Sometimes it is a good thing to remember that we are not alone when it comes to are mental health issues. Also the more we talk about it the more people know about it. This is something that we no longer have to hid in the closet or a deep dark hole in the ground; this is something that can be share and understood by so many people. This is why I write my blog. This what it is all about. I could have keep what I wrote private but then I wouldn’t be helping anyone, not even myself. This way I help others and they in turn help me, even if it is just knowing that I am not alone in what I am going through. Some day I’d like to see more Faces of Mental Illnesses posted on news stories like this.
For the last two years, my cousin, Amos has been living with his mom and sister across the country, and it has been relatively peaceful on that front. I guess I should really start at the beginning when it comes to Amos and all the messed up emotions he invokes.
When his parents went through their divorce it was like I gained three older brothers and I really didn’t get a say in the matter. A part of me is still VERY resentful of this because they took the little attention that my mother was able to give me and made it vanish into thin air. The thing with Amos, though is that I got a kind of gift. We are only five days apart in age and it was like having a twin. We were inseparable as children, we were each other’s shadow. That changed when Amos, was diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic. The person I loved and was like a twin to me disappeared and a stranger was left in his place. He still looked the same, his voice was the same, but the part of him that made him, him was gone. It was like he died, and his Amos body was inhabited by someone else. Medications help and you’d get to see glimpses of the old Amos, but there was also this new Amos to deal with. The one that won’t stay on his meds because nothing is wrong with him, the one that takes a machete to furniture, the one that will kill you in your sleep, the one I am afraid to be alone with. While he was gone, I didn’t have to face the fact that the Amos of my childhood is never really coming back. That the person that he was is now gone for good.
On Tuesday we got a call from, Amos that he was is Tennessee and his car broke down on his way home. To make a long story short I just spent the last 2 1/2 days driving with my uncle back and forth to Tennessee to pick up Amos, his things and get his car sent to a scrap yard.
Now I know most of you are wondering why in the h(!! I would go on such a trip and it comes down to the worst of two evils – a 2 1/2 day trip into the country to pick up Amos or staying home and dealing with the screaming banshee that is my nephew, Reuben. I chose the trip to the country. Not sure if it was the best choice but at least I got to go somewhere I’ve never been before and got to see the town that is considered “The nursery (tree) capital of the world”.
The return trip was horrible, and I really pushed for doing the drive in one day instead of two. My uncle Able has no clue about mental illnesses (although he should since our family is riddled with them) and he doesn’t know how to treat Amos. The last thing you want to do to a paranoid schizophrenic, who isn’t on his meds, is make him more paranoid. My uncle, Able love watching all these conspiracy programs and then going on and on about the end of the world; till even I was paranoid.
Now that Amos is back I feel like even the little hope I had of finally getting some of my mother’s attention is completely gone. I don’t know why I keep hoping for something that is never going to happen (my mother realizing that I need her, and her being there for me), but I do! I’m sad, mad, angry and frustrated!
To start with what is hyper-vigilance or at least what is it to me? Hyper-vigilance is like being on red alert, being a soldier always on guard. I have to know where all the exits are, I usually sit in a seat that puts my back to the wall if I can, and if I can’t then I am constantly looking around to see who’s behind me. I need to know what every noise is, and sometimes is leads me to believe that someone or something is out to get me but I never know just what that something/one is.
It took me almost a week to get use to being in my house alone with just my dog. I had to double and triple check that every door was locked every night, even though I locked them the minute I came through them. Then I had to leave the living room light on all night, check every room before bed to make sure it was empty then shut the door to it. Then last but not least I would take my dog into my room, check the closet then shut and lock the door to my room. Then I’d spend most of the night trying to convince myself that every little noise I heard was not someone IN my house, before falling asleep somewhere around dawn. Then the week was up and my parents were home and you would think that then I would sleep, right? Wrong! My mind had gotten use to the sounds of a quiet house and suddenly there was my dad snoring and my mom moving around at all hours of the night and I was once again, huddle on my bed praying for morning where all those sounds didn’t mean someone was coming to get me.
