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…

Now snakes too!

I am hosting a grad party for Arabella this weekend in two days. Two days! I just spent the morning cleaning the house and spent 5 hours this week weeding. I think there is going to be a point where it is just going to have to be good enough. That’s the thing about weeding. Everyone notices if you don’t do it but no one really realizes how tedious of a chore it is if you do.

I’m feeling a little stressed about the party. All of my closest friends will not be able to attend. My best friend has the funeral of her uncle/godfather out of town. Most of the other people that are coming haven’t seen my daughter since before COVID. So in other words, before she really started to struggle with mental health issues.

There are two questions I am dreading. The first one is why isn’t your dad at the party. I can only hope no one notices since he wasn’t the most involved before. I am sure I am going to have at least one person ask me that though. I’m not much of a liar. Perhaps I should say that my dad is a pedophile and was not invited. Maybe I should just say that he is sick. But then they might think he has COVID since I’ve been having a lot of questions about that as well. What are my chances of getting the Delta variant if I come to the party? Will there be any of those unvaccinated people there? Really, how should I know who is vaccinated or not?? I’m not going to be checking vaccine cards at the door. I told those people to make whatever choice they feel most comfortable with.

The second question might even be harder. Arabella has extensive cutting scars on her arm. Almost everyone coming has not seen her since before COVID meaning that they are not used to seeing her wounds. Now she could cover her arms but she probably won’t. She recently got a semicolon tattoo on her wrist. It’s really quite moving that she wants to be authentic and remove the stigma of keeping mental health issues and suicide attempts hush hush. She can’t undo the scars. Is she supposed to spend the rest of her life covering it up? She is not ashamed of her struggles, but her arms are a painful reminder of what she and all of us went through. I have mixed feelings about whether she should cover them or not but it is not my decision to make. I should probably warn her about comments though.

I’m sure I will get questions about it that I don’t want to answer. I can pretty much guarantee that my niece Gracie will say something blunt and rude. Right now I am happy that my daughter is still alive. But I am afraid of the comments she might get because her arms are really shocking. She also cut up her legs but you can’t really see that unless she wears a swimming suit. Plus she grew a couple more cups sizes since residential so her appearance is very attention grabbing.

Also, today my mom is getting a heart monitor. Her anxiety medicine is giving her tachycardia so she has to wear the monitor for 2 weeks. She is going to love all the attention she gets at the party. Tomorrow is her birthday and she wants us to take her sailing. I thought having the party the weekend of her birthday would be a good opportunity to get together with my brothers for her birthday. But the only brother able to go is Matt and he is disabled and has a hard time getting around. My mom is also afraid of water but she wants to go. It is supposed to rain and she can’t get the heart monitor wet. We’ll see how it all goes. It really couldn’t be worse timing since I have so much to do for the party.

I really hope the party goes well. I am a little worried about it. Well, I better get back outside to do more weeding. It’s kind of funny because yesterday after weeding my husband saw a rather large snake by a bush I just put my hands under to grab weeds. As if I don’t have enough to worry about. Now snakes!!

Gratitude week 82

  1. Today I had my upper endoscopy re-check. Everything looked normal, so I’m grateful for that. I still feel a little doped up so bear with me if I start cracking bad jokes.
  2. Angel, Dan, and I got massages for Angel’s birthday.
  3. Since my massage was way earlier than theirs, I hung around until they were done and then they followed me to the restaurant. Why I’m grateful for this is because apparently both blinkers and break lights weren’t working. I didn’t even know it. I’m grateful that I didn’t get into an accident while my rear lights were out.
  4. Arabella’s boyfriend broke up with her. You might have been wondering if I thought he was a jerk or something to be grateful for this. I am not that mean. What I am grateful for is that her response was appropriate. She was sad and crying, but she wasn’t depressed and didn’t self-harm. She said that she knew she wouldn’t feel this way forever and that she was okay. I truly felt she handled it well. Her boyfriend is leaving for college soon and that is apparently why they broke up. I am truly grateful she is handling the break up better than I expected she would.
  5. Summer!! Oh my gosh, the weather was perfect this past weekend. We spent the weekend up north for Angel’s birthday and had a lot of fun.
  6. I achieved my sailing certification. Although sailing is my husband’s passion a lot more than mine, I wanted to know what to do in case there was an emergency.
  7. Now that I finished reading my sailing certification book, I started reading the book Educated and it is really good. I really want to dig into some really good memoirs as I want to edit and rewrite my own book soon. Wow, I really used the word really a real lot.
  8. My mom is making supper tonight.
  9. I’m grateful that my husband took me to my appointment today.
  10. I’m grateful that my daughter might have a wedding date picked out this week. Then the real fun starts…the wedding dress shopping will be so much fun!

