Sunday, February 27, 2011

Part 3--Where do I go from here?


The new unit was like a resort compared to the first one.  The furniture was clean and unbolted.  “You can go anywhere there isn’t a closed door,” Nurse Donna told me.  There was a hallway filled with rooms.  Instead of a cold, stale institution it reminded me more of a hotel.  The day room was large with real sofa’s, a large screen TV, cable, and a coffee machine.  There was a cafeteria with soda machines, a salad bar, and choices of hot food. 

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Part 2--Arrival and my first day

My arrival to the hospital was everything I feared, mean nurses, forced medication, scary patients.  I arrived by ambulance from the emergency room.  I’m not sure why I couldn’t have a friend drive me since I was considered “voluntary.”  I was a voluntary patient but if I tried to leave I would become an involuntary patient.  Yeah, I don’t get it either. 

Friday, February 25, 2011

Part 1--THE ER

I can’t believe exactly a week ago I was sitting in this same spot passing the time until I had to go to therapy.  Exactly a week ago I almost ended my life when I was interrupted by my dog.  Exactly a week ago I decided I needed help more than I feared it.

Therapy last Friday was a blur.  I have no idea what happened except we talked about how I’m scared of the hospital.  I promised my therapist I would turn myself in and she seemed relieved.   We walked to the elevator together and I asked her what she does with all the money from copays.  “I put it in my wallet.”  She laughed.  “That’s a lot of cash.” I replied.  “It is, sometimes.”  While in the elevator she offered me a number to someone I could call to ask what would happen in the hospital.  I put the number in my phone but I knew I wouldn’t use it.  

Immediately after therapy I drove to the house of my friend who I gave my eggs to.  It was a normal Friday play date with dogs and baby except it was raining and I was suicidal.  We sat in silence for a long time.  Well, I sat in silence and she filled it anyway she could.  Eventually I was brave enough to say “I promised to turn myself in today.”

“Okay baby, want me to take you?  I will take you to the ER.”  She said.  I told her she didn’t have to and she said that she did.  A little while later I drove to my house to pack some clothes.  I packed extremely light because I expected to be there no more than two days.  She came to my house and we left for the ER.  I sat silently watching the rain coat the windshield.  I was terrified.

I’m glad she came with me because the doctor that approached us as we walked in the ER said “Do you need a doctor.”  I froze and kept my eyes on the floor.  My friend answered for me.  “She’s struggling with depression.”  The doctor asked “thoughts of harming yourself?”  I shook my head affirming that I did.  “Do you have a plan?”  I nodded, yes, again.  “You can look at me you know.”  He said.  I thought my anxiety couldn’t get any higher but I was wrong.  I darted my eyes in his direction and then back to the floor.  “Do you want to be here?”  I was confused by the question.  Of course I didn’t want to be there.  Of course I didn’t want to be feeling the way I was feeling.  What kind of question is that?  My friend came to my rescue and said, “She wants help.”  He asked us to check in and get a hospital bracelet.  

From there I was led to a gurney in the hallway or the ER, told to pee in a cup with this bizarre method.  The cup even had a green hook handle which I thought was strange awkward.  I was told to change into hospital gowns and take everything off.  I refused.  I left my underwear, bra, and pajama pants on.  Nobody said anything.  Then we waited.  And waited.  And waited.  I began to worry that maybe they didn’t believe I was suicidal because K, who kept introducing herself as my “unofficial mom” kept making me laugh by making fun of everyone we saw.  We ate hospital peaches, laughed, cried, and waited some more.  A few doctors would come by now and again and I’d have to explain to them my feelings, my thoughts, and my plan to kill myself.  I wish doctors would just read the chart.  It’s horrible to have to repeat that information so many times.

All the psychiatric hospitals were full so I couldn’t get into the hospitals in LA.  Instead, I was going to go to a hospital in Pasadena which is about thirty minutes outside of Los Angeles.  After 7 hours in the ER, I was loaded into an ambulance and transported to the place of my nightmares. 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Safe place

My dog, Scout, at the beach
I sat in the corner chair of the waiting room clutching the small white box my tooth whitening system came in.  It’s not filled with toothpaste.  I nervously bounce one leg rapidly.  My gaze is directly downward.  I dare not look beyond anyone’s shoes.  What if those shoes belong to her? I pick at a piece of tape on the box as I wait for her to arrive.  I notice her stylish black boots out of the corner of my eye and my heart jumps and stops for a brief period.  I stared at the floor feeling a mixture of fear, shame, panic, and a bit happy to see her.   She sighs heavily as she stumbles searching for her keys in her purse.  What does that sigh mean?  Was she wishing I wouldn’t come back?  Relieved that I did?  Nervous about our session? 

Warning.  This entry is long.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

My therapist called the police on me

Today my therapist tried to have me hospitalized.  I begged her not to do it but she wouldn't listen to me.  She held me hostage in her office and wouldn't even let me out to use the restroom.  WTF?  When I said I'm going to the bathroom, you can follow me if you want to.  She did. 

