Not at my best

I wish I could say that once Paul came back home everything was alright. I want to tell you we were kind and supportive to each other but we were not. Stress does not bring out the best in people. Sadly having a child with serious mental health issues does not build up a marriage as fast as it tears it down.

In some ways I resented Paul for being away for work while I was at home dealing with this crap. I imagined him wining and dining while I was whining and crying. He was joking and having fun at the bar while I was lying in bed at night awake and worried. I suppose it wasn’t like that but that is what I imagined it was like.

Paul started drinking again a week before Arabella came back home from residential. He was trying to quit for a whole year back in December. He didn’t quite make it. There were times over the last couple of weeks I thought he drank too much. At times this was upsetting. Other times I thought it was better than having a heart attack. The stress is too much. It doesn’t bring out the best in us. At times I drank more than I usually do. Because who cares? Who really cares?

Paul was upset with me because I was angry with God. He said I turned away from God. In hard times I seem to have less trust in God while he has more to get him through.

I started to drift away to a place deep within myself to find myself comfortably numb. I didn’t feel anymore, good nor bad. It didn’t matter because there wasn’t much good that I blocked out anyway. I went back to the safe place I lived as a child. Everything became muted. I shut down. I didn’t care about anything. I didn’t want to go to the party I was looking forward to going to for months. I didn’t want to go anywhere and you couldn’t make me go. I listened to the music on my broken playlist I created which contained songs of death, loss, and despair. I noticed one day that I got so numb I didn’t even know what song was playing. I was staring off into space. I was gone.

People kept asking me if I was okay. My best friend asked me how I stayed sane. Who says I am? She was afraid to talk to me about her problems because they are relatively minor compared to what I have to deal with. I don’t like that. I want to be treated like a normal person. It’s okay to talk to someone with more problems than you. It’s okay to feel sad or angry even if you have no reason to feel that way. Friends listen to each other because that’s what friends do.

I was looked upon with wary suspicion by my husband and daughter both whom said their therapists and they were concerned about me. Paul brought me a book home from his therapist called What’s Normal. I guess I can read it and learn what normal people and families are like. Maybe I can even share it with you, but you probably already know.

My own therapist was worried about me. She wanted me to come in every week. She said most people would have a hard time dealing with what I had to deal with in that one week. Although I don’t have an appointment this week she told me to reach out if I needed anything. She knows I like to isolate instead of ask for help. She was the one who told me that people can bring comfort to pain. Woah, my bad I only thought people brought pain. I started to worry maybe they were right and I was not okay. But it is okay to feel angry and sad when you have a really bad week. If you don’t, then something surely is wrong.

When I am in pain I like to sit in the corner alone and lick my wounds. If people try too hard to get in I feel cornered and push them away. I feel hidden in the corner by myself but when others invade my space I feel trapped. I get angry when I think others think I am not strong enough to take care of myself. I spent a lot of time as a child alone mending my wounds.

But this time I realized that shutting down and blocking other people out was not healthy for me. It still hasn’t been easy. It hasn’t been easy on our marriage either. This current struggle has brought up past trauma and unhealthy coping mechanisms for both of us. We are trying to work our way through it the best we can together and alone. I think we need to be patient with each other because neither of us is at our best at the moment. How can we be?

A break

Compared to the rest of the week, Saturday was all puppies, unicorns, and cute cuddly kitties.

Just a quick recap of the week:

  • My daughter Arabella left home and I wasn’t sure where she was staying.
  • I tripped over my elderly dog and he could barely walk.
  • I got a call saying my brother Luke was on the way to the ER with a possible stroke.
  • At the same time as I got the call about my brother, a neighbor threatened to call the police on my son who was smoking across the street in the woods with his buddies.
  • My brother Matt’s cell phone was stolen by a caregiver in his group home. Not only one, but two caregivers stole money from him and his roommate. The police needed to get involved.
  • Arabella called in the middle of the night from the ER but wouldn’t tell me what was going on.
  • My husband left for a business trip.
  • My microwave started on fire.
  • The power went out.
  • Arabella was delusional and told people that I starved and tortured her. She threatened to dox me.

