A Lot of Lemonade

3.19.19 – A Lot of Lemonade

I’ve been sitting here for a while now with my thoughts, and I’ve not quite figured out how to say what I want…what I *need* to say. So, I’m thinking I’m just gonna say it, and if anyone reading knows my mom, so be it.

I feel as though I’ve never been enough for my mom, and certainly feel she’s never really been proud of me. She did not attend my sporting events. She did not help me with Senior Year expenses or go shopping with me to find my prom dress. I’m 42 years old, by the way, so there is plenty of missed opportunities. (Wait, 42..when did that happen? Different blog post.)

Anyway, my mother has never been overly affectionate with me, and she’s not one to give compliments, say any ‘atta girls, give praise, and she doesn’t seem to recognize when someone goes above and beyond in order to help her.

Now, I’m using the correct terminology by saying things like, “I feel…” but it’s not just me that notices this. I will say that this only exists in our relationship, not in her relationship with my son. That’s important to mention because she lives with us and has to be taken care of after her last back surgery, and she gets along with my son beautifully, constantly thanking him, heaping on the praise and love. She hugs him. She tells him she loves him. The two of them have had a close bond since he was born.

So, one thing led to another, and I sat down to have a conversation with my mom today. Now, I’ve touched on this before with her…several times actually, but I’ve never just put all the cards on the table and asked her to please do the same. I told her I feel like…no, that’s not an accurate description…I told her I *know* I’ve never been good enough, done well enough, and that I feel unloved. I asked her if she has *ever* been proud of me. Again, 42 years worth of material there.

She stared at me and chewed her food – the dinner I had just cooked even though I’m disabled just like her. She said that there are things she’s proud of but couldn’t think of any at the time. Guessing she could make what she thought was a valid point, she asked if I could list things that I loved about my son, things that made me proud. I spoke for at least 10 minutes about him until I realized we had gotten off course.

Now listen to me. Don’t throw at me that she was taken off guard, blah, blah. As I said, some things led to this conversation, and she could tell it was coming today, and also recall that I explained we’ve had similar discussions in the past.

Look, even my son sees how she treats him better than me. Treats my husband better than me. Treats the caretaker who helps us get her showered better than me. She actually talks and laughs with this lady for half an hour or so, which is a big deal for Mom. The caretaker that we’ve known three months. She’s here maybe an hour, twice a week.

I’ll share something terrible with you. Sometimes, in what I guess is a dark corner of my heart, I think to myself that Dad died when I was 15, and he and I did everything together. He would often praise me and was affectionate. Even though they divorced when I was two years old and only seeing Dad every other weekend and six weeks in summer, my relationship with Dad was filled with such love, joy, comfort and a sense of well-being. Mom is not affectionate. She doesn’t even say good night, just disappears. Well, let me amend that. She says good night to my son.

Anyway, sometimes I wonder if I had to lose a parent, ‘why my dad who loved me?’ I feel terrible even thinking it. I told you it was bad.

It’s not me wishing my mom passed away instead of my dad. It’s me missing Dad, and it’s me wishing Mom could be proud of me. It’s really a little girl wanting her momma’s love, I guess.

What the heck does any of this have to do with Bipolar? Mostly, that I want to share that though it hurts, I put the pain to good use. I am certain to shower my son in even more love. I am sure to constantly tell him he’s done a good job, and we always joke and laugh with one another. We hug good night and pray for each other. He too has Bipolar and we help lift the other when we’re down low.

Plus, it’s my blog. I can write what I want…LOL! No, seriously, sometimes it’s good for us, healthy even, to vent.

So, am I squeezing lemons into lemonade, here? Am I endeavoring to be a better mom because I feel I don’t have a mother that communicates with me? A mom that doesn’t love me? Yes, perhaps I am doing just that.

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And you know what, I like lemonade. A lot.

 

(Image credit: cartoondealer)

When Enough is Enough

When Enough Is Enough ~ 8.6.18

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So, in helping my teenage son work through some issues with his friends, I’ve come to realize I need to do a little cleaning house myself.

My son is very kind to his friends and enjoys going out with them, and often times, he pays for their lunch, for example. However, later, we begin to notice that he’s the only one who has done this three weeks in a row. When he texts them, they don’t respond, and he knows they are online because he sees them clear as day on social media.

Therefore, his therapist and I are working with him to be sure he’s not taken advantage of and not used. We’re helping him recognize his true friends, and he’s feeling better because he’s not wondering why his “friends” use him, why his “friends” don’t chat with him unless “they” feel like chatting, etc type matters.

So, of course, one important key in parenting (at least for this household) is my son generally doesn’t follow our advice alone just because we verbalize it, but tends to follow it more when he sees that we are doing the same. When I give him advice about a friend who only talks with him on text when the friend wants to talk, and this friend doesn’t care if my kid is wanting to chat a bit one day, and my son says to me, “Well, you allow ______ to do the same thing to you,” that’s when I know it’s time to do some heavy lifting and dump said toxic “friend.” I’ll admit that it is extremely difficult to sever ties when you think you’re talking about potential lifelong relationships – fun, laughter, shared tears, lifting one another up when the other is down – but sometimes, enough is enough.