We waited 45 minutes for the police to come.  The police wouldn't take me to the hospital because I don't meet their criteria.  The police officer said "She doesn't meet 7 out of 10 of our criteria.  I mean just looking at her right now, she's not disheveled, she's doesn't look like she's going to hurt anyone."  The officers left the room to make some phone calls on my therapist's insistence and when they were gone, L and I sat in silence for a long time before I said, "Wait, they would take me if I was disheveled?"  We burst out laughing and then I cried again.

I'm so happy I am not being locked up but now I don't have a therapist anymore and I need help.  Now I am worse off than before.

I need a fucking martini.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Broken glass

So many people have told me that they love me,  that they are my family, but they always change their minds eventually.  EVERYONE changes their mind!  EVERYONE.  Even my biological mother and father.   Each time someone left me it shattered my heart, so now I am broken and unable to believe or feel loved.  I don’t know what love feels like.  Do you truly understand what I am saying?  I literally do not know what it feels like to be loved.  So when you tell me you love me, I do not believe you.  I cannot believe you.  How am I supposed to believe you?  I’ve had people promise to be my family over and over again, but they always leave me.  It’s easy to tell me to stop telling myself this, to stop feeling it.  It’s easy to tell me to have faith and trust.  It’s easy when you have not lived how I have lived.  I have fallen in love with families over and over again and I have been rejected over and over again.  I still have a letter one foster mom wrote to me telling me I was her “chosen one” and her love for me was unconditional.  There was nothing I could do to make her change her mind or send me away, she told me.  I proved her wrong and I don’t even know how!  I don’t know what I did.  I was quiet.  I played the violin.  I got straight A’s, played sports, scored in the 98th percentile on district tests despite my mild dyslexia.  I also volunteered.   In other words I tried extremely hard to be the perfect kid, but it wasn’t enough.  It didn’t matter because nobody wanted me.  Nobody could love me.  Nobody kept me.  The only thing I have ever wanted was a mom.  The only thing I have ever wanted was for someone to want me, for someone to my family.  To be adopted.  Being rejected by a family is not the same as being rejected by a boyfriend or girlfriend.  When a mom rejects you, it’s so much worse.  When a mom rejects you, you can’t breathe.   When a mom rejects you, it destroys you.  I know there is something wrong with me.  There is something wrong with me that no one has ever been able to fix or love.

I feel like I have a disease—cancer of the soul.  I was born with it and it’s spreading.  My therapist once asked me when I became frozen with anxiety in a session, “Is it lonely in there?”  I wish she could know exactly how lonely it really is to be trapped in my head.  I feel like I’m trapped in a body that I hate and a brain that is killing me.  No one truly knows me, nor do I know anyone else.  I’m too trapped to share with other people.  Only recently have I begun to be more open and honest and I’m not sure it’s a good thing.
 
I live in a land of monotone where everything is black or white, light or dark, but right now it’s all black and dark.  Mostly my life has been darkness with flashes of light here and there.  My hope for the future is flickering and the wick is short and burned up.   Right now my resolve is all burned up. 

Every night I end up starring at the ceiling, praying for something to change, for some peace, or for my heart to stop beating.  Every night my past visits me.  I can see, hear, taste, and smell yesterday.  It’s worn out its welcome but I can’t make it go away.  It haunts me.  It hurts me.  It is killing me.

My whole body aches.  For most of my life I feel like I’ve been walking barefooted on broken glass.  Each step is agony.  Now my soul is much heavier and the glass penetrates my body deeper.  I want to stop, to lie down and give up.  I can’t see a reason to keep going except the people who keep telling me that I’ll make it and things will get better.  I am living for them even though I know they are wrong.  I desperately want to believe them.   I don’t really want to die, but I see no way out.  There is nothing but more glass and pain in my future.  My heart is as hard as bone and, it's lodged itself between my lungs and my ribcage making every moment a painful gasp for air.  I never get enough.  I try over and over again to swallow my heart, but I can’t stomach it either.  It’s so hard to breathe.  I mean that literally and figuratively.  Sometimes I really can’t breathe.   I used to live in this state like the moment when you’re between waking and dreaming and you can’t tell if you’re asleep or awake.  That was how I survived, but I can’t do that anymore.  I'm so tired.  I just want some peace and I only know of one way to obtain it.  I don’t know how to survive anymore and I’m not sure that I want to.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Phone call with my therapist


I replied to an email from my therapist today telling her that I can still meet her on Friday and then I told her the truth about how I am feeling.

I wrote:

Dear L,
2pm on Friday works for me.  Anytime on Friday will work actually because my site was canceled.  I know I'm like the worst person to sit in a room with for an hour, but I'm really having a very hard time merely existing.  It's hard to be awake and it's hard to be asleep.  It's hard to breathe, sometimes literally.  I don't know what else to do except therapy.  Tell me and I will do it.  Anything.  I have nothing else that I know will make me feel better and I don't know how much longer I can manage this.  My gf filled the fridge with smartwaters, bought me a huge orchid, and wrote me a very sweet card.  She left it for me to find when I woke up today.  It's very sweet but it made me feel worse.  I feel so horrible and gross that I've actually vomited a few times.  I can't purge it from myself.  I am a horrible person and she deserves better.  Please don't report me because I haven't acted on it yet, but my essential is all I think about all day long.   My life is not worth all of this.  I feel nothing but pain and I cause nothing but pain.  My essential item is the only thing that I know will work.  It's the only thing I know will make me feel better.  I already wrote letters to people I love for when I am gone and I'm telling you because I want help.  I see you so often because I need help.  How do I feel better?  Please tell me what I should do.
Campbell

I don't actually refer to my essential item as an essential item when I talk about it in person.  I just don't want to give people ideas on the Internet.  I don't want people like me to see it.  She didn't reply to my email, but she called me.  I think she was on her lunch break because she was eating.

