why

The last month has been challenging, to say the least. If I remember correctly, somewhere in my last post I mentioned a shoulder injury and that my girl had been diagnosed with bi-polar as well as BPD. I am going to do my best to to stick to a timeline of recent events, but I make no promises.

Late July, I had an appointment with a surgeon to review an MRI on my shoulder. I was told I had two different rotator cuff injuries and would need surgery as soon as possible. Surgery was scheduled for Monday, August 3rd, which gave me about five days to get my shit together before my dominant arm would be in a sling for six or more weeks. There was lots of cooking and freezing, cleaning, washing – all the stuff I felt had to be taken care of.

The Friday before surgery my girl was at work. She was supposed to be working 12PM-8PM. I remember she sent me lots of messages that day complaining about the job and how much she hated it, etc. I had honestly encouraged her to quit numerous times. My reasons being: 1) she was working at this job because drippy dick thought this is where she should work and I want her as far away from his control as possible 2) her mental status was not stable and the added pressure of the job was creating issues that she didn’t need. Anyway, she ended up coming home early. As soon as she came in the house I could tell she was upset. We actually sat and talked for probably close to an hour. She was upset about her relationship with drippy. She told me that she is scared of him. He has made threats towards her and our family if she left him. She admitted he controls her life and decisions. She also said he works at the same store she works at. This was NEVER mentioned before. He isn’t there every time she works because he is a “manager” and goes to various places. He does not support her efforts to try and better herself through therapy and medication. He even told her if she leaves him she owes him money for the food, gas, gifts and things he did for her during the relationship. Oh, and she also would owe him money for his legal costs, since his arrest for Terroristic Threats was all her fault. I did my best to gently explain that fear isn’t love, control isn’t love. I used as many examples as I could and felt like I had finally crossed the finish line. She knew she had to end it, she knew she would be supported by her family and if need be she could get a Protection From Abuse Order to keep him away. I told her I would be home for at least a month with her and it would be okay. She could do this. She can live without him. Her life would be better without him.

Monday, August 3rd, I had my surgery. It wasn’t/isn’t fun. Right arm is in a sling 24/7, except when I shower. I have to sleep in a recliner because it hurts to lay in a bed. I have one more week of the immobilizer sling (a sling that has a waist band to prevent the arm from being lifted away from your body), then two weeks of a regular sling and after that I can start therapy. I returned to work on Monday, August 31st. It was too soon. I am lucky to have disability insurance where I work, but it pays less than half of my actual salary. Let’s be honest. In this crazy world where prices of groceries, gas, basically all necessities are sky high – half my usual salary started to take it’s toll on the back account. So, I’m back to work in an office with one arm and it hurts.

Let’s now fast-forward, one week after surgery. At some point during this week I noticed a very fresh hickey on my girls neck. This meant she lied to us, again, about being with a friends and was with drippy. Drippy just loves to put his mark on her. It’s like a big fuck you to anyone who truly cares about my girl. It disgusts me. I asked my girl about it and got the silent treatment. I started noticing more and more irritability in my girl, more unstable behavior and actions. I talked to her about it. She was put on new meds when the bi-polar diagnosis was made and she felt the meds were making her worse and she felt extremely suicidal. She was very proactive in calling her psychiatrist and talking to him about it. She even made an appointment to go see him. He actually increased the frequency of the meds and asked her to give it another few weeks to work.

Two weeks after surgery – I’m going stir crazy being in the house, confined in a sling. I make plans with a couple to hang at their house on Friday night. Me & hubby are there, my girl is working a 12PM-8PM shift and will be stopping at their house after work. Around 6PM I get a call from my girl. She is crying. She said she is done, she can’t work there anymore and drippy just broke up with her. I try to convince her to stay there and we will get her, she said she needs to get away from him and she will drive to our friends house. She gets there and we talk and talk and talk. I am fortunate to have this friend. She has, unfortunately, been through a similar situation in a past relationship. She talked to my girl about the PFA, made a list of the good and bad parts of the relationship with drippy and just made sure my girl knew she wasn’t alone and it wasn’t her fault and she could get through this. We talk about the possibility of getting an emergency PFA. Because of my employment, I am all to familiar with the process and start making calls to put things in motion. After my girl is calmed down as much as possible, we leave our friends and go home. It’s decided we will talk about the PFA and other issues the next day.

