Tuesday, October 16, 2007

1 Year, 52 Days - Posted 1 Year, 54 Days

Every bloody time I try to explain to her how I’m doing, how I’m thinking about things or doing more to be in control of this thing - she shoots me down. Her once friendly tone becomes crisp and curt on the end of the phone line, even though moments before she had been saying “Chat to me later, I want to hear how you are”, and “I miss you so much”. Suddenly, and almost instantly, she will have to go if I have dared to (gently) say that I sometimes feel she doesn’t let me tell her about my OWN achievements, and how important it is for me to tell her, rather than the other way around. How important it is for me show her how I am taking control by explaining what I have said to whom and the decisions I have made ON MY OWN. She never seems to let me get a word in edge ways when telling me what I need to say to my CPN, Doctors or Shrink. She doesn’t hear it when I try to tell her “I’ve asked all those questions”, the important ones, and never seems to accept their/my answers. I’ve spoken to her a thousand times before, asking her to ask me first - what I have done/said so she knows I am perfectly capable of doing so (most of the time) and then maybe, just maybe say - “Great, that is exactly what I thought you needed to say” – or “Good job, you handled that well”; but, no. If she does let me tell her she will focus on the things I didn’t say.

This most recent spat, (tonight’s call) I think, is a result of me telling her I decided to go ahead with the increase of my medication (the Venlafaxine) against both her and my step fathers wishes. My parents seem to think that last weeks ‘mania’ was a result of my medication being too strong – and bizarrely they seem to forget that this has happened before, time and time again, both in this flat and in the old flat. She seems unbelieving that the events of last week has less to do with my medication and more to do with my desire to sort things out, find order in disorder. That my cravings to get things ‘fixed’ in my surroundings will make me fell calmer and more in control and therefore more confident/able to move on (ah, my old friend daja vu, he commeth). How many times have I said that? Yes, I may have made more mess in my quest to find order, but isn’t that how I’ve always been? I can remember as a little girl spending weekends pulling everything out into the middle of my bedroom floor cleaning and tidying for hours in the mayhem, before putting things back in new and interesting ways. It seems old patterns die-hard.

I know there has been many a time when I have needed the ‘full disclosure’ aspect of our relationship, especially when things have become scary and terrifying, but at times it makes me weary, feeling that I have to report on every iota of my day. It also makes me feel that I have to have a list of achievements for the day, in my hand, before I speak to her in the evening or she will think I am floundering and having a bad day. She still doesn’t seem to accept that every day will have moments/hours/seconds of sadness, fear and self-loathing. She doesn’t realise that this is what I have come to expect and that this is familiar territory for me – the way my life has been for a long, long time.

I find it difficult to find a sense of achievement in the small things, like washing up a bowl of dishes, or putting the laundry on, when I feel I have bigger fish to fry, so many times I forget to mention theses small things, which for her – and anyone else, I would assume are a sign that I am functioning on some level. But what do they really think – how could I hold down keeping my own flat, living alone, shopping, cleaning, paying bills on time, getting phone lines installed, paying the stair well cleaner – signing the lease when it expires. I get to my appointments when I need to I make appointments when I need to. Yeah, things get left when the demons are running fast and furious – but isn’t that the same for everyone? I could name four or five of my friends that say to me “God, I’ve got a pile of dishes that I need to do that I’ve been avoiding all week.” Or, “”I haven’t had a wash yet this week” (admittedly this particular friend has small babies, but I don’t think she likes washing anyway), or “I stayed in my PJ’s all day today”. I realise that this standard of living is different for everyone, some cannot go to bed without cleaning up everything, making sure all is fresh for the next day – then there are others, like me, who admit defeat at 10pm and say “Fuck it, I’ll do it in the morning”, and go slob on the couch. I think because I am “unwell’ too, my messiness just proves to my mama that things are just not right. So, I have learned to list my achievements down to taking the hair out of the damn bath plughole, taking out the bins, putting out the recycling, so she sees that I don’t just lie around all day feeling sorry for myself – admittedly I might be doing a lot of this in between naps if I’ve had no sleep the previous night or am having a shitty day. I may also be whimpering when I was the dishes, or change the bed sheets – but by God, I am trying. However, when I do rattle off the list for the day – it never seems enough in her mind, and then begins her bitter diatribe against my medication, my general lack of care from my “team” – it seems anything else everything else gets the blame, but accept that it is down to the depression/anxiety/stress. Maybe she is less accepting of the fact that my medication alone will not cure me, even more so than I?

All of the above is why I haven’t told her about the online “dating”. I know she will take it and rubbish it and point out all the flaws. She managed to do that when I mentioned that I might do it (I think paedophiles and rapists were mentioned). She doesn’t see that this is an important thing for me to do – to reintroduce myself to the other sex - especially since I made the shocking discovery that I have no trust in them and think they are all bastards that lie and cheat and steal (not such a healthy line of thinking). To focus on a life I might have rather than the one I have right now. My intention of giving men some of my bandwidth was for me to regain confidence, maybe learn to trust that others could one day find me attractive, maybe help to trust again, or maybe (dare I say it) just have some fun? I like being asked who my favourite bands are and what I love about film. It reminds me that I am not just my depression. Sometimes I think they forget, like I still do at times, that I am, actually, a 30 year-old woman and I have lived my own life for the last eleven years.

I get angry when she tries to ‘take credit’ for picking me up when I have failed - my broken relationships, my rough times at college, my stressful job. I agree that yes, she has been there whenever I have needed her and for that I shall be eternally grateful, and not one second passes that I do not realise that I am lucky to have her and my families unfailing support – but, and that is a huge, big, BUT – for four and a half years I lived in London, miles away from home - initially with an abusive partner, then alone, then with a partner that couldn’t love me and then fatally, couldn’t love me or my depression. I lived through that, day to weary day, night through sleepless night. I still managed to get up and go to work; I still managed to pay the bills and still managed to live some semblance of a life. I did that. Me; not her, not my family - ME. I talked myself down from ledges when I was terrified and hiding knives under my pillow, I alone fled out into the night when I knew I was in danger. I kept trying when my partner told me her didn’t love me, I kept taking my medication when I was first diagnosed, I alone kept going to work and ran a business. I chose when it was time for me to leave. Yes, she was there at the end of a phone line and sometimes when she could get away she would come down and help out with packing boxes and sorting out finances, but when the phone was back on the cradle or the visit was over, I kept going.

I love my mother infinitely and I am proud to be her daughter. I am gifted with the family I have, and the support and love that comes with them. Yes, they have helped me, both above and beyond, but sometimes, just sometimes I would like to be praised for making the decisions that I have - instead of being reminded how I got there, and with who’s help. The stroke, stroke, stroke, slap, stroke approach of parenting can be hard, especially when you have spent most of your adult life slapping yourself (and feeling guilty) for bad choices made, or for your own screw up’s - never mind being reminded of them if someone you love is having a rough day.

Sometimes, I would like credit for making my choice not to give up and for continuing to breathe; for today, at least.

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