This is only one of the things that sends my hyper-vigilance into hyper-drive. I still have to swallow a scream whenever someone comes up behind me, and God, forbid they actually touch me, even in the most none threating way. That is a sure way to send me into a panic attack. This is the reason I can only go shopping in the middle of the night, because there are very few people then and I can usually find a checkout line without people in it. Thank goodness for 24 hour stores and self check out, otherwise the only shopping I’d be able to do is on-line.
I’ll never forget the first time my hyper-vigilance really kicked in – I was 18 and at a party for one of my cousins, I was waiting for cake or something and one of her guy friends tapped me on the shoulder. I almost broke his wrist, and I don’t even remember how I went from standing there all peaceful, to having this guy begging me to let go of his hand, which I had twist behind his back. I have so many memories like that. One minute its all normal, the next I’m either screaming or trying to break someone’s bones. All of them are brought on by guys, and the really sad thing is, is that I know that none of them mean to hurt or scare me. My best friend’s son got this treatment once and after that he always announced himself from across the room, so that he wouldn’t scare me. It was kind of sad and funny all at the same time. When his mom said something about it to him, he told her that he didn’t like being taken down by a girl so it was better to be safe than sorry.
Sometimes I don’t even know that my anxiety/panic attacks are being set off by my hyper-vigilance until I go over the situation in my head afterwards. The other day I was sitting at the beach in my locked car with my big, bad dog which I know would scare off anyone from coming over and talking to me but I was still feeling panicky, in fact with each passing moment it keep getting worse and worse, till I finally had to leave. I realized later that the way I parked my car had people coming up from behind me and walking pass my car, and that if I had just parked my car in the opposite direction I could have seen the people before they got to my car and I wouldn’t have been so freaked out about it. The other thing that I notice is when I go to church if I sit in the last row, I do better. For one thing I don’t have a bunch of people behind me who I can’t see (this also worked the few times I actually went to the movies) also we have a Q&A part and the microphone guys freaks me out if they come from behind me. By sitting in the last row I don’t have as much of this going on so I can usually make it through.
It has taken a lot of backtracking to see what makes my hyper-vigilance worse and what I can do to stop it. Sometimes there is nothing, but sometimes there is.
First of all let me say that I am not in any way stopping or ending this blog. I just need something fun. I’ve found that lately I have been VERY depressed, so I have decided to give myself something nice – a new blog where I can record songs, poems, crazy quotes, whatever makes me happy. I’ve called it Love Letter to the World. Its all the things I love and I am sharing them with the world, I’m not even sure anyone else will care but I want something that is not all about heavy issues.
Also I feel with all the modern technology that we have sometimes we miss out on the beauty of words. With text message and chat, everything is LOL, TTYL, BRB, OMG, WTF, B2W, L8R, OTB, ^5, CU. These are not even words, and yes I’ll admit I had to look some of them up the first time I saw them. I want to recapture the beauty that comes with the written word, so I am sharing what I love. It’s giving me a little project and allowing me to do what I love read and write, I hope some of you will join me there. As well as being on the look out for my continued writing/work here.
I lost another person that I was close to in childhood to cancer, just yesterday. That makes 2 deaths in less than a week. Which means 2 funerals in the coming weeks, something that I normal avoid like the plague, unless they are for family, but these people are almost like family to me. So I have to steel myself up for them. This is when I really wish I could still drink whiskey. At least it numb the pain and dialed back the anxiety of being around other people. I am feeling extremely sad and emotional but also empty inside. Part of me wants to submerged myself in the pain and the grief and another part of me wants to feel nothing at all. The hardest part of all this is that I am missing my adopted grandmother SO MUCH! It use to be when my parents were gone I’d spend a lot of time with her, we’d do dinner and a movie, go shopping, whatever. It really didn’t matter because I was with someone who loved me for me, without strings or the need to improve on me. I miss having that person in my life; I miss her unconditional love. It’s hard because I keep seeing things that I know she’d love and I want to share with her but she is no longer here for me to do that. With the death of 2 people this week that I cared about, I’m feeling over whelmed with grief.
