I have been asking myself lately, “Am I a bad mom?”. The reason I have been asking this question is that my children aren’t speaking to me. As long as my boyfriend is in the picture, they want nothing to do with me.
They have a valid point in their stand against my boyfriend. See, they are aware that my relationship has put me in danger in the past. So they feel, and rightfully so, that forgiving him, getting back together, and moving forward is a bad decision. I can’t say I blame them. I think about how I would feel if it was my mom and I know I would be mad at her, although I wouldn’t refuse to see her over her choice.
Maybe the difference is that they are given the choice of whether to see me or not. I have major mixed feelings about that. On one hand I agree they shouldn’t see me if they don’t want to. On the other hand, if I don’t have my boyfriend around them, which I don’t, then what’s the big deal? They need to spend time with me.
I understand they are worried about me, but I am a big girl. Also, unfortunately, I only get about 12 to 16 hours with my kids in a whole month. The rest of the time, I’m living my life.
I don’t mean to sound insensitive, I’m just being honest about the way things are. Trust me, I wish like hell I had more time with them. I also know they are in a much healthier environment living with their dad and step-mom, and that is a fact that took me years to come to terms with. They have stability with their dad that I am not mentally capable of giving them.
So, other than worrying about me, why do they care who my company is when they aren’t around?
I wrote in an earlier post that I proposed that my family life and personal life be separate things. Why can’t that work?
I imagine 100 women gaping at me right now and wondering how I can be so awful, shaming me, and judging me. Go ahead. You aren’t perfect, and although you love your kids very much, if you had no choice but to have very limited visitation with them, what would you do with your time? If your kids lived an hour away from you, and you saw them 12 hours a month, would their opinion of how you spend your time and who you spend time with matter to you? Or would you tell them to hush, mind their own business and say they are kids and have no idea how life really works, yet alone the complexity of romantic adult relationships.
This situation is a tough one because I see both sides. My kids aren’t just being brats. They are way above average intelligence, compassionate, funny, spiritual, talented, just the whole package. They are outstanding. It would be different if they were simply brats wanting their way. That is not who they are at all. I believe their standing comes from genuine love and concern for my well-being, and although I appreciate that, they are after all, still children, and don’t know the consequences of us being estranged. It could possibly have life-long effects which could include anger, resentment and unhealthy relationship patterns themselves, which science teaches us that fun fact.
If my children had to be around my boyfriend in any capacity, and they were afraid for my safety or their own, the decision would be simple. His ass would be gone. No question.
In this case however, they do not ever have to see him. Ever. We don’t have to talk about him, in fact, we can pretend he doesn’t exist.
If I break up with my boyfriend, in my case, it should be for my own personal reasons being that I am the only one around him. It might happen, believe me, he pisses me off on just about a daily basis. The choice to break up with him should be mine though and I don’t think it’s right for my family to dangle my relationships with them just out of reach unless I make the choices they want. That doesn’t seem right. I would never think of doing that to any of them, whether I agree with their choices or not.
So dear readers, hate me if you want. At least I’m honest enough to admit my humanity rather than hide it. So many women are in shitty marriages and pretending everything is okay while their kids are there every day to witness the horror show.
So judge me if you must, but before you do, I sure hope you know what it’s like to not have regular visitation with your kids that’s out of your control, while you attempt to scramble some sort of life out of the remains of your broken heart. I also hope you are in love with someone who drives you completely insane that your family hates and punishes you for being with. Then and only then, do you have the right to judge me.
I didn’t think I could do anything to advocate for mental health.
I have issues.
There are days, and sometimes weeks that I can’t bring myself to walk outside. It takes a very strong motivator, like seeing my kids, or when it becomes vital for me to eat. You know, to stay alive.
The age of online shopping is heaven for a person with agoraphobia. Amazon, eBay, and my new favorite, the Walmart Grocery Pick-Up service, make life so much easier for me; I have a lot less anxiety as well.
The first time I ordered my groceries online, I was so thrilled to be shopping for food and breathing normally at the same time. A short time later, I received an email informing me I could pick up my groceries.