Her:  "Hi Campbell, it's L.  How are you doing?"
Me:  "um..."
Her:  "Stupid question, huh?"
Me:  "I don't know what to say."
Her:  "Yeah, I know.  Are you planning to harm yourself?"
Me:  "planning.  no."
Her:  "Are you going to harm yourself?"
Me:  "I.  Um.  I'm not sure.  I'm trying not to so I don't think so."
Her:  "Can you promise me that you will call me if anything shifts and you want to harm yourself?
Me:  "I'll try.  I'm just really having a hard time.  I don't know what to do."
Her:  "I think you just need to hang in there."
Me:  "How?"
Her:  "By showing yourself some compassion.  I know that's really difficult for you but that's what you have to do."
Me:  "How do I do that?  I really messed up."

Then we talked about what happened and how it happened and how I didn't have the power to stop it.  She kept saying that I have to be nicer to myself and more compassionate toward myself.  Then I said that I feel horrible and that I am "X."  and she agreed and then told me I need to forgive myself.  She confirmed that I was indeed "X."  That is something I never thought I'd be.  Never in my life.  It makes me hate myself so much.

Her:  "You just have to say, okay, this happened but I didn't want it to happen.  Just show yourself a
           little forgiveness and compassion."
Me:  "I really don't know how to do that.  I try.  I really do, but I don't know how.  My brain just
         automatically goes there."
Her:  "So when your brain goes there, you pay attention and recognize it and change the dialogue.
          Say to yourself, I'm going there again.  I need to be nicer to myself."
Me:  "Okay, I'll try."
Her:  "That's all you can do.  I'll see you on Wednesday.  Okay?  Call me if you need me before
          then.  Call me if you're feeling like hurting yourself and please don't buy the essential item."
Me:  "okay.  Thank you."
Her:  "You're welcome.  See you Wednesday."

I'm not sure any of what she told me was very helpful.  I didn't tell her that I already bought my essential item.  She'll make me throw it away and right now it feels better to know that I have it if I need it.  Right now it's the only thing that comforts me.

I know better

They think I am strong.
I know better.

They think I am good.
I know better.

They think I am healing.
I know better.

They think I am fixable.
I know better.

They think I will change.
I know better.

They think I am innocent.
I know better.

They think I am okay.
I know better.

They think I will survive.
I know better.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

My brain is going to kill me

My brain is going to kill me.  It tortures me with insomnia, images, feelings, horrible memories.  There is no escape.  Even when I appear to be having a good time, my brain is not.  My brain has an incurable infection—a disease.  A disease that talking isn’t going to cure.  A disease that medication doesn’t seem to be helping.  A disease that is slowly and painfully killing me.  My brain makes me do things I don’t want to do.  It makes me do horrible things.  I did something horrible recently that I didn’t want to do.   I've vomited over and over again but I can't purge it from myself.  I can't purge it away.  I've taken like 50 showers but I can't wash it away either.  I feel so disgusting.  Nothing helps.  It's not something I wanted.  I got trapped in my head like I always do.  I get trapped and I can't speak, like when I was mute as a child.  I just freeze; I am frozen inside my mind.  I can't move.  I can't do anything.  I can only watch.  Why does this happen to me?  Why am I so fucked up?

It took everything I have to tell my therapist.  I didn’t want to tell anyone.  I didn’t want anyone to know what a horrible person I really am.  I had to write it for her.  I had to write her a letter because I knew I would get trapped in my brain.  My therapist just sat there.  She just sat there and watched me sob.  I don’t think I’ve ever cried so hard in a very long time.  I’m worried about what she thinks about me.  I am worried she thinks I’m a horrible person.  She didn’t say very much, at least not much that I remember.  I only looked at her two times.  Those two times her eyes told me that I’m disgusting and vile and deserve to die.   I asked her what I should do and she just asked me what I think my options are.  I don't know what my fucking options are.  I don't like what my options are.  I want to go back and erase it.  All of it.  I want to go back and erase my life...my birth.  I want to go back and be a better person or not exist at all.  I think the world would be better if I weren't here.  The universe hates me anyway.  My life and birth were mistakes.  Cosmic jokes.  
 
I don’t want to hurt anymore but nothing I try works.   I’ve been working so hard in therapy, harder than I thought I was capable, but it’s not helping.  Medication does not help me either.  Instead it just fills my life with more uncomfortable side effects. My brain is full of side effects.  Maybe I’m just a side effect.  I wasn’t supposed to be here.  I ruined the life of a 17 year old by being born.  My whole life is one negative side effect of being born when I was not meant to be here.  I am not supposed to be here.  I am a mistake.  

