When It’s No Longer in the Cards

**** Trigger Warning: This post may contain triggers for some readers. Please proceed with caution.

I guess we all reach that point in our lives when we realize that certain events or special moments will never happen for us. That realization has once again come upon me today, as we have welcomed a new addition to our huge family. One of my cousins had his second child today, a baby boy. An adorable and brand new life, filled with so much hope, dreams and innocence. Ah, innocence… it’s the only time in any human being’s life that is filled with true innocence. He’s free of all the troubles, stresses and pain with which life is filled.

It’s a special moment when the birth of a child occurs, especially when it’s one in our own immediate circle. However, as much as I am filled with happiness and thankfulness that my new little cousin is here safely and healthily, I’m still a bit saddened. It’s a reminder for me that I will never experience that joy of having my own child to hold someday. Selfish? Maybe, it is. After all, it’s a wonderful moment for our family right now, but I can’t help what feelings are going through both my mind and heart.

It Used to Be a Dream

Steve Martin in 1989's movie, "Parenthood"

Steve Martin in the 1989 movie “Parenthood”

When I was a kid, I never wanted children. I wasn’t one of those little girls who dreamed of having a baby of my own someday. Maybe it had to do with the fact that I grew up with most of my nieces and nephews. I was exposed to the real life of being a parent at a young age. It wasn’t all roses as I learned early on, and so it set my mind on a different path. I was a tomboy too, so not sure if that made a difference. I still loved playing with dolls or stuffed animals and pretending they were my kids, but that wasn’t what I wanted in my future. I dreamed of being a career woman. I never thought of it that way until high school, but that’s what I wanted. I wanted to be everything that the world had to offer. One year I was going to be an astronaut, the next a doctor, then for a few years I was going to be a teacher. Then, there was the time I was going to go into astrophysics, but changed my mind. I wanted to be everything. Heck, when I hit thirteen, I was going to be an actress and begged my mom to let me go to auditions. I am grateful she didn’t allow me, ‘cause my personality is not that of someone who can handle such a career. I think I wanted that more back then, because I thought it would make me more popular in school. I wanted so desperately to be accepted.

Thankfully, it was not too long after that, when high school came into the picture. It was then that my love for three quite different careers starting taking center stage. I wanted to be in law enforcement, nursing, and filmmaking. I told you… three very different careers. Filmmaking seemed to always be on the top, though. I saved up for two years to afford my own video camera to make my own movies. And, when I finally did just that, I wrote, directed, edited and produced my own movies that starred my nieces and nephews. As I’ve stated before, my love for art and writing won the battle between the three.

I tried to be a cop, but it didn’t quite work out. I tried to be a nurse, and well, that should have worked, but I chickened out. However, my prospects eventually took me to graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Media Arts and Design and I now write more than ever, especially with my blog.

So, where am I going with this? Well, I guess what I’m trying to say is that dreams and goals change, either voluntarily or involuntarily. When it comes to my dreams of becoming a mother someday, those were somewhat taken from me against my will.

What Happened to Motherhood?

As I stated, I never dreamed of motherhood as a child. Not even through my teenage years. All I wanted was to be successful and work. I wanted to be someone of whom my parents could be proud. However, then when I was in my early twenties I went to a family reunion. I was standing there next to my sister as one of my cousin’s little girls (about four-years-old at the time) was dancing with my uncle, her grandpa. She looked so cute and was laughing and smiling. I watched her and suddenly I blurted out loud, “I want one of those.” My sister – who always wanted nieces and nephews from her sister to add to those whom she already loved dearly from our brothers – became excited to say the least. It was the first time I had ever shown interest in becoming a mom someday. Having kids? Wow! It was actually finally in the cards for me. I actually finally wanted some of my own. It was a revelation for me that same day as it was for my sister, and I thought maybe… just maybe… I’d someday be walking into a family reunion with a baby Summer in my arms.

Unfortunately, that is no longer in the cards for me.

Some may be asking why. Why would that suddenly not be in the cards for my life? I’m not physically unable to become pregnant. It’s prime time for me to have a child. I’m the youngest of all of my female cousins, and the youngest of all of my cousins with the exception of one of my male cousins who is one month younger than me. He’s also now expecting to be a father soon. They’re all having kids right now. It’s baby central in my family. So, why would I not be able to become a mother? The answer is simple… because I have bipolar.

Now to make it clear, I am not saying that having bipolar makes becoming a parent impossible. Plenty of bipolar parents are out there in this world and are successfully raising their beautiful children and doing a damn good job at it. Mental illness does not stop one from becoming a parent, most of the time. However, for myself and others whom I know throughout this blogging community, I know mental illness has been a reason for not wanting children. We have our reasons and they are enough to make us choose our own personal paths in regards to this subject in life. Months back I read a great post by Cate from Infinite Sadness… or Hope? It was on this same topic and I thought she was so brave to talk about it. She inspired me to write a topic on my own reasons for not becoming a parent myself, but I didn’t have the courage to do so back then. However, now after the birth of my cousin’s baby, I suddenly feel I can finally write about it.

Am I Afraid?

Is it fear? Yes, a little of it is being afraid of not being able to take care of my child properly. I can’t even properly take care of myself during a bad episode, so how can I think that I can take care of a child. A child is fully dependent upon his or her parent(s). I do not want to leave my child struggling for my attention or just a hug from mommy when I hate myself and can barely get myself into the shower. I’m afraid of scarring my child.

