A Letter to “DAD”

Dear Dad,

Just wanted to drop you a line to thank you for the birthday card. I am a bit confused about the passive aggressive note written inside, “I was there Thursday to see you.  Should have known.”  I do know you stopped by my place of employment on Thursday because, well I was there.  I actually drove a friend’s car and was basically on the look out for you.  Why?  Because last year when you showed up at work out of the blue on my birthday, it ruined my day.  I can’t say for certain, but I’m thinking it’s probably been a solid 30+ years since I’ve a) gotten a birthday card from you and b) saw you on my birthday.  I want to say I’m sorry for this, but I’m not going to.  I think I will start at the beginning and give you MY point of view.  That might clear some things up.

To say I remember a lot from my early days would be a lie.  Not sure how it is for other people but I just don’t have the memories.  I obviously know that you and mom were married, but I don’t have a clue of the actual date.  I was born 3/14/1970.  I was the second girl in the family.  The first was my sister, she was from a previous marriage of mom’s.  Technically, she is my half-sister, but we consider each other sisters.  None of that half shit applies.  At some point, if I have this right, legal paperwork had to be completed because when I was born, mom was still married to her first husband (I think).  I only found that out when I was moving out and saw a document that listed my name as Baby Girl (insert last name of mom’s first husband here).  I don’t know if that meant you had to actually adopt me to get your last name or what the deal was. Again, I can only assume it was at this time that you also adopted my older sister because we had the same last name growing up. This also meant you had to pay child support on two kids when the divorce happened. I think I was 5 when you divorced.

There are plenty of photo albums for me to look at from my birth through today. Luckily, mom took and kept pictures of everything. Honestly, you are cut out of some, but not all of them. There are also home movies with you in them, but I don’t remember those moments. I do want to share my very first memory of you. I am thinking I was like 3-4. Living in the house on Walnut. I can picture literally everything in that house. Not sure how I remember that and not other details. Anyway, it was bath time for me. You were in the bathroom with me. On the ledge around the tub was a bottle of Mr. Bubbles. Who didn’t have Mr. Bubbles growing up?! Unfortunately, my skin was sensitive to Mr. Bubbles. To be more specific my little girl private parts were very sensitive to Mr. Bubbles. I remember you putting me in the tub and I freaked out, kicking and screaming – CAUSE IT HURT. Mom hears the commotion from another room and comes into the bathroom. I’m still freaking out and accidentally hit you in the groin area. Your reaction was to then kick me in my groin area. That is my first memory of you.

Fast-forward a few years. The divorce has happened, and there is a visitation policy in place. Please remember I am telling this from MY side, as a little kid going through it. I feel like there might have been a year or so before visitation began, but I’m not sure. I remember each time you had a Saturday visit, and you actually showed up, I was always scared. Not scared of you, as much of scared and afraid of where you lived at the time and what we were going to do. We were basically strangers.  It seemed to me that you moved around quite a bit. Not that it wasn’t clean or anything like that. Just always different. I remember different woman you lived with throughout the years. I remember having to go visit your parents, my biological grandparents. They terrified me. I didn’t know these people. They weren’t part of my life, at all. I remember the bathroom in their house scared me. I really have no idea why. I hated when I had to do the visitation without my sister.  Having her with me gave me something familiar and comfortable.  

As I got older, the visits were few and far between. I remember waiting in the driveway for you to pick me up and you never showing up. NOT COOL.  I remember we always went to Pizza Hut to eat. I also remember throwing up the same night there was a visit. Mom always blamed the Pizza Hut, but it wasn’t that. I was so stressed and worked up over the visit it made me physically sick.  All the questions that were asked and knowing that there was always tension between you and mom made things so hard for me.

There came a point where I really didn’t think much about not having someone to call “dad”. I had other fabulous male role models in my life and I was very fortunate to have them.

At some point around 16-17 years of age, I had a steady boyfriend (the boy I would eventually marry and raise 3 kids with). He had a kind of normal family. Mom, dad and kids. I felt guilty for not having a relationship with you. So I started to stop by your house to see you or should I say you and your new wife and her kids. It was odd. I never felt comfortable. But I tried. I think for about a year. It just got too strange. You knew nothing about me. What’s my favorite color, my favorite food, what color was my first prom dress, my second prom dress? And what was the deal when you decided to buy me a car? I don’t remember exactly what it was, a big old 1950’s something. Was it neat – yes. Was it strange of you to do – yes. I show up to see you and you tell me you bought me this car and I had to help pay insurance, maintenance, etc. What? I am not out of school with my first job. I already have a car that I am paying for. I think that is the point I stopped visiting. You sold the car, and that was it for a very long time.

Again, fast forward to maybe 20 some years ago. I’m at work and you decide to stop in. Very awkward. You did this a few times over a few years. What I remember is you bringing me healthy snacks to try because, well because I was fat. Wait – now you’re concerned about me and my health? Then there was the time you stopped in and wanted me to sign a paper because you and your wife were adopting a baby girl. As you explained to me, as her sister I would be signing the paper to promise to be a part of her life and help her live a life through God. (I wish you could see the puzzled look on my face right now). WTF? I did not sign the paper and I’m sure I didn’t see you again until three years ago. That was the time I saw you at a local eatery, said hi to you and you didn’t know who I was. Your wife did, but never bothered to clue you in. It was my mistake for saying hi. It was my mistake for inviting you to my home the next day to meet my kids, who you never met before. I should have kept the door closed. Not long after this you stopped at work a few times when you were going to the VA Hospital. You told me you were working with someone regarding your issues. Typically, at some point during the visits you always mentioned how hard it was to see me as a kid, how hard mom made it, how you didn’t have money to fight, how you missed out on my life, and so many other things. And some how I always ended up comforting you. Telling you it was OK, telling you it wasn’t your fault.  But that’s me, I’m a caretaker at heart.