Why am I here?  Why?  My whole life has been nothing but pain, misery, torture.  I hate myself more than I ever thought possible.  There is no more room on my legs to cut the hatred away.  My whole life has been nothing but pain.  I've tried to fix myself but nothing ever works.  Everything I do is to try to fix myself.  Therapy two or three times a week, medication, getting my ass out of bed and going to work and social outings.  I don't do any of that because I want to.  I do it because I have to.  I do it because if I don't I'll just melt into my memory foam mattress topper on my bed and die.  It’s all pointless.  I'm not fixable.  I'm not ever going to be fixable.  The universe hates me.  I want to be put out of my misery.  Please!  I want to feel nothing.  Nothing at all.  Just peace and sleep.  I am so tired-- tired in every way possible.  I just can't do it anymore.  I just can't.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Turning 18

When I was growing up in foster care I could not wait to turn 18.  When I was a kid, 18 meant freedom.  It meant choices in life.  It meant no longer being shuffled from home to home.  It was an end date to my suffering.  18 was magical.   18 was the day I became an adult and made my own decisions.  18 was the day my life became worth living and all the hard work I put into school, surviving, and staying a model citizen would pay off.   I thought October 28th was the day I would want to start living.  I thought it was the day my life would begin.  I thought wrong. 

For some reason I believed that adults were different than children.  I thought adults were more mature, less scared, more sure about themselves and the world.  Now that I am an adult I no longer believe this, but perhaps it’s just that I’ve never grown up.  Maybe I’m extremely stunted in life.  Maybe other adults have some kind of knowledge and assurance that I do not.  Maybe there is just something wrong with me because now that I am adult I still have the same fears.  I still have the same problems.  I still have the same heartaches.  The only difference is turning 18 comes with more responsibility and less support when you age out of foster care.  Less people cared about me once I hit that magical age.  Now if I screw up, there is no one to help me and no one that will care.

The closer I got to 18 the more I feared it.  The more I feared aging out.  The more I realized that everything I dreamed would happen when I turned 18 would never happen for me.  I would never have a family.  I would never have a home.  I would never have unconditional love.  18 was not freedom.  18 was not the end of my suffering.  18 was not the day my life became worth living.  18 meant more suffering.  It meant less support.  It came with complete and utterly aloneness.  

 I’m trying to remember what I did on my 18th birthday but I have no idea.  I’m not sure I did anything.  I was a senior in high school and living in my last foster home, which was a foster home that previously got rid of me and then took me back.  I really thought they were going to adopt me—both times.  I wanted to believe them so badly that I overlooked everything else.  I would have done anything for this man and woman.  I would have given up anything for them.   I wanted them to be mine so badly that I was willing to sacrifice everything to make that happen.  Shortly after I turned 18, these foster parents asked me to leave their house.  The reasons to me are still a bit painful and totally unclear.  I know why they made me leave, but I really don’t know WHY.  I don’t know what I did.  I don’t know how I messed up.  I really have no idea.

At first they let me keep most of my stuff at their house because they promised I could still come back during college breaks and holidays.  They later put all of my stuff in storage and changed all their locks.  In the middle of my last year of high school I had nowhere to live.  At 18 I became homeless.  I never slept on the street or anything like that.  I was lucky and had a car and had worked since I was 16, so I had a savings account that I used to buy motel rooms when friend’s couches were no longer available.  I still got mail at my foster parent’s house and they threw me a graduation party at their house but I lived this way until the day I moved into my college dorm room.   At 18 I no longer had a home.  I no longer had a bed.  I no longer had a family.  At 18 my life became harder.  I had less freedom.  I had more pain.  At 18 I had less choice in life.  At 18 I lost hope. 

I’m not going to say how long I’ve been over 18, but it’s been long enough to know that turning 18 did not change me or my life.  I’m still that same little girl, just in a bigger body.  I still live with the same struggles, feelings, and problems that I had at 9 and 12 and 15.  I still want a mommy.  I still want to be adopted.  I dream about it all the time.  I still want someone to make me theirs.  I still want a family.   Turning 18 did not change any of that for me.  

Foster care does not really prepare you for aging out.  They can show you how to balance a checkbook, which I still can’t do.  They can show you how to find an apartment and shop for food.  They can show you how to find a job, but they can never fully prepare you for aging out.  They can never prepare you for how alone you will be in life.  They will never be able prepare your heart for the isolation and loneliness that follows you through life.  I never thought about it until I was faced with it.  Aging out was never my goal.  My goal was always to have a family, right up to the very last minute.  I always had big dreams as a child and big expectations for life and adulthood.  I have failed at both life and adulthood, even though I was an overachieving child.  As a child I worked hard.  I dreamed big.   And I loved with everything I had.  Not once did I ever dream about being all alone in the world.  Not once did I ever dream I would be where I am today.  Not once did I ever dream about aging out of foster care. 


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

I no longer have a psychiatrist

I'm laying in bed thinking about my essential item and how much I want more when my phone rings.  I picked it up.

Her:  "Hello, can I speak to Campbell?"
Me:  "This is she."
Her:  "Hi this is Dr. M"
Me:  "um, Hi."
Her:  "Did you know you have an appointment right now?"
Me:  "um, I do?  It's tomorrow at 11:45."
Her:  "No, it's right now. Do you have a card?  You know you are responsible to pay for this appointment right?"  $100.
Me:  "What, why?"
Her:  "Did you make an appointment on the phone?"
Me:  "I did but she said the soonest available was going to be the day I already had scheduled and then she called me a few days later to let me know that Tuesday was available, and I said one day is not a big deal."
Her:  "Well she scheduled you for today. You're going to have to take it up with her.  Can you come in on Thursday at 12:45?"

