Upon waking this morning I touched my face and realized it is one of the few things we cannot see on our bodies; unless of course we look at it through the reflection of a mirror. It is however, the first thing people look at when they see us. Just a thought. A bit disturbing.
Why is she so afraid?
The anxiety creeps closer with the disappearance of each sun.
Bashful, hesitant, Insecure.
Faking her way through life has become an art.
A dismembered starlet.
Her lips threaded closed.
A silent cinema.
She transforms into whatever you need.
A counterfeit for your pageant.
A master of disguise is where her confidence lies.
Not the nine to five.
Not Mrs. Jones.
She could function and not be marked as a deviant.
No one knows the discrepancy is on the inside…
The solitude of depression,
The anxiety as absolute as falling helplessly into a well.
Fantasies of Alice.
The clever suicidal ideations.
She throws her head back.
Oh, that wicked laughter.
A hiccup which interrupts her sobs.
And one ponders why she is misconceived.
It must be the Post Traumatic Stress.
When the wrecking ball crashed through,
It uprooted any remaining life in her eyes.
The white elephant.
Stubbornly parked inside her mind,
A cunning persuasion halting any movement, breath, or spoken word.
Hypnotizing her to be afraid of the big bad world.
Paralyzing her from the neck down.
Her captivating eyes which shift from green to blue.
They rapidly canvas the crevices engraved in the ceiling.
Electrical currents that cannot find their way out of her veins.
They hunt like wildfire through her body for any sign of life.
They return to her mind bringing only snapshots of her afflictions.
Sufficient to feed on until the sun sets again.
She will rise inside a new cinema.
A new disguise.
She seductively examines you.
She rips the threads from her lips and asks…
“Where shall we go today?”
There is no shame in the truth.
No matter how degrading the precision.
Her shame awakened a warrior.
Plucked from the rubble to fight,
She has been recruited to face her iniquities.
Rising up, she wrestles on behalf of those she once pitied.
Not knowing it was the monsters who hid behind her mirror laughing,
she was a fool.
A fighter who lost her footing.
A clean sweep, taken down by her own fractured reflection.
There is no shame in the truth.
With heavy pain and immense strength, she pulls herself back up.
This affliction is grueling…. go easy on her.
There is no shame in the truth.
Reflections do not lie,
But ghosts? They do.
They do not readily give.
Instead they rob and steal.
She is fighting for her life.
So be kind to her,
After all, she is all you’ve got.
There is no shame in the truth.
In the end of her years,
Her gloves will come off.
She didn’t retreat this time,
By her strength they backed off.
The reflection she sees looking back at her now…
She is different somehow.
There are no signs of bruising , no blood, no tears.
Only scar tissue remains,
She balks at her fears.
With every knock out, every sprain,
she trained hard to stand again,
In even the heaviest of rain.
Her body, once a wasteland,
Now a fine tuned machine.
Her eyes, brave and newly bright.
A redeemed green that glows in the presence of new light.
As for those she once pitied,
They visit in her dreams.
The only space she will allow them.
A simple reminder,
A subtle scare,
She can handle it now,
But they wouldn’t dare…
That familiar and wicked laugh.
Those mirrors they taunt her with,
She now breaks in half.
She rose with the sun today,
On the other side of the room.
She breathed in life…
Not one stain of gloom.
In that radiant resolve she knew,
She was not shattered, she was not undone.
There is no shame in the truth.
I feel as though this Mental Illness is killing me more from the outside than the inside. It is my disability, and it resides in me. I cannot hide it nor do I want to in my own home. The longer I keep my emotions caged inside my brain, the longer it will take to get better. I may have my diagnoses for the rest of my life, but the manifestations they take can go anywhere on the spectrum. I need to be able to scream if I want, to cry if I want, to be in a bad mood, to be stressed out, etc…
However, I feel pressured to live as a completely healthy person. I resent that. And that resentment grows every morning I wake up to face another day. The resentment I feel, though, is not totally valid because my family knows me and loves me the way I am. But the daily struggle I feel to keep my mental illness under control is overwhelming. In fact I am sure it’s making my issues worse.
