Rant

I apologize in advance. This blog is rapidly becoming the only place in addition to therapy that I can vent and I need it badly right now.

If you’re a reader you know my step-son passed. He was 32 and died, alone, in the back of a Greyhound bus. He has a daughter who’s mother is the biggest piece of spoiled shit I have ever run across and I hate her with most every fiber of my being. She kept him away from us for the last two years and now wants us to love her and dote one her like SHE is the only one who is hurting. She wants child support from US. She is a narcissist with a mother and grandparents who dote on her and encourage her bullshit. My last nervous breakdown was brought on in large part by this little girl and if I never see her again it’ll still be too soon. But that means that we’ll never see our granddaughter again. Of course, we could suck up to the Douchecanoe and still never see that little girl again.

My MIL has COVID. Not her fault in the slightest. I blame this one squarely on the Governor of South Carolina. He won’t allow schools to have mask mandates. A teacher we know got sick from one of these sweet unmasked germy students and passed it along before she realized she had it. GET THE GODDAMNED VACCINE AND WEAR A FUCKING MASK. I literally cannot say it any clearer.

My ex-best-friend’s son’s wedding was this past weekend. I didn’t go. I couldn’t. 500 miles away over Labor Day weekend in the middle of a pandemic and the BFF and I haven’t been close in a while. She’s been ducking me for a long time and quite frankly I found out the date of the wedding before I got the invitation by accident. She never told me because we haven’t talked since last year. She showed at the funeral for 10 minutes before she “had to leave” which is what she does best. I rated a whole 10 minutes. She’s always sooo busy. That was the first I had spoken to her since last fall. It’s a long story and I’m not going to hash through it now. But I saw the wedding pics. I’ve known that little boy since he was 6 months old and I’m devastated to not see him get married. But I wasn’t traveling all that way because I knew I couldn’t get parked at the “left overs” table and watch my ex bff hang out with her new “ride or die” and not get upset. And her boy doesn’t need my drama on his big day. But, I’m devastated and I can’t stop crying.

My brother showed at the funeral too. And after he said he was sorry he launched into how shitty his life is. REALLY? That’s fun. I’m enjoying mine. Dick

I know there is more but I have therapy in an hour and I’m crying and I need to get myself together.

Aftermath

The only thing we don’t know at this point…is pretty much everything.

Well, we know he’s dead and he’s never coming back. We know that much.

But, what happened before? During? We have a few ideas of after, but not enough.

My stepson died on a bus, one of the biggies. He went to visit his mother and his siblings. He was alive at the stop in the state before his destination and dead or close to it at his destination. But the driver went on break and he didn’t make sure everyone was off beforehand. So my stepson lay there, undiscovered for 2 more hours.

When he was found, the paramedics were called and they restarted his heart. But not his breathing. A respirator breathed for him for the next two days. He was finally declared braindead. His organs and tissue were donated. He was cremated. Now he sits in the living room in an urn. Well, half of him is here, half is with his mother.

And that’s it. That’s what we know.

The death certificate says his cause of death is “pending”. We don’t know. His immediate tox screen showed a little pot and a little alcohol. We’re waiting for a lot of tests. And a lot of answers. I would imagine we’re going to need a lawyer if we really want to figure things out.

The girlfriend on the other hand is a big ole piece of problem right now. The girlfriend has the child. The only child that will ever come from my stepson. The granddaughter that we barely know because the girlfriend has kept us from my stepson and the granddaughter since the baby was about 6 months old. We were useful to her up until then. Once we stopped being useful to her we were cut out. We were fed lies (that we are just now figuring out were lies), oh the stories this one can whip up. Good Lord we were misled.

I am increasing my therapy to three times a week. I’m so sad. So depressed. My husband is broken. I don’t know if he’ll ever be right again.

Waiting

It’s been a couple days since we arrived in PA. When someone passes, you just want to get everything done as soon as possible. There is very little healing that happens when everyone is still under the specter of a funeral to get through. It’s too stressful. There are too many things that need to get done. There is always one person that hides out. There is always one person that wants to do everything. And there are some people who get stuck at the initial news of this persons death and is unable to move forward or accept what’s happening.

We have all that here. It’s ubiquitous.

My job today is to be here for my husband. So many other things have happened and I will get to all of it. But, not today. Today I will stand by my husband, hold his had when he can tolerate it, put my hand on his back when he can’t. Be there for him. One job.

I will deal with myself later

Gone

I don’t know what happened. I mean, I know what happened but WHAT THE FUCK HAPPENED???????

He’s gone. He died. It doesn’t seem possible. He was just a kid. I mean, not really, but to me.

My eldest step-son passed on last night. It wasn’t easy. My husband and his ex-wife were going to have to sign the papers to turn off the ventilator. But, his brain has been gone since Friday night. It just forgot to tell his heart to stop beating before it died.

He walked a hard path that one. I think all he ever really wanted was to laugh and listen to music. Write his lyrics. Love his daughter. And make enough money to support that easy kind of life.

