8 days

Another dream, this time where the past meets the present. My best friend, not even invited. Not by my side as the matron of honor. Never to see or talk to again. I had a dream she was not invited to my daughter’s wedding. How could she be when she was not invited to mine?

I felt the pain of those left behind. Before it was Shelly. She was supposed to be my matron of honor. I was the maid of honor in her wedding. But along the way life happened and screwed it all up. You see, Shelly needed a job and my brother Matt needed a teacher’s aide in his special ed classroom. Maybe that’s where things went wrong. Matt was physically violent and at the time he was a full sized adult.

Matt didn’t like school much and had the tendency to hurt someone when he didn’t want to do school work which was quite often. One day after attacking Shelly at school, the police were called. The police came to school, handcuffed my brother, put him in the back of the squad car, and took him to jail. It was something my mom always warned us about. Watch Matt carefully he is an adult now and if he hurts someone he could get locked away forever. I haven’t been able to get over my fear of the police. Every time I hear a siren my heart races.

My mom was sick with fear for Matt. He was facing assault charges which were eventually dropped because he was incompetent to stand trial. I never spoke to my childhood best friend again. My mom flippantly said, “Oh well, you were going separate ways anyways.” I was going to college and she was working with my brother. But I wanted the choice.

My plan was to go to school to become a counselor. Then I was going to fix my family. That was when I was young and dumb enough to think I could. I already felt the weight and responsibility. If I only knew Matt was going to hurt someone before he did. I could have stopped it. It’s my fault he attacked someone because I was not vigilant enough. If I believed it was my fault, I also believed I could fix it.

I felt guilty on my wedding day because I didn’t want Matt there. I didn’t want Matt to hurt someone. When I got married, Matt was going through some serious health issues and my parents thought Matt could die which intensified my guilt. They got a room for him in the hotel we had our reception at. After the ceremony, which he didn’t attend, we had the photographer come to the room to take wedding photos with Matt. We were gone so long some of the guests chided us about what took us so long as we were coming down from the hotel room.

Now it’s my dad who is not invited to the wedding. I can’t say I blame my daughter for not wanting him there, but it’s still painful. What if people ask where he is? He was pretty sick a month ago and in my mind I thought maybe he would die and free me from the shame he brought upon us. It’s a horrible thing to wish for. As if I will ever be free from the pain he caused me. My counselor said if asked I could tell people he is not well enough to go. If further asked, I could tell them I will talk to them about it later. I am good with the plan. It’s the last thing I want to talk about. It’s my mom I worry about. She has a tendency to overshare and play the victim making it all about her when the focus should be on someone else.

Call me a slow learner, but I just figured out this year I can’t fix people. In fact, I don’t have any control at all. I thought I could fix my family of origin but they are way too beyond broken to be put back together. I can’t even fix myself. I tried to fix my husband when he was drinking too much. I felt like it was my fault. I was responsible for him. It was my job to fix him. How easily it was to jump back into my old role. At times I even thought he was drinking just to hurt me. He has been seeing a counselor too which has been helpful, but I think it will be something he will always struggle with. At times I can’t blame him. If drinking took away my pain, there wouldn’t be enough I couldn’t drink.

He thought he could fix me too. He thought he could be my knight in shining armor. He thought he could bring me out of the dark spaces I hide within myself. He tried to make me happy so he could fix my depression. Why didn’t my fear and anxiety go away? Didn’t I love him? Didn’t I trust him? Wasn’t he something to live for? Couldn’t I just stop feeling that way? Couldn’t he just stop drinking??

We couldn’t fix our parents, both of us having parents with addiction/mental health issues. We couldn’t fix each other. We can’t fix our kids who all show signs of addictiveness and/or familial mental health struggles to some degree. That was a hard lesson to learn. There is nothing like having to watch someone you love hurting. I wanted to do anything I could to take the pain away from them. It’s harder as a parent, especially being the mom, because there is a huge sense of responsibility to fix your children. How often is the finger pointed at the parents when the kids struggle? (I can tell you with a daughter who has Borderline, it’s a lot even from professionals that should know better). It’s even easier to blame myself.