Fear also comes into play in regards to genetics. Bipolar has a genetic connection, and the fact that I could pass it down to my children is not lost on me. I don’t want to have children, only to have them suffer through a mental illness that I know I gave to them. And, to be fully honest, I’m also feeling selfish here too. I don’t think I can handle dealing with my own problems with this illness, while also trying to handle the problems of my child’s illness (if he or she were to have it). As I’ve said, it’s hard enough for me to manage my own issues, and I just don’t think I have it inside of me to also manage my child’s. I know… that’s selfish.

Finally, and probably the strongest reason for my not wanting children anymore, is one that is difficult for me to share. I have family and friends who read this blog (only those whom I have the utmost trust in), and I’m worried that this might worry them. Please do not feel worried (anyone who is reading this), as this is not how I feel right now, it’s just that I’ve been there many times before and it is from those places that I write this.

This life is hard. It’s hard for any human being who lives and breathes on this planet. It doesn’t matter how one’s brain functions, the fact is that life can suck horribly. It can be extremely beautiful, but let’s face it; it has some horrible moments too. Well, throw a mental illness on top of all of that, and it’s a mixture of much more distress, heartache, crushing blows and a world of stigma from people who do not understand what it truly is like to live with it all.

It’s no secret that the pain of mental illness can lead to suicide. It’s a sad statistic that no one really likes to address often, but it’s real and should be addressed. I’ve been in that place many times since my symptoms began to arise in my late teens/early twenties. I’ve hurt beyond words and felt as if this world wouldn’t miss me if I were gone, because I was merely a burden on my family and friends and everyone else. When no one understands, it makes it hard to find hope that all will get better.

As I stated already, I’m not in that place right now. I am thankful for that. But, the fact of the matter is, I have been in that place too many times to ignore it. And, it is for that reason most of all that I no longer want to bring children into this world. I guess it’s a reason that’s based upon both love and selfishness. It’s love for a child not yet born. I would not want him or her to have to grow up without a mom, and leave that child to wonder if it was his or her existence that made mommy go away. I would not want to leave that child with the thoughts that he or she was not loveable enough for his or her mommy to stay. I guess that is where the love foundation starts, but that’s also where it ends.

The selfish reason is one of much less love. I hope this doesn’t make me look like a horrible person. But, I don’t want anything tying me down to this life. I don’t want to have to worry about a child depending on me as a mother, when I’m done with this life and ready to leave on my own accord. I don’t want anything holding me back when the time comes that I’ve finally had enough of the pain and hopelessness. I’m not saying that I will definitely take myself out of this world someday, but as I look forward in my future, I can’t see a real life. I can’t see myself in five years, ten years, or twenty years. I can’t see it in my mind. As a child and a teenager I could. I had dreams and hopes. I had goals of how I’d reach what I wanted. Now, I live each day, one-day-at-a-time. I have dreams of where my writing can maybe someday take me. I’m writing a novel and hope that someday I can reach a point of publication. But, at the same time, I can’t truly see it. My life is bits and snippets of production today, in my present life. But, in my future, those bits and snippets are even smaller. So, if I can’t see a clear future for myself, then how can I bring a child into this world knowing that I may just very well want to leave it someday? I don’t want that hovering over me.

I know this probably not only sounds awfully selfish, but also extremely dark and morbid. However, as I’ve said it’s based around how I’ve been in the past, when the depressions have gotten me so low that I feel that the best option would be to leave forever. I’m not discounting the possibility that someday I may just be an 80-year-old woman sitting on her porch watching the children play along her street. But, what I do know is that those children won’t be my grandchildren. Believe me when I say that is one goal of mine, though, that I can at least hope will happen. I may not be able to see it clearly in my future, but I do truly hope it will happen. I want to survive this illness. I want to make it.

A Closing…

I don’t want to leave this post on a depressing note. I know that’s kind of hard to do after laying all that out there for the world to read, but I want to end this post with a bit of hope.

I may not want to be a mother anymore, but I will say this… I absolutely love the little ones in my family. They are all special to me and I have a special place in my heart for each and every one. Not all women are meant to be mothers, and I think some of us who aren’t are accepting of that. I know I am. I am saddened that I will never have a little one of my own, but I’m not so saddened that it will kill my spirit of love. I love children, and the ones in my circle of family and friends will always be ones that I look forward to seeing. I have been blessed to watch one of my cousin’s three little ones grow up before my eyes. I held them each as newborns and they now sit on my lap with such happy innocence in their eyes. I’m watching these three little ones, as well as three of my great-nephews, grow up and form their own personalities and become these little people who will someday run this world.

As a child, I grew up with most of my nieces and nephews; therefore I didn’t get the chance to appreciate that growth in them, because I was growing myself. But, now I am old enough to watch it and take it all in and it never fails to make me look on in awe at their development.

I’ll never be a mom in this lifetime, but I can still love on the children who are in my life and be the best aunt, cousin, or friend to them. Mental illness may have taken motherhood away from me for my own personal reasons, but it can’t take away my love.

So, take that, bipolar… I’m stronger than you thought.

 

This is a beautiful song about parenthood. Written and performed by Ben Folds for his daughter Gracie.

