's going on in my head.

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And I'm not crazy. And that was almost like a sigh of relief, like I'm allowed to have feelings. There was a girl who I rode the bus with named Amelia. Amelia was loud and obnoxious and the best way is just like me.

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And Amelia said, my friend Liza is going to be going to our high school. We are very, very close. We've grown up together. And I think it would be really great for you to meet Eliza. I messaged her and Lysa replied and she said, oh, yes, I also live in the neighborhood knowing more than one person going into high school would be so sweet. It is so nice of you to message me. I remember seeing her and noticing how beautiful and long brown hair was, noticing how just pretty and welcoming her energy felt just being around her and we were completely comfortable with each other immediately.

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We immediately had this really unique connection I felt that I hadn't had with anyone in my life. From then, we really just hit it off and our relationship was so easy.

[00:10:27]

Eventually, we started high school. It was so nice having her by my side and it was so nice having a friend who I felt I could be so completely authentic and honest with. I knew that Lysa was not like other teenage girls. I knew that Lysa had somehow a deeper understanding of life than most girls.

[00:10:52]

Eventually, Lysa met Caroline, my other best friend, and the three of us just became best friends. In ninth or tenth grade, I remember one day I was with Lisa in her kitchen just telling her, you know, my family is just so confusing. Like I don't feel like myself. I feel so sad all of the time. I feel so anxious. I don't know how to deal with all of these things. I don't know how I don't know what I'm doing.

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And then Lisa said, well, how are you coping with everything? And I said, What? And she said, Can I see your wrists, please? And she took my arm and she looked around it and she saw the cuts. I remember her just touching them, and I just burst into tears. She was the first person to know about the fact that I was doing those things. And she hugged me and she said, by hurting yourself when you're already hurting, you only go deeper into hurting yourself.

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You are a beautiful person. You have such a kind heart. You don't need to do these things to cope. You can just talk to me. You can talk to Caroline, you can write about it. You can go on walks and clear your mind. There are so many other ways. I had never had something like that articulated to me before. I felt so connected with Lysa, and as high school continued, she had more love in her heart for me than I felt like anyone had ever had for me.

[00:12:50]

Lysa certainly wasn't only showing this kind and compassionate and loving side of herself with just me, it was never a private thing. It's just who she was. She has such a bright soul that she got along with everyone. She's beautiful and she is kind and smart and funny and attractive, and I didn't know how to keep up with that because at this time I didn't even know who I was. I wasn't her closest friend and I wasn't by her side 100 percent of the time, but I always wanted her in my life, no matter how close or far we were.

[00:13:37]

Our senior year of high school after seniors graduate from high school the week after their graduation, they have a thing called beach week, just one week after whatever your graduation is, you rent a beach house with your best friends and you just chill and fuck around at the beach for a week. We had made our beach week group and we graduate. Each week happens and it is so fun and we are just smoking weed and drinking in this house by ourselves at 18 years old and just kind of having fun.

[00:14:18]

That group of people to this day are some of my closest friends. Eventually, we went off to college and I started to feel OK, I guess I don't really have an identity, now is the time to figure that out. It was like I was finally given permission to be myself. And Lysa always had my back through all of that. Even though I was in New York and she was at a different college and our home state, me and Lisa probably talked in college, maybe at least once a week or every two weeks when we would talk, it was like no time had passed at all.

[00:15:05]

Eliza was happy in college and confidently being her best self. Going into my junior year of college, I really finally felt at ease with myself.

[00:15:24]

I was still going through depression and anxiety, but not nearly as much as I had gone through. I was still battling that. I was still finding ways to self-harm. I started getting into drugs. I was popping pills and maybe smoking weed every day. I had about a two month bender where I was doing cocaine daily. I just wanted to get high and have sex with anyone who asked.

[00:15:54]

Winter break happened of my junior year of college, my winter break is six weeks, however, I was going to study abroad in a country in Africa for three of those weeks. So the first three weeks of break, I was spending time with Eliza and my beach week group. They could tell that I had been doing a lot of drugs and they were really worried about what being in New York was doing to me. Lysa specifically expressed so much love and care for me.

