Okay, not really. I’m not high nor have I been high in quite a number of years, save for the occasional pain med ride for an injury or something. But I am still in the starry eyed state of excitement over getting another calendar flip, a fresh start, a better year. Last year sucked. So. Much. This year feels better. My last emotional outburst and ensuing hangover was Jan 1. That’s progress! So I am staying on this train, course correcting as I go as best I can, and going to continue to do what’s working and moving beyond what isn’t. I expect growth and stability as a result. I’m excited.
When I don’t write, unless I’m so depressed I can’t even write, it means I’m doing better. As you can see in the time lapse, I am doing better. I’ve been working on shame, and I even went to a recovery meeting last week. It was a bit crazy and I didn’t even get a chance to share, but I felt refreshed.
The main issue with me seems to be shame, deep rooted, from the moment I was born, not getting out of this the easy way shame. I feel like I need to apologize for being alive. For my birth ruining a marriage, a family. I know it wasn’t my fault, but my very existence brought down a precariously balanced house of cards. If not for me, something else would have, but that isn’t what happened.
So I carry a consuming shame. I’m working on it in therapy. It’s work, too. Changing the way I think, react, even see the world around myself is a part time job. One I don’t really want. But now, or finish crumbling to the floor that is life. I didn’t do this to myself, but the ones who did can’t and won’t fix it. It’s up to me.
This year has been possibly the worst in my life. It started out like any other. In fact, exactly a year ago, I was looking forward to a new year and everywhere I looked, the world was, too.
In January, though, we had to make the hard choice to leave our church. It wasn’t easy, and we have not contact with any of our church family from there, anymore. I understand we left, but it’s not like we sent a letter telling them what they did wrong or something. We just couldn’t stay any longer. We love those people and did life with those people. We attended a new church most of this year, but we’ve not found a home. We don’t know a soul there, after an entire year, still. We were so active in our old church. Our entire family volunteered every Sunday and for all of the functions. Everything we did, we did with those people, from birthday parties to dinners to support in times of need. Now, we have nothing.
Early in the year, we had to put my husband’s Mom into hospice. If you’ve never watched your partner watch helplessly as their Mother loses her life slowly, consider yourself lucky. We’re really pretty young to be doing this, too. And the saddest part is watching him and his siblings try to learn to do life mother-less. I know a thing or two about mother-lessness and it totally sucks, no doubt about it. They don’t have a surrogate in their life and their Dad is really kind of absent and has been for a long time. They weren’t the most adjusted bunch, with their Mom. Without her, they’re a hot mess.
So, my birthday rolled around in the spring and it was maybe a little happy for a minute. I’m getting older…a little closer to the next decade. I’m not sorry: the alternative sucks more. 🙂 But then two days later, my mother-in-law passed. It was peaceful and she was surrounded by a dozen or more loved ones. But it sucked so much. There is nothing you can tell the man you love that can help the pain of administering the morphine and holding onto her as his mother took her last breath, knowing it was barreling down on them, and helpless to stop any of it. I suffered as much or more pain and even fear, with her passing as with my own father’s as a child, I think. Without my church around me, and unable to attend recovery meetings due a change in my schedule around the same time, this really tripped me up. I felt like I had lost everything I held dear, in just a few short months. It hurt and hurt and hurt and I fell into a bit of a depression, with no one to really turn to for help. I was no longer being fed by the women in my church or at recovery. The one parent figure we had around left. There were pieces strewn all around my life, but I didn’t even know how to start picking them up to assemble them again.
The other main life changing issue I’ve faced this year is my dear friend’s custody battle. It’s a long story but the moral is that the system has failed her little girl and the story is not over and who knows how long it’s going to last. It was supposed to be over in July and then October and then November. It’s such an absurd situation and the other side is religiously evil. I’ve spent a lot of time this year wishing they would just die. They’ve hurt so many kids, my friend included, when she was their child. I just want it to be over so they can get on with their lives. It’s been going on full throttle since September 2016. I’m so over it, and I’m not even her Mama. I’ve never felt so helpless, I don’t think.
