Childhood Reminiscing

My early years were spent in a duplex behind 7-Eleven on Wasp Road or Hornet Road, I don’t remember which they were next to each other. It was also a cul de sac. You don’t know how long it took me to remember the words “duplex” and “cul de sac”.

We lived there until I think I was 5. It’s odd because I have so many memories from that time period. I first thought they weren’t memories, then my sister said some of them were her memories, eventually when I was alone with my mom I asked her some things and my dad other things. My mom could make some events sound more interesting than they were or so I always thought.

I didn’t find out until after she passed away the stories she told me were true and some had actually been toned down. If there’s one thing my Dad does not do is lie. Don’t ask me about my Grandmother because I’ve shocked people with some of my responses. I think one was “You mean the Psychotic whore who abandoned her children and left them living in a chicken coop?”. That didn’t go over well but I refuse to sugar coat a thing for that woman.

My Grandfather (Papa) and his girlfriend lived in the duplex with us. Seven people in that duplex was kind of a lot but I don’t believe Papa Doyle was there the entire time. It wasn’t the best neighborhood even then. There were drugs, drinking and fights. It was low income and some unstable people lived there also.

It was cold outside when I saw the man on his bike, I didn’t know what he was dragging next to him as he rode until he got closer. It was a dog hanging on a stick attached to one of his handlebars. When he went by he told me we better keep our dog from barking or the same would happen.

I remember standing there, unable to move for a long time. My mom finally came to get me. She kept asking what was wrong. When I told her she went into Mama Bear mode. She did this well. No one messed with her babies no matter how old they got. She knew her limits though. She waited for my Dad to get home from work and told him. He left the house with a slam of the door. I didn’t see the man on the bike again.

My Grandfather had a habit of not locking doors and falling asleep with lit cigarettes or cigars. A large drunk man was coming home late one night but came into our duplex instead of his. He made it all the way to the room I shared with my twin sister when I screamed. My Dad came running, picked the man up by his shirt collar and it was like they both floated down the stairs and out the door.  On another day outside a man put his hand through his bedroom window, I just remember all the blood.

My brother was 12 and already smoking pot with the kids in the neighborhood. He didn’t realize the glass door was down and my mom had cleaned it. He smashed through it. My sister doesn’t remember these things only being stung by a bee on the bottom of her foot which isn’t correct. I stepped on a piece of glass it was in the arch of my foot but I ignored it until I got home. When my mom first looked at my foot she thought I stepped in something. When she realized there was glass embedded in it things changed.

We also had an odd shaped glass ashtray. It was kind of a triangle. Somehow I fell into the point of the ashtray and it went to the back of my throat cutting it. The problem was it cut close to an artery. My mom was in panic mode because blood kept gushing from my mouth. To the hospital we went. They stitched it but I had to be still for days so it wouldn’t rip and open the artery. This I don’t remember but I have a small scar under my chin from hitting the table with the ashtray.

The best thing my Dad did was work hard and sell everything he had to put a down payment on a house to get us out of that neighborhood. A man with an 8th grade education, an outcast, forced into the Navy, an alcoholic, never shown love, gave everything to protect his family.

The love he had for my mom was special. It wasn’t easy but they never gave up on each other.

My Dad set a high bar. For me a man should protect the people he loves, he can be strong but sensitive when needed, my Dad has never disrespected a woman sober that I know of, if he makes a comment it’s positive, he’s honorable, that’s the word that fits him most.

I AM THE PRODUCT OF DECEPTION

My mother was never given a diagnosis for a specific Mental Illness. Judging from her past and behavior, I would guess she was Bipolar. I could be wrong, she could’ve had Borderline Personality Disorder. It’s hard to tell because although I’ve researched many topics I do not have a degree and we are blind when it comes to our loved ones.

WHAT I KNOW

My mother was the oldest of seven children. She was often left to care for them on her own. Her mother liked to go out and have fun (play poker, drink, be around men that were not her husband). Her father was an Army man and a Plumber who worked hard but never stood up to his wife. (For the record not many stood up to my Grandmother. She was tall, big boned, and strong as an ox. She was also from the south and used to hard liquor, dealing with men, and getting her way). She was in and out of their lives from months to years at a time leaving my mother to quit school and take care of her siblings. A thankless job.