The week sucked so bad I came up with the idea of having an anti-gratitude list for everything that went wrong during the week. I still might do it. I mean it could be funny. People call me a pessimist anyway. But really, I think it could be a good idea. I could start a list of the good and the bad. On Saturday I could share the bad and on Sunday I could share the good. I will overthink on it some more but I like the idea.

But back to the story…On Saturday I went up north to celebrate my niece’s birthday with Angel, Alex, and his new girlfriend. I felt like I adequately warned Alex’s girlfriend about what she was getting into. I told her she still had time to change her mind about being a part of our family. Alex said his girlfriend has a crazy family too. I highly doubt she would win that contest.

But anyway, we spent the day up north at the family cabin. We went for a walk enjoying the fall colors. I took the scooter out for a ride. I felt so free and happy riding the scooter that I still think I might get a motorcycle license next summer. We played a board game inside with a fire in the fireplace to keep warm. We laughed a lot and for a little while I didn’t worry.

The best part of the day is that everyone got along. Angel and Alex were joking around and laughing together. It meant a lot to me because they don’t always get along. Everything went well with Alex’s girlfriend who also got along with Angel. For a short blip of time there was peace and harmony.

We did talk about Arabella a little. My other kids said I was a wonderful mom and they always loved me. I told them it was hard to understand Arabella’s hatred of me since I never did anything mean to anyone in my whole entire life. Of course, we laughed about the comment I made too. Maybe I was trying to take the wonderful mom thing too far…

I had a great day on Saturday with family. That night I had a great night’s sleep, the best sleep in years. I almost felt happy for awhile. But I couldn’t sustain it for too long. Why can’t it always be like that? Then I started to think about other families with envy. They have what I want all the time, a happy healthy family. It was just a taste of what it could be like.

It was in that moment I realized I left behind the rage I felt burning fiercely for most of the week and replaced it with a deeper darker melancholy.

Lost in this

Friday was a really long day. I’d been up since 3 AM when I saw the text my daughter was in the ER. After she hung up on me when I asked her what was going on, I wasn’t able to go back to sleep. I was tired, I’d been tired for a long time.

Later that afternoon, Arabella called me. She asked if I would co-sign on the apartment that Will and her were planning on moving into. When I was hesitant, Arabella said if I didn’t she would cut me out of her life. She wasn’t going to come home for Thanksgiving.

I told her I wouldn’t even think about co-signing until she did a couple things. I figured with a year’s lease I would be out about $10,000 if she couldn’t pay. She said she was planning on borrowing money for the down payment and the first month’s rent. I told her I wouldn’t feel comfortable signing anything unless she could assure me she had a job. She missed three shifts and they didn’t want her to come back without a doctor’s note. I wasn’t sure she would be able to get one. Get a job or your job back and I will think about it.

Another thing I wanted was for her to put Will’s name on the lease. I don’t know this guy. She said he was 21 and she met him when she was in high school. I have no idea the status of their relationship beyond mutual commiserating about previous suicide attempts. She said Will did not want to be put on a lease because he is poor which probably means he has bad credit.

When I told Arabella the conditions I had for co-signing, she became very angry. She started screaming at me and told me to shut up. Then she said fuck you and hung up on me. I got hung up on twice in one day by her. But what really stung is the last words I heard from my daughter were fuck you.

Then Arabella started texting me she was going expose me and ruin my reputation. She was going to tell everyone I tortured and starved her. She was going to tell everyone who I am and where I live. She said I was a heartless monster and now she would have to live on the streets. She said she was going to totally cut me out of her life.

The whole situation was upsetting to say the least. My husband was out of the state for work. I told him to turn off his location. I didn’t want Arabella to know he wasn’t home. My daughter Angel was very upset. She wanted us to lock the doors because she was afraid her sister would dox us and we might not be safe. We didn’t know anything about this Will guy. Who knows if he would come over?