In the early summer, we did get to take the kids to Florida and did Disney. It was a lot of fun and everyone had a blast. About two to three days after we returned home, my face started hurting. I’ve been to four doctors and got a diagnosis of trigeminal neuralgia.
It’s been a bit life changing. Fortunately, it doesn’t hurt all of the time, and the gabapentin I have for PRN use for Fibromyalgia is usually enough. The doctor wants me to take it 3 times a day, every day. I wish I could do that, but I’d never be able to be awake and I’d keep gaining weight. So I take it only when I can’t deal. My PCP, at follow-up after the diagnosis prescribed an epilepsy medication, but I refuse to even get it filled after researching it and its side effects. I’m on soooo many meds at this point. I have four PRN meds to get me by, on top of four I take everyday, three of them twice, two of them two to three times. It’s too much.
My oldest will be eighteen in a few months and will go off to college in the fall. All of that is worked out, but my emotions are crazy over it from time to time. My middle child turned thirteen this year. So I’ve had two teenagers in the house. I don’t recommend it. To anyone. Ever. In less than two years, my eleven year old will be a teenager. For the following three or so years, I’ll have two teenagers in my house at all times. God, help me! And I’ve had an extremely stressful and difficult situation with a colleague at work. Like a ‘one of us going to have to go’ difficult situation.
In November, my life-long best friend decided to get a divorce. Also, she decided to hook back up with her ex-husband. I’m not real sure on the timing there, but the whole situation sucks. She was a junkie with him, and now she has three kids that have been literally drug all over the damn country in the last month. They haven’t known, nor has anyone, where their Mama was or when she’d be back. She called me to see if I could watch them, and two days later showed up on my doorstep with them. Ten days with not a single call, email or even text from her went by. She never checked on them a single time while they were here. Her youngest is in diapers and both her older two have medical issues. Not a single damn call. When she came and got them, she was trying to arrange to drop them off elsewhere and two days and some cash later, she left them with another family member, with no idea when she’d be back. Meanwhile, she ran all over the country with her ex-husband. Neither of them are employed, and from the sounds of it, she’s depending on her latest ex-husband to financially support her and her…first ex-husband/boyfriend/live-in. What the ever loving hell?! At the advice of my therapist, I’ve done what I can to sever communications. I don’t want to hurt her and I know divorce is hard (though we’re not talking about an abuse situation, here, in any form and she was well cared for financially.) But the situation is mashing my triggers like crazy and I sank into a pretty scary depressive episode as a result. I’m only just really pulling out, even now.
I’ve had to get into some serious therapy this year, as a result. I’ve spent a lot of time wishing and praying I’d die. I’m not suicidal and haven’t been, but the desire to live has also been missing. That’s hard to admit, even here. It’s just all felt like too much. I have a great therapist who believes in doing something to get better, and not just talking. I’ve been working on CBT and doing a lot of co-dependency work based off Pia Mellody’s model. I’ve listened to hours of CDs from her and Brene’ Brown and I feel like I’m beginning to get a handle on some of this.
All in all, this year has been a monumental disaster. I’ll be the very first in line to also point out that I could have been watching one of my babies die or get lost to drugs or gangs, or I could have gotten a much worse diagnosis, etc. I know there are literally a million children starving, freezing, terrified, raped and murdered this year. I know it could be a hell of a lot worse and this is not intended to be a pity party. I KNOW it could be so much worse. In my head, it’s been really freaking bad, though, y’all. There were times I considered whether I could go on. Again, not suicidal, but without any answers, I felt I may need inpatient care a few times. I’ve been through a rough life. It’s been thing after thing after thing after thing in my life. I’ve always bounced back. I really wasn’t sure I was going to through parts of the year.
This is not one of those “but here’s the silver lining” kind of posts. These situations are all still active. Nothing has any closure or a happy ending for this year. Everything is still to be determined. Nothing is in my control and nothing “turned out okay” this year. But, in looking for the good, I realized I did learn some things:
- I have the absolute most amazing, patient, understanding, self-less, giving, kind, loving, persevering, supportive, and strong husband a wife could ever ask for. I literally put him through hell. His Mother died, and I totally fell apart. I GUARANTEE you that without every ounce of support and motivation and understanding and love that he poured into me this year, I would NOT be writing this right now. I would be institutionalized, separated from my kids, unemployed and probably homeless, possibly dead. I think I would have made it to suicidal without him. I owe so much to his unending love and support.