I told the app I was on my way, apparently they can watch your trip in real time through GPS. Once I arrived a message popped up asking which stall I was in. A couple minutes later a woman walked out to my car with my groceries, she even put them in my car for me, it was amazing. When I returned home, I informed my boyfriend I was never stepping foot inside a WalMart ever again.
Agoraphobia is such a strange thing. It’s hard to describe the way it feels exactly but I’ll try.
There is a town in the brain called the Amygdala and this neuron called Mr. Fear and his wife Nonsensical Fear live there. When I should be afraid, Mr. Fear uses his neurotransmitter which is kinda like a loudspeaker, and tells all of the other neurons that I’m scared. Every now and then however, Nonsensical gets on the loudspeaker and says some crazy shit. All the neurons know it’s inaccurate information, but what Nonsensical does is plant a seed of doubt. So these happy, healthy neurons who were perfectly content, now think it’s possible that a huge crack will open up and swallow me whole if I open my front door. I don’t know. That’s the only way I know to describe it.
Sometimes, if I am late to an event or late for plans with someone, it’s simply because I am struggling to leave my apartment. When my brain is functioning correctly, I am never late. I hate being late for something. If I’m having anxiety over leaving the house, plus anxiety over being late, I will usually end up cancelling whatever I had planned, cry for awhile, then just go to bed, hoping that will push some kind of reset button and I will wake up normal and happy.
The times agoraphobia is really bad are when I’m depressed, which makes sense. Depression already makes me not want to do anything. Combine depression and agoraphobia and you might as well forget about me leaving my apartment. I would probably have starved to death by now if Postmates and Doordash didn’t exist.
Hopefully after reading this, agoraphobia makes a little more sense, although you might be confused instead. There is so much about mental illness that doesn’t make sense and thanks to a loudmouth named Nonsensical, I’m as confusing as they come. Oh well.
It came to my attention recently, some people think that I’m posting spam, and then don’t read my posts or share the information I’m posting on social media. I get it. Those who really know me, don’t see me as a person to promote a cause or be particularly political in any way. That’s changed because I have changed…
I found the picture I added to this post, and it reminded me of my husband Keith. His stomach looked exactly like that after a suicide attempt where he stabbed himself so deep, that he punctured his intestines.
The night he stabbed himself we were at home watching Perry Mason, a part of our nightly ritual. At commercial, he got up from the couch and walked into the kitchen. I assumed he was after his favorite night time snacks, bread and peanut butter, but he returned empty handed and sat back on the couch.
The show continued and I happened to glance over to the couch where Keith was sitting, and to my horror, discovered his white t-shirt soaked in blood. There was so much blood gushing from the wound that it was pooling in the creases of his shirt and jeans.
I didn’t have time to panic. I grabbed a towel, applied pressure to the wound and called 911. I continued applying pressure to his stomach until the ambulance arrived, crying and trying to get Keith to talk to me. He said nothing. He just kept watching Perry Mason. Only after the ambulance left with him, did I notice the long, blood covered knife lying on the kitchen counter, and drops of blood on the tile floor.
After his surgery, his stomach looked just like the featured photo in this post. That incident was his first suicide attempt during our marriage. I did not handle it well. I didn’t know what to do or how to help him. I have issues with mental illness and have had a suicide attempt myself, so you would think I would know exactly what he needed.
The timeline around my suicide attempt is very blurry, and I don’t remember the actual attempt at all, just a fuzzy ambulance ride, and the horrible 2 weeks away from home. I do remember feeling so alone, although the word “alone” doesn’t give the feeling justice.
The “alone” I was feeling, was like a panic rising up inside of me, akin to how I imagine someone might feel if they were awake during a surgical procedure, but paralyzed, unable to talk or tell anyone they were awake. Once the first incision was made, you found not only were you awake, but felt everything. Then you were screaming, yet no sound emerged.
That is the “alone” feeling which makes suicide seem like the only option.
Keith made a second suicide attempt. I came home one evening and found him on the living room floor. He had stabbed himself in the stomach again, only that time, he inserted the knife 5 times.