Gratitude week 81

  1. We made it across the bay back to our home port before the storm hit on my birthday.
  2. It seemed like absolutely everybody at the marina knew it was my birthday (even people I didn’t know). It’s probably the first time since I turned 40 that I am all birthdayed out. It was too much attention for this introvert.
  3. I met my son’s new girlfriend at my birthday party. She is really quiet and that is nice.
  4. Today I met my daughter Arabella’s new boyfriend. I did meet him briefly before when he came over at night and I was sleeping on the couch. I told him it was nice to finally meet him when I was dressed. Well that was awkward. I meant to say it was nice to meet him when I was awake (not sleeping on the couch in my pajamas).
  5. Summer!! After the storms on my birthday I couldn’t ask for better weather.
  6. I am planning Arabella’s graduation party. I am grateful to plan her party. As I looked at all of her pictures throughout the years I found myself really grateful that I am planning her graduation party and not a funeral. Worrying about death is one of the hardest parts of being a parent of a child with serious mental health issues. Graduating was a milestone worth celebrating, even if she is not heading to college like all of my friend’s kids.
  7. Over the weekend I went out to eat at the restaurant Arabella works at. I felt grateful that she has a job she really loves.
  8. I also went to a wedding show over the weekend with Angel, Dan, and his mom. I think within the next week or so we should have a date. I still cannot believe my daughter is getting married!
  9. Although I slept better on the sailboat, it is really wonderful to sleep in my own bed again.
  10. I am grateful for Angel’s birthday this week. We are planning massages and going out to eat at our favorite pizza place.

Everyone else’s problems

Okay, so maybe things aren’t going to be all that light and fluffy yet. I feel really irritated today. Maybe it’s just PMS or something.

Some days I can just let it go and other days not so much.

Yesterday my husband and I made plans to take my daughter Angel and her best friend sailing for her birthday. Apparently the weather had other plans. It ended up going alright anyway. But that wasn’t the problem. When we got back around 5 PM, I noticed that Arabella was still home. I thought she was scheduled to work at 4:30 PM. So I went to talk to her and found out she was supposed to work at 10:30 AM. She slept through her whole shift. So she missed a whole day of work and the previous two days before that she was late.

My husband and I were livid. The last thing we want is for her to lose the job that she says she loves. We again told her how important it was to sleep at night and wake up in the morning. After I woke her up she called work. Thankfully she didn’t get fired but I’m not sure how long that will last. They are very nice to her too and said she could wear a short sleeved shirt despite her cutting scars. They told her they don’t discriminate. She was really upset with herself and when I asked her if she wanted to talk about it she told me to leave her alone. Just like old times. She is upset with me but can’t do it by herself.

It really stressed me out.

Also, when we got home yesterday, we had the invisible fence lady at our door. I was on the phone with a client a few days ago when I saw my dog cross the road and almost get hit by a car. Our dog is almost 14 years old and is practically deaf and blind. He has been going right through the fence and onto the road. We had to do something. So they came out and turned the collar all the way up. Thankfully he is responding to it now. But it is hard to see him go downhill so fast. Our cat is 15 and not in much better shape. I don’t think either one will make it through another winter and it is hard to see both our pets decline.

Then if all that wasn’t enough. My mom came back yesterday. She is all stressed out because her tooth cracked and she had to get a crown, my dad now has some sort of heart problem, and my brother Matt had a CT scan because of some benign tumors on several organs. She only slept an hour last night and was a bear to deal with today. She wanted me to drive her to her appointment today which I did. But she was annoyed by my music saying it was too loud (it wasn’t) and clangy and asked me to turn it off.

A huge, huge pet peeve of mine is complaining about my music when I’m driving. It’s not a big deal if someone asks me to turn it down so they can talk to me. That’s no problem. I usually keep the volume down when I have passengers anyway. But saying they don’t like it and asking me to turn it off when I’m doing them a favor is another thing entirely. I just had the radio on quietly. Yes it was rock music. I hate her music too but never ask her to turn it off.