I feel like screaming at the top of my lungs, but I can’t. I need to cry, but I won’t be able to stop. I care what people think. I hate that. I am embarrassed about everything. I don’t want to be judged. There is already such a huge stigma about mental illness and addiction. I am sure my family could handle it, but I am afraid to break free.
I drank one beer so far today, a beer from what I call my “emergency stash” in the garage. My girlfriend was visibly irritated with me when I went to get it. I am supposed to be lowering my alcohol intake, which I have. I didn’t care about her irritation. In that moment, I knew that beer was the only thing which would keep me hanging on. She is also in charge of the last Vicodin I will probably ever see in my life. My back is screaming with pain. My eyes are pushing back tears. I am clenching my teeth. Nothing helps. I just want to be alone. I want to drink.
I wrote something similar in my last post. My intent is not to be redundant. I honestly want to know how I can get better, or just simply live, when I can’t be me? I want to self medicate and am pissed that I am being kept under lock and key. What if I just went “crazy” on my family and did what I wanted, like scream and throw shit? I imagine it all the time. I am not so sure that would go over very well.
I found one of my son’s stuffed animals in the donation pile behind the door of the laundry room. Normally, I wouldn’t care. My kids are old enough to be discarding of toys. But this little guy? A giraffe. A cool looking giraffe with green and white striped hooves. I have always loved this stuffed animal. I salvaged him from the donation bag and took him to my room. I named him Franklin. I talk to him and hold him up to my girlfriend as if Franklin is talking to her. This morning she said I was starting to worry her, that she was losing me. It made her feel like a pedophile, like she was sleeping with a child. That, in turn, made me feel belittled. Alone. I trusted her with that part of me and she shattered it. What if there is a meaning to my new stuffed animal likeness. Maybe Franklin is the only one who will listen. He has green and white stripes on his feet. He is different just like me. He was about to be thrown away. I want to be thrown away.
I feel like my girlfriend is getting tired of listening to me complain. At least that is what I imagine it sounds like to her. I can’t smile. I can’t laugh. Why live?
I have the urge to repeatedly bang my palms against my temples as hard as I can. Maybe I need a helmet. I want to scream, but I am far too concerned of what those around me will think.. a muzzle, a sound proof room perhaps? How about a strong dose of “grow a pair of balls and stand up for yourself.”
I feel suicidal again. I can’t leave my room except for basic necessities. My house mates were gone for a couple days on a trip. I had the house to myself. I loved it. With one exception. I couldn’t relax. I cleaned the house from top to bottom. No one noticed, but that’s not the point. This is no exaggeration. I literally went through 7 Mr. Clean magic erasers cleaning smudges off the walls. I washed windows. I searched the entire house for ceiling cobwebs with the vacuum in my hands. I even cleaned the vent on the ceiling! I am fully aware that it is spring, but this was no spring cleaning. This is an obsession. I rarely can enjoy my living room anymore because I share it with others. This is my choice to remain in my bedroom. I am not used to living with other adults. I am not blaming them. But, instead of enjoying my time alone, I spent 2 days bent over scrubbing and cleaning. That’s just not normal. How can other people sit and enjoy themselves, going along with their daily activities surrounded by dust, lint, and smudged kitchen counters?
So, during my last therapy appointment, I mentioned how I had intended to sit down and write. I explained how I never got the chance because every time I would attempt to sit down, I noticed crumbs on the floor, sticky shit on the counter, and well, by this point I may as well vacuum. I have always been this way, a little obsessive about cleanliness, but it’s getting worse. I live with 5 other people. One is away, the one who helps me. I am essentially cleaning up after 4 children. I am tired.
Upon mentioning this to my therapist, I used the term O.C.D. I said it hesitantly because I never thought my obsessions were as extreme as those I have heard of in relation to this disorder. I don’t tap or count things. He said those were extreme cases. He also informed me that O.C.D. and P.T.S.D. are often connected. I am apparently trying to evade myself by distracting myself. The bagel crumbs on the floor that catch my eye, stopping me in my tracks, is my mind diverting from what I really need to do… work on me…. be me. I had never thought of that before. I won’t buy bagels anymore. Croissants? Out of the question. It sends me into a tailspin.