Now I will explain what I know about you and what you went through. You were in Vietnam and you were a Prisoner of War. You lived through 14 months of hell as a POW. You were released May of 1969. I was born March of 1970. When you were released you were messed up. Who wouldn’t be? You returned to a nation that didn’t treat you well. You did not get the help you needed. You turned to weed. I don’t know if there were other drugs, but I know there was weed. I know this was a bone of contention between you and mom and from what I was told, a big reason for the divorce. She needed you to stop and you couldn’t or didn’t. I just have to add, that to this day I cringe anytime I smell patchouli oil. I hate that smell with every ounce of my being. I found out years later you used that to cover the smell of the weed. You were in a very serious car. I would have been like 19 or 20. Mom took me and my sister to see you. Your injuries were very serious and you were in ICU. Your parents and mom got into a fight and we left. I think your wife called occasionally with updates on your condition and I kind of remember talking to you on the phone. At some point you move to Delaware with your wife. You still visited the area because your parents and brother still live here. Last year you and your wife moved back to the area to be closer to the VA Hospital. Which leads us back to last year and you stopping at my work on my birthday to drop off a card.

Here are my questions/comments:

Throughout my childhood, you lived maybe 10-15 miles away. Why couldn’t you show up at a game? Your parents lived about 5 miles away. Where were they when I had a track meet or a basketball game? Were you in the stands when I graduated? It was open to the public. Why did you not reach out to me and tell me that because you are a veteran I could have gone to college for a very reduced fee? Did you know I wanted to be a teacher? When my favorite person in the world passed away, Nana, did you bother to reach out to me? I have gone through some hellish life experiences. All of which you knew about. Some were very public and were HORRID. Did I miss the call or card from you then? Did you forget where I work (which I have worked at the same place for 30 years)? When you saw in the local news that one of my children was diagnosed with a chronic illness, did you reach out and see how we were doing?

I get the situation wasn’t ideal, I get you have/had issues I know nothing about. But those issues aren’t mine to carry. I have dealt with questioning why you wouldn’t want to be part of my life. What did I do to make you not want to be part of my life. I realize that it’s not me, it’s you. I was a kid, you were the adult. I am no longer holding onto the guilt or responsibility.

Please know I was taken care of, I was loved and I still am. I am proud of the person I am and it is because of the people who were and still are in my life.

Another Journey Begins…

February 26, 2019, a day I will forever remember. It started as any other day. Mid-morning while at work I received an e-mail from my husband telling me to call my daughter ASAP.  Thanks to AT&T, I have no cell phone service in my building.  I called her and found her to be in hysterics. The mental breakdown that I was always hoping would never happen, happened. She was crying, talking, yelling. It was horrible. She told me she didn’t want to do life anymore. She was over everything. She knew she wasn’t doing her best work at school, she had no creativity, had lost her passion and the boyfriend was also mentioned. 

We agreed she would drive home from her school apartment and we would deal with whatever was happening when she got home. I’m sure someone will give me grief for letting her drive. However, I do know my child and knew her waiting for me to get to her (about a 1 1/2 hours drive) would have been far worse than her driving to me. Trust me on this one.

I left work, got home and started making calls. About one month prior I had started researching inpatient facilities for depression and anxiety. I knew with what we had experienced over Christmas, my daughter needed more than just a monthly therapy appointment. I contacted an organization that was helping me with this search and since this was a situation that demanded immediate action, I was directed to a local behavioral health center. I called and made an appointment for my daughter to be seen when she got home. My husband got home before my daughter and when she walked in the door, we basically walked right back out and into the car. My girl had voiced the fact she knew she needed help.

Once at the facility, we were taken in to an in-take room. My daughter’s vitals were taken and some general questions were asked. This entire time my girl was sobbing. It was then time to sit down with an in-take specialist. Only two people were allowed. Of course my girl chose me and poor dad had to wait in the waiting area. There was about an hour of questions, which she answered very honestly. This was the first time she really told the truth about her self-harming to anyone in the therapy field. It was like a stab to my heart when she told him she now used scissors to make the cuts. There was a time when it was razor blades. He asked to see her arm and this was the first time I saw the “new” cuts. I’m not sure how I didn’t throw up. Yes, I have seen far worse self-harm pictures on-line. But seeing it on my girl was beyond words. There was one that was about four inches long and about .5 inches deep.  She was also very open and honest with her thoughts of “not wanting to be here”.  She no longer wanted to be alive as the person she currently was.  She wants to live as the person she hopes to be.

After all the questions were answered, the in-take specialist took the answers to the psychiatrist to see what is recommended.  I knew what the answer was going to be, but I don’t think my girl did.  He came back in the room with papers to sign.  The first being a 201 commitment paper.  He was very clear with what it was and what she was signing.  Since she was 18, she is now in control.  She willingly signed the paper.  As the in-take specialist was explaining more about other papers that needed to be signed, the realization that she would not be coming home with me hit her hard.  We talked for probably 30 minutes about why this needed to happen and that at this point it was going to happen.  She was begging me to get her out and not make her stay.  At one point I asked if I could go get my husband.  I left the room and went into the waiting area with the in-take guy.  I knew when I walked out I would not be going back in.  We talked about what to do at this point and I told the guy there was no way I could go back in or it would just get worse.  We then left.  We left our girl at that place.  She was alone, scared, confused, hurt and now I left her.  The first phone call came about 35 minutes later.  She couldn’t understand why we would just leave, how could we do that, she can’t stay there, she needs to get out, I need to get her out.  I think she ended up hanging up on me.  That was the first of six calls that night.  Each one was the same.  The guilt was insane at this point.  Wow.  Not knowing what she was doing was the absolute worst for me, and the fact I was sure she would hate me and never talk to me again.   

