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Once again I speak

10/21/2013

I am a 46 year old woman, a child of a schizophrenic/bipolar father and an alcoholic/uni-polar mother. I grew up in a home filled with children with various personalities and some bullying was a regular happening. I was molested for many years and told it was okay, it was overlooked and when I spoke out many of my siblings turned against me.

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After having my 4th child, I once again had post-partum depression, add to that coercion by his family i had to get a tubal, my husband losing his job, subsequent memories of the childhood abuse and you come to a 29 year old woman who is faced with finding work after being a stay at home mother for 10 years. I triggered for Bipolar I within that 6 month period, I went for help.

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My husband denied my illness and I eventually became “transference is my best guess” connected to my counselor as if he was my lifeline. The paranoia that i might repeat the abuse sent me into a spiral of taking to much medication and putting myself to sleep because I was getting no help from my husband who was effectively sitting on his butt and not even helping take care of our children or the housework.

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After 4 months of this the darkness just wouldn’t go away so I left and I moved in with Bill in July of that same year. I didn’t want to be away from my kids but I did it to protect them from my fear of who I might be and what I might do. Never once in that 10 years had I yelled at or spanked or belittled anyone of them so now all of the changes, the bad habits from the past just came crashing in on me. I felt i was unacceptable, I wanted my children to have more than the sick me. I didn’t leave them because I didn’t love them, I didn’t leave because I didn’t love him either. I still love the fool. The final straw was literally yelling at my son for spilling milk, the stupidest little thing broke the camel’s back.

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I left them in the care of their father who I knew could care for them if forced to do it and I knew he loved them. Also, his parents were very good people who loved my children and would watch out for them. In July before I left Mike, he actually broke down and cried and said he believed me he would go to counseling. It was too late. I had been looking for his support from September of the prior year when the Breanna was born. I ended up at the outpatient hospital in February. So that was the time line.

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I didn’t leave the children, just the house. I stayed in the community; and I went everyday to see them and I watched them when Mike finally went back to work. Then my care got shut off because suddenly Bill was afraid I would get him in trouble. So the darkness hung over me again. I wanted to give up and attempted suicide even as a child I attempted suicide to get away from the abuse and loneliness. At this point my mental health was throbbingly present and it couldn’t be ignored.

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Eventually there was our divorce and then Bill got divorced and I actually had been seeing a doctor in another town (to protect Bill) and was doing better, and I asked Mike to take me back, that I was ready to come home. In my head I just knew it was going to be okay, we would make it through this. He laughed in my face once again. Because of my Christian values and strong family beliefs, I married my counselor. I didn’t want my kids to think I was a floozy and so I did it hoping that love would grow. I fully expected him to be my husband and love me; he only became more ashamed of me, all the while hindering my need for help. In the next few years, I would have ups and downs but I was still present for my children, even when their father would tell them I left them and that I was a bad parent, which is just the worst thing you can do to someone in my position. My self-esteem has a very fragile balance because of my past and now because of this illness and the way the world treats and looks at me.

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In 1999 on New Year’s Eve I took a handful of ambien and fell asleep while everyone, even my children were in the house, because I just was so tired I didn’t want to live anymore. I felt helpless, I was getting no support from anyone. God decided I should hang around and a half hour after taking the pills and sleeping, while sleeping I truly believe it was God pumped my stomach causing me to violently wake up vomiting all over the place. What came of that was the beginning of me dealing, and living and actively finding my own help. I kicked Bill out and started spending all of my time with my kids and when their dad would use them as pawns which was a regular occurrence.

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I would go to school and meet them at the bus stop just for a hug, because he wouldn’t let me call. Always denying my weekends. I would go to school and have lunch with them and I volunteered and worked in the library. I also found a wonderful female counselor and at last began to see hope. My husband on the other hand kept trying to get back in.

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I was completely dependent on him for transportation and anything I needed. I had zero money and zero ability to work. So he talked me into marriage counseling. One week we would go to counseling for me and the next week we had marriage counseling. What he did to me on the way home from the personal counseling was coerce me to purge my private conversation and then proceed to tell me how wrong she was and how dumb I was. After the marriage counseling he would tell me all sorts of crap about how I was hurting him. Eventually I was able to separate from his presence at the house and the need to have him drive me to Bill, who was an hour away, to protect him of course. After a year of this going back n forth and trying to work it out, I let go and he was very angry and made a lot of demands, but I was feeling strong enough to realize what he had done to me, i guess what i had done to myself. In the end I made him give me the car, and he had to pay for it. I asked for nothing else. I had to apply for social security (I was not eligible earlier because he was working ) and go on welfare and into public housing. I had to find a counselor and doctor in town that I could actually get too. I basically had to start from the ground up.