The next day, Saturday. My girl decides she doesn’t want to do the emergency PFA and we will wait until Monday morning and file for a PFA at the courthouse. No one will be shocked to know when Monday comes she decides she doesn’t want to do it. She tells me she hasn’t heard from drippy at all and she has him blocked in every way possible.

The following week or last week. My girl was sad, but seemed to be kinda okay. She was supposedly with friends almost every evening. And then on Friday afternoon I saw the hickey. And of course when I called her out about it, it’s turned around on me. I don’t understand, I don’t get it, she has a mental illness, she is fucked up. The past week has been very hard for me and I try not to make it about me, I swear I don’t. I started back to work on Monday, and I hate being at work. I have been the recipient of my girls anger and hatred and resentment and everything for the past month. I have been lied to and deceived. I have been hurt.

Last night. Got home from work and could immediately tell my girl was in a downward spiral. We went to a local restaurant for a quick bite. We being me, my husband, my girl and a very dear friend who has seen the bad side of my girls illness. We order, my girl doesn’t order any food. My girl typically always drives herself when we go somewhere so she can leave if she feels overwhelmed. While we are sitting at the restaurant I can just feel my girl falling into her black hole. I try to get her to talk and she just gets teary eyed. She leaves, promising me that she will get food for herself at some point. Oh, I should have probably mentioned this earlier, but over the last month my girl rarely eats. She may eat every two days. I have to watch her and what she eats. She tries to eat and her mind/body fight her. She will get a few bites in and the nauseous feeling hits. Anyway, after we are finished we head home. My girl is sitting outside and we sit with her. Conversation starts and it’s not a good conversation. I lost count how many times she told us she doesn’t want to be alive, she doesn’t want to wake up anymore. She is tired of fighting and of everything. At one point my girl and I go inside and we continue to talk, like real feeling talk. I am trying desperately to get her to agree to finding more help, going in-patient somewhere. I felt raw and exhausted as we were talking. And then my husband comes inside and asks my girl why drippy is on a motorcycle in front of our house. My reaction was stunned silence. I had no reaction except to walk away from everyone. I went upstairs to my bedroom, but I couldn’t believe what I had heard and had to see it for myself. I walked out the front door and there he was on his new motorcycle. He stared me down. So many words were waiting to pour out of me. But I didn’t do it. I didn’t say anything. I turned around and went back inside leaving my husband and dear friend to watch over my girl. At some point my girl and drippy decided to go for a walk around our development. I went back to my room and crawled into bed and cried. After a short time my husband came into the room. I heard him rustling around and knew what he was doing. He was getting his gun. Drippy has a few guns, illegally of course, and has threatened our family. No, my husband didn’t go outside waving it around or threatening anyone. It was a precaution. But I couldn’t stand it. I went back outside and told my husband I couldn’t lose him because of something stupid drippy did. It was enough that I was going to lose my girl, I couldn’t lose them both. We decided enough was enough. We closed/locked up the house while my girl and drippy were on their walk. My girl knows how to get in the house if she decided to and she did come in about an hour later.

I don’t know when the last time I cried myself to sleep was, but I did last night. I am beyond drained and exhausted. I have nothing in me to give anymore. I can’t save my girl. I can’t make her want to live. I can’t keep taking on the weight of her illness, as well as all the other family drama. Some of the family have seen the ugly side of my girls illness, some haven’t. Until you see it and experience it first hand, you can’t understand it. It’s ugly and cruel. I need help in a way I have never felt I needed help before. Help deciding what to do from this point forward. Today is therapy day for my girl. I have no clue if she will go. She skipped her group therapy two weeks in a row, but did individual therapy. It’s just not enough. If I commit her based on her comments, she will play the system and be out within 3 days. How do I figure out how much guilt I can live with? If I kick her out and she kills herself, will I really be able to not blame myself? If I kick her out and she gets beat again, will I be okay with that?

I have nothing left. When I am home and my girl is home I don’t want to be there and I hate that. When my girl isn’t home, I feel I need to stay home because I don’t know what might happen. I am lost in a never ending cycle.