To make that evening even better, I got a Facebook message from “the boy” telling me he has been trying to call Hannah and can’t get her and she told him she was coming home to get help.  After about an hour I replied “she is safe”.  Then I got another message asking  me to give him the facility information so he can arrange to visit her.  My response “no visitors”.  His response “is that the facility rule or your rule”.  Seriously, dickhead?  You are going to throw attitude to me?  What the fuck?  I replied “facility”.  The next day the boy messaged asking for a number to call her.  I never responded to that one.  I can only assume that I hurt his feelings because I later received this message “I really appreciate your consideration you aren’t the only person who has an emotional attachment to her and is pained by what she is going through but I know my place now don’t worry sorry to bother”  and yes it was just like that, no punctuation.  Did I want to respond?  Oh, I wanted to respond.  I wanted to ask the concerned boy about the violent fights my daughters neighbors reported to the rental agency.  I wanted an explanation for the odd bruises on her body.  I wanted to know how many other diseases he was sharing with my daughter.  I wanted to know why if he was so concerned did he not tell me about the cuts on her?  I wanted to know why my girl suddenly was 30 pounds lighter if he was so fucking concerned about her.  I wanted to tell him to get the fuck out of her life.  However, I knew that would only make matters worse.  So I said nothing.

On day 2 of my daughter’s commitment she called me every few hours.  The morning calls were much of the same.  She wanted to leave, didn’t want to be there, etc. By the afternoon she had perhaps adjusted to being there and asked if we were going to visit her.  Visiting is allowed every day from 5:30 PM to 6:30 PM.  Yes, I lied to the boy.  I told her I would love to visit her.  My husband (her dad!), her youngest brother, his fiance and me all went for a visit.  It was awkward at first.  We talked about her day, what the schedule was like, what the food was like, etc.  She did admit that she did like the group therapy and realized there were other people who had feelings like hers and there were people that were much worse. At the end of the visit she asked that we not visit her the following day.  She said it was too hard to imagine what we were doing when we left without her.  We followed her wishes and did not visit on day 3.  However, we talked quite a bit on the phone throughout the day.  I also talked to the social worker assigned to her.  It was helpful to be able to give the social worker some input from my point of view. She felt very confident that my girl would be released on day 4 and set up a family meeting for 1:30 PM on day 4.

As my husband and I were pulling into the facility parking lot for the meeting, my phone starts exploding.  The boy has now messaged my two sons (her brothers) and their respective girlfriend/fiance.  The message was something about how concerned he was and he isn’t getting any help or response from “her mother”.  The girls were the ones texting me at this point and I told them both to ignore him and that anything they said would be twisted and he would just throw it in Hannah’s face the minute she had her cell phone in her hand.  

We had the  meeting and were thrilled with what the social worker told us.  The behavioral group felt Hannah would be much better suited for intensive out-patient therapy and that was set up for her.  And out the door we went (yes there was other stuff regarding medication, etc).  The minute we got in the car she wanted her phone.  Before I handed it to her I showed her the exchange between me and the boy, just so she knew exactly what I said.  She calls him from the back seat, my blood is boiling.  Of course we can only hear her side of the conversation.  I’m not sure how many times she apologized to him.  Again, I am seeing red.  She eventually hangs up and my only comment (right or wrong) was “you just got out of in-patient treatment and he is making you feel guilty and you have to apologize to him?”  And that is all I said.  Now, unbeknownst to me throughout the afternoon the boy and the brothers are messaging and it got UGLY.  Very ugly.  The boy threatened to kill my oldest and make sure his daughter grows up without a dad, just like him.  This is the caliber of person we are dealing with.  OMG – that night was just horrid.  Even though she knew what was said in the messages, she still begged the boy to stay with her.  All the alarms are going off in my head and the last thing I can do is scream at her that he is manipulating her, using her and abusing her.  At this time I was also very disappointed in my sons.  I know they love their sister.  I know they were doing what they felt was best for her and protecting her and I appreciate that.  I did not appreciate them then turning their backs on her because they felt she was choosing the boy over them.  She is messed up in the head, just got out of the psych ward and is so confused about life she can’t see straight.  She needed their support.  Stop and think about it before you judge…………

It’s now been almost two weeks since she was in the hospital.  We are learing to live with a new normal.  She has been given a leave of absence from school.  She will have five months to complete her final portfolio and have it judged.  That is a huge stressor to cross off the list.  Today, she returned the boys property (the usual t-shirts, sweatshirts).  I can’t say they are officially over, but we are moving in the correct direction.  I will occasionally send my girl links regarding domestic abuse, how it starts, what it looks like and I think she is finally admitting to herself that she was in a bad relationship. This boy treated her how she feels she should have been treated.  She isn’t worthy of a nice guy because she is a piece of shit – her words, not mine.  Therapy starts in two weeks (yes, the mental health system is amazingly fast), but in the meantime she is speaking with a life coach twice a week.  I never thought much of the life coach crap – my opinion has now changed.  My girl is learning to deal with and control her anxiety.  She is relating to her life coach and enjoys every session.  I think my girl reached her rock bottom.  Now we do all we can to build her back up, support and love her the way she deserves.

A Heavy Heart

My heart is heavy today. Isn’t it odd that some days can be relatively “normal” and others make you feel beat down and just plain sad?

I wonder, on days like this, if I dealt with the thoughts and feelings that my daughter deals with every minute of everyday – would all my days feel this bad?

I can tell by talking to my girl that she is very depressed. She promises me she is taking her meds. She promises me she will reach out if she needs help. She promises me there are people at school and around her she can rely on. She promises me.

Some days I am able to put everything into a demented type of perspective. Today, I am not. My every thought swirls around my girl in some way. Today, I wonder if I will need to plan her funeral.

My heart is heavy.



Do I tell her….

I would like to apologize for the post yesterday. I should really wait a few days before throwing shit out there. But what fun would that be? And how cathartic would that be for me?

There are days I struggle with the overwhelming guilt of all the mistakes I made with my baby girl. Guilt that makes me want to stay in bed with the covers over my head. Guilt that makes my body physically ache. Guilt that gives me the overwhelming desire to sob for days.

Then there are the days that I struggle with anger. No, I struggle with RAGE, HATRED, FURY, RESENTMENT. And I HATE it. Some days it is towards all the bullshit we go through trying to get quality mental health support. Some days it’s resentment towards all the “perfect” social media family’s. I know it’s all for show, I know it’s not all rosy and perfect, but I’m fucking sick and tired of seeing it. What’s really going on in your house? And I don’t mean to sound like I want bad things to happen to people, but COME ON! Just once post about how shitty you day really was. Your boss is a dick, your fighting with your significant other over skid marks in the toilet, your kids teacher emailed about missing homework, you had to stop and get gas in the pouring rain, and you walk in the house to find the dog shit on the floor and no one cleaned it up. THAT’S REAL! Just once I wish I had the balls to post what I was really thinking on my social media or what actually happens in my world. Hell, I wish I had the balls to make this blog public to my social media.

