Friday, July 11, 2014

trauma vs. romance

i am in the weirdest place right now. stuck between the emotions regarding my estranged husband's suicide attempt and the emotions of a wonderful budding romance that has survived it. anger and sadness combined with heart-melting elation? so confusing. and i am being ridiculed from all angles for being "happy" right now. for being concerned about how this drama could affect this new flirtationship that is so precious to me. for not getting rid of the chair drew shot himself in. shame on me for remaining on my onward/upward track? i have never been so happy in my life as i have been since the minute drew walked out the door, new man friend or not. suicide attempt or not. does that make me a terrible, heartless person?
i am angry at drew for being so selfish and pulling such a dick move as to try to kill himself in a place where his children would most likely have been the ones to find him. for traumatizing me. i will never, ever forget the surreal sight of the hole in his chest. the ragged, torn shirt, the blood on my hand. the horrified scream-wail i let out. the hateful look on his face as he looked at me and said "i loved you." watching his eyes close as he lost consciousness. the moment i accepted that he was going to die in my arms. the moans he let out as his lung filled with blood. the spent bullet on the floor. the circle of blood on the chair. the sight of him in a coma. the first words he uttered as he came out of sedation ("i want. the glock.").
i am angry at him for traumatizing kieran (who still refuses to talk about it and just says "sometimes you just need to be sad for a while"). for destroying our children's innocence. for being the reason my 3 year old said yesterday "my daddy's in the hospital. he's getting better. he shoots hisself." for not getting the help that dozens of people were encouraging him to get. for being the reason that those same dozens of people are now blaming me for all of this because i broke his heart and abandoned him -- no one cares to hear that i tried to help him for years, and that as he spiraled downward and was not receptive to my relentless attempts to help him, he dragged the whole family down with him and i finally HAD to end the marriage for everyone else's sake. that was not a decision that came lightly.
i have been torn apart by a bunch of people i don't even know, and that was fine until one person i really really love finally turned against me. that made me cry. a lot. and now i just fucking HATE drew for it. i refuse to do anything else for him anymore, the thought of being in the same building makes me sick. he refuses to apologize for traumatizing me (and kieran) and still maintains that him dying would be the best thing for all of us, because "they'll be fine and you'll be free." selfish son of a bitch. i won't even take the kids to see him -- his parents have to do that because i just might punch him in his fucking face.
my sister is crying that i am not being compassionate enough to my loved ones, that i am not sad enough and that is wrong. wtf? i was there. i had my hysteria in the actual moment. i dealt with this man's bullshit for over a decade. his narcissistic pity parties became wolf-cries long ago. i stayed with him long after the marriage died (7 fucking years ago; the night he strangled me) because i KNEW that his fucked up self would not deal well with me leaving. his suicide attempt was not unexpected. i tried to stop him. divine intervention woke me up that night, and i spent 30 minutes trying to talk his drunk ass of the ledge before i realized that it was futile and called 911. then i saved his life by holding pressure on the wound, which slowed the internal bleeding enough for him to make it to surgery (and he still ended up with 3 transfusions). yet so many people still believe that i don't love him or care about him at all. these people don't understand love, and they definitely don't understand mental illness.
people are so fucking concerned about my children. they are fine. they don't even really understand what happened. i took them to crisis counseling. people are ridiculing me for disappearing for 2 days right after it happened and "pawning" my kids off on others. they were with loving friends who fed them, entertained them, loved them. I WAS IN NO CONDITION TO CARE FOR ANYONE ELSE. why can't people understand this? yes, it was my new man friend who took care of me. why is that so inappropriate? it's not like it was a romantic vacation. it was an amazing act of compassion on his part. he made me eat, cuddled me, even stayed in town for one more night when he was supposed to go out of town for a work emergency. i fielded over 100 phone calls in 48 hours, not to mention the dozens of texts and PMs. sitting vigil at drew's bedside while he was critical and then as they attempted to bring him out of sedation. dealing with next-of-kin duties. it was fucking exhausting. had i been in charge of my children, they would not have gotten any attention from me anyway. i made sure they were safe and taken care of by loving friends that i trust and they like when i was unable to function enough to care for them. is that not me being a good mom?
i've lost 12 lbs in a month, which puts me 2 lbs *below* my goal weight. i haven't weighed this little in 11 years (4 babies ago!). i'm really not complaining -- in fact, it makes me think i could actually get back down to my 19 year old pre-baby weight (only 6 more lbs), and i have no desire to stop this pattern because i am liking the results. my new man thinks i'm sexy as hell and for some reason that makes me want to lose more weight (??).
i don't have a history of eating disorders or anything. i just have no appetite. at first it was from the excitement of dating this amazing new guy, then stress from dealing with a severely mentally ill ex and processing the trauma i experienced the night he shot himself. i eat only when i'm shaky from low blood sugar. yesterday all i ate was a handful of crackers with about 1/2 C of chicken salad, and then later, half an avocado. i'm quite certain that i have become vitamin deficient, but cannot bear the thought of taking a multivitamin on a perpetually empty stomach, because that will make me feel sick. i guess i'm just waiting for this to pass...
whew. just had to get that shit off my chest.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