I handled his second attempt much better than the first, hardly leaving his side unless I had to eat or go to the bathroom.
Following his release from the hospital, he was placed in an inpatient facility for a few weeks. He jumped off a bridge 7 months later…
I have to live with the fact that Keith is gone forever. Living with the loss of a spouse, or anyone really, is so incredibly difficult. Suicide adds something to the loss that doesn’t make the loss worse than others, just very different.
Keith had support, love, understanding, and his family by his side no matter what, and still lost his battle.
I am realistic in knowing suicide, mental illness and addiction can not be eradicated. However, with the most up to date information we have about the effects of trauma during a lifespan, and the reality of mental illness and addiction; I feel it’s incredibly important for those of us who are capable, to speak out about our experiences, to help put an end to the stigma attached to mental illness and addiction. So many people are suffering in silence and dying.
I have been through the unimaginable in my life, and all while battling mental illness and addiction. It’s hard. The way we look at these illnesses as a society is wrong, and people are dying, going to prison unnecessarily, and families are being torn apart.
So, no, this is not spam. This is the reality many of us live and the more that is said out loud about mental illness, addiction, and what these illnesses truly are, the more we evolve in mind and spirit.
Download my app! It is available right now on Android only. It provides easy access to my posts as well as my Facebook Page, also titled, “Inside My Manic Mind”.
This isn’t the first time my family has disapproved of my choice of partner.
Many years ago, I left my first husband for someone else. A woman.
It was a crazy time, and the first in a long line of bad choices which led me down an incredibly rocky and unstable road.
Then, A part of me knew it wasn’t the right choice, but I couldn’t live in my mind unless I acted on it.
Clinically defined, Impulsivity is “an individual’s predisposition toward rapid, unplanned actions without regard to the negative consequences of these actions to [oneself] or others”
I don’t understand why I must act on things when I know deep in my heart, it isn’t good for me. Family & friends can try to steer me right, and I will continue on my destructive path.
The path of least resistance is the direction an object or person moves forward with the least amount of obstacles in the way. When I make a choice, it’s usually, the one my mind can handle at that given moment.
I tend to be on the anxious side. I have been that way as long as I can remember. (see post) For myself, when faced with a difficult choice, I have to do what I can handle. It’s how I have survived for almost 38 years.
Imagine having a conference with your conscience. You’re sitting in Jiminy Cricket’s office, it’s rather small, but comfortable, & Jiminy says, “kid, if you make the choice I am proposing, it’s going to shut you down. You are going to feel like armageddon is here and you are in line to be dipped in molten lava & wait time is 10 minutes & counting.”
I would say “Oh, sweet Jesus!” as I shift uncomfortably in my chair, “I just can’t do that, Jiminy. I mean, won’t my heart explode while I wait? How do you prepare for LAVA?!” I take a deep breath and ask “Got any other options?”
“Well, yeah,” says Jiminy unsurely. “You could go with this series of choices I have outlined here. (hands me a large, heavy book with the sinister title of Easy Now, Pay Later) It’s a really tough read, a lot of sad parts and some of it makes zero sense. If you go this direction, there will be more trouble but smaller bites.”
I set the book in my lap and say, “I’m gonna go with this one Jiminy, thanks. No lava baths for me.”
Then, he starts singing “When You Wish Upon A Star*, and I get the hell out of there. My mind can only handle so much.
Jiminy is an asshole too. He gives me the choices, then when I inevitably pick the hardest choice for the long run, he taunts me. Occasionally I hear, “could have just had one really hot bath and this would all be over. Yep.”
Thanks Jiminy, I know. I got this.
I know what has happened in my relationship with Jason, I haven’t forgotten. He will probably do stupid things that piss me off, but I am going down this road because it’s my choice.
I didn’t make this choice to upset or hurt anyone, and personally I think asking me to choose between Jason and my family is not an option I should have ever been encountered with. It only caused further upset, piling another 1000 degrees to the lava I was waiting in line to dip in.
I couldn’t handle it.
I know my choices don’t make sense to my family, but they are my choices. Ultimately, I am the one having to live with them. With that being said, I must be sensitive to how my relationship affects them. That is why I am proposing to them that from now on I keep my personal life seperate from my family life.
