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I’m sorry, is The Mother’s Act trying to help women? My bad…

22 May

Once upon a time, everything was wrong. I knew it. I couldn’t bring myself to where I needed to be. So I lived with it, we worked around it, we did what we could, the people in my life, me. But when there’s a fuzz in your brain you can never quite shake, you can’t see through it. You can feel the wrong vibrating through your life, but you can’t quite settle it.

Even if you talk to a doctor, even when I sat down and said, please, I want to die, I can’t hold it in, they saw nothing. The next time I’d be fine, and bouncy and wonderful and life was grand and they saw nothing. So I carried on, with the wrong still buzzing, believing I was doing what I could do.

But then pregnancy, and pregnancy again, and there was a slight snap that let loose the dogs of crazy, and I slipped slowly into the vibration, becoming consumed, becoming someone I wasn’t, someone who I can’t recognize today.

They didn’t see it. They didn’t watch for it, they didn’t ask. My urine was more compelling than my mental state, even after the first time, even after being through it, after asking for help. Nothing. No one. They watched me crying, sobbing in a fetal position 3 hours after birth and did nothing. I should have been happy, shouldn’t I?

More and more foolishness comes out on the Mother’s Act. More lies, more blatant bullshit (prozac in a baby’s eyes? Really? People BELIEVE this crap!?!?) more obstacles to providing women with nurses and doctors who pay attention to their emotional state, who stop and ask them if they’re ok, who take a moment to look them in the eyes and tell them it’s ok to admit if maybe it’s not all puppies and rainbows.

Honesty. Caring. Compassion. Research to prevent post partum mood disorders.

I read a story like this one, where a mother kills her son. And I read how the family felt “she did not express the typical love of a mother for her child.” And how nothing had been done before that. How the mother said she killed him because “she did not want him to grow up with no one caring about him, the same way that she had grown up where nobody had cared about her.” She then walked the streets of her city.

If she never reacted properly to her son, why would no one ever see, or be told, or help? How long? From birth? Could this have been stopped, years before? This mother, who now waits to be tried, who wants now to die, who felt this was the only way, could she have been helped by something as simple as a doctor noticing, at some time, what was going on?

As a Canadian who has suffered a bad case of PPD, I’ve been watching the Mother’s Act hopefully, and wondering if we can implement something similar in Canada. Something that would extend a hand when it’s needed, not forcing or demanding, but merely being a support when it’s so desperately needed. Education for doctors and nurses to recognize the signs.

I’ve also been watching the backlash, the ridiculous claim from out of nowhere that this is basically an excuse for “big pharma” (I’m so tired of that term) to drug everyone into insensibility, make oodles of money, and giggle maniacally in their lairs. Because it’s hard to believe that anyone, even a senator who is paid to represent the constituents, or a mother who lost her daughter, might only want things to change for mothers. Because nothing can ever happen on a broad scale without some sort of conspiracy attached.

It’s disgusting, and infuriating, especially when coming from other mothers. I didn’t take anything when I was suffering-I went through therapy, and was eventually diagnosed, nearly 2 years later, as bipolar. Which I should have been diagnosed as years before. I elected to start treatment with medication, and did my research on each until we found one that corrected the imbalance in my brain, and allowed me to function, NOT exceed, but merely FUNCTION at the same level as everyone else.

I CHOSE my path. I still see a doctor, sometimes more, sometimes less. I take my medication because for me, talk therapy isn’t the only answer. But I refused anti-depressants twice, and was merely told that they were available, if I needed or wanted them. As with many women I know, I didn’t want them.

But some women might. And women should have the choice, since free will, after all, is a bitch.

There are lives to be saved here, women’s lives, children. By simple screening, questions, a kind word, someone paying attention. And yet we constantly see blowhards screaming their agenda, which is not so much about women but about their misguided attempts to protect. We see people who have never ever even given BIRTH, who decide, based on their vast experience, that this bill must be evil evil evil.

We have hundreds, maybe thousands of women, every day, suffering in silence, suffering in from of medical staff as I did, who get no help at all.

We are a compassionate people, aren’t we?

****

So I went to read the bill again. Looking for the “feed me Risperdal” clause.

Yeah…no….

(1) Basic research concerning the etiology and causes of the conditions.

  

(2) Epidemiological studies to address the frequency and natural history of the conditions and the differences among racial and ethnic groups with respect to the conditions.

 Again, research, especially about incidence, good. 

(3) The development of improved screening and diagnostic techniques.

  

(4) Clinical research for the development and evaluation of new treatments.

  

(5) Information and education programs for health care professionals and the public, which may include a coordinated national campaign to increase the awareness and knowledge of postpartum conditions. Activities under such a national campaign may– 

Gee, educating the public? Kirstie, are you listening?

 (B) focus on–

(i) raising awareness about screening;

     (ii) educating new mothers and their families about postpartum conditions to promote earlier diagnosis and treatment; and

    You mean, let people know what it might feel like so they can educate themselves? NO!

     

    (iii) ensuring that such education includes complete information concerning postpartum conditions, including its symptoms, methods of coping with the illness, and treatment resources.

    And education means providing ALL options and alternatives to the woman, so SHE can make a decision like a big girl wearing big girl pants? How progressive!

      

     

Frankly, I don’t see it. While I take medication, and it has literally saved my life, I don’t like pills either. I hate taking them. I’ve declined many medications because I don’t want it in my body. I would never support something that mandated medication. And this doesn’t. Unless there’s some super special secret page that only Amy whatshedrinking can see with all her friends. This is about education, and providing women with the tools they MIGHT need to help them get a handle on things.

Maybe I am insane, but I fail to see how this infringes on freedom, goes against the constitution, or any of the many things it’s been accused of doing.

It’s trying to help. People who have been there are trying to help. What’s really in it for those trying to prevent that help? Dollars for Scientology perhaps, more money for “natural” remedies that might also poison you? Is this just another way for some women to convince you that you aren’t a real woman if you haven’t “toughed it out” if you suffered true post partum, and not just baby blues?

I’m not proud. I deeply desired to give away my daughter at birth. To harm her and end my life. Many things too painful to write down. I recovered with therapy, with the help of a very aware lactation consultant who called at the right time. What I felt wasn’t natural or normal, and it took me a year to connect to her, despite fighting for therapy and assistance.

Now imagine the woman without an advocate.

That’s who you’re destroying here.

“how do i explain bipolar disorder to someone?”

24 Feb

Sometimes I start talking to stranger, acquaintances, friends about this wonderful defect, this twitching glitch in my brain. I’ll candidly mention “the second time I tried to kill myself” or “when I was on the psych ward” or even, “last time I was at the mall, I kept hearing things calling my name. heh.” I’ll keep talking, glad to be open and rational about my disorder, until I glance up and notice the looks of horror or fear on the faces before me. The sheer inability to understand.

Explaining bipolar to a “normal” is difficult. I have noticed that first off the “oh, I get depressed sometimes too” line will come out, about 70% of the time.

This line irritates me so much I want to spoon out their eyeballs and make soup. I know it’s an attempt to relate and empathize. But it comes of as condescending and like they wish to minimize what I’ve been through.

Some people have relatives with bipolar though, or DID, or other disorders, and they will quietly admit to this, as if they’re the family demons and by speaking of them they get stronger. Like it’s something to be ashamed of.

It’s rare that anyone actually wants to hear the truth, the story behind it. What happens, and why.

I’ve had the chance, the odd time, to really explain what happens. And I’m as pointed and clear and realistic as I can be.

I explain the huge variations in mood, like summer to winter, with no chance for spring. My head can wrap itself around and convince itself that those I love hate me, or that I hate them, or that they’re spying on me, or plotting against me.

I can become paranoid, even when medicated. Patterns which would otherwise be meaningless can make me question what I’m seeing. I worry that attention not paid to me is not friendship, but betrayal.

Sometimes, all I want, more than anything, is to die. Or rather, to just not exist. It’s not a matter of wanting to die-it’s when the pain is so bad, so all consuming that it colors every.single.thing. in your world, being numb, being sterile and white and blinding sounds like SUCH a good idea, even if you need to get there to die. It’s a drive, a mission to find a dry place, a soundproof place where the voices in your head have nothing to say, and you don’t ache with the pain you imagine a star could be borne of.

The death part is the hardest to understand. A rational, normal person thinks of suicide as anathema, as well they should. But I’ve always found the suicidal urges to be the simplest. Wake up, have pancakes, pick out a shirt, maybe today I’ll do it, maybe not, ham would be nice for dinner. Just the endless loop of “just maybe”. No one likes to know about this part. (Incidentally, this has been the bit that’s most isolating, and I just really don’t have anyone to talk to about it, which is how I usually work through stuff. It’s pretty much a conversation killer)

I might talk about my mania. Thankfully mine isn’t so bad, especially medicated, but I still become infuriated when normal people talk about “how manic!” they are after a cup of coffee. (The word is hyper. Not manic) I’ve explained my black rages to people, those where I can barely rein in my anger, looking through bloody, lidded eyes. I’ve explained the agitation, akin to having creatures crawling underneath and through my skin, inability to sit still, be quiet, keep money in my pocket.

People think mania sounds “neat”.

I don’t know if you can explain away that theory. To them, mania is being happy and fun. Even for me, who rarely gets very manic, especially on the meds, it’s not fun. It’s scary. A few months back, I had a week where I was insanely manic, for me, considering I’ m medicated. I could have sworn I was floating for a few days, I was so euphoric. I couldn’t focus, I could barely see straight. I vibrated.

Not neat. But to the outsider, there aren’t enough adjectives to convey the sense of slow plodding insanity mania can give you.

