An Ugly Truth

The memories I have of my father as fading, but I do still remember running into the living room to find him lay on the couch. It wasn’t just once or twice but day after day, week after week. I know that’s not how he’d want me to remember him, but non the less the memory is there. I am deeply saddened to think that is also how my own kids will remember me and their childhood. They didn’t ask for this. They didn’t ask to spend most of their days at home. They don’t want a mother who’s constantly laying down on the couch or in bed. They don’t want me to be withdrawn from life. My own mother was there to entertain us and was there to try and hide our father’s mental illness from us as small children. But I am the mother. I’m supposed to be the comforter, the one hiding the ugliness of the world and this illness from them. I know they can see that I’m different from other moms. I don’t volunteer for things at school, I don’t invite their friends over, I don’t make hearty meals or take them to story hours at our library. We don’t play board games after dinner or take weekend trips. If I do manage to take them to do something fun, I think they can see how miserable I am. Why did I create a world of hurt for them? I was like this long before I birthed them. I feel so selfish for bringing them even more pain than this world already will. I love them so deeply, but my love for them won’t take the ugliness of this illness away just like my fathers love for me didn’t take my heartache away. Each day that I get up and face the world is a huge accomplishment for me, but I don’t think they’ll see that just as most don’t. I can’t apologize for who I am. No one should have to. I’ve never been angry with my dad for bringing me into this world. I think my best hope is that my children won’t be angry with me either.

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Knock Twice

He said I love her and the loudest voice that it ever been used in our house. He took the knob off my door and and watched as I fearfully got dressed. He said I was disrespectful and wasn’t too old to get a spanking then he slid his hand down my back. He told me I should sit in the front seat with him. He held my leg tightly, he knew I wanted to run. If any skin was exposed he would point out each part that was showing. I was often encouraged to show more. He would ask my mom why I wasn’t allowed to wear tighter or skimpier clothes. I no longer had a safe place to call home. I no longer wanted to female. I still have the scars left from the blade I drove into my body when I was trying to forget. I can’t forget, I will never forget.

The Year That Almost Wasn’t

It’s New Years Eve, which means we take this time to look back at the past year, make resolutions and celebrate. This year I find myself having great rumination. This New Years marks a type of anniversary for me. My depression and anxiety had hit an extreme low(or high depending on how you look at it). I didn’t realize how bad it had gotten until I was hit with such a “force” I could no longer remain standing and act as though I was fine. I couldn’t stop the panic, I couldn’t stop the fear, I couldn’t stop the need to escape.  I shut myself in our dark bedroom alone and tried to block out the overwhelming fear of simply being alive. Every minute that went by felt like hours. The fear had to leave or I did. At that point I realized the fear was stronger than I was. I slipped my shoes on, grab my keys and left our house. I didn’t say a word to my husband or our children(who were downstairs). I drove straight to our hospital and signed myself in. I didn’t know what to tell them, I had no idea how to explain myself. How do you tell someone you want to kill yourself but you don’t want to die. I don’t really remember what I said. I’m sure I was looked down upon, viewed as weak and/or completely crazy, but that didn’t change anything. I needed help. I hate asking for help. I hate needing help. But that night I knew I had to look people in the eyes and tell them I was breaking/broken. While I was in a room in the ER with a security guard beside bed, I suddenly felt like I was a little girl. I wasn’t allowed to be alone, to make my own decisions, to have a job, to have a family. I had to stay there until an “adult” said so. While I was running a million thoughts through my head the security guard started trying to make small talk, he asked me about my family so I asked about his. He answered back with routine answers. He got quiet then said he son had past away a few years ago. I remembered thinking how odd it was for him to just come out and say that, especially conditioning he was only sitting next to me to make sure I didn’t try to kill myself. As I think about it now, I suppose he thought I might understand his hurt. I most likely wouldn’t judge him and I was forced to sit next to him no matter how bad his story got. I can’t exactly what my reply was but it was something about how I knew what it was like to lose someone. Again he got quiet. A minute or so had past before I was realized he was crying. Tears were coming down his face, hitting his jacket. But he wasn’t moving, not his body, not his expression. He finally let out a loud breath, stood up and walked just outside my door. When he came back he had dried his tears but I could still see that pain on his face. I talked with him for probably close to an hour before they take me to a room. I don’t think I’ll never forget that interaction. I realized how much pain can connect people, if only for a short time. I no longer felt like a child. I wasn’t hiding behind my fears, I was looking them head-on.

 

I spent three days in the hospital, eating my meals at scheduled times, calling my family on a shared land-line, bra-less in scrubs, watching our first(and only) snow that winter fall, coloring, building puzzles with missing pieces. There were people of all ages, color and stages of their lives. They were all at different levels of stable. I talked with several people who were similar to me. We didn’t want to die but we couldn’t live either.

 

On the third day I was discharged. I got dressed, walked to my car and drove home. I went right back to the life I had temporally left. I wasn’t cured, the medicine they changed me to didn’t work, the thoughts didn’t leave. The only thing that had changed was the fact that I realized I had to take care of myself. If I needed time to myself I had to take it, if I needed help I had to ask, If I was scared it was okay if I admitted it.

 

I spent months calling doctors and our insurance company, going to appointments and trying different medications. I spent months mostly at home, rarely driving, asking friends and family to come sit with me so I wasn’t “alone”. I took care of our kids and house, I spent my alone time crying and fearing I would get worse.