Then there are the days that I want to scream and yell at my girl. This is the feeling I hate the most. As an adult, I know this is not her fault. I know there are thoughts and feelings she has a hard time dealing with. I knew when I decided to have kids it wasn’t going to be a walk in the park. I didn’t think there would be days I would feel this way about my child. Do I tell her all these things? Do I make her feel worse? Do I make her feel guilty for being mentally ill? No, I can’t and I won’t. But this is my reality. There are days that I really want her to see that her disease isn’t only wreaking havoc in her life.

Do I tell her….(and there is no order to these, just as they pop in my demented brain)

I can’t do it anymore
I want to give up
I can’t keep stopping my life
I want to have fun again, but I feel like I can’t. How can I laugh with friends knowing you have suicidal thoughts?
I’m tired of canceling plans to babysit you. Take care of yourself for a change.
Stop making such stupid ass choices.
Next time you cut yourself, you might as well cut me. I feel it.
Do not make me find your body.
I want to have sex with my favorite person. We are both so exhausted with worry and fear. It’s not an excuse, it’s our reality.
I cancelled an anniversary/birthday party for me and your dad because I don’t know if you will be here for it. How do I plan a party when I might have to plan your funeral?
GET OUT OF YOUR FUCKING BED AND LIVE
I need my baby girl back, I want my baby girl back
I need to feel “normal” again
I need to see you smile
I need to see you love
I need to see you live



I don’t want to fucking be here.

Sorry if the title offends anyone, but it’s a phrase I heard more than I wanted to over Christmas break. My daughter has made these comments before, but this time it was in a different way. This was pure anguish.

I have written previously about my daughters depression and anxiety and self-harm. I had the jaded illusion that after she graduated from high school, was away from all the bullshit, she would find her own “being”.

I think summer was fairly decent. She had started on new meds and felt better. The meds were adjusted throughout the summer in hopes that when she started her schooling in September, she would be able to manage life a bit better.

To say I was scared to death about my girl leaving home, living on her own, starting a new school program and living almost 2 hours away – is an extreme understatement. The day she followed me to her new apartment was – well it was beyond words. We unpacked her things, set up her apartment, went shopping for food, went to lunch and then I left her. I left her alone, in a strange place, with no one around to take care of her. I questioned my decision the entire ride home (to be honest I still question it). She decided she would feel more comfortable if she went to her new place a week before school actually started. That way she could drive around, check the place out and basically get used to this new “normal”.

My girl did come home after two days. She wanted to do the drive home and back alone. She stayed for only one night and left the next day. I think she needed to make sure home was still home and she could come back. I was thrilled to find out that another student in her program reached out to her and they were meeting for lunch the weekend before school started. This is a huge step for my girl. Her social anxiety was on high alert – but she did it. She became fast (almost too fast) friends with this girl and was so excited. Her program started and I got daily calls or messages from her telling me little bits about her day. She loved the program. It was a very small class and after about a month (sorry, this is a 6 month program she is in) she felt at home in her new place. She loved her class and they were always doing things together. She still came home almost every weekend, mostly to see her cat, but she also did wash and to restock.

I could see a difference, a good difference. People commented on how different she was, seemed more mature, seemed happy, so many positives. I thought – YES! This is it. This is what she needed. She needed to figure out she can do this – alone.

By the second/third month I felt the newness had worn off. Now it was the daily grind of the program. Leaning new things, being challenged and falling back in to the mind set that she couldn’t do it, she wasn’t good enough. I kept the encouragement going and there are times I think she surprised herself as to what she was able to do and accomplish.

I was hearing a lot about the various friends and knew that there were a handful of students who were over the age of 21. I knew that she went to a few parties. We had the understanding that there would never be any driving and she had to stay wherever she was. She let me know when there were parties and always checked in before and after. If you are judging me – stop. It is no different than the kids that go off to college and spread their wings. Believe me I don’t need the lecture. She did seem happy, although she still touched base with me when she was feeling anxious or more depressed than usual.

When she came home for a visit before Christmas I noticed a lovely hickey on her neck. So, I asked about it. She of course became assy, told me it’s someone she met from the area she lives in. I asked why she never told me about him and she honestly told me because she knows I wouldn’t approve. I asked the mandatory mom questions and she was right. I didn’t approve of him. She ALWAYS attaches to narcissistic assholes. I don’t know how else to put it. She wants to be loved, needed, desired so desperately that the minute someone shows her attention (good or bad), she jumps in head first.

This was also the visit I was helping with her wash and OMG, the smell of pot/weed or whatever you want to call it was insane. Again, I know that she has smoked in the past. Again – I AM NOT CONDONING IT. But I also know that it helps calm her. Right or wrong, legal or illegal. It is what it is. It is a topic that we have talked about more times than I can count. She knows all the penalties if caught. I have made sure she knows it very well.

Next it was Christmas break. She had off for about two full weeks. My husband and I also take off over the Christmas break. It’s something we did when the kids were in school and we just continued it. There was really no part of the holidays that I enjoyed. OK, there was one. Our family was blessed with a new addition in October 2018. Having something positive to focus on is probably the only thing that kept me sane.

I can’t even keep all the arguments straight in my head anymore. When she came home I gave her a day to chill, sleep in, thinking she needed to decompress from school. I think the first argument occurred by day 2. Something small set her off. I don’t even know what at this point. This included the storming away, going to her room, etc. I don’t go for that, especially when the conversation isn’t over. I went to her room, started talking. I have learned with her if I yell/scream she instantly shuts down and I get nowhere. It was during this talk that the first “I don’t want to fucking be here” came out, along with uncontrollable sobbing. We talked at length about her feelings and thoughts, about school and the possibility of not going back. When the talk was done, I left her room with a very heavy heart.