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The week before i moved into housing. I was very lonely and very depressed again and I cried and yelled at God; violently crying and yelling. Finally I asked Him to speak to me; and speak to me so I could understand it because I knew in my heart I wasn’t in the right place to interpret the scripture. I told him I would shut up if He would speak to me. In His infinite glory and goodness, He honored that prayer and spoke aloud the words John 14 and I laughed and shrugged it off and prayed again and again He said John 14..so I looked and it was red lettering, it was Jesus speaking and it was “Let not your heart be troubled,..” I changed that day, but the circumstances did not.

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After moving out and into housing once again the pawn was moved and their father kept them from me for a month. I wept for literally a week, not cried I wept. My body racked with the sadness. And i began to write. I started to write poetry and slowly I started to take care of myself. In the next few years events would take place that would be a hurricane of force against that delicate wall, but together my kids and my God and I made it through and sometimes I did crazy things and trusted the wrong people, but we still grew. During that time my son attempted suicide and it put a lot of things in perspective for me. I was by his side constantly and me and him, we bonded like never before.

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About 3 years later the consequence of that tubal became a very real necessity to have a full hysterectomy. That set me back, knowing that I could never even think of having another child, one who I could live with my new found self-worth. I got through that by being thankful for the ones I did have and then, they all started choosing to move in with me, they wanted to live with me even at poverty level they wanted me. That has been a major healing. Then my dad died, and then my momma died in the same year and while I was at her funeral some of my siblings took it upon themselves while I was trapped in the truck for the 45 minute drive back to mom’s house from the hospital, well they educated me on how bipolar is all in the mind, somebody just made it up and there was no reason for me to take medication…literally destroyed me.

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I went home to my children sad enough once again; that I was so scared I might break that promise not to try to die again that I put myself in the mental hospital. I was there for a day and a half and my sons both showed up and took me out of there and said mom we are going to take care of you. You don’t need to be in the hospital we are here.

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And so we come to today, I am isolated because I have found that it is easier to separate myself from the general public and more acceptable on a medication level. I have had a rocky summer, detoxing from effexor from 300 down to 200 down to 100 and then off. Each drop there was a severe depressive and anxious and angry period of about a week, now I am happy to say that I am on lamictal at a very low dose because i limit the chaos. Some people I love very much have had to endure the teapot blowing, but they still love the tea and I am thankful and ever growing. I regret hurting them, I owned it and I apologized and begged forgiveness and what they do is up to them. I can not turn away and pretend I didn’t hurt them, so I own that.

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I am writing and I am taking care of my girls and living again, the boys are grown. I have been feeling a lot of sadness since the father who molested me passed away in January, it’s like I have had to reprocess everything again. You do that when you have been molested or have ptsd, every couple years or so you will see something or hear something and it will trigger it. I am still a teapot at times, you know take a little, take a little more until finally it blows. Controlling that temperament is my largest struggle. The loneliness is really staggeringly painful sometimes.

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The look on my daughter’s face when i hug her is what keeps me going. I still don’t like being in public and probably won’t ever again, I still can’t work and I can’t go to church, I simply can’t handle that many people being around, even family or friends is hard. I have been known to leave an entire shopping cart full of groceries and head to the car because of the stress. I get physically ill when I go to the store with my girls, at 30 minutes I start to get sweaty and light headed and overwhelmed. At 35 minutes I get incredible cramps and at 45 I had better be at the restroom or i will be wearing it. That’s just how it is, so I spend a lot of time in the parking lot and most of the time at home reading or writing, and all the time praying.

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Now with all the change in America I am asking one extra question, who is going to speak for us? Yes us, the mentally ill who are not stupid, who have clarity and can do what we have too to live…who will be our voice? My answer is to write and I have this blog which is my way of giving back what I have learned. The biggest things I think I have learned about mental illness are that nobody wants it and everybody hates it, people like to use it as an excuse to get them off the hook and that being bipolar is a curse.

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It is not a curse but a path for me to use filled with creative energy to get what is within me out.  I am a dandelion. You can hurt me, beat me, rape me, take everything I love, leave me on my own and I will hold God’s hand and get back up tomorrow and when I die just like the dandelion my seeds, my wisdom, my writing and my love instilled within these 4 precious young people will serve to grow again.

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2 Comments
  1. rosie (delarm) knoebel permalink

    I am sorry to hear how hard your childhood was. Just remember you are not alone, and there are plenty of us out here with great empathy and prayers for you.

    • thanks sweetheart, i am tickled you are still reading my blog, so thank you for that i hope not everything i write feels so heavy, life my life is not always hard and i am not alone

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