[00:16:29]

I remember the last day of winter break when I saw Lysa, it was our last time all of us were going to be together because the next day I had the flight to study abroad. And I remember dropping her back off at her house and watching her walk inside and thinking to myself, When I get back from this study abroad trip, I am going to be clean and I'm going to find my way back to the girl I always knew I was.

[00:16:58]

And I watched Eliza walk into her house and I didn't know that that was going to be the last time that I saw Eliza as the girl that I had always known. Today's episode of This is actually happening is brought to you by upstart during these economically turbulent times, everyone is looking for a way to feel more financially secure. So if you're still needlessly throwing money every month at high interest credit card debt, it's time you checked out upstart, the revolutionary online lending platform that knows you're more than just a credit score.

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[00:18:41]

I studied abroad for three weeks. It was amazing, it was compelling, it was so eye opening. I was emotionally and mentally exhausted, but I was prepped and ready with a fresh mindset, with a fresh perspective and a sober body to be grounded in my being and to take on the fucking world. And those three weeks I spent abroad, Lysa had turned twenty one and had her twenty first birthday. She had also taken a trip to visit our friend in Canada and when she was in Canada, she had slipped on some ice and gotten a concussion.

[00:19:26]

But she was still drinking and smoking weed. I was distant from her in those three weeks and three days because I was trying to focus on myself, I was trying to be selfish in a positive way. And I then learned that those three weeks in those three days, Lysa needed me the most and I wasn't there. For the three days after I had come back from studying abroad, I was exhausted, I had a lot of jet lag and I didn't really talk to Lysa those three days because I thought that in four days I'd be able to text her when I felt refreshed.

[00:20:07]

I think it was the first or second day of the spring semester. I had had a 12 30 where I was a teacher's assistant for my favorite professor, for my favorite class, I remember him commenting to me, you seem so happy. You seem like you are doing so well and I'm so proud of you for that. And I felt so good. And then I had a class at two thirty.

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The teacher had expressed how he didn't like having phones in class at all. There were really nice people in the class and I knew I loved the professors energy.

[00:20:48]

I was having a really good time. And at around three o'clock, one of my old friends from high school texted me and she said, Dude, did you hear? I said, what? And she said, Lysa. It felt like it took an hour for that next text to roll in, in my head, I was like, Lise's dead. She got into a car accident. She's on life support in the hospital. Lysa killed herself. Something bad had happened.

[00:21:26]

I knew whatever text was going to Rolen was probably going to be devastating or something funny and gossipy, like Lise's pregnant, but I was never expecting the text that she sent me. She said she killed someone. And I said, what? There's no way this is just a rumor. There's no way that she killed someone. The next text that she sent me was a link to a newspaper article saying that Lysa had been arrested for second degree murder, and the one thing that sticks out to me so vividly and will always stick out to me vividly and anyone who's close to the story is her mug shot.

[00:22:18]

She is clearly, hysterically sobbing. I saw that in class and I took a huge gasp and everyone in the class looked at me and I was like, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, sorry. I was sorry. I got up from my seat, went to the bathroom, and I started calling people, I called my dad. And then I just said Lisa killed someone and he said, what? And I said, I don't know, I don't I don't know any details, I just I'm in class and I'm supposed to be in class right now.

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And I was frantic, having no clue what was going on and being six hours away from home in New York. I hung up the phone, I sent him the newspaper article, tried to text a few more people, and then I went back to class.

[00:23:18]

Because it was a filmmaking class, we had to get up and do a little film project, one of the girls, she was like, are you OK? And I said, I'm sorry. I just learned that my best friend killed someone. And I don't I'm trying to get in contact with these people. And she said, oh, my God, you should leave class. Like, you don't need to be here. I was like, I don't I don't I can't leave class, I don't want to leave class on the first day and for whatever fucking reason in my head, I finished class.

[00:23:51]

I finished that group project, and I went back to my apartment and I sat down on my phone texting people and talking to people. At the time, I was just trying to figure out what was happening. I didn't sleep at all that night, and then the next day, at around seven, more details had been released about the murder. It was clear to me that Lysa had absolutely killed someone. The person she had killed was stabbed 30 to 40 times.

