- I am grateful for the friendships I’ve made on WP. It means so much to me to be a part of a supportive community as I tell my story and to share the joys and struggles along with other people all around the world as I hear your stories.
- Today when I woke up, the sun was shining for the first time in a week. It still is cold out with no foreseeable end in sight…but for now the rain and snow ended.
- We’ve had a couple of fires inside this week to stay warm. I guess that’s one thing I’m grateful for with the cold weather. I miss having fires inside in the summer.
- My tattoo is healing nicely.
- My best friend and I went out to eat for the first time this calendar year. I’m grateful to have a best friend who always checks in on me.
- I went out to eat with my brother Matt for his birthday. A couple weeks back I found a record for him at the antique store of Close Encounters of the Third Kind. My brother was obsessed with that movie when we were kids, so I was excited to find it for him.
- My husband made his famous homemade pizza and we had Arabella and Will over for supper and Mahjong.
- Paul and I had a date night on Friday night. We went out for sushi and had tickets to see a comedian. We did a lot of laughing, probably too much laughing because things were going too good. After the show, we walked back to my car. The winds were whipping rather fiercely and the snow was falling. We got back to my car and noticed I had a flat tire. We also found out that I do not have a spare tire. Seriously?? Why? Was it because I let my guard down and was having too much fun??
- Thank God I have a good sense of humor.
- While we were at the sushi restaurant, I saw something on TV about a store that sells records and realized we were only a block away. So…since we went out to eat really early as not to miss the show, we had some extra time…I ended up buying three new records; Pink Floyd’s The Wall, Prince’s Purple Rain, and Kraftwerk’s Radioactivity.
- Last night Angel and our employee James (the only one who still works for our previous business and who does some work for us now) came over for beer sampling, pizza, and to watch the Bucks game. James is the only employee who worked for us that we are still in touch with. He is pretty much an honorary family member now.
- Angel’s fiancé Dan came home very early this morning after spending a couple weeks out of state for work.
- It was nice to have a really busy week so I could forget how miserable the weather is. Spring is coming, I know it is…
As a parent of a teenager with significant mental health challenges, I am extremely frustrated right now. As you may remember, last week I mentioned that my daughter just got home after her fifth inpatient stay at the psych ward. She was given 5 different psychiatric medications and was sent on her way. This week she had a follow up appointment with her regular doctor who refused to fill some of her medications. I am so beyond frustrated right now.
Her doctor said she wouldn’t fill her ADHD medication because she wanted proof my daughter has ADHD before prescribing. I don’t really have a problem with that although she was diagnosed with ADHD at residential and the medicine they gave her for it really helped her. No one is on the same page or takes the time to get to know her. I am all for doing a psych eval for diagnostic purposes. So far she has been ‘diagnosed’ with 9 different mental health conditions by multiple providers. I know she doesn’t have all the things she has been ‘diagnosed’ with. How hard is it to actually test her so there is no question what she is struggling with so she can have the proper treatment??
She also couldn’t get her prescription for a mood stabilizer. There have been three medications I felt helped my daughter, one is the ADHD medicine and the other is the mood stabilizer they prescribed in the hospital that the doctor refuses to fill. There is one more mood stabilizer that helped which causes weight gain. My daughter also is a binge eater and is considered obese, so although it did help I don’t want her on it.
So we are back to square one. She is not on any of the medications that have historically worked for her. Everyone keeps yanking around her meds. No one can agree on what needs treating and no one is doing the testing that would point to treatment options. Arabella did have a psychiatrist for 5 months. I really liked him and thought he was spot on. But then he dropped the bomb on me by saying he thought she has borderline and schizoaffective with bipolar II. Then he abruptly retired and she has not been able to see an outpatient psychiatrist since. She dropped her regular doctor and psychiatric nurse after she thought I turned them against her.
Now Arabella is splitting with her therapist and her therapist does not want to see her anymore. She really liked this therapist until she didn’t anymore. This was her sixth therapist not counting the inpatient, outpatient, and residential therapists. I want to get involved in her care, but last time it didn’t work out well for either one of us.
I think the system is broken. Part of it is my daughter’s fault for doctor and therapist hopping, although it is not unusual for someone with her mental health struggles. But it is so hard to find someone who will take the time to listen and manage her care. I told her she needs to be forceful about getting the help and medications she needs because her life depends on it.