tangential musings on my ever-unfolding new normal

I see the picnic blanket by the front door and it reminds me of a time when my life was simpler, happier, carefree.  Well, that sounds awfully utopian.  It’s not, really.  Just compared to now, it was definitely those things.  I see that blanket and I am reminded of lazy afternoons at the gardens, the weather in the 70’s and breezy – paradise -- while the kids romp in nature and the mamas lay around chatting and basking in the sunshine on said blanket.  The buffet of snacks is intermittently being raided by hungry children, taking a small break from their rumpus to refuel.  

Thinking of that buffet of snacks brings to mind a fact that I have been in denial of.  Since my children started school and are eating 10 meals a week there, they have lost their appetites for some of what used to be staple foods in our diet.  They still love raw veggies, all kinds of fruit, and boiled eggs.  But they have lost their appetite for most nuts and seeds.  That seems like a ridiculous thing for me to be stuck on, but yet I am.  I guess it’s because in my attempt to steer our family toward a healthier/whole foods diet, I value nuts and seeds as a convenient, portable snack that meets the craving for crunchy, and maybe salty, and provides protein and fat, which are great fuel in a small package.  So now, they want chips and crackers.  What the hell are they feeding them at school??  I mean, I already knew that the menus at school are sub-par to my own preferences for my children, but I force myself to turn a blind eye because financially, we need them to be eating 10 meals a week there.  That, and I just cannot be bothered to pack 3-4 lunches per weeknight.  It would just be one more thing on my never-ending to-do list.  I barely manage to prep the coffee maker the night before, which is something I need to do because for some reason, I cannot bear the thought of getting out of bed in the morning unless I can smell fresh coffee.  Weird? 

There is a name for my daily struggle.  Sleep Inertia.  Like, that’s a clinical term.  I ran across it while researching child mental health a while back and I had a bit of an epiphany.  Bipolar people often have extreme difficulty waking up in the morning.  If I am woken suddenly, my heart pounds and I shake.  Side effect of a medication?  Maybe.  I really have no idea why it takes me so long to get moving in the morning.  I swear I have to lay in bed for like an hour before I can muster the strength to get out of it.  And I don’t believe it is a depression thing, although some may say that I have been in a perpetual state of varying degrees of depression for most of my life.  (Except when I’m manic, of course.  Well, hypomanic, as my meds allow.  Slightly different monster, but most people don’t know the difference so I just say manic.  It’s shorter too.  Less syllables.)  So. The theory behind Sleep Inertia is, obviously, that my body does not come out of sleep state as easily as the average person.  It literally takes me hours to feel truly awake.  Drinking lots of coffee when I’m very sleep deprived does not do much more than make me jittery and weak, and sometimes even makes me feel even MORE incapacitated.  Weird again.

Okay.  Random tangent over.  Back to the picnic blanket.  Playdates.  Socializing.  Group meetups.  They are all in the past.  Last year turned my world upside down, and while some things have calmed down, my life is so very different than it used to be, and I know I will never get back to the way it was.  My baby isn’t a baby anymore, and I will never have another baby.  I’m okay with that part, and there is a tremendous feeling of freedom to know that we are out of babyland forever and can finally start living in a way we have been unable to do for the past 10 years.  So it’s bittersweet.  Most of my local friends are in the early stages of motherhood.  They have one, maybe two children, none of which are school age.  Or they ARE school age, and our paths have parted due to normal life circumstances.  And that’s okay.  It’s like graduating from high school and going our separate ways.  It’s not personal, it’s just life.