I am somehow satisfying myself by being angry with everyone else for making a mess. It gives my brain a distraction. A diversion. An excuse. I am really fucking angry. That much I know.
Everything hurts. My joints, my back, my head and my heart. I cry at just the thought of crying. I am so tired of being sick and tired…oh yeah, the old AA saying. It’s truth in its most raw and painful form. Since I’m referencing AA slogans… “Do it Sober.” I can’t do that one yet. I want to though. I still need to drink a few beers in the afternoon to cope. Everything seems and is so hard right now. I have lived in my room for over two months. I stare out my window. I glance in the mirror. I try to write when I can’t watch any more Netflix. I am tearing myself down without my own knowledge. It doesn’t make sense. I don’t make sense. I hurt. I want to die. I have tried more times than I can count on one hand. That’s one of two reason I won’t try again. I am afraid to fail. It doesn’t get more humiliating than a failed suicide attempt. The other reason is my kids. I know it sounds cliche to say that. But they have already lost their father. I can’t leave them without their mom. They can see crystal clear how miserable and angry I am. I want to fix that. I want help. I want to be happy for them. Faking a smile for your children hurts the soul.
I am afraid because help means uncovering myself. I don’t have the first clue who I am. My mother and my ex-husband shredded any recognizable piece of the original me. Yes, that sums up my entire life. And when I see the original me, I probably won’t even know her. It’s exciting and petrifying at the same time. Whatever amazing woman is unleashed, she will be new to me, and I will need to learn how to live again. This is exactly why I am stuck in this depression. Change is disabling. So is pain, but I am at least familiar with pain.
I have not written in a while. I have been too depressed to leave my room. Walking down the hall toward civilization has gradually become more painful. Isolation breeds depression. It is easier to stay in bed and watch Netflix than it is to actually sit upright and read or write. I feel guilty when I cannot write. Because that’s what I love doing. Depression has stolen what I love. I know if I just begin writing, the words will eventually flow. But that has become more a distant ideation than an action.
Last week, I was going to begin on a story for you. I noticed my hands shaking and my body sweating. Alcohol withdrawal. It took 2 beers to to bring me back to my normal state. I did not have the energy to write. I could blame it on not having a desk or a writing space, but that’s possibly an excuse. Sometimes the process seems huge and it should not be. So, I decided to lay in bed with my notepad and take notes on how I felt, jot down any intriguing thoughts. My yellow legal pad I keep next me is filled with illegible hope and reflection. It’s challenging to scribble as fast as I think.
I went therapy the next day. I cried. A little. Something I rarely do in therapy. I fight the tears. I know if I let out one big breath as a tear rolls down my cheek, I’ll end up bawling on the floor convulsing in a puddle of tears. When I got home, I cried for real. I am becoming conscious of so much. My therapist and I cover a lot of areas. We touch on many subjects ,though just skimming the surface thus far. And I leave feeling overwhelmed. Still in tears I ran to the kitchen. I drank 6 beers rather quickly. I needed to shove that pain back down. Then, I had 2 Margaritas.
I am an alcoholic. I have known this for years. I need to stop drinking and using so I can feel, really and truly understand what’s happening to me now, and how it’s tied to what happened to me before. One would think the sweats and shakes would deter me from drinking. Ironic. Fix it, but fuck it… The addiction always over powers the rational thought. Always. No exceptions.
Is my need for self medication more than my need for sanity and health? Do I not respect authority enough to abstain from harming myself? Apparently, I don’t respect myself enough. I need to feel pain. I do feel pain. I am not sure that is an intact statement, because I have failed to allow myself the experience of wrestling with my pain, letting it resonate, and eventually walking away from it a changed woman. I squirm at the thought of pain. I immediately reach for alcohol, pills, drugs, some form of self soothe.
After therapy, even in tears, I feel great. Because I still feel as though I am in the room with him. But the farther I drive, the panic sets in of being alone with myself. Despite that in my session, I learned something about myself, my past, my present, my future… despite being told I am brilliant, that I am survivor, that I am strong, I cannot accept it. Rather than soak in the truth, I run from it. It’s uncomfortable. I need to drink. I cannot sit in my own affliction. Though, that is my goal.