How hard can it be? It isn’t like this for a medical condition. Oh, you have cancer. Nah, we don’t really need to know where or how bad it is. Here just take these pills and come back in 6 months. Oh, then you probably don’t have cancer, you probably have high blood pressure. Just try these pills instead. We aren’t going to give you the pills that worked in the past because we don’t think you are feeling sick but we are not going to test you. What is your billing address again? Next!
Arabella has an appointment to see a new psychiatrist in July. By then it will be a year and a half since her previous doctor retired. I never would have guessed how difficult it is to get good mental health treatment when you need it. I feel really stuck now in what I can do to help her. The best I can do right now is to encourage her to advocate for her own care. I’m afraid if I help her again and she goes back to hating me again, she will drop her whole care team like she did before.
But most of all, I feel frustrated with the broken system. You can’t help people if you only spent 10 minutes with them before moving on to the next patient.
Today is the fourth dreary and rainy (or some form of precipitation) day in a row. I’m feeling it to the deepest part of my core; the cold, the dark, being locked inside not able to get out and find the light. There is so much trouble in the world, so much trouble in the people that surround me. It never seems to end. It is heavy, denser than the fog.
Yesterday Paul and I stopped at my parent’s house before going out to eat with Matt for his birthday. It is something I have to prepare myself for like wearing a winter coat on a cold day even if it looks like it could be sunny and warm. I will be triggered. It will be hard. Sometimes I ask Arabella what it is like living with my parents. From the sounds of it, not much has changed. My dad roams the house in his underwear. My mom cleans up his messes.
Then there is Matt. Matt can not do complex tasks like washing the dishes, but he can do simple tasks. When Matt is home, my dad has Matt wait on him hand and foot. Matt go get me a cookie. Matt get me some water. Matt hand me my remote. My mom tells my dad that Matt is not his servant. Then mom gives Matt permission to wait on my dad to feel like she is in control. I don’t miss the games, the power struggle between my parents.
The visit home was uncomfortable. Paul said he really doesn’t want to go back again. I don’t either. My parents complain Arabella is messy. She is, yet they fail to notice the own mess they live in. My mom wants Arabella to leave, even if it means moving to an apartment with a boyfriend she has been dating a few months. Before my dad’s crime, my mom would’ve been aghast to the idea. But now there aren’t any morals anymore.
They are all hard to live with. But what’s even harder is to see some of their very own struggles manifested within my children.
That’s one thing we never thought of before having kids. I just looked at the autism in my brother; the violence, the voices in his head telling him to hurt someone. Maybe we didn’t examine our parents enough; their relationships, their modeling, their own mental health. Then add a random bio dad to the smorgasbord of genetic maelstrom. All I can say, as if it’s any consolation, at least what we are seeing passed down is not entirely foreign to us.
It is sad. Sometimes I feel like crying with the rain as it pours down.
One of the most important things I’ve learned over the last couple of years is acceptance. That doesn’t mean I will accept poor behavior. It means it is what it is. I am not going to be able to change things. An apple is an apple even if I want it to be an orange. It also means being mindful of triggers. A visit to my parents house may cause me to feel depressed, anxious, or even angry. If I can prepare myself in advance for the possibility of those feelings, it doesn’t hit me so hard.
Today, though, I just feel tired and blah. Under the weather I guess. It seems hard to focus and form thoughts into words that make any sense right now. This post did not go where I was expecting it to go, but that is okay. I can accept that as well, I guess.
There is no warm up in sight. The weather forecasters are saying it should be warm and sunny, spring like on April 1st. What a joke!
- It’s the first day of spring! Personally I am not a big fan of spring as someone who has seasonal allergies. It’s also the time of year where we have a couple of nice days then get a snowstorm. But I am grateful for the longer hours of daylight, sunshine, and the anticipation of my favorite season summer. I think I even saw the first robin of the year yesterday.
- I’m grateful to get out and go for a walk on the couple of nice weather days we had.
- My second tattoo. It’s starting to heal nicely. My second tattoo was totally different from the first. This one was more painful. It’s also different not being able to see it. Looking in the mirror, it looks as if brilliant light is going into the prism and darkness is coming out. I would say that I like both tattoos equally though.