Later I asked my son if he knew Will from school since they are the same age. Alex said that Will is bad news. He said he got kicked out of his parents house when he was 13 because he was getting into trouble. Sounds like the guy is a real sleaze ball. Wonderful, just wonderful.

Arabella showed up at my parent’s house on Friday. She told my mom that I abused her. This really upset my mom. My mom argued with Arabella and told her she was delusional, but that didn’t change her mind. At least for a couple of days I knew she wasn’t out on the streets.

The whole situation made me very angry. But I also felt fear. I was afraid of what would happen to my daughter. I also felt afraid she could somehow hurt me and the rest of my family. This is going to sound strange, but there is this nagging fear that maybe I am the crazy one. Maybe she does have something she could use against me even though I know I’ve never done anything to deliberately hurt any of my children. Paul said she reminded him of his mother, all bark and no bite. But who knows what someone who is mentally unstable is capable of? Not to mention that she surrounds herself with similar companions.

In my experience with my brother Matt, I always had to be ready. When he heard voices, he could attack at any moment. There’s no doubt I’m bringing my own trauma into the current situation. One of the hardest things is that my daughter’s last words to me were fuck you. I can’t reach her and now I’m starting to lose myself in all of this.

Gratitude week 95

  1. Paul and I went to a Halloween party last night and were able to reconnect with some friends we haven’t seen since before COVID.
  2. Paul and I had a nice evening going out to eat with Angel and Dan at an Indian restaurant.
  3. My best friend was forced to get vaccinated or lose her job of 30+ years. She has some health problems and is afraid to get the shot at this time. Thankfully her exemption was approved.
  4. I got new glasses and I can see the fine print again.
  5. We took our last sail of the season taking our boat from the marina to her winter home.
  6. The weather was warm enough to do some winterizing projects.
  7. Angel has been working really hard on running. I just signed us up for a 5 mile race on Thanksgiving day. I’m grateful to share one of my favorite hobbies with my daughter.
  8. I finally feel like I have some direction for my book. I want to write about being a sibling, daughter, and mother of people who have mental health struggles. I want to write one book, not several books. For the longest time I wasn’t sure what to do.
  9. I’m grateful for all of the kind comments and support over this last week of writing. It’s been a really hard month with everything going on with Arabella.

Walking again

That brings us to last Thursday. I dropped Paul off at the airport before first light. He was travelling for work and wouldn’t be home until Sunday. When I got back home Angel was heating some water in a glass bowl in the microwave. The microwave starting sparking and flames shot out from the side inside. So far things were off to a bad start. Maybe the microwave starting on fire would be the worst thing that happened while Paul was gone. Ha ha, funny. It wasn’t the worst, but it was the first.

My mom had spent the night but was leaving soon to head to the police department to sign some papers because a caregiver from my brother’s group home stole his phone. She called Arabella and told her she needed to check out of the hotel she put her up in a few nights. I didn’t know where she was going to go from there. She applied for an apartment with this guy Will whom I never met and didn’t know anything about besides him trying to kill himself a couple times.

The rest of the day went by in a blur. I went to bed when I normally do. I turned my ringer off. I slept until 3 AM when I awoke to go to the bathroom. At that time I checked my phone. I received a call around midnight from a No Caller ID caller. My heart started to race. That didn’t seem good to receive a call like that in the middle of the night. I’ve gotten calls from the police as a No Caller ID caller before. What was going on?

I also got a text from Arabella saying she was in the ER. I texted her back asking her what was going on and if she was alright but didn’t receive a response. I was wide awake now. Next I called the hospital ER department and asked to be connected to Arabella’s room. Arabella answered sounding very weak and tired. I asked her if I could talk to someone, anyone if she couldn’t talk. A nurse, her friend that took her in. Arabella said she thought I didn’t care and hung up on me.

What the hell was going on? Was it an overdose, a suicide attempt? I tried to reassure myself she was okay. She is in the hospital. They are taking care of her. She is alive. But it was little comfort as I laid in my bed alone trying to fall back to sleep. I may have dozed off a few minutes here and there. After a couple hours sleep was futile so I decided to get up and get on with my day. Right after I got up, the power went out. Because sure, why not? It didn’t stay off very long, just long enough to have to reset things.