Not only did I reach for a drink, when I stopped to put gas in the car after therapy, I opened the trunk and took two beers from the 12 pack I bought the night before while drunk. I put them in the front with me. I planned on drinking them at home. I wrapped the bottles up in two plastic bags and carefully placed them in one bag side by side so they would not clank together as I entered the house. This is classic addict behavior. I could not let my house guests know I drank beer for lunch. I drove less than a mile before opening one of the beers. I knew the consequences if I were to get caught, but only pondered them for a few moments before giving in to my selfish addict. Honestly, it feels like medication and I am overdue for my dose. It’s an urge I can’t resist. I could have been pulled over. Where would I put the bottle? And my breath? Before I approached home, I pulled to the side of the road onto a gravel lot in front of a church. It’s a Samoan church, so it does not count. Just kidding. I find it sadly ironic that I chose a church to calculate my alcoholic manipulation.
I drank the second beer. I pulled the lever to access the trunk. I exchanged the two empty bottles for two unopened bottles, wrapping them carefully in the same manner as I did the back at the gas station. I made it home, past my housemates, and down the hall to my room with no clanking. I sat perched in my usual spot on my bed. I turn on the TV and drank until I could not feel the pain. Only guilt. I hope I can stop this on my own. Like I said, my goal is to be comfortable in my pain so I can deal with myself.
Why is it that Heath Ledger can die from a pill and alcohol stupor and I can’t? I risk it all the time. I pop more Valium, Vicodin, and alcohol than most could handle. I should have been dead a long time ago. Statistically, I should not be here. I need to wake up figuratively or one day I won’t wake up literally. The pain is so much that often I want to do die. Self destructing is a great way to punish myself for everything I have done and feel guilty about. I’ll save that for another day.
My mom gave me a meth pipe for my birthday. Sounds crazy doesn’t it? If you knew the dynamic between us, this type of correspondence would spur no surprise. Strip away all the preconceived ideas, the truth about me, the truth about her, what our relationship was before and is now, and just picture a mother placing this vehicle to destruction in her daughter’s hands. It’s rather shocking and disgusting. Whether she was conscious of its symbolism or not is irrelevant. She could have and should have thrown it away. Rather, she placed it in the hands of her daughter, a woman she knows as a recovering drug addict.
At first, I did not think much of it. There was no wrapping paper or pretty bow. She didn’t kindly say “Happy Birthday” as she slipped me the case holding the already smoked out of glass pipe. She walked over to her armoire, turned around with her arm outstretched and handed me a sunglass case. She plainly said, “Here, this was in the basement among the belongings found after Dave died. I didn’t want you to find it up here and think it was mine. I thought you might know what it is.” So from that, it is clear this was all about her. She didn’t want me to find it and think she was smoking meth. Forget me. Forget the kids. Forget the man who died in her basement, our friend. This, as everything, was about her.
You see, this is classic behavior for my mother. She wants me to be sick. She needs me to be sick. She is actually mourning my health. She is emotionally incapable of feeling genuine happiness for me. She is too inept to even pretend. She tries. But it’s fake. I have known my mother for 39 years. There is not one shred of recognizable concern for me left inside her. Her grand kids? She loves them. That’s why I took them to her house on my birthday. To make her happy. To make them happy.
A few months ago, I went to visit her. My girlfriend was with me, which is the safest way to visit my mom. Here’s why. My mom was in the bathroom and hollered for me to bring her pain pills. “Melisa, it’s time for my oxycodone, they’re on the dining room table, can you bring them to me?” The addict in me was excited. Score! I’ll just slip a few in my pocket on my way down the hall. My girlfriend gets up like there is an eject button on the side of her chair and grabs the pills and heads down the hall toward the bathroom. Just then I hear my mom’s voice erupt like nails on a chalkboard, “Oh, I’m so sorry. I can’t believe I asked you to do that, I forgot you shouldn’t see those You’ll be tempted to take them.” You think? She purposely leaves her pills out for me to see. She asks me to pick up her prescriptions and then fakes a dramatic apology explaining how she forgot about the narcotics screaming my name from inside the bag.