I am trying my hardest to find even a reason to get out of bed but there doesn’t seem to be one. Kit, Genevieve, Edith and Beth are all weeping and whaling in my mind, Becca and Sonja want to do something wreckless or maybe shoot-up something, or break something, or release their anger somehow. The Shadow is whispering a very enchanting tune of how nice it would be to join my dead friends, Rose is trying hard to shut down all my feelings and emotions. It’s almost like I can see her in my brain trying to flip switches like you would on a computer getting ready to meltdown; she pulling her hair and cussing. Lola is being quiet for a change; maybe she realizes that now is not the time for her and her needs. But Peter on the other hand is being overly loud and obnoxious. He’s yelling at the weeping girls to shut up that death happens and to get over it; which isn’t helping and just making the crying worse. He’s mad at my wreckless duo because that is not appropriate behavior ever. He’s incensed that “A” would even listen to the bewitching words of The Shadow. That is not the answer and to think it is, is a sin against God and one’s self. Boy, I wish he’d shut up!
To add to all this I am not looking forward to the return of my parents because they are bringing my nephew, Reuben with them. Which means the noise level is going to double; I’ll have the noise going on in my head and the noise going on outside which will be doubled with him here. Plus, he and my mother’s interaction with him ALWAYS triggers me. No wonder bed seems the safest place for me right now.
This whole last week I have done NOTHING. My parents left to visit my sister the day after “the talk” my father and I had, which allowed me to not feel guilty about getting up and getting dressed, with them here I usually guilt myself into getting shower and dressed. But since they aren’t here I just didn’t feel the need, after the third day I did decide on a shower because I was tired of my hair being oily but then I just changed my pjs and went back to bed. To add to this I’m hormonal and have been in the worst pain so I’ve had to take more pain pills which has totally screwed up my sleeping habits, not that I have much of any to begin with but there is nothing like being wide awake at 3:30 in the morning and not being about to DO anything.
I’m feeling even more depressed because I had all these things I wanted to get done while my parents were gone and I haven’t done any of them. I know that they are going to come home and wonder what I did all week, see that it was nothing and wonder why. Which is making me even more depressed which makes me really not want to get up.
I know that I was processing the whole conversation with my father which made me go inside. Plus there’s the non-stop rain which is giving me a headache and making staying in bed seem so nice but still.
Then yesterday I get a call from my mom that yet another person that I am close to has died. I spent most of the day crying. This person was the only one at my church that was a “spiritual leader” that I felt had never let me down when it came to my abuse issues and dealing with my grandparents. He was there for me, he stood up for me and he never question that I was abused. I feel guilty because I knew that he hasn’t been doing well and I keep meaning to go see him but something else always came up and now I will not get to see him again. I feel guilty that I’m more upset about his passing then I felt about Babylon’s, my own grandmother. And I know logically that is because this person cared about me and I cared about them, which is something that wasn’t true about Babylon. But people are still telling me that they are so sorry for my lose when it comes to her, and they are making me feel like I should feel something. Something that I just don’t feel. Peter is really whipping me with this one because it is his belief that I should have 1) respect for ones elders, 2) that you should feel love and respect for those that made your life possible, and 3) she was family which means you should automatically love her and feel bad/sad when she dies. None of the rest of me feels this way about Babylon but Peter is not letting is go. It something that he can use to whip “A” with. So I am sad that my friend has died, it’s raining AGAIN, and I have a personality that will not let me mourn my friend without making me feel guilty about Babylon. I think I need to get out of this house and around some people before I go completely over the edge, but I have voices screaming don’t leave the house it isn’t safe outside.
