Gratitude week 173

  1. We started learning how to play craps and roulette on the gaming game I found at a rummage sale.
  2. Volunteering and helping others.
  3. Going to the thrift store and area rummage sales. I didn’t find anything too exciting but it’s fun to look.
  4. One of my best friend’s Lisa and her husband came over this weekend from out of town. We haven’t seen them in almost 7 months so it’s always great to get together. We had a lot of catching up to do.
  5. A couple months back, our vet retired and closed his small practice. Today I brought my 16 year old cat to a new vet. It went better than I expected. I really like the new vet. He is personable, knowledgeable, and funny.
  6. Our cat hasn’t been in the best of health and I was afraid I might have to put him down. All of my concerns were addressed and there are some options for treatment…so he has some more time left with us.
  7. We have our extended weekend road trip coming up in a couple of days. When my best friend’s husband put in his vacation request, it was denied. It’s looking like he might be able to go now.
  8. My kid’s made it home safely from their road trips over the weekend.
  9. I had a good appointment with my counselor.
  10. I ran some errands and was able to find a motorcycle helmet and jacket. I’m grateful to try a new hobby.


I think my mom is mad at me. I haven’t heard from her in days. She is like that sometimes. There have been periods in my life where she has given me the silent treatment for days and then later acts like nothing is wrong. Or sometimes she smothers me.

I think I know why she is angry. Last week my mom was on vacation with her sister visiting their other sister at her condo in Florida. She called me almost every day she was gone. The first time she called on speaker phone wanting an update about Arabella. I was really annoyed by that because, although I don’t mind my aunts and uncles know my daughter is in jail, I didn’t want to talk to them about it. It was during that conversation my mom told me something was wrong with my dad but she didn’t know what because he didn’t tell her while she was on speaker phone.

One day she called wanting me to go check on my dad because he didn’t pick up his phone when she called him. My dad doesn’t live next to his phone. I told her he probably forgot to charge it. It turned out not to be a big deal. My mom calls wolf a lot so it’s hard to believe anything she says. A couple months back my brother Luke wasn’t feeling well. My mom thought his kidneys were failing because he has kidney disease and practically asked me if I thought my husband would be willing to give my brother a kidney. It turned out being a virus or something and he wasn’t dying. I take everything my mom says with a grain of salt.

The next evening my mom called while I was driving for a night out to go to the film festival with Paul, Alex, and Lexi. I didn’t want to deal with it so I didn’t answer my phone. My mom is known for catching me when I’m off to do something fun and guilting me about it bringing me down. When I didn’t answer, she called Alex. She never calls my son so I knew she was tracking our location and knew he was with me. Alex called her back and she dumped all her problems on him.

The next day she called me again wanting me to go check on my dad. I asked her what was wrong and she said my dad didn’t get off the couch for a couple of days. I’m not sure why that was a problem because my dad hasn’t gotten off the couch for about 20 years. I asked her if he called stating he needed help and she said she didn’t talk to him for a couple of days. I told her to verify if he needed help before I drove out there. She never called me back.

I don’t talk to my dad, but I don’t not talk to him either. If we actually had a relationship and my mom wasn’t calling wolf all the time, I would’ve dropped everything to check up on him. I decided I don’t want to be a caregiver for my dad if he is in poor health. I don’t have that kind of relationship with him where I would be willing to do that. I have my hands full just dealing with my own problems right now. Besides my dad is a very tall and obese man and I don’t think I could lift him if I wanted to.

The next day my mom was back home. Later in the day she called 911 and she called late Monday night to say my dad was in kidney failure. It turns out he probably ended up getting a kidney infection while she was gone. She said he was probably going to die that evening then called Tuesday to say he was going to be okay. Wednesday Arabella was in court. I texted her with an update and she never responded. Then I gave her a call Thursday and she hasn’t called back yet. Today is Sunday and I haven’t talked to her since Tuesday. Maybe she is angry because I didn’t go into an anxiety frenzy or drop everything to check on my dad for her. I’m sick of guessing and stressing about it. I have no idea where my dad is right now.

I recently read a book about stopping being a caregiver for the borderline or narcissist. It really opened my eyes to a lot of things. I always thought as a child I was my brother Matt’s caregiver. But through reading the book, I realized I was my mother’s caregiver. I was the second mom. I was being the parent when I was a kid. It’s a little late, but I decided it’s finally time to take care of me. My parents are capable of taking care of themselves. Sometimes I have to set boundaries to protect myself. That’s not to say I won’t help if it’s truly needed.