It kind of reminds me when my kids were young after I got past the stage of having to listen to that dribble Barney crap, I would listen to music I liked. When they complained, I told them that when they drove they could listen to whatever they wanted to. That came back to bite me because they can listen to stuff off their phone. In my book, driver picks the music whether I like it or not. Sometimes my husband will be really nice when he drives and tells me to put on anything I want. It’s like heaven to me.

But anyway, here I am back to letting everyone else’s problems bug me. I don’t even want to go up north this weekend to be around family anymore since they all carry so much negative energy. I am looking forward to seeing my brothers Mark and Luke but my dad, Matt, and my mom aren’t very relaxing to be around.

When can I live my own life and let everyone else’s problems go? Seriously!!?!

The story unfolds

So now the story unfolds. It’s been over a month since Arabella has been home from residential. She was there for over two months.

She is now writing her own story in a book that will perhaps never be written. We did our best. Now here we will remain as a landing pad when her wings are broken from life as sometimes happens when a bird first leaves the nest.

We keep telling ourselves that everything will be okay. Even if it’s not, we will still walk through it together.

On the rough days we talk of Paul’s mom. She made a good life for herself. She didn’t have much. She didn’t have a high school diploma but was always able to find a job. She raised a child as a single parent when she was right around Arabella’s age. She struggled with mental health issues, but she had her mother to help her and later in life she married a good man. She had a house to live in.

If Martha could do it, then Arabella has a good chance to live life independently. In some ways, I think that Martha was happier than most people I know. Ignorance is bliss they say. I don’t even think she knew she was not very bright or that she was mentally ill.

Arabella is out in the world now. She is finding her way, even if it is not the path I would’ve chosen for her. She is not out of the woods, but she is doing so much better. She wants to live now. Crazy can be fun and exciting. Normal is boring anyway.

I am closing this series. It’s been very challenging to write about my daughter’s mental health struggles in only the way that personal painful pieces can be. But I feel like it’s been therapeutic for me as well.

From here on out I might get a little light and fluffy for awhile. I might post about my travels, wedding planning (yeah!), or go back to writing about the fortune cookies I’ve amassed. But I’m not going anywhere. I just need to lighten things up after talking about such serious personal topics.

I can be fun too, but you guys probably don’t know that about me.

Residential care

The first couple of weeks at residential were really rough. I was afraid that Arabella was going to get kicked out of the program. They told us while she was on the waiting list if she did any self-harm, such as banging her head against the wall like she did at her second inpatient stay, they would release her. She knew that because she was part of that conversation. She hated it there at first. She didn’t have any friends. They purposefully kept her alone to increase her tolerance in a safe environment.

We received nightly calls from her which were not always good. She begged us to send her expensive gifts overlooking the cost of treatment. She bragged about her arguments with staff and how she broke the rules. They had a hard time waking her up in the morning like we did. It wasn’t going well because she didn’t want to be there. She argued with us and hung up on us on multiple occasions. I was always waiting for a call that we should come pick her up and there was nothing they could do for her.

The first call from the therapist was rough because she said that Arabella made allegations of abuse against us which they had to report to social services. Nice! What were they going to do anyway? Take her away? I jokingly said to my husband that maybe then the county would pay for her residential treatment. But nothing ever happened.

Arabella caught on fast, but she couldn’t focus. She was easily distracted which lead to a diagnosis of ADHD. She improved greatly in the program after she was treated for this. I felt like this was a turning point in her treatment. She wanted to be there after that and wanted to get better. She could finally focus on studying and new hobbies.

Some other strange things happened while she was there. Arabella went into a dissociative state and freaked out scaring other patients. She didn’t know who she was or where she was. In this dissociative state, Arabella ate plastic which prompted more testing for pica. Dissociation can be a symptom of borderline. After this she had every single diagnostic characteristic of borderline. I wondered if this had anything to do with her eating nonfood items before. I was completely puzzled.

Before this I did not know she experienced dissociative episodes. She admitted to dissociating in the shower. She also said that she had episodes in her room where she looked down at herself and thought that she was a very bad person that didn’t deserve to live or a very good person. I found it very hard to understand and didn’t even know it was possible or likely without experiencing major trauma.