We said our goodbyes and hung up the phone. 

I have been seeing Dr. M for  almost two years and have never ONCE missed an appointment or showed up late.  Not once.  I think it's crap that I am financially responsible for a miscommunication so I will not be going back to Dr. M.  I called her, knowing she wouldn't be in the office anymore and said:  "Hi Dr. M, this is Campbell.  I am calling to cancel my appointment we just made for this Thursday because I have never been late or missed an appointment and it's not fair that you are holding me responsible for a mix-up.  Thanks.  Bye."  Even if she calls me back and says forget about the charge, I won't.  Now it's weird.  Now I am extremely upset.  I feel like I'm being punished for something I didn't do.  I'm so tired of my life.  I realize most of you will think that I am overreacting but I don't care.  It's not fair and now I don't feel comfortable with my doctor anymore. 

I don't know what to do anymore.  My only hope of survival was based on medication and therapy.  I have to find a new doctor and my work schedule will soon be insane.  I will be working ten hour days until the summer so that leaves very little time for finding a new doctor.  I don't know what to do and I'm kind of panicking.

Update:

About half an hour later my doctor called and said, "Hi this is Dr. M.  I got your message and if you say it's a misunderstanding I believe you and I will absolutely not charge you for that appointment.  I'd hate for you to feel abandoned over a misunderstanding.  Please call me back and let me know if you still want to come on Thursday."

I hate myself.  I really freaking hate myself.  Because of this I took a super long shower, cut up my arm, and now I am drunk before 5pm.  What is wrong with me????

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Friday's Therapy

“Ha!”  I said as I quickly sat in my therapist’s chair.  “I’ve reversed our roles, how does that make you feel?”  My therapist sat on the couch, seemingly amused.  I had planned on staying in the chair but the change felt weird.  I said, “Just kidding” and switched seats with her again.  My therapist laughed as she switched seats with me.  I sat on the couch and then the mood changed.  It wasn’t playful anymore.  I had to think about something to talk about.

I told my therapist about my plan.  Well, actually someone else told my therapist anonymously which really pisses me off, but I admitted to it and told her about my essential item which I had been keeping in my fridge.  She listened to me, much calmer now and then told me she cares about me and doesn't want me to be dead.  Her eyes were full of tears when she told me.  Is that weird?  I think it is.  She asked me if I would bring my essential item to her and I told her I didn't want to but I brought it to her on Thursday.  To be honest, I really just brought it to her to make her feel better.  I can always get more.  We sat in silence for a little while before I asked,

Me: “What did you do with my essential item?”
Her: “I threw it away”
Me:  “How come you didn’t throw it away here?
Her:  “Because I thought you might see it and want it. How does it feel to have given it to me?”
Me:  “It feels better to have it than not have it.  I wish I still had it.”

We sat quietly for a few moments before I asked, “Do you think I’m crazy?”  My therapist immediately responded with, “That’s a curious question.  It puts me in a bit of a bind.  If I say no, you won’t believe me, and if I say yes, you will believe me.  I’m wondering why you are asking.”  I said, “Because I’ve been sitting here for more than 8 months and I still don’t know what you think about me.  You never answer my questions with a direct answer.”  My therapist mumbled some long drawn out answer that basically said that she knows she doesn’t answer my questions.  “Why did you ask if I think you are crazy?”  I thought about the question for a moment before I answered.  My anxiety was making it hard to think clearly but I managed to say, “Because I’m not normal.  I’ll always be messed up.  I’m not fixable.”

Her:  “Why do you feel this way?” 
Me:  “Because a normal person doesn’t take a shower and look at blue veins in their skin and think,
         this is the best vein to use.  This vein is big enough”
Her:  “I can understand how it might give you some sort of comfort to have a way out.  I get that.”
Me:  “I just feel like there is something really wrong with me.  If I were a better person maybe I’d still
         have another sister.”

Then we talked about my sister and the man in the middle east and what kind of person I am to be able to do things like that.

Her:  “Why do you take on all this responsibility?  Why is your mother sick, but you’re a horrible 
          person?  You were a little kid and all these things happened to you because of cruel adults in
          your life.”
Me:  “All I had to do was say stop, but I just sat there and listened to a man scream for his life.  I
         listened to a man scream and did nothing and then I ran past my brothers and sisters knowing
        she was going to hurt them but I didn’t care.  I just ran.  I only cared about myself.  I could have
        saved my sister but I didn’t.  I just feel like there has to be something wrong with me if I started
         out so messed up at such an early age.”  I began to cry.
 Her:  “You take on all this responsibility and you blame yourself because that is what the adults 
           always did to you.  You are doing what they always did to you.  You blame yourself because
           it is what you know.”
Me:  “And then no one wanted me.”
Her:  “That’s another level of it too.”
Me:  “And now I’m all puffy.”
Her:  “You are a little puffy.”

