anxiety, bipolar, child abuse, depression, drugs, mania, mental illness, substance abuse

no more wire hangers 3

is anyone getting the titles of the posts in this series?

my mother knew she had mental illness issues, but she refused to see a psychiatrist or a therapist. we convinced her to go to a couple therapists to find one she felt she could talk with. she went to meet two and her excuses for not going was that she was sure one had ulterior motives and the other had an office that made her anxious.

when i had panic attacks growing up (we didn’t know that’s what they were at the time) she got angry at me. in retrospect i think it was it was because she was scared when she saw me going through that. i’ve seen her have panic attacks and oh boy have i seen her anxious.she was afraid that somewhere inside her was me. she didn’t want to  go through what i went through with my depression and mania. two psychiatrists told me, after long talks about my mother, that she was bipolar, too. i’m not surprised, but having a doctor say it shed light on things and made me feel validated

she even self medicated, like i did. she was obsessed with this shitty white wine. she drank glass after glass all evening while she watched courtroom dramas and true crime shows. after i went to university she bought a new house that she has since defaulted on. the house was a gorgeous Victorian in downtown St. Louis. it was in a neighborhood that was transitioning from a gutted ghetto into lovely restored houses. good old gentrification. her house was already transformed when she bought it.  it was gorgeous but it had three stories. she usually watched tv and drank in a family room on the second floor and also in her bedroom on the third floor. guess who had to fetch the wine?

drinking was her second drug of choice, the first  was nicotine.  by now, she will have smoked almost 60 years, two or more packs a day. she was a professional smoker. she chain smoked 24/7. she drowned her sorrows in wine, cigarettes, and taking it all out on me.

i’ve already said i’m a recovering alcoholic, i’ve been clean for 15 years. when i went home to visit (my dad lived in St. Louis and i was tied to my mother by a mental bond i had to fight to break, so i still kept coming back. she encouraged me to drink. she prepared by laying in a supply of beer, gin (she had cocktails after work, too; gin and tonics…one or two) champagne and vodka plus a few bottles of decent wine for dinners. she encouraged me to drink. pushed me to drink. i  jumped back into the hole of drunkenness to avoid having to deal with her. i can’t  put it all off on my. i was thrilled to have time away from my husband so i could drink my fill. i had to be very honest with him to keep our relationship working well and i wanted both he and I to be happy. i made the decisions to drink the alcohol she bought, but it was damned hard, too hard. i embraced it.

hangovers were hell so my mother gave me a bottle of codeine to use to take them away. i took a few in the morning. went back to sleep, woke and puked, went back to sleep and got up feeling pretty good.

we went out drinking too. she liked to show off my tattoos and piercings when we were bar hopping, hoping to look cool. at home she hated the tattoos.

Mommy Dearest.

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child abuse, dad, family, mental illness, writing

No More Wire Hangers 2

i have cut myself off from my maternal extended family entirely. i stopped talking to them before i stopped having a relationship with my mother. all my blood relatives there are as crazy or crazier than me. we’ve all been in mental hospitals, we’re all on long lists of meds. we all get really psychotic from time to time and we’re all full of rage because each one of us, including the adults, are victims of child abuse and are mentally ill. they are toxic and every word they say is a trigger.

i decided early on that i was not going to have children because   i want to break the evil chain that has been passed down for generations. my great grandmother came here from ireland. her last name is my middle name. she and my great grand father abused my grandfather who abused my mother and her three sisters. all four are very mentally ill and the three that have children abused their kids.

i knew from childhood that i didn’t want to have children. in the end it’s kind of ironic because i was always so super careful about not getting pregnant because i didn’t want to carry on the tradition. the ironic thing is that i had endometriosis (i had a hysterectomy and it’s gone now) so i probably couldn’t have gotten pregnant regardless. it was an epic case of better safe than sorry! i was very safe! but i couldn’t have been sorry!

thus  far it’s gone down through my cousins, the mental illness, but i don’t think any of them abuse their children, but who knows.

i had a psychiatrist to said my mother was “crazy making.” i knew he’d really hit the spot. in the previous post about child abuse, i talked about how my mother lied to me all my life, about huge important things and that she told me things that were the opposite of what they were.  she told me my father still loved her, she told me what a great relationship she and i had. i didn’t know what to think. i knew, or thought i knew, or suspected that it was a lie or a delusion on her part. i was a confused kid, bipolar coming on and even though she was mean and manipulative, she was my mom, so i believed her.

along the same lines, she preceded every criticism or rant she made about my father by saying, your father is a wonderful man and he loves you so much. i would never say anything to make you feel bad about him. then she would launch into a speech about something he had done or said wrong. she did that about a lot of people, people i loved or liked–sneakily try to turn me against whoever had made her angry.

later, as i figured out more about her  through therapy and learned more about her life from my father i began to realize that some of the people i thought i “should” hate were really nice people with nothing wrong with them. she was twisted and the way she twisted me up made me  scared about everything.

nothing i knew was solid. there was no one i could trust.  sometimes even now i stop myself from thinking about something because i can’t forget that she told me she could read my mind.

and now because of that birthday card she sent me, i am thinking about it a lot lately.

no fun.

bipolar, child abuse, depression, mental illness, writing

no more wire hangers!