My mother started to become like her mother. She drank and was often at local bars with various men. This became worse after the suicide of her first husband. I don’t know who she left my brother with. It was at a bar that she first saw my father. She had known about him from Middle School and as the “Navy Guy who beat up the Marine (her brother) at the Bowling Alley. It was love at first sight for her anyway.

Whenever I went anywhere with my Mom she would put the Oldies on the radio and sing along. She had a beautiful voice that fit those songs. The songs would always bring up a memory. Sometimes I think she forgot the person she was talking to was her daughter and probably not old enough to know the information that was given out.

She mentioned having to leave the State we lived in with my brother and going to live in California for a few years. I asked her why. She said because she knew “something” she shouldn’t and a “group” of bad men were mad at her. (Translated this meant she pissed off the Mafia somehow but when a member of the family married someone with ties to the “bad men” she was able to come home). I always knew too much.

She also told me on one ride that she trapped my dad by getting pregnant on purpose. (Unfortunately she even told me where and what song was playing at the time) She my dad panicked halfway through her pregnancy and took off. No one could find him. He came back when we were a few weeks old and never left. He grew to love my mother more than anything in this world. My mother also mentioned that they didn’t get married until we were 5 years old. When she told me this I was around 14. The first thing I thought was “I’m a bastard. My father never wanted me. He only stuck around because he had to.” I pushed all of those thoughts and feelings down for a rainy day. I never told my sister until years later.

It’s strange how things that hurt us come to the surface at strange times. I was drinking one night and came home late. My dad heard me and turned on the lights. He started yelling at me about drinking. I’m not sure what pushed me. Was it him or my mom standing there in her shortie nightgown? I started yelling back at him “Shut up! You never wanted me! Mom trapped you and you took off! I was born a Bastard how fitting! F*ck You!”. I don’t think I have ever personally hurt my father so badly with words before. I vomited for 5 days. The anxiety over what I said to him was tearing me apart.

The only thing he said to me is “You are my world and so is your mother. That’s all that counts. Your mom saved my life, I would be dead without her and you kids. I love you”. I heard him but continued on a path of self destruction anyway. Nothing anyone said was going to stop me.

There was one thing that contributes to my not drinking. It was right before my mother died. She asked me over to her side of the hospital bed. I bent my head down and she said “I’m sorry I f*cked up your life so much” and she cried as she fell asleep. That was the last thing she ever said to me.

Mommy, you never f*cked up my life. I did that by myself. All you did was love me.

THOUGHTS ON AN ALCOHOL (Take it with a grain of barley)

Settle in because this might be a long one. I have an extremely messed up family with too many secrets that has contributed to most of our problems. Most of my family also thinks they can do everything on their own without taking help from anyone. Pride always comes before the fall. I admit at times I’m like this. I get more upset when I talk and no one hears me. It’s as if my voice is carried away. They know how much effort it takes for me to have a conversation but it doesn’t matter.

My brother came over last night. When he hugged me I cried. He looked done, sad, older. He didn’t call me back when I tried to reach him before Thanksgiving or after. When I see him and hug him all I feel is enormous pain coming from him. Not one other person in my family does. My twin hasn’t spoken to him since her wedding I don’t think she spoke to him at our mother’s funeral. I do know her husband and my Uncle Billy threatened him at my mom’s funeral when no one was looking.

My mother’s first husband was an alcoholic with severe depression. He also didn’t treat her kindly and cheated on her. The other woman was pregnant around the same time as my mom was with my brother. My mom’s first husband drank until he could barely see one night and drove his car at high rate of speed into a cement barrier on purpose. Not long after my mom gave birth to my brother and named him after his father. A few weeks after that, the other gave birth and named her son the exact same name. My brother was not told any of these details until certain “people” thought he should know.

My mother’s side of the family could be extremely cruel. One of her brother’s was drunk when he said how useless my brother’s father had been and that he had killed himself. Shock #1 for my brother. When he was around 16 and saw his own name in the Newspaper for armed robbery and the guy was the same age as him he asked questions. Shock #2 for my brother. Add in the fact that you had your mom to yourself for 7 years with her crazy ass family and it adds up to whole lot of messed up.