I always take pain to point out that I’m otherwise normal. That with the exception of my bad moments, on medication, I’m mostly like others. Sure, I still need to work harder at some things. I’ll never be as organized as a lot of people, I’ll never be able to focus as clearly as I did before I got sick. But I still get the flu. I laugh at fart jokes. I have baggage. I’m still human.

And really, that’s what this always boils down to. Conveying to people our humanity-that mental illness hasn’t stripped that away. Sure, I’m sick. But that doesn’t make me less of a wife, or mother, or friend. If anything, I’m more human, as the experience, the internal experiences I’ve been through make me fuller than any trip or purchase could make me. I have a wealth of knowledge and living behind me, something that’s made me, even sick me, so much more of a person than I would have been.

Explain our humanity. It’s all up hill from there.

When a man wants to murder a tiger, it’s called sport; when the tiger wants to murder him it’s called ferocity.

15 Feb

 I open CNN to a poll:

“Do you think people with a history of mental illness should be allowed to buy guns?”

  1. Yes

  2. Yes, with tighter restrictions

  3. No

Guess which answer is at 85%.

I don’t deny, at any point, that the mentally ill can be unstable and downright dangerous. We can be, if not managed  by therapy, drugs and hard work.

I become incensed at the idea that we should be controlled with restrictions, a grand database in the sky tracking us, telling some 18 year old in Walmart if I’m allowed to own a gun, letting them know that I’m the crazy, run away! The very idea that anyone with ANY mental illness history (which frankly, is a LOT of people) can’t even touch a firearm because of that ILLNESS is disturbing.

I, like hundreds of thousands of other people, have a mental disorder that can rear up, much like cancer can come of remission, if we don’t take our medication. Because I have bipolar, is it ok to discriminate? What if I only had anxiety? What if I only had depression that was cyclical, dependant on the season?

At what point are the mentally ill truly people?

I read people talking about how “Octo-Mom’s” uterus isn’t up for anyone else’s discussion-despite the fact that she’s impacting 14 children, 2 parents and herself. We should leave her alone, not discriminate, she might be “sick in the head.”

Are we all going to pop out multiple children because we’re mentally ill? No more than we’re all going to pick up a semi-automatic weapon and start killing people. However, people will make that blanket statement, assuming that none of us should ever have a chance to touch a gun, perhaps drive a vehicle, own a house.

And again, soon, that we shouldn’t have any children at all?

It’s easy to climb on a horse, point a finger and say THOSE people shouldn’t be allowed. Much easier than say, supporting mental health initiatives, demanding that mental disease be portrayed truthfully, or pushing their local and federal governments for more funding for care and support.

Taking the gun away is inadequate at best. Supporting the person, treating the sickness, giving them a safe place to land when the chaos does occur-these are solutions. Assisted living for some individuals, out-patient treatment, increased numbers of doctors so we can receive REAL care.

Money is better spent on helping the mentally ill be the best people they can be, than reducing us to caricatures and limiting our lives.

It’s not the guns I care about. At the end of the day, I don’t see why people need guns in the first place, or why they need automatic weapons. But it’s not about that-it’s about how rights can be scrapped away from a group of people in the name of “safety”, and everyone will fall in line.

There’s an exception to every rule. “Normal” people kill people with guns ALL THE FREAKING TIME and yet no one says, in any seriousness, “Stop selling guns, period.”

Fuck, that’s unamerican, right?

The mentally ill, who live in some sort of vacuum, don’t get leeway, don’t get sympathy, they get judged.

It scares me because one it starts, where does it end? And does it end with us? What if statistically, white males 18-24 who like black pants and smoke Player’s are the ones doing the shooting? Will we take away a right? Will we lock them up?

Will we make a problem where one doesn’t exist?

We will spend money on fantasy, and yet not on treatment and everyday living.

You don’t have to be mentally ill to think that’s completely fucking crazy.

*********************

No red flags. My ASS.

Liking the Saw movies is not a flag. Someone who:

stopped taking an antidepression medication for obsessive-compulsive disorder and anxiety three weeks before the shooting

THAT is a flag. Dropping your medication off suddenly can trigger events that otherwise wouldn’t have happened. Wearing a fucking dog collar is strange, not a red flag. Emails to friends that are out of character-flags.

This assumption that he couldn’t possibly function normally because he was crazy, that he lived “a double life”-THIS is what keeps people swimming in the crazy. People will think the worst regardless. People will think our love for horror or black humor means that we’re monsters anyway.

People hurt. Instead of being given help, they’re called “strange” and “weird” and isolated further.

The red flag is life.

 

If you do not hear reason she will rap you on the knuckles.

2 Feb

Her voice is smooth as I stare at the new nail polish on my fingers, “Electric Strawberry” (Affair in Red Square, you have competition. Grrrrrrrowl.) She is calm, and measured, and not at all the 53 she professes to be. I worry about starting into all of it, all of IT, my life. Not nearly so bad by some measures, but in Canada, it’s bad enough.

Sometimes I feel like I’m making it all up, wish that I was, when I begin to recount the events of my life, spoken of in “oh, and then this” or “well, I think that maybe it started when…” When what? When my mother died? When the neighbour couldn’t keep his hands off me? Or when my father didn’t know what to do with me, and left me to my own devices, left to wither, until he was angry drunk and felt like yelling.

She listens. She does what no one else ever does-tells me I’m strong for doing this every day, reminds me that sickness is still sickness even if it’s only in my head. Validates my stress, my anger, my depression. Suggests that maybe my medication isn’t working quite as well as I think.

She doesn’t laugh when I tell her I’m a bitch. She knows that sometimes I am, and that I’m calling to please, please help me figure out when to stop the train when it leaves the station. Please help me try and stop the anger that doesn’t mean anything, the anger that isn’t real. She listens and believes me when I tell her I can’t help it, that I’m powerless behind it, despite what anyone might think.

Think of yourself as an alcoholic she tells me. The path is the same. Name calling, anger, judgement, sins from the past, screaming, then crying, begging for forgiveness. It’s the exact same thing, but I have no excuse aside from my brain and who I’ve become, some small child unable to grow up, unable to be loved without drama, without something huge looming in the background.

She believes me when I tell her I want to be different, that I want to learn how to be happy, I want to know what happy people look like, how they eat, what they wear. That I want to be happy. She believes me.

Her voice is soothing, makes me want to tell her my secrets. The pity I can do without, yes, losing my mother was horrible but I’ve lived with it for 20 years and now, now I just want to leave it behind, package it and put it in a cubbyhole where it’s only taken out on holiday, petted, cried over, but ultimately left alone. I want all of it put away, I want to be left with the me who is behind everything else.

I fear there’s not much there, she’s been buried underneath all this stuff for so long, these things done to her or done in spite of her.

She worth digging for, right?

**************

I want to change. I do. But how? How do you change after years of knee jerk response and a brain that’s like a separate person altogether?

I want answers this time. I want real answers on how to move past a lifetime of things I’ve “thought” I was over. I want answers on how to be less of a bitch and more of a real person.

I just want, after all this time, to be reasonable for once.

2 Sides

6 Jan

Every few weeks I wait for my shrink.

And I wait. Every few weeks I take an afternoon off work and spend 40 minutes waiting for my appointment.

Once, when I expressed my frustration I was told that “her time was valuable”-the insinuation being that mine wasn’t.

I have a job I reminded her-one that I need, and can’t afford to take multiple afternoons off because of delays, delays which are constant.

The dismissive wave of the hand? The pitiful “why aren’t you on disability anyway? look…the assumption that because I am mentally different, diseased I will just sit and wait like a good puppy.

This is living with mental illness. This is one part of every day of my life.

**********************

I take the drugs. I take them because they bring me closer to you-closer to people who perhaps don’t see music in color, women who didn’t sob uncontrollably whenever her breasts let down milk, men who don’t get really paranoid and worry obsessively about some idiot pushing that red button that says “BAD MONKEY! NUCLEAR BOMB BAD!”. People who do cry one minute, and smile at a world who loves them the next.

I live with worry. With fear. That someone will judge me not worthy, that someone with call my crazy and mean it. That the words and thoughts of another will be the basis for how good a mother I am, that someone else can judge how fantastic my daughters are.

I live daily with judgement, because I am not afraid of who I am. I have a biological disorder not yet fully understood by the medical establishment. I have my theories on how mine has manifested, but they’re theories. I have a sickness, a chronic illness that can be controlled, but as of right now, not cured.

I am not a famous artist. As a friend has said, there is no art in manic depression.

I am lucky, because I am not full bipolar. When I say I’m manic, I’m flighty, agitated, easy to annoy. Not the manic you think of when someone talks about the fat guy tasered at Denny’s last year. Hypo manic. Full of energy. I write a lot then. When I am sad, I am sad. But no longer at the expense of my own life. Now, I just get sad. Like you.

But because I have this sickness, I can be sat in judgement-I can be evaluated, scored, reviewed. When my mother was being treated for cancer, and short, often mean to me, no one judged her. She was sick! Because of my illness, my honesty is judged as a failure to mother, a failure to be some archetype of woman that frankly? Even if I was sick I couldn’t be.

I’ve lived with this for awhile, quietly, this building sense of entrapment by the people who are aware of what’s different about me. I can feel it-eyes waiting because they don’t understand.

You pass by us every day. You speak with us, possibly even love us. We might BE you.

Many individuals are closeted with their disorders because the world isn’t a safe one to be honest in-be it online, or at the dinner table. The world would rather hear “I’m dying of dysentery” than “I have a mental illness.” Seems, the world can understand diarrhea, but not variation in mood. Many people can’t grow and survive their illness because they have no room to move within it.

Because no one stops to listen.