That is a new concept in my family because we have always been close and all up in each other’s business. For the sake of their sanity, I think this idea is a viable option.
As far as I go, I’ll be fine. I’m simply going to keep reading my book and conferencing with Jiminy when he comes at me with something harrowing.
Sometimes, I might say, “what the hell!” and dive into the lava. Sometimes, I won’t. I will be okay though.
Life.. it’s complicated and messy. No one gets out of here unscathed by the rigors of life. However, not everyone handles life’s obstacles in the same way; largely due to how each of us perceives our life and the lives of the people around us.
I have always traveled down a difficult path, and some bad things have happened as a result. I am not the only one affected by my path because I have a family, and children who love me.
When you are in a family, you love the members unconditionally, but unconditional love comes with a price. The often difficult task of understanding and loving the one with the ill mind.
Love can bring a lot of unpleasantness. The reason love can hurt us so badly, is our close proximity to the ones we love.
I wrote a post about perception several months ago. If you read it, you know I think our beliefs, morals, boundaries, goals, everything in our lives, varies, based on how we perceive events in our lives. It amazes me that because of perception, every member of a family can live through and survive the same tragedies, and yet, end up having completely different experiences.
We are hardest on our families. We have higher expectations of them because we feel being in a family has certain implications.
When family has expectations we can’t live up to, and then degrades our capabilities, we feel like failures.
****When someone in the family has been through a tremendous amount of pain, compounded by addiction and mental illness, it alters their life in a way no one can quite understand, unless you have been there.****
The sad truth is that every single person in my family can read the above paragraph and relate somehow. They either went through something horrific as well, battled addiction, mental illness, or they have been affected by a loved ones’ suffering. For me, I became a victim of my own mind, and felt alone, and felt no one could possibly understand.
The stigma of mental illness and the stigma of addiction often go hand in hand.
The battles are different for everyone. Some go completely off the deep end with addiction. They are the type depicted in films, books, the media, and unfortunately, so much damage occurs for everyone around them. Not everyone fits that category.
Never in my life was I compelled to steal from people (especially family), violate, do physical harm, or sell my body for a “rock”, a bottle, or a shot.
Episodes of mental Illness have not sent me running naked in the streets or caused me to hear voices telling me to chop up my family. People usually don’t know I have issues, until I tell them.
Research suggests that the majority of people hold negative attitudes and stereotypes toward people with mental illness as well as addiction. Hell, I’m guilty of stereotypical views myself, sometimes. I didn’t realize I was being self-deprecating until I just snapped to it one day. My user name for many of my online profiles is, CrazyinOk82: Stigma was rearing its ugly head, and I didn’t even realize it. That’s how powerful stigma is.
What is “crazy”, is that ignorance is not the only thing causing this huge lack of understanding. It’s the damn healthcare professionals themselves. They often hold to the same stereotypes.
This is so frustrating because everyone, especially the mentally ill, look to the professionals for guidance, understanding and support. When their view of you is altered due to rampant stigma, you can’t trust the treatment you receive or stop seeing them. Who is everyone going to listen to anyway? The healthcare professionals, or the “crazy people”. Yeah, you already know.
As long as there is a grain of truth to a stereotype, some people are going to hold it as the gospel truth.
Meanwhile, families are being torn apart. Misunderstanding and lack of effective communication can cause irreparable harm. Change doesn’t happen overnight, I get that. A great place to cultivate a foundation for change, is at home.
It’s easier to give your friend a break, be empathetic and understanding, than it is to extend the same courtesy to someone you have been around your whole life. The issues hit too close to home.
Being mentally ill is incredibly lonely. I feel like no one gets me and never will. In everyones eyes, I am just a fuck up. I make bad choices, I’m selfish, lazy, full of excuses, and those are just a few of the lovely gems I have heard coming from “a loving place” in my lifetime. One of the worst things you can say to me is that drugs, alcohol, or my choice of partner are the cause of my issues. Those things are symptoms of a much bigger problem.