 

Feeling Left Out

So, here I am, about a week (little less) before I can finally get my new prescription for the upped dosage of meds that I need. I really need them now, and the weird thing is that I actually want them. I hate taking my meds, but right now I can feel it inside. I feel the anger, hurt, and loneliness. I had some caffeine today in hopes that it would help me feel a little better. It did, which is why I’m probably actually writing right now and not collapsed on the couch. But, obviously that’s only a temporary fix. I was sitting here and feeling so alone and angry, about things that I don’t even understand.

Lately, every little slight, or perceived slight, has sent me hurdling downward. I begin to shutdown and suddenly want to tell everyone, “Go screw yourselves! Goodbye!” I want to turn my phone and computer off, and just curl up in a ball and just wither away. I hate who I am… from feeling left out, to feeling like I’m worthless, to feeling like I’m nothing more than an irritating flea in the lives of those I know.

I’ve been playing an online game I’ve played for years. But, something’s been happening to me in that environment lately… it’s making me feel even more left out at times. And, I don’t even understand why sometimes. It’s been the source of many therapy sessions for a few months now and I still can’t get past what I feel. However, there are times when I know exactly what is causing me to feel as I do. For example, I was on a talk chat channel the other night. It was myself and two other people. Well, one of those people has a little girl and put her up to the microphone. Well, it was obvious she told her daughter to say hello to one of the people in the channel… guess who that was… not me. I suddenly felt as if I was non-existent. The three of us adults were all talking and then, it was like I was suddenly not there and worth one of those adult’s time. It was obvious to me that she didn’t want her daughter to talk with me, and only wanted her to talk to the other person. That doesn’t surprise me due to the relationship of those two, but it still hurt. How do you tell your kid to say hi to one person, but completely ignore the other? Would you do that face-to-face? I’m curious how that person would have felt if the roles had been reversed. I’m getting tired of feeling like I’m not even there… like I’m the third wheel on a bicycle built only for two.

That’s a really horrible feeling and only takes me back to my childhood when I was completely ignored by kids. Literally pushed away for being unwelcome. Heck, it takes me back to even more recent years when my own family has ignored me. I’m annoying. I’m a burden. I’m nothing but this person people happen to know. These are the thoughts that have been going through my mind ‘cause I know that would make me want to ignore someone too if they had such qualities. I can be fine. I can be laughing with family and friends, and having a great time. However, all of a sudden, something triggers me. The switch is flipped for my shutdown. I become angry with these people and feel like I’m nothing to them. I cry and lose control over what I feel. And, sometimes, I can come back out of it right away, and others I need to leave the setting. This last week, I’ve cried more while lying down at night, than anything else. I haven’t slept properly at all, but it doesn’t matter. Between family problems, which are wearing me down, to the disappointment I have for my life, to the realization that another year has passed where my life is a total failure, I’m feeling like this is never going to end.

Since the night of that chat channel incident, I have gotten past it, as I’ve found myself having to do a lot lately. No hard feelings, but it still hurts when I think about it. But I have to just get past it ‘cause that’s life, and life is just crap. Life sucks. Anything I, you, or anyone can do about it? Nope. That’s just how it is until the day we die. That’s why I have my façade. The lying, make-others-feel-better façade that hides the pain I feel inside.

I think Linkin Park say it best in one of my favorite songs of theirs.

I know what it takes to move on. I know how it feels to lie. All I want to do is trade this life for something new, holding on to what I haven’t got.

I know I’m not the only one who can relate to this.

 

Friendship

So, what do you know? It turns out that I do in fact still remember how to hit the “publish” button. It’s been a month since my last post. I guess you can say I’ve had blogging writer’s block. I’ve been dealing with an unpredictable mood lately. I’ve been able to write, just not blog. But, today, I finally had the urge to write a post. Actually, the urge just cropped up on me about an hour ago. I hope this will be the beginning of my return to the blogosphere, but I’m not putting the cart before the horse just yet (I’ve always wanted to find a reason to use that phrase). Either way, though, I’m not planning on leaving this awesome universe of fellow bloggers anytime soon.

Now that I got that bit out, I guess I’ll just jump on into the heart of my post. Today’s urge to write can go back to this morning. I had therapy this morning, and it left me feeling quite low. Therapy is often a pleasant experience and I feel replenished sort of speak when I leave my psychologist’s office. However, today was a difficult session and quite emotional. It had to do with some issues I’ve been feeling inside lately, that have left me unhappy and feeling lonely. I know I’m not technically alone, but emotionally, I’ve felt it. I had a wonderful night this last Friday. For the first time in four years, I hung out with a couple of family members and watched a movie here at home and we ate take-out and drank Starbucks (something I hadn’t drank since 2008). It was a fun night and I was proud of myself for finally not saying, “No” to their request to hangout. It was like it was before my life falling into pieces, which I’m now trying to put back together. These family members understand how things are for me, though, and I appreciate them never giving up on me, like some of my friends have done. Once I was no longer fun to be around, they suddenly disappeared. I don’t blame them, but it still hurts.

So, the weekend started nicely. However, my mood started dropping slowly by Sunday night, and I couldn’t shake it. Part of it was due to anxiety, I know. But, something else was getting me and by the time I was trying to go to sleep, I was in tears. A sense of loneliness was once again taking over me inside. I tried praying through it, and I guess it helped since I fell asleep right afterwards. But, when I woke up it was still there, and it continued on into my therapist’s office.