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And when police arrived at the scene and the scene was her apartment, the girl she had killed had the butcher knife sticking out of her mouth.

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It said that Lysa opens the door and put her hands behind her back and she said, Arrest me, I killed her. The person was her roommate, her roommate, who was one of her best friends at college, someone who she spent a lot of time with and someone who I even met once.

[00:25:12]

I just kept thinking to myself a month ago when I saw her, who knew that a month later she would kill someone, and I kept going through those thoughts in my head that who knew that when I met this girl that she would also be the person who killed her?

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I started to question if that was always lies fate. If the universe always has a plan for us. And that was just part of it. If those three weeks I had been abroad and those three days that I was back in the United States, if I had been closer to her, if I had talked to her more, she could have told me whatever was going on or whatever thoughts she had in her head. And I held a lot of guilt because of that, because I had convinced myself that if I was a better friend, a girl wouldn't be dead.

[00:26:09]

All of these thoughts and feelings were flooding in at once. I was just going through everything in my head and I just kept talking to Liz's dad and Liz's brother. I wanted to make sure that everyone else was OK. And I put myself on the back burner. And I had unfortunately fell back into those patterns I had worked so hard to let go of which was conforming to other people and conforming to other people's emotions. I thought that I was doing the right thing by doing that and taking care of everyone else but myself.

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But in the long run, I wasn't. I just couldn't stop telling people that this had happened to me and one of my close friends was at my apartment and he said to me, how could you be her friend? She stabbed someone violently to death. How could you ever want to talk to that person? She is evil. And he had said all these presumptions about her and he was starting to get angry at me. And I said, until you are put in this position, you cannot judge me.

[00:27:20]

One of my other friends who was there said if this had happened to you, we would still be by your side, too. So don't judge her for her feelings. And I went to my room and I that was kind of the point where I started to question myself again. A couple weeks later, I felt so deep and dark in whatever hole I had fallen into because I had not given my time or emotional or mental energy to processing the severity of what had happened to Lisa and also what Lysa had done.

[00:28:01]

I was trying to fill in the blanks for myself so I could just have an idea and have an answer as to how it happened, and I was running through so many different scenarios in my head as to how that murder had occurred and how it had taken place and everyone else was doing the same thing. How could Lysa commit such a violent act? How Lysa could put a knife in someone's chest and pull it out and put it back in 30 more times when everyone who knows her knows that she is the sweetest girl.

[00:28:40]

Not only was I grieving for Lysa, but I was grieving for the girl who had been killed, too. I was so hurt that that girl was killed so violently and maliciously, no matter what lies a state of mind was when it happened. Her case went national very quickly. The only answers that I was able to grasp or have or details about what had happened was through what the media was saying and what the media was saying was purely gossip.

[00:29:19]

Even her father couldn't get the answers from the police that he wanted, all he had was the media and these gruesome details and these things about his daughter that she had violently done, but no reason as to why or how it happened. My heart was breaking for Lysa, for the girl that Lysa killed, for that girl's family, for Lise's family. My heart was breaking for everyone but myself. And I had this extremely dark day while I was at school, and I just remember sitting in my room and thinking, if I move from this spot, I'm going to kill myself.

[00:30:07]

I'm going to take a knife and slit my wrists open if I move from this spot and I need to call someone for help right now. My first instinct was to call my mom and she had already been aware of everything and I said, Mom, I want to cut myself, I want to kill myself and I don't know what to do and I'm really scared. And she said, well, sweetie, don't do that. That is not going to help you.

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That is not going to help Lisa. That is not the solution. And that will never be the solution. You need to take a break to stop reading all of the articles online, looking for answers that you're not going to get. And my father and my mother thought that it was best I take the rest of the semester off. I said, I can't do that. I'm not going to make my future change because I'm sad. And that's how I held my feelings, was that they weren't important.

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But what was actually true was that they were the most important thing during this weird time. And I wasn't acknowledging them at all. And that just made that semester so much harder for me. During spring break, I got to visit Lise's parents. Walking up to the front door was really weird for me because I specifically remembered that moment I had seen Lisa walk up to the door the last time I saw her in December. And I sat down in the living room with her father.