The minute the psychiatrist’s office was open I called. I had to leave a message and decided to get on with my day. I planned on going for a run. Not sleeping was not a good enough excuse not to. Otherwise I would get nothing done if I was waiting for a stress free moment to live my life. Although I didn’t feel up for it, running is a healthy way to deal with my stress. After I left, my mom called and said Arabella came over to her house to sleep. She said Arabella told her she thought she was having a seizure and went to the ER. My mom wondered if it was a side effect from her new medicine. She just started Lithium and I remember a doctor once saying that it could be a problem with her thyroid disorder.

The psychiatrist’s office called me back a couple hours later. The nurse said that Arabella did not have a seizure. The ER diagnosed her with hyperventilation. That was a relief. She did tell me that Arabella threw me under the bus. She told them right after we got back from our vacation with her that Paul and I took another vacation. We left her home alone to starve as she was too weak to get out of bed. She also told them we gave her $200 when she turned 18 and wanted nothing to do with her. The nurse said the day after her initial psych evaluation appointment, she had an appointment with the psychiatric nurse where she was acting erratic and couldn’t hold a thought.

The nurse also said that Arabella tested positive for cannabis. She said that teenagers who already have a history of mental illness are more likely to have a negative reaction to pot. She thought maybe Arabella’s delusions were marijuana induced even more so with the high THC cannabis that is available today. She said that there was nothing I could do unless Arabella wants to quit and she didn’t know if it would even be reversible. She said she would discuss everything with the psychiatric nurse and call me back, but she never did.

After thinking about the situation, I wanted to tell the nurse that Arabella has a family history of the exact mental health struggles she is dealing with but not as extreme as her. She was experiencing paranoia and delusions before she even started smoking pot. Maybe smoking made it worse? Honestly, I think genetics is a bigger factor than smoking is. This is from what I know of our family history. Paul never knew his dad so there could be so much more effecting this than we even realize.

Right now I am kind of kicking myself though. Arabella was in inpatient 3 times within 4 months. After that she spent 2 months in outpatient, another 2 months in residential. Outside all of these programs, she has seen 5 different counselors within a year and a half. I thought she would come out of residential fixed. Part of this is my fault for thinking that. She was gradually getting worse and worse but I couldn’t accept that. I was setting her up for failure. She couldn’t go from residential care to seeing a counselor once in awhile. She fell through the cracks. She became an adult and no longer qualified for the adolescent outpatient program.

Basically she couldn’t go from wheelchair bound to walking like normal again. I thought residential was the miracle cure. I still believe it saved her life, but it wasn’t the end of her mental illness as I thought it would be. I realize that now.

Borderpolar with SAD

Last week my daughter said she accidently sent me a text which contained a screenshot of a conversation she had with her friend. As her parent, I found it to be very disturbing. I was debating on whether or not to post this and decided that I needed to talk about it. I want to warn you in advance that it might be triggering because I will be discussing drug use and suicide.

Arabella: I tripped too too hard on cough medicine that I was seeing hallucinations. Cause I took around 13 at night. And then the next morning I took 13 more. And I was planning to call the police because of them. As I was so miserable. That when I wanted to take a relaxing shower I saw the bath turn into like intestines. Something you would see only in really fucked up entertainment like movies or like books. But then there was screaming and the devil talked to me. And luckily V picked up the phone and talked with me and told me not to call the police. And just had me sit and talk with her until I went to bed or she did, one of those. And she told everyone at school that…

V: And that’s a pretty weird call to get from someone you don’t talk to regularly that you didn’t think did drugs. And she was calling to say she took too many pills and was crying saying she had to call the police because she saw the devil talking to her in a bathtub.

Arabella: That was me. That is more than 4 times the safe amount to get fucked up within 24 hours. That fucks up your liver. That’s why I don’t think I’m going to live long.

Will: I’ve tried to OD with a variety of OTC and a couple prescription pills.