So I am a depressed, agoraphobic, with split personalities about to go crazy here or maybe I am and I just don’t know it yet. I hope at least half of this makes sense because right now I feel like my personalities are jumping in and out and all over the place and I’m not even sure who or which one is in control or if anyone is. OH, and please God don’t let any one else die on me, I can’t handle anymore.
Last week I naively commented on someone else blog about the truth setting you free, boy did I get those words thrown back at me in a figurative sense this week. It all started with Sonja deciding she had, had enough of my parents and their bickering about the money my mother was soon to receive from the death of my grandmother and my father’s wish to retire and move us all to the middle of nowhere (aka his property). Both my mother and I don’t want to live on my father’s property, because it would mean leaving somewhere we have lived for 30 years, and starting all over. I don’t know if this is a problem for others but I have enough problems with being a recluse with friends I’ve had all my live, there is no way that I would ever want to leave the house in a place where I know no one, except my dad’s cousins, people I already have huge issues with (see here and here).
So Sonja decided to make an appearance and get some of her resentment off her chest. My father has been playing this game of “if you don’t want to do it my way, there’s the highway, get out!” Sonja didn’t like this one bit because the way she see it the only reason she and the rest of “A” were in a position to be abused in the first place is because good old dad didn’t have the balls to stand up to my mom and say “my kids are not going anywhere near your father.” For the first time every Sonja got past all of “A” defenses and actually voiced this option aloud to my father. Which lead to him crawling into his shell and clamming up!
The next day he decides he’s ready for a genuine talk about the past, but by this time Sonja gone and Edith has taken over. Fact-finding Edith wants the all powerful truth from him, so she asks him some questions that she realizes afterwards “A” may not have been really ready for.
Question 1: Due to receiving different answers, Edith wants to know when exactly he found out about my mother and my grandfather and the abuse?
Answer: A week before they got married. (Mind blowing!)
Question 2: When did he realize my mother had split personalities?
Answer: a year after they were married – she had what amounted to an emotional affair – no sex – with one of his friends.
Question 3: Why did he allow his child near his wife’s father when he knew what he was?
Answer: First of all, he believed my mother when she said the abuse was over (maybe hers was but there was not telling how many others there where). Also he and mother had made a deal that we – their children where never to be left alone with the man, that one or both of them would always be with us.
Question 4: If he knew mom had split personalities 7 years before I was born what made him think that she wouldn’t split when she was suppose to be watching us? We had this saying that for at least week after mom went to my grandparents she was a different person; it took her that long go get back to being mom. How much worse did he think she was when she was actually there with them?
Answer: I really didn’t get an answer to that one.
So here’s the truth – my father married a woman that he knew was abuse by her father, and within a year my father realized my mother had split personalities due to the fact that one of those personalities was having emotionally affairs with men that would end before they became sexually. She would always come back to my father and due to his own physical abuse and mental issues (savior complex) he’d take her back. When they had children, instead of keeping them away from a known pedophile, they instead made an agreement – their children would never be alone with him, that one or both of them would always be around. The problem with that is one of my mother’s splits is someone who doesn’t have children. If you don’t think/believe you have children, how are you supposed to watch out for them? My father was aware of my mother’s splits but still thought she was able to look out for her children, even though it was a joke in our house that when mom visited her parents she came back another person.
My mind has been going over and over this all week and here’s the problem – part of my feels sadness and pity for my father that he fell in love with such a damaged woman and part of me is just damn mad and angry that he didn’t do a better job protecting his children.
So whoever said the true will set you free forgot to add that it may also leave you broken and bleeding. I was going to say but at least you know the true, but now I’m beginning to wonder if the truth is all it’s cracked up to be.