I’ve been angered these few days, by the gross assumptions that being bipolar means I will hurt someone. See, the media likes to fill you up with OMG! TEH CRAZY PEOPLE WILL EAT US!!!! stories. I suppose it’s easier to hear than the multitude of plain old “just hurt someone” news stories you see day after day after day.

Frankly, I think we should be more afraid of all you normal people.

Many of us have survived abuse, neglect, death, almost anything you can describe. Yet so many of us are also drawn to survive, to try and fix ourselves, love our families, become better.

We, I am not what you think when you speak of mental illness, when you think “wow, she’s NUTS.” You wouldn’t know there was a thing wrong with me if I passed you in the street. Who knows. Maybe I already have.

****************

I’ve been doing this since the summer of 2005 or so, and in that time have had many mothers, ill or just tired, cranky or frustrated reach out and say THANK YOU. Because I am brutally honest, even to the point of disturbing the more fragile of us. Because I am not afraid that something being a parent sucks. Because sometimes being sick is horrid, and I want it to stop. Because sometimes, I give voice to the thoughts that circle for but a moment.

Because who knows what could be made better with a little compassion, mercy and empathy.

Because who knows what reaching into the darkness could do, even if just for one woman, scared and alone far from here.

*****************

If you’d like to know more about bipolar or mental illness, a few good places to start:

CMHA

NAMI

Salted Lithium-Gabe has been a support and a resource more times than I can count. Plus, lots of links to other bloggers of similar mental persuasion…

” Difficult times have helped me to understand better than before, how infinitely rich and beautiful life is in every way, and that so many things that one goes worrying about are of no importance whatsoever… “

31 Dec

In about 12 hours, it will be a new year on my neck of the woods.

I was gifted “Madness” by Marya Hornbacher this year, and have been reading it in bits. It’s painful, too painful. The mirror of who I was, who I could be, how bad it could get, could have been, sometimes is. How absolutely difficult this all is somedays, how heavy the burden I am.

I can’t read it all in one sitting. Hearing my thoughts echoed, but by someone even sicker than I will (hopefully) ever be-it’s salt in a wound I fear won’t heal.

I nearly died this year, by my own hand. I nearly lost my family, by my own doing, sowing the seeds years ago by refusing treatment, by neglecting myself, by not learning.

I have bipolar. And I have let it get to where it’s been.

Someone with cancer doesn’t get better by just laying back and hoping, by only taking the chemo, and still eating garbage and sleeping too little. They rest. They follow the doctor’s advice. The try and fix what they can fix, those things within their power. They play an active role in their recovery.

I spent time believing that my meds were all I needed to worry about-that if I took them religiously, all the voices would stop, my anxieties about cars and people would diminish, my paranoia’s would trickle away to nothing. I believed that i would suddenly know how to handle all the problems that had festered in my mind, hidden by 3 years of madness, and years prior by the onset of all this mess. I thought 4 pink pills would solve everything, and I’d be happy, fun and easy to love. I thought, I thought…maybe I figured I could hold the box open so long as I wasn’t the one looking in it.

2008 wasn’t a happy year. Or in many respects even a good year. It’s been the hardest I’ve had things in a long while-full of fear, loathing. I’ve seen my own death in my hands for the first time since about 1993, closer than ever, fluttering behind the lights in an ER. I’ve sat alone in the aftermath, with only voices reaching from a distance to sustain, to hold me.

Lessons are learned from this. Lessons are cobbled together-that yes, it’s good to have people to fall back on, who support you. But it’s even better to learn how to support yourself, how to learn to live a good, honest, worthwhile life that draws people to you, that draws you to yourself.

It’s ok to love yourself as much as anyone else.

I don’t think I truly wanted to die this year. I don’t think that’s what I’ve ever really wanted. I just wanted it all to end-the noise in my head, the chaos that has surrounded me, the crushing weight of real life-the things people do everyday, without pause or fear. These things are not easy for me, and may never be easy.

And that is ok. I can work with that.

But you know? It’s not all bad.

I have two fabulous daughters-daughters who continually delight, frustrate, awe and move me. Their love-their joy, the incredible wonder they provide me every day-it reminds me why I fight, why I struggle with this, why I don’t just lay down and let it take me. I see the women they will become, and know that they deserve the best me I can possibly be, even if she’s still not enough when they’re 16. I have a husband that loves and advocates for me, even when I can’t. Even after a tough year, I know that love is there, regardless of how muddled and difficult I’ve made that. I know I am fought for.

But love isn’t always enough, and 2008 has brought me that realization-that love is a fine, wonderful thing, but so is respect, courtesy, care, gentleness, the things I cannot be-the things I can write but have trouble acting or saying. I have to be better. I have to find the kinder, better version of me that had been buried for so very long.

Tonight, weather permitting, I will go out to a club for New Years Eve for the first time ever, and out for NYE period for the first time since 1998. I want to bounce and dance and sing with fever and joy at finally being able to do what everyone else has accepted and done for so long-go out and have fun. I can do this now-now, finally at 31, I can set foot out that door and just have fun.

It’s been a long time coming, and a hard road. It’s still uphill, and always may be. But without the land mines and lions and tigers and bears, I’ll take it.

Happy Year my friends. Fill it with all kinda of awesome, will you? That’s my plan.

This rant brought to you by the letters “M” and “P”

26 Nov

My brain has been whispering madness to me all day.

I’m tired.

I spend days convincing myself I deserve love, that the world and the people in it aren’t just watching and waiting to pull the rug out from under me. I spend hours repeating to myself that it’s not an agenda-my job status is my own doing. I guard myself from completing magnum opus’ in my head about accidents and how I’d save everyone, or how I’d react if it was the end of the world or someone tried to take that woman’s purse 3 seats ahead of me.

It’s fucking tiring. It’s exhausting, staying on top of my own shit, and maintaining the happy facade, being friendly and caring and nice when all I want to do is start screaming and not stop until Thursday.

These are the things that trigger the bad thoughts, the end game thoughts-this incessant argument inside me. It weighs on me, like a death or a hung jury. The knowledge that the rest of my life will include this, a bipolar monkey chilling out on my back, slowly strangling me. Being allowed to see normal every so often? It makes me want to crawl back into the safety of crazy, and allow it to swallow me whole.

Being conscious of my petty delusions and paranoias is 10X worse than just being completely bat shit. Because I’m mostly normal. I’m mostly ok, and I know when I’m not and then I have to wrestle and I hate wrestling and I hate being humourless and boring and ugly and I hate that I can’t stop any of it and I’m possessed by it, driven almost, and trapped by the knowledge that I can’t make it stop, and eventually, all things in my life will fall away, scared or tired or angry or just plain old done with it.

I would run away from me if I could.

There is no glory in this fucking monkey, as someone else I know as said, no art in it. It is a glacial landscape, worn smooth and sterile by waves and white-oceans of bleached cold. I live there, I huddle there, fighting of the worms of thought that try and settle. It’s cold and lonely, and it wears me out. There is nothing remotely awesome about what’s wrong with me. I’m sick. I’m ill and I’m getting so fucking sick of being so close, so close to normal I can nearly touch it, only to feel myself being pulled back by hands I can barely, if ever control. So close to the life so many people live without thought, and yet not there.

I have to be so careful. I need to hold close my thoughts and feelings, analyze what I’m feeling, dissect how I’m going to react to others, bite my tongue from the horridness I hold inside me, the utter cunt that I have been. So fucking cautious, so brittle.

I’m tired. Whispers, stories, nightmares in my head-I’m tired of all of it. So worn from it. Today, it’s won-it’s wearing me down and I’m alone with it and all I can do is succumb or fight.

I’m tired today.

“Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes. “

24 Nov

When I was small, time flowed like golden syrup. Leaves hung in their buds for ages, full to bursting, seams dripping with the sugars of life. A summer breeze lingered, its sweat beading on your skin under a dark sun, heavy in the sheltered sky. I dreamed in my backyard, underneath the slyly growing birch tree, my initials carved with Joey’s with bottlecaps dredged from the gravel drive beside my dirty white house, low slung porch on the rear. I dreamed of my future, of my singular answer to the question everyone asked with that terrible smirk on their face.

“What will you be when you grow up little girl?”

I had as many answers as pebbles in that driveway. On Tuesday, under the maple hiding from the rain, I would be an artist, my fingers catching minutes and transferring them, chastised to the page. On Saturday, digging earthworms from beneath the wild strawberries, I would be a paleontologist, my world rooted in one millions of years old, pale scratchings against the earth, dusty with hope. Maybe an inventor, standing on my front porch on gray April morning, trying to invent wipers for my glasses, or a removable film. Perhaps a teacher as I stood in front of my cuddle friends, Papa Smurf, Lion, Garfield, Holy Hobbie, my ragged chalkboard stapled to the wall behind my door.

My world was a flower spiraling open then, a multitude of paths leading outward, into a glorious center, a future I couldn’t see but could stand warm in, the reflected moments shining back at me. I would be something-I would be the person I could best be, and nothing would stop me.

Life it seems, has different ideas.

*********************************************

I never finished school. I never settled on any one thing that I wanted to do. I didn’t have the perseverance to write every day. I’m not that good an artist. I couldn’t sit through the biology, the sciences, the math (oy the math) to do anything remotely like digging up a dinosaur. I surfed through my life on charm, wit and a perverse lust for knowledge-so long as you’re enraptured with learning, you’ll never look stupid and useless.

But knowing the rhythm of someone’s life in the 14th Century or that Ron Jeremy is a trained pianist or having pity for Catherine of Aragon-these aren’t skills you can transfer to the real world. These are bits of useless knowledge, gathered up like oregano just a little short for the pot. A love of learning doesn’t translate to much.