When we misunderstand mental illness — and its gravity — we do damage. Rather than give individuals our understanding, compassion and support when they need it most, we intensify their struggle.
It is very easy to focus on things that are superficial and visible, but it is what is anchoring these behaviors, that are the main problem – and this is what the general public should be educated about.
Alcoholism and addiction are progressive diseases. THEY GET WORSE OVER TIME. Alcoholics didn’t just decide to chug a gallon of vodka one day because everything is so right inside of them. Addicts don’t start out with a needle in their arm. No. Their first drink or drug was the same way it was for you! With friends having a good time!
I have never met someone who out of the blue, woke up one day and said, “You know what I need? A bag of heroin and a syringe.”
When I tried to speak from my heart about what life is like for me, my sister and Mom became irate and the interpersonal skill of communication, was nonexistent. They thought I was being self- absorbed because I had been writing a lot instead of paying attention to the family. I validated their feelings , understood, and put my phone away. It didn’t matter.
They don’t understand that sometimes I need to be in this cocoon. Especially, to stay safe from my sister’s powerful energy. She is so angry and internalizes everything. She is also very powerful. When she feels any kind of way, you know it.
The content of what they are saying to me is not helping me. It’s hurting me. Trying to make me feel like less than a human being, or a person undeserving of decency (treatment I get from my sister) and the ever present guilt trip my mother puts on me when I cannot do the simplest things she wants me to do just gives me more feelings of self-loathing and worthlessness when no one understands.
The link below is what I was attempting to talk with them about, while referencing the importance of my work. Instead of being met with support, I was devalued and told everything I have to say is shit, even when I sat there and took it, agreed with them, anything to make it stop…
Do you know what helps? Not feeling alone or isolated, being validated, supported and loved unconditionally.
Luna Greenstein, marketing and communications manager at the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) says,
“Storytelling accomplishes more than most probably realize,”It helps people feel less alone, and it cultivates empathy and compassion. “Additionally, it’s a great form of education for the aspects of mental illness that are hardest to understand.”
All I was trying to say to my family is this is why what I’m doing is so important.
I might not ever get through to my sister and mother. That’s a shame because as far as a support system goes, I am seriously lacking. Since I don’t fit the mold they have for mental illness, they don’t get me or realize how debilitating my illness is. I found my voice finally, it only took about 38 years. I know that I am on the path I am supposed to be on.
My kids will get this, even if not right away, they will. The reason they will, is they’re smart, empathetic, and they have a dad and step-mom educating them and allowing them to form their own identities separate from theirs. It’s exactly the way I wanted to raise my kids. We might not always see eye to eye and that’s ok. Simply aiming for understanding is awesome, progressive, and supportive. I truly hope they know and understand how grateful I am.
This is not the life I wanted, yet here I am. I’m sorry to anyone who has ever been affected negatively by my words, or actions. Please know, it was never my intention.
Sometimes the people around you won’t understand your journey. They don’t need to, its it’s not for them.
***I do not want to give the impression my family is horrible. I am simply trying to show the other side of these scenerios. No one ever thinks people with mental illness know how we affect everyone around us. Trust me, the mentally ill get it. ***
****Also,this communication issue needs to be resolved. If you would like more information about loving someone in your family who is afflicted with a mental illness, please click here.
I love this post so much. This writer is exactly who we all need backing us up and talking the “real talk” of mental illness. Living in the Bible belt, I am all too aware of those who honestly believe Jesus will cure mental illness. It’s completely maddening. Thank you Casey for posting this.
Disclaimer: I am an atheist. I’m out and loud about my atheism. However, this post isn’t about my beliefs or your beliefs. It’s about some’s ignorant beliefs when it comes to mental illness and mental health.
I read a great article the other day on the subject by Natasha Tracey over at her website, Bipolar Burble. I highly suggest you read her thoughts on the subject because I relate to her attitude towards positivity BS.
So, what is toxic positivity?
Psychology Today defines toxic positivity as “the concept that keeping positive, and keeping positive only, is the right way to live your life. It means only focusing on positive things and rejecting anything that may trigger negative emotions.”
