Tag Archives: depression

Finding my mother

I hate to begin this under the pretence of a whiney sob story. It’s truly not. As a reference note though, it’s important for me to mention a couple of things. My mother( who this is about) was diagnosed with Type 1 bipolar,with severe mania and frequent periods of complete psychosis. I myself from my early teen years(earlier in retrospect) was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. I always knew there was something else,something I or my doctors couldn’t put their finger on. I knew I had bipolar symptoms. Never mania, I’ve never lost touch with reality or had a “manic episode”. At times I’d make reckless choices that I’d think back on like,”what the hell did I just do?” I’d self-medicate, my lows were the darkest pit imaginable, I would have periods of great creativity, at work I’d go non-stop..until I’d question everything.To someone looking in it looked as though I didn’t care. That I was selfish, rebellious, or basically on a mission to fuck up my life. After an exhausting amount of time,For ten fucking years I felt like I was fighting a battle with no end in sight. I told my doctor one day. “None of this is going to work,it’s making it worse I’m type 2 bipolar.if I’m wrong I’m wrong” when it was actually confirmed I was a mix of relieved and livid. I felt like my biggest fear came true. I was like my mother. Key word,felt. Logic soon set in that they are two completely different illnesses, and that I’m the same person who walked in the door as I was when I came out. All my medications were stopped,just a mood stabilizer and a sleeping aid. I hate to sound like a chicken soup for the soul book,but it was like night and day. I’ve never felt better. It’s not black or white, now there is a grey. My bad days are situational and not overwhelming. I actually sleep at night,I haven’t had a single panic attack. It’s the best thing that’s ever happened and I genuinely believe saved my life. This is a journal entry from yesterday. My mother upon discharge from the hospital is moving,she asked if I wanted to go over to her apartment and see if there was anything I’d like to take home.

“I’m looking at all her trinkets and collected treasures. Some I remember,some are as unknown to me as she is. I haven’t lived with her since I was nine,so I’ve never lived here. It’s odd walking around someone’s home. Who is she? Why did she buy this,what does it mean to her? What was she thinking at the time?. The placement of some objects and order scream of mania,others of a secret. Which is the most accurate description of her. The woman I know anyway. No one is just one thing. Like facets of a diamond,we all have many sides. This woman is a daughter,a sister,a friend,an aunt,an individual.

It’s a beautiful summer day. A warm breeze rich with the smell of freshly cut grass floats in through the windows. I walk into her bedroom. Sit down on her bed and look around. That’s when it hits me. Like a punch in the stomach I want to puke and cry at the same time. Patchouli oil,a perfume she wore from the moment I can remember her. A smell that always caused me sheer panic. To anyone else that may sound crazy,to me it was the sent of dread. An allergic reaction to a bee sting,my throat felt as if it was closing over and I couldn’t breath. Any time I’d smell it it meant she was either coming near me,or leaving. Both meant that it was only a matter of time before the bottom of the barrel fell out,and it always did.

I stand up and walk towards her dresser,with the same instinct a bird has to fly south in the winter. I open it,within seconds move shirts and sweaters and there it is. Still in the package. I stood in shock. Not to find it,but to find myself standing there sobbing. I’am a twenty-five year old woman,but in this moment I flashback to little Lacey. Just a little girl, scared and wondering why I don’t feel anything for this person and if that makes me a bad kid. Why don’t I love her like I do my dad? Why if she’s in a room do I not recognize her voice? Why every time she hugs me do I feel like I’m suffocating? I tried to remember anything good,any memory to grasp on to. I can count five. Five I’m twenty-five years.

I find a journal from 2012-2013. I open in up with the careful precision of a surgeon. The beginning was a bunch of uplifting and positive quotes. Fuck. It reminded me of an obnoxiously sugar coated church pamphlet. Progressively as I read along it becomes less entries and more random blurbs. Then the rise to mania. Choppy,riddled with rambles about god taking care of her. Then psychosis unrecognizable drawings and shit that was honestly disturbing. The next were from the hospital and a slow decline to somewhat balanced. Two things jumped off the pages and slapped me in the face 1.) For the first time she spoke about her mother honestly, and her tiredness of trying to basically have a relationship with her. That she was disappointed and that she has to work on letting that go. 2.)” Jimmy’s mother was Lacey’s mom. I may have had her,but she was her real mother. She learned everything from her and Jimmy.”

