Monthly Archives: October 2014

Too angry to figure out what I want to write.

I am so angry, I can’t even figure out what to type. I type. I delete. I retype. I type more. I delete. That which is supposed to be my outlet is self-censored as I worry what other people think. Of me. Of my subject matter. Of my strong emotions. So many things are swirling around inside me fighting to be the priority. They are like dark shadows clawing to the top to get to center stage. Today it is anger. I am really, really angry about feeling like I am being manipulated. I am angry that a child should not have so much power to upset the balance of the household. I have regret and remorse but most of all I am angry. I am angry that this life is not my own. That all of my adult life has been about being a parent. I am angry at myself that I made many of the bullshit choices that my teenager is making, and it tortured my parents. My heart breaks for them that I potentially made them feel this way. A strangers baby, no less, that they were willing to claim at their own. I am overwhelmed by the possibility of coming years of lying about homework, manipulation and lack of responsibility. My mental health or illness, ruled their world. Maybe this is karma but I don’t think I believe in that. I don’t think I deserve this for what I did to them, but maybe I do. They are the most loving and patient people I know. I am not them. I am angry and so I go to see the therapist once a week now to talk about the drama, manipulation and lying. I don’t want to live on this f*cked up roller coaster, how did my parents survive mine? I want some easy answer. I am angry at myself because I have no clear answers on what someone could have done differently to make me change my ways. Thousands and thousands of dollars in treatment/therapy and yet here we are, still stuck in a rut`. I was so convinced that I parenting differently would someone make for an honest teenager that did their homework. One that didn’t hold their entire family hostage around project due dates and emotional holes dug by incomplete assignments. I never imagined feeling this twisted up and physically ill from homework after I had gotten my high school diploma. The only one whose success mattered back then was mine. Now, I’m the parent and feel responsible for making him see the error of his ways. I’m left feeling used, like I’ve paid too much attention to his turmoil. I’m worn and want a break from it. I realize that isn’t what parenting is. It’s sacrifice. It’s showing up and showing interest. It’s having the same discussions and lectures over and over again. It’s providing wisdom and yet when the psychiatrist comes up with it at $375.00/ hour it’s suddenly genius and the new plan. The teenager who didn’t need/want therapist appointments now thinks they are a good idea and he should have gone more often. Really? Seriously? I’m past being disgustingly positive and optimistic. I’m exhausted. Right now, I commit to not being negative. If I don’t have something nice to say I’m going to hide here in my room with my laptop, my music and my tears. Fortunately, my husband isn’t burnt out like I am and is willing to commit to weekly therapy appointments. Maybe I should have let someone else take a turn long before now. Before I was exhausted and angry and bitter. Before I found myself picturing the drive home, and wanting to just cruise on down the highway. I could run away. I could. It’s disappointing, I know. The joy that comes with being their mother, should over shadow the drain. There is two of them but the older one takes all that I have to offer. I don’t really feel like this angry shell of a person should be called Mother, I think I’ll call myself Other. Only three more days until my next therapy appointment.

Trying to exhale.

*This is a draft of a post I never completed. Leaving it unfinished and unposted makes me feel like it’s unresolved.*

This evening (weeks ago) we had a discussion in our house that made me feel like I was snatched up in a time warp and dumped upside down into the chaos of last fall. I felt like all the air was sucked from the room in a nanosecond and replaced with the blackest sludge. My head spun and I thought I was going to throw up. It was all I could do to get to my room before I burst into tears and collapsed on the floor. While I have been diagnosed with PTSD in the past due to an abusive relationship, I’ve never experienced such tangible reliving of a nightmare memory. Sparing the details, we all fought hard for the life of a family member battling severe depression and eventually, months later came out the other side. Scarred, not unscathed, but as survivors. Tonight was the first time that for one moment, I truly thought we could end up back there. (It scared the shit out of me. I can’t think of a classier way to express it, sorry.) The episode back then seemed to come from nowhere. All of the grown-ups were surprised and caught off guard. What I saw and heard today is what I think I missed last year. A teenager getting overwhelmed by school and assignments and homework and time management and being dishonest about what he has or hasn’t done can turn into a really big deal, very quickly. It’s only the second week of school and yet again assignments are incomplete, not turned in and the snowball is rolling down the hill. I want to melt that damn snowball into water so it splashes harmlessly around his feet! I tried to say the right things, encouraging things, non indulgent things, provide practical solutions but I was left feeling like all I did was make it worse and I’m clueless. In the midst of crisis, I handled things that no parent should have to take command of. I made life-altering decisions. It was the sacrifice that my tattoo refers to. The sacrifice of the parent for the child. The price I paid was high.