After the treatment for ADHD and after her dissociative episode ended, there was a time of tremendous growth. She started working on learning and applying skills. I guess what I’m trying to say is that we were very fearful at first about whether or not this treatment was going to work. We had a lot invested in it and not just financially. I think our fear in early treatment was normal, we just didn’t know what to expect.

I think the residential DBT program was a lifesaver. It gave her (and us) more tools to work on some of her mental health issues she was struggling with. But we were also worried about how things were going to be when she got home. Would the skills carry over? Would she be able to live independently or would she need lifetime care? Again, we just didn’t know what to expect in recovery.

From the beginning

Strangely enough after Arabella went to residential I got asked even more (rather unusual) questions by the therapist. What was your pregnancy, childbirth, and Arabella’s early infancy years like?

When I got pregnant with Arabella I had a 4 year old and a 2 year old. I was also babysitting 50 hours a week for the next door neighbor’s kid who was 3. She called me mom. The neighbors worked all the time then every weekend they dumped their kid off at grandma’s so they could party with friends. The mom was harsh and I thought she was rather verbally abusive. The dad wasn’t the greatest either. The whole situation disgusted me, but I felt rather envious too. I rarely got a break from my kids.

Right before I got pregnant, my brother Matt heard voices to tell him to attack my daughter Angel which he did at her 4th birthday party. After he hurt her, I set a boundary with my mom that Matt could not be around my children anymore. My mom pushed back against that boundary and tried to force Matt back into my kids life which caused a lot of stress. I lost all help when I pushed Matt away because my mom had to care for him and he wasn’t allowed around my kids. My MIL didn’t help much at all. She could barely handle the one kid she had. Even my husband had to work the day our daughter was born because he just started his business at the time. He was a one man show and he was the one that paid our bills.

I was worried when I found out I was having another girl. I would have been more worried if it was a boy though. My brother was fixated on hurting little girls. But if I had a boy I worried he would be schizophrenic/autistic like my brother. I didn’t tell anyone the gender because it was too painful. Either way invoked worry that robbed me of the joy of pregnancy.

Arabella was breech. They told me it didn’t matter because she was to be my 3rd C-section. I felt really sick after she was born and didn’t even want to nurse her because I had a reaction to the pain medicine. My mom stayed with the older kids overnight so I could have Arabella early in the morning. Then she dropped the kids off at the hospital right after Arabella was born because Matt had a dentist appointment. I scheduled my C-section so I would be in the hospital over the weekend when my husband didn’t have to work because we didn’t have anyone to watch the kids.

A week after my C-section I was home alone with all three kids. I remember being a zombie hopped up on pain medicine after sleepless nights. I’m not going to lie, it was hard. Thankfully the neighbors got divorced and I wasn’t babysitting anymore.

I was constantly stressed because I didn’t have the help I needed. I didn’t take very good care of myself. I sometimes wonder if I caused this with all the stress hormones constantly pumping through my body. I ended up getting mastitis twice. I was sick all the time. Right after Arabella was born my grandma had open heart surgery. I took on all the holidays since my grandma wasn’t able to.

I had a baby that cried constantly day and night. She refused to be comforted. She wouldn’t take a pacifier. She didn’t suck her thumb or fingers. She didn’t want to be held unless she was nursing. The only thing that she responded to was the infant rocker and having music constantly playing on repeat in her room at night on the CD player. When the CD would stop at the end and go back to the beginning, she would cry.

I took her to several doctors. Did she have an ear infection? That was the only reason my other kids would cry at that age. Was she autistic like my brother? Colic? (I suspect doctors tell parents that when they don’t know why your baby doesn’t stop crying). Big surprise, they couldn’t find anything wrong with her. I nursed her longer than the rest of my babies. When I weaned her, she took her tiny fists and beat them against my chest while screaming. My other kids didn’t do that. Everything seemed wrong but nothing was wrong. It took her over a year to finally sleep through the night.

The therapist thought that Arabella always had emotional dysregulation and that her condition was genetic. She didn’t experience any out of the norm trauma (death of a grandparent). She was a lot like my MIL who did experience trauma. Or did she? I don’t even know anymore. And if trauma caused her mental illness then how did it influence her genes to pass borderline on to her granddaughters? There is so much that I don’t understand yet, but I do know that Arabella’s infancy years were tough and apparently that is indicative of future problems.