This is the response my twin sister wrote me.
Everyone goes through horrible things and your journey has definitely been particularly violent and ugly, and for that I am sorry.
But I can not keep feeling bad for being normal. If normal means going to therapy on and off for the last 25 years and having my own mental illness diagnosis of General Anxiety. I’ve also been the thin twin and now the fat twin (she was thin until she had her children she is in no way considered fat). Things have been easy for me?!?! (I don’t think I ever said this I said she made it look easy) Living on my own paying my own way, sometimes wondering where my next meal or paycheck was coming from. Working 80 hours a week to keep myself afloat. (I have given her thousands of dollars over the years for her rent and food even when she was living in California. My parents also gave her money. She could’ve live at home for college it was only 15 minutes but insisted on renting an expensive house with her friends that she couldn’t afford.)
Men have treated me badly- one boyfriend actually spit in my face! (She makes it sound like “How dare he?” no one should spit on anyone but comparing it to what I’ve gone through is frustrating) Or maybe dealing with my husband’s alcohol and drug addiction? (She knew about it from the beginning but ignored it for years. I spoke to her about it when I quit drinking and she made excuses for him.)
Normal would not be walking my sister through her mental illness and electric shock treatment. (This one hurts she did not walk me through my illness she ignored it but she was there for the shock treatment because my Dad couldn’t be.) Or the fact that my mother died two weeks after I became a mother and needed her the most. Or maybe the fact I’ve lost a brother to alcohol and haven’t been able to speak to him for the past 9 years because I can’t support his lifestyle. (It isn’t a lifestyle it’s an illness he’s an alcoholic and I suspect he has other issues too. You don’t just cut someone out when they need you. She stood by her husband for years and he did the same.)
In fact I feel as if I can’t really count on family at all anymore. (Unless she needs pain pills or a babysitter.)
I can not apologize for the things I have now. I worked really hard and overcame much to get it. If I stopped being around you it was because I was trying to lead my own life. Also your behavior was so out of control I couldn’t witness it anymore. (I thought she walked me through my mental illness.) But I can not feel guilty or apologize for being who I am. I never feel like I can be enough, do enough, help enough, listen enough or say enough to be the sister or person you want or expect me to be.
Maybe I’ve been to harsh on her but she never wanted to listen or know what was going on. My best friend can tell you that. I can’t tell you how many times W. has said to me “You need to accept that she isn’t capable of being there for you and she doesn’t understand.” Maybe W. always understood because she has a degree in Psychology and witnessed everything I went through. W. listened without judgement, she tried to help I just wasn’t in a place where I could listen but at least she tried. W. walked me through my illness. When W. entered my Hospital room after my kidneys failed she was white as a ghost and crying. She hugged me so hard it hurt. My sister didn’t have that kind of reaction. Even W’s mom was upset she said “That’s not my D! What the hell has been going on?” she was crying as she said it. W. never cries unless it has to do with me. Maybe I don’t know what talking about.
No one has to tell me the damage I’ve done with my drinking, erratic behavior, attempts at suicide, abusive environments, and everything else I’ve done. I think about all of it almost daily. At times I use these memories as self punishment to remind myself why I don’t deserve to be happy. I know this isn’t true but I have days where it’s difficult to differentiate between the two.
I never wanted to tell anyone I thought about suicide because I was terrified of being institutionalized. I had seen several places while visiting relatives and they were scary. I didn’t want to be taken from my parents. Even though there is a strong hereditary link in my family my parents did the best they could at the time and I know they loved me. There are days where I do doubt this. They happen a lot more recently.
No one knows what to say someone who has attempted suicide so usually it never gets discussed.
It needs to be talked about specifically in the family. My family never discussed any of my attempts. I would be picked up at the Hospital when I was allowed to leave or if I had to stay in a Psych ward usually it was my Dad who came to visit me until I was released. It’s weird that I just remembered that. My Mom and sister never came. Only my Dad.
After it was like nothing ever happened. How can you have a child who overdoses 4 times and cuts their wrists enough to need stitches and cause nerve damage twice and not talk about it? But that’s how it was.
My sister told me the other day that my actions “scarred her for life”. I wasn’t sure whether I should be angry or sad. She was never around during the worse of it or if she was she never showed up.
When she commented that she had more sympathy for her friend’s son who shot himself in the head because he must have been in “real pain” unlike other people who attempt suicide and fail, I felt a tingling heat and dizziness. I couldn’t help but think she was talking about me.
Never compare someone’s pain to another’s. I replay conversations and comments in my head over and over until I’m cried out and exhausted.
I’m not unaware of the damage I’ve done it’s the opposite. I’m hyper aware which makes everything harder to deal with.
The last two days have left me at a breaking point. I was told the real reason my Mom gave up was me. She died because of me. I was such a disappointment to her and broke her heart so many times she couldn’t watch it anymore. It made sense to me given what her last words to me were. “I’m sorry I f*cked up your life” I thought it was all the medications they had her on so I said “You didn’t! I love you more than anything.”
If I did cause her to give up then I don’t know what to do with this information. My Dad also said he wants to stop dialysis and die because ” I can’t continue to watch and listen to you like this, this isn’t my daughter anymore”.
The eight hour gallbladder attack didn’t help either. I took my medications but they were not in me for long before I started to be sick. My gallbladder attacks involve vomiting, low fever, chills, extreme headache and pain under my right rib. Not pleasant.
It messes with what little help I get from the medications I take. I don’t have to tell you that I wasn’t at my best. I wanted to run away where no one could find me. Stop taking pills everyday and worrying about who I’ve offended, who doesn’t like me, who I’ve let down, disappointed, hurt, ruined, and do what I want to do for what’s left of my life.
If the people who supposedly love me think it’s okay to talk to me like they have or just ignore me why am I following their rules? I’m tired of it. I want to actually live for awhile. I don’t want to sit on the couch that isn’t even mine for the few years I have left.
I need a break from mental health. A break from my family and being me. I just have to figure out how. If I don’t do this now I never will.
Something is very wrong and I don’t know what it is. I’m a different person from day to day, hour to hour and I never know when the change will come. My joints hurt, I have severe headaches, one minute I’m with my Dad at the mechanic’s and the next I’m screaming at him and I start to walk home. I only made it to the shopping mall up the street before my legs gave out and I sat there crying. This isn’t normal.
What part of it is Bipolar or Conversion Disorder? What part of it is my medications? What part of it is actually me? Because I don’t know anymore and the only two people I have are giving up on me.
I’m tired of Doctors not being able to give me a real answer. The Psychiatrist wants to change medications again when I think it’s stupid to do if no one can tell me how my 1 kidney is processing the medications. If it’s building up in my system than why would you want to just give me a different pill? And he keeps saying there isn’t a way to tell when I know they can do blood work. The Kidney Doctors are no better they give me the same answer so does the Gastrologist. I’m tired of it. How many states do I have to go to? How many times do I have to hear “We really don’t know”. I’m not going to pay you anymore then if you really don’t know. What’s the point?
I can’t function. I can’t talk half the time. My dog now is sensitive to what triggers episodes. Today my Dad started to get into a topic that upsets me and the dog jumped in his lap and started growling then howling at him until he stopped talking. He also knows when I’m more than down he’ll press the side of face into mine until it hurts, smushing our cheekbones together. It does make me laugh. That’s one good thing.