After difficult sessions, I usually come home and not say anything. Even saying hi to my mom is difficult ‘cause it can feel exhausting to open my mouth and force the words to come out. So, when I came home I went into our family room for some alone time. I walked into the kitchen a short time later for some water, when she asked me how things went. I just answered, “Fine”, before walking back out of the room. However, I had to go back in there again about ten minutes later and she asked again, “Are you sure things went ok today?” This time I got upset and snapped at her, “I said it was fine!” I left the room once again, until I felt sick to my stomach. I wanted comfort and my anger wasn’t bringing me comfort. So, I walked back in the kitchen and when I saw my mom standing there, I went up to her and just hugged her. She asked me if I was ok, and I just started crying. I couldn’t say anything, and just cried. She then said, “It’s not ok, is it?” I didn’t want to talk with her about therapy, so I just kept it simple and she understood. She knew I wasn’t really mad at her, I just took it out on her, but thankfully that had been rectified now. And, it is then where the friendship side of this post comes into play.

I decided I’d log into a game that I play and just mess around in a world of fantasy, rather than my frustrating real world. When I logged in, I saw a good friend of mine was online too, which brought an immediate smile to my face. I always look forward to seeing and chatting with this person online and it helped to see her. She’s a beautiful person and I feel blessed that God has placed her in my life. We didn’t stay online long, but later on in the evening, came back and played some more. After we logged off tonight, I realized that spending time with her made me feel better. The feelings are still there, but they seem a little better now after hanging out and talking with her.

It was then, that I began thinking about friendship and how important it is in our lives. I started reflecting on past friendships of mine and how some have come and gone, while others have never left since the day they began. I’m not sure how that comes to be with some friendships lasting forever, while some do not, but I know my friendship with the aforementioned person will be a lasting one. I hope she feels the same way. Considering the world of constant connectivity through the Internet, such a concept isn’t impossible anymore.

However, I got to thinking about three friendships in particular that came, thrived and ended due to loss of such contact. The Internet can have its cons, but I think the connection of friendship is a major pro. The three friendships I’m thinking about are people who impacted my life in a positive way growing up, but since then have faded.

My Fantasy Twin

Third through sixth grade was a special time due to one particular friend. She was someone who loved fantasy and make-believe just as much as me. We’d play with one another often during recess and lunchtime breaks. Our imaginations guided us through a world of pretend that only we could see. We each formed the world around us, and in a Bridge to Terabithia sort of way, we fed off one another’s imaginations and could see what the other was seeing. It was fabulous, and she was the only friend whom I have ever had that was able to go into this world with me. But, then, came the end of sixth grade.

Her father got a new job in another state, and come seventh grade, she’d be gone. In a world of no Facebook, MySpace, or other social media (not even the Internet was in people’s homes yet), her departure meant the end of our friendship and Terabithia universe.

Although that friendship ended long ago (which feels like ages now), I still remember her. I will not forget her and I still have a story that she and I wrote together. The last day of school of sixth grade she handed me a typed up story. It was the story of our universe. It was what we always imagined together and what we had played for so many years. I still remember her saying that she had to write it out before she left, because it was a special memory that we had to complete before she moved away. I’m tearing up as I write this ‘cause it’s such a special thing when a friendship hits a deep and private side of your soul like that. She will always have a special place in my heart.

An Understanding Camaraderie

In the second grade, I met a girl who would become my “best” friend by eighth grade. She and I had a wonderful friendship, filled with laughs and plenty of memories. As a kid who was bullied in school a lot during these years, she was also a protector. Whenever someone tried to mess with me, and she was around, they’d back off. She spoke her mind and due to that, she became our class and school president during eighth grade. She was the most popular girl in school due to her brains and personality, and unlike most of the other kids, she didn’t treat me like I was a piece of cow dung on her shoe.

In addition to all of that, she also made me feel extremely understood – at least to a degree. I suffered from severe separation anxiety as a kid, and so sleepovers never happened. I couldn’t even go places with her and her family. I was always “sick” on the days when such events arrived, because I couldn’t get myself to go. All I could ever do is spend time with her at her house for a few hours, before I’d start becoming emotional and sick to my stomach. I could never eat at her house. I would sit there while she and her family and any other friends ate. Her mom always asked me why I wasn’t eating, and I would just say that I wasn’t hungry. That was the truth. It’s hard to be hungry when you feel like expelling your stomach’s contents onto the table before you. So, I would just sit quietly and sip on something to drink.

Through all of this behavior, though, she never gave up on me as a friend. She could have just thought I was too weird for her or that I wasn’t a good friend. But, she didn’t. Instead, she became my best friend, and an unlikely pair of comrades went through elementary school together.

Unfortunately, the world of high school would come between us. She went to one private school, while I went to another, and we slowly drifted a part. I did get to see her almost four years later, though. I was in line for the SATs (exams given in the U.S. for college entrance) with a friend of mine from high school. We were talking when a girl in front of us suddenly and loudly asked, “Summer?” I turned and after just a second of recognition, I yelled back in excitement. It was her… my friend for so many years was standing in front of me, and there we were embracing before one of the biggest exams that a young person may take in their life. We were so happy to see one another, but sadly we got split up almost immediately as they were dividing all of us test takers into classrooms. It was a bittersweet moment, but one that was quite awesome at the same time. Albeit for a short time, I got to see how she was doing at that point in her life, and vice versa. We were able to receive a life update on a good friend, which many people don’t get. She was well and thriving, and so was I… at least at that point in my life.