I guess if there is any silver lining in this, we have been waging war against these demons for a long enough time to know how to fight them in the best way possible. It wasn’t the first time someone I was close to wasn’t invited or wasn’t well enough to go to a wedding. My best friend wasn’t invited to my wedding and I never saw her again. My own grandpa didn’t go to my wedding because he wasn’t well enough. I can only control what I can control. It’s not easy, but there is some peace in knowing when to let go.

It didn’t last long

I intended to write more than I did this week. Yesterday I actually opened my computer up to write when I got a call from my daughter Arabella. She wanted me to pick her up. She was going to be admitted but the hospital was full so she was scheduled to be admitted to another mental hospital a couple hours later.

Her boyfriend Will was with her but he had to leave for work. She called me to pick her up and wanted me to take her to her car at my parents house so she could drive herself to be admitted. All in all, it was an hour and a half of driving for me. Before she could leave with me, I had to talk to someone about a safety plan. They told me all the ways she was planning on killing herself and wanted me to keep an eye on her until she was admitted.

I drove her to my parents house. She talked about how Will and her were fighting which triggered a depressive episode for both of them. Neither one was doing well mental health wise. Arabella went to pack a few things. My mom came up to me and told me she only slept four hours, that she wasn’t okay herself. It took longer than I thought for Arabella to pack her things. My stomach dropped. Was she okay? I didn’t want to go to her room because I was sure it would be upsetting to me which it was. There was clothes everywhere, empty containers of food, and a bottle of anti-depressants strewn across the floor.

I left as soon as I could with Arabella following behind me. I was worried when she spent too long in the bathroom. I was worried maybe she would find a way to skip her appointment. I tried my best but I wasn’t sure she was going to be alright. It didn’t take long for things to go to shit after our fun weekend away. But this is her fifth inpatient stay within the last two years, so it’s nothing new.

Just the day before my mom came to visit. She brought my brother Matt with. With all the rain we got last weekend, his bedroom in the group home got flooded so he is staying with my parents for awhile. While they were at my house, my Aunt Jan Facetimed my mom so my brother Matt could see her grandchildren she babysits for. She had no idea my mom was at my house right away and started talking about me behind my back in front of me.

My mom has this really bad habit of ALWAYS being on speakerphone and not telling people she is. I almost had to laugh when my aunt figured out my mom was at my house and she was talking about me while I was sitting there. She didn’t say anything bad, but it was funny afterwards because she texted my mom asking if I heard everything and asked my mom if she said anything she shouldn’t have.

Just the week before my mom was on speakerphone with my Aunt Jan while at my house. After awhile she did tell my aunt she was at my house. My aunt said she wanted to talk to me. She asked me when Angel’s bridal shower was because she already bought a gift for her. I felt manipulated by her. She didn’t want me to be a part of family functions but now she wants to go to my daughter’s shower. After everything, I wasn’t even planning on inviting her or any of my aunts really unless that is what my daughter wants. If she does, I’m planning on calling my aunt and airing my grievances but I don’t even want to think about that right now.

Right now I just feel sad. I feel sad because my daughter is back in the hospital. I feel annoyed my mom was more concerned about not sleeping. I think my aunt is trying to control me with gifts instead of apologizing and I don’t like it. It’s okay for us to be rejected by her, but she doesn’t want to feel left out?? I feel angry that my parents or in-laws never helped me with my kids while I was at work. It was just a big free for all while I was gone trying to help my husband run our business. It’s hard not to be bitter about these things. I feel guilty because I do have a lot of good things in my life. I feel guilty for not feeling happy and for focusing on the things I don’t have instead of what I do.