- Arabella came home from the hospital. They put her on some new medications that hopefully will help her. She is on 7 or 8 pills now which I am not excited about. But if it helps her…
- We celebrated St. Patrick’s Day by having an old friend over for lunch of grilled cheese and corned beef sandwiches on light rye bread. Our friend is Paul’s late best friend’s son. He is in the military and was visiting family in the area with his two little kids. He is a relatively recent widower whom we haven’t seen in over 10 years. We never got to meet his wife. I forgot how much energy little kids have. I’m not sure I am quite ready to be a grandparent yet.
- I am grateful the last two nights I went to concerts by a local Pink Floyd tribute band. They were awesome. The audience was totally pumped, partying like it was 1999. It’s been 3 years since they performed last and everyone was so excited. One night I went with Angel and Paul and the other night I went with Alex and Lexi.
- Friday night was a blustery evening and my son was on standby in case he had to work, so he ended up switching shows with his sister. I’m grateful for that because Friday night there was a pretty intense light show. I totally forgot that my son’s girlfriend Lexi has epilepsy. First I take her with us to the waterpark remembering she can’t swim as we are heading towards deep water in the wave pool. Then I take her to a concert that has a pretty intense light show when she has epilepsy. I swear I’m not trying to kill her off. The light show wasn’t as intense last night. I’m grateful we ended up switching shows for her unknowingly and she didn’t have a seizure.
- I started making TikTok videos this week and posting them. Angel said that both Paul and I regressed after she moved out. Paul is always on his video games and I am making cringy videos sure to embarrass my kids who oddly are liking them probably to make me feel better.
- Paul got some big projects done around the house. He, with the help of a friend, cut down a dead tree in our yard. He also replaced a showerhead that was spraying water everywhere.
- I’m also grateful for our friend Ted who is willing to help with projects.
So, I did something today. I got my second tattoo. I decided to get The Dark Side of the Moon tattoo on my lower back. I’ve always been a big fan of Pink Floyd, but it is more than that to me. I like the idea of a prism, where you can take darkness and turn it into brilliant light. To me there is something mysterious, or mystical, in the process. The unknown, the unseen with a little mix of madness.
I want to take the darkness in my own life and turn it into something good. Music has always been a great coping mechanism of mine. Those are my thoughts about this new tattoo. Here is a picture.
This tattoo hurt more than the one on my upper arm. To get it I had to sit backwards on a chair. I was incredibly nervous about getting a tattoo. I thought I would have a hard time driving myself to the appointment, but all was well. Now I am already thinking about what I want to do next…
Good beginning is half done.
I suppose the wisdom of this fortune cookie could be taken in several different ways. For me, when I think of this, I think that my life is half over. As a middle aged person, this makes perfect sense. Of course, if my life is half over as of today my life would end at 95. I think I would be lucky to live that long as right now off the top of my head I can’t think of any family member that did.
I know it sounds morbid, but as I age sometimes I wonder how long I will live. I keep telling myself I have plenty of time left so I don’t waste time worrying about it. With a family history of dementia, I also tell myself that I probably won’t even know I’m dying which in a strange way is comforting. On some days I feel tired of living, but on the flip side the thought of dying is utterly horrifying to me. I like to be told what to expect but no one living knows, or even understands the dimension of time on a continuum. When did time start? Not even the smartest person can tell us that for sure.
What happens after we die? Again, I have my own beliefs, but no one living really knows. Wow, I wasn’t planning on getting all philosophical on this fortune cookie. But that’s what I like about the fortune cookie posts, I really never know where it will lead me.
On a side note, I am all out of fortune cookies…so I guess it might be awhile before I do a post on fortune cookies again. To tell you the truth, I’m not really sure where I am going to go from here. Is there anything you would like to hear more about?
- This week I planned a trip out west for my husband and I for our 25th wedding anniversary. We will be staying a couple days in Idaho and Montana, two more states to check off my bucket list. I thought it would be funny to visit Yellowstone and see Old Faithful on our anniversary. Funny story, when Paul and I were in New Orleans we met a lady on a tour who was from Idaho. I told her I would like to visit her state and asked her what the best thing to do was. She said don’t, go back to New Orleans instead. My daughter told me to bring back some potatoes for her. I know it doesn’t sound like an exciting 25th anniversary trip, but I believe there are good things to see and experience in every part of the world. If you are looking for it, you will find it.