I still miss her, though. I will always smile when I think of her, and just as my fantasy twin, I will never forget her, as she holds a special place in my heart. She was a friend when I often needed one most. And, I always tried to be the best friend I could for her. We clicked in a way that doesn’t always happen in life, and I’m thankful for that relationship in my past.

A Friend Once There

The third friend is someone who brings with her a lot of good memories, but unfortunately I’m left with hurt ones too.

This friend and I met the second week of high school. I didn’t know a single person at this all-girls college prep Catholic school, and was suddenly thrown into a world of nuns and no boys. At first, it felt like it would be way too odd, and lonely beyond bearability. But, once I met this friend, things changed. She was the reason I didn’t wind up getting home schooled. I wanted out of the school after the first few days due to not knowing anyone and being so alone. I went from a school of bullies, to a school where I felt as if I didn’t even exist. My mom and dad had considered home schooling, until one day I came home and proclaimed with joy that I had made a friend. And, after only a month of being at that school, I realized that my high school experience was going to be much better than the previous eight years. I wasn’t being bullied. I was treated with respect and left alone by the girls that didn’t have anything in common with me. None of them jumped up in the bathroom stall next to me to invade my privacy, like when I was in fifth grade. No one laughed at me, if I fell down skinning my arms and knees. No one pulled out the chair behind me while I was sitting down, just so they could get a laugh from everyone in class. No one told me I looked like a boy and should stop lying by saying I was a girl. No one attacked me for how I looked or my strange quirks. All of that was gone. And, if not for this friend, I would not have stood at that school long enough to realize that. I would have lost out on that experience. I realize I was blessed that my bullied days were behind me when I entered high school. Too many kids are not so fortunate, and I hate that. Hate’s a strong word, yes, but when it comes to bullying, hating it is the only thing that seems appropriate. It’s not right and it’s something that needs to be put to an end. Bullying needs to stop!

My friend helped to keep me at that school and realize that things were going to be better for me. She and I became inseparable, and everyone knew that wherever I was, she wasn’t far behind, and vice versa. It was a wonderful friendship and we had a blast hanging out all of the time. She came from a strict family, and just like me wasn’t allowed to stay out past ten at night, even if our friend hadn’t cut her birthday cake yet for her 16th celebration. We had an understanding for one another and connected through both that understanding and just enjoyable times we had with one another.

However, just as high school divided me from my friend from elementary school, college became the division of this friend. It didn’t happen right away, though. At first, we kept in contact a lot while she was away at school. After moving in with her roommates into a townhouse near campus, though, our friendship began to fade. I became closer with a good mutual friend of ours from high school, and she with her roommates. As we grew up further into the world of adulthood, our mutual friend and I became closer as we had more in common. My old high school best friend had the taste of freedom in college. She wanted to only party, drink and go to nightclubs. She enjoyed that entertainment, while our mutual friend and I enjoyed chilling at the campus cafe, chatting at Starbucks, going to the movies, or just cruising up and down the coast and going to the beach. That bored my old friend and she made it known, by saying she was going to go to sleep in the backseat and we can wake her when we had decided on something to do.

Our company was no longer fun for her, and she made that perfectly and coldly clear. Sadly, there wasn’t anything we could do about that. I’m not a nightclub, drinker, or party person. I can’t stand that atmosphere, and prefer a quiet and laid back environment. It was only a matter of time until our friendship divided.

Eventually, she cut me out of her life by unexpectedly changing her number and not giving me the new one, and never replying to my emails about what was up. We never had an argument. We never said a goodbye. The last time we spoke all was fine I thought. She said she’d give me her new number, but never did. After my diagnosis, I started worrying that it was the bipolar. I hadn’t been diagnosed when she cut me off, but my moods had been affecting plenty in my life back then, and I just worried that she finally had enough of me. Maybe that was the reason, or maybe not, but I guess it doesn’t really matter anymore. For a while I worried that something had happened to her, but then my good friend (our mutual friend) saw her with a group of girlfriends one day. She was happy and laughing while going to lunch with them. She had moved on with her life and had cut me out without any reason or notification.

I was hurt and confused as to why she lied to me and told me she’d give me her number, only to just cut me out. However, through all of that, I was also happy to know that she was ok. She wasn’t hurt or worse, as I had begun to worry. She had only moved on. It hurt for a long time, but now I realize that was on her, and not me. I can’t make anyone like me, nor would I try. I tried as a kid, but not anymore. I’m a grown adult who now realizes that sometimes people just aren’t going to like me, and that’s fine. I’m not here to make people like me. I’m here to be who I am. I’m here to enjoy and love my friends whom I do have, and appreciate their presence in my life every day.

I will always have the good memories of my high school “best” friend, and to this day, I have no ill feelings toward her. I hope she is living a great life, and if she were to suddenly pop into my life again someday, I would have a hug waiting for her. I have no reason to be hateful toward her. All she did was grow up and so did I. It was just meant to be, I guess.