At least I am mindful about how I feel. Maybe I just need a break from other people’s problems for awhile. But sometimes that is hard to do when I feel like I have to fix everything that’s broken.

Navigating life

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t struggle with depression, anxiety, insomnia, and nightmares.

Why should I expect that to change? The likelihood of no longer struggling with these things is about as likely as me waking up one morning with schizophrenia. It’s probably not going to happen. I was thinking about these things while I laid awake the other night.

Some things have changed. I started taking medicine prescribed by my doctor to help me sleep at night. It works better than nothing. I still struggle with insomnia and nightmares. The insomnia part has improved, but the nightmares have not.

Do you ever have dreams where you are falling and you wake up before you hit the bottom? I don’t wake up anymore until I’m dead. Sounds strange, right? In the last week, I’ve had two dreams where I was shot point blank, heard the sound of gunfire, and woke up after I died in my dreams. The nightmares just seem to go on forever. In one of the nightmares I was shot while I was cleaning my house. I mean, seriously??

Then I got to thinking, people really don’t change either. Most of my childhood I believed my autistic/schizophrenic brother would become normal again. If only we could find the right doctor, the right diet, the right medication. I was waiting and hoping for this. God was going to heal my brother. I didn’t know what this was going to look like. Would he be able to suddenly read and write like me or was he going to start life over in his toddler years. I thought it was going to happen, but it never did.

When my own daughter started having mental health struggles a couple years back, I thought the same thing. If only I found the right doctor, the right medication, the right inpatient program, outpatient program, etc.. Surely an expensive residential treatment facility would do the trick. But it didn’t cure her. It didn’t take her mental illness away. She is not the same person she was before. She will never be that way again. She may decide to end her life someday and I have to accept that and love her where she is at. That’s a hard pill to swallow.

After my dad committed his crime, there was a period of time where I was under the impression that he accepted the Lord and was a changed person. I wanted so badly to believe that was true. I thought maybe he would finally be the kind of dad I always wanted. But guess what? Nothing changed.

If I pray more and have enough faith, then my anxiety will go away. I used to believe that too. Maybe something was wrong with me because when I prayed for my struggles to go away, they didn’t. I don’t believe people anymore when they tell me those kind of things. It sounds like a gimmick to me. God is bigger than that. I don’t see God in that way anymore. I think faith is a wonderful coping mechanism. But I think people do more harm than good by telling others if they do certain things then their sibling, their child, their parent, or they will not struggle anymore.

Miracles do happen, but they are truly one in a million. I’m better off accepting that the way things are will probably be the way things will always be. If I look at it that way, my life makes a lot more sense. Look at the patterns of behavior. It’s very simplistic, but for me it was a real aha moment in the middle of the night. People don’t change. They may grow and mature over time like a baby turns into an old lady. But it’s still the same person with the same strengths and weaknesses with a little more wisdom and mindfulness on how to navigate life.

Wishes

I wish I could say my good mood has lasted but alas it has not.

I can’t pinpoint anything major just a general feeling of disappointment. Our furnace is still out, plus our boiler for our pool and hot tub are out too. We live in a big old drafty house. Something always needs fixing it seems. Thankfully we know what the problem is with our furnace and it is under warranty. We went from having to get a new furnace this morning to having to pay a couple hundred dollars to have it fixed this afternoon which is great. But I spent my whole day dealing with this and not all of the problems are fixed yet. I suppose it’s too much to ask for a switch that I can turn on to make everything work again.

I feel frustration about COVID and how it is tearing families apart for yet another holiday season. I’m angry about family attacking family over politics and vaccination status. If you don’t believe what I believe then you aren’t welcome to be a part of this family anymore but I still care about you bullshit. I’m so angry I want to cut some extended family out of my life forever. The sad thing is at one time I actually thought they might have cared.