It could have been the next day, she got up and came downstairs. I was doing something in the kitchen and reminded her to take her meds. This is her birth control (to control heavy bleeding) and her depression meds. She asked me to get them for her, which I did. When I gave them to her she asked why I gave her two pills for the depression. I reminded her that her dosage had been adjusted and she was supposed to be taking two pills at a time. She forgot that fact and since she left home in September has only been taking one pill a day. Basically she cut her dosage by more than half. Of course this could be a huge reason for her current state of mind.

Later in the evening we were hanging out, watching TV. At one point she asked if we could go upstairs and talk. I said sure. We got into my room and her tears started. After she calmed down she told me that she had “raw” sex with hickey boy. I wasn’t up on the term “raw” and figured out that meant unprotected. She had just gotten a message from hickey boy telling her he has chlamydia and she should get checked. I was really not ready for that and she was so upset it was hard to console her. Again, it was time for the mom questions. I found out hickey boy’s ex-girlfriend slept with someone and then hickey boy slept with the ex and then my daughter.

I called the doctor, he sent a lab request for a test, she did the test and of course it came back positive. She was allergic to the first set of meds, and threw up on the second set. Which made me wonder if she was pregnant. So I also made her take a pregnancy test. At this point I’m of the mindset if you are old enough to have sex, you are old enough to deal with the consequences. Old enough, yes. Mature enough, possibly. Mentally stable enough, no fucking way.

There other incident involving hickey boy was on New Year’s Eve. He contacted her with some travesty he was dealing with. He wanted her to leave and save him. Fortunately, her car needed work and it was scheduled during this break. No way we were letting her take one of our cars to save hickey boy because “his mom kicked him out and he has some blood disease and he can’t get cold or he will die.” She is in tears worried that this wonderful person who gave her chlamydia is in trouble. WHAT THE FUCK???!!! I am now beyond pissed, annoyed, aggravated – you name it I felt it. My questions started:

Q: Why was he kicked out?
A: I don’t know. I didn’t ask.
Q: Where is he?
A: Sitting in a car at his grandparents house.
Q: Why can’t he go into his grandparents?
A: I don’t think they actually live there, the car is just there. It doesn’t have a motor.
Q: He has no one to call? He has no relatives? But he has a fully charged working phone?
A: Mom, I don’t know.
Q: What disease does he have?
A: I don’t know but he can’t get cold.
Q: Here are the numbers for local shelters in your area. Send them to him. He needs to be a big boy and take care of himself.

It was just ridiculous. But I couldn’t make her see that.

We were having some very close family friends and family over for the evening and I had no idea how things would go. Low and behold she gets a message that he is OK and has some place to stay. Get the fuck out? He didn’t need you, you didn’t have to run to him and save him and leave your awful family?

I am scared to actually know what she has been doing. Is it worse not knowing or knowing? I know I need her to be safe. I need her to try and make decisions that don’t put her in harms way. I need her to take care of herself. I need her to focus on her. I need her to stay alive. Basically, I need her to be my daughter forever.

I really feel like this one was all over the place, my apologies. But right now my brain is all over the place. The guilt that I feel is overwhelming. How can even think about being happy? She’s not happy.

How can I be relieved when she leaves and it isn’t right in front of my face? But when I can’t sleep at night because I’m thinking about her and her well-being, I will hear a car drive down the street and I hold my breath. I don’t want the car to stop. I don’t want the doorbell to ring and have someone tell me my daughter is dead. That happens to me every night, multiple times a night. It’s awful.

I fight with myself. I doubt my decisions from the time this disease took hold of my girl. What else could I have done to make it better? What can I do now? What should I do now? Do I try to commit her? Well, I work in a field where I see that on a fairly regular basis. And I would be more scared that she would get worse being in a local facility. They are horrible. This is something I do know.

I get to see all the details of suicides and attempted suicides on a weekly basis. This sucks in a way I can’t explain. My mind goes crazy. The what if’s are the worst. It’s a 24/7 cycle that never ends.

I am currently researching places for my girl to go when she gets out of school in March. I think the best thing is for her to be in-patient some place safe. Some place where she will find her self-worth again, get the meds under control and learn to be part of life. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks again for reading and any kind words.



Self-esteem and Beauty Ads,

Isn’t it amazing the front we, meaning strong women, put on every single day?  I do my hair, make-up, spend way too long picking out an outfit that hopefully won’t show my back bulge or the cellulite on my ass and thighs.  When I leave the house I feel fairly confident I don’t look like a troll.  There are certain days I might even feel good about my overall appearance.  And then it happens.  I see someone who has better hair, better make-up, no bulges, no cellulite and my mind starts comparing – EVERYTHING.  Am I the only one?  I start with trying to convince myself that I could look like that if I wanted to, if I had time to, if I had a personal chef and a personal trainer and if I had a hundred thousand for some elective surgeries.   And why do I do this to myself??????

WAIT!  I know why I do it, or at least some of it.  It’s those freaking beauty ads.  Wow, do they annoy me and also make me question my worth as a woman.  Each morning as I am getting ready for work I typically turn on HGTV.  It’s either Beachfront Bargain Hunt, Lakefront Bargain Hunt, Island Life, Caribbean Life, Hunting Vintage, or Ultimate Pools.  Why I continue to do this to myself, I really don’t know.  I glance at the shows as the primping for the day is occurring and realize I will never have a beachfront or lakefront home.  I will never have my dream vintage home. I will never have an island or Caribbean life and I sure as hell will never have an ultimate pool.  I know, I know – never say never.  So I will say this.  My chances of having any of the above are about the same as my chances of winning the lottery.  Cause the only way I will get any of the above is if I win the lottery.

Sorry, I got off topic.  Back to my morning watching HGTV.  At approximately 6:55 AM each morning there is a very long infomercial that relates to beauty in some way.  I must preface the forthcoming by saying I have no idea if I can get in any trouble by mentioning the products by name or the person representing the product by name.  I apologize if this is a no no.  Sue me if you must, but you will get nothing of value.  I promise!