Then something I never expected to happen did. The strongest sense of empathy and understanding. Forgiveness came from my toes to my nose. I was still crying,but happy tears. It felt like there were two selfs in the room. My adult self, and my childhood self. My child self was validated, and finally had my voice heard. I wasn’t scared anymore. There was an answer to “where is mommy?”, “did I make mom sick?”. My adult self felt like I finally learned the answer to a secret that bugged me, that the scar I’d sometimes notice in the mirror and remember before quickly turning away had vanished.

Everything came full circle. I finally fucking got it. She had a lot of friends..but how many were close?.involved in something new all the time..why did nothing stick? If you stabbed her she would apologize for getting blood on your hand. Everything was so beautifully sugarcoated to be the most loveable version of herself. All to feel a love she never felt. We all do what we need to do to survive. In that survival,she became so many fragments how could she commit to any? Except wanting me.

I found her year book, her future plans were child care. Tucked away in a desk I found her early childhood development diploma. Until she was eight months pregnant she was a day care teacher.I was literally what she wanted her whole life. I think she thought I would fill a voile she felt,that she would finally be content and complete. The saddest irony is that the hormone changes,lack of sleep and everything that goes with giving birth and having a new born is what triggered her first episode causing her to spend the first three months of my life I a mental institution.

There is a thin line between healthy and unhealthy, of maddenss and calm. That could have been me. I’ve been on both sides, not to sound like a text book but early intervention and awareness is huge. Someone told me,”you will never love yourself until you forgive her.” It’s true. How can I love my self when half of the reason I’m here I hate? The fear…everything. All of me, the good,bad,dark,light,flaws,positives. All of it is me. It made me,a work in progress,a person. Any fragments? They will be made whole. The past,it feels like I packed it up in a box and sent it off to sea.

What happens between us now? Not a fucking clue. The fact that I can say “us” though is enough for now”

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Books to read before you’re 25

When I think of the bookshelf in my mind and try to think of the stand outs,I could go on for ages.
These are the books that have changed, helped or inspired me in my life that I strongly feel everyone should read:

The Catcher in The Rye:J.D Salinger- I can safely say that while the badge of, “favourite book” has been given to others over the years,This is the original.
To try to explain my love for this book is almost exhausting. Not because of the teenage angst, or outsider label its been given.I fucking despise when people say that. It cheapens the Work and writes off a rawness that makes this a classic.
This novel is narrated by the main character, Holden Caulfield, telling of an event set in the not so far past after he was kicked out of a prestigious private school, from the mental health facility he is in.
This is one of the most relatable characters. I could be Holden,you could be Holden. One of my favourite quotes comes from this book and sums up my love for it: “Among other things, you’ll find that you’re not the first person who was ever confused and frightened and even sickened by human behavior. You’re by no means alone on that score, you’ll be excited and stimulated to know. Many, many men have been just as troubled morally and spiritually as you are right now. Happily, some of them kept records of their troubles. You’ll learn from them—if you want to. Just as someday, if you have something to offer, someone will learn something from you. It’s a beautiful reciprocal arrangement. And it isn’t education. It’s history. It’s poetry.”

Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas : Hunter S. Thompson- Hands down Thompson is my favourite author and journalist of all time. He created a genre of journalism, Gonzo,which mashes together subjective writing, classic objective journalism and fiction in a clusterfuck of brilliance.
This story takes place in the 70’s,on a weekend work trip to Vegas to report on a motorbike race. What ensues is a comedic whirlwind of grasping hopelessly to the ideals’ and promises of the 60’s, navigating the cheap tacky neon light of Vegas on enough drugs and alcohol to put Vegas itself to shame. Its undertones of energy come through to me. Truth laced with comedy. A coming of age story of sorts. The state of the physical world now and who we want to be in that.Some miss the point. They see or like the idea of the character of Thompson. Holding the character,the art as the man himself. That’s tragic to me. He was far more then content for a 16 year old stoners poster hanging in their room. Yet I digress.
A quote from this novel I love and try to live by,so much so its tattoo’d on me as a reminder. Good or bad,our choices are a course. To always learn,fail,grow.To live and not exist is: “No sympathy for the devil; keep that in mind. Buy the ticket, take the ride…and if it occasionally gets a little heavier than what you had in mind, well…maybe chalk it off to forced conscious expansion: Tune in, freak out, get beaten”

The Pleasures Of The Damned : Charles burkowski – This is a collection of poems. Maybe you’re not into poetry. Burkowski is different and is still one of the most criticized. He writes with a bluntness that is matched only by beautiful honesty. His words are like a smoke cloud lingering in a dim room. He’s as common as the drunk next door,and mysterious as big foot.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland: Lewis Carrol- tells a story of a girl named Alice who falls down a rabbit hole into a weird and odd fantasy world.
When I was a child this book meant the world to me. I was a kid who asked a million questions and would often be to curious.The imagery and anything goes,what’s up is down thing sparked my imagination and intrigue. I’d read it before bed or have it read to me and have the most vivid dreams.
As an adult what I love about this is the unbelievable amount of philosophy,symbolism. It’s so thought provoking.

Into The Wild: Jon Krakauer-This is the true story of Christopher McCandless. In the early 90’s after graduating university. Christopher abandoned his possessions, gave$24,000 to charity and hitchhikes to Alaska. *NOTE*- Read the book. Don’t watch the movie first no matter what. While I thought it was carried out well the ending is wrong on such a huge level.Anyway,back to the Point.
I read this book when I was 16 or 17. I get the dream of Alaska. For me it was and is British Columbia. To live and write in the Rockies. To remove yourself from the death sentence (at least to me it would be,I’m not judging others lives) of the 9-5 job, soulless shells wearing suits. To live life simply and to the fullest. I remember the first time I saw the Rockies on a trip I thought of This book. After a failed business that I lost myself in I cried look at this on my bookshelf. I became the sell out I hated.
This book serves as a reminder to stay true to your truth, make it YOUR truth and live it fiercely.

The Hobbit: J.R.R Tolkien- The first time I heard of this book was in 6th grade from our teacher. I’d like to call her eccentric,but truthfully she was an absolute nutter. However; giving credit where its due, Choosing to read this aloud instead of assigning it to a class of 11 year old who wouldn’t read it? Smart. Before I go any further, it’s obvious yet bears repeating, read this before you read The Lord of the rings trilogy. This is one of the best stories of adventure. Its undertones of good vs. evil ,light and dark. While at the age of 11 I didn’t interpret the same as I did when I was older, it was felt and prevalent. The idea of fantasy in fiction I felt was gone until I read this. It’s blend of fantasy, philosophy ( more so in the trilogy that follows) assured me and sparked my imagination.

Prozac Nation: Elizabeth Wurtzel- This book, I still don’t know how I came to find it while browsing a bookstore at 13.Luck? Fate? Who knows, but it came to me when I needed it. You know the feeling when your cold,no coat, shivering,but you won’t admit it? Than someone gives you a coat. That’s what this felt like.
This book is a Memoir of the authors struggle with depression and introduction to anti-depressants while attending Harvard. I’ve read a lot of criticism about this book. That Wurtzel cashed in on being whiny,self-absorbed. I once read,” There she is at Harvard, A school most people dream of what did she have to be depressed about?” And that is exactly the point. Self-absorbed? Depression absorbs the self. Depression doesn’t have a reason,it’s an illness.
When I read this book, at the time I didn’t tell anyone about my depression. I was thirteen,in my mind I thought, ” who the fuck is going to believe me? What do I have to be depressed about? Am I gone completely ?” This book which I read and reread was like the big sister I didn’t have, the one I could look to and say ” okay so someone does get me” this kept company for 6 months until I had enough courage to reach out for help. *NOTE* Do not,I repeat, do not watch the movie. It’s an abomination.

