Posts Tagged ‘Bipolar Mother’

The sun struggled to get through the suffocating blinds She leaned into the touch, which meant Mommy wouldn’t shout at me right now. I slipped my arms awkwardly around her. “I love you,” I whispered in her ear as she clutched at my hair. Her desperation scared me. I didn’t understand why she was sad and that scared me too. Some unknown monster had come to ruin everything again and Dad wasn’t around to help me.

Our tangled bodies shook with her sobs as I whispered words of comfort in her ear, not knowing what else to do. Nausea pushed my stomach through my throat and fear tried to propel me off the bed and out of the room. It took every ounce of my energy to hold my muscles in place. I wanted to be anywhere but there.

The hours ticked by and the terror never left, but exhaustion crept in. Fantasies of my bed crept through my mind, as my mouth continued to comfort her, my hand running across her back. Looking closely, I could see her eyes drifting shut. Freedom was almost in sight. Not soon enough, she fell asleep and I carefully shifted away before darting out of the room.

I peeked into Mimi’s room and saw my little sister sleeping soundly, no worries on her mind tonight. Relief jolted through my body and the knot in my stomach began to unwind. I crawled into bed, burrowing myself under the protective weight of blankets, and let out all my breath. I tried to will myself to sleep, but my mind refused to be quiet. Glancing at a clock, I realized it was already my 10th birthday. Maybe having double digits would help me be what Mom needed. I jumped in fright at a loud growl before realizing my stomach was the culprit. Well, too bad. There was no way I would chance running into my mother by getting a snack. I rolled over and stared out the window, watching the clouds drift by in the moonlight until I slipped into nothingness.


The flames licked at the log, radiating warmth to the dog-tired people surrounding it. I always loved fire: the heat, the thrill. My heart thumped with excitement each time I scooted an inch closer, but the heat burned my face and squeezed my eyes shut. The standoff continued between what my body could handle and what my curiosity wanted to explore, until eventually the heat itself made me a bit sleepy. It had been a long day, my feet were worn out from travel and play. My need for exploration was almost sated between sitting by the fire, climbing rocks, and experimenting on how long it takes hair to burn. Answer: not very long. My eyes drifted shut.

This is my dream. My mother created this dream for me, then snatched it away.

Our goal was Katahdin. My mom had taken us out of school for the last nine weeks, and we were going to thru-hike the Appalachian trail. We made it from Georgia to Virginia before my mother took us home due to my bratty brother misbehaving. I was ten and he was twelve. That boy needed to man the hell up. But the end of the trip didn’t snatch my dream, the prevention of me going and backpacking the trail myself is what snatched my dream.

Minors apparently can’t traipse about the country on their own, especially teenage females. Go figure.

But my mom promised to take me, then tried to kill herself instead.

She promised to go with me, but shouted at us every holiday instead. 

She promised to go with me, but refused to leave the house to get the mail in fear of the neighbors judging her fat.

In the end all I had was empty promises and the mindset that facing your problems is more important. But it isn’t. This is a major struggle I have had to face: the realization that your dreams are more important than your problems. Dreams are what make us human. They embody hope and the art of the mind. Problems are potholes in life, not the meaning of it as living in a family facing mental illness had engrained in me.

I found a shard of my stolen dream when I turned eighteen and realized I had both the money and legal right to backpack the Appalachian Trail. I continued dreaming.

I found another shard today when I finally understood that dreams don’t become reality without a concrete plan and a hell of a lot of courage and motivation. You also have to remember that tomorrows are not infinite. 

What dream did you lose along the way?



There we were, nowhere and everywhere. Literally nowhere, not that there was enough light to see the endless fields and trees and nothingness. We bumped along in a vacuum of darkness, cut loose and lost as we discussed our lives and explored any road we came across.

Our parents had fundamentally wronged us and abused us.

The continued to do so.

Our brothers were useless.

We were mentally fucked up.

We had no way to fix that.

Nobody would ever choose us first.

There was a rustling in the trunk.

Something was in there with us.

A murderer.

Oh. Shit. Here he comes.

Flashlight disproves murderer theory.

Culprit is crinkly wrapper on water bottle.

I love my sister.

Somewhere on our traditional, late-night drive, I glanced up at my right. In the window, my sister and I were reflected in the stars we had spent so much time admiring. Our little, trembling family of two had somehow become infinite.

She really does. That woman understands how life works. The world is just a bunch of little moments clumsily sewn together to make you you and me me. The important things don’t come out of nowhere or happen all at once, we’re just determined not to see the little things that build up to it.

Here is my interpretation to Jodi Picoult and her writing. Somehow she manages to take all the little moments in life and build a picture of how life flows and changes. I don’t do that. I just string together a few moments.

The moment I realized that I needed help and was too chickenshit to ask for it:

Stranded, stuck, trapped.

No money, no ID, no car, no way home.

This weekend, my purse and keys disappeared in Dallas. I live in Austin. This made for a bit of a problem since I had no way to pay for food, no way to move my car, and I lived halfway across the state.