I will start with the first product that seemed to be on a daily rotation for months.  Crepe Erase.  This ad originally had Jane Seymour as the lead spokesperson.  Jane was very convincing in making me realize that my skin is become similar to crepe paper.  The new spokesperson is Dorothy Hamill.  How can I not listen to Dorothy Hamill?  I mean look at her.  She is 61 and doesn’t have crepey skin on her arms, hands, knees or ankles.  I”m not even 50  and I have crepey skin!  And the reason Dorothy’s skin is so amazing is because Crepe Erase “is a treatment, not a moisturizer.”  Then Melissa Gilbert tells me that she uses Crepe Erase and “the results were instant, they were palpable”.  WHAT???  Instant results.  Laura Ingles would not lie to me.  And then add to that the everyday women who have had amazing results.  They are telling me that using this product makes them feel youthful.  I want to feel youthful!!!!!!

Smile Active is next on the infomercial rotation.  Have you seen this?  The results are amazing.  And you just have to add it to your toothpaste.  You brush your teeth anyway, so what’s the big deal about adding Smile Active?  Teeth are three shades whiter in 7 days.  One lady on the commercial said she can’t stop smiling because she is so happy with her teeth.  I want to smile all the time with white teeth and be that happy!

Another favorite is Sub-D.  This is used on the neck and decolletage area.  It will give you  youthful looking skin, firmer skin, a more defined chin and jaw line by minimizing the appearance of loose skin along chin, jawline, neck and decolletage.  Am I the only one wondering if it will work on the loose skin around my belly from child birth?  Maybe it will minimize my loose boob appearance.  Looking at my profile I want a more defined chin and jaw line!  I didn’t even realize my decolletage area needed firming, damn it!

Next up is Amla Glow.  This is apparently the secret to facial rejuvenation by using the Indian Gooseberry in its formula.  If the Indian Gooseberry can rejuvenate my face, I’ll plant it in my back yard and bathe in it!  Note to self:  find out if the Indian Gooseberry can grow in planting zone 6a/6b.  I could probably sell it to my friends and neighbors, which will get my closer to my dream of having an island life!!!!

I will not win fans with the next product I want to talk about, but it is what it is.  Meaningful Beauty by Cindy Crawford.  Let me start by saying I think Cindy Crawford is gorgeous.  I could only hope to look that good at the age of 50.  Honestly, this is the one product I feel I need to purchase.  There is apparently a melon that is grown in a very remote part of the South of France that defies the aging process of a melon.  This melon is used in the product.  Soooooooooo, if I go to a remote part of the South of France, find the melon, break it open, remove a few seeds, return home and plant the seeds – can I just throw some melon in my blender and smooth it over my face???  I do agree with a comment Cindy Crawford makes in this commercial.  Something about every every woman wanting to feel beautiful and confident and that is what Meaningful Beauty does, makes you feel beautiful and confident.  I want to feel beautiful and confident, but I want to feel that way because of who I am and what I am about, not because of the skincare line I use.

The last product I need to discuss is MagicBax.  I will admit this was not a commercial I saw on HGTV in the morning.  This was a commercial I saw at about 2AM when I couldn’t sleep and decided watching some meaningless TV would help bore me to sleep.  Until I saw this commercial I had no idea I needed to be self conscious of my sagging earrings!  Thank you early morning commercials for taking my already low self-esteem another step lower! MagicBax instantly lifts and supports my earrings so they aren’t sagging, which will make me feel more beautiful and confident.  Can you believe it?  I want my earrings to be supported and sit higher on my earlobe.  It’s going to make me feel more beautiful and confident!  FINALLY!

As if we don’t have enough around us making us feel inadequate, we have TV commercials to pick up the slack!  My goal is to give someone a compliment everyday.  I see beautiful women everyday.  I admire a dress or their hair or maybe their make-up.  I will tell them, in a non-creepy way.  Everyone likes a compliment, no matter how small.  I challenge you to make someone’s day.  The lady you see at the coffee shop who always looks so put together, the woman at the grocery store with the three screaming kids who has an awesome haircut, or the young girl at the drive-thru who has a beautiful smile.  Try it, you’ll like it!

 

 

The Other Side of Depression & Anxiety, the mom side

The other side of depression for me, the mom of a very depressed daughter, is frustration.  I hate admitting it, I hate feeling it, but it’s my reality. I feel guilty and selfish for even thinking it.

Last night during one of my sleepless nights, I started thinking about all the things I need to accomplish before my daughter leaves for school in September, making the mental check-lists we all make and then completely forget by morning!  While all these lists are swirling around in my brain, there is this tiny voice that keeps interrupting.  That tiny voice starts saying – but what if.  But what if she can’t handle school, but what if she hurts herself at school, but what if she feels lost and alone, but what if someone takes advantage of her desperate want of a relationship, but what if………..it just goes on and on and on.

I realized that not only has this horrible mental illness stripped my daughter of so many  of the joys of growing up, but it also denies me of my daughter almost every day and that just pisses me off!  Why didn’t we get to experience shopping for homecoming dresses, prom dresses, first date outfits?  Why – because her mind tells her she isn’t good enough to find a date, no one wants to be around her, no one likes her, she isn’t skinny enough, pretty enough, tall enough, smart enough.  The endless list of self loathing comments that float in her brain every second.  What happens when I’m not there to tell her she is perfect just the way she is?  Will she hear my voice in her head?  Will she remember all the conversations we have had about putting her needs first?  Will she stop and think before she does something that she can’t undo?

UGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH – I make about a million wishes a day.  I wish I could take it away, I wish I could fix “it”, I wish she was happy, I wish she realized how beautiful she is, I wish she could see what I see when I look at her, I wish she believed in herself, I wish, I wish, I wish.

I need to believe I have done my absolute best for her.  I need to believe she will survive. I need to believe she will reach out to me or someone when she is feeling lost. I need to believe she will be okay.  I need to believe.