*That was the last of the unfinished post. The part that follows is in real time.*

This week has been more of a roller coaster. Thursday, I was on the way to see my therapist, the ONE hour of my life that is for me. While driving down 3rd, my phone rings and Preston’s school counselor is on the other end of the line. “I have Preston here, is this a good time to talk?” NO! No, it’s not a good time, a voice screams inside my head. I deserve to have time to focus on my own needs. In order to keep it together as the mother, I need to have time that is just for me. His counselor said that Preston is behind in his homework and has been lying about it and now he feels like giving up and is depressed. This doesn’t surprise me. Does it disappoint me? Yes. She asked if I had been looking on Parent View at his grades. No, I haven’t. I want to be able to ask him and for him to choose honesty over deceit. It made me very angry and resentful that once again he is choosing to lie and not complete his assignments. We don’t ask for grades. We expect him to complete his assignments. This is a cycle of behavior that infuriates me. I was only able to have 1/2 of my regularly scheduled therapy appointment because I had to go to the counseling office and meet Preston and his counselor. AJ, God bless him, agreed to go there too and was waiting when I got there. I didn’t say much during the meeting. AJ, being in better control of his emotions, did most of the talking. It’s very discouraging that despite how much I’ve put into helping Preston succeed at living, that he continues to sabotage himself.

Clearly, we haven’t been able to communicate effectively. For fear of saying the wrong thing, I haven’t said much. In an effort to be my best self and have the most to offer the children, and myself, I have scheduled weekly appointments with my therapist to manage my resentment, anger and anxiety. I know better than to just vent to my blog without help from outside.

Be well. Rebecca

Memory mayhem

This last week has been brutal. I’ve been on edge and struggling to participate in the here and now. I’m in conflict over how much time and attention I should pay to my memories of this time last year. Those memories, are causing serious mayhem. Long ago nightmares are a routine occurrence, yet I struggle to fall asleep even with pharmaceutical assistance. When I feel out of control I restrict and binge on food, either not eating enough or over indulging. My out of whack emotions are running the show and driving my life. I cried at work twice this week. While the people around me go about their normal every day lives, I’m almost obsessing about how AMAZING things are now with regards to the health and wellness of my older son. The only way I can deem them as amazing is because of what I am comparing them to in my mind…