- Since Paul and I cancelled our trip to Puerto Rico in January because non-essential travel was not recommended due to COVID wrecking havoc and running rampant, Expedia gave us an airline credit. The extra protection travel insurance was total crap. They wouldn’t refund anything even though travel was disrupted and not advisable. So, I booked the above trip using the credit which was an absolute nightmare. What should have taken me a couple hours to plan literally took me all day. I didn’t get anything else done, like write on this blog. But anyway, I was unable to apply the credit when I tried to book it myself. But to talk to an actual live person through Expedia and the airline itself was a two to three hour wait. I tried chatting through the airline and got nowhere. I almost gave up on being able to use the credit, but finally tried Expedia’s chat. The person I worked with was absolutely amazing and was able to book the trip for me using my credits over chat. I’m grateful they also gave us credits for the cancelled trip since the insurance company refused to cover any of our costs although it was advertised as being refundable for any reason.
- My husband learned how to play Mahjong and taught me how to play. The game was a Christmas gift a couple years back from Paul but we never learned how to play until this past week. It is rather time consuming and intimidating to learn. We ended up having Angel and Dan over for homemade pizza and Mahjong this week and it was fun.
- I had a dentist appointment this week for a cleaning. No problems!
- Last night we set the clocks ahead an hour for Daylight Savings Time. Spring is coming, even though we woke up to a couple inches of snow. But at least it will be light later.
- Yesterday we had some friends and family over for a board game day. It was nice to do something fun and get our mind off of things. We played several new games.
- It’s been hard with Arabella in the hospital. Paul and I have been having a difficult last couple of days and haven’t been getting along well. I thought we would get used to it over time but it doesn’t seem to be going that way. It’s stressful and doesn’t bring out the best in us. However, our relationship is going better now.
- I’m grateful that Arabella is talking to me now and we are getting along a lot better than we did before. It’s easier to help her through her depression this way.
I intended to write more than I did this week. Yesterday I actually opened my computer up to write when I got a call from my daughter Arabella. She wanted me to pick her up. She was going to be admitted but the hospital was full so she was scheduled to be admitted to another mental hospital a couple hours later.
Her boyfriend Will was with her but he had to leave for work. She called me to pick her up and wanted me to take her to her car at my parents house so she could drive herself to be admitted. All in all, it was an hour and a half of driving for me. Before she could leave with me, I had to talk to someone about a safety plan. They told me all the ways she was planning on killing herself and wanted me to keep an eye on her until she was admitted.
I drove her to my parents house. She talked about how Will and her were fighting which triggered a depressive episode for both of them. Neither one was doing well mental health wise. Arabella went to pack a few things. My mom came up to me and told me she only slept four hours, that she wasn’t okay herself. It took longer than I thought for Arabella to pack her things. My stomach dropped. Was she okay? I didn’t want to go to her room because I was sure it would be upsetting to me which it was. There was clothes everywhere, empty containers of food, and a bottle of anti-depressants strewn across the floor.
I left as soon as I could with Arabella following behind me. I was worried when she spent too long in the bathroom. I was worried maybe she would find a way to skip her appointment. I tried my best but I wasn’t sure she was going to be alright. It didn’t take long for things to go to shit after our fun weekend away. But this is her fifth inpatient stay within the last two years, so it’s nothing new.
Just the day before my mom came to visit. She brought my brother Matt with. With all the rain we got last weekend, his bedroom in the group home got flooded so he is staying with my parents for awhile. While they were at my house, my Aunt Jan Facetimed my mom so my brother Matt could see her grandchildren she babysits for. She had no idea my mom was at my house right away and started talking about me behind my back in front of me.
My mom has this really bad habit of ALWAYS being on speakerphone and not telling people she is. I almost had to laugh when my aunt figured out my mom was at my house and she was talking about me while I was sitting there. She didn’t say anything bad, but it was funny afterwards because she texted my mom asking if I heard everything and asked my mom if she said anything she shouldn’t have.