On the bottom of the screenshot of the conversation between Arabella and Will there was a selfie of Arabella looking awfully messed up with the caption good-bye. Underneath it read, I took too many pills.

The first thing I did when I got the message was make sure it wasn’t recent. I believe the attempt to OD originated before residential. It wasn’t a current call 911 threat. I literally felt sick I was so heartbroken. I didn’t know or maybe I’ve been in denial. She wasn’t like this before. Her mental health issues all started with an out of the blue suicide attempt. Before that she didn’t do drugs or even drink. That all changed after her third inpatient hospitalization. She met a girl there who was into stealing and drugs. That’s when it all began. She didn’t have many friends left at that point. I thought it couldn’t be that bad to have a few friends from the hospital. It’s not as if anyone healthy or well adjusted wanted to hang out with her. Now I know why they discourage those types of friendships post hospitalization.

Arabella told me a couple of months ago that she didn’t like being sober. She said she liked pot but when she couldn’t get that there was alcohol. She also told me when she didn’t have money she would shoplift cough medicine. I had no idea it could be so bad. I mean it wasn’t heroin, right? But that was before residential, right? Because she was supposed to go to residential and go into remission and lead a happy healthy productive life. That’s what I was telling myself anyway.

Sometimes teenagers experiment with drugs and alcohol. Alex did. He wasn’t an easy teen. There was that one kid in the neighborhood. When we found out, he wasn’t allowed over there anymore. But he lived a few houses down. It was hard to stop once it started.

But this was different. She wasn’t with a group of friends experimenting. She was alone. Was she trying to kill herself?

When we were on vacation, Arabella wanted us to buy her alcohol and weed. We didn’t. She was already on a smorgasbord of pharmaceutical medications. I honestly didn’t know she had a problem. Maybe she doesn’t. Maybe I’m in denial. All I know is that since the trip she went into a downward spiral. She lost her job. I knew she would be okay if she was able to hold down a job. Now that is even gone.

The initial diagnosis also includes substance abuse. I haven’t wanted to face it. I’m certain that the dual diagnosis of borderline and bipolar has the highest suicide rates. If you add substance abuse to that, the prognosis is very poor. My daughter already has had multiple suicide attempts. I have to live with the fact that my daughter is seriously mentally ill. I could get a call any day.

It’s been especially hard because she has been more delusional than I’ve ever seen her. She sincerely believes that I’ve been starving and torturing her. It’s been making it nearly impossible for me to help her. I feel so helpless. There is nothing I can do. She hates me and has been abusive towards me. Should I tolerate that because she is mentally ill? When do I let go and take care of me? I feel so much anger and despair. I’ve lost a lot of hope and don’t see this ending well. I want a miracle. I want her to be the one that beats the odds. But what if she doesn’t? I’m so afraid of what might happen next. I’m worried sick.

The squeaky wheel

Last Wednesday my mom came over. She walked in saying she told my dad she was going to move back into my house if he didn’t take a shower. In an instant I felt more stressed. She lived with us I would guess somewhere around 4 months. My dad showering was always a fight. If it was up to my dad he would never shower again. One time he didn’t shower for a whole year. It is a topic of marital conflict that I would bet most of your parents never have had.

It wasn’t long after my mom showed up that the police called her. She found out not only one, but two of my brother Matt’s caregivers in his group home stole money from him and his roommates. It broke my mom’s heart because she really liked one of the caregivers because she was good to Matt. Not only that, but my mom found out that someone most likely a caregiver stole my brother’s cell phone. My mom got a cell phone bill for hundreds of dollars on Matt’s phone for texting and data. My brother doesn’t read nor write. He said he couldn’t find his phone for the last couple of weeks. No wonder why, it was stolen.

This was very upsetting for my mom. She is going through so much. Sadly, it’s nothing new. From what I heard the police were going to arrest one of the women as they have a low tolerance for people that steal from the disabled. My mom needed to go to the police department the following morning to sign a subpoena to get the cell phone records. It never ends for my mom. The week before Matt was exposed to COVID and his roommate had pneumonia.