This time last year, as the leaves fell from the trees and the air turned crisp, a few weeks into the school year I experienced the most terrifying moments I’ve ever had as a mother. It was Monday afternoon and I sent P a text that said “Are you dead?” It was a play on the phrase from Smurfs when Gargamel asks Azreal, “Azreal, are you dead?” It was a meaningless joke. I got the strangest text in return. Two words that showed me in such a short instance that your entire reality can spin on it’s axis. He text said, “Not yet.” What? I couldn’t make sense of his reply. Did someone hijack his phone? Was he trying to be funny? The reply I was expecting was that he had made it to the lobby of the building and he was waiting for me to be done working like he did every afternoon previous. I remember asking him, “What? Where are you?” His reply. “In a tree.” Me. “What tree?” Him. “In a tree by the ER.” Me. “What? Are you joking? Who is this texting? Him. ” It’s me, Preston.” Me. ” If it really is you, Preston call me!” Never have I more desperately wanted the phone to ring. I was in a sheer panic at that point. Confused and not yet comprehending how serious things were. The phone rang and when I answered it all I heard was anguish and pain and horror in Preston’s crying. As I started to make sense of the explanation about where he was, I ran out of the clinic and around the hospital complex to get to the emergency room entrance area. I don’t know specifically what words I said but I know “I’m coming, I’m on my way, I’ll be there, I’ll help you,” were all included. When I got to the area of the ER entrance, I realized how many trees there were. And that I could NOT see the branches or trunk of a single one because they are huge evergreens. I stayed on the phone every moment with Preston. I asked him to help me find him. My heart fell out of my chest and splintered into a hundred pieces and blew away in the wind. I could hardly breathe and my hands went numb from the panic. While it felt like 50 years, after a few minutes, he was able to direct me to the tree he was in. The tree he was 25 feet up in. That he would not come down from. I see every moment as if it were yesterday, not a year ago. It makes me nauseated to think of that afternoon. Of the pain that he lived with that I missed. People asked me about changes in his behavior, I hadn’t recognized any. Teachers and administrators hadn’t either. We all nearly failed him. Even in his darkest and most dangerous moment, my beautiful son knew that he could count on me to save him. But I didn’t save him. I helped him save himself.

There is much more to this story but I need a break for tears and a few moments of escapism TV and an attempt at a good night’s sleep.

Some of you may be wondering why am I writing this down and sharing it so publicly. I have to let these memories out and use them for good. To lessen their power and malignancy and their toxicity. My wish is that they will provide hope for someone else. To show fight the stigma against anxiety and depression and show that our normal family was rocked to our core and WE won. We wake up grateful everyday that God called us by name and WE listened.

Love and hugs, Rebecca

Let me explain about “fat girl”…

“Fat girl” lives inside of me. You may not see her based on your opinion of what’s fat or not, on a BMI calculation or what size clothes you think I wear. You may remember when I was 188 pounds and so this size, 133 lbs at 5′ 3 1/2″ seems impressive to you. Last year, in the height of the stress surrounding Preston’s illness, I was 118 lbs. Alas, I digress and numbers and sizes are NOT the point of this post. You may find it offensive based on your own size and shape that I reference myself as “fat girl.” I’m sorry if you make my post about me, about you. Never in my adult life have I EVER looked at another human being and judged them on their size and weight as far as an attraction factor goes. I may see the size and shape of someone and have my medical background kick in and want to share with them my opinion of their risk stratification but again, not the point of this post. I know fat is an offensive word and there are many other words out there to describe someone with more generous proportions. I use the word fat to describe “fat girl” because she is offensive, ugly, broken, damaged, destructive, lost, abandoned, alone and unloveable. I first remember meeting fat girl when I was 17 and had left high school midway through my senior year after being accused by an administrator, who was a pious nun, of having sex with a boy. I didn’t. I could never go back to that ridiculous institution that was a farce when it came to shaping young men and women. That nun single-handedly damaged my faith in religious orders forever and mad it hard to trust authority figures. I left school and went to the community college to get the credits needed to get my diploma. I also met a man who was 22, Asian, armed, and emotionally dangerous. Much to my parents disappointment, I got sucked into his world and was pinned under his thumb. We had a sexual relationship that wasn’t always on my terms but at least I had reliable birth control. I used the Depo Provera shot and the weight began to build on my small frame. I was never a care-free teenager, being adopted and having depression and anxiety prevented that, but things got much worse after I entered into a relationship with him. He was possessive, obsessive and manipulative. I thought I was loved. At that point, I’d spent my whole life looking for unconditional love and while I most certainly knew what we had, wasn’t that, I was sucked in and couldn’t get away. I had very little control over my own destiny, so I thought. I was unhappy and unhealthy. I wasn’t getting much exercise and I ate to make myself feel better. (I’ve always done that. As an infant, mourning the loss of Caroline, my first mom, everyone fed me to make me content.) I’m 35 years old and rarely content. The point is, I’ve been trained to feed my negative feelings. I don’t blame anyone for this and any negative feelings I’ve harbored against loved ones for the self obsessive behaviors that were taught to me, I’ve forgiven them for.