I had a talk with my boss today, who was frank and said she couldn’t trust my work. She’s right. She can’t. My attention to detail, a monkey on my back since, shit, when did they start judging school work? it has been worse since August. Something died on that gurney in the ER 3 months ago, someone died. Since that day, I haven’t been who I was, and my ability to really focus in on my work has been sparse at best. So she put it to me-is the job, as it stands now, too much for me?

I couldn’t respond at first. Nothing in my life has prepared me to have to say “Yes, I can’t do this. Yes, I am weak and lazy and unfit.” I’ve never had to ask someone to take work away, generally being the yes girl. But I haven’t been her since August, maybe even before that. I’ve been overwhelmed, and stressed and terribly unhappy.

She was blunt-the job is only going to get bigger, and what parts do I want, do I really want to do. The answer I didn’t give was “None-I want a new job.” but I know what things I’d like to keep, and what I’d like to be rid of. But what got me was that I heard, for the first time, what was really being said.

“You are too ill to do this job.”

It wasn’t implied to be mean, or to belittle. It was more to let me know that it was ok to back down. It was ok to be tired and stressed and sick of it. That it was ok to acknowledge my illness and handle it, instead of ramping myself up to such a state that someone would have to send King Kong up after me. While she was saying it with her ass in mind, I heard a message for me-to take this chance, and slow down, sit back.

I had such dreams for my life as a child-but they never included an illness that seems to worsen each year, and attempt to destroy me. In my world, you never get fired, you never quit because something is hard. You stick it out. You make the best of it. You deal with it, suck it up princess.

This has not served me well. Sure, 8 years employment for a bipolar is great. But I’m tired of sucking it up, of working twice as hard just to look like I’m doing the minimum. I’m tired of fucking around to avoid tasks I can’t stand. I’m tired of being pressured to be someone I’m not. I’m quite done with doing a job I’ve never planned for, never daydreamed about under maples.

I’m pondering now, what will work. I know she’s right-I’m not suitable for most of the job, not now. But other parts of it? I am.

***************************************

Sometimes, riding the bus home, I see a new baby, a nervous new mother, shielding the child in a sling or carrier, her hand behind a head. I begin to dream about being the woman standing there to catch that baby, handing that slippery package to hands and a breast, the blood of new life running between my fingers as tears of joy run ragged edges down faces around me. I dream of guiding the bereft through their loss, holding still fingers in mine. I dream of the babies I’ll bring into this world, how they’ll turn to children, to women and men, to mothers and fathers, the circle turning and turning.

I still dream. Of life.

You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure , the process is its own reward.”

16 Oct

Never watch Law and Order SVU if there’s no plot synopsis.

Last night, that plot was bipolar, and I really wasn’t prepared.

I saw myself, fully, for the first time ever. Or as full as a healthy person can portray. I wish I could hate it, but I can only regret it while I use it, while I gladden myself with movement and change.

Stabler confronts his mother, speaking hard about his childhood, her threats to leave, to die, as she makes a sand castle, two planes, two people, one never listening, incapable of feeling for the people near to her.

Later, she says she’s lived the life she wanted, and paid a terrible price for it.

It’s cheesy to see one’s self on a TV, to face your demons on network television, but suddenly, vividly, I saw what I’ve been doing to my family, to the people in my life, for years. Sure, the TV version is always the most extreme, but what’s better? A slow death, or a fast one?

The voids I’ve left in lives, the utter wrung outness I give to people, squeezing them dry of everything inch of life, of passion, all the while demanding more, telling them they’ve stolen mine. I’ve made people raw, I’ve started down a path that would have destroyed everything in my life, made ruin of my children.  All because I circled on myself, my own orbit, my planet around I the sun.

Oh how I saw that last night. How my heart cracked and shuddered, with that awful realization of who I have been, what this disease makes me into. What it could become, who I could be. Who I do not ever want to be.

I could be worse. I’ve never spent thousands of dollars on a spending binge-I’ve been too poor for that. But I’ve ran multiple credit cards up to the edge, destroyed my credit. I never ran around sleeping with everyone, but hey, I was never that attractive. Likely, without marriage to tether me, I could have at times. I’ve always felt one step away from catastrophe.

Then I fell into it, and came out of it and now I’m sitting here wondering how anyone could last though all of that, how I could possibly be in anyway redeeming, worthy of lasting through the hell that I’ve been lo these many years.

How crushing to discover you’ve been not only bad, but horrid. Like a haze clearing from an early morning highway, I can see the road ahead, and the carnage I’ve left in my wake, and no amount of apologizing, no amount of trying could ever make it right.

And that scares me, as does the image of my future, bereft of those I love.

I’ve made changes. I know that if I stick to this path, my future is open and wide and full of love. But it’s hard, and I’m frightened of my very easy weakness. I’m frightened of myself.

“She would rather light candles than curse the darkness and her glow has warmed the world.”

8 Oct

Today I spoke with my shrink for the first time since I tried to take my life.

The last time I saw her, she was sitting in a chair next to my bed in Acute, making that sucking face people make when they’ve stepped in something unpleasant. The look you give an errant child making foolish mistakes.

I wasn’t really in a hurry to see her again today.

Surprisingly, she seemed happy to see me, happy that I was pulling me head out of my ass for what seems to be the first time ever.

I mentioned my paranoia’s, my delusions, my fears that I’m going, slipping slowly into that abyss truly called crazy. She asked if I could talk my way out of them.

I can.

No worries then she told me. Call if they escalate again, if they fill your head beyond what you can control, beyond what you can say “fuck off” to. We’ll check your lithium. We’ll watch.

I’ve never felt so uncomfortable in my life explaining something in my head, trying to explain that sometimes I have the sneaking suspicion that I was born to save this world, or that the way cars are parked is some sort of sign that something bad is about to happen. Trying to explain that I believe everyone in my life is out to get me, and is secretly snickering behind my back, in on some grand plan I’m the end product of.

It was, in it’s own way, mortifying and relieving to finally say it all out loud to a doctor and not worry about being committed. To try and give myself a chance, to be the one asking for drugs instead of denying them. To say, clearly “I worry that this will only get worse.”

She looked almost motherly, and reminded me that I’ve been highly stressed lately, and everything I was talking about sounded like normal reactions, given my mental state and the situations, and that once things were calm, I’d be ok.

But, I said, those thoughts are always there, hovering, waiting for me to slip and let them in. It’s exhausting. It’s tiring, arguing with yourself.

But you can shake it off, and remind yourself it isn’t real, most of the time, right? she asked.

Right…..

Then don’t worry. If you can still tell when you’re being paranoid, or delusional, and tell yourself that it’s a bunch of hooey, then like I said, you’re ok.

I’m ok.

I went into her office thinking I’d need more drugs, that I’d need to call myself more nuts to get some help and peace of mind. I never anticipated how warm it would feel to have her tell me that everything was (relatively) normal and that I was doing fine, if not better. I never anticipated how good it would feel to own up to what I was really feeling, and try and move past it.

I was fully prepared to start taking more drugs, but really, I’m glad I’m just me after all. I find no glory in taking drugs every single day, no magic. My pills don’t make me normal-they make me better, stable, clearer. But even that I’ll take.

 

*****************************************

When I was talking to her, my doctor, we were talking about my hypo manias, my mania’s. As I described how I get (rapid fire speech, grand thoughts, hyper sexual, spendthrift, merging into rage, paranoia, fear) I stumbled over a phrase

“When I’m hypo-manic, it’s like I’m….glowing. Like the air around me is golden.”

What a gift it can be, sometimes, once in awhile. Feeling like you’re on fire, that the air around you IS magic for your touch, even if it’s just something made up in your mind-it makes you feel alive, and perfect and larger than everyone around.

It makes you feel, for awhile, special, lighting up the rooms around you,

It’s all bunk. But it’s delicious, enthralling bunk nonetheless.

Sometimes, I do indeed pulsate.

Flashing Vision

13 Sep
  • Diaphragmatic Breathing or Abdominal Breathing — Breathing slowly through the nose using the diaphragm and abdomen. Do not breathe through the mouth. Focus on exhaling very slowly. This will correct or prevent an imbalance of oxygen to carbon dioxide in the blood stream.
  • Taking anti-anxiety medication — to be used under the guidance and direction of a physician.
  • Staying in the Present — rather than having “what if” thoughts that are future oriented asking yourself, “what is happening now” and “how do I wish to respond to it”. (Carbonell 2004)
  • Acceptance and Acknowledgement- accepting and acknowledging the panic attack. (Carbonell 2004)
  • Floating with the symptoms — allowing time to pass and floating with the symptoms rather than trying to make them better or fighting them. (Carbonell 2004)
  • Coping Statements — repeated as part of an internal monologue
    • “No one has ever died from an anxiety attack.”
    • “I will let my body do its thing. This will pass.”
    • “I can be anxious and still deal with this situation.”
    • “This does not feel great, but I can deal with it”.
    • “I am frightened of being frightened, therefore if I stop worrying about being frightened, then I have nothing to be scared of.”
  • Talking with a supportive person — someone who has experienced true panic attacks personally; someone who is highly trained in treating panic attacks; loved ones who can offer support and comfort.
  • One particularly helpful and effective form of therapy is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). This is the most generally accepted method of treatment.

I’ve been having panic attacks up the ass lately, and you know what? I don’t like it. I morph from rationality to batshit crazy bitch, and feel like I’m standing on the sidelines, hyperventilating. I had one so bad at work yesterday I almost packed my shit up and left despite deadlines.