My brother started drinking at 14 and hasn’t stopped. He’s 50 and still doesn’t see it as being a problem. A doctor has already told him about his liver and pancreas but still he doesn’t see a problem. He says alcohol isn’t the problem, his ex wife is. He loved our mother more than anything. If she said his name a certain way and told him to “Knock it the f*ck off” he would. My mom could be a little scary. You should’ve seen her when she didn’t put her dentures in, her hair was all over the place, and she would be wearing a “shortie” nightgown. This is how she looked when she yelled at kids trying to use our yard as a shortcut. That stopped right quick. I didn’t mention she was shaking a broom at them. lol

My brother doesn’t get any understanding or sympathy from my father, sister, or anyone else. Just me. I told my dad last night for the first time that I was ashamed of him.

I said to my dad “Not everyone can quit booze and cigarettes in one day and pretend to be happy for the rest of their lives when they’re not”. He wanted to know what I meant. I said “You might have quit drinking Dad but do you even know why you started? I’ll tell you why. You are socially awkward, you have trouble making friends, you go through depression and panic attacks so bad you swallow your own vomit so no one knows. But I do, I know. You didn’t fix anything. YOU JUST STOPPED DRINKING”.

I also told him I didn’t think it was fair to treat my brother any different because his kind of pain you can’t fix anymore it’s all he knows, it’s all he has to hold on to. He’s lost everything else.

My mom’s love was too big, too great, there’s nothing that equals it. But I did watch my brother’s face light up for a few minutes while he played fetch with Dutch and Dutch, knowing my brother’s pain, hugged and kissed him while my brother laughed like I hadn’t heard in years.

I love you so much Phil. You’ve never been my half brother you’ve been 100%. Some of your children I haven’t decided on yet. lol11059761_10207494279902008_1407885758767048615_n

HOW MUCH DOES THE “REAL WORLD” MATTER?

I love my family. Okay, I love some of them. The problem is my family is a pretty big contribution/trigger for some of the emotions and problems I go through.

I’m not completely blaming them. My dad and sister have done the best they are capable of doing. You can’t ask something of someone who isn’t capable of giving you what you need. That is the hardest to come to terms with.

I have used up all of the trust they ever had in me, they have had to deal with me for so long that their sympathy level is now either nonexistent or low. They have heard it all a thousand times and have stopped listening all together.

I didn’t tell my dad or sister about the Psychosis or Catatonia. There’s no point.

The “Real World” or so called “Normal People” (who decides who’s normal?) will never understand my day to day life. They will never understand what it’s like to have a group of people suggest you kill yourself so you won’t waste taxpayers money. They will never know how it feels to have strangers tell you that you should be sterilized so you don’t pass on your illness. They will never know what it’s like to want to drink yourself to death rather than feel the pain you feel. They won’t know what it’s like to almost succeed and lose everything in the process. What we do to one another I find appalling. It’s only here that I find peace.

And I know how it feels to cry myself to sleep    I’m that kid on every playground    who’s always chosen last    I’m the beggar on the corner    You’ve passed me on the street    And I wouldn’t be out here beggin’    If I had enough to eat    And don’t think I don’t notice     That our eyes never meet    I’m fat, I’m thin, I’m short, I’m tall, I’m deaf, I’m blind, hey aren’t we all    Don’t laugh at me    Don’t call me names    Don’t get your pleasure from my pain    Trying to overcome my past    You don’t have to be my friend    But is too much to ask    Don’t laugh at me

Lyrics by Steve Seskin, Allen Shamblin  (This isn’t the song in it’s entirety, just the main subject of the song)8fdf37fdb507c214d2454e0088e5e716

 

WEARY

I’m tired of reading the same clichés, the same self-help mantras over and over. I’m beginning to feel like an angry zombie. I’d like to know why I can’t be left alone. I never hurt anyone and I don’t drink. The one thing people can’t handle is seeing another person’s pain and tears.

They really do not want to witness this if they feel they have had a part in any of it. Guilt. I don’t blame anyone for my illnesses. It boils down to simple genetics and the brain. During this short time I’ve of writing I’ve tried to call my sister twice. No response. I was going to start the conversation by asking how she was for a change. I was going to cater to her needs. Why do I always feel the need to do this? Why am I begging someone to love me? Someone who is putting conditions on our relationship as twin sisters? You know what I really think about it? F*ck her. Sorry, but I’m getting worn out here, my patience is very thin.