So, hormones, unhappiness and bad eating habits made “fat girl” grow into her own. Now when I find myself wallowing about my clothes not fitting or being plagued with the lazy gene, I blame “fat girl”. Rather than hate all of myself, I can direct my anger and aggression at just her. If I don’t compartmentalize this self-disastifaction, it creeps into my daily life. It begins to seep in where my children can see it. There is a battle that is waged between mostly healthy Rebecca and “fat girl”. I think about the clothes in my closet that don’t fit. That I have to make sure that my laundry is done midweek since I haven’t want to break down and buy bigger scrub pants. This weekend my anger at “fat girl” has gotten riled up because the bi-annual scrub sale is happening at work. I intended to pretend to accept her and get bigger pants. Why the hell should I? I feel good at 124 lbs and the size that is. Rather than give into the side effects of “fat girl” and her bad habits and subversive behavior, I’m going to make her get her ass on the elliptical and fly right, dammit. I’m not letting her win.

The reason that I won’t accept this size and weight is because I know I got here with bad, unhealthy habits. If I exercised daily, didn’t restrict or binge on food, stayed away from Diet Soda, ate more fruits and veggies than carbs, prayed or meditated instead of abusing food, I would give myself a break. I would be realistic that I had done all I could do and I would accept me. I may never like the lumps and bumps and stretch marks but that’s a post for another day. I have a lot of work to do to be so healthy that I can’t hear or see “fat girl.” In an effort to encourage Rebecca in her battle against “fat girl”, I intend to post fitness goals and successes on FB. I need to be visible and supported.

In closing, I’d like to reiterate that the only time I see size, is in the mirror, in myself. I love everyone based on who they are on the inside. Someday, I can do the same for myself.

A post by my first mom, Caroline “Leaving on a jet plane and making some memories!”

This is a great post by my first mom, Caroline, right before she came to visit us.

Leaving on a jet plane and making some memories!.

When saying the right thing doesn’t come so easily…

This was a long week. There was a lot going on at work and I got home later than usual this evening. All the way home I looked forward to pizza, despite the way my gut has been, and a movie with the family. I was a the table, eating pizza, and Preston says to me, “I invited someone to homecoming today, Mom.” I was a little disgruntled because I encouraged him not to become involved with anyone for a few months following his break up with his girlfriend of 6+ months. A week or so before he told me that he would be going with a group of friends which sounded great to me. I did share with Preston my mild disappointment that he was going with someone specific and reminded him that I’d like him to wait to date for awhile. He replied that he thought I only told him to hold off for a month. Then came the shocker. I asked “who did you ask to homecoming?” His name is Max.

His name is Max. I wasn’t expecting him to say he’d invited a boy. I’d like to say that I didn’t cringe inwardly when he told me. I am completely supportive of Preston being bisexual. Being supportive and engaging with him and remaining involved with his life is commitment that I am only all to happy to honor. I cringed because I’m concerned for the backlash and prejudice that he will face. Secretly, I was relived when he was less visible dating a girl. While I had NO idea how to be the mother of a teenage boy dating a teenage girl, I’m even more clueless about how to support teenage boys dating. It’s probably not nearly as complicated as my visceral reaction to them is. I know that I’ll find my way through this challenge as I have every other that life has thrown my way. My faith tells me that God knows what He is going. I believe that when things are easy and also when they are challenging. I’m not just fair weather faithful.

I asked Preston if we can talk more about Max tomorrow without Logan being in the midst of our conversation. Waiting until tomorrow allows us the chance to watch Transformers as a family and relax. I’ll have a good night’s sleep and time for reflection and prayer. In the meantime, he knows I love him and a few hugs will remind him.