Finally time for MY nervous breakdown??

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Guess how much sleep I got that night?

Gratitude week 93

  1. It’s been an unseasonably warm week. I love this weather, too warm to turn on the heat but not too hot to need the A/C. Plus the trees changing colors has been at its peak.
  2. Taking care of myself by going to my therapist and cranio-sacral massage therapist. I even fell asleep on the table for awhile which is unheard of for me in the morning.
  3. Supper with my best friend.
  4. When I got home after meeting with my best friend, I got a text from Arabella saying she left home for good. She wouldn’t tell me where she is staying. Although I will talk about this in another post, I do feel a lot of relief that she is not living here anymore.
  5. Even though she left, Arabella attended her appointments with the psychiatrist this week. They are switching up her medication from the phone conversations I’ve had with them regarding her mental health.
  6. Arabella is coming home to talk to us tonight.
  7. After Arabella left, Angel and I went thrifting. She wanted me to have a nice time and not talk about anything stressful. Angel has been very supportive.
  8. The following night Alex and his girlfriend came over for supper and games. I know Alex knew I was hurt by Arabella as well so he came over to visit Paul and I on a Friday night when he usually hangs out with friends.
  9. Yesterday I went wedding dress shopping with Angel. She found her dress. It was a very special time with her.
  10. Last night my best friend came over with her family for supper and games.
  11. I am grateful for Angel and Alex and our best friends to help Paul and I through this difficult time with Arabella. We have a small support group but they are wonderful and we love and appreciate them.
  12. Also this week, too close to home, there was a woman who was assaulted by a stranger on a trail while carrying her newborn. The baby was left near the trail and the woman was found nearby thankfully alive. No woman is safe until this man is caught. The following morning I went for a run. There was a man in a truck that pulled over as I was approaching him. He got out of his truck to adjust something hanging out of the back while I was walking on the other side of his truck. He scared the living crap out of me. I didn’t know why he got out of his truck and was approaching me at first. I started to panic. Even though I was on high alert to danger, I didn’t stand a chance against this guy in a relatively remote area of my run. I’m grateful for my safety as a runner as I’ve faced various dangers. Before the attack, I was even thinking about going trail running by myself. It’s just not safe anymore. I’m really sad that the world has to be this way. It’s horrible what happened to that woman. Anyone capable of attacking a woman with a baby in her arms is pure evil. I’m grateful she is alive and her baby wasn’t hurt.

The support I need

Sometimes life happens and you need to just sit and gaze into the darkness inside of you for awhile. You have to face it to keep fighting.

I can tell when I’m really stressed out. I can’t sleep and when I do it’s filled with nightmares. My stomach is on a burning and raging fire. I thought maybe I had an ulcer this time. Maybe I had finally reached the end of my rope. I gazed into the water at Kennebunk and cried. I didn’t know if I could continue holding on.

But somehow I’ve been fighting this battle my whole life and never once tried to take my own life. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve thought about it sometimes a lot.

When I told my mom I felt this way after she asked what I was thinking about, she told me she would try to give me the support I needed. When we got home from our trip my mom was on the war path. She tried to beat a lot of dead horses. She told people I was thinking of killing myself and they needed to help me which infuriated me because it wasn’t exactly true.

She told my brother Luke he needed to be there for me. My brother Luke walked away from my family almost a year ago. I invited his family over for Christmas last year. We even put the date on the calendar. Then after he found out about Arabella, they cancelled. It wasn’t about COVID because his whole family had it in November. He didn’t want his daughters to be exposed to my screwed up family especially when his wife Emily has the perfect family. Then the few times I did see him up north this summer I felt criticized and condemned by him.

Then my mom went and told my dad that I was ready to jump off the Kennebunk bridge. I am one step away from killing myself and he needs to step up and call me. My dad made every excuse in the book not to call me so my mom kicked him out of the house for a couple days until he finally called me. I guess it wouldn’t have been so bad if I didn’t know the only reason he called was to get back in my mom’s good grace. It was the first phone call I got from him in over 3 years.

Maybe my mom even told my Aunt Jan because I got a message from her that she was thinking of me. I could tell how much she was thinking of me when she told me I wasn’t welcome at the family reunion because of my vaccination status. I am about ready to tell everyone to piss off.