We laughed and then I asked, “Am I a difficult client?” 
“Sometimes.  What do you think about that answer?”  I smiled and said, “I kind of like it.”
She chuckled and asked me, “What do you like about it?”  I said, “I like making you work.”
We laughed and then I cried again.  “Am I hopeless.” She answered in an affectionate tone, “No, you're not hopeless.” I continued to cry.  “Can you help me?”  She said, "I think so."

SLEEP!

I want one night of sleep.  Just one.  I want one night of sleep and no nightmares.  I want to close my eyes and see nothing.  Better yet, I want to close my eyes and see happy things.  I want to close my eyes and see calorie-free candy bars and cupcakes. I just want to sleep.  Please.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

When she was sober

My mother
I am feeling guilty about my post about my sister and my mother.  The truth is I have no idea what happened.  I can only speculate and let my mind take over.  No one ever told me what happened to my sister.   It could have been an accident.   It could have been anything.   I don’t want the world to think my mother is a monster when I might be wrong.

I also realize that some people do not believe what I write.  There is nothing I can do about that.  I am writing this blog for me so read if you are interested and don’t if you are not.  My childhood was difficult to endure and I am struggling to survive years later.   How am I supposed to survive when these are the things I see when I close my eyes?  There is more that I have yet to write about, but for the most part I have written about the worst of it, I think.  At least the worst that involves me.

Back to my mother…

The truth is my mother wasn’t always so harsh or abusive.  My mother was a woman of extremes. When she was angry, she was extremely angry.  When she was happy she was extremely happy.  The truth is she could be extremely loving sometimes too.   I realize my life is hard for some people to swallow and it’s easy to blame everything on the mother.  My mother had a hard life as a child and she had a hard life as an adult.  She was in and out of foster care as a child, and a hardcore drug user after being gang raped at 11.  My brother was also a product of rape (or at least that is what I have been told). So try not to judge her too harshly based on what I write.

When she was sober she was amazing.  There were a few times in my childhood when my mother really tried to be a good mom.  She really did.  She really tried to get her life together and provide for us. For a while she was going to school and nearly became a medical assistant.  She had to get her GED since she never finished high school and then worked so hard until she quit two weeks before finishing school. I don’t know why.  I guess she just didn’t have the strength to stay sober.  When she was sober she is the mother I still cry for at night.  She was home and not so angry all the time.  She would cook for us and always made sure we had food to eat.  She would even cook my favorite food for me sometimes too.   I loved fruit salad and biscuits and gravy, not together of course.  She would tell me she loved me for no reason, just because.  When my mom was sober, she was a mom.  When my mom was sober, she loved me.

One of my favorite memories of my mother is when I was sick in the hospital with pneumonia and she was sober.  She was the most worried I have ever seen her except for when I had an accident and she had to rush me to the hospital when I was five or six.  I had always wanted a puppy but she always told me I could never have one even though we had two giant white dogs at home.  When I woke up in the hospital my mom was sitting in the chair right next to me.  As soon I opened my eyes I heard, “Hey pumpkin, I’ve got a surprise for you but it’s a secret and I can get in trouble for bringing it in here so you can’t tell nobody okay?” A surprise and a secret from my mom? It could not get any better for me.  My mom reached into her bag and pulled out a teeny tiny little Chihuahua puppy.  I just sat there and starred at this little wiggly brown dog. He had tiny little ears.  One ear stuck up in the air and one flopped down by his face.  He was the cutest thing I have ever seen.  His tail was going about a hundred miles an hour. “Well, aren’t you excited?” My mom asked because I hadn’t moved. I was bubbling with delight but my mom said I had to keep it a secret.  I squealed and laughed and grabbed the little dog that began to feverishly lick my face. “I love him!” I named him Wiggles after my mom vetoed the name “Kisses.” Stupid names, but I don’t claim to have been the most creative child. Wiggles stayed with me for a little while.  Every time a nurse or a doctor would walk by my door, we’d stash him under the covers.  I’m sure they noticed the little wiggling lump in my bed, but no one said anything to us. Wiggles was my best friend from that very moment.  I took him everywhere with me but sadly I cannot remember what happened to him.  I think I was taken into foster care for a while and when we went back with our mother, we didn’t have dogs anymore.  Wiggles was the sweetest dog.  I used to make him ride our giant white dogs.  Even today I have a desire to have a tiny little dog and a great dane together.  Someday I will and I will make the great dane carry the little dog in a saddle bag on walks.  

My mother would also tell amazing bedtime stories. They did not have the most appropriate themes or language but she always captivated my mind and imagination with these long drawn out stories really late in the middle of the night when the rest of my siblings were sleeping.

Another favorite memory of mine is when we went swimming one time.  Just my mother and me.  I was never a very good swimmer.   I always wore arm floaters because I had this irrational fear of drowning and sharks when I went swimming.  I saw all the Jaws movies before I was six so even today when I get in a body of water, even a man made one like a pool, part of my mind is terrified there is a shark in it.  Usually my mom would make fun of me and make the jaws noises whenever I went swimming, but this time was different.  She was sweet and encouraging.  She told me to take off my floaters so I could learn how to swim.  I did, and then I began to panic.  I started to kick my legs frantically but I was still sinking.  I started to cry and my mom jumped in the pool in her favorite jeans and grabbed me.  Instead of yelling at me she said “I got you. You’re okay.”  She stayed in the pool with me and taught me how to swim.

