I’m drowning

The day started out rough. Or should I say the night as neither Paul nor I slept well. I had another nightmare, woke up crying which awoke him and pretty much kept him up. Last night I had this dream where someone stole my car, totaled it, and ran off leaving me to take the blame. The last month has been bad with the insomnia and nightmares. I don’t know what to do about it.

I had a dream that a guy sexually assaulted my dog and pretty much left him to die bleeding, whimpering, and crying. But it was okay because somehow I took money from the guy. I awoke crying and sickened. That was the first and worst nightmare.

I had a dream that the end of the world was coming. A few minutes before it happened, terror struck the room in a premonition that something bad was going to happen. People started screaming, the lights buzzed and flickered, time went in slow motion, and then there was nothing.

I had a dream I was at the family reunion and no one knew my kids’ names. I had a dream I was sitting next to a lady who was laughing at and mocking my daughter because she had no idea she was mentally ill.

This morning I got a call from one of the AirBnB’s saying they needed to cancel our reservation next week due to remodeling. Why would they start a remodeling project at the end of tourist season?? I was immediately suspicious because I got a call from them a couple months back saying they double booked the cabin but not to worry they would take care of it. I pretty much spent all morning trying to find other accommodations.

I am already stressed about the trip. I’m afraid that my son and daughter at home will fight like they did the last couple of trips. My daughter Angel and I got into a fight about it this morning while we were discussing it. I’m afraid that my mom won’t do well on the trip. She is already mentioning she is feeling really anxious about going. I will be surprised if I don’t have to take her to the ER on this trip.

Arabella is also going on the trip for a graduation gift. I am worried about that as well. I don’t think she is doing well. She is sleeping all day and staying up all night. How is that going to work on this trip?? I think she slept 12 hours yesterday. I tried to wake her up at supper time but she kept sleeping. Not that she would eat with us anyway, but I keep asking. I recently read that wake sleep cycle dysregulation could be a serious health problem.

Arabella must’ve gotten up after I went to bed last night because I heard her come home at 5 AM from somewhere. She had to work at 10:30 AM. I had some errands to run but when I got back home she left for work. Shortly after her scheduled shift, she came back home and went back to bed. I asked her if everything was alright. She told me to leave her alone. I am still afraid she is going to lose her job. She has been late a lot lately especially for the morning shifts. She is refusing to talk to me.

I hope she has a psych eval soon. I have been noticing more troubling behavior. I know without a doubt she is borderline. I think she might be bipolar but I am questioning if she does have schizoaffective disorder like her psychiatrist mentioned before. My daughter is delusional. Now she thinks she is psychic. She has the ability to look at people’s pictures on Tinder and know things about them that they don’t even know. SHE PICKS UP VIBES OFF OF PICTURES ON TINDER. Do you know how terrifying that is as a parent???? She can tell if people are safe or not by looking at pictures. She goes out at night by herself when I am trying to sleep. I think I am a pretty good judge of character, but even I can be fooled sometimes after I’ve known someone for years. My God, I hope she doesn’t get murdered. But not to worry, she live streams on social media everywhere she goes.

The other troubling thing is that she is obese but thinks she is anorexic. She doesn’t eat with us. She sits in her room and binge eats junk food. She probably lost 15 lbs. when she got COVID. She said she needed to gain weight because she was getting way too thin. What??? She could lose 100 lbs. and people would not think she is thin. Not only that, but she is showing us and people who come to our house her stomach. She thinks she has 6 pack abs. She does not. The other day she chased her sister down as her sister was leaving in her car and had her stop to show her her abs. She thinks everyone is obsessed with her.

Arabella was always a bright girl, but I see her mental illness taking away all the dreams I had for her and it is horrifying. I really think it’s a matter of time before I need to put her on some kind of disability. She will never be able to take care of herself. She can’t even manage her medication and appointments. The only hope I have is if she can hold down this job. I’m grieving the loss of who she was, the bright girl with an even brighter future. It really sucks.

I’m trying to let go and live my own life. But how can I?? I feel like I’m drowning. Some days it just takes all I’ve got trying to keep my head above water.