 

Finally in April(after a cheek swab) we found a medication that actually(somewhat) works. I started getting out more, driving more, starting projects around the house and working part-time. The fears got less and less overwhelming. I was realizing I hadn’t actually been “myself” in a long time. I didn’t think the same way, I didn’t react in the same ways. The person I had been wasn’t really me. It was who the wrong medication had me out to be. I was slowly being altered, becoming less and less of who I really am. I honestly don’t even recognize the person I was a lot of the time.

 

I still have really bad days and weeks. I still get crippled by fear. But I don’t dismiss it. If it sticks around I call my doctor, I tell someone. I don’t let it go and assume it’ll go away on it’s own.

 

I don’t want to post this. I don’t want anyone to think any less of me, view me as any less capable, think I’m weak and/or crazy. But this is me. This has been my life this past year. I’m not setting resolutions for myself, I’m not trying to start over, I’m not thinking my 2017 problems will be wiped away in just a few short hours. I am sitting thinking how far away the end of this year seemed from the beginning of it. I’m thinking about the fact that I almost didn’t make it to 2018.

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phone-reward

Arrived at a hotel knowing I had to fake that my husband and I were still together for appearances. Upon entering the building someone came up to me and told me he had already been telling people we weren't together and was trying to find someone to be his "date". I stayed for family. He avoided me the whole time. After the ceremony we went to the reception, he talked to me and we danced. He then yelled at me in front of everyone asking "why didn't you buy me nicer shoes for this" and stormed off. I went outside to watch fireworks with everyone then went out found my room at the hotel. When I woke up and went to checkout of my room my family/friends were down there. One of them informed me my husband had a girl stay in his room. I went to find his room, he was alone at the time, but I could see someone else had been there. I didn't say anything. I didn't have too. He just looked at me for a long minute. He grabbed my hand and lead me to bed, pulled me down and started kissing me. I pushed him off and walked out. I left the hotel and went to sit in the courtyard out front. He came and seat down with me. Neither of us said anything for a long time. He told me he was sorry he acted the way he had the night before, then left. I knew I didn't want to hold onto whatever we had once anymore.

The Disconnect

When I was little I use to climb up in my dads lap when he was reading something and say “aren’t I prettier than what you’re reading”, hoping he would put it down and pay attention to me(before he passed away). 20 years later I still often feel the urge to do the same thing(slightly less dramatic of course). I find myself watching the man I love pour all of his attention into news, reviews, games, anything really. I watch him staring at a screen thinking if only I could catch his attention the way our depressing world does. What is worse is that it’s not just happening to me, I also have to watch him ignore our children as well. I am gentility of having my phone glued to my hand a lot of the time as well, but I try not to turn my full attention to it or I’ll put it down and focus on them some too. I am in no way free from the addiction to technology that most of us now “suffer” from. It’s simply painful to feel like you have to compete the latest CNN update. I don’t need someone to stop what they’re doing and tell me I’m pretty(although, sure that’s be great too), I just need to feel like I’m connected to someone and not that they are connect to everything in the world except me and our family.

Always Waking

We went somewhere. I found out he was cheating on me. I left and went to my moms house, with the kids. He came there before work. We walked out to the yard to talk. He said thing funny picked me up. We kissed. I felt "him" tough me. We made out while he carried me into the back yard where he laid me down. He pulled our clothes off. He slide himself inside me. He never felt so good before. A couple of thrusts in me pull himself out and walked away. He would say a word to me. He just left. I laid in the grass thinking of all the times he had hurt me in the past. 

Jump on Board the OCD Train

Do you ever get frustrated when you’re trying to find something in your child’s room but all you seem to be doing is stepping on Lego’s and suckers? Well that was mine room as a child. I hated cleaning anything up. I didn’t care if I couldn’t walk from my door to my bed. I didn’t care that none of my friends could play in my bedroom. My bedroom literally looked like an episode of Hoarder’s Buried Alive. I’ve always look back and think “how did I live like that?” “why didn’t I just clean up?”.Until a few months ago I realized that I don’t think it had anything(well maybe a tad) the fact that I didn’t want to clean. I think I created that “barrier” to help me feel safe. No one could get to me, no one could come into my personal space. As I got a littler older my desire to be able to move around in my room started to out way my fears(or at least level with it). My mom remarried right before I turned 12. He was a total slob. I no longer needed a “junk” barrier between me and the would. I now need a safe place to exist, anyway from the dirty dishes, food cover surfaces and the constant sticky Diet Coke residues. I quickly became OCD about my space. I felt like I needed to somehow prove that I wasn’t anything like this man and that seemed the most obvious way to me at the time. Thankfully several years later we “discarded” the biggest piece of “waste”(I’m not going to call someone trash). But by the time that day came I was already too far gone to turn around. I kept my space and/or home in tip top shape. The only weird thing was I had also began to sink deeper and deeper into my hoarding tendencies. I had kept art projects from high school, anything and everything about my dad, old random things left by family members, old clothes I know longer wore, old makeup, old shoes, random completely pointless paperwork/receipts. I would organize these things and keep them “neat”, but they were also taking up a larger and larger amount of space. When I moved into my first apartment I brought most of those items with me. I finally start downsizing these items a few year ago, but I was still left with a lot at the beginning of 2017. I have spent the last several months going through everything we own. I have thrown away and denoted a TON(I still have quite a bit to actually haul off). I literally feel like a weight has been lifted off me! I feel like I have room to breath and I feel like we’re all more settled. I sadly can’t stop myself from cleaning an organizing. I’m sure most woman what that urge, and I did too. Until now, when about 3 months later I am still cleaning and moving items most of my awake hours. I am tired. But I can’t stop myself. I do feel like I am finally making great strides in terms of where I want us to be. I am still just struggling to find my balance.

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