It’s All Meant To Be

In the past, I’ve talked about how I am a firm believer that all things happen for a reason. I may not always know what that reason is, but I have to believe that it’s there. My above three friends from childhood may no longer be in my life, but they will always be in my heart, and maybe that was the purpose. They brought something into my life, and I into theirs, when we were kids. I now have a small circle of friends. I no longer have a “best” friend as I value and love all of my friends, and don’t like to place such a label onto any of them. They all are each the “best” in their own ways and they each mean something special to me.

Only a few of them have now learned of the bipolar, but they have not abandoned me. They have given me their support and love, and one in particular has been amazing in her support of me since my diagnosis. She knows who she is. I love you so much “Lillie”.

I’m Now Changed For Good

One of the most beautiful songs I’ve heard on friendship is from my favorite Broadway musical Wicked. It never fails to make me cry. I think it sums up my relationships with the three friends who made a huge impact on my life as a kid, which has in turn impacted who I am today. This song is for them.

 

 

 

Seven Very Inspiring Things About the Sisterhood

I feel so blessed and thankful to be surrounded by such wonderful people in the blogosphere. I am about two weeks behind on getting to these, but I have not forgotten about them. During my recent difficult time, some kind friends here in the blogging world, presented me with three more awards. Each one put a smile on my face and a sense of acceptance in my heart, and I thank the three people who gave them to me. So, without any further ado, I shall get to them.

 

The Very Inspiring Blogger Award

Kathy at Bipolar and Breastless gave this award to me. I am so happy to have met Kathy, and I love her blog. She is inspiring and relatable in how she writes. She carries Jesus with her, and is generous with her warmth. I thank her so much for thinking of me for this award and making me feel like I belong here.

The Rules:

  • Display the award logo somewhere on the blog.
  • Link back to the blog of the person who nominated you.
  • State 7 things about yourself.
  • Nominate other bloggers for the award, and provide links to their blogs.
  • Notify those bloggers that they have been nominated, and of the award’s requirements.

 

Seven Things:

  1. I just finished reading An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness, by Kay Redfield Jamison. What a wonderful book! Not only does she have bipolar, but she also studied mental illness and health, and received her PH.D, all while she continued to suffer from its drastic effects on her life. In this book, she was able to put the pain of mental illness into such a relatable and at times haunting context. I really should do a post on it. I highly recommend reading it, if you have not already. In my opinion, it’s a great book for both sufferers of mental illness, and their loved ones.
  2. The volume level on my TV is always on an even number. I can’t have it at an odd number, or it just feels wrong. I’ve tried it, and it will bug me until I fix it.
  3. As a little kid, I once got a mixing bowl, some Hershey Kisses, and a cup of water. I kept mixing the Kisses and water together. In my mind, I thought if I mixed long enough, they’d eventually turn into a chocolate mix that I could bake into a cake.
  4. Sometimes, I worry that people I know, whom are parents, will think, “Glad she’s not my kid” when they think of me, and my messed up life. As much as I like my therapist and feel comfortable with her, I don’t want to know if she’s a mom, ‘cause then I’ll worry that thought goes through her head too.
  5. Once during a hypomanic episode, I thought that I was going to become a freelance jewelry maker. I don’t know the first thing about making jewelry, but at the time, I believed that I knew all that I needed to know, and I’d be a good one. So, I went to a local store that had all of the items I needed to start my “business”. I spent almost $200 (which was a lot for me since I was practically broke) on items that I didn’t even know if they were necessary, but in my mind, they were. I came home, organized it all, and was all ready to embark on my entrepreneur adventure. Last summer, I was cleaning out my closet and came across a box with the supplies and materials inside. Almost all of them were still there, and unused. I had completely forgotten about that experience, until I found them.
  6. Another hypomanic period, over a week period I spent over $300 on Lego Key Chains with characters I liked from movies and cartoons. It made me feel so good to buy them, and I felt like I had done something awesome, ‘cause a few of them were rare. They cost $50 each… money I didn’t have. I hated that I did that afterward. They now sit in a box in my closet. What a waste.
  7. When I was little, I always wanted to learn how to play the violin. I’m not sure what it was about that instrument, but I think it had to do with its elegance. It just had such a sweet sound in my ears, and I always wanted to learn it.

 

My Nominations:
– DeeDee from The Disorderly Chickadee
bRaving Bipolar
– Rainey from Rainey Daze and Crazy Nights

 

Seven Things About You Award

I have Boo (crazybeanrider) from Time Out in the Giggle House to thank for this fun award. Boo is awesome and has been such a kind and supportive person, from the first time we met here in blogging land. I am so happy to be able to know you, Boo, and I thank you so much for this award. I appreciate that you considered me for it.

Rules:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you.
  • Share seven things about you.
  • Nominated other bloggers you think deserve the award, and post on their blog to let them know they have been nominated.