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And the first thing her father said to me was every time I think I figured out what happened and I think I'm close to figuring out what happened, I'm not at all close at all. And I have to start over and try to find out the story of what happened.

[00:32:15]

I had talked to him for maybe forty five minutes or an hour, and then Liz's mother comes down the stairs and she stops halfway down the stairs and she looks at me and she starts sobbing. She walked over to me and she gave me a hug and she was crying in my shoulder. I was crying in hers and she said, I haven't touched my daughter in two months.

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They had expressed to me details of the night before the murder and the days before the murder, they told me that she was supposed to be at a meeting for this club at 6:00 p.m., this club that she was a part of, that she was the president of and she wasn't there. So someone called her and she said, I'm having a personal emergency. I'm going to be an hour late. So an hour rules by and at 7:00 p.m., so they call her again and they ask her if she's OK or if she's coming and she just says I resign as president for this club.

[00:33:30]

They had asked her what was going on and she said, I don't know. I just can't stop chanting these religious prayers. And then she hung up. They told me that when they got to Lise's apartment to pack up everything, her room was a complete disaster and they said that everything on the wall had been ripped down and her TV was on the floor and her blankets were tied up in knots as if she was tying herself up in. The room was filled with Post-it notes that she had written the Hail Mary prayer on and they were covering her room.

[00:34:17]

He told me that through several sources and investigations that she had been up all night screaming the Hail Mary prayer, there was vomit in her bathtub. She was in the bathroom at one point screaming, get out and nothing was there. I remember absorbing all of this information because in a way, her parents were trying to give me these answers so that I could understand that whatever had happened, Lysa was not in her right state of mind. She was not in a sane state of mind.

[00:34:59]

The term mental breakdown, psychotic breakdown became much deeper. To me, it wasn't just someone having a panic attack, it was someone hearing things, seeing things and being convinced that their life was in danger. Her parents needed to get it off their chest, too, and that was fine because I could use this information to heal myself, but they were also ranting and I started to absorb all of the emotions that they were going through. They said that every time I walked up to the front door, they were expecting it to be behind me to.

[00:35:39]

Those things really broke my heart and traumatized me a little bit, but I knew that everything I was feeling them as her parents were feeling it a hundred times more. They had given me Lise's writing address at the jail she was at. I remember specifically writing, I love you and I miss you, I think about you all of the time. I hope that you can find some forgiveness and compassion for yourself.

[00:36:14]

I never want you to think that everything happens for a reason. A week later, I had gotten a letter back from her and she said how extremely grateful she was and she said that she cried when she got my letter. She was so thankful that I wasn't going to forget about her. Lysa had been writing me letters. She eventually called me. My heart was beating out of my chest and the call was connected and I said hello and she just goes, Hi, babe.

[00:36:57]

She tried to talk, but she was speaking through tears and she said, I'm sorry, I'm just really emotional right now. And I said, don't apologize, don't apologize. It's OK. I am so happy to be able to talk to you. I had said the same thing to her that I had said to her in the first letter that not everything happens for a reason. And the one thing that she was able to ever say to me to this day was, you know me, you know that I would never I would never.

[00:37:30]

And I said, of course I know that that's why I'm here. I love you and I'm going to be there by your side through this entire process. She told me how incredibly hard being in jail is. For the seven months that Lisa was there, she never got to go outside for at least the first four months that she was in jail. They didn't have a librarian, so she didn't even have a book to read. And she had to sit there with her thoughts all day, every day.

[00:38:11]

At that point, I didn't know that I was the only person in communication with her besides her parents. I just felt like I needed to keep her mind active and tell her things that were going on in the world. I took a great deal of responsibility of helping her. All at the same time, I was probably getting three hours of sleep a night, I felt exhausted all of the time. I had terrible and vivid nightmares of being in that apartment and watching Lysa stab that girl to death and being the roommate who was killed and being the girl who was stabbed to death.

[00:39:01]

I would wake up hyperventilating, I'd wake up crying, I'd wake up not knowing where I was. I started making myself throw up and trying to, in almost a physical way, get these disgusting things out of me. I became incredibly paranoid. There was one instance where I had been drinking at my apartment with my friends, my friend had just found out that her boyfriend had cheated on her with her best friend and she got incredibly drunk. I remember I kept going into the bathroom and I kept seeing her head in the toilet.