Point is, I feel a little lonely.  On one hand, the introvert in me can finally breathe and nurture its need for me to get plenty of alone time.  I do not handle chaos well.  It really freaks me out and I yell and throw tantrums (sort of).  It’s not pretty, and it’s definitely not who I desire to be.  (At least I'm mindful of it?)  So now the kids are in school, Robby has been shipped off to a “boarding school” for troubled kids, and the 3 year old is now officially addicted to TV.  And I let her get that way.  Sometimes I feel like I’m an unfit mother. Not because my 3 y/o watches too much TV (I’m sure there are many kids out there who watch more, and with much worse content), but because I am enabling her addiction just so she’ll leave me alone.  I feel guilt about that, but part of me is selfishly attempting to take care of my own needs first, and what I need is to be left alone.  A lot.

On the other hand, for lack of fostering more than one or two close friendships in my new life (new as in in the past 5-6 years, since I hooked up with the AP crowd), I do feel alone.  Schedules make it difficult to meet up with people.  Everyone’s life circumstances are constantly changing.  A new job here, a divorce there, a far away move thrown in for good measure.  But now, because of my son’s facility placement, I get to regularly visit with some dear, dear friends that I have lost touch with over the past few years for various reasons.  I feel I can be ME around them.  That is what I define as a close friendship.  We may have our differences, but we speak of them gently or not at all.  That’s okay.  We mesh well in enough other ways that those other things don’t matter.  

I am starting to feel like I’m getting the old me back.  Someone who has been suppressed for years as I have tried to transform myself into someone I so desperately want to be.  If there is one thing that my various experiences over the past 3 years or so have taught me, it’s to stop giving a damn.  Do what works for you.  Compromise.  There is no such thing as perfection.  Let some things go.  Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.  I am healing. Long road.  Long journey.  Neverending. 

I have lost my train of thought.  I’ll close now since my back is hurting from this typing posture.  Wah.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

time-in and time-out: what's the difference, and is it really a punishment? my biased opinion


not trying to stir the pot or be a kill-joy or offend anyone or anything, but the author's oldest child is 5.  and she only has 2 of them.  and i imagine her 5 year old doesn't have rampant ADHD which seriously impedes impulse control.  time-in can be VERY useful in situations like that.  it reconnects parent/child and helps to ground the child's excess energy.  and on that note, it is fairly easy to redirect a 1-3 year old, to stop and fill their loving cup (which imo is the goal of time-in, as it includes loving physical contact and compassionate discussion). 
as for time-out, i hope for her sake that she never has a violent, defiant older child who needs to be physically isolated for the safety of the rest of the family while s/he calms down and is ready to connect with a parent and talk about what happened.  

i know my family is unique (as all families are) but it irritates me when self-righteous authors publish articles like this which can cause guilt in insecure parents who are doing what works for their family because it implies that they're dOiN iT RoNg, especially when they have extenuating circumstances involved.  her blanket labeling of these practices as "punishment" is shaming to such parents, without even addressing compassionate hybrid techniques.  because those DO exist.  i do everything she describes.  and i wonder, how exactly is she keeping them right there in front of her while they have this discussion?  is she putting her hands on them in any way?  hugging them?  holding them in her lap?  that is the very definition of time-in.  we don't even use timers for time in OR time out.  with time-out i allow them to self-regulate, and usually they are ready to talk long after the popular "one minute per year of age" time-frame is up.

i predict that, regardless of how her children's personalities develop, this author will eat her words in about 5 years, as sooo many other parents of young children do.  college education be damned, there is nothing like experiencing it first-hand, 24/7.  

that is all.

 #rambling  #soapbox  #touchysubject  #overanalyzing  #justignoreme #notenoughcoffee #kidsbeingassholesthismorning #feelingbitter #nevermind #carryon  :P