Too much positivity turns into toxic positivity. There’s a lack of empathy towards the person struggling.
I chose yesterday of all days, to turn off the feature that had me pre-approve all comments on my posts.
I chose to do this because of the way my mind was working at the time. My mind very forcefully said,
“Who cares if someone disagrees or doesn’t like my post, or says something negative about what I choose. I want the criticism, and I feel passionate about everything I publish. If it makes it to the public eye, I put everything in it. So why the hell not?”
Everything happens for a reason and if a certain comment hadn’t been made and gone very public, I wouldn’t be writing this post now.
I don’t know how many of my readers saw the comment before it was removed, but it’s ok. I’m grateful it happened because my silence on the issue further stigmatizes mental illness. That goes against my goal.
Personality disorders often go without being treated due to being widely misdiagnosed.
Personality Disorders are one of the most heavily stigmatized mental health conditions a person can experience. This rampant stigma has both tangible and emotional consequences that can worsen existing difficulties. Stigma shows in the form of judgments, blame, negative assumptions and discrimination.
Stigma can lead a person experiencing a Personality Disorder to feel ashamed and hide their suffering. This leads to further negative emotion (shame, loneliness, fear) and attempts to suppress distress. Suppression of distress and self-invalidation typically results in further emotion dysregulation, dysregulated thinking and out-of-control behavior.
Even if individuals are determined enough to push through the stigma and seek treatment, they may encounter even more stigma. Some mental health professionals are reluctant, or even refuse, to diagnose and/or treat a Personality Disorder, even when a person clearly meets diagnostic criteria. ( Article about Borderline Personality Disorder)
So here we go… I’m divulging personal stuff I never intended on divulging, because my boyfriend has a Personality Disorder with war related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
To be diagnosed with a Personality Disorder, you need to have severe problems functioning in one or both of these areas:
Self-Functioning: A fully functioning person is in touch with his or her deepest and most innermost feelings and desires. This individual has received unconditional positive regard from others, does not place conditions on his or her own worth, is capable of expressing feelings, and is fully open to life’s many experiences.
Communication skills involve both listening and speaking effectively.
Assertiveness skills involve expressing yourself and your rights without violating others’ rights.
ConflictResolution skills help you resolve differences so that you may continue a relationship effectively.
Anger Managementskills involve recognizing and expressing anger appropriately in order to achieve goals, handle emergencies, solve problems and even protect our health.
Jason has problems functioning in both areas, and his PTSD exacerbates everything.
Elinor Greenberg, Ph.D., CGP, says men with Narcissistic Personality Disorder follow a “love pattern” in their romantic relationships that they reproduce over and over again with different women.
The most common “Narcissistic Love Patterns” she has named, “The Romantic, “The Big Game Hunter,” “The White Knight,” “The Novelty Seeker,” “The Hater,” and “The Recycler.” The consistency in all of the patterns, is that he loves you and wants you, then runs.
Jason is kind of all over the place. He can’t be put into one particular pattern, however, he runs. A LOT.
Ok. Are you with me so far? Good. Because now I’m about to throw a giant chink in your chain…
Everything I had researched and studied, mostly made sense and sometimes were spot on. The major factor that set Jason aside, is his ability to love.
I kept studying various publications and I kept studying Jason. A common thread throughout everything I studied, are the misconceptions commonly inherent in Personality Disorders by Behavioral Health professionals themselves.
I read a hundred different articles and various publications stating a narcissist can’t love or have empathy for others.
I’m here to tell you, that is not correct. I know Jason loves me with every ounce of his capability. Finally, I found what I know to be true.
In Rosenbergs book, “The Human Magnet Syndrome: Why We Love People Who Hurt Us,” “garden variety narcissists,” or those with NPD are capable of love and empathy AS LONG AS IT MAKES THEM FEEL GOOD OR THEY GET SOMETHING IN RETURN.
Since they desperately and perpetually seek love, appreciation and affirmation from others, they will consciously and unconsciously (Human Magnet Syndrome) gravitate toward others that can meet this impossible need. Sadly, however, the people who are going to fall in love with them and, consequently, try to take their problems and pain away are deprived of the very same love, respect and care that the narcissists fight so hard to obtain. These unfortunate people are almost always going to be codependents.