As my mom was dealing with some major problems with her special needs child, I was dealing with some major issues with mine. I knew that my mom was not as concerned about me in that moment as she was with everything going on with my brother. I spent my whole childhood pretty much used to that. My mom always said the squeaky wheel gets the oil. Some way or another, Matt was always that squeaky wheel. The other three tires never made much noise in comparison.

The last year and a half Arabella has been that squeaky wheel. Lately, she is all we ever talk about. She was sending me upsetting texts while my mom was busy with everything going on with Matt. Lately Angel picked her maid of honor for her wedding. She was excited because she was also picked as the maid of honor for that friend’s wedding. We were happy for her, but then the conversation quickly switched back to the problems we are currently having with Arabella. Angel said it wasn’t fair. She was doing great but no one ever focuses on her.

I understand totally as a special needs sibling. Tonight Paul and I are taking Angel and her fiancĂ© out to eat to thank her for keeping a good eye on the house and pets while we were on vacation. We try to celebrate the good, but in all honesty everything going on with Arabella is bringing us down. There isn’t a lot of joy in my life right now. On a scale of one to ten I would list my joy rating at a zero. One of the only things that is keeping me from jumping off a cliff (or should I say the Kennebunk bridge) is looking forward to my daughter’s wedding.

Arabella’s time at the hotel was running out. She wanted somewhere to stay and didn’t want to stay with us or with my parents because the environment was way too unhealthy. She wanted to stay with my best friend’s family. Cindy has an 18 year old son living at home. I told my best friend not to let her stay there. If my daughter makes false allegations against her son, or husband for that matter, it could ruin their lives and I couldn’t live with that. Would she end up living in a car? Winter is coming. Then she ‘accidently’ sent me a text conversation she had with someone which detailed her overdosing. Maybe I’ll share that tomorrow. It’s hard to read though as a parent. Every day I expect a phone call telling us she is dead. That’s my life right now.

She doesn’t want anything to do with us, she said. But then she asked me if I would take care of her frogs. I have been but I don’t want to. I feel sad because every time I look at them I think of how they were a gift to her to show her how much we care. I don’t want her to take them because I am afraid they will die because she can’t even take care of herself. As I went to the pet store last week for more crickets, the guy who worked there forever commented to me how happy he was to see pets in good homes like mine. I almost started crying. I have a good home?? It’s so easy to doubt that anymore. I’ve been told how awful I am that I am almost starting to believe it or think that others see me that way.

How do people view me? Am I still the kind calm person with a sad smile? Or do people just see me with the weight on my shoulders that brings me down? Do they see the angry lady who beats her fists against the walls? The sad lady that almost cries in pet stores? Or do they see the real me in there somewhere? The me I can’t even see anymore. I’m so beyond broken at this point. Dealing with this stress day in and day out is killing me. But I’ve been through hell before and kept on going.

Finally time for MY nervous breakdown??

Last Tuesday I had an appointment with my therapist. I was actually feeling pretty good. I mean, we had a diagnosis and that was going to solve everything. The puzzle pieces finally fit together and I was able to psychoanalyze my whole family.

I was still a little annoyed about my mom trying to drum up support for me by telling everyone I was ready to jump off the Kennebunk bridge. My therapist told me that my mom is giving me support in the way she wants to receive it. That resonated with me but angered me. I’m almost 50 years old and my mom has no idea how to support me yet I had somehow figured out how to support her before I was 10.

My therapist asked me if I was feeling suicidal. I told her I was angry not depressed or suicidal. Gauging how angry I am if it burns into depression then I would be pretty screwed. Later in the afternoon, I had an appointment with the eye doctor. I found that to be stressful because I hate it when people poke and prod my eyes. To make it even more stressful, the doctor who we’ve been going to over the past decade asked how the kids were doing. Boy, Arabella must’ve graduated and should be off to college by now. Yeah, I would’ve thought that too if I was you. Is she working somewhere? Yeah, she is a waitress but I don’t tell her that she most likely lost her job. Maybe she just needs to figure out what she wants to do? I finally admit Arabella has mental health issues. I try to change the subject. Yeah, my oldest daughter is getting married. Wow, you have a lot going on.