I found this on Suicide and it helped me with my Suicidal Thoughts, so I wanted to share it here on my site. Boggle the owl is a great Tumblr that deals with all sorts of mental health issues. There is so much more that Boggle The Owl has to say on things like suicide, depression, etc. that I just can’t share it all here but check it out for yourself. There may be something there that will help you with what ever you are going though…
***** Trigger Warning – Sexual Abuse****
When you are abused as a child, control becomes a big issue when you reach adulthood. I feel this is doubly true when you have been sexually abuse, because the most private parts of your body are violated and you have no control over it. You have no say over what is happening to you, you can’t stop it, you can’t control either your body’s reaction to it or the reaction of the person that is perpetrating the act. I know for me sometimes the only thing that got me through it was knowing that someday I would be old enough and big enough and strong enough to be able to control what happened to me and what didn’t happen to me. Now that I have reached that point I have become a bit of a control freak – I want to control everything around me.
Right now I am experiencing this heightened need for controlling thing because everything seems to be out of control, plus I feel like the people around me are complete morons who don’t know anything and don’t want to listen when they are given good advise. I feel like I am sitting back watching all these people in trains that are going full speed ahead, all rushing right at each other. I can see the accidents waiting to happen, but they seem to be totally oblivious to them. I want to control them so that they will stop long enough to see the accident that they are running head on into, but I can’t. It is frustrating, annoying, maddening and provoking, but there is nothing I can do to control these people or the things that they are doing. If AA and all those other Anonymous groups have taught me anything it is the Serenity prayer which originally went something like this:
God, give me grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed.
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.
Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
if I surrender to Your will,
so that I may be reasonably happy in this life.
Maybe if I say this to myself enough I can let go of the things and people who I cannot control. I just wish I couldn’t see the train wrecks waiting to happen. It would make letting go of my reins of control on everyone’s life around me so much easier to do.
I had a hard time even knowing what to call this post, so I’m sorry if any of this offends anyone, but I’m trying to explain things in the best way I know how.
Today, my mother and I got in a discussion on how I view my grandparents. It basically started because I feel that now that both Satan and Babylon (grandparents) are dead; we should be more open and able to talk about what happen to us. I also feel that there are still family members that haven’t come forward with their abuse due to shame or the fact that they have yet to admit it even to themselves, but that it a subject for another time. This conversation got around to my feelings on Satan and Babylon; I told my mother that I viewed them as something purely evil. This was hard for her to heard because she is in this place where she see them as two sets of people – the ones that where her abusers and the ones that were her parents, so she didn’t get what I was trying to say. I tried to give her a comparison and all I could come up with was Adolf Hitler. In no way am I trying to take away from the horribleness that was Hitler and the things he did, I was just looking for someone almost everyone could consider evil. I know that he is someone that my mother can see as being purely evil, its the only reason I used him as an example.
Before he became the Nazi killing machine, he created some beautiful pictures. I said when you look at his pictures you think how wonderful, then you find out that they were painted by Adolf Hitler and all you can see is the evil that he spread on the world and it ruins any beauty the pictures may have held. I went on to say that to my Satan and Babylon are smaller versions of Adolf Hitler. Yes, they may not have contributed to the deaths of millions of people, but they emotionally killed children with their abuse. The abuse they spread was the death of my childhood at a very young age. How can I look at their lives and see anything but the bad? Just like Hitler isn’t remember for his paintings but the atrocities that he was a part of during the WWII, so I can’t remember Satan and Babylon for anything else then the fact that they killed the child me and left me so emotionally scarred I sometimes wonder if physically killing me wouldn’t have been kinder. I know that what I said was kind of harsh but my mother has this way of thinking that just eats away at me. She thinks that these truly evil people are being remembered by God. I can’t find it in me to believe that. When you are that evil, I don’t think you can change, in fact, I believe that they love that kind of evilness.
Due to having to deal with them I have gotten this kind of sixth sense when it comes to these types of people. I feel that I have radar or built in detector for evilness of any kind, may it be little or may it be big. It’s why I tend to make immediate judgments about people, and very seldom am I wrong. I feel like the child who could see dead people except I see evil people. This radar goes off with almost precision targeting – jerk, loser, abuser, and untrust-worthy. Stay away, stay away, avoid… And that’s what I do. Sometimes I don’t even know that this radar is working; l just know that someone gives me a funny (not good) feeling.