[00:39:46]

I had convinced myself if I did not do something in this instance, this girl was going to die in my bathroom. So I picked her up and dragged her out of the bathroom. And my friends were pissed at me. They thought that I had completely overreacted, that she was absolutely going to be OK. I never wanted to miss something that could prevent a tragedy like this ever again. And it made me feel like I can't protect everyone. I would feel triggered by everything.

[00:40:26]

I couldn't drink with my friends when there was a lot of a lot of people there because I was scared that someone was going to get mad at me and kill me. I was scared that I was going to get so drunk or high that I could kill someone. I was scared of looking at knives, I had gotten really distant from my friends and I just spent a lot of time to myself because I felt like being alone was the safest for me.

[00:41:01]

I spent a lot of time trying to convince myself that my anxiety wasn't that bad and I just needed to meditate or exercise or eat healthy and that it would go away.

[00:41:13]

My therapist, she had suggested to me very early on when we were seeing each other that I should go on antidepressants and I was like, I can't do that because I was scared of what something that was going to help me would do to my brain. And I started to question everything, I started to question if things were real. What if my whole life as a hallucination and I'm actually just going to wake up in a hospital bed? What if these people who I call my friends and family are actually just playing into my delusion?

[00:41:56]

How am I going to tell myself that I'm just hallucinating and I need help? I lost my sense of reality, trying to discover what reality was, and I think that was the scariest part of all of it. I could live with the nightmares. I could live with not sleeping. I could live with the panic attacks. But the thing that was tearing me apart was questioning if everything I know in my life was real at all. There was absolutely no symptom, no fact that I was ever hallucinating or hearing things, I just convinced myself that I was going to become psychotic.

[00:42:46]

And that all of my childhood trauma, all of my self-esteem issues, all of my self identity issues, that all of those things were just symptoms of a psychotic break I was going to have eventually.

[00:43:01]

And my life became preparing myself for the day that I broke. I saw my therapist twice a week and twice a week, we would talk for an hour about how I am not going to have a psychosis episode and kill someone. If I let go of that idea, I am going to be able to find myself and become myself and become the person that I knew I was and wanted to be. But I had spent so much time preparing for the day that I have a psychotic break that it wasn't just like an idea that I could let go of an opinion I could let go of.

[00:43:47]

And I did the terrible thing that nobody's supposed to do and Googled every psychotic symptom, I Googled how often psychosis happens to people, the kind of people it happens to. And in a way, I really did line up with all those symptoms. I really did have childhood trauma. I did have depression. I did have anxiety. I had self-esteem issues. I had all of these things that were actually completely normal. But I was following the fork in the road that told me it's because I'm going to have a psychotic breakdown.

[00:44:22]

Because of those facts, I distanced myself from everyone I would spend a lot of Friday and Saturday nights in kind of consistently checking my phone to make sure I didn't receive any bad news from my friends who were out partying. My dreams and nightmares were of no help, they were vivid and terrifying and for a long time when I would have a nightmare and I'd wake up, I wouldn't be able to move from my bed because my anxiety was so paralyzing.

[00:44:59]

And I had to lay in bed for at least probably at least two to three hours before I moved. I just deflated my life trying to protect myself, but there was nothing I needed to be protected from. Lisa had given her lawyers a list of people that she could have talk to about anything up until the murder. My name was on the list, as was Caroline's Julia, as was Mary. We just all one day went to this lawyer's office and the four of us sat at this big table.

[00:45:39]

I just remember how frequently all of them kept asking us, has Lysa ever told you she was seeing things or hallucinating or hearing voices? And we kept saying no, but they kept asking us that same question over and over and over again. I didn't know if I was giving them the answer they wanted to hear or if they were trying to pull an answer they wanted to hear out of us. But I left that office feeling bad that I couldn't say anything more than no.