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Remember that time I went to detox?..oh wait,few people would. No time like the present!

I’ll spare you the whole story. We’ll save that for another day,it wouldn’t be helpful for anyone to get bullet point version of a journey. No friends. I’ll start, with my journal entries from the day before,as well as my time there in. Aug,2013. I’m a very open person,to open. Filterless really; However, for eleven years my journals have been the one thing I guarded like the Crown Jewels. Rip off the band-aid. Down the rabbit hole.

Aug,20,2013- ” Where do I begin? Better yet, When did I become the shell of the girl I once was that I now see. That is,when I can work up the courage to even look in a mirror. Who is this girl? This utterly selfish,broken person. That’s not me,none of this can be real. I’m happy,bubbly,loving. This girl? I used people,people used me. I tried harder than most,and failed bigger than many.”

Aug,22,2013-” So I’ve been here for two hours. When my admitting was being done(an epic ballad length questionare), All I could hear was the ticking hands of the clock above the door. Each tick sounding like the clicking of a camera taking snap shots. Flashing in my mind frames of time, my whole lifetime. What line did I cross or do that got me here? Which wrong turn? Which wrongly prescribed pill? As if it was that simple. No, MANY things I did, didn’t do, people, places. All led me to this place,where I need and want to be. Just me. Real, raw, no crutch stripped down me.  Who am I really? I’m a girl who has balls of steel,yet more anxious than I have enough ink to write.  I’m loyal and trusting to a fault. I love unconditionaly,even when I’m the one who gets hurt. I hate seeing others in pain ,so much to the point that I feel their pain. I’m hard headed and stubborn as an ox. I’m an idealist and a dreamer,and always need to get burned before I beleive the stove is hot.”

STILL Aug,22,2013-” congrats lace, First breakdown under your belt. Fuck. Eight hours without a smoke(pretty sure this no smoking rule is to weed out people..just saying), A fetal position panic attack and I am ready to rip out my own lungs, and suck out the nicotine .Im avoiding people for their,as well as my own safety,because I truly could rip someone’s face off right now. My room? Fuck. It’s so white,( I despise white walls..so sterile and uncortable),and you can tell this used to be a school. These settings always make me feel trapped and anxious. The blankets are thin and would better tissues,than a heating source. The dentistry/Hospital smell,the commercial standard pink soap. I literally feel like I could puke. This really is a manipulative,debilitating illness. The most charming deceitful sickness.”

Aug,23,2013-” Worst sleep ever. I kept having dreams that I was anywhere but here. I woke up to super low blood pressure. That was sorted. than the nurses(who as shit as this place is are absolute saints) told  me they finally understood why I wasn’t showing normal signs or withdrawal after counting how how many Ativan I went through,compared to the date they were prescribed. No,no you wouldn’t see text book signs of withdrawal,considering the worst of it was spent in my bed,popping Ativan like pez candies,to keep some shred of sanity while I had to wait a week to get in here. Trade one demon for another though. Coming of benzos isn’t something I’d wish on my worst enemy. First time I even heard of them,I was given them by my doctor,for severe panic attack(like fainting panic attacks) I used them as directed. I didn’t realize how high of a tolerance I had until soon after. I was 21. My ex ————– was on a three day crack bender. A few weeks before he had a seizure from the same thing, so I gave him a couple and put him to bed. He woke up,seventeen hours later asking how the hell I functioned. It was normal to me,by this time they didn’t really work the same mentally. Physically three years later,without them. My body is in spasms,my flesh is turning inside out. I want to puke,cry and jump out a window”

There really isn’t a way to finish this. Like I said,it’s a longer story than one entry and it doesn’t have an end. It’s going to be something I deal everyday. It coincides with other issues I will get into later. THE POINT,I wanted others who may not know,or get it. Who have a loved one or some altered idea of what it’s like to know what went on in my mind. Like a play by play.