- My kids are pretty freaking amazing, too. They haven’t really known how to support me, but even in my insanity, and my impatience, they’ve reached out to me and loved me the best way they knew how. They didn’t judge me, silently or out loud. They weren’t embarrassed by my shortcomings. They just kept loving me when I was so unlovely.
- I’ve learned that a lot of the emotions and unrest and mental instability that I’ve felt this year is a result of my past-my childhood. So many things happened that triggered me– that is, reminded me of traumatic things that happened in my childhood, which immediately brought the same feelings crashing back to shore with no reason, at all. So, when I was feeling grief, it was grief for the event happening, as well as the event it triggered from my childhood: losing my father. When I felt anger and fear and loss of control, it was from the situation those kids are in, but also the situation I was in, as a child in a similar situation, as well. So, pretty much all this year, I’ve been feeling double the emotions I should feel from a given situation. It has helped me to understand why I’ve felt so damn crazy!
- I have a lot of shame. This is also a gift from my traumatic childhood. I realized just this morning that I haven’t yet forgiven myself from being born. When I was born, all hell broke loose. My father wrote me a letter when I was just a baby explaining how he wanted me, but my mother did not-he never realized that in telling me that, rather than protect me, it hurt me deeply. It’s one thing to suspect you’re a mistake, but it’s another to hear you’re unwanted from your father. He didn’t have to spell out that that’s why she began abusing and neglecting my older sister and I as soon as I was born. He didn’t have to qualify I’m why they divorced. I feel like my very existence broke apart a family and a marriage and caused my sister to be abused. I never understood that I felt this feeling until recently. That’s a tough one. I’ve also learned this is why I so easily feel shame to the point of just wishing I was dead. The struggle is SO VERY real.
- There is hope. I can survive all of this. I was strong enough to get help. I was strong enough to get resources. I am going to be okay.
- Bedtime always comes. When I feel like I can’t do it another second, I remember that bedtime is always less than 24 hours away. I can make it. All I gotta do is breathe that long.
Here’s to 2018: may it be an amazing year!
I wrote a heartfelt, albeit, less than patient and understanding letter to an old acquaintance a few days ago. It’s posted here: https://wordpress.com/view/actuallyamily.wordpress.com
Every word still rings true in it. It appears, however, that Ben didn’t read my letter. That’s too bad. He’ll get what’s coming. His old ex-wife-turned-new-girlfriend has had nothing but absolute sheer hell since the moment she started speaking to him again. I don’t really believe in coincidences.
So…it’s been about a month since all hell broke loose. It’s taken me until now to realize I’ve come off the rails because I’ve lost my lifelong best friend. Honestly, I lost her a really long time ago, but never accepted it. Whenever we get in each other’s presence, we are drawn right back together. This has been going on for twenty years. But it’s really been fractured. I don’t want to know who she is, now. Sometimes, Moms and Dads do really stupid things. Amen to that! Wow…so much to say about this…so many directions to go on it. So multifaceted, this situation. The bottom line, basically, is it’s really hard to go through this. I only have zero people left who haven’t left me. I don’t know who I am. I don’t know how to pull up out of this right now. I will, I’m sure. Somehow.
Are you familiar with the term “self loathing”? Have you heard of “self-hate”? I can’t figure out if it’s a cancer within me or an addiction. I can’t figure out if I do it because my body–brain-something within me thinks I need it, or if it grows within me out of control due to the environment. Either way, it sucks.
I could tell you stories of my failures until time stopped far in the future. I cannot, however, tell you of my successes. There are, certainly, a couple of them, but for the life of me, they will not come to the surface when I summon their memory. I take what seems as if were a success, and then within a millisecond, my psyche has picked it apart into a dozen or more individual failures and there is nothing left of what could have been the success.