That is the mother I miss.  That is the mother I yearn for and still sometimes cry for.  Even writing this I have to fight back the tears.  It’s so hard knowing that the mother I miss so much is still alive but no longer exists.  My mother is not a complete monster.  A complete monster just took over her body. I don’t know where my mother went.  I wish she would come back for me someday. I miss her so very much.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Bahdria

Therapy was pretty intense today. We talked about my baby sister, Bahdria, who died when I was eight and she was two.  I don't really remember very much about her and what I do remember never seems adequate.  She had very dark brown hair that was always sticking up all over the place. She had pale white skin and the pinkest lips I’ve ever seen. Her name is an Arabic name that means "Moon like" which fits her so well.  She just glowed.  She was so adorable. She was so beautiful.  The most beautiful baby I have ever seen.  I know she would have been a super model if she were still alive today. She was a very goofy kid. She would hide toys in her diaper and walked around with a hairbrush all the time. I have no idea why she liked the hairbrush so much. She also loved to cuddle and she would often squeeze herself in the middle of all her siblings so that she was being cuddle from every angle at bed time. I loved her so much yet I don’t remember much about her today. Her life was cut so short but I really do not know how she died.  When people ask I usually say something benign like, "I think she had an infection or something."  The truth is I don't know what happened to her.  I was never told how she died or why she died.  I was never told anything.  All I know is what happened before and after her death. 

It was a windy and rainy afternoon in Southern Arizona. My mom had been gone for a few days so I was taking care of my siblings by myself.  This wasn't out of the ordinary.  My mother often disappeared for days, sometimes a whole week at a time. Whenever my mother would disappear I would build a fort out of sofa cushions and bed sheets for us to play and sleep in until my mother returned. We’d pretend we were knights and royalty at war and throw pillows at each other.  We would have passwords and strange laws.  "To enter ye must crawl like a crab at all times."  We had fun and we felt safe inside our fortresses.  They protected us from the evil outside world.

When my mother returned she was livid. She was shaking and screaming.  I knew she needed to get high.  “Look at this mess!! Who is going to clean this up? I’m not your fucking maid.” She grabbed my arm, swung my body around to look at the house, and told me I needed to clean up the mess and then go sit in the closet for a little while. I began to clean up the pillows, blankets, cushions and dishes that we left in the living room. I wasn’t cleaning fast enough and she began to threaten me if I didn’t pick up my pace. “I’m warning you girl, you better move a little faster or I’m going to beat your ass.” She slapped my face as a warning. When I am nervous I smile or laugh. I still do it, but I did it much more when I was a child. I laughed. “What the fuck is so funny? You better wipe that smile off your face before I do it for you.” Somehow I was able to change my facial expression and continue to clean up the house. “I’m going to go take a shower. When I come back this place better be clean.”

I continued to clean as my mother disappeared into the bathroom. I finished cleaning the living room before my mother turned off the water. I decided to go play in my room and give her some space until she could get high. I was playing with my stuffed animals when my mother called my name. I knew I was in trouble. I slowly walked into the living room where I found my mother fuming. She pushed me to the floor where there were a few papers and wrappers. “Is this clean to you, you little pig? What did I tell you? Why don’t you ever fucking listen you stupid little cunt?!! You’re going to get it now.” She shoved me into the wall and slapped me again. I took off running. I ran past my siblings who were huddled in the corner watching and praying she didn’t see them. I ran right past all them, past Bahdria and out the front door.  It would be the last time I ever saw my baby sister.

I ran as fast as I could. I ran until my lungs could no longer carry me any further. I climbed a tree where I stayed. It was raining but I didn’t care. I stayed in that tree for hours. I knew I had messed up. I made it worse for myself. I knew it was going to be worse for me when I went home. She was going to beat me worse because I ran away. What was I thinking? I started to fall asleep in the tree when it began to lightning and thunder really close to me. I was cold and shivering and starving.  I knew my brothers and sisters were hungry.  I had to go feed them.  I had to go home sooner or later. I was just hoping my mother would be high or passed out by the time I got home. I climbed out of the tree and began my long slow journey back home. I tried to rehearse my apology as I walked. “I’m sorry mamma, I don’t know why I am so stupid. I don’t mean to be. I try to good. I’ll be better. I’ll try harder.” I thought that sounded good.


When I rounded the corner toward our house the red flashing lights caught me off guard. There were police cars, an ambulance, and a fire truck outside. At first I thought they were there for me, but then I knew they wouldn’t send a fire truck for me so I began to run. I began to panic with thoughts of what might have happened. When I got home two men were putting someone in the ambulance. “What happened?” I asked. No one seemed to notice the panicked, wet 8 year old. “What happened?” I asked again. Still nothing.