I’m sure my mom will call in a couple days like nothing ever happened. Then she will be upset I am going on a road trip with my friends. I hope I’m wrong.

Getting through the hard times now

My dad is still with us. However, yesterday we found out Paul’s uncle passed away from lung cancer just like Paul’s mom and some of her other siblings did.

Arabella had her court date yesterday. Her suffocation and strangulation felony was dropped. One of her other felonies is now a misdemeanor. She currently is being charged with one felony, substantial battery. So, one felony and three misdemeanors. To get into mental health treatment court she can’t be convicted of violent crimes. I’m not really sure how it is all going to pan out. She is still in jail. We are not sure when she is getting out.

One of the things bothering me lately is that anything can really be used as a weapon if you want to use it that way. For example, Arabella cracked Will’s head open with her cell phone so much so that he needed staples. I’m not feeling very hopeful right now about her future. She crossed a new line when she hurt someone else and I can’t trust she won’t do it again.

She is still delusional, but not to the extent she was before. A couple weeks back she had decoded the Bible and God revealed the meaning of the seven seals to her. She said she needed to get out of jail to share the revelation with all the local pastors and preach in churches.

Her first court date she was rocking her body clutching a Bible. She looked stark raving mad. It’s hard to see your child like that. I find the religious delusions difficult to handle. It just seems so unfair to me. Whereas, my husband took comfort in these delusions. She believes in God and whatever happens we’ll see her again some day. Now her delusions focus on traumas she never experienced and everyone in the family having rare mental illnesses.

It’s been a rough week and we kept ourselves busy volunteering and spending time with family yesterday. Volunteering at times can be hard because we really see the full extent of human suffering. There was a woman whose husband just walked out and left her with 6 little kids. It’s hard not to feel emotional when I see so much suffering all around me. Most of the time it’s rewarding to be able to offer some kind of help to the suffering.

I feel like I am close to my breaking point. I don’t think I could handle anything else right now. I’m so afraid something else horrible will happen and I won’t be able to go on. Just one more thing could push me over the edge right now and it’s scary.

It’s been a hard week weather wise. We had a 50 degree drop in temperature and both my arthritis and colitis are acting up. Two of my brothers got blizzard conditions where they live. Thankfully we just got a dusting of snow. My stomach has been aching every day. Maybe it’s from all the stress. How do I know if I have an ulcer? I have acid re-flux and colitis already. But how do I know if I have an ulcer? Is the pain different? I don’t want to go in, do all these tests just to tell me I have what I already have. Then they will send me home and tell me to get plenty of sleep (insomniac), exercise (can’t run anymore because of arthritis), and manage my stress. Nobody can help me take away this stress.

I’m grateful for the supportive people I have in my life. Last night I just sat in my room alone and cried. My best friend called and offered me support. It helped me get through another day. I know I can talk to my best friend, my daughter Angel, my son Alex, and my husband. Yesterday I had conversations with all of them. I honestly don’t know what I would do without them. I still have my writing to do, a purpose. My son says he wants to have 8 kids, and my daughter Angel wants 6. Not sure if that’s going to happen, but maybe I’ll be a grandma soon. Next week my husband, friends, and I have a road trip planned to Traverse City. Good things will be coming in the future, I know it. I just have to get through the hard times now.

Resilient and resourceful

I went to bed last night not knowing if my dad was going to live through the night. I knew by late afternoon an ambulance took him to the hospital. Right before bed, my mom called and said my dad was going through kidney failure and she was unsure if he was going to live through the night. I didn’t sleep well.

I was hoping I wouldn’t have to think about my dad dying for awhile. At least until my daughter is out of jail. A million different scenarios whirled around my head. I don’t know how I feel about my dad dying, our relationship is complicated. I received an update this morning the doctors drained 3 liters of fluid from my dad’s kidneys and his kidneys are functioning better. He will not need dialysis. But I don’t think he is out of the woods yet. I don’t think he will ever go back home though because my mom can’t take care of him anymore.

I’m not sure if I will ever see him again. I can’t remember the last time I saw him. Was it this calendar year? I can’t recall. As of right now, I don’t have any plans of seeing him or saying good-bye. I feel as if I have said everything that I need to say. But maybe I’ll regret it some day. I don’t think he has much time left. But who really knows?