There is a place I was thinking of going to. I would be interested in the testing and assessment. I would even be interested in one on one talk therapy. I’m worried about my insurance. My psychiatrist bills me for 70 minutes of Psychotherapy he doesn’t do. So I wonder what my insurance will do.

RESISTANT DISORDERS AND ULTIMATUMS

I have never liked the feeling of being backed into a corner. I’ve always disliked it when someone thinks they know what is best for me. To me, it’s more annoying when it’s a family member or friend and not even a doctor.

I’ve had many ultimatums given to me in my life. Some of them I understand. I was slowly killing myself with alcohol. My liver was enlarged, my face was bloated, I couldn’t remember much from the nights I drank, I was emotional and out of control. I had over 20 years of ultimatums that no one followed through on and I never took seriously until my mom passed away.

When it comes to my diagnosed Mental Illnesses I become touchy when a person thinks they know what’s best for me. My sister telling me I need to hospitalize myself yet again plus my best friend snapping at me recently hasn’t helped. If you’ve read any of my other posts you might know that when my sister is done with someone she’s done. She was sick of our brother’s behavior so cut him out of her life. He’s seen her oldest son once at my mom’s funeral when he was first born and he’s never seen her youngest son.

I tried to mend things with her yesterday. It didn’t go well. I was told how selfish I am, how everything is always about me, how she has had to go to therapy for people with Bipolar family members because I’ve been so difficult, if I don’t hospitalize myself or prove I’m going to therapy I can’t be in her life anymore. I started to get extremely upset. This meant I started to stutter and cry. It was one of the worse episodes I’ve had. My mind was static, my hands felt tingly, my dad said I was repeating ” I don’t want to be here”. He had to take the phone from me. I was rocking back and forth with my hands on my head, my fingers were fluttering. I don’t remember all of this. My dad told me. He was crying.

My dad finally realized that I become a little (or a lot) worse after talking to my sister. She is never going to be able to give me what I need. You can’t ask something of someone who isn’t capable of giving it. I’ve been banging my head against a brick wall.

I have tried to explain to my family that I am medication resistant and therapy doesn’t even really work. I can go and rant to someone but as far as CBT and Behavioral Skills it goes in one ear and out the other. I will sit there and listen but I won’t absorb what’s being said.

These are FACTS: If you have a history of trauma, abuse, neglect, PTSD, a personality disorder, a history of alcohol or drug abuse, are female, went undiagnosed until later in life, have anxiety disorders or other medical conditions there’s a very high percentage that your Mood Disorder will be treatment resistant.

I do my research. There have been a million and one papers written on the subject. I wonder how people would feel if they were constantly being told that they are not liked the way they are. If someone told them that they have to change who they are and how they behave on a regular basis. It isn’t just my sister. If it was maybe I wouldn’t feel so bad. It’s also my ex/sister in law, my oldest niece, and recently for the first time ever my best friend. I have been going through a difficult time lately. Doesn’t anyone realize that? I’m dealing with serious physical illnesses, taking care of my dad, worrying about a roof over my head if something happens to him, worrying about money, I just found out that the last time I had my stents changed there was a problem with the anesthesia. My brain wouldn’t allow me to come out of it. I have to go for testing tomorrow to see if I’ll be ok for my surgery on the 29th. It’s a little stressful knowing that your brain doesn’t want you to wake up.

I have looked at a few places for therapy, social workers, and testing. I know my Psychiatrist is going through the motions and I’m getting a little pissed off. He just cuts and pastes every time I go. Then he charges Medicare for 70 minutes of Psychotherapy when I’m only in his office for a maximum of 12 minutes. I know this because there is a timer. Definitely time for a change. Now I actually have to do it.bb2140d009e4a770acad4d3998742693

I WANNA NEW DRUG

This post won’t be popular. I would like to say that this bothers me but right now I’m too hurt about so many other things. First topic is easy ALCOHOLISM.

I hated AA. I tried it on many occasions either by choice or court ordered. So we are clear here there are female alcoholics that drink just as much as men. I’ve had people say to me “You’re not an alcoholic. What? Did you have a few too many glasses of wine?”. That is still the perception of a female alcoholic. Wine does count just as much it just wasn’t my choice. I even had the same mistaken thoughts about it.