I wish I could say small talk isn’t painful but these kind of conversations happen all the time. It’s normal. My daughter graduated and people who don’t know want to know what she is doing with her life. Before all this happened she was on the honor roll college bound track. For a time I even thought by having her go to residential, she would be fine again and go off to college. Maybe if she had a diagnosis, there would be a pill that would fix her and she would go to college and everything would be fine. The denial is over now and the anger burns.

I had had enough peopling for one day. Screw it, I was going to sit in my hot tub and relax with a beer. My mom called me twice while I was trying to relax, but I didn’t answer because I was trying to relax. Her calling me multiple times a day was nothing new. She calls and calls until I call her back. I just didn’t want to deal with it.

It was a nice day so I decided to sit on my front porch with a beer before making supper. I was sitting there when my mom texted me she was trying to get a hold of me because my brother Luke was on the way to the ER. They thought he was having a stroke. WTF?? My baby brother, a stroke?? I called my mom back right away.

Simultaneously, while I was on the phone with my mom there was a commotion in the front yard. Paul told me the police might be coming. My son was skateboarding with a couple of his buddies and they decided to light up in the woods across the street. A lady walking by threatened to call the cops on a bunch of kids smoking something, somewhere they weren’t supposed to be.

Great, my brother is having a stroke and the cops are coming. I was already angry before all of this and flew into a rage. I chucked my almost full bottle of beer smashing it onto the sidewalk. I repeatedly bashed my fists against the wall. I screamed fuck so many times that it put my brother Matt’s Tourette’s to shame. I said the word more in that 5 minutes then I’ve ever probably said it my whole entire life up to that point. This was my kind of nervous breakdown. I had finally snapped.

The cops were coming and they were probably going to end up taking me away, a middle aged woman having a complete and total meltdown in her front yard. By that time, pretty much all of Alex’s buddies scattered. The dog was lapping up what was left of the beer on the sidewalk. I didn’t want him ingesting broken glass so I started cleaning it up. Not only did I feel bad about tripping over the dog the night before and he could barely walk, now he is drinking up the beer with glass shards. OMG!! I’m going to go crazy, crazier. I couldn’t take it anymore.

My mom called and said the doctors thought Luke had a migraine not a stroke. While I was on the phone with my mom Arabella kept calling her. I already told my mom not to give her money. My mom said she wasn’t going to give her money but was going to put her up in a hotel room for a couple nights. Again, I felt upset because it seemed to me that my mom was going along with her delusion we were abusing her.

The police never showed up that night. I had a talk with my son. I told him he needed to knock that shit off. Maybe that would’ve been acceptable in our old neighborhood, but not here. Don’t make an enemy of the neighbors. I don’t need the extra stress in my life right now.

Guess how much sleep I got that night?

Diagnosis

I told Arabella she needed to come home on Sunday to pick up her medicine. She said the psychiatric nurse changed her medication but she didn’t say what changed. I was afraid to give her all her pills, but what choice did I have?

She stopped by and said she was staying at her friend Kami’s house, but they wanted her out by Tuesday. She said because of our drama and abuse, she wouldn’t be coming back here. She said it has been wonderful living with a normal healthy family. Arabella asked us if we knew what it was like to grow up like that. Of course, Paul and I both responded that we did not. I felt hurt and rather defensive. But how could we give something we never had? We did our best. Paul asked what Kami’s family had that we don’t have. Arabella said they have food that can be eaten at any time. It always went back to that, the delusion we are starving her.

She said she would text me her diagnosis once she left. Although they didn’t do the full psychological testing yet, they gave her a diagnosis of borderline, bipolar, and schizoid personality disorder. They also listed binge eating, insomnia, alcohol and cannabis use, and child physical, sexual, and emotional abuse with a word behind the abuse listing I didn’t recognize. I looked up the word the following morning and it said that it’s was a symptom of a health condition. So basically she thinks she has been abused because she is delusional.