day before yesterday, i got a card in the mail from my mother. it shook me to the bone. i haven’t had any communication in with her in 10 years, my choice. she was abusive, cruel,  a chronic liar, bipolar (not something to judge about, it’s just that i am too, and a combo of a bipolar parent raising a bipolar child is a disaster), OCD (same as bipolar no judgement on OCD, i have it too), a child of an abuser, alcoholic (me too), full of rage that came out all the time, and just plain mean.

as an adult i realized a lot of what i believed my whole life were lies. my mother told me that my dad still loved her (they divorced when i was 15) and that he told her he wanted he told me he hated her and felt like an abused spouse, and said they could have worked it out. what was i supposed to think of that??

then my father told me that my mother cheated consistently throughout their marriage and threw it in his face. i have always loved my father and wanted to be just like him when i grew up. when i found about that, i grieved for my father’s suffering. he’s a quiet, gentle man (he swears a lot though.  lol) how could i have not known? i lived with them both in a pretty suburban neighborhood. you could see the playground at my grade school from our house.  i thought we were the perfect family, honestly! i disassociated virtually everything about my mother, my father was great when he was around. our house was nice, my father was a university history professor and my mother taught at a high school.

i was confused my whole childhood and early adult years because neither my father nor i came clean about our life with her. she treated me nicely in front of him and they had raging fights that they hid from me.  she often said to me, we have such a great relationship, don’t we?! by the time of the divorce i knew things were seriously fucked up, i just didn’t know any of the specifics. when she said our relation ship was awesome i had to answer yes with glee or she would grab me by the shirt front, hold me up to her face and say, i know what you’re thinking, you think i’m a bitch, don’t you, don’t you? i had to agree with everything she said or boom, rage, screaming in my face. i still have have the feeling she can read my mind, even though i knew it’s not true.

i’m going to stop for now, i’m not staying on topic or putting things and order or whatever i should have done.

back to the card for a moment. her hand writing is beautiful, unmistakable.  i hadn’t looked at the return address and when i opened the card i saw the writing and the words, repair our relationship and threw it away immediately. i thought i was going to be sick. 10 years i’ve been trying to pretend she wasn’t alive and then i get this bullshit. i see my psychiatrist on Tuesday, so we can work through it.

this has been hard to write and i have so much more to say, but i’ll put it in chunks so i can handle it and so you don’t have to read a huge block of text!

i don’t think many people blog openly about child abuse, and i’ve never talked much about it to anyone  but my husband, my shrink, and my dad. i’ve told a few people that i hate her and didn’t explain. so here it is, at least some of it.

child abuse is something you never get over and for me,  it ruined a lot of my life.

Uncategorized

i remember…

i remember the moment i realized that i was mentally ill. i was 11 years old. i didn’t know anything about mental illness, but knew something wasn’t ok. i was standing at the foot of my bed looking at Duran Duran posters on the wall and crying. my heart hurt. i feel that way sometimes now, too. all i can say to describe my feelings is that my heart and soul hurt.

looking at the posters, i knew that i wanted something desperately, but i didn’t know what. i felt so sad. i felt like i was a million years old.

i felt fear, too. i knew that if anyone found out that i was crazy something terrible would happen. something like, my family falling apart. i also knew that they would put me in the hospital..

i was right about everything.

Uncategorized

blank spaces

when i first started painting i thought everything, absolutely everything, i painted had to cover the entire canvas, i joined deviantArt and saw that a lot of artists whose work i like often left blank spaces in their paintings. i honestly thought it was very daring. i commented on it to someone who had a painting like that and i think he was chuckling at me when he replied, “i’m not the first person to do that, you know.” i felt kind of silly, but decided to try it. i was learning to do things differently, to break barriers that i thought were absolute. the first time i did it, i actually felt daring!

after that i started to do it a lot. i even moved on to painting minimalist works. that actually is kind of daring. this is one of my favorites….

Back Camera

i started thinking about it, and realized that i had a lot of blank spaces in me. there are huge spaces of time in my life that i remember nothing about. there are a lot of things that happened yesterday, or the day before, or last week or a month ago, that i can’t recall. it’s disturbing to think about.

when i was drinking heavily it happened on a regular basis. i’d wake up at home, in bed with my clothes on, not even remembering leaving the house to go out drinking. it was terrifying.

i’m sober, maybe not quite, but i only take the things that are prescribed for me. but there are still these big spaces. some might attribute it to my substance abuse damaging my mind and causing these losses of time. i wouldn’t rule it out, but i think i have a different explanation that feels more like the real culprit.

my mother was abusive. some of the biggest chunks i’ve lost are memories of my life, both as a child and as an adult, that relate to the amount of hell she was putting me through. there are other traumatic things that are hidden from my memory; but sometimes things break free and make me feel even more damaged. not surprisingly, i have PTSD.

i think embracing the idea that i have to step back and see ways to do things that i didn’t realize were possible let me start to let go of the weight of the blank spaces in my memory. i’ve been disassociating for almost my entire life. but now i need to move on, let go, break free from the past.

i think i’ve done enough digging through the past, during the 20 years of therapy, that it’s time to leave the wounds of the past in the past and continue making new memories. 🙂

yay!