I’m sick of hosting the family holidays. I’m angry that my mom never took it over after my grandma was unable to do it anymore. I’m angry I had to take on the responsibility in my mid-20’s after looking at my daughter that age and thinking about what I had to do at her age. I’m angry I never got to be a child or even a young adult without having to parent my parents who just never seem to be able to handle life without burdening their children.

I’m angry for the crime my dad committed. Tomorrow is the 2 year anniversary. I’m angry that some family members brush it aside as if it never happened. I’m angry that some family members harbor anger towards my daughter for turning him in. I’m angry my dad is so shitty of a dad and grandpa he will not be invited to my daughter’s wedding. I’m terribly jealous of people who have supportive parents. Neither my husband nor I have had that. I’m angry my husband and I have a hard time with relationships because no one ever taught us anything useful. What the hell is normal??

I’m angry that my relationship with Arabella is not what I want it to be. I’m angry she wants me to stop telling people she is delusional when she accuses me of starving, abusing, and torturing her. I’m angry that people feel they need to choose sides. I’m angry people question whether or not I’ve been abusive. I’m angry that I have to worry whether or not she will be alive tomorrow.

I’m angry my mom favors my brother Matt over everyone. I’m angry that he abused me as a child and I was never protected. I’m angry that my dad never taught me I was worthy of love and instead told me how stupid I was. I’m angry that I have to live with the aftermath trauma created in my life. I’m angry that I live in fear and am unable to trust.

All these things have been very painful for me. I’m this close to telling people off. I’m not sure what I need to do to get over this new bout of anger. I feel triggered thinking about family. I’m not sure what is wrong. Tis the season I suppose. I did say this time of year is hard for me.

Tonight my husband and I are meeting with a new pastor. We are thinking of leaving our church. My faith has been horrible the last two years since I found out about my dad and with my daughter’s mental health struggles. I don’t feel like I’ve gotten much support from the church. I acknowledge they are not responsible for my faith but at least offer me some guidance besides forgiveness of those who have hurt me.

If you can’t help me because you never experienced any struggles in life I can understand that as I am not an idiot. But don’t make me feel bad for something I didn’t do. I have yet to pray away my PTSD. Don’t say I don’t have enough faith to overcome my anxiety. Maybe, just maybe, I had to be this way to survive and now I’m trapped in it. I don’t know how to be any other way because I don’t remember life before the trauma started. I don’t have fond childhood memories with my parents and siblings. I wish I did.

I like the person I am but I am getting tired of the bullshit.

Fortune cookie wisdom #31

If you want the rainbow, you have to tolerate the rain.

Wow, this is another good one. There is so much truth in this fortune as well. Oh, if we could only experience the rainbow without all that darn rain. I’m guilty of this as much as everyone else.

I want my life to be full of joy and uplifting experiences. Personally, I am getting really sick of the trauma and drama, my rain. Sometimes I get so caught up in it that I am under a perpetual rain cloud even when the sun is shining.

Yesterday I met with my therapist. I told her how triggered I’ve been lately. It doesn’t take much at this point after all the trauma I’ve been through. The other day I saw a commercial of a teen girl with her loving grandparents. I felt triggered because I don’t have the relationship I want with Arabella and my parents. My kids don’t have the grandparents I had. There is a lot of pain there.

I also heard my daughter Angel scream in the next room. She was goofing around with her fiance. For an instant I was triggered that she was in pain and I needed to help her. It reminded me of when I was young and I heard my brother attack someone and needed to help pull him off of someone. For a couple moments in time it took me back to the fear I lived in a couple decades ago.

I love the holiday season but I am afraid it’s going to be triggering for me. It always has been. Last year was one of the worst because it was the one year anniversary of my daughter Angel finding child porn on my dad’s computer. It tore the whole family apart. I’m anticipating this year will be difficult because Arabella left home on bad terms. The last several times she has reached out to me has been negative. I’m not sure if she is even going to be coming home for Thanksgiving and I’m not sure if I want her to.