I told my mom that it meant nothing to have people reach out to me out of obligation, force, or manipulation. My personal problems are really none of their concern. I can take care of myself like I’ve been doing just fine my whole entire damned life. I told her she had no right to share things I’ve said in confidence with anyone else especially since I was trying to be open and honest with her about my grief over my daughter’s mental illness. I told her if I wanted to tell them I would’ve.

I don’t want to be too hard on my mom because I sincerely believe her intentions were to try to help me. But she is driving me crazier. I felt stressed out when my dad called not comforted. None of this is supportive to me, it’s stressful. Telling people I want to kill myself. Sheesh! She did buy me flowers though. There’s that.

This morning I asked my daughter Angel if she thought I was going to kill myself. She looked stunned and said no. Angel is really supportive. She is a good listener. That’s all I want my mom to do. I want her to listen. I don’t want her to try to control things in my best interests. I don’t want her to tell everyone a sob story about me to try to drum up support. That just makes me feel worse.

PA

When did it become such a problem? My dad was always a perv. He was never a highly respected member of our community. He barely held down a job. I can’t remember a time when he was employed full-time. He didn’t cook or clean. He pretty much let us run wild while he held down the couch.

It was my mom that worked 50 hours a week. She didn’t do much cleaning but she did pretty much all the cooking. She was an attentive parent but was always busy as you can imagine being the breadwinner and minding 4 kids, one who was severely autistic. There are a few things I remember my dad doing. Sometimes he would grill. He fried zucchini on the stove. Once or twice a year he would clean the toilets which was a job only he did. He would discipline the kids which included a show of flying off the handle in a rage. Sometimes he would drive us places. With the exception of disciplining his children, every responsibility was met with a pissy attitude.

My dad behaved bizarrely. He sat around the house in his underwear. He got the mail from the mailbox at the end of the driveway in his underwear. He mowed the lawn in his underwear at times. He answered the door in his underwear. I think he was sitting around in his underwear when the police came.

My dad rarely showered. He was a greasy guy who surrounded himself with greasy friends. My dad wasn’t good at relationships. His friends were the same. Almost all the guys were single. Their friendship started from belonging to a hobby club. I don’t think the club itself was bad. For a period of time my mom was involved in the club too. I think there was a subgroup of the club that was heavily into porn.

I remember as a teen my dad hanging out for the weekend with club friends. There was some sort of emergency and my mom couldn’t get ahold of my dad. Since it was in a time before cell phones, my mom drove out to the guy’s house they were meeting at. I can’t remember what the emergency was, but I remember how shook up my mom was when she got back. Apparently one of the guys outside smoking told my mom that my dad was inside. She went in to find my dad watching porn with his friends and that it was really bad. It wasn’t long after that the wife of the man hosting the party left him.

My mom never left though. Because of her faith she didn’t believe in divorce. Was watching porn really cheating? She didn’t threaten to leave. She didn’t confront him on his behavior. My parents had so many marital issues that I think my mom had already given up at that point.

I honestly don’t know when my dad’s addiction to porn switched from regular porn to that of child. I’m sure my dad’s slime ball friends had something to do with it though.

I’m an adult child of a child porn addict. There isn’t a support group out there for us. I don’t even know anyone else (besides my siblings) who is experiencing this at a similar level. How am I supposed to feel? What is normal? Maybe I should start my own support group and call it PA (Pornaholics Anonymous).

I feel conflicted about my dad. How much of this is him? How much of him is his addiction? Do I totally cut him out of my life? I pretty much have.

How do you even know if it is a serious problem? I think most of the time my mom didn’t even know what was going on because she was working.

I don’t have all the answers. The only thing I can say is that my dad’s addiction is a big mess and it totally tore up our family.

Done, done, and almost done

I am so relived that all of the difficult things over my head this month are now done.

I finished my first 50k. I wasn’t sure I could do it. Being anemic and having a rough summer health wise made me really question my ability to get it done.

Today I sent in my video to the local autism chapter about what my childhood was like being a sibling of someone who was violently autistic. I also gave tips to parents on how to support their non-autistic children. I created a new Facebook account and a support page for siblings.