Tomorrow Arabella has another court date. It’s a preliminary hearing which from what I gather will be a determination whether there is probable cause for the 3 felony charges she is facing. I’m not really sure what is going to happen. She has been in jail almost a month already. The only thing I’ve determined is nothing is certain and nothing happens fast.

Thankfully I had an appointment with my counselor this afternoon. She said I needed to come up with a plan. That is something I can do. Beyond that she said what she knows about me is that I am resilient and resourceful enough to figure out pretty much anything I’m going to have to face. By the end of the week, my daughter could be out of jail and my dad could be dead. There is so much uncertainty.

My counselor said I needed to come up with a plan for how to deal with the possibility my dad may die soon. I told her as of right now I don’t want to see him. I told her if he calls me and asks to see me, then I would see him. The next time I plan on seeing him is in a casket. I know it sounds harsh, but he never invested anything into our relationship. He is an abusive pedophile and most of the family wants nothing to do with him. The whole situation is very sad and not at all what I wanted.

The second plan I need to come up with is a safety plan for when Arabella comes home. So far I have two items on my plan. The first is to have my cell phone on me at all times in case my daughter tries to threaten or harm me so I can call 911. The second is to lock my door while I sleep at night. Beyond that, I really didn’t put too much time into thinking about it.

My therapist said I needed to look around my house and see what can be used as a weapon. Put away the knives sitting on the counter in the rack. Anything easily accessible. I remember having to do this as a kid when my schizophrenic brother pulled a knife on me and threatened to poke my eyes out. Sadly, it’s nothing new. The therapist said I should focus on removing items easily reached in an argument versus items my daughter could use to kill herself.

Back when my daughter was 17, her outpatient program told me she was planning on killing herself. They said I needed to scour her room for anything she could use to harm herself. I didn’t find much. She was too smart for me. She took disposable razors, took the blades out, and hid them in a gum wrapper in a pack of gum. She told me that later. I could never adequately protect her from herself.

The best I can do is protect me from her now. I have zero faith self-defense would work. She is twice my size. I learned a lot about psychotic rages from my brother. He is close to my size and when he was raging he had super human strength. It was unpredictable and could happen at any time. It could not be prevented. There weren’t any signs despite our hyper-vigilance.

Matt is being treated for his schizophrenia and the medication he is on works. He no longer hears voices telling him to hurt or kill people. Arabella is not being treated for schizophrenia. She is dangerous until she is if anyone will listen to find out what is really happening. Her delusions are very real to her and she becomes very agitated when we don’t believe what she does. Both times she ended up in jail was after bouts of going off her meds. So they do work somewhat. This is what life is like when family members are seriously mentally ill. My parents struggle with mental illness too. I love them all, but they are hard to deal with.

It’s really been a lot to handle. I’m sick of the stress. But as my therapist said, I am resilient and resourceful. I just don’t want to have to be.

Solving communication issues

Last week Paul and I had our couples therapy appointment. I think we had a breakthrough regarding some of the communication issues we have been having.

What I need from Paul is to be relational. I want to know he feels the same way or has some of the same worries so I don’t feel alone in my suffering. Paul wants me to give him hope by telling him everything is going to be okay and offer encouragement. For the longest time, we have been giving each other what we would want for ourselves. That has proved to be a frustrating experience all around.

The second time Arabella went to jail I felt very fearful for her future. There is a myriad of feelings involved when your child is incarcerated. I have been feeling despair, hopelessness, anger, guilt, anxiety, uncertainty, shame, and fear. Nothing really associated with ‘positive’ feelings about any of this. Now I usually keep these feelings to myself and go into a nice dark corner to lick my wounds. But my husband has been rather distraught by my isolation so through therapy I resolved to tell him how I feel instead. He found he didn’t really like what I was feeling.

When I am feeling despair, his response is to trust in God and everything will be okay which usually makes me quite angry. What is wrong with me? Why does he seem to have this faith that I don’t? How am I supposed to get out of survival mode if all I am doing is trying to survive? Who is the person I was supposed to be if I didn’t have childhood trauma? Trusting? Trusting in God? How do I have faith when I feel if God exists he doesn’t really care about me? Maybe he doesn’t exist at all. Why does he allow so much suffering? Why do my prayers go unanswered? If I have already given control over to God, why is he choosing this for my life?