But, drugs found him early. Who’s fault was that? It doesn’t even matter anymore. The fact is…drugs found him. I think mostly painkillers. But, as is the problem with painkillers, they are expensive. Heroin is the cheap alternative, but so fucking addictive. And he began the on again off again relationship with the hard stuff. We got him into rehab once. It didn’t take.

It’ll be two years this fall that the girlfriend finally managed to separate him from his family completely. He wouldn’t take our calls. She sent back the Christmas presents. I tried to fix it and made it so very much worse. Now that he’s gone, she can’t wait to have us come around. I may or may not keep the door open, but my husband is done, even if it means he loses that grandbaby. As much as I hate her, I feel he will regret that someday. If I somehow keep the door open, without giving up my own sanity, maybe when the regret comes, I have a way in for him.

I’m packed and pretty much ready to go. I have the dog sitter on stand-by. I have a list of things that can’t be done till the last minute. It’s a 10-12 hour car ride and I’ll have my Mother-in-law with me. It’s gonna be a long long ride.

I have therapy tomorrow which I very much need

My brain is so full of thoughts spinning all around. This is one of the worst things that can happen to a person and while my pain is real, my husband’s pain must be at least 1000 times worse. Not being with him right now is adding to my anxiety.

This is a nightmare.

Death of a Child

The fact that we knew it was probably going to happen doesn’t really make it any better. My husband’s oldest, is in the hospital, five states away, brain dead and on life support.

He’s been an on again off again heroin addict for more than 10 years. For the last 4 years or so he’s been living with a girlfriend and the child he fathered until the girlfriend tossed him out because he was so strung out. If you’ve been following this blog you may remember my last hospital stay and suicide attempt precipitated by a humungous fight with the girlfriend. I haven’t spoken to either of them since and now my stepson will probably be dead soon.

Wow

There is so much to say, but I seriously can’t access any of it right now.

More later I guess. I am safe.

Coping Skills Day #4

Today I drew from the box

I gotta say, I hate this one. It’s a hard one for me. Probably a hard one for a lot of us. I hear what people say about me. I just don’t always believe them.

Sure I can rattle off some things that don’t really matter a lot. I have great hair. I am a decent typist. I’m good with my dog. blah blah blah

It’s the deeper stuff that’s a problem. For instance, people tell me I have a kind heart. That’s really nice and I’d love to revel in it. But, I don’t, because I really don’t entirely believe it. Part of it is my history and being told, and treated, like I’m a terrible person. And I think part of it is the depression.

Depression is a liar. It will tell you terrible things about you and since you are in such a vulnerable place, you believe it. You believe it when it says you are ugly, fat and a horrible human being not worth the space you take up. I know. I’ve been there too. In fact I’m on my way there now. And I dread it. The lower I go, the less I believe anything good about myself including the fact that I have great hair.

My therapist is always talking about weeds and sunflowers. Sunflowers are the wonderful things about ourselves and weeds are the things choking out the sunflowers. I have great hair is a sunflower. Depression is a weed

So, I’m going to put three good things that people tell me about myself and strive to believe these things today.

I always want to help

I have a good heart

I’m very intelligent

In this comments, tell me three good things about you. What are your sunflowers?

Coping Skills Toolbox Day #3

Tags

Interestingly enough, today’s coping skill is blogging!

Blogging helps me do a “mind-dump”. I can come here and say whatever I need to say and the people that I’m saying it to…they get it. And that means so much. Honestly, even if no one was here to read it would still be therapeutic. But the feedback, when I get it, adds a layer of help that I wouldn’t necessarily receive from friends. Sometimes these posts are just me trying to figure something out. But sometimes these are venting sessions. I’m not someone who likes to keep things to myself. If I’m angry or frustrated I need to get it out. I’ve never really been capable of processing these things without releasing them to someone. However, since my diagnoses, I’ve come to realize that the things that make me angry or frustrated are not things others always have the patience for. Like losing my mind because my MIL put the cups in the dishwasher in a way that does not conform with my OCD. No one else in my house really wants to hear it anymore but it makes me crazy. You all will hear me.

Sometimes when I write in this space, I sum up what I’ve experienced and learned into “educational” (for lack of a better word) posts. I try to let people know possible ways to help themselves that worked for me. I know my advice may not work for you but another idea for a coping tool never hurts.

I don’t usually write when I’m manic. I have a very hard time making myself sit still to do it, I get it when I’m manic. I have a hard time sitting still and a hard time concentrating. My family tends to like it better when I’m manic. They don’t understand it at all, I’m honestly not sure if they want to, they just know I’m up, doing things. laughing and smiling. They don’t see the nightmare of disjointed thoughts flying around my mind They don’t see how hard I’m trying to pay attention to what I’m doing or what they are saying

But when I’m depressed, I can be absolutely prolific. I think it’s a form of reaching out. Telling people that I need help without saying I need help. I try to figure out why I’m sinking. And I try to stop the suicidal ideation. I have a lot of that. I have passive thoughts all the time. Last week I was thinking of flipping off the next driver who pissed me off so maybe they would shoot and kill me (i live in the South!). That’s a passive suicidal thought. I live with them and they’re irritating as fuck. But reaching out here, and hearing from all of you helps.