This is one of the reasons I moved away. This is why I rarely answer my phone when the word “mom” lights up the screen. My mom is alone. She is ill in every sense of the word. I feel guilty because I am not there anymore to take care of her, but I need to remember her sickness is not my fault. She has no family to care for her. And she reminds me of that every time we talk. That is the pull she has on me. The button she knows to push. My mom cannot or will not, I am unsure which, comprehend why I can’t be around her anymore. During this process with my mom,I have learned what a boundary is, and that I need a firm one with her. She chooses to remain ignorant about what a boundary is and why we need them to be healthy individuals with functional relationships. She refuses to listen to my answer when she asks over and over, “Why have you done this to me?” She is a clearly a narcissist. A textbook case. I can check off every bullet point under the definition. This, of course, she denies coupled with a look on her face like I have just informed her the sky is neon yellow. I even emailed her a description of a narcissistic mother to which she scoffed. She’ll never get it. I need to stop trying to make her understand. Why do I continue to try and fix this? The difference between the past and the present is now I am healthy, so she can’t keep me sick. You cannot lock someone in the bathroom if they are in the kitchen. She needs me to need her, and I don’t anymore. This infuriates her. I am happy and she hates it. Sad isn’t it?
Years ago, she kept me around by handing me pain pills in exchange for doing her housework and running errands. She gave me what I wanted in exchange for what she wanted. She manipulated me. I thought I was just keeping a relationship with my mother, along with giving the gift of time with her grand kids. If I stopped taking the pills I would get sick, and god forbid she would have to go buy her own cigarettes, or stand in line at Costco for an hour. She used to call me at home and ask me to go to the store. “I am in too much pain, I just can’t leave the house.” She would say. So I would do it. We lived only 6 blocks apart. Funny, the store was actually closer to her. I look back and can’t believe she had me on such a short leash. This is a very sick woman we are talking about here, and I can’t help but live in fear of growing old to be just like her. Isn’t that what they say? “Look at a woman’s mother and you’ll see her in 30 years.” Well shit. That can’t happen. I’d rather die!
I think you get the basic dynamic of the relationship between my mother and I. Now back to the meth pipe. You see, years ago I was a crack smoker. Whether it matters, or I am just trying to make myself look better, I could easily walk away from the drug. It was my ex, with whom I used with, who was irrational and refused to put the pipe down. We are now divorced mainly due to his addiction and the nightmare lifestyle that accompanied it. Consequently, I don’t use anymore. Imagine that.
There is a furnished basement in my mother’s home. She rents it out for extra money. I lived there while finishing college. The last person to live there died a few months back. I got to know him. He helped my mom many times when her physical health was poor and I could not be there. He ran her errands and did all the things I used to do for her. He had Hepatitis C and was diagnosed with Pancreatic cancer. The cancer progressed quickly and he was gone in 6 months. Dave was alone. He had prostitutes and drug dealers coming and going. He payed the rent and my mother was in no shape to make him leave. He took care of her. He never stole from her. He was a good man.
I was able to go downstairs and visit Dave before he died. There was a hospice worker there. I couldn’t believe how quickly he deteriorated, so I’m sure the nurse didn’t appreciate the bottle of Rum I set next to him. It was his favorite and I snuck a smile out of him. So it was worth it. The apartment was a mess. It was clear drugs were being used down there. I wasn’t about to judge him. He was a friend. If I knew I was about to die, and I was alone, I might just get as high as I could too. Cancer is painful. One never knows until they reach that place.
My mother, being well aware of my past, is also well aware of my present efforts to better my future. She is manipulative and knows exactly what she is doing. Which is why this hurts so much. I have been thinking about this for the last two days, since it happened. My mom has told me about paraphernalia she has found, asking me what it could be, with honest intentions I believe, just out of curiosity to know what is going on in her own home. Understandable. My mom could not identify a meth pipe out of a line up of all the different pipes used to smoke drugs if she tried. She found brillow downstairs and asked me what it was for. Only a crack user would know that brillow is used in a crack pipe, not any others. Most people just see it as something under the kitchen sink. Of course, you need the Chore Boy brand in the orange box, not the kind with soap. That would be gross. As if smoking though brillow isn’t bad enough.