Making the video was very difficult, not just emotionally either. Somewhere in my mind I expected that I would look like someone on the news. I would be smooth, polished, and look like I was 25. The joys of being a perfectionist!

I found that I couldn’t make the video when other people were home. My husband walked in the room while I was recording and I had to start over. So I decided to tell everyone when I was recording to not walk into the room. But I could still hear the bass from my son’s music. The beat of the music banged in my head distracting me. I was paranoid that everyone could hear it.

Then I waited for the small window of time where I was completely alone in the house. I was still hoping that the dog wouldn’t bark. I created 3 fifteen to twenty minute videos on my phone. After I was finished, I watched the videos. They were okay. I was very critical of myself. Man, do I look old and tired. Look at those big black rings under my eyes. It was hard talking for that long in front of a camera without a script. Plus I was never one to like hearing recordings of myself singing or speaking.

Then I had problems sending the videos to my contact person because the videos were so large. It took me 6 days to figure that one out after a day and a half of actually making the videos. I wanted to wear the same shirt, hair style, and makeup to look like the whole thing was effortless. But trust me when I say it was not. I deleted more recordings than I kept.

Right before sending them out, I had a moment of sheer panic. It’s that awful feeling that you get before doing something risky, scary, but exhilarating. Would the videos be good enough? Would my best efforts suck? What would my family think? I feared success. I feared failure. My thoughts fluctuated between what I created sucked to everyone is going to know everything I never wanted anyone to know about me. I wanted to delete all of the hard work I put into this.

It is finished now. I sent them. Whatever happens, happens.

Next week I will go back to writing my book. I finished my research. I read about 40 journals written my myself, my mom, and the schools my brother went to. I read countless letters, notes, and articles about my brother. I even went back and reread my blog searching for clues. It’s done. I have everything I need to finish the book.

I am done, done, and almost done. If I heal and help other people in the process, it is worth it!

Trauma drama

Last night I was having a debate with Arabella. She said she believes that everyone experiences traumatic childhoods.

What??

So I gave her a scenario. Girl A spent her childhood as an incest victim. Girl B’s most traumatic experience was that she didn’t get what she wanted for Christmas one year.

I asked her if both girls experienced a traumatic childhood. Arabella responded that they both did. I couldn’t believe it. Then she further stated that my childhood was no more traumatic than her own. I felt offended by her comments and am hoping that her viewpoint will change once she matures.

Arabella asked me if I knew anyone with a perfect childhood. I responded “yes” that I believe my sister-in-law Emily had a perfect childhood. Both my brother and I have flashbacks and at times PTSD from our childhood. It has been very painful dealing with this far into adulthood. Emily has been trying her hardest to help my brother through the pain he is experiencing.

The other day I told my husband Paul that maybe he is better equipped to help me than Emily is to help Luke because his childhood was less than perfect. He disagreed claiming that he has his own demons and voids to fill from his own childhood. He said that someone with a firm foundation is better equipped to help someone who is struggling.

Paul grew up without ever knowing his father. His mother was a teenage high school dropout when she had him. She was willing to work, but struggled financially due to her lack of education. She wasn’t very bright, and although she tried couldn’t earn her GED. We also suspect that his mom was mentally ill. She had a lot of symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).

Paul’s mother Martha was never a boring person. Sometimes she was a lot of fun to be around. She was exciting and when she loved you she made you feel like you were on the top of the world. There was a time when I was absolutely wonderful and I could do nothing wrong. She made me feel special, important, and loved. In those times, she was a very positive and encouraging mother to Paul. She told him he could do anything he put his mind to.

But there were times that I couldn’t do anything right. Everything was my fault. I was a horrible person. At times she was paranoid. She accused me a taking her boots and leaving a pair of boots that were just like hers but weren’t. She would scream and kick us out of her house. Nothing was ever her fault. Someone else was always to blame. She didn’t lose her job because she was always late, it was because someone was out to get her.

She couldn’t handle watching all of our kids if we wanted to get away for a weekend. She called the oldest two kids demons and our youngest an angel one of the few times she watched them. My son locked himself in the bathroom on the last day until we picked them up. Even her one on one time with the grandchildren turned into big fights. She got into huge arguments with everyone she was close to, then the next time she saw you acted like nothing happened at all.