They scare me. The absolute overriding panic scares the shit out of me, and I don’t know if these are starting in earnest because I’m letting some things out in my head I never really have before or what. But the fear-the need to escape, the feeling cornered, the tightness in my chest and the fire that crawls up from my belly into my face…I’ve had anxiety before, but it’s been more social and situational-don’t go out in crowds-I’ll be fine. Now, it rears it’s head the minute I do anything, especially if thinking is involved. And out comes the Ativan.

I can feel one building as I sit here typing this, full of it’s wrong thoughts and fears, instead of the strength I know I have to weather anything life can throw at me. I know I’m strong as shit-why doesn’t my brain? The panic sits lightly on my diaphragm, waiting. Frankly it can wait all it wants since I’ll take a pill to head it off anyway…

Maybe this really has been my issue for a very long time, despite the lithium. Underlying anxiety and panic, all the things I just don’t talk about since I’ll look crazy or paranoid and mean. The little worries that pile up and pile up, the fears I shouldn’t worry about, since rationally, will the world end? Will I need to save someone trapped under a bus? Doubtful.

So I’ll take more pills, weather this storm till I see my pdoc again, and hope that maybe this time I’m on the right train.

In the meantime, if you hear of any brain transplants, do let me know. Mine seems to serve no one properly.

“Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward.”

7 Sep

Somedays I look at my life and think back 10 or 15 years and think, how in the FUCK did I get here?

I stand outside my daughter’s room, fists clenched, anger holding tears hostage my voice raw and torn from the yelling, the yelling at a preschooler yelling

“Like this! I wanna hug like this!” (imagine if a hug is a kiss and the “this” is some obscure squeezing of the cheeks together)

While no matter how I do it, it’s not right, it’s not good enough and in my mind I see 4 years ago or so and a decision made not to drive to a certain clinic and I see a child born and a mother not caring rejecting that child and now that little girl, she does whatever she can to hold my attention, however bad and I can’t help but turn away in frustration and sometimes, like tonight, realize that I can fully grasp how some parents can seriously harm their children in anger, frustration and sheer agonizing tiredness, that mental weight that just never lets up.

Days like today I wonder how I let myself get here, how I deluded myself into being happy with motherhood, with being a parent. How anyone decided that I should be allowed to raise a child. Days like today I look around at everything, at the job that I seem to be letting through my fingers, at the life I seemed to have squandered and I discover that if I did indeed believe in a god, I’d be MIGHTY pissed off right now.

Days like today I’m ashamed to think of my daughters fearing my, of my oldest crying because I’ve said I wanted the other one dead, words flying from my mouth before I could reign them in, visions of 10 years from now, the guilt payments I’ll make, the quiet whisper of a thought that she’ll know I never really wanted her anyway.

I’ve said it, a few times, in writing. Never to her. Hopefully never to her. But it’s true, and maybe I’ll erase this post sometime later, but it’s true that she was not wanted and sometimes I wonder if we didn’t make a huge mistake, if I should have gotten on that bus anyway. Other days I love her and I’m fascinated by her, this girlchild with my legs and unruly hair, her Kathleen Turner voice and chocolate eyes she can draw me.

And perhaps there is some sick irony in my rejection of the child who is so very me.

So today I wonder how I got here, and why I got here. I am here, solidly here, but after having my nail job ruined for the umpteenth time by children, I wonder why I didn’t do more to slow down the getting here.

 

(and no, I am not actually going to sell or hurt my daughter…geez, give me SOME credit won’t ya?)

Guest Post 6: Expecting nothin of her, cause she was changin all the time.

6 Sep

Today’s Guest Post if from Jennifer, who blogs regularily at Spaghetti Harvest and teases me at Creative Wanderings. She is one of the people in my life who reminds me to always be the best wife and mother I can be, and that illness is never a good enough reason.

I am an only child of a woman with Paranoid Schizophrenia; she was given an official diagnosis when I was 13. She stayed on medication for about a year until she decided that she wasn’t the crazy one, and things went back to their usual insanity. That year still haunts me; it was full of glimpses of what could have been. I seriously wish she never went on medication.  

According to family lore, my mother has been “off” since she was a teenager. Further research on my part leads me to believe that she suffers from Borderline Personality disorder; a relatively new diagnosis that captures all those people who are not floridly ill, but are walking that fine line between “normalcy” and diagnosis.  

My family pretended that her illness didn’t exist. My father, who had left the marriage when I was 4 told me that fighting for custody of me in the 1970’s would have been futile. I still feel like he abandoned me and struggle with this in my relationship with him even now. I was left at the mercy of my own mother by all the other adults who knew she was nuts. I was her victim and the main player in her delusions, paranoid beliefs and dramatics. The scars I received from her from trying to take my life are visible on my skin, and on my soul.  

Much of my early life is one large drama with my major life events being coloured by her dramatics. Birthdays, holidays, school events, even my highschool graduation has been marked by her. Her sickness has made me who I am.  

As a child, I believed all families lived like we did. It wasn’t until I became a rebellious teenager, and ventured into the lives of friends and boyfriends that I discovered that families cared for and about one another, some families even took care of and loved their children! It was a novel concept that made me very angry and confused. Suicidal even. What was so unlovable about me? Why did my mother wish me dead? Why did she blame me for everything that went wrong in her life?  Why didn’t she act like the other moms?  

I further learned that families taught their children things, common sense kind of things like when to change your underwear, the awesome invention of deodorant, regularly brushing your teeth and your hair, bathing, good nutrition and social traditions.  

I learned about most of these things the hard way. Some I’m still learning about, and I’m 34. 

Social traditions are hard for me. I’m a social retard. I don’t *get* games. Not because I’m obtuse, but because I’ve never learned to play them. I don’t really know how to make and keep friends because I always overstep social boundaries or make an ass of myself in some way. Worse, I tend to lay my heart out to the wrong people for it to be stomped upon and shred to pieces. 

These are things that parents are supposed to teach their children. No really, they do. When you correct your child, teach them lessons, this is all building who they are. What happens though, when you’re absent in their lives?  
 

I’m still learning. I don’t know what to do at weddings, or when babies are born, or when someone dies or when someone compliments me. Did you know that traditions actually vary from one area of the country to another? Me either. So even when I try to be diligent, I still look like a dork when I have to ask what protocol is, which in turn makes me hesitant to ask. 

My biggest problem is changing the way I think. My mother was my role model. She was the most important person in my life. I learned from her. I looked to her to shape my view of the world, myself and those around me. Because her view of the world was distorted, twisted and wrong, I too developed this view. A person does not have to have a chemical imbalance to be mentally ill, it can be learned.  

Boy did I learn.  

It has taken me a degree in Psychology, many years of Psychotherapy, even more years of life experience and an unwavering (pain in the ass) husband to change my view of the world and myself. Wait, that’s wrong. I’m still learning. Even now, I slip back into the old habits, the old way of thinking and it takes a good kick in the arse by the husband to get me back on track.  

I have good days, and bad days. I’ve done a ton of anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications, all of them make me numb, I feel better but it doesn’t fix me.  I need to learn more. At some point I’ll get there. I don’t know when, but I know that I’ll get there. 

I can’t even really make a general list of how her being ill has affected my life; it colors every corner of my life. Not having a stable environment growing up, being neglected, emotionally, mentally and verbally abused has essentially shaped me into who I am today. Part of me realizes that the experiences I have had, HAVE shaped who I am and I should be proud. But on the other hand, I have a hard time even knowing who I am from day to day. I’m still discovering who I am. It’s like now that I’ve grown up, I can finally start to grow.

Guest Post 4: Acceptance is the first step

28 Aug

Today’s guest post is from Leanne. I remember first meeting Leanne on Blogging Baby, a place I began to affectionately refer to as “Troll Heaven”. She stood out for her passionate defense of mothers and natural childbirth, as well as good ole common sense. I also met Karrie, and Eden and Jen and others there, so I guess it wasn’t that bad.

 

 

It sounds weird to say “I have depression.” It’s like saying I have a hangnail; it’s just an annoyance, a fact of existence. I also have flat hair and stretch marks, pelvic floor damage and fallen arches.

I’m not depressed. Well, not today. Much of the time I feel what I think is normal: content, interested in the world, grateful for my family, satisfied with this or that accomplishment.

The other times, I feel an over-arching sense of foreboding, like I’ve done something very wrong. I feel pissed off at my children for not being more compliant, at my husband for not being more in tune with the needs of our home life, at myself for being a failure. I’m impatient and unkind.

In these moments I rage, I yell, I say nasty things and swear a lot. I hold grudges and pull away from the world, hoping that all my problems and stresses will go away if only I hide well enough.

My poor kids. My poor husband.

I should go see someone, shouldn’t I? It’s not really normal to feel like that, is it? I feel like my barometer for judging whether or not I’m *really* depressed is damaged. Between my emotionally abusive parents (my father helpfully pointed out he reason why my first love broke up with me, when I was 16, was because I was a bitch. Thanks Dad! Love you, asshole!) and 8 years of mental abuse by the Catholic church (those feelings you are having are wrong and if you don’t repent you will go to Hell!), I feel like I’m just a burden, that I should just get over myself and stop navel gazing. My needs are no priority of anyone’s. My emotional reality merely a nuisance to everyone, including myself.

So, I should see someone, right? But, I have these two children to look after. I don’t have time to go to the doctor and then have her recommend me to a specialist and then wait for a specialist appointment and then go to the specialist and tell my story *again*. What a hassle!