I talked to my therapist about my concerns. I think it is unrealistic for me to hope that I won’t be triggered this year. My therapist said that being triggered is not necessarily bad. She said when she first started seeing me that I didn’t feel anything. I was numb. She said being triggered and feeling emotional about the triggers is better than being numb. She said I needed to make sure I didn’t get stuck in the triggers.

I think grief is a process I need to work through. But sometimes I get triggered and stay stuck in the feelings of despair and hopelessness too long. When I don’t want to live anymore that becomes a problem. I have to have realistic expectations otherwise I am setting myself up for more hurt. I cannot change people or circumstances. Sometimes the false hope that this time things will change, this will be the year I don’t get triggered, puts me in a bad place.

But where would I be if life was great all the time? We all have to go through sorrow and pain in order to feel joy. There has to be sunshine and rain in order for there to be a rainbow. If the sun shines all the time it wouldn’t feel special anymore. Life would get boring. Without inspiration my writing would become lackluster.

There is something amazing that happens when the clouds lift, the rain is ending, and the sun is starting to poke through to produce a rainbow.

It has to stop raining soon. I will keep watching for the rainbow.

Fortune cookie wisdom #29

You emerge victorious from the maze you’ve been travelling in.

Sometimes I feel like a lab rat in a maze. I solve one problem then I’m removed from the maze just to be placed into another maze. It’s hard to find the way out sometimes. Sometimes I search for clues from paths I’ve travelled down before to try to figure things out. But sometimes instead of answers I find myself triggered.

It seems like I find myself triggered by a lot of things lately. For example, last Sunday Paul and I went to church. The pastor was talking about bringing in Christmas season donations of new comforters for the homeless shelter. This is an admirable undertaking to give to an area of our community in need. The problem is that our daughter is currently staying at the same homeless shelter which has been very painful for us. Just mentioning the homeless shelter triggered pain in both of us. I realize it’s not the pastor’s fault for causing us pain. But sometimes that is how being triggered works.

I’ve been feeling triggered by other things lately too like my hair. I know this sounds totally crazy and it is. I mentioned this before but not recently that my autistic/schizophrenic brother Matt physically attacked me on a daily basis throughout my childhood. One of the things he did often was grab my mom and I by our long hair. A ponytail was a sure way to get abused by him. He would just grab on and yank. It was swift and painful. Sometimes he would pull my hair gently in a teasing way and laugh. He pulled my mom’s hair while she was driving which was terrifying. Hair=pain.

There was a point in my life when I was a teenager that I felt sickened by my hair. If I didn’t have long hair my brother couldn’t pull it. I felt this urge to cut off all my long hair. One day I grabbed a scissors and hacked off my hair. He couldn’t hurt me in that way anymore.

Lately I’ve been feeling triggered by my hair again. I couldn’t stand to look at it. I wanted to shave my head. I googled what it means for a woman to shave her head. From my research I gathered that a woman with a shaved head could mean she is confident, rebellious, ready for change, or having a mental break. Oh, it this what my nervous breakdown is going to look like??

Yesterday I went in and got my hair cut shorter than I have ever had it before. I’m still not certain it is short enough. I wondered why did I want to cut off all my hair. I had to go back and examine a time I wanted to do that before. I came to this conclusion. There was a time in my life when I was in a lot of emotional distress. During this time cutting off my hair made me feel like I had some control over what was happening to me. It stopped the abuse of the hair pulling. It was a successful coping mechanism.

Twenty-five years later I am feeling attacked by my daughter. I am under emotional distress. I am in a similar mental state that I was in back then. One of the successful coping mechanisms was cutting off my hair. Is it any wonder why I would want to cut off all my hair? It gives me a false sense of control and getting rid of it makes me feel like I am letting go of something. It makes sense for me to think cutting off my hair could decrease some of my pain because it worked before.

I also decided to update my profile picture on WP. It’s been over 3 years since I changed it last so it is time.