My blog definitely has a special place in my life. And even if I’m not here for awhile, I’ll always be back eventually.

What do you get out of your blog?

Coping Skill Toolbox Day #2

Today’s skill is:

Joe loves me and supports me.

This is 100%. Joe is my husband. We have been through the ringer between his oldest stepson and his Mother and my mental and physical health problems. We have tested the shit out of our vows and we are still going strong.

My husband is very supportive. A lot of changes have been made around the household. For instance, he now does most of the grocery shopping. I have gotten to the point that I can’t stay in these stores for very long before I’m just too stressed to continue. So he has taken to going to BJ’s and Walmart on the weekends. It’s not where I would shop, but since he’s doing the work I let him go where he’s happy. Since it’s summer he does a lot of the cooking outside on the grill. I still do the laundry and try to keep the house clean.

Joe tries very very very hard to empathize. But, he really doesn’t understand. No one can truly understand unless they are living this. But, I try not to burden him. He doesn’t need to know that I’m depressed every single day. And he’s not always perfect with the support, but he does his best. And of the people who are in my life on a daily basis, he’s the one that tries the hardest.

I consider myself extremely fortunate that I have a husband I can turn to. I know that isn’t always the way.

Coping #1

Each day I want to try to take one tool out of my Coping Skills Toolbox and do a short post about it. I guess like a writing prompt but a little more relevant to my life than some random topic. Let’s see how this goes.

Today is “One step at a time. I can handle this situation”.

Well, this reminds me of another mantra type saying which has to do with surviving every situation that’s been thrown at me up till this point.

I don’t always feel like I can do this. It depends on what’s happening. If it’s a true emergency then I’m the gal you want. It’s because I have a sense of what needs to happen and I set about doing that, step by step.

But non-emergencies? I have a lot more trouble then. I want to solve whatever is wrong. But when that’s not possible? Or I have to wait for someone else to make a decision? Or someone else is holding me back for whatever reason? THAT’S the situation I have trouble dealing with. The adrenaline tries to force me into taking steps to resolve the situation and someone else is stopping me. These situations really are the hardest for me. And these situations are the most dangerous for me in terms of my mental health. It’s like I have a bottleneck of sheer energy to get something accomplished and a huge impenetrable wall is suddenly in my way.

The last time one of these situations occurred, I eventually ended up having another nervous breakdown. I need to get a handle on this skill. And I do believe it is a skill. It takes self-esteem and self-reliance to truly believe you can do this.

Today I will think about how to avoid that pitfall in the future.

Mental Health and Facebook

Oi!!! What a subject.

This morning on Facebook, on my Community Page, there was a post with a video of someone breaking into a woman’s house and threatening to rape her. I couldn’t see the video, for whatever reason it was unavailable to me. Which if okey dokey. I got the gist of it from the comments. This conversation split into two directions as is going to happen in South Carolina; Mental Health and Gun Rights.

The Gun Rights conversation went like this: Everyone should have one. YAY ‘MERICA!

The Mental Health conversation didn’t have much more nuance than the Gun Rights one. Two women who had relatives with Bipolar and Schizophrenia discussed the frustration of the ill relatives not staying medicated and the desire to institutionalize them.

Seriously?

In South Carolina I am not na├»ve enough to think the Gun Rights conversation would be any different. It rarely is. And to be honest, with the world being the way it is, I’ve considered getting one. However with my mental health the way it is, I know that’s a bad idea. If we had a gun, I suspect my last attempt at suicide would have succeeded.

I’m not sure why I expected the Mental Health conversation to be any better. The stigma runs free and unchecked here in the Bible Belt. I would imagine that part of the reason is how shitty we are here at dealing with the Mentally Ill population. We rank 35th for Mental Healthcare. Now that’s significantly better than our 48th ranking for Education, but still. We also rank 35th for prevalence of Mental Illness with respect to treatment options. So we suck. Not as much as some, but still.

And Mental Health Institutions, or insane asylums, tended to be horrible places. But, some sort of updated, not horrible alternative needs to replace them. To leave communities with virtually nothing was not a good plan either. Thanks Reagan.

Don’t misunderstand me. I understand that these women were frustrated. But, I seriously believe that these sorts of conversations need to take place off Facebook. Send a private message to each other. Meet for coffee. Attend a support meeting. DO ANYTHING ELSE!

I want to send them a message telling them who I am and offering to meet them if they want to talk. I want to let them know the perspective of the Mentally Ill person and how they are creating and spreading stigma by having this conversation in the open. And I don’t want to because it sounds like it will take a lot of energy. I think it’s very sad that the people who have the least ability to tolerate this sort of thing are the folks who have to stand against it.