I just want the boring life

I should’ve known what kind of day I would have when my phone alarm woke me up this morning. You see, I never set my alarm. At 6:40 AM it started playing an explicit song called Woman by someone called Doja Cat on Spotify. I never heard the song before. I don’t know why it happened. When I searched the internet all I could find is that people have to pay to get an app that does that. Lucky me! All I have to say is that I’m happy it didn’t happen at 4 in the morning. My son said maybe it was a sign of some sort. Of what I don’t know.

I feel so frustrated by life that sometimes I just want to leave it behind and walk away. I guess it’s better than wanting to find the closest cliff to jump off of.

It stormed most of the day. Finally a good storm that the thunder cracked so loud it seemed to shake the very foundation of my house. I stayed inside and cleaned.

Paul had his first appointment with a new counselor. She asked him an interesting question. Who do you turn to for support? He didn’t have an answer. Really besides me, he has no one else. He didn’t have a dad or even a grandfather. He didn’t have a mentor. My dad was pretty much worthless to fill those shoes. There wasn’t anyone. He was alone but always willing to give the shirt off of his back when someone else needed help. It makes me so sad. We were always alone having to help parent our parents that never supported us. He can’t turn to me when I have nothing left to give. It’s no wonder why he wants to drink if it takes away some of the pain. He has done so well in life compared to where he came from. But he has his own demons and I have mine. He really likes this counselor but he came back angry. That’s okay though, I understand. I would be angry too. I am angry too. I respect him for trying to better himself, he didn’t have to go.

The last couple of years have been unbearable mainly because of my dad and the mental health struggles we’ve had with Arabella. I lost a part of myself. I am rarely fun anymore. I just feel an unrelenting sorrow. If you saw me you would see it on my face even if I did smile at you. I’m struggling to keep my faith. I’m angry a lot, but mainly sad.

I’m having a hard time with everything lately for more reasons than I’ve had a chance to share with you. The last couple of days Arabella has been slipping into depressed mode. She’s been manic for months. I hate the manic mode for her impulsiveness and risky behavior. But the last couple of days she switched. She quit her second job and I worry she might lose her first. She has been working as a server the past two months. When she was manic she was very upbeat and personable. But the last two days she has been crying uncontrollably while at work. They had to pull her off the floor because they didn’t want her crying in front of customers. Instead she spent her shift folding napkins in the back. Then today, although she wasn’t scheduled to work, she wanted to go in to hang around the people at work because they are nice.

I am so terrified that they are going to let her go. She had a hard time even finding that job in a labor shortage. What am I going to do? I can’t have her not working and am so afraid she is going to be suicidal again especially if she loses this job. Thankfully she has an appointment on Thursday with the psychiatric nurse. I told Arabella to tell her what has been going on. I don’t think it will help, but maybe. I know she is an adult and I should let it go, but what if she needs help? It’s hard because her best friend is going off to college this week and she is not. She has been moody and angry towards me when I try to talk to her sometimes. Some days she likes me, other days she does not.

Then the icing on the cake was that my son got pulled over tonight a half a block from our driveway. A couple weeks back he bought a fire engine red Camaro that roamed the earth with the dinosaurs, or should I say pre-internet right around when I graduated from high school. That car is so fast I could probably outrun my demons in it or maybe he could his guardian angel. I knew it was going to happen. I just didn’t know it would happen so soon. I think he bought a lemon too. He got it from a guy that bought it 3 months ago. He bought it a couple weeks back, drove it a few days, and then it ended up in the garage getting fixed until today. But anyway, he was travelling about three times the speed limit and got pulled over. I was nice enough to run his insurance cards down to him so he would avoid getting ticketed for that too.

I decided to punch a boxing bag to help work off some of the stress but ended up knocking it off it’s stand. So here I am writing instead. So much for light and fluffy posts. I don’t think I have much of that left in me. Maybe I should just go to bed before anything else happens. But if I wake up to a song tomorrow morning I think I’ll have my son run over my phone with his fast car. I really want tomorrow to be boring and uneventful.