There is a women’s mental health clinic I could self refer to, but that’s for women with *real* problems. I don’t want to kill myself. OK, I don’t *really* want to kill myself. Sure, sometimes I fantasize about not existing, but that doesn’t make me suicidal, right? I mean, I’d never leave my children. I’d never leave my husband. I’d never actually cause myself any kind of actual pain or harm. I’m too much of a wimp to do that (which, as an aside, is kinda funny, because I can totally have multiple non-medicated births which is torture level pain that goes on for half a day, but the idea of taking a knife to my wrists or taking pills that would make me cramp fills me with horror!).

I don’t have the kind of problems that require intervention and therapy. But, then there are those days when I am sobbing to my husband that I can no longer cope. There are those days when I am so shrill with my children I can see how my behaviour has shaped theirs. There is that shame I walk around with that I have become my mother.

Oh sure, I don’t hide in bed all day like she did, unable to face her responsibilities, her life. But I yell like her. I’m fat like her. I’m in my pyjamas most of the day, like her. And, if I don’t stop this bullshit now and heal myself, heal my family, my son will grow up to be just like me. My husband will stop caring just like my dad. I will feel miserable for most of my life.

And yet, I just keep trudging along, never really moving forward. Able to understand the entire situation in an intellectual way, but shackled emotionally so that I never improve, never get help.

I shouldn’t be living like this, should I?

Leanne is the mother of two, husband of one, doula to many and writes on The Clever Mom (www.theclevermom.com), Momcast (momcast.blogspot.com) and Vegetarian Moms (vegetarianmoms.wordpress.com).

She is almost ready to treat her depression.

Guest Post 3: C

26 Aug

Marcela is someone else I stumbled upon-not quite sure how, or where. I was immediately entranced by her certainties-her devotion to her family, to her children and to herself. Married to a soldier, she herself has soldiered on while he has been away, and has been nothing but a positive and inspiring role model to me, reminding me to look for the silver in the midst of all the fog.

Marcela blogs at The Sushi Chronicles, and is a breath of fresh air in my feeds most days. Thank you my friend, for being brave enough to share this with all of us.

 (and I apologize for the formatting. It will NOT do what I tell it to!)

This is not easy for me to put in paper.
It’s not easy for me to speak about it, much less to put it in paper.
C was born a few years before I was, to the woman closest to my mother. My mother and her mother literally shared their lives with each other, never living further away than a few miles.  They knew each other so well that at times one folded into the other, while being opposites in so many ways.

In many ways, C was my parents child as much as she was her mother’s.  Years later my brother was born, and a year after that it was my turn. Both my brother and myself came fast, one after the other to end the “single-childness” of C in our communal family. She went from being doted on exclusively by 6-7 adults to having to share them all and share her mother and my mother with my brother and myself. She did not like it. 
As we grew up, I always looked up to her, but now looking back to our childhood pictures, I know she was not fond of us being dressed in similar dresses and me following her as her shadow.   I so wanted her as my sister, she always searching to be without us.   So my brother and I would play together, with hot-wheels and other boy toys and whenever I needed a girl-toy fix I would play alone or with school friends, as C would not ever join me. 
I so longed for her attention, and felt very rejected for her.   Then I learned to leave her alone.   She only joined when she wanted, and the game had to be under her rules, otherwise it would end.  Then came the one day the three of us were playing together and C decided I’d be the mother and she’d be my daughter. I was 5.   I have a sketch in my mind of how things happened, but what I know for sure is that she leaned on my shoulders and I could not hold her weight so I bent forward and hit my face against the glass corner of my father’s desk.   Blood started gushing out as my brow had opened about an inch and half.   I remember my brother and C trying to stop the blood with kleenex and telling me not to make noise.  Which of course prompted the mothers to come and they were not happy with what they found. 
That was the very last time we officially played together. I needed a good number of stitches and to this day have the trace of that accident visible on my face.
C would share my room for nights or weeks and sometimes months, and then it would be just me again in that bedroom.   Cycles of that coming and going.She was raised as one of us, went on vacations with us, attended the same schools, went to the same extracurriculars. Yet, she always stayed at a distance from us.  She was there with us, but never really joined us.
Growing up, I just thought she was not a social person.  I believe that’s what I told myself to reason why C would not hang around with me, even as we were getting to our teens. It was always hard to have a conversation with her. If you didn’t agree on her points, she’d get angry and so many times raise her voice which in my family was a big no-no. My parents tried to steer her away from that, but one way or the other, she was always ready to yell and scream.
When she was 16, something happened. I don’t know what as I only overheard pieces of conversation.  I know she had some sort of “nervous breakdown” and was taken away to El Paso.    In our small Mexican City, you simply did not deal with “nervous breakdowns” where everyone would hear of them. I got to see her about a week later, she looked frail and pale,  sitting at a hospital bed.  She was happily talking to my mother when we got into the room. She quieted down as she saw us, she did not seem happy that we were there. That broke my heart yet a little more.
After that we had a parade of doctor’s visits, all of them in Texas. I was not sure what was all the testing going on, but I knew my brothers and I had to wait endless hours at the reception areas, upon me to entertain my little brother in the “surrogate mothering” role I had assumed with him.  After that, I can tell you of countless episodes, medications and doctors she went through. 

I only once heard the official diagnosis: manic-depressive schizophrenia.
 
Her mother and my mother then sort of molded into one, trying to nurture her into health. My brothers and I felt displaced as the priority was C, her peace, her joy, her stability… none of which came, with cycles of euphoria and success and severe depression, hallucinations, paranoia and violence. It was very difficult for me to deal with what was going on. On her good days, it seemed to me that everything was an act she’d put up to get the attention, on her bad days I was filled with remorse for doubting her being ill and trying to be invisible so as not to be the target of her rage.  

 
My mother loved C as her own, and both her and my father tried everything they could to help her, and to some degree their own children were put aside. I did not understand then, but my mother did explain it to me later on: as a mother you protect, and sometimes over-protect, that child you regard as the weakest.    In our family that was C.  The rest of us, while never neglected, were paid attention in a very different way.
For a long time I was angry at my mother, thinking that she preferred C to me. During those late teen years  we argued a lot, the most heated arguments always involving C in some way. 

Her stays at my house were more sparse, yet when she did stay over it would be weeks at a time which made for a very uncomfortable situation for me, as I’d go back and forth from having my own room to sharing with someone that I felt did not like me or wanted to be with me.

We all grew, went to college… we all graduated and started working. C’s episodes of anger and violence were fewer, but then she decided she was well and dropped her medication altogether. It was not long before she had a severe breakdown and ended up in a hospital and then at my house for almost a year.That was a very difficult year, as she was very unstable and would go from laughing to crying, from hugging you to hitting you.   

It was very stressful for everyone. I can remember lots of incidents, but the one that truly stands out was the one that broke me away from her for good. She was mad for some reason, started yelling at everyone, my older brother, my mother and myself at the house with her in that moment. My mother trying to calm her down, her getting more and more aggravated. All of a sudden she went straight to my mother and was about to hit her, I got in between them protecting my mother and she hit me with all the anger and frustration in her body. I just took it while my brother tried to restrain her. She scratched my arms, my face, gave me lots of bruises.   I just stood there between my mother and her praying for it all to end.  

My brother finally overpowered her and then it was all silence. My mother crying. C crying. My brother talking her to peace.  I just was in silence. I decided that I had enough. I did not understand.I could not and did not wish to even try anymore.
I stopped talking to her. She tried to apologize, but I knew it was a matter of time till her rage would surface again and her apology would not mean anything yet once again.   
I’m not proud to say that after that I was mean to her many times not through something I did but through what I did not. I would not acknowledge her in the room, even when she slept in the bed next to mine.   I would not respond to her words, I would not hold eye contact with her. I knew then it was hurting her, but I wanted to hurt her and in my mind that was the only way to avoid ever being hit or yelled at by her again.

 
Cycles of happiness and turmoil came and went, just like it had always been with her… My mother and I broke the line separating mother and daughter and became friends, best friends.  I was 23, and from then on my mother was my confidante and I was hers.  
And then I heard my mother’s side of the story. 
My mother explained to me as an adult what had gone on all those years, and all the pieces came together and made sense, I had finally a complete image of what had gone on.    We always wondered if this illness had been part of her always or just after a certain time in her life, we could never come to an answer.    I’m ashamed to say that it did not change my attitude towards C.   I did become more civil, but I kept my distance as much as I could, always expecting her to hurt me.
I started traveling a lot, moved to a different city, and felt like I was leaving all that behind, yet one phone call home would bring all the pain to the surface upon hearing that she was in a down again… it took her a third hospital stay to convince herself that she could not be playing with her life like that.   She finally committed to following to her treatment and looking for stability.
I got married and so did my brother.   My little brother graduated from college and C was in a stable job.  We all seemed to have grown past it all. Yet I could not forgive her. I would not let go of all that between us.
It took me giving birth to my daughter to finally understand what my mother and her mother had done.  It took seeing my infant child so defenseless to put myself in my mother’s and in C’s shoes. It took becoming a mother myself to let go of the pain and confusion, and I knew then that all my parents and her mother had done was just trying their best to help her, and that her yelling, crying and all that violence was a cry for help and love. 
I felt ashamed of myself. And still do to this day. 
C and I now have a good relationship, the kind of relationship I always wanted from her.  It’s such a shame that now I live so very far away.  I talk to her as often as I talk to my father, and sometimes more than to my brothers…  she is at peace, takes her medication without missing a single dose, she’s happy at her job and has some good friends.   
I have to admit here that I don’t talk about this with anyone.   not even with my husband.   He loves C, always has and I’m afraid that if I mention anything to him he’ll love her less or see her with different eyes.  And although I keep silence about C’s specific history somehow protecting her, I do talk to people about mental illnesses, I read as much as I can, and try to steer others into learning, into understanding… that is the only way to truly help.