My mom was sitting on the sofa, her face puffy and swollen.  Long black streaks of mascara ran down her face. She was drinking tequila straight from the bottle in front of the police. “Mamma what happened? What’s wrong?” She didn’t move. She didn’t even look up. I looked at my siblings and everyone was there except Bahdria. Bahdria was gone! Sometimes she would hide when she was scared so I began to look in all the cabinets and closets. I couldn’t find her. “Do you know where Bahdria is?” I asked my siblings. My brother began to cry and then a police officer told us to come with him.  He put us in the back of his car and took us to my grandmother’s house.  I kept asking where Bahdria was but no one would tell me anything.  I desperately wanted to know where my sister was and what happened to her. My siblings wouldn’t say anything. My grandmother wouldn’t say anything. The police wouldn’t say anything. To this day I have no idea what happened. My siblings do not remember or still won't say anything.  They don’t really need to. I am pretty sure I know the truth.  A few days later the police took us away for the very last time and my mother went to prison for felony child abuse and child endangerment.

I may not know how but I know why my sister died.  She died because I ran away. She died because I didn't protect her.  I left my siblings with my mother knowing she was raging. Knowing she would take it out on them. I only thought about myself. I only saved myself. I could have saved them too. I should have taken them with me. My mother was drunk, she couldn’t catch us, but I didn’t think about them. I didn’t save them. I didn’t help them. I was bigger than all of them and I only thought about myself. I only saved myself. If I had stayed my sister would still be here. I think about that little girl so often. I wish I had been there. I wish I had protected her.  I wish I had saved her. I wish it had been me instead.  I wish I could remember more about her. I wish I had a photograph or something of hers. I wish I could tell her that I’m sorry.

spontaneous bouts of emotion

I want to write about something fundamentally important. I want to write more about foster care and less about me. I want to focus on something else. I want to think about something other than myself but I'm in a very selfish place right now. All I can think about is me, my feelings, my problems, my past, my future, my life. I wish I wasn't such a selfish person, but I am. I'm so very selfish. Even when I give of myself, and I do that a lot, I do it for selfish reasons. I want people to like me. I want them to stick around. I guess, in a way I am trying to buy their affection.

I've had so many thoughts running through my head lately. They come at me at the most random moments. Like in line to get coffee the other day the guy asked me what I'd like today and I thought, I'd like to be a decent human being. I'd like a mom. I'd like to wake up one day and be someone else, like someone without so many problems. Instead I said, "just a small coffee with steamed soy please."

I keep getting caught in these spontaneous bouts of loneliness. I think about how much I want to connect with other people and how I don't really know how to do that. I'm also a little scared to do that. Letting a few people from my real life read this blog is the most I've ever revealed about myself to anyone. It's scary and it's liberating. Mostly, it's scary. What if they don't like who I really am? What if they can't handle my real thoughts and feelings? What if they don't want to know me? In this blog I've been a bit relentless with the negativity. I don't mean to be, but it's just where I am at right now. I know I drive people away with my constant depressing, suicidal, critical thoughts. It gets annoying and draining to read the same depressing crap over and over again, so I get why so many of my blog readers and buddies have gone away. I mean driving people away is something I am good at.  It's my specialty.  I should teach a class for people with stalkers.

I feel so awkward around other humans. Animals are easy for me. They are easy to read. They are easy to love. They are just easy and perfect. People are difficult and imperfect.  I think I was absent on the day they taught you how to read body language and social cues because they just go over my head. Because of this I am so anxious and shy around other people.

I have stopped taking my new medication. I just can't tolerate the long list of weird side effects I am having. There are minor ones like headaches, nausea, and dizziness. I feel like I have the flu, but I cannot stop eating! For some reason my body is hungry all the time and it is never full. This isn't normal for me and I don't like it. But mostly I'm worried about the sudden and extreme feelings that strike me at random times. Yesterday at work I was sitting in a classroom full of kids observing and I had a very strong urge to start sobbing. It took everything I had not to start crying in front of all of these children. I have moments of complete euphoria and utter joy for no reason.  The other day I was feeding my turtles and cleaning out some lettuce from their aquarium when I was struck with this intense sense of guilt. I've had my turtles since high school. I've kept them in a 75 gallon, four foot long aquarium with a basking platform I built above the tank. I've had these turtles for a very long time, but suddenly I couldn't believe what it must be like to live in a glass box for years and years. I felt so guilty that I would do that to a creature, so I gave my turtles away to someone who had a large outdoor pond. Now I miss my turtles and I feel like I made a huge mistake. It's too late. They're gone. Maybe my impulse control isn't so good lately either. I tried to make an appointment with my psychiatrist but she doesn't have anything available before my scheduled visit next Wednesday. I'm a little bit worried about what's going to happen in a few days when it's totally out of my system, but I guess I will find out soon enough. I hate feelings. I wish I didn’t have them. I swear my life would be so much easier if I didn’t. I still find it utterly bizarre that we have pills for feelings. Makes feelings seem rather useless if they can be altered so easily

Since I've been thinking about all of my mother's lately, so I thought I'd end this entry with a depressing poem I wrote.


Mother's Daughter

Leaves dancing in chilly air,
Once upon a stolen dream.
Visions of your return for
Everything-including me.

My social comforts fell away,
On that day you left.
Taking nothing, including me.

Hemorrhaging for you, I'm
Immersed in thoughts of your
Return to save me from this, but
sleep has saved no one-including me.

Choices were never mine, but now I'm
Leaving like my mother's daughter.
Our social comforts were taken away and I'm
Still the shadow you left behind.
My desires have Incinerated
Never to be revived.
Gone is everything-including me.