Martha could convince anyone that she should be the mother of the year. She said things that weren’t true, but were absolutely believable because she believed them. I could go on and on. I don’t believe that Martha was a bad mother. She was just mentally ill. In some ways that makes it so much easier to understand and accept. As you can see, Paul has his own baggage. How can he help me? We tend to stumble along down this path together.

Paul and I did the best we could to be the best parents we could be with what we were given. We didn’t get a lot of help and support with our children and at times felt like we needed to care for our parents.

Paul said that Emily is better equipped to help her spouse through hard times because she has a good foundation to lean back on. Being able to relate is overrated. He convinced me and I changed my mind. Now if I could only convince Arabella and change her mind.

Parenthood watch

We saw the first snowfall at our new house when the parents of Alex’s friend arrived on the chilly autumn Saturday afternoon. It felt rather ominous of what was yet to come, but at the same time brilliant and beautiful.

The other parents were concerned about how much partying our sons were doing. We decided to get together as a group with another set of parents and just talk, a support group so to say for parents of wayward sons. These boys are all good kids really. They just took a detour down the wrong path. They are partying and failing classes. They aren’t picking fights, stealing, destroying property…

I am making an effort to stop lying to myself. Part of that means facing the fact that my son may never go to college. I thought up to a month ago that he was going to college after graduating. Back when he was in grade school, Alex wanted to be an accountant. I had to ask the teacher to give him more challenging math. Then in middle school and high school, he barely passed math. In fact, he is failing his math class as we speak.

I lied to myself. I’ve been lying to myself for a long time. I’ve been telling myself that he is still that boy in grade school that needs more challenging math. But he really is the party boy that doesn’t give a crap about school. If we come down on him too hard for partying, then we fear that he will leave home and not even finish high school. It is very heartbreaking to see him waste his brilliant mind. It is so much easier to lie to myself.

I don’t have any control over the path he decides to take when he leaves here. It has been causing us a lot of grief. I hope and pray that he matures and grows out of it. Until then, now we have a group of parents that are just as concerned as we are. We might not be able to keep them from taking the wrong path, but at least we don’t have to deal with this alone.

Last night we had our first parenthood watch meeting. We shared our stories about our sons which were remarkably similar…

We are going to have a parenthood watch meeting once a month and exchanged numbers. It’s time for us to work together and do what we can to make things better. It’s not a lot of fun to deal with this alone.

 

Give it a tri!?!!

Last week I ran into Anna, an acquaintance of mine that completed the Ironman this year. She said that if she could do, so could I.

Anna had quite a few obstacles in her way to complete the Ironman. She injured her leg which made it nearly impossible for her to run over a few miles without pain. She had to take a lot of time off of training to get back on her feet again. She also has a demanding full-time job which required her to travel a lot and took up a lot of her training time. She is in her mid 40’s with 2 children. She didn’t feel prepared. She had a severe panic attack during the competition while she was surrounded by people in the water. She was tempted to give up, but didn’t.

Anna made it through, she persevered. One of the saddest parts of her competition was that she did not have the loving support of her family. Her husband stayed at home, not because he had other things to do but because he didn’t want to go. She only had a few friends accompany her, but not just for her since our mutual friend Cori competed too.

Despite the obstacles, Anna succeeded. Why can’t I??

Really, why can’t I??

I never saw myself competing in the full Iron, but Anna really made me reconsider.

Maybe I should have a new goal to complete the full Iron by 45. Then I could get my first tattoo, an Ironman insignia.

Thanks Anna for motivating me!

I am terrified, but I really want to give this a tri!

**One thing I’ve always wondered is what Ironmen do after the big event is over (since they literally invested years into the sport). I asked Anna and Cori what was next on their list. Neither seemed to know. Anna said that Ironman recovery wasn’t all that bad. But she also said that she wanted to take some time to heal. Cori said that she would do whatever. I really don’t understand, but maybe someday I will.**

 

Autism’s sibling, journal 2, part 4

I was my mother’s best friend. Before I was a teenager, I knew about every problem in the house. I helped solve them. I heard about financial concerns, marital problems, parenting issues, and autism galore. My advice was sought. I fixed things. After my dad checked out emotionally, it was like I became the other parent. I was never allowed to be the child. My mom had a hard time making and keeping friends because Matt’s violent behavior scared them away. He scared away many of my friends too, so I really couldn’t blame her.