 

Hmmm… Ok, let’s see… Seven more things:

  1. I once cut my own hair when I was around eight-years-old. I thought I knew what I was doing, and wanted to get this little curl out of my way that was near my ear. So, I grabbed the scissors and snipped away. I ended up having to wear a bobby pin on that part of my head for months afterward until it grew out normally again.
  2. As a kid, I always loved listening to the Kids Praise the Lord album. Psalty was the talking songbook, who taught kids lessons of the Bible, and they’d sing all kinds of songs. He was the best! I have it in my music library now, and I still listen to it from time-to-time.
  3. I made the mistake of once telling one of my friends in college that I love the way Vin Diesel looks in Khaki cargo pants. What can I say? He just looked good in them.  My friend never let me hear the end of it, though.
  4. We once had a family of baby skunks living under our house. Their mom must have gotten killed (really sad), and so they were left alone and confused. They were babies, and since they didn’t know what they were supposed to do, they slept all night and through the morning, and then would come out in the afternoon. One day, my dad was walking up the sidewalk, and a few of them were following behind him. I think they thought he was their papa. Eventually, we had to call the humane society, though, so they could be safely relocated.
  5. I can watch Friends over and over, but their bloopers are my ultimate addiction. I will sit in front of the computer for hours watching both Friends clips and bloopers.
  6. When I was in fifth grade, we were all working on group projects when all of a sudden we heard a loud crash and our classroom shook. Everyone dove under the desks thinking it was an earthquake. But, in actuality, it was a huge trailer truck that had lost control and slammed right into the outer wall of our classroom. Thankfully, the walls stood up and the windows didn’t shatter. A few more feet and it would have hit where the windows were near our seats.
  7. My first car accident was when I was eight-years-old. My sister, brother-in-law, my nephew, and I were all coming home from a local pizza place. It was starting to drizzle. Then, we were coming near a bend in the street, and this idiot cut us off, causing my brother-in-law to lose control of the car. I remember hearing my sister scream, as we spun and then we hit hard! My nephew and I weren’t wearing our seatbelts (yeah, I know), and we both were thrown forward into the back of the driver and front passenger seats. Then, we got thrown back into the seats, and into each other. We smacked our head together really hard at one point. When the chaos stopped, I looked up and saw the entire hood of the car crumpled upward and a pole right in front of the windshield. When my brother-in-law got out of the car, my sister grabbed both me and my nephew and was trying to calm us down. But, as she hugged me, I kept trying to talk, but couldn’t. I was trying to tell her that I couldn’t breathe. I had asthma as a kid, and the accident had knocked the wind out of me, and caused it to flare up. I felt like I was suffocating, ‘cause no air was getting into my lungs. I was trying to push her away, but she thought I was just scared and kept saying it was all going to be ok. We finally got out of the car, and once I had fresh air, my lungs started working again. It was the most terrifying feeling I had ever had. Thankfully, none of us were injured, aside from some serious nerve jarring and achy muscles. But, considering that my nephew and I got thrown around the entire back seat, it was truly a blessing that we were ok. I’ve often thought about how, if we had not hit the back of the front seats, we would have both probably flown through the windshield. Not a thought I like to entertain.

 

My Nominations:
– Kevin from Voices of Glass
– Dotty from Notes from a She-Hermit

 

Sisterhood of the World of Bloggers Award

Angel, from The Mirth of Despair nominated me for this award. I didn’t even know that this award existed, so it was really cool to receive it. Angel has been a joy to get to know, and often gets me thinking with her posts. I love that. Thank you for considering me for this award, Angel.

The Rules:

  • Thank the giver.
  • Post 7 things about yourself.
  • Pass the award to other bloggers and let them know of their nomination.
  • Include the logo of the award in a post, or on your blog.

 

My Seven Things (Oh boy, I’m running out of stuff to say):

  1. I almost got a tattoo years back. My friends and I went into a tattoo parlor, and were looking at the designs. We wanted to get one that day, and were so close. But, we were still apprehensive about it, so we walked back outside. We stood outside for a bit talking about it, trying to decide what we should do, when this guy came up to us, wearing a white tank shirt, smoking a cigarette, and tattooed all over this arms, neck, chest, back (well, upper from what we could see), and part of the back of his head. He had overheard us, and came up to us and asked us, “You girls thinking about a tattoo?” We answered with a yes, and he said, “You should do it. They’re awesome. You won’t regret it.” He then walked away. My friends and I just looked at each other and decided to think about it. I still don’t have one, but I’ve never forgotten what that guy said. I have to admit. The thought of getting one still often goes through my mind. There is a part of me that wants one, but another that doesn’t. Oh, decisions, decisions.
  2. I’ve seen, and liked, my share of scary movies, but not evil or overly gory ones. I’m more into the haunted house, creepy kinds, and not the ones that have demonic themes, or extremely graphic scenes. I still haven’t seen The Exorcist, and don’t ever plan to. And, the Saw movies are way too much for me.
  3. One of my bucket list goals used to be to go skydiving. But, with my anxiety now, I can’t picture it anymore.
  4. I love the Harry Potter series. I’ve read every single book, and watched every single movie, except for the last movie (parts 1 and 2). I have procrastinated watching them, ‘cause once I do, that’s it… they’re over forever. Reading the last book was hard enough, but I knew I still had the last movie (both parts). I will watch them eventually, but right now I’m still not ready to say goodbye.
  5. In college, I had to read One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel García Márquez. That book could be confusing with all of the generations, and many characters with the name, Aureliano, but I absolutely loved the book. So many people in my class didn’t like it, but I did. Although, in this case I was forced to read it for a class, it just goes to show that you can’t always go by word of mouth when it comes to literature.
  6. I had two childhood dogs, as a kid. My first dog was a beautiful half collie, half German shepherd, and he was a loving and strong protector. My mom and dad had him from before I was born. Then, after years of him being the only dog, we got a new dog. He was a black lab, and such a playful and lovable dog. Our first dog died, a year later when I was nine, and my mom made a comment after his death that he probably died of sadness. He was suddenly no longer king of the yard, and was probably heartbroken, feeling replaced. Even though he was still king of our yard, she said that he didn’t feel that way anymore, and that was probably why he died so soon. My dad said the same thing one night, and I heard him. From then on, after hearing my parents, I always felt like I helped to kill my dog. They didn’t tell me that, but that’s what I thought in my mind. I was in love with the new puppy, and he was so much more playful than our other dog that was much older. I loved my first dog so much, but didn’t give him as much attention anymore after the puppy came. Although, I know that I can’t go back and change it that would be something that I wish I could change. I cried so much when he died, and I just wish I wouldn’t have taken his love for granted.
  7. When I was around four-years-old or so, my mom said that they took me to the zoo, with some other family members. At one point, everyone bought a Slurpee, and so my parents bought me one too. I was enjoying it, my mom said, but then a bee came and landed right on top of it, while I was drinking it. My mom said that I didn’t scream, or cry, but rather held onto my cup firmly. I then started saying very loudly, “Mama, get that bee off my Slurpee!” “Get that bee off my Slurpee, Mama!” When my mom realized what I meant, she immediately grabbed the Slurpee and threw it on the ground. She didn’t want me to get stung. That is when I cried. My mom and dad bought me a new Slurpee, though.