(Entering stage left is… Ms. Codependent herself… ME.)
Rosenberg goes on to say that his book also explains why codependents are the only personality type that can actually withstand the narcissist’s selfishness while shaping it (distorting it) into a loving relationship.
He states as a fact, that narcissists and codependents love each other. The feeling is quite real to them.
The narcissist falls deeply in love with the codependent because she provides unconditional love. It’s the one thing the narcissist believed was impossible. She loves him for his true self, so he has found his soul mate.
Rosenberg says the unstable and fleeting nature of their love experience is best explained using a metaphor- a bucket with holes.
Narcissists need a steady stream of unconditional love, respect and care to keep their hole-ridden bucket filled.
No amount of unconditional love or affirmation, kindness, empathy, etc., will ever keep their “buckets” topped off. Hence, their need for affirmation, attention, etc. while desperately self-promoting themselves, gives us an idea why they are motivated, if not addicted, to their narcissistic ways and why they are unable to stop.
But here is the rub: they can only adore and love people who fill their holey bucket. They really do “love” these people – their codependents.
And the codependents selflessly “love” them back.
With Jason’s PTSD combined with a personality disorder, over a period of time, his “holey bucket” empties. He begins to see my flaws and they piss him off. Another scenario is he will try so hard to get my attention and love, ending up feeling slighted. He thinks I’m too busy writing, or playing a game on my phone to notice he needs, “Sarah Time”.
Then, as he watches me make plans with other people, he feels he must not be as important as they are, I don’t appreciate his hard work and effort, and his bucket depletes.
The empty bucket leaves him feeling insecure and afraid, and those feeling manifest themselves through anger. The fear and insecurity also ensures he will develop a fear of me leaving him. Those were the times there were violent outbursts. The scary stuff…
Jason and I are not stupid people, and our love for one another is making us look at ourselves and our relationship from a new perspective. We had to start asking,
“What does our unique relationship need to survive and flourish?”
The first thing I knew I must do, is stop being a victim. Jason isn’t a horrible person. He has fucking issues. So do I.
I wouldn’t ever be happy with a “normal” guy, the kind everyone thinks I deserve. I will get bored with that guy. I will end up breaking his little heart when Jason shows up and says, “Get in the car, I’m gonna beat the breaks off this dude and then we’re getting the hell outta here.”
Yep, that’s the guy I’m ridin’ with.
I’m not Jason’s girl because I’m scared. I’m not scared anymore. I meant it when I said that part is done. We are someplace else in the evolution of our relationship.
I’m Jason’s girl because as fucked up of a dynamic it has been, I see him trying to be a man worthy of me. I watch him listen and give input, trying to understand the mysteries of the mind with me. This shit is going to be hard, but the really scary stuff everyone was worried about, is over.
On to the next hurdle
To the people disowning me for choosing this path, I get it. All I ask is to please open your mind and consider the possibility that what looks like a cut and dry cycle of abuse to you, is in reality, a stepping stone to a new level of understanding and existing.
I know I am on the right path for me.
I feel that some very real discoveries are in the process of being made in the field of mental health and although you are very open-minded and a wonderful advocate for your cause, you are lacking an understanding of some of the very real and very big issues some of us face every minute, of every day.
Mental Health stigma is not as big of an issue as it once was, but it’s still way bigger than I thought. There is so much that is still unknown,and when we are dealing with the unknown, we are limited to our understanding of it.
As mental health patients, we have not been taken seriously in the past. That is changing. Those of us who are able, have a responsibility to ourselves and to others who are suffering to educate everyone about the parts of mental illness you can’t understand from reading a textbook, publication, or observation.
We will never have it all figured out, but my purpose is clear to me.
TALK. WRITE. EDUCATE. VOTE.
I love you, B, more than you know. I hope you can forgive me for the worry and stress my being in your life has caused you. I hope we can come to a compromise where we can still be family that does things together. I hate to think of my life without you in it… You said something to me last week that has stuck with me. You said you were willing to help me if you felt like we were on the same team.