Where do I turn, what do I do? Is my girl alive right now? What will I find when I go home from work? Did she decide she can’t do it anymore? Every fucking minute of every fucking day these are the questions that loop in my brain. It never stops.

Just a typical Saturday

Just another typical Saturday. I have the timer on my phone set so I can get the towels hung up on the wash-line as soon as they are finished. The sheets and blankets are already out and drying. Who doesn’t love the smell of sheets and towels that have been hanging outside for hours?

Just another typical Saturday. The sound of the neighborhood is the background noise. Lawn mowers, power washers (shit, I have to remember to get the power washer from my parents – note to self), darks barking, and kids laughing.

Just another typical Saturday. My girl child told me yesterday she doesn’t have the fight to live anymore. She wants to give back the life I gave her. She doesn’t want it. She is tired, so very tired of fighting. She is so very tired of pretending everyday is just another typical day.

I can’t explain what that does to me. She is sitting in front of me baring her soul to me. Telling me her truest feelings and emotions. And all I can do is sit and listen. We talk about options. The only real option is signing herself into the hospital, again. She decided to call her current therapist and talk to her about what some options might be or what the therapist might suggest. She called, the office is closed on Friday due to COVID-19. She doesn’t get a call back . We talk about the hospital still being an option or if she feels she will be safe at home, wait until Monday and see what the therapist has to say. We are open and honest with each other in the fact that if she goes into the hospital on a Friday night, nothing will be done or put into motion until Monday morning anyway. However, my concern is will she be safe. She told me she doesn’t have a plan to end her life and doesn’t feel like she will do anything stupid right now – but she feels it is coming to that. She admitted she is pushing us away because it would make it easier for her to leave. She wouldn’t feel as guilty if she didn’t think we cared or if she pushed hard enough for us to give up on her.

My girl feels lost and hopeless. I feel lost and hopeless. She told me the only reason she is still alive is because of me and her dad and her niece. She is not alive for herself. Wow. Think about that. Seriously, think about that. Not having anything within your self or joy in your life. Remember, as you begin to judge her – she is fighting an invisible monster NO ONE can see, NO ONE can feel, NO ONE can imagine fighting. This is not a phase, this is not a “get over it” kind of situation. This is real. It is very, very real.

Am I being selfish with my girls life? Of course I don’t want her to end her life and not be in my world. But how much can one person take? How much can one person fight? When is it enough?

My timer went off.

Just a typical Saturday.

Living in the wake of mental illness

It has now been 6 days since my girl has been home. I have had limited contact with her. Each day I ask if she is come back to town, I don’t use the word home. Each day she tells me she will be back the next day. That hasn’t happened.

I honestly have no idea when I will see her. I basically know nothing about what she is doing or where she is at. I know a general area she is in, but that is it. My mind is filled with horrible scenarios, all ending in her leaving this world. I can’t understand that she doesn’t care enough to see her 1 year old niece, or the cat that we finally agreed to let her get. The cat was like her emotional support animal.

I know that her Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is in control of her mind. I have read and read and read about BPD and it’s manifestations. I am trying to understand. I am trying to wrap my brain around it. It’s hard.

There is another side to loving, caring and living with someone that has a mental illness. All the people that love and care about my daughter get caught in her wake. There are days where the lake is smooth and crystal clear and it’s a joy to be around her. There are days when the lake is a little rough and you are never sure what might trigger her. And then there are the days that are pure hell.

Another piece of the illness, at least in my daughters case, is how she chooses to keep her surroundings. I really can’t believe I am sharing this, but it’s part of it. I am sharing pictures of my daughter’s bedroom and the bathroom my daughter uses. I can only assume that the chaos she chooses to live in is similar to the chaos in her mind. Both my husband and myself have cleaned her room and bathroom numerous times – always with the promise that this time she will keep it clean. The pictures don’t show the shit that is stuffed behind the bed or under the bed. And I never know what I will find shoved in drawers.

Today, I am numb inside and out. I ugly cried for about an hour on Friday. I needed that. The tears come out of the blue. Sometimes it might be a song I sang in the car with my girl or a memory that comes up on Facebook. I’m sad, I’m pissed off, I’m hurt, I’m so fucking angry, I hate the boy, I hate the disorder. Most of all I hate not being able to save my girl.

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.