I didn’t start this to be negative. It seems that is what has turned out, though. Isn’t that interesting? My therapist tells me to be curious. Be curious about the world around me, the people I encounter and their reactions to me and their environment. She says we make up stories. That when someone gives me what I perceive as an odd look, my brain tells me that there must be a reason for it-I must have offended them in some way. Perhaps I came on too strong when I introduced myself, or said something offensive because I was too opinionated or my personality just is unpleasant to them. She says it’s more likely they have gas or saw something odd across the room and I just happened to catch the look. It isn’t about me. So, I’m trying to learn that it isn’t always all about me. What narcissistic behavior, thinking it’s always all about me.
But really, I don’t ever want it about me. It’s never good when it’s about me. It’s always failure. And that is one good thing about me: I don’t think too much of myself. In fact, when it comes down to it, I try not to think of myself at all or put myself in a position where others will, either.
But I’m stuck here. I sit in front of my mirror to do my hair and makeup and realize that I never observed my reflection. I looked at my hair as I brushed it. I looked at my neck as I sprayed it with perfume. I looked at my eyes as I applied mascara. I looked at my ears as I fastened my earrings. I never, however, looked at myself. I can handle me in tiny pieces. I cannot handle me as a self, however. Because I hate me.
Have you ever…embellished a story? Have you ever told a lie? Did you know that if you make up things about someone who is dead, that it is actually quite offensive to their people? For example, if you were a useless sack of shit to the person, stole from them, got their sister hooked on drugs and used them to manipulate her life for years, meanwhile not giving a damn about her, you should not claim to their nephews that you were the dead person’s best friend. You should not claim to be willing to protect that young lady, later, with your life, if you spent years making it so that her family wondered if she still was alive, never knowing if she’d OD’d or killed herself, never having a decent home for her or letting them have access to her. Pretty sure you knocked her around a bit, too, over the years, not to mention sharing her and fucking around on her. You don’t get to come riding back in here on your white horse, pretending to be someone you aren’t and never were. You don’t get to leave your wife and kids and take up residence with my precious nephews the minute their Mama files for divorce. You don’t get to tell someone you’ve treated like absolute shit that you love them. I don’t pretend to know what the hell she is thinking in this. I also am about the most forgiving human you’ll ever encounter. But this…this is not how this is going to work. I don’t look forward to the moment we end up at the same place at the same time, again. I hope and pray this is a very short lapse in judgement for her. I hope she sees through your thin façade quickly. If not, I’m not sure how this will end.
Everything got SO screwed up, so fast, so long ago. People change and deserve a second chance. But the past doesn’t change, just because you tell fluffy lies about it. And just the fact that you’re doing that right now, tells me you are in denial and things are not about to end well in this story, either.
How much do you love your Mother-in-law? I love mine tremendously. I still don’t like her at my house. I don’t like my nieces or nephews or parents or siblings or even my friends to be at my house for an extended period. As in, past dinner. I know that’s harsh but I have a way I do things. People like to offer unsolicited suggestions about EVERY LITTLE THING. I. Hate. It.
As much as I love my family, I hate that crap! Beside, I worry the pillow case I get down for them to use is going to be the one the stupid cat slept on that one day I accidentally left the linen closet open when I left for the day. Or they are going to judge me for my bathroom. Or my wine. Or my food. Or my neighborhood. Or children. Or…the list goes on for eternity.
So why the hell do I keep finding myself in this position? I’ve got my dog at a babysitter. Not free (or cheap!) I might add. My husband keeps having to call with questions. I have a picture in my head of a colony of ants descending on my happy place. It looks something like this: I’m going nuts and it’s barely started. It will take my family weeks to reset after this. Oh…great…just in time for Christmas. Maybe we’ll do a cruise for Christmas…
I was 19 when I had him. I was 21 when his Dad died. I was 26 when I remarried after having 2 more out of wedlock. I was 32 when I separated from my alcoholic husband. Our life was an absolute. Living. Hell. I have no parents, no grandparents. I’m alone doing this. Have been since 16.
Now he’s graduating and I am so damn proud of him. Just got his last ACT score in and it’s a 33. Could have been better. But we are so lucky to be here. We’ve got scholarships set up and college chosen. We’re going to make it through this. We are going to break the chains of the generational curses and overcome where we came from. I just have to do this two more times.
And that husband? He’s in recovery. Been sober for four years now. Life. Is. Good.