A heartbreaking truth about being mentally ill, is for the most part, you feel extremely misunderstood and very alone in the world.
Advocacy is appreciated and necessary, however, we crave unconditional love and support, regardless of there being a lack of understanding concerning the “whys” of our mentally ill behaviors.
We don’t know why most of the time.
I can promise, I will always do what I believe is right, and I know sometimes I will be so wrong. I’m learning and traveling through time like everyone else.
Recently, I broke up with my boyfriend, many of you know. What I haven’t been talking about is everything he has been doing to get me back.
He has been busting his ass proving himself worthy to be with me. The bad part in all of this, is his standing with my family.
They all hate him. I’m not exaggerating either. They really, truly hate him. In fact, if you mention his name in my mother-in-law’s presence, you see a physical reaction.
My family’s disdain for this man has kept me from telling them about what he’s been up to, which is unfair to him, I think.
Most women bitch to their girlfriends about their man troubles, but I bitch to my family. This was a bad idea. They only know the very worst of our relationship and hardly any of the good stuff.
I didn’t tell them how difficult I was and how I pushed him to the brink when I was irritated. I left out all the months he took care of me night and day when I couldn’t get out of the bed.
I understand everyone’s concerns, but last time I checked, I’m a grown ass woman. Its crazy for me to hide like a kid when I’m 37 years old.
I admit that Jason has his share of faults and has even put me in danger in the past. That no longer occurs.
I have also noticed people are very accepting of my type of mental illness, but not as accepting of his type so much. Jason has PTSD and not just any form, his comes from fighting and unfortunately, killing for this country.
He also has some attachment and abandonment issues. Combine his mental illness, my hard headedness and willingness to push him to the brink of insanity, and it’s been a recipe for disaster in the past.
We have learned how to handle each other in certain situations and the danger factor is no longer present.
An argument I get a lot from my mom and mother-in-law, is how they can’t see his good qualities. To be fair, neither of them are ever around him. Their accounts of his behavior are based solely on me. I am not always a reliable source, especially when my emotions are involved.
I am around him every day. I see his good qualities all the time. Not only is that a fact, but I’m pretty sure it doesn’t matter if they see his good qualities or not. I do. I’m the one in a relationship with him and if I see his good qualities and want to have him near me, that is my choice. Period
There are so many issues as a result of mental health stigma. At the most basic, stigma discriminates and alienates people who are pretty rough on themselves already.
On a national level, we have a fragmented healthcare system which further alienates the mentally ill. We lack adequate mental health care professionals, and the ones we have are poorly distributed. With the baby boomers aging, medical staff are unprepared for the inevitable rise in the need for behavioral health services.
People of all ages are suffering and often don’t seek help. Their reasons vary from ignorance, lack of resources, fear of discrimination, and some are simply too ill to inquire about mental health care or assistance programs that may be available. This needs to be a problem of the past, and quickly.
The ACE Study shows how childhood trauma affects the course of a lifespan. The more trauma a person experiences as a child, the more likely that person will have serious physical and mental health problems as an adult.
The results of the ACE Study make healthcare for the mentally ill imperative since we know some health problems might be preventable if treatment begins at an early age.
It irritates me that it’s 2019 and much of society and our government view the mentally Ill as dangerous, criminal, and unable to live peacefully among everyone else. However, I understand the main problem is ignorance and lack of understanding.
Many people are suffering in silence due to fear of what will happen to them, how they will be treated, lack of resources and funding.
What Can We Do?
The solution is people working together to reach very attainable goals.
How do we achieve these goals?
Educate. Teach society what mental illness is and what it isn’t.
Talk about it.
Those of us with mental illness need to talk about our experiences. We need to get out to the voting booths next fall. We need to advocate for those suffering from mental illness so they can get the help they need and deserve.
Learn of bills being written or voted on in your area concerning mental health, then write letters to your legislators.
Mental Health stigma is a problem that has gotten better, but there is a lot of room for improvement. Let’s help people… WAKE UP!