Guest Post One: To Be a Self

24 Aug

I originally found Marcy via the Tag Surfer if I’m not mistaken-finally finding someone else tagging their posts PPD. While on the outside we don’t have much in common-(she’s a talented musician, seamstress, worshipper, wife and mother, I barely fitting any of those categories :) ) we share one thing-a quest, a thirst to be as we were, to be people who can just act and react as the majority of the world does.

Marcy has gifted us the following entry.

 

 

I dreamed once, many years ago, that I was a mental patient. At the time I’d never had that experience.

I was trying to escape the ward — I wanted to go “back to Africa,” which I think represented a quest, some kind of self-searching thing, freedom of development and discovery or something like that. (I’d been in Africa one summer, and it was an important experience in my life.) I was running but it was like running in a pool — too slow, not enough momentum, even kicking off from walls didn’t help. The doors slid shut just before I reached them, and the chasing orderlies got me.

I went limp, sobbing but quietly, I think. They dragged / carried me back to the tv room where other patients were limply munching popcorn and watching some program. The orderlies explained to the other patients that I was upset about the color of the Jell-O. In other words, explained my upset as trivial, meaningless, over-dramatic, ridiculous, hyper-sensitive.

A year and a half ago I became a mental patient. They only let me stay for two days, and the intake interviewer was hostile, but otherwise my experience in the hospital was good. I was one of two patients there for postpartum depression and anxiety. My baby had been born just a week and a half before, home just a week.

I have had forms of depression and anxiety as far back as maybe third grade or further. I still functioned fairly well in a lot of ways. At some of the worst times I’ve sought help, from pastors (pretty ineffective in my case) and finally a professional therapist (probably would never have gone if the referral hadn’t come from a pastor’s assistant I respect and who respects me).

The Africa dream illustrates how I go through these cycles, where there is something I feel is really important to me, but I am hindered in pursuing and reaching it, and at some point I rather suddenly give up, resigned but hopeless. My fear in going into therapy was that I would be (again, still) made to conform to society’s expectations, take care of other people’s needs and not encroach myself on them, and continue to function at a high level. Nothing on the inside of me — nothing important to me — would matter, unless it needed to be changed or destroyed for the sake of better functioning — in other words, for the sake of others.

A few months ago, I was in the garage late at night, yelling at God, feeling just about every basic negative emotion intensely and simultaneously.

I had weaned off the PPD drugs a few months before, and my depressive and anxious symptoms started becoming problematic again — really hindering my functioning, particularly as a mother and wife and friend. I’d tentatively discussed returning to therapy, but it didn’t seem possible financially or absolutely necessary. I tried to manage, but reached low enough that I had to push again to get what I needed.

I couldn’t get a local therapy appointment that day, so I went to my family doctor and at least got back on Zoloft, half the dose I’d been on, and got some Ativan to deal with the long waiting for the Zoloft to start working. I was excited. I had a therapy interview lined up for the following week, I had drugs to take, it would all be fine again.

But after I took the first Ativan that evening, I didn’t feel any positive effect. My reaction escalated until the garage incident, which led to a nurse line call (could it be a reaction against the Ativan? Maybe, but call your doctor), then to the doctor call (No, it can’t be that. If it continues this bad, go to the ER), then to the ER, and finally to sleep at 3 am.

I think the next day I wondered what that was all about.

Another cycle — another tentative push growing more and more intense and desperate but also more fearful of what I might destroy by pushing — and another relapse into apparently normal life.

I was thinking about the garage incident the other night, and about how bewildered I can get trying to separate truth from falsehood, me from my issues, meaningful and important thoughts and ones that can safely be dismissed, and so on. It is terrifying sometimes — to others it doubtless seems so much abstract over thinking, but it doesn’t feel like that to me — to me it feels like figuring all this out is a matter of life or death.

The essence of my mental health struggle is trying to learn what it means to be a self — what I am allowed to be and do, what is healthy, who the essential me is, what I actually want and whether I want it enough to pursue it through opposition, whether anything I think is important really is or if I am really just trivial and ridiculous — how to love me — but without destroying anyone else, or even encroaching too far on anyone else’s needs — and, on the flip side, to learn to love others well without destroying myself.

And in the midst of all that, to stop warring against reality — the reality that I am this hurt despite no one (or very few people) actively trying to harm me, the reality that I can’t completely avoid hurting others or being hurt, the reality that I have all these thoughts and feelings and get so confused and scared and angry and depressed, and so on and so on. Learning that radical acceptance doesn’t mean condoning or excusing what has happened, just accepting that it has.

And, above all, to understand what God is really all about, and what he thinks about all this therapy and self-exploration and all that, what he requires of me, what he offers me, what he allows me, and even what he might be saying to me.

Marcy blogs about her adorable daughter and life at Becoming Three.

I owe it all to something beige.

15 Aug
The machine that saved my liver, and likely my life.
The machine that saved my liver, and likely my life.

 On a Monday  I attempted to take my own life, for reasons that had very little to do with living. Reason thankfully prevailed, and I found myself in the ER.

The great thing about suicide attempts, likely the only thing is that you do not wait. AT ALL. Those are magic words my friends, and you can feel everyone growling at you in the waiting room. You are whisked away into the back, never to be seen again. Quickly surrounded by very concerned and hurried nurses and doctors, all of whom had that look on their face I’ve seen a few times before.

I don’t much care for that serious look from medical staff. While it means I won’t be waiting, it also means I might be dying.

I’d seen it before-bleeding out after birth, the nurses would get that pinched look, the worried, no small talk or friendly sarcastic banter look. The stern questions and answers. Red cheeks.

They scurried around me questioning questioning when did you take them? How many? How many? When? What do you weight? How many?

Your liver. The stern lecture about my poor, unfortunate liver. (Apparently, Tylenol and your liver are not BFF’s. Apparently they are more like, say, Yoko vs the Beatles.) I heard this lecture a few times. I appreciate it. But at the time, I didn’t much care.

It was easy to be flippant at first, as they missed the vein, somehow on my arms that cause most nurses to drool. As they reassured me that this kind of thing happens, that no, I wasn’t a fucking idiot, and yes, I’d be fine. They heard me when I said I didn’t want to die.

They handed me that first cursed cup of charcoal, that horrid, disgusting singular reason to never EVER do that again. As I was drinking it I could feel my neck getting rubbery, my body detached and light. They started the IV up, gravol and whatever they were giving to neutralize the tylenol’s affect on my liver. Dizzy, swimming in dizzy.

I was awake, yet felt asleep. I managed to finish the charcoal, only to be given another cup with the admonishment to not let it settle. It took much longer to finish that one, as I’d find myself almost paralyzed, lying against the flat pillow, staring without seeing the nurses in front of me, as the odd smell of cupcakes wafted past me continually.

A man came in, followed by corrections officers. They moved me out of the ER and into Acute care, telling me I’d be just fine. I remember, vaguely, passing out.

And waking with a start an hour or so later with the most intense urge to completely rid myself of my stomach.

If you ever plan to try and kill yourself, and you use pills, don’t. If I thought the charcoal was bad going down, I was very misinformed as to how it would feel coming up. I felt like some kind of demon wrestling with her conscience as it spewed across the floor, tearing my throat apart. It was, simply awful.

I made it over to the bathroom after that, managing to flush in time to get the rest of it out. Decorating the walls, floor, myself even the seat with black specs. Which were there for hours after I noticed.

Back to bed. Collapse. Sporadic checks by changing nurses.

Wake up 6 hours later faced with the sweetest LOOKING mental health nurse who turned out to BE Satan. I’m glad I wasn’t actually suicidal, because she was hateful and passive aggressive. How does the bipolar woman who just ate a fistful of drugs tell the nurse that it had nothing to do with bipolar, not really?

She doesn’t. She plays the part, and waits for the awful woman to go away.

No one talks to me for hours after this, except the sainted soul who brings trays of food full of, well, stuff I can’t eat. I’m not suffering through the agony of eating eggs in public no matter how hungry I am.

I beg two on-call docs to go home. They point to the IV and remind me what it’s doing, and that it takes about 20 hours. AND I need to see my pdoc.

My shrink shows up, finally. Ironically enough, I had an appointment with her that day anyway. She gives me the look I’m very much used to now, the “no matter how old you are, you’re still a foolish child” look. I shrug. I explain things as much as I can. I repeatedly tell her I’m not actually depressed, just a moron, and it won’t happen again. I refuse to spend another night-on night and day in Acute Care was really bad enough, and by this point, I felt bad that I was taking up the bed. She glared. I glared. I won.

I watched that fucking IV like a hawk. The two books I brought with me weren’t exactly suitable subject matter and I had finished them, and was left listening to the teenage boys next to me talk about anal sex, pro (“I just popped it in there and surprised her! snurt!”) and con (“dude, that’s TOTALLY an exit man“) before their mother came back from some heart test to demand someone do something for something they hadn’t figured out. Very meta.

Once that IV ended, I bored a hole in the head of any nurse until mine finally came and released me. One more blood draw and I was free.

And then I was.

**************************************

This is flippant, sarcastic and likely sounding a little bitchy. I know it shouldn’t. I know I should have something deeper to say about nearly dying, about dancing that tedious line for the second time in my life, for willingly trying to end my own life, destroy myself.

That’s the problem. I don’t have anything deep. I didn’t emerge into the cloudy day thinking I’d start over, I’d be a better person. Frankly, the only thing on my mind was how fucking stupid I was, and how close I had been to seriously harming myself. I could have died. An hour later, two hours, maybe if I had fallen asleep instead of stared at a picture of my daughters, I would be dead, my ashes perhaps now floating into your eyes. All I could do was curse at myself and remind myself that I was a fool, and nearly a dead one.