So I deliberately planned that when I became a parent, I would allow my children to be children. They were never going to hear about my adult problems or issues. In fact, I haven’t told my children much about my childhood at all. I only told my oldest daughter about this blog since she is almost an adult and is old enough to know. Maybe someday when I am ready and they are old enough, my other children will be told.

My mom had a really hard time without the support of my dad and a few close friends. She often times would cry while listening to Christian music as she was driving. Sometimes she would do this while I had friends in the car. It embarrassed me to the point that I really disliked Christian music or relaxing piano music that would cause an eruption of tears from my mother.

Once my mother took my brothers and I to a Christian concert when we were little. She cried almost the whole time. We were bored and screwed around to the point that she had to leave the concert early. She was so angry and upset with us that she cried most of the way home. I wish she had some friends that she could have enjoyed the night away with.

Now I like some music that I wouldn’t want my kids to listen too. Music that is angry, dark, or downright nasty. Music that modern day teens might like and not an old lady like me. Sometimes my kids will test me. Bet you don’t know that song. Yes, it is Eminem singing ‘Till I Collapse (good running song by the way). Wow, I am such a cool mom. With the bass cranking out of my window, you would think that my daughter would be happy with me dropping her off right outside of the middle school. But, alas, I am an embarrassment. Sometimes I even embarrass myself.

Disabled family cohesion

Yesterday was my daughter’s last high school holiday choir concert. My mom went and some close friends. You can really tell how close your friends are if they offer to go to see your child perform. I really appreciate that. Our family is a little more sketchy. My mom makes it out to 99.9% of my kids events. My mother-in-law says she is going to 50% of things and usually would cancel out last minute and make it to 20% of things. I think that not showing up at all is better than saying you are going and not showing up or giving a lame excuse not to go. My dad and brothers are very sporadic about showing up to events.

My kids all have late spring/summer birthdays, so year after year I would throw a family party for them all at one time. A couple of years back I decided to cancel the family birthday party due to lack of interest. I felt very frustrated and angry about the whole thing.

Then a couple of days ago I really started to examine the reason why there is this lack of cohesion within my family. Then I remembered every time that we went on family vacations together, all of the times that we went out to eat as a family, the hugs, the laughter, the times that my whole family came out to see my concerts, my graduation. Then I realized that none of that happened. No family vacations, I can’t remember ever going out to eat as a family when I was young. Those things didn’t happen.

This is what REALLY happened. My mom had to find someone to take care of my brother Matt to come to my events. Lots of times my dad would stay home with him. Matt has autism and Tourettes. Taking him out in public to an event such as a concert or graduation was nearly impossible when he was younger. He would often have a melt down in public. He was hyper with a lot of anxiety that he would have a melt down. His anxiety caused his tics to be worse. Tics included hand flapping, eye twitching, and throat clearing. At the very worst, he would injure himself or others and had so much anxiety that after going to an event he would be nervous and throw up for two days afterwards. People were a lot less sympathetic towards those behaviors back when I was young.

So my brothers and I grew up living separate lives. We went to separate schools. We did not support each other. We never learned how. Luke didn’t go to my college graduation or party that followed it because he chose to be with his friends instead. When Luke graduated from college, I went but had my husband stay home to help take care of Matt. When Mark graduated from high school, I didn’t go and went to work that evening instead. Mark never went on to school and I missed his only graduation. It was only later that I learned that family events are important but I can’t go back.

But I can move forward. I can show my children how important it is to support their siblings. I can encourage them to attend their events. I tolerate them saying that they are bored. When is it going to be over? Is it almost done? I am trying to teach them this lesson now so they won’t have to learn it the hard way like I did.

It took me a long time to get over the hurt, depression, and worry involved in extended family events. I can finally say that I get along with my parent and brothers the best that I have ever gotten along with them. I do see my brothers, especially Luke, making more effort to have a relationship. Matt has an easier time going out to events. Things are finally coming together in my story.