I drank beer and hard liquor. When I recently visited relatives in Florida and mentioned to my Aunt what and how much I used to drink she was shocked. I thought she knew. They sell alcohol in almost every store in Florida. My Aunt had worked at a Market and knew the brands of liquor. When I told her I was up to about a case of beer and a pint of Ginger flavored brandy, Firewater, Jager, or many shots of Patron, it put it in perspective for her. She asked “Not wine then?”. No never wine. In my mind wine was for those people who were “weak”. I know I’m an idiot. Wine is still alcohol and can get you drunk just the same.

AA wasn’t for me because other people’s stories didn’t have an effect on me. The strong religious factor that they insisted wasn’t there but was, really bothered me. Sponsors telling me to get on my knees before bed and pray to God for my sobriety bothered me. When I left for the last time and my sponsor told me I would fail and have to beg God for forgiveness I had enough. It was a bad day at work, my mother was ill again and I was barely hanging on. I told her “It’s a good thing I’m an Atheist then huh?” and never looked back.

I was diagnosed as Bipolar and it shined a light on why I was drinking and doing the things I did. A lot of stuff made sense to me. So much so that the smell of alcohol turned my stomach. Will I never drink again? I’m not stupid enough to make that promise. I can say that right here, right now, today, I will not be drinking. That has worked for 8 years.

FAMILY AND MENTAL ILLNESS is an entire different story. Most of my family thinks I should be “better” or “cured” by now. It doesn’t work that way. There are a million and one factors that go into a diagnosis and most of them are wrong. There’s Genetics, your environmental surroundings when younger, trauma, when you first presented with symptoms, when you were diagnosed, what meds were you on before being correctly diagnosed, how long did it take for a correct diagnosis, did you have other disorders or illnesses coinciding with the mental illness like a drug or alcohol problem, or anxiety, or PTSD.

All of these things make a difference. A few years ago my twin sister was diagnosed with Conversion Disorder. She said she couldn’t remember little things. Two of her fingers would tremor, her eyelids would flutter or she would stare into space. She would come out of it and be tired not remembering it. She had a machine attached to her at home for 48 hours to detect any abnormal brain waves or seizure like activity. It came back negative. She had a sleep study done at the hospital hooked up to monitors that came back negative. Many tests were run until finally the Doctors told her she had Conversion Disorder due to stress which was causing these incidents that no one could find evidence of.

I was with her for 2 of them. She is my twin. I know her like the back of my hand. I know that when we were little and even as we grew older she was referred to as the “Drama Queen”. I watched the 2 fingers and her eyelids. I watched her breathing and how she acted when she came out of it. I admit that I tested her one time in the middle of an episode and she snapped right out of it because she thought her son was in trouble. There was no confusion, no “I have to take a nap, I feel so weak”, she was her usual self.

She received Disability faster than I did. She had no Hospitalizations, suicide attempts, lost jobs, etc. I had it all plus Shock Therapy. My judge made fun of me while she sailed right through. I bring it up because recently as she told me to “Put my big girl pants on and deal with things” she also said she had Conversion Disorder also but she was fine and was able to “overcome” her illness. Then why isn’t she working I wonder? I was given another ultimatum to either put myself in the Hospital or go to Therapy (I have to show proof) or she won’t be in my life. What gives her or anyone the right to threaten or give me ultimatums? The reason I cry so much is when I talk to her I can hear the disdain in her voice. I can hear how annoyed she is. There is no sympathy. There is no affection. There is no love. That is why I cry.

I have been to more Therapists that I can count. I have been to more Doctors than I can count. I have been told by at least 2 that some people are just resistant to Therapy and Medications depending on when they were diagnosed, how long they had symptoms of being Bipolar before getting a correct diagnosis, if they had other illnesses like Alcoholism or Conversion Disorder alongside the Bipolar Disorder, and there is also the fact that having Celiac Disease doesn’t help and neither does Stage 3 Chronic Kidney Disease.

So I want a new drug. One that won’t make me think. One that won’t me feel or remember. One that doesn’t cost too much. One that takes the pain away. And one that preferably won’t make me drool on myself. I’m tired of crying. I’m tired of apologizing for existing. I’m tire of seeing the look of pain and blame in my dad’s eyes. Most of all I’m just tired.