Tag Archives: mental illness

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”



A letter to you nine years later.

***Disclaimer and pre-story***
Nine years ago,on February,1st,2005 a friend of mine who I,as well as many people loved took his own life.He was seventeen. Seventeen. It’s like a lifetime away,but I remember it like it was yesterday. Evan was the,”new guy” at school. I met him a few years prior to him coming to our school. He began dating a friend of mine,his ex girlfriend was upset about this,so she started many rumours about him. He was bullied and beat up at school,outside of school,cyber bullied. What happened? Nothing. Nothing happened. Now granted since then bulling is taken very seriously,and continues to be in the lime light,not brushed under the rug. However;I wanted to share this so no one forgets what it was life before the pink shirts and the day on the god damn calendar. If you are reading this and you feel depressed,suicidal or are being bullied PLEASE!! Take this letter to heart,because its from my heart.Talk about it to the person you trust the most,ask them to help you share it,you do not have to do this alone. Tell your teacher,tell your doctor. You,you’re life your heart is more powerful than the person or people bulling you. These are weak miserable people. Their issue is not your issue,the words are lies and your life is worth fighting for. Evan could be you,me,the kid sitting next to you,your teachers..yeah,plot twist,adults feel helpless as well. We all need help. I will be twenty-five next month and I would give anything to have him be here for it. Below is my journal entry from feb,2nd,2014 in the form of a letter to Evan.

” Nine years. Nine years worth of things I want to tell you,photos you should have been in,things you should have been here for and questions with no answer. It feels like yesterday. I remember the song that was on my head phones,where I was,the feeling of being punched in the throat with shock,where the sun was positioned in the sky Christ I remember how the cold air tasted.
I often wonder if you knew how many hearts you would break,lives that would be forever changed, moments that happened you would have loved. Would you still have picked up that gun?
I wish you could see how great ——– is doing. She’s a nurse,engaged and had the most beautiful little girl. She looks so much like her. ——- is married and the sweetheart she always is. ——-is a nurse as well and still has the prettiest smile and the bubbly laugh.
I always wonder where you would have gone? How soon things would have changed if you could have held on a little bit longer,what kind of man would you be today? I tried so hard to talk to you,I stood up for you constantly. —,——- and ——– tried there hardest to talk you out if it that day,you were to far away for them to get to you. She sent your dad. Than you were gone. I wish I would have had a vacuum to suck out every ounce of pain in you. I’d carry it myself if that would mean you would be here.
I wish you would have been here to see the truth come out. To see every person involved,who were so ignorant to their actions and
the truth until it was to late. The girl,(nice with my words here) admitted that she lied in a bawling scene of attempted redemption. The guys who tormented you,once the truth was know quickly shut up as they were showed up for being drones and one of the reasons your not here.
I can wish all I want. I can’t bring you back. A mental illness fuelled and pushed along by bullying. That’s what took you from us. That’s the hardest part to swallow.
I promise to make sure your name and life will never be forgotten,that your death won’t be in vain. I will find a way or make a way to make sure to advocate,create programs,talk,write and never ever stop fighting. If even one person is saved from going through what you did. To make something you would be proud of. I promise.”

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.