People weren’t very willing to perform services for me such as towing my car or programming new keys for it since I didn’t have a valid ID. All I had on me was my phone and sketchy worn out student ID.

I called my dad. He told me what to do. I did it.

I got a tow. I got new keys made. I’m a big girl and although seriously inconvenient this is a physical problem I can tackle.

I called him again at some point during the process. I wanted to tell him. I wanted him to help me with the real problem. I wanted to fix more than just my car trouble.

He answered cheerfully, just getting out of a movie with the rest of my family. The timing sucked. The rest of my family could hear.

My mom called back a few minutes after. Dad had told her I sounded down and she told me this was a problem we could handle. Tears welled up and I left awkward pauses before each choked out answer, somehow keeping the tears out of my voice.

I ended the call without saying a thing that I wanted to.

I didn’t admit I’m not perfect.

I didn’t tell them “I’m not okay.”

I didn’t ask for help finding a good psychiatrist.

I surfed the web and tried to forget that I was broken. Because right about then I realized this wasn’t temporary or going anywhere. I also realized I couldn’t break the mold of being the ‘okay’ family member even if it was a lie.

So I did nothing.

Which was everything.

The moment I realized that other people find me attractive:

I have already learned to find myself attractive in an out-of-the-blue, poolside moment this summer, but only this weekend did I realize anything more than that.

I went to a get together for my friend’s business fraternity at a fancy bar in Dallas. A cute tall guy talked to me. I’m talking like at least six-five. He towered over me and I loved the feeling.

We flirted and became facebook friends before the night was through. He told me he would be in Austin soon and that he really wanted to see me then. I said sure. I mean I’d been talking about finding a fuck buddy anyways, having only ever slept with my best friend in awkward short visits. Why not? He seemed chill.

At a stereotypical frat party the next night, I had one fratty guy practically humping my leg while a second more reasonable one (who wasn’t trying to twerk on my crotch while I was cornered into the counter) asked me out on a date for later in the weekend and proceeded to text-flirt with me all night.

The next day I flung my car into a parking spot in a fancy parking garage, knowing full-well that it was reserved for some higher up in that company. I looked how I felt: hair frizzy, baggy t-shirt, and dark circles under my eyes. Just that morning, I had my car towed and had expensive work done on it just to realize it was all for nothing. Parking laws be damned.

The parking attendant asked me to move. I gave him a smile and moved it to an equally illegal spot, daring him to protest. I walked across the street and gathered my purse from the evil restaurant. I came back and strode to my car, more than happy to leave. The parking attendant stood in front of my car and literally stopped me so that he could get my number.

Maybe it’s my personality. Maybe it’s my looks. Maybe it’s their extreme desperation. Either way, guys actually do find me attractive.

Holidays can be nice.

Today, my roommate came home with a pumpkin in tow as well as potato-man-esque body parts to decorate said pumpkin. We decorated it and I loved it. He now stares at all of our neighbors from our porch.

I got this happy-anticipating feeling in my stomach and wondered if holidays could be fun.

I was so used to them being tragically sad family events.

I was used to dreading them.

What if I didn’t go home?

Someday would I roast pumpkin seeds for my kids and decorate pumpkins?

I got drunk last Friday:

My grandpa died and I had to watch it. I had to put aside my feelings again.

They cannot exist.

Instead I immediately got drunk when I arrived back on campus. It distracted me long enough to put a lock on any feelings I might have.

Realize this is the makings of alcoholism. Realize this could be the slippery slope that destroyed the lives of many in my extended family. Feel helpless to change anything. Do nothing.




Dear Mom and Dad,

You’re not my parents, but I still love you.

I don’t know when we disconnected, but it happened. I started taking care of myself and my sister without a second thought towards you. You may not have realized, but us kids saw that you were no longer there for us. Caring for ourselves became the natural, because nobody else would do it. Even when we asked, you wouldn’t DO anything.

You didn’t help physically or emotionally. In fact you emotionally abused us. Well Mom did the abusing, but, Dad… you let it happen and helped place the blame on us when in situations out of our control. Neither of you parented. I don’t think you even remembered how to do it or noticed whether we were even there. All you knew was the Illness. All you saw was the Illness.

I’m not sad about your absence. My world without you shone with curiosity and exploration and love for my siblings and friends. I knew I could handle things on my own. Only when you decided to show up and wreck my carefully constructed life with misconstrued ideas of what parenting means did I have a problem. Just seriously, fuck off on the parenting shit. All you managed to accomplish was a serious mind-fucking. It’s a full time job, not a fair-weather hobby. It’s not something to do to look socially acceptable or to give yourself confidence in your life status.

These are futures.

So, no. I never considered you my parents. I played along to make our lives easier, because honestly what parent enjoys hearing that they are not parents?

None. And nobody wants to deal with the drama following it either.

But I remember the good times. I close my eyes and look back on the smiles, the laughs. I love seeing you on occasion. Really, I just love you. I want a relationship with you, but I want it to be real. I’m tired of playing into these roles that don’t really exist. I’m old enough now that you can wrap you head around the idea of an OTHER category of relationship.