I want the boring life.

chaos

Hi sweetheart I think you look good and I would love to get to know you if you let me. My name is Matt. I’m 36. So if you would give me a text my number is xxx-xxx-xxxx.

My 18 year old daughter Arabella went to the mall with her friend. When she got back to her car she found the note above on her windshield. This is not the first time she was hit on by men twice her age. Seriously WTH??? It’s creepy and I find myself scared when she goes out. She didn’t see this guy, but he was watching her. What is it about her that attracts these kind of people? Will this change after the reduction surgery? Is it her personality?

She just got back from Chicago yesterday. She went with a friend, a last hurrah so to say before her friend leaves for college. She seemed almost manic when she got back. She told my daughter Angel and I stories of her time away. She said she went clubbing by herself, underage, and was served alcohol. She took an Uber alone at night in a city she is unaccustomed to. She met some new friends. It was unsafe and crazy for her to do this. But she is crazy. She no longer self-harms but she does dangerous things that you or I wouldn’t think of doing.

She told the stories. She showed the pictures of herself drinking at clubs. She loves the attention and chaos it brings when we told her that it wasn’t safe. It was really upsetting to me. I find it hard not to worry when I have a teenage daughter that does crap like this. Would you want your 18 year old daughter to go out to clubs at night by herself in a major city she is not familiar with that has a high homicide rate? Not to mention trafficking.

Then last night she dropped a bomb on us. She told my husband that she thought Jesus was gay. He was offended and it created an argument within our house. All of my kids got involved in the argument in some way. I want a peaceful house. I hate it when people are fighting and crying. But at the end, I was really upset with Arabella because she created chaos within my house. She knew her comment would create conflict. She lives for attention. If things are peaceful and everyone is getting along, it bores her. My mom and niece Gracie are the same way. I try to not let their actions worry or create a rise in me but they do. They need constant attention and when they don’t get it they create chaos. I hate it and want nothing more than to live a quiet and peaceful life.

Then Arabella decided to clean her room in the middle of the night. Our bedroom is right off the kitchen and I heard her throwing stuff in the garbage and getting ice for her water bottle. She was scheduled to work in the morning so I was upset that she wasn’t getting enough sleep. Plus she woke me up and I laid in bed awake for an hour and a half. It’s upsetting when she makes poor choices and there is nothing I can do about it. I have to remind myself how thankful I am that she is alive.

On a good note. I am pretty much ready for the graduation party tomorrow. I got more cancellations because of the Delta variant. It’s frustrating because I already spent a small fortune on food and drinks. I am hoping the party goes well and that I will be feeling a lot less stress after tomorrow. We’ll see…

Waiting in the uncertainty

One day Arabella handed me a baggie full of pills. Inside was a month’s supply of sleeping pills. I didn’t understand. How did this happen when I watched her take her medication every morning and every night? I couldn’t imagine it would be that easy to stockpile pills while under supervision.

She gave me the pills because she said she was no longer planning on using them to kill herself. She said she was surprised that I never found them after outpatient said I should search her room. I also remember the late night text from Jordan’s mom saying that she had pills and was planning on using them.

Arabella said that on some nights she wouldn’t take her sleeping pills but instead would drink energy drinks so she could stay up all night. That is what she did to finish high school. I don’t understand why she would even want to do that. At the time she seemed rather manic and didn’t feel the need for sleep. But she didn’t feel like killing herself either. I would almost prefer mania to suicidal depression.

But was she really bipolar then? She told the doctor she couldn’t sleep at night even with the sleeping pills. But she didn’t tell him that she wasn’t always taking them.

I’m glad she handed over the sleeping pills. I finally felt some peace after hearing that my daughter was going to OD on pills but never being able to find anything.

The hard part was that her psychiatrist thought she could be bipolar but said he was retiring and just left us. He never put her on medication that would manage bipolar. At residential, they didn’t think she was bipolar. At home right now, she seems manic.