 

My Nominations:
– Eileen from But She’s Crazy
– Kathy from Bipolar and Breastless
– Rachel from My Bipolar Life

 

 

Thanks for reading, all. I know this was quite a lot of facts about myself, so I appreciate you reading through it all. As always, I wish I could nominate everyone. You are all worthy of these awards, and do so much through your blogs.

 

From One Mother to Another

I came across this right now and needed to share it. It is an open letter from one mother to another. The author is the mother of a son with schizophrenia, and she is addressing the mother of James Holmes – the man accused of shooting and killing so many in Aurora, Colorado. This letter is moving, and I feel it’s necessary to share. I’m also including the link, in case you would prefer to read it directly from the website.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

 

First Person / To the parents of James Holmes: Our son has schizophrenia; we know how hard it can be
July 27, 2012 11:59 pm

By Margaret Shaughnessy

 

An open letter to Mr. and Mrs. Holmes, parents of James Holmes, who stands accused of mass murder in Aurora, Colo.

 

I, too, have a son who has an undergraduate degree in neuroscience and who had planned on doing an M.D. and PhD. in neuroscience. At his university graduation ceremony, I asked myself who this son was, as he was so unlike the son I had seen as recently as semester break. Distracted, preoccupied, the stare.

I knew there was something wrong but had no idea of the terrifying journey that we would travel for the next 10 years.

After almost two years with an ineffectual psychologist, my son wanted to continue his studies. I found him crumpled, catatonic, on the floor of his apartment having not eaten or moved in a week. Searching for clues and information, I discovered the sections on schizophrenia highlighted in his neuroscience textbooks.

Over the next few years, in and out of psychotic episodes caused by taking and not taking medicine (the disease attacks the frontal lobe where decisions are made), my son thought his money was not worth anything and so starved for a week; he thought he would see a dinosaur if he climbed a specific mountain; I believe that he heard voices, whereas in reality schizophrenia had taken over his life.

After he’d been silent and unreachable for three weeks, his father and I talked, cajoled, begged, ignored and tried to bring him back to reality with love and antipsychotic medicines. I was scared, worried and, as unmotherly as it sounds, embarrassed and frustrated. My son was like a 5-year-old whom I needed to rescue from psychotic unreality.

Schizophrenia is a heart-breaking disease that destroys for a time young men in their late teens or early 20s. It seems that just as these young men begin an independent life, they are frozen in time, some becoming paranoid, some hallucinatory and all psychotic.

Though they seem to have had this disease from birth, something triggers it around this time in their lives. Tragedies continue to happen because of our communal non-comprehension of these diseases and a refusal to take seriously that people die because of our unconcern.

Psychosis is not sociopathy or psychopathy, yet society does not seem to want to parse the difference. As I hear politicians and news anchors demand immediate answers, few seem smart enough to talk to people who actually know. Society wants answers now, and so news stations must respond immediately to keep their audiences.

Why is your son James now accused of this terrible massacre? He must be diabolical; he looks like a devil. Our society tends to generalize, lumping all mental diseases into one evil stigma, destroying children, adults and their families. They all seem to know that the mother, the divorce, the whatever, is at fault. They know so much … and so little.

Your son apparently has acted against a society that may have tried to help, but failed miserably. He was smart, educated and yet his body, the chemical imbalance in his head, went awry.

For all of our sakes, but especially for James’ sake and yours, I want our society to become more aware of mental illness, to not respond without knowledge and to begin with understanding before judgment is carelessly assigned.

This tragedy has correctly begun a national discussion on federal control of rapid-fire weapons, but what is perhaps more imperative is a discussion about, recognition of and understanding of mental illness and the people who suffer from it.

My heart is with the victims and my heart is with you through the upcoming journey of pain.

 

Margaret Shaughnessy is a professor of English at Community College of Allegheny County and lives in Forest Hills.
First Published July 28, 2012 12:00 am