[00:46:11]

Her preliminary hearing was set back to September. I drive all the way down from New York to my home state. I told her parents I was coming home, so they had offered to drive me and I was able to stay in the hotel with them the night before. I remember their alarm went off and her mom sat up in bed and said, the day is here. I was so nervous to see Lisa in person and to see what she looked like after being in jail for seven months.

[00:46:48]

The judge came in, we all stood up in a second, I wasn't even expecting it. She walked in. The skin on her face was almost sagging a little bit. It looked like she hadn't smiled in so long, like her face was in a permanent frown. She was so pale and she looked like a ghost. What was scariest to me was seeing my friend pale as a ghost in shackles, but also having a judge say to her, you are facing a felony offense for the slaying and killing of this girl.

[00:47:30]

Do you understand the charges against you and her saying, yes, ma'am, that was probably the hardest part for me, was seeing lies face the fact that she had a murder charge. Her defense attorney said that they were waiving her right to the preliminary hearing and realize I had to sign something and then she got up and left. I didn't know this before, but in court, there's like a little holding room and her parents went down there, so we snuck downstairs.

[00:48:04]

We were standing outside of what looked like a little office space. But there was also two holding cells in there. And a sheriff saw us through the window and came to the door and said, Can I help you girls? And we said we would really like to see our friend. And he said, I can't have that many people in here at once. And all three of us just started crying, begging the sheriff and he said, OK, OK, OK, I'll see what I can do.

[00:48:33]

A couple of minutes later, he came to the door and he opened and he said, OK, come on, we turned the corner and there she was. She was just sitting at a table with her mother's arm around her.

[00:48:47]

I remember seeing her and dropping my purse and saying, Lysa, oh, my God, and just repeating, oh, my God. And Lysa got up. She was still in shackles. And we all hugged her and we all held her. And she was hysterically crying, just saying how grateful she was that we came and I realized that that was the first time that Lisa was able to hug someone she loved in seven months and to see her parents in person for seven months after the scariest thing that could ever happen to her happened.

[00:49:26]

After that day, we learned she was going to take a guilty plea and two months later she took the guilty plea and she got a sentence of 40 years to be suspended after she serves 20. So after she serves 20 years, she'll be she'll have 10 years of being on probation. I just kind of realized this was like I don't have to fight for her anymore, unfortunately, this was her fate. I still call her while she still calls me me, Julia and Caroline can have like a four way phone call with her if I just add them to the phone call.

[00:50:11]

I feel like Lise is going to be my friend for life and I want to be there when she gets out and I want to help her on her feet no matter what the world is like when she gets out. Lisa is fully responsible for that girl's death, and no matter what, Lisa is always going to be held accountable for her death. And to this day, Lisa has no problem taking full responsibility for all of these things that people have said online about her in the media, calling her a drug addict, calling her a killer.

[00:50:51]

Of course, she killed someone. And, of course, these things happen. And you can never deny that those things happen because it's the fact and it's the truth. But psychosis is a disorientation of the brain that can completely change someone's functionality, so incredibly mind altering that it could bring the sweetest, kindest girl who I will ever know in my life to kill someone. She killed someone who had a beautiful heart and beautiful life ahead of her. I never wanted people to think that I didn't want justice for that girl who was killed because my heart hurts every day for the fact that she's gone.

[00:51:41]

Now, that girl is dead, analyzes life, will never be the same. She committed a terribly irreversible act, it's so complex and I don't expect anyone to understand I'm tired of having to explain myself, but she's my best friend. I can talk to her about my life, my secrets, my future, my anxieties, my terrors, my happy moments, I can express all of that to her. And no matter what, she always knows the right thing to say, and she always has my back.

[00:52:28]

And she is still that same girl that I met when we took a walk over the summer in ninth grade. I also want to give a lot of healing credit to my boyfriend, I started dating Ryan four or five months after Lisa was arrested. I don't know why this one day he decided to tell me, because I probably talks about Lysa five times a day, he just says, I never told you this, but my uncle killed someone and he went to prison for it.

[00:53:09]

And he told me that when he met his uncle, his uncle had such a warm heart and that his uncle was not defined by that one mistake he made. And I was so incredibly touched by this that the worst thing that has ever happened to me, the person that I love, has the same kind of relationship in his life. It's just at a different phase. Ryan was never annoyed with how much I talked about Lysa to him, he never judged my feelings.