I felt a sense of relief that I finally had some answers. Then I took it one step further and analyzed her results. It made sense. I believe that Paul’s mom had undiagnosed borderline/bipolar with delusions. I didn’t know a lot about schizoid so I looked it up. In it I found the definition of my dad. I always thought he was depressed but I never remembered him crying once in my life, even when his mother died. This disorder is characterized by lack of affect, laziness, isolation, and an inability to form close relationships with emotional intimacy.

Then I took it one step further than that. If my dad is unable to experience emotional closeness with another person why would my mom stay? She always said she stayed because of her religious convictions but no one would blame her for leaving after what my dad did. She was always the main breadwinner, so it wasn’t that. I looked further. I think my mom has dependent personality disorder with anxiety. She can’t handle being alone even if it means staying with my dad. Regardless, she is also seeing a psychiatrist.

Needless to say, Paul and I were both raised with all of our parents experiencing mental health struggles and now we are seeing something similar in our daughter. It didn’t just pop up out of the blue. The pieces finally fit together.

I was finally starting to feel hopeful again. Then something bad happened. Angel and I noticed that our 14 year old dog was especially stiff in his back legs that day. As I was walking around the corner with an overflowing laundry basket of towels, I tripped over my dog because I couldn’t see him. He started limping and having a hard time walking. Was he going to be okay? Was anything going to be okay? I felt a tremendous amount of guilt because I caused suffering. I was back to feeling sad and upset.

Will we ever get a break?

Home again, gone again

After we got home from our trip, Arabella did not thank us and tell us she had a great time. She told me specifically that I was too controlling and she wanted all of us to just leave her alone. She wouldn’t even accept hugs from grandma. She was scheduled to work the day after we got home and she went in but came home early stating that the manager who liked her quit.

Arabella was scheduled to work Sunday morning but I was not home to see her off in the morning as Paul and I went to church. Once again I was feeling angry as I listened to the worship leader talk about a God who could move mountains. The pastor was talking about miracles and healing. But my faith has reached an all time low. God, why don’t you heal my daughter? Why is she getting worse? Paul wanted to stay after for prayer, I wanted to go home. This lead to a fight. I wanted to see if Arabella made it to work but her car was still at home when we got back. I went in her room and told her she was late but she wouldn’t get out of bed.

An hour later Arabella came out of her room wearing a hat and a fake pair of glasses. She asked Angel if people would recognize her in her disguise. She wanted to go gamble at the arcade and wanted to know if anyone from work would see her if they would recognize her. Of course she was recognizable! We told her if she wasn’t up to going to work, she shouldn’t be going out and having fun which angered her.

The following morning I had my counseling appointment. I told my counselor about our trip where Arabella accused us of abuse and neglect and left at night to wander off by herself. She thought I should call her psychiatrist’s office. When I got home from the appointment, Arabella once again did not go into work. I was really concerned now that she lost her job. I did call the psychiatrist’s office even though she was supposed to go in for a psych evaluation later in the week.

The following day Arabella slept again all day. She refused to eat supper with us which was not unusual. That evening I heard her leave the house after I went to bed. She came back home around 2:30 AM and it woke us up. Paul went to check on her in the middle of the night. She didn’t want to see him. He confiscated a bottle of vodka from her room. I was rather worried about that because I didn’t want anything to stop her from going to her appointment later in the week and now she was really mad. As if having answers would somehow make everything all better.

The next evening I went out to eat with my best friend. Arabella was gone when I got back home. Later that evening she texted me to say she left and was never going to come back home. She wouldn’t tell me where she was. She turned her location off on her phone. She sent me a message saying she might need to go to the ER. I asked her why. She said she was starving to death because we didn’t feed her. My daughter is obese and she thinks I am starving her. It was yet again another sleepless night.

The next morning I was on the phone with the psychiatrist’s office again. They were very helpful. It wasn’t the first time my daughter left home with allegations of abuse and neglect but it was the first time after she turned 18. Sadly, there isn’t a lot I can do. What I really need right now is a miracle but I’m not getting my hopes up.