I need to let go of the anger.  I need to let go of the resentment.  I need to let go of the fear.  I need to let go of the worry.  I need to let go, even if it’s just letting go a little bit at a time.  I am trying.

 

 

 

 

Depression

IMG_4910Depression sucks, as cliché as that sounds it’s so true.  As a parent of a child who deals with depression and anxiety on a daily basis,  I would do ANYTHING to relieve my daughter of this illness.  Correct that, mental illness.  There, I said it.  My child has a mental illness.  A professionally diagnosed mental illness.  And we deal with all aspects of that mental illness the best way we can.  There have been and will continue to be years of therapy and medication for my daughter.  This is not something she will grow out of, but something she has been learning to cope with and live with.

Early this morning as I was getting ready for work I was vaguely aware of the local news team reporting on the day’s top news.  At one point they cut to a political figure speaking about a recent tragic event and I actually laughed (it was a cynical laugh) out loud when I heard this person state that help for mental illness has been and will continue to be available to anyone in need.  I call bullshit on that statement.  And this is why.

My daughter was diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety about six years ago.  My daughter was offered a wonderful opportunity to attend a very prestigious private school in our area.  The reviews and history of the school are very well-known.  She attended during 6th and 7th grade.  Talk about a parenting decision I wish I could undo.  There was an extreme amount of pressure to be perfect, along with so many other horrible things my daughter experienced.  My daughter did not return to the private school, but started back at public school, which was another very hard adjustment. The friends she had when she left had made other close friendships, some had gone down different paths.  She was never able to find her place in the school.

We started to notice her withdrawing from school activities and events.  She wasn’t the same happy kid she had been.  Regardless of what we tried, she just couldn’t seem to shake the blues.  We decided it would be best to reach out and begin therapy to help my daughter deal with all the recent changes.  She started therapy with a wonderful psychologist.  After a year or so of weekly or bi-weekly therapy the psychologist suggested an anti-depressant would probably be a benefit to my daughter.  That meant finding a reputable psychiatrist to help determine what medication would be best.  Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, we were already familiar with a child psychiatrist who I felt very comfortable with.  Our middle son has a chronic illness, which was diagnosed at a very young age.  He dealt with depression for a number of years and at one point required medication to help him cope.  I called the psychiatrist’s office and was told there was a six month wait, so my daughter as put on the list.  In the meantime, I spoke with our family doctor who was willing to help in whatever way possible.  He spoke to various colleagues and recommended an anti-depressant.  The first one had some nasty side effects, but the second medication was very well tolerated, so we waited to see if it would help. After a few months on the medication, my daughter was not jumping for joy and singing happy songs, but she was happier than she had been and we were all thrilled.  She was being seen regularly by her psychologist and the family doctor, she was handling daily life, and was generally a happier person.  When the psychiatrists office finally called to schedule an appointment I declined.  Remember that was a six month wait to get a call to schedule an appointment three months out…..Looking back now, I feel like a fool and wish I would have scheduled the appointment.

Fast-forward to mid-2014.  My daughter’s freshman year of high school and it  was proving to be a very rough transition for her.  Her depression and anxiety were at an all time high.  There were issues upon issues she was dealing with and we, as her parents, were dealing with.   We had increased therapy sessions and were doing everything possible on the school and social fronts.  Everyone agreed it was time to re-evaluate the medication.   I called reputable child psychiatrists (because my daughter was/is under 18) in five surrounding counties trying to get my daughter an appointment.  When I called the offices I was first asked what insurance my daughter has.  I gave the name of the private insurance company and was told by EACH  of  that the office was not accepting new patients, unless the patient has some type of medical assistance.  However, I could call back in a few months to see if they were accepting new patients.  I was outraged, furious, and pissed off.  I am not here to debate medical assistance.  I do have to question why a child on medical assistance is able to be seen but my child isn’t.  What sense does that make? Oh, I know.  The same political big wheels who think help for people with mental illness is just a phone call away create the rules that dictate what the hospitals/doctors can and can’t do.  Explain to me how that is making mental illness help available to anyone in need.

We continued to trudge forward, dealing with the daily depression.  At one point our family doctor told us about a new child psychiatrist that joined a mental health organization in our area and told us he had heard only good things about the doctor.  I immediately called and made an appointment.  My daughter first had to meet with an in-take nurse who gathered all the pertinent information and had her fill out numerous questionnaires.  The next appointment would be with the psychiatrist – FINALLY!  I was so hopeful.  When we got to the appointment my daughter was called by the doctor, both my daughter and I got up.  I was told the doctor wanted to meet with my daughter first and then I would be called in.  That was fine.  As I sat in the waiting room I prayed this would be worth the wait and my daughter would finally have the help we had hoped for.  About 20 minutes later my daughter came to the waiting room to bring me to the room.  I instantly noticed she was in tears.  I couldn’t tell if it was from being upset, maybe it was from being relieved to know she was getting the help.  But she wouldn’t look at me.  After I sat down the doctor introduced himself to me and proceeded to tell me about how wonderful he was.  From his education to his experience to his colleagues who adore him.  He was talking down to me and was extremely cocky.  Still, I was hopeful that all that cockiness meant he was a genius and would help my daughter.  No such luck.  He reviewed her current medication, which included the anti-depressant and an anti-anxiety medication.  She was also taking birth control due to frequent ovarian cysts and extremely abnormal cycles.  First, I was told he would now be in charge of all medication, regardless of what it was and who prescribed it and he would be prescribing Prozac for my daughter in addition to what she was already taking.  I questioned if that was necessary, and told him we were hoping to perhaps try a different anti-depressant or maybe a different combination of medication.  I was dismissed and told he knew what was best.  He talked over me when I tried to question why he would prescribe birth control and not my daughter’s gynecologist.  This is not the outcome we had hoped for. So the answer I waited three or four years for was Prozac?  I was given the prescription, another appointment was made and we left.  My daughter made me promise her I would never make her go back to that doctor.  I asked why she was crying when she came to the waiting room.  She told me the doctor was mean and nasty to her.  She felt like he didn’t believe anything she said and made her feel like her feelings were unsubstantiated and didn’t matter.  Awesome.  I just subjected my already depressed child to a doctor who was supposed to HELP kids.  I made that promise to my daughter and we never went back.  I checked with both the family doctor and psychologist regarding the Prozac prescription.  My feeling was why am I giving her something on a daily basis that just makes her feel numb.  How will she learn to cope and manage the feelings that will always be there when the Prozac wears off?  Both doctors agreed that was not the answer to helping my daughter cope.  I never filled the prescription, but now we were back to square one.   My calls to the reputable child psychiatrists started and ended with the same message, not taking new patients – unless she has medical assistance.  I continue to call on a monthly basis.  Deep sigh.