Over the past year, my daughter has had 6 different possible psychiatric diagnoses. It seems to me that the experts don’t agree. She still needs my help to manage her medications because she is not taking them properly. I still don’t have the answers that I need. I’m not sure what the future holds as far as her care goes. She is having a hard time finding a job because it is obvious that she has some serious mental health issues if you have a conversation with her. I don’t know where to turn.

But as for now, she gave me the pills back. She seems manic which presents itself with other safety concerns. At least she isn’t suicidal at the moment.

But now what? She wants me to butt out because she is an adult now. I can’t in good conscience walk away. I really would like her to have psychological testing for a firm diagnosis. The jury is still out whether or not she is going to be able to live independently and take care of herself someday. The uncertainty and lack of control over the situation is hard to deal with. I guess I’ll just have to wait and see and hope she doesn’t do something to destroy herself in the meantime.

A gasp of fresh air

The day Arabella left us to move in with Jordan’s family is the day I started planning a vacation. Not only did all my vacation plans for 2020 fall through but I lost my daughter as well. She started calling another woman her mom. It didn’t matter what I said or did, I felt like my daughter hated me. On rare occasion, I was the best mom in the world but it had nothing to do with any effort on my part. Again, what I did or didn’t do didn’t seem to make a difference in how she felt about me.

It was hard to handle and I felt very depressed. So I started planning a trip. At that point, I didn’t even care if I had to cancel it. It was the planning and thinking about it that was the most therapeutic at the time because it allowed me to focus on something other than my problems. I had something on the calendar to look forward to. Besides my daughter was gone and I wasn’t sure if she was going to be coming back.

But she did come back home and burnt the bridge with Jordan’s family. After her most recent diagnosis I battled with myself about whether or not to go. My mom wasn’t going to help by staying at our house because she was terrified of COVID. My oldest daughter didn’t really want the responsibility either although she was already living at home. I felt guilty for wanting to get away.

I also felt like I was suffocating. Taking care of a suicidal teen with serious mental health issues was burning me out. I thought if I didn’t get away I would be sitting in a padded room myself or worse. At times it was so painful and grueling that I really didn’t want to live anymore myself. I wasn’t taking care of myself. The stress was so high that it seemed like all my husband and I did was fight and blame ourselves and each other for the problems we were having with our daughter. I seriously thought if I didn’t get a break and take care of myself and our marriage that I would not be able to handle it anymore.

We offered to pay for our oldest daughter’s therapy if she would keep an eye on things. I wish I was kidding. Plus my best friend was willing to do whatever it took to help if needed. We were not flying out of the country and were accessible by phone 24/7. So we went. Thankfully Arabella managed to get herself up for outpatient, took her pills, and didn’t have any emergencies while we were gone. Oddly enough, it was my other two adult children (Angel and Alex) that fought. Their relationship has been strained ever since. Sometimes you just can’t win.

But it was wonderful to get away. It was a breath of fresh air before the drowning started yet again.

New diagnosis

I was very concerned about the things that were happening with Arabella.

On New Year’s Eve, she made a strange comment when we had some friends over. She told everyone that her dad was walking on the ceiling and laughed about it. No one else laughed. They glanced at me and looked at her as if she was crazy. Was she on something? Was she delusional? Was she just trying to get attention?

She said strange things before like the time she said that Jordan’s mom was her mom and I wasn’t. She said other things that weren’t true. At times I could classify her as delusional or paranoid.

Then there were other things like the eating of non food items such as plastic forks. The binge eating and weight gain. The extreme fluctuations between us being evil and the world’s best parents. She fluctuated that same way with herself. Sometimes she saw herself as fat and ugly. Then at other times she wanted to be a stripper and show the world how gorgeous she was. Sometimes she was gay and other days maybe straight.

Then there was the impulsivity. Money in her hands was money spent. The shoplifting. The need to be more extreme than everyone else. The cutting, the suicide attempts. All her relationships were turbulent.

She had unusual emotional reactions, laughing instead of crying upon the loss of friendships that once meant everything to her. She seemed almost manic. She had a hard time sleeping at night even with the sleeping pills. I wanted to tell the doctor that all of this happened within a month’s time. Perhaps her medication was off.