I’m working on my, “Goodbye, You Hurt Me But I Forgive You,” letters that my therapist recommended writing, which remain with me until I burn them and let the baggage go. Some are for people long gone. Some are for people still around physically, but not emotionally and spiritually.

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And it should be included, this kind of toxicity affects both mental and physical health, to be sure.

It’s heartbreaking, but I’ll survive. I’ve survived much worse, after all.

Tucked Away

TUCKED AWAY ~ 5.18.18

Don’t most relationships (of any kind) have their ups and downs? Moments we want to hold onto; moments we would prefer to forget?

Sometimes, in writing these blog entries and describing things from a certain point of view, or when I’m in the midst of an episode, it can appear confusing as to how I feel/felt about my loved ones. (Believe me, it’s worse inside my head.) Do you really even have to be Bipolar to understand to some degree what I’m saying? I think so, if people are honest.

Last night’s entry mentioned difficulties with my mom and dad. My mom admits to compartmentalizing periods of her life that caused her pain. They’re tucked away so she doesn’t feel those emotions. Here’s the thing, I was around during those times, so I’m kinda put away on difficult to reach, dusty shelves, as well. It has made for a challenging relationship with her, and I do not agree with her keeping me in the house that she did with my step-father. She knows this. I’m not telling you a secret. But today I wanted to take a minute to say that she has helped me in my life and loved me in the way that she uniquely loves. She’s helped me through back surgeries and a horrible first failure of a marriage. She helped me raise my son when his father left and I was working 60 hour weeks. And we continue to get to know one another in efforts to become closer. We can laugh together, too.

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Now my dad. That’s a mess. I can’t describe that right now. Not well, anyway. Problem is, I thought he was one thing, and I learned some disturbing things last year that I still don’t know how to process. Until last year, even though he died when I was 15, I felt he was at the core of molding who I have become. Maybe he still is, but with the things I discovered, I don’t know what that says about me. I’m not trying to be ambiguous here. I’m actually going to begin counseling next week to try to sort some of this because it has really screwed with my head. As I do, I’ll share more. For now, I’ll say that I loved playing catch and football with him, and he taught me to play Spades and kick butt at it.

I’m thankful I have my husband and son. I’ll share more about this journey as it unfolds. Thanks to you all, as always. xo

Stress/Pain Cycle

Last night, I had an extremely heightened, loud, dramatic and exhaustive argument with my mother. My mother lives with us, so there was no home to which I could retreat and decompress. No respite. For a while after, like a 2-3 hours kind of while, I sat stunned. Staring. A lot was brought up and said during that argument, mostly by me, but my mother has never been one to talk much, whether she has negative or positive things to say. Mostly negative, though. Count on that. She feels I have been wasting her money, as I have been taking care of all accounts, bills, insurance and doctor payments, etc while she was away with surgery and rehab. She also does not (or won’t?) recognize the physical and emotional toll that her return from the hospital has had on me (and lack of following through with her physical therapy program and gaining strength and independence). She actually asked me, “Well, what do you do for me?” I heard an audible gasp from my son, who was unfortunately in the kitchen, while this loud disagreement was going on in the living room. I told her I’d write her a list. (Currently, it’s two pages long.) I explained to her the system I had in place for using her money, and the why behind it. The reasons for the financial plan in place. It is simply taking care of her future should she need to go back to a rehab or nursing home. It’s long and sorted and not really the point. Just kind of setting the stage for you.

The other part of that is that I lost control and yelled. I mean, I yelled loud and hard about things from the past, and some current day. To me, they still have much to do with one another. I yelled about feeling I’ve never truly been valued by her, that she always told me how to do it better (if I was lucky) or, more likely, how and why I was just plain wrong. I brought up a step-father who was quite abusive and liked to show off his guns, often pointed in the face. So many things burst through some sort of compartmentalized type box.

Blog pain cycle

That explosion has ravaged my mind and body today. Anxiety is through the roof.
Depression, right along side it. I’ve had a fibromyalgia flare-up. Arthritis is more symptomatic today. My feet hurt (braces for each are due in about a month – feet and leg – due to tendinitis and other issues that came about from pushing my mother in the wheelchair). They ache, and it is proving difficult to walk. My lower lumbar fused back is on fire and stabbing. My head is about to take me down, with its clustered migraine.

This is what angers me the most. Stress leading to chronic pain becoming so severe I can hardly breathe when trying to move. I’m going to set up a time to speak with my therapist soon. This cannot continue, or I will not make it to 50 without several more visits to mental hospitals and ending up in a wheelchair myself. I’m 40 years old now. I’m so tired.

So tired.

Next entry, I’m going to discuss and ask for ideas on how to prevent this cycle, or at least effectively treat it and not be down and out so long.