It’s probably not the best time

As I mentioned yesterday, it’s been a rough week. I probably wasn’t doing myself any favors yesterday by rereading part of the book I wrote. I read journal excerpts written by my mom of a time when Matt was violent towards me. I was reliving getting hit and kicked. I really want to get going on the project of finishing my book but it is probably not the best timing.

Rereading the book forces me to process past traumas all over again all while I am going through current trauma. I am distraught my daughter decided to quit taking her meds. I am sick of taking care of her pet frogs for her. I want to find a better home for them because she is probably going to neglect them anyway if she takes care of them.

I am sickened by Arabella getting into porn. It is very triggering because porn was a big part of my life growing up and I didn’t want it to be. It also triggers me to think about what Angel and Dan found on my dad’s computer.

I was feeling quite down last night and was glad when Paul’s step-dad Darryl came by for a visit. Darryl felt sad about everything going on with Arabella. He is estranged from his two sons and had some hard times with them as well. Darryl said he was planning on getting married in 3 weeks. He wasn’t going to have a big celebration because they both have been married a couple times before. Paul’s mom passed away almost 5 years already from cancer. I told him he was more than welcome to have a small reception at our house and I would gladly help with wedding planning. Both Paul and I told him we could use something worth celebrating right now.

It’s been strange taking the sleeping pills. I do sleep better but I still have bad dreams. This morning I woke up before 5 after having a dream about my dad and Arabella. I felt so sad upon waking that I started crying. I get this feeling like I can’t do this life thing anymore. There hasn’t been much joy for so long now. I texted my best friend and she called me on her way to work. She told me we were going to get together for cards tomorrow night to take my mind off of things a bit. She is the best.

I got it into my head to not read my book today. Instead I wanted to create a timeline of my life to see if I could find any interesting patterns. On the left side I wrote down the traumas and on the right the good things. I want the book to have an orderly flow. When did he poke me in the eye? When did he threaten to poke my eyes out with a knife in his hand? My autistic/schizophrenic brother Matt was violent towards me on a daily basis for somewhere around 15 years. When did it start? When did it end?

When Angel was 4, Matt attacked her and I cut off almost all contact with him. Those were hard years feeling isolated from family. Here I am again feeling isolated from family because of everything that happened with my dad and COVID. Angel and Alex have not seen my dad for two years. My dad is not invited to my daughter’s wedding. It does hurt because he is still my dad. It’s a horrible feeling because I feel so conflicted. I feel stuck in the middle. Just because my dad was a terrible father doesn’t mean I’m a terrible daughter. But maybe I should just walk away from it all.

I feel isolated and rejected from most of the extended family because I am not vaccinated. My Aunt Jan made it clear I was not welcome at the family reunion. She tries to act like it’s no big deal but I feel very hurt. I just found out my Aunt Jan’s husband tested positive for COVID anyway. I just have to wonder if it was worth it. Was it worth pushing me away when I could use the support of family with all the hell I am going through just to get COVID anyway? Now whatever relationship I had with them is gone.

I feel okay right now. I will get through this somehow. Every day has its ups and mainly downs. If I feel anything it’s this tremendous agony over my daughter. The thing is I don’t want her to come home. I don’t want her in my life. What kind of mother am I? Would I say that if my daughter had some other illness such as cancer? Why should I feel this way about a mental illness she did not choose? My daughter’s last words to me were fuck you. I just can’t do this anymore. There’s nothing else I can do. I have nothing left to give.

People say it’s hard to have teenagers. It is. But it’s even harder to have children who are struggling mentally ill adults. I can’t ground her from bad choices. I can’t take away her phone and video games. I just have to watch her destroy herself as it destroys me.

How do I insulate myself from the bad choices of others? I am not a psychopath. I cannot turn off all feelings even if at times I want to. It’s not healthy for me to shut down and numb out. How do I not let it bother me? I can’t seem to figure that one out.

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.