In therapy, I told Paul I really wanted him to try to be relational, like talking to a best friend. I don’t want him to fix, solve, or tell me everything is going to be okay. I want him to commiserate with me that sometimes life really fucking sucks. He has been making the effort. He said he also has doubts about God, feels despair about our daughter’s future, and questions why there is so much unnecessary suffering in this world. It made me feel like I wasn’t alone.

Paul wants me to give him hope and tell him everything will be okay. This has been a struggle for me because it doesn’t feel authentic. I don’t know if everything is going to be okay. Arabella might end up killing herself, hurting someone else, and being in and out of jail or mental health treatment centers the rest of her life. It’s very likely the life she will end up living. I think I will outlive my daughter. Where is the hope in that? I have been trying to offer up hope and encouragement even if I don’t believe it because that is what my husband needs.

So I guess in some ways it has been beneficial to have our lives fall apart so we are able to rebuild it into something better. There really hasn’t been much Paul and I haven’t been through in life and if we survive it, maybe we can help others.

Gratitude week 172

  1. The weather has been absolutely amazing all week. We were finally able to turn off the heat. Unfortunately, the warm spell has ended and it might snow again tomorrow. But this past week felt so good and all the snow we had on the ground melted.
  2. We celebrated my son-in-law’s 25th birthday this week. I’m grateful for Dan. He is a hard worker and is working 12+ hour days every single day this month. He is also funny, thoughtful, good at almost any project, and is kind. He is a good addition to our family.
  3. Although it was hard to be indoors on a really nice day, Paul and I volunteered by ourselves this week which was really rewarding.
  4. Paul and I went to our first support group for families of the mentally ill. Although I wouldn’t wish any of the struggles we and others in similar situations are going through, it’s good to not feel alone. I’m grateful Paul and I are working together as a team. He has worked hard to be an amazing husband through this. Not everyone has the support of a spouse which I think is more important than anything.
  5. With the pleasant weather, we opened up our pool on Friday and had some friends over.
  6. Bunco started up again for the first time since COVID. I’m grateful that for the most part life is moving on past COVID.
  7. With warm weather comes yard work. Unfortunately raking by our decorative pond scared out some more wildlife (a good sized Pine snake and a muskrat). I’m not particularly afraid of those animals, however when they jumped out at me they gave me a good scare. The good thing about yard work is it gives me a good excuse to ride around on the ATV. This time after I was done I took it out on the road for the first time (it is legal to do around here). It was a lot of fun.
  8. Last night our friend James got us free passes to go to a film festival. Paul, Angel, Alex, Lexi, and I went. We all had a really great time, better than any of us were expecting. It was something new and interesting.
  9. James is coming over this afternoon for a Bucks game. It’s a good way to spend the afternoon on a rainy day.
  10. With the warm weather comes rummage sale season. I hit up 4 rummage sales. For $20 I got 3 pairs of jeans (one of them was a Harley brand), a super cute light blue floral top, a punch bowl ladle, a home casino game set, and the bonus was a free Last Supper candle holder. I put in the peace and hope candles I got from the thrift store. (Of course it figures that the peace candle was cracked in half although the wick seemed to hold it together).

I didn’t sign up for this..

My daughter is still in jail. I think I am finally getting used to living in a constant state of uncertainty. I’m not sure when she is getting out. It could be next week. It could be a couple months.

This week Paul and I went to a support group for families who are dealing with family members with mental illness. Every single family there who has a mentally ill child Arabella’s age or older have or have had an incarcerated child. I found this to be shocking. We weren’t the only ones. Which makes me wonder how many mentally ill people are in the criminal justice system. And, how messed up is that? Because our child (and many others) is an adult, we could not get treatment for her unless she was a threat to herself or others. What a joke! And then, even if they hurt themselves or someone else, it is still hard to find treatment. Poor ratings from me for the broken mental health system.

My teenage adult daughter has been sitting in jail facing 3 felonies for the last couple weeks. Nothing new is happening with her case. She is just sitting there so she can’t come home and screw up her life some more. We got her a lawyer. We don’t want our daughter to be a convicted felon, we don’t want prison, we want mental health treatment. But her meds aren’t right. Although some are better than none, I guess. Both times she ended up in jail she was off her meds because she felt like she didn’t need them.