Arabella was in rare form when I picked her up from outpatient to take her to her psychiatrist appointment. She was bouncing off the walls. A combination of caffeine, candy, and mania perhaps? She couldn’t keep a constant thought. She talked about the heating ducts in the office. Things people really don’t care about. She was talking a million miles a minute and I was feeling frustrated. In my mind she was acting pretty crazy and I wanted her to stop. But did I? It was the perfect place to act like this. Every time before this visit, she was quiet and depressed. She couldn’t sit still. She told the psychiatrist that she had crackhead energy.

I explained to the psychiatrist everything I’ve been trying to explain to you. Something was really wrong with my daughter. He got it. He said it was obvious to him that my daughter had more than a case of depression. He said she had disordered mood, thoughts, and personality. He thought she had Schizoaffective disorder with Bipolar 2 along with Borderline Personality Disorder. I didn’t see it coming, really I didn’t.

Then he said that he was retiring. He didn’t have a replacement. He didn’t want to change her medication which was a mess and not even adequate for her new diagnosis. We would have to wait for residential to figure that out. He pretty much said good-bye and good luck.

I was heartbroken. I cried the whole ride home. How did I not see this coming? Schizophrenia?? My brother is schizophrenic. He hears voices.

I grieved for a long time. All my hopes and dreams for a normal life for her were dashed. I wasn’t even sure she would graduate from high school at that point. Remember when she was an honor student? I couldn’t stand to hear about the bright futures of other kids her age. Your daughter is going to college for physics. I’m spending my daughter’s college money for psychiatric care. Yup, hope she doesn’t kill herself.

I remembered the last play she was in. I cried not knowing it would be the last time everything seemed fine. I cried thinking about the last dance she went to where she wore a pretty sleeveless dress before she started cutting her arms.

I grieved for what was that will nevermore be. It was painful that somehow I could’ve caused this. Bad genetics, nary a sane soul on both sides. I was riddled with shame and guilt. I couldn’t understand why my daughter hated me. I was doing everything I could to help her. I couldn’t stand seeing other normal families doing normal things. I resented them. I envied them for what I didn’t have. I would give away everything I had just to have that one thing, normal.

My mom was very comforting at the time. She experienced a lot of the same feelings with my brother Matt.

Now I just had to wait. My life was in limbo in a chaotic holding pattern until residential, if she could make it until then.

Coming home again

It was the toughest hospitalization yet. We weren’t sure how things were going to go once Arabella came home again. We weren’t sure if we could handle it. But ready or not back home she would come.

Everything about the process was difficult, seeing the extent of her cutting for the first time upon admission. Even the need for 24 hour surveillance, the panic attacks. No one really knew what was wrong. How hard is it to do a psych eval? They just kept throwing more pills her way. She was back on one that she was taken off of before. She has depression, maybe bipolar. Too young for a diagnosis of borderline. Trauma, perhaps?

Even the ride home was stressful. Traffic was heavy and I got rear ended on our way home. My car got totaled yet the other driver had barely a dent. Now I needed to find a new car. So much for delivering packages for the holiday season. That was definitely out of the question now. Was getting another job an option anyway?

I felt irritated and overwhelmed by the time we got home. Arabella was being rather quarrelsome. I thought my car was totaled. I had all of these medications to figure out. It took a lot of concentration to figure out her pill regime. I was pretty shook up about the car accident. I really liked my car and didn’t want to have to buy a new one. I’d never been in an accident before. My neck hurt. I was really feeling out of sorts.

Paul seemed to focus on making things nice for Arabella when she got home. I think they played a game together. He seemed irritated with me that that wasn’t my focus. I was very crabby. It’s not often that you pick up your daughter from the psychiatric hospital and total your car on the same day.

Paul helped Arabella switch her room around. Once she realized she couldn’t go back to Jordan’s, she surprisingly adjusted really well to being back at home. Over the time she was hospitalized, Arabella’s pet frog died at Jordan’s house. I felt really bad about the whole thing and went out and bought her two new frogs. It was a really rough time, but some good did come of it. My daughter moved back home and once again enjoyed being here.