[00:53:49]

He just wanted me to feel safe and happy. He taught me that I could love and forgive Lysa without explaining myself. It's been six months since Lysa took her guilty plea, and I feel as though because of this situation and because of this trauma, I can hold so much more compassion and love and forgiveness in my heart. I think because of this experience, I was able to finally forgive my mother for everything she had put me through and have that different relationship with her, but a relationship with boundaries because my mother experienced her own trauma growing up, serious trauma.

[00:54:48]

I just decided to tell myself, that is so sad that this woman, who is my mother, was never able to heal from the trauma she was enduring and going through and how she deserves love despite everything she put me through.

[00:55:07]

I am finally on medication, I don't think I'm going to have a psychotic breakdown, I just have love and kindness in my heart and soul and spirit for everyone, for my step mom, who I never had a good relationship with her unconventional relationship.

[00:55:27]

I think to myself how sad that she has to be so stressed out and anxious all the time.

[00:55:33]

My father's anger. It must be so sad to not be able to flip the switch on anger and just feel that maybe he just deserves a little bit of kindness rather than some harshness. And my mother, I know that she can never change and I can never change the things that I experienced and the things that happened to me, but I can love her anyway. I've always told Lysa that I will never ask her any questions, because as traumatic as this situation was for me, it was a million times more heavy and traumatic for her.

[00:56:17]

And I love her and I respect her space. And so I told her I will never ask anything. But that's not to say I don't have 100 different questions. I think what I struggle with the most is understanding the severity of a psychosis episode and understanding the severity of hallucinations and being so encapsulated in that world. I guess the one question that remains with me the most is, why did Lysa pick up that knife? I mean, what like what kind of danger did she truly believe that she was in?

[00:57:06]

And also, when the police came to the door and she answered it and she put her hands behind her back and said, arrest me, I killed her. I wonder if she saw what she was doing. I was just hearing a dangerous amount of voices in her head that couldn't control her actions anymore or if she was completely hallucinating and didn't even see her friend in front of her.

[00:57:28]

I don't know how lucid she was in that moment when the police got to her door. And I struggle with understanding the grief that Lysa went through, and I struggle with understanding the emotions that Lysa must be keeping to herself. The things that Lisa saw, I struggle, I, I don't know why I am so desperate to understand those hallucinations and her hearing those voices, I don't understand why I need to know so badly what that was like that brought her to kill that girl.

[00:58:07]

It's none of my business, though, and I'll never ask her. And I don't know if it would make me feel better to know. It makes me question the universe, really. I mean, I don't know, and searching for those answers are going to fucking kill me, so I just try not to open that door at all. No matter what answer I come to, I'm hurting one person or the other. I'm hurting one side or the other.

[00:58:34]

I'm hurting my friends, family, or I'm hurting the victim's family. I'm always stuck in the middle. So I am trying my best to just support my friend and just have love and compassion and sympathy for everyone in the world. We don't always need answers, we just crave them. That's about finding your own internal peace to fill the hole. It's about grounding yourself in the reality of who you are and what your identity is. And to some people, that means never speaking to Lysa again.

[00:59:11]

And that is completely OK.

[00:59:13]

I respect what everyone has to do for their own internal peace, because I know that for the little girl who was growing up and for the teenager who was just confused and mean like I was, she just wanted someone to love her and treat her like the person she wanted to be. And Liza was the only person who ever did that for me.

[00:59:36]

So I just want to forever carry that message of kindness and compassion and forgiveness to everyone and that everyone, no matter who you are, you are deserving of love. You are deserving of compassion and forgiveness, and you are deserving of comfort and peace.

[01:00:13]

This is actually happening, is brought to you by any witness or if you love what we do. You can join the community on our official Instagram page at actually happening. You can also write and review the show on iTunes, which helps tremendously to boost visibility to a larger community of listeners. And if you want to help sustain the show for the coming years, you can contribute a small monthly donation to our picture on page a page from Dotcom Slash Happening.

[01:00:37]

Thank you for listening. Until next time. Stay tuned now.