I was more than happy to advise my mom with the ins and outs of what the drug world looked like. I feared trouble would show up at her house. Where there are drugs, there are dealers. Where there are dealers , there is increasing traffic and attention. My mom lives alone and I didn‘t want things getting out of hand as they inevitably do in a house where drugs are being used. I was helping to protect her and her home. But 6 months after Dave dies, to hand me a glass pipe is not normal. She is beyond the point of needing to know what it is. She knew what was going on in her basement. She knew this object was used for drugs. She knew it was a glass pipe. I was never a meth addict which I am assuming she knows as well. But she knows that crack is smoked through a glass pipe as is meth. For all she knew, that was a crack pipe. She handed it to me. And then basically walked away.
I have been trying to make up reasons in my mind why my mother would do this. Maybe she didn’t realize the gravity of her action? She even said, just as she would say when asking me to bring her pills, “Oh maybe you don’t want to see that.” She said something along those lines. I am not sure the exact words because I was standing there staring down at this in disbelief. Why didn’t she just throw it away? Why did I need to see it? If my girlfriend would have been there, even in the other room, she wouldn’t have dared show that to me. I guess that statement right there tells me what I need to know.
I don’t want to believe she is really that crafty and conniving. But everything in me can feel that she did this on purpose. What does she expect me to do? Keep it? Go buy some drugs and use it? She just wants to play with my head. My mom is an addict, but she’s never had the same problems that I have. She pops pills, snorts crushed pills, and drinks, but never used a drug where an actual object could trigger an emotion or a flashback. So why? How did she know to do this? Maybe because of her ignorance, she didn’t know? I don’t know.
I do know, however, that I would never hand my child a meth pipe. I wouldn’t hand anyone a meth pipe. Even my ex, the very last time he relapsed, tried to corner me and get me to use with him. That was the last of many times. He would relapse and hold the pipe out in front of me waiting for me join him in his misery. How can you hand someone you love something that could kill them. That’s it. Misery. Miserable people need others around them to be miserable too. It makes them feel better. My mother has lost me. She said it herself. I don’t really think it’s about losing me anymore, but she lost my kids. I don’t think she deserves to see them anymore. She knows the smoke has cleared and I am smart enough to not engage in her mind games. Same as my ex. He finally realizes, I hope, that I am not going back. It took me long enough to stand up to both of them.
Two toxic, dysfunctional relationships took up my entire life up to this point. I dreaded my birthday. I’ll be 40 next year. I feel old and that I wasted so much time. But it’s just like that stupid question, “Is the glass half empty or is it half full?” My life is half over. But I still have half of it left, statistically speaking. This half, however, I have the hindsight and the wisdom gained from the first half. Chalk one up for me.
I have no problem staying away from my ex. I need to work on staying away from my mom. Surprisingly, she is a lot more damaging to me. I didn’t realize what my mother had done to me at the time. But as each day passes, and it’s only been 2 days since my birthday, I am more disturbed and offended by what she did. I know she’s not stupid. She did that to me on purpose. I don’t want to admit it out loud because it hurts. But I am admitting it here. I haven’t verbally told anyone. I will eventually. I will tell my therapist on Friday. I thought my PTSD was a result of my marriage, but I am finding out, piece by piece, it all started with my mother. And she’s still tearing me down. Why am I still surprised? Because my mother is not supposed to hurt me. She is supposed to love me. But life does not always go the way nature intends.
And the candle on to top this birthday cake? My mom complained about how she called me the morning of my birthday. She claims I didn’t answer the call or respond to a message. All day I was thinking to myself, “Wow, not even a call from my own mother. Even if you hate me, at least say happy birthday.” I call her on Mother’s Day and her birthday just out of courtesy. So after she told me that she had in fact called, I apologized for not responding.
Yesterday, out of curiosity, I checked my call logs. She never called. This woman’s manipulation amazes me. It shouldn’t. But it does.
That’s one small step for me. And one more meth pipe in the trash.