My daughter has dealt with and continues to deal with self-harm issues, suicidal thoughts, extreme self-esteem issues, self-worth issues, social anxiety and of course the depression.  We are very fortunate that she chooses to talk to us about her issues.  I am not naive enough to think she tells us everything.  But she knows she will not be judged when she opens up.  This girl is a funny, kind, smart, talented and beautiful young woman.  She wants to see her future, but there are times where that is very difficult for her.  A few months ago we were at a therapy session.  The psychologist asked her if she could believe how far she has come in the last few years.  My daughter admitted she never thought she would be around for her senior year.  She just couldn’t imagine she would make it that far.  But she did make it to her senior year, through tears and hard work.

I could tell recently that my girl was struggling.  It’s amazing what depression can do to a person.  Getting out of bed takes an extreme amount of effort.  Getting dressed, showering, cleaning her room, everything is affected – everything.  It’s horrible to watch someone you love struggle to get away from their own thoughts.

Yesterday, I received a call at work from my daughter’s school nurse.  She wanted to reach out to me because she was concerned my daughter was feeling more depressed and felt she might benefit from a new medication or increasing her current dosage.  My daughter bonded with the school nurse and stops by and talks to her on occasion.  I was very glad the nurse reached out to me and I explained what we have in place for her care and what I am trying to do.  It also scared me even more, thinking will my beautiful girl make it through her senior year?  What can I do to make her see that there still is beauty and love in this world?  Feeling like I am failing her is beyond heart breaking.

I talked and talked and talked to my daughter last night.  We talked about many different things.  She expressed how she wants to do more, she wants to be happy, but she just doesn’t feel like she is worth it.  I try to get her to look at things from a different side.  Trying to break the cycling of thoughts in her head is so very hard.  Trying to get her to see she is worthy of love, she is a good person, the people in her life that have made her feel useless or worthless are wrong, very, very wrong!

After she went to bed, I finally sat down to chill in front of some mindless TV.  My husband had the remote and stopped on the show Intervention.  If you are not familiar with the show, they follow the stories of known drug users and their families.  The end result is holding an intervention in hopes the drug user will agree to treatment.  On this episode they were following a young woman who was about 21 years old and was addicted to heroin.  The young girls mother made a statement that I could completely relate to and instantly brought me to tears.  The mom was pulling up to her house and her daughter’s car was in the driveway.  She was happy her daughter’s car was at home, but scared to go into the house because she feared what she would find when she went inside.  Every single day I am the first one to get home and my daughter’s car is always in the driveway.  I take a deep breath and say a quick prayer that I find my girl safe and alive.  It’s a feeling I can’t describe.

At times like this I want to keep her with me 24/7.  I want to be able to see her and touch her and know that she is physically okay.  I want to help her let a little bit of light into her dark, dark world.  There are so many things she hasn’t experienced.  I want her to experience walking across the stage to get her diploma, and feel proud of herself.  I want her to experience life outside of high school, spread her wings at a new school, and feel accomplished.  I want her to experience her first love and all it brings with it.  I want to her to imagine herself in a beautiful white dress walking towards the love of her life.  I want her to experience life!

If you believe in fate,  as I am typing this I received a call from a new behavioral health facility that I have been trying to get my daughter an appointment with.   She is scheduled for late April.  I am relieved, but still worried.

Mental illness isn’t a one size fits all illness or disease.  As a community we need to stop treating it as such.  We need to stop labeling each other and start helping each other;  stop ignoring and try understanding.  My guess is that if you personally aren’t dealing with mental illness, you know someone who is.  Reach out, let them know you care, let them know you are there to listen and not judge.

Thanks for reading and not judging!

 

 

 

First blog post

This is the post excerpt.

Finally, my first official blog post!  I opened my account in late August 2017 and I finally decided it was time to start putting my thoughts “out there.”  That is a very intimidating thought.  You don’t know me and I don’t know you.  But we might have some views and thoughts in common.  If you decide to comment, please be nice!   I have no true skill at writing (but I do have this dream of writing a book) and tend to put my thoughts on paper as if I was having a conversation with you.

Do I start by introducing myself?  I am about a month away from turning 48 (I’m still not sure how I feel about that).  At the ripe old age of 21, I married my high school sweetheart.  We have three kids, two sons ages 25 (no longer living at home), 21 and a 17-year-old daughter.  No, I was not pregnant when we were married.  Adding to the daily stress and craziness are four dogs and two cats.

I have decided to keep my personal information private.  As I delve into all the crap floating around in my brain there will be family discussed.  There are certain family members who will take anything written and make it about them, thereby I start the next family feud.  I can do that by looking at someone the wrong way – I do not need fan the flames!  I have an extremely small extended family.  My mom (married 4 times, divorced 3 times), step-father, sister, maternal grandmother, great-aunt and uncle.  That’s it. Strange, right?  There is very limited contact with my husband’s family.  That family dynamic is bizarre to say the least.  I’m sure I will hit on that topic at some point.

I work full-time as an officer manager in a police department.  I started the job at 19 years old.  My thinking was it was a temporary thing until I figure out what I wanted to do.  I’m still trying to figure it out.  One thing I can say after working in this field for close to 30 years, people are f*%$ed up!

What will my future blog topics include?  Marriage, kids, family, depression, money, social media, self-image, work…all the usual day-to-day crap.  I do like to swear and feel I do it quite well. Please consider yourself warned.

Thanks for the therapy session!