Just the week before my mom was on speakerphone with my Aunt Jan while at my house. After awhile she did tell my aunt she was at my house. My aunt said she wanted to talk to me. She asked me when Angel’s bridal shower was because she already bought a gift for her. I felt manipulated by her. She didn’t want me to be a part of family functions but now she wants to go to my daughter’s shower. After everything, I wasn’t even planning on inviting her or any of my aunts really unless that is what my daughter wants. If she does, I’m planning on calling my aunt and airing my grievances but I don’t even want to think about that right now.
Right now I just feel sad. I feel sad because my daughter is back in the hospital. I feel annoyed my mom was more concerned about not sleeping. I think my aunt is trying to control me with gifts instead of apologizing and I don’t like it. It’s okay for us to be rejected by her, but she doesn’t want to feel left out?? I feel angry that my parents or in-laws never helped me with my kids while I was at work. It was just a big free for all while I was gone trying to help my husband run our business. It’s hard not to be bitter about these things. I feel guilty because I do have a lot of good things in my life. I feel guilty for not feeling happy and for focusing on the things I don’t have instead of what I do.
At least I am mindful about how I feel. Maybe I just need a break from other people’s problems for awhile. But sometimes that is hard to do when I feel like I have to fix everything that’s broken.
We spent this past weekend with our kids and their significant others at a waterpark for part of their Christmas gift. I would much rather make memories than give gifts. It was a successful trip with no arguments or fights. That’s not to say it was without problems.
On Friday night, Arabella got sick and threw up all over the place. It was a huge mess with limited cleaning supplies. But some good came out of it. Her boyfriend Will was a big help cleaning the mess up with me. He treated her with kindness and concern. It showed us he really cares about her. He really went out of his way to be helpful. I wasn’t really sure about him at first.
Saturday we had some wild weather come our way. Paul and I were going to take everyone to the swim up bar for a drink. The bar pool closed as we arrived because a storm was coming. There was a lot of thunder, lightening, and a torrential downpour. It was kind of eerie seeing a big storm come through. We heard there was a possibility of tornadoes and I have no idea where we would have been able to take shelter since we were in a huge indoor waterpark surrounded by a lot of people. It was the most people I’ve been around since COVID which was a little disconcerting in and of itself. I was reminded of why I like my solitude, but for a couple days it was okay.
Other than all of that, the trip was pretty uneventful. We visited the waterpark all day. We ate all of our meals at the cabin we reserved to save money. Paul even grilled out in the rain. Every evening we played games and watched classic MTV. One evening we played laser tag, but sadly I didn’t do very well.
The waterpark was included with our stay. But before we got to the waterpark we had to pass the bar, a restaurant, a shopping area, a candy store, an arcade, and other attractions which weren’t included. We did pretty good though since the swim up bar was closed the one time we wanted to get a drink. But we did end up pigging out on candy a couple times which could be why Arabella wasn’t feeling good.
All in all, though, I felt pretty happy because peace and harmony most the time are hard to come by. I did feel some guilt for ignoring my dad on his birthday. But I took those feelings and poured them into my own family. I don’t have the relationship I want with my dad, but I will do everything I can to have the kind of relationship I would’ve wanted with him with my own kids.
It was nice not to have to worry about taking little kids to the waterpark and keeping track of them. They are adults and can take care of themselves. Although I did end up packing a couple extra swimming suits. Good thing because Will forgot his. But other than that, it was pretty worry free. I spent a lot of time laughing and having fun with the family. I don’t extravert a lot, but sometimes when I am in a good mood I can get pretty loud. Everyone got along. As for now, I’m going to enjoy it while it lasts.
- We had a nice long weekend with the family at the waterpark in WI Dells. Everyone got along and had a lot of fun together.
- It’s good to be back home again.
- I finished the childhood portion of my book I am writing.
- I met up with my friend Jen to check out a new restaurant. She invited us to their cabin in upper Michigan this summer.
- I went to an antique store with my mom and scored some ‘new’ albums for my record player. I bought a Nirvana, Guns ‘N Roses, and The Doors records to name a few. It was a totally unexpected find.
- I found a new bumper sticker that I like…Locally Hated…my family is not impressed but I am. It just came in the mail.
- I was able to find my dad a birthday card. The outside of the card read: You are at the age when people don’t really give a… The inside read: gift. When all else fails, funny works.
- I got a TikTok account. I’m trying to stay up on things.