I know that isn’t very melodramatic or interesting. But it’s the truth. It was a turning point for me, a bitchslap in the head, a hand around my throat, a reminder.

I want to live. I want to LIVE!

I want to raise my daughters into women. I want to love my family. I want to produce magical art. I want to be someone worth knowing. I want to be alive.

I’ve never known that feeling clearly before. So used to the feeling that I was just there, a thing, with no purpose and charge. Not that I feel possessed by purpose or anything, but I have a clearer understanding of how fragile the line between here and not here is.

It’s not very wide. If it was a fence, it would be chain link, porous and easily circumnavigated. Think of string, floss even. It’s that brittle. I felt my fingers pushing that boundary, for the second time in my life, probing it, thinking about it.

I’m curious you know, but not THAT curious.

Facing it wasn’t scary. It wasn’t weird. It just was. I’ve come out of it curiously unaffected because it only reinforced what I believe-that dying is merely part of living, and nothing more.

But I’m not ready, not just yet. It can wait awhile still.

Paranoid Bipolar

1 Aug

They hate me.

They snicker and sneer behind my back. They can’t stand me. I’m too loud. Too fat. Too lazy. They think I’m wasteful, slothful, devious and mean. They wonder what I do all day. I will be fired, any moment. They tolerate me.

I stumble away from work, walk to the bus. Those people driving by are disgusted, staring at my fat, my face. I wait for the honk, the yell, the throw. The bus driver snickers when I get on the bus, as it moves with me. No one sits with me because I revolt them.

I come home, fight with all this to trust and love my husband, my kids. I fight these voices in my home, repeating silently that I am worthy of love, that he won’t destroy me, that I’m not wrong to love, that nothing will go wrong.

In my head I list them. He could die. He could fall for someone else. One of the kids could get sick. They could get lost. Snatched. Raped. Murdered. The house could burn down, the roof collapse, one of us could get TB, the bloating and the breathing could be ovarian cancer and I don’t have a will. The water-too much fluoride, too much chlorine. The things that could happen-Russia could use it’s nuclear weapons, Iran could attack, we’re much too close to the US for me to not worry-how would I survive with two kids through a nuclear winter with roving gangs-let these things not happen til they are very very older and able to understand why we scavenge for roots and things.

whew.

**********************************

When I was first diagnosed Bipolar, there were a few things I didn’t really “get”:

  • That I was anxious. I never connected the inability to go out in public, meet people inside clubs or meet new people period as a bad thing. This anxiety grew slowly through a few years, and really didn’t bother me much until the last few years before diagnosis. Then came the clarity of Lithium, and my horror at being so accustomed to being trapped within myself. Going out, even if just to a movie, without the resulting panic, is a sweet thing.
  • That I DID experience mania: I, like many other people, had this vision of mania/hypo-mania to be a crazy fun time-that if I was manic to any degree I would be happy. Since that never happened, I never truly considered bipolar. Until I read about Dysphoric Mania (or mixed states). Shortly before being hospitalized, I was blowing up into these terrific rages involving broken dishes and walls, where I’d hardly remember what had happened. I remember distinctly having to walk slowly away from my husband, my urge to HURTPAINBADNOW was so strong. That scared the hell out of me. But I didn’t believe any of this was mania. Mania was fun! Giggles and poops! I know better now, and realize that my brand of bipolar rarely errs on the side of fun. I might have 2-4 weeks of productive happy horny hypo-mania in a year.
  • That I’m paranoid. That I can be paranoid. I always assumed my paranoia was a natural outgrowth of events in my childhood. But as it gets worse for me, I realize it’s instead part of this disease. Doesn’t give me permission to let it win. But it lets me realize that I am indeed paranoid because of the kink in my brain.

Here’s the rub. When you’re paranoid, you don’t know what is legitimate, and what’s delusional. You actually feel NUTS instead of just ill. You don’t know if someone IS out to get you, or if you just think they are. It’s fucking annoying actually, and it’s messing with my bullshit meter.

I think. Or maybe the BS meter is right on target.

But I can’t tell.

Paranoia is like trying to walk on Jello. You know there’s a floor there somewhere, but everything under your feet has decided to be difficult, toddler like. You can’t truly explain any of it to someone because they’ll just give you “that” look, like the one I get about hating olives or wet wool. I can’t truly to talk to anyone about the delusions in my head. The constant weight of thought.

When I was pregnant with Vivian, I was completely convinced that someone was going to break into the house while I was home alone, so I refused to turn a fan on, and often stayed awake until Mogo got home. In hindsight, I should have thought a little harder about that. I have those thoughts a lot again now, with the saving grace that I’m never home alone. But I worry.

And I’m quiet.

Likely I should be louder about it. I tell my doctor, but she’s usually of a mind to leave things be until they are really intrusive. (and besides, after getting a long lecture about narrowly avoiding kidney failure when I put my lithium dose up by myself, I’m trying to be good) She doesn’t seem concerned about all this, and frankly, I’d like to avoid the anti-psychotics again, especially since I’m extremely sensitive to them. But this feels like it’s becoming a problem. I’m even turning away from the internet because I start thinking those same stupid bad thoughts that I do of people in real life. I thought you were all immune.

So yeah-Bipolar and Paranoia go hand in hand like me and slushies. Who knew.

More than the sum of her womb.

28 Jul

You know what I’m sick of.

I’m sick of this shit.

Bitch, where’s your kids? Here’s Britney Spears hard at work on a plan to get custody of her kids back

. Her plan so far involves some pool lounging and flirting with anonymous dudes.

But we know Britney. We can see the gears sparking and grinding in her head. It smells like beef jerky. That’s how you know Britney’s plotting something.

 

Yes, Britney surrendered custody of her children to their father. Yes, she’s had various problems in the last little while. We know.

What drives me nuts each time I open my feed reader are posts that basically stand back and point a “HOLY SHIT DUDES! HORRIBLE MOTHER AHEAD!!!!!” finger at her, which numerous male stars walk out on their children, likely every day. And it’s everywhere-how dare someone with a working womb and vagina give up her kids, maybe to get better, or maybe because, like men all over the world, she can’t handle having them all the time.

This constant assumption of the sainted perfect mother who can’t be separated from her kids-this drives post partum depression, this drives women who work 60 hour work weeks and yet still make the cookies for playschool. It drives women not being able to make the reasonable decisions regarding their children because only bad monster mommies leave their kids. Only evil mommies dare act like men. How on earth could the womb that bore them walk away so easily?

To which I ask, how on each can the ejaculator who created them walk away so easily?

It’s so pervasive, so easy to think “Geez, what a cooze, leaving her kids and going sunbathing.” It’s so easy to judge, so easy to believe she’s a bad mother for leaving instead of a good mother for removing herself in order to get better for them. I could be wrong. She could be a brainless idiot who created a mental illness to rid herself of two children she didn’t want.

Somehow I doubt it.

It’s easy though isn’t it, to point at a woman in a way that we wouldn’t dream of pointing at a man-how many have children in or out of relationships, and all they’ve done is throw money at them? I’m sure you’re all counting right now.

What I expel from my uterus does not make me sacred, or special, or holier. It makes me a mother, as it makes the father a father. He is not blessed with special properties-hell, if he takes custody, he’s some sort of sacrificial cow, gazed at adoringly as a perfect piece of man. The woman-not so lucky, as she is selfish enough to not want her pwecious bebes. 

I don’t want my daughters to grow up in this world-in a world where every tabloid sings the lusty sins, perceived or real, of 15 year old girls, where your gender casts you out in specific ways, where the “good kid” doesn’t always win. I want a world with real freedom for women, not viral campaigns against something written on shitty underwear at K-Mart or pissing matches on the internet.

I want us ALL to have the freedom to walk away if need be. Just like our men do.

Our kids are normal. Really.

13 Jul

So this weekend we descended on Hannah’s household.

I’m fairly sure of two things. 1, if they were unsure about stopping at 2 kids, they’re REAL sure now and 2, they have Nova Scotia on high alert for when we enter the province.

My children don’t socialize much. Like, at all. And they certainly don’t get to play with cute little boys who like Cars and trains. And they NEVER get to have sleepovers.

In a nutshell, my children were on their Rambo setting-loud, overpowering and smelly. And I could see the look in the eyes of two parents who already don’t sleep much.

“Dear lord, what have we let into our house.”

I know that my kids are fairly intense little creatures. They play hard, and push push push. As someone trying to raise women who won’t take any shit, I likely encourage that a fair bit. And they aren’t usually around other children or parents. I don’t usually have to worry about moderating things. Nor do I realize what little shits they can be until I step back and look through the eyes of other parents.

But after the 3rd time of someone having to yell after my monkey child to stop her from leaping 8 feet, you realize that your desire to raise a free spirited willful woman may be working a little better than planned. When the little boy comes out crying because Vivian has ordered him out of his own room and into the kitchen, you realize that you don’t really have much to worry about, aside from a vague worry about something like the Jonestown Massacre occurring under the hands of one of my children.

New situations tend to bring out the most frenetic and crazed behaviour in my children. Some kids get shy. Mine ask “Are we going to meet Hannah Montana?” They are genuinely loving, caring, curious little girls.

They are also, many times, irritating, yappy, ulcer inducing little monsters.

I love them either way, it’s just a lot to take suddenly, especially if the cute ball of a baby is coughing and unhappy and wanting take out constantly.

Hannah? Next time, you guys come here so Issac can seek and destroy in their room. :)

Photo taken by H.R.H of the Camera, SweetSalty Kate who dropped by in the morning…anyone who doesn’t think I’m in for it in about 10 years is blind or crazy.

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