Talking to the other parents in the support group, I wonder if jail is just going to be a part of her life now. If it is, this will be the last time we get her a lawyer. We have spent so much money on her treatment already. Her two month stint in a residential treatment facility almost cost as much as a 4 year college. We’ve already paid the lawyer over $1,000. It isn’t fair to our other children and it isn’t fair to us because it is eating away from our retirement. Plus life goes on. We are paying her half of rent. We just found out she owes a lot of money for taxes because her online ‘modeling’ job didn’t take any money out.

I think my daughter is going to fail on probation. She is going to have to take her meds, be on time, have no contact with Will, and observe absolute sobriety. I would be a fool to think her prognosis is anything but poor. Plus, in the state she is in, she could harm herself or someone else all of which she has done before.

After she gets out of jail, Arabella is moving back home. It’s that or be homeless as she has nowhere else to go. We need to develop a safety plan because I’m not sure if I’m safe. My daughter is twice my size. She tried to strangle her boyfriend. What if she does that to me? I have to come to terms that my life could be in danger. Am I willing to risk that? I think I am prepared to die. I will probably have to keep my phone on me at all times and lock my bedroom door while I sleep at night. I will have to be aware at all times. Some of the parents in the support group got large dogs to alert and protect them.

My husband is gone a lot for work in the summer. At times he mentioned quitting his job so I’m not home alone. But I don’t want him to do that. Maybe we are worried for nothing. Maybe everything will be just fine. But we have to think about these things now. I don’t know if I will be able to call the police unless it is really bad. Growing up my mom tried to protect my autistic/schizophrenic brother at all costs. We had to protect Matt from the police when he attacked us or others. I grew up thinking calling the police was wrong. I just don’t know if I can do it. But I also think my mom didn’t handle things correctly. This has been triggering in so many ways.

I wish I could say I have been able to get it off my mind, but I can’t. If it is not front and center, it’s still percolating on the back burner. Some days are better than others. I’m starting to get used to it.

Gratitude week 171

  1. Clean sheets.
  2. When I put on the sheets, I noticed there was a hole in it and they were starting to wear out. So I bought new sheets. I know, not very exciting…but still.
  3. Easter; church and lunch at my daughter and son-in-law’s house.
  4. My friend James and I went to a meeting where I signed up to be a film screener for the local film festival. It’s an exciting new volunteer venture. I met some new and interesting people. It’s a great way to be involved in the arts. At one time of my life I really enjoyed acting and singing on stage. But now I find myself more of a behind-the-scenes kind of girl. It’s a great way to be involved without having to memorize lines and get all stressed out about performing.
  5. Paul and I also went out Saturday night with James to a couple breweries and out to eat. There was a band performing that James is really crazy about and it was nice to get away from the stress for a couple hours and have fun.
  6. Volunteering by helping families in need at the center greeting people at the welcome desk.
  7. Spring has finally arrived in Wisconsin. We still have patchy snow on the ground…but it is melting!
  8. Friday we had our last women’s group. I might be getting together with one of the ladies from the group. Maybe I made a new friend out of it?
  9. I had a good appointment with my counselor.
  10. Today Paul and I had a great appointment with our couples counselor. I think we made a breakthrough in some of the communication issues we have been having.

Gratitude week 170

  1. Life has been really tough the last week and a half with our daughter in jail. I’m grateful for all the support from family and friends. When my best friend found out, she dropped everything she was doing and came over to our house with her husband. It was comforting to not be alone.
  2. I’m grateful March is over and we are one step closer to my favorite season, summer. March came in like a lion and roared like a lion on its way out. We got a lot of snow and still have snow on the ground so it doesn’t feel very spring like.
  3. I hosted a murder mystery party over the weekend which was a lot of fun. I was the only one who guessed the murderer correctly. (Although Paul didn’t have the opportunity because he found out his character was the murderer).
  4. We spotted the fox in our yard a couple more times which is a rare sighting.
  5. Volunteering and helping others.
  6. A good group session.
  7. I got my third tattoo, a cross in the middle of my back. To me it symbolizes suffering and the endurance of it. All my tattoos have special meaning to me.
  8. I was able to do some writing when I was in a bad place. For me that seems like the best time to write my story because I can write with more feeling and purpose.
  9. Last night we got together with some friends we are traveling with at the end of the month for supper and games.
  10. Today my mom came over and we went out to eat for lunch and went for a walk. It was a good visit.
  11. We were able to hire a lawyer for our daughter and we are working on getting her an official diagnosis.
  12. My son got promoted to a team leader at work and got a good raise.