Mom and Dad,

You’re not my parents, but can we be friends?

All of You.

You create the social structure with every passing jab about crazy people and every stereotypical comment on families, making a standard to live up to. It becomes a joke to You and You don’t leave space for differences. Mental illness is The Big Secret, the dirt swept under the rug and covered with a smile, because in society, its only exists as sarcastic comment to lighten the mood.

So, fuck You all.

In a backwards way, physical abuse is more accepted. More understood. Everybody has been spanked or hit at some point and You can relate to the pain. There are institutions designed to save these children. Foster care may not be perfect but it is a resource for these kids. You can find a way to help them. People only want to acknowledge what they have the power to change. It’s the same reason people ignore homeless people: they’re scared there is nothing they can really do or they think it’s a lost cause.

An entire subgroup of our society has been forgotten, left to fend for themselves. In a home with mental illness, there is no simple solution. It becomes a battle between the rights of the parent and the health of the child. Since the parent is ill, they have not consciously done anything wrong and still have full rights. I have yet to see a child given the option of leaving their home due to severe verbal abuse or occasional physical abuse. Unless a child shows up with bruises every day, nothing’s done because their parent is ‘sick.’

In reality, You would never know a child is being verbally abused by a mentally ill parent. Probably not even their closest friends would suspect a thing, because mental illness is something to be ashamed of. Even if You understand that it is a biological illness, You’d judge them just a little in the back of Your mind. Do you honestly think they don’t notice?

So in the end, the children are forced into silence and left uneducated, because nobody takes children seriously. These kids are expected to take care of their ill parents, clean up after them, and support them, all without understanding what is going on. Adults like to believe that kids can’t see things and that by not talking about something, they are protected.

But that’s a lie. If even one adult took the time to explain the illness in terms they could understand or took the time to explain that things aren’t the kid’s fault, they might not have suffered as much. Many children of mentally ill parents develop depression and other mental illnesses of their own. They blame themselves for their parents illness and carry the guilt into their adulthood. They may even continue the cycle with their own kids, like my mother did to us. They are essentially doomed from the beginning by You. This is the cause of the century and many don’t even know it exists.

One thing that gets me is the expectations set for these children. In a two parent household, the ‘other’ parent relies on the children to help control the emotions of the mentally ill parent. It becomes the responsibility of the child to keep the mentally ill parent happy, and their failure if they aren’t happy. That’s bullshit. A person with a mental illness will feel and act however they feel and act no matter what ANYONE does.

This video shows this well.



Growing up, nobody explained anything or helped me emotionally understand what was happening. Someone told me quickly that my mom had Bipolar Disorder and that she was sick and it wasn’t my fault, then that was never mentioned again. I may have been told once that it wasn’t my fault, but my father’s behavior perpetuated the idea that it was. Also, he never disagreed when my mother said the reason she was ‘this way’ was because of me. Everyone just assumed we could put up with the verbal abuse, take care of our parent’s emotions and suicide attempts, and take care of ourselves with only the understanding that it was because our parent was ill. Yet, nobody sat down and really explained that to us. Go figure.

In Britain, there are more sophisticated forms of assistance for mentally ill and their caretaker children and there are still movements to improve these and include the kids more in the process. I mean, they already have to live with it.

This is a speaker promoting increased education and assistance for these children, who are essentially raising their parents as well as themselves.

You are just as responsible. Save our children.


Sorry I don’t fit the stereotype of coming out as gay.

Well… I’m not actually sorry. It’s not really any of your damn business, now is it? But, realizing that I’m straight impacted my life in ways I never imagined. I am officially out of the closet and I love it.

A few days ago, we went on thunder break on my job as a lifeguard. All nine of us crammed into the tiny guard shack and chatted away. We were soon joined by Matt, who had been enjoying his day off in the soccer field next door. He tore off his wet shirt to stay warm and kept talking, but I couldn’t stop staring.

My eyes just kept tracing over his abs and the little bit of hair making a treasure trail on his lower stomach. I could feel that little burning sensation in the pit of my stomach. He turned me on.

I saw him shirtless every single day and had even objectively admired his body before. Maybe it was seeing him in his plain clothes and the little peek at his briefs that got to me. Frankly, I don’t care. He is only and will only ever be a good friend.

But a better question would be: Why did I question my own sexuality to begin with? I’ve never once been attracted to a female. I’m not a virgin. I have been turned on by guys before.

It’s because my mother called me a dyke. That’s where this all started. Her constant comments made me wonder if she was right. I mean I’m not particularly girly. I don’t wear make up. I don’t crush on guys easily. A couple other people have asked me since if I am a lesbian. That made me question it, too.

But the thing is I’m not. I knew it all along, but still felt unsure. My mother’s behavior towards me and the topic, perpetuated my behavior that confused the people who then questioned my sexuality later on. Just because I was a bit more of a tomboy as a kid, society and my own parents boxed me up into their little stereotype. But trying to fit a square peg into a round hole doesn’t work.

Getting that turned on just by looking at a guy…. theres no way I could be a lesbian.