Update on my Mom

My mom was released from mental health on Monday.  I talked to her for a few minutes on Monday, she still seemed a bit high strung.  I talked to her again today.  I thought of calling her yesterday, but honestly, I was afraid to call her and find her drunk or still hostile towards me for having her committed.  My own fragile mental health took priority for once.

I bit the bullet today though.  I called her while I was making dinner.  I didn’t leave a long window of talk time.  I wanted her to know that I love her and I care about what happens to her, but I wanted to let myself a way out if she was drinking or mean.  To my surprise, she sounded better than she has in months.  She sincerely apologized for what she put us through and acknowledged that she was out of control.  Her apology wasn’t one of those self-pity, whiny “I’m sorry I’m such a fuck up” apologies.  It stunned me.  Then she told me how they adjusted her medication and that she realizes that vodka is her monster and when she puts that monster in her body it comes out one way or another.  She hasn’t totally given up the idea of drinking yet, which disappoints me.  But she told me that she no longer wants to drink any  liquor or even beer.  She thinks she will try a glass of wine once in a while, but not for a while because she doesn’t trust herself to go into a liquor store.

I think these are all positive steps.  Maybe after years of alcoholism she has finally hit a turning point.  It’s a shame she only had to try to cut her throat to get there…  In any event, I feel positive about all of this, but I keep reminding myself to be realistic.  She has many times said she’s going to cut back on drinking or she’s going to get clean or any number of other things and then fallen right back into the same patterns.  The only thing I can say is that it took my cousin being killed in a car accident to catapult her into getting off drugs, maybe an actual suicide attempt will catapult her onto the sobriety wagon.

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How I Made It Through My Mom’s Suicide Attempt

What a long title for the post!  LOL  But its appropriate none-the-less.

Last Thursday when I arrived home after committing my mother to mental health because she attempted suicide, I felt drained.  Drained isn’t even a strong enough word.  I felt beaten down.  Like most people with bi-polar disorder and depression and most people who have been through sexual and emotional abuse, I have considered suicide.  In fact, I will say that it’s never far from my thoughts.  When I was having trouble with my medication not too long ago I caught myself staring at my kitchen knives and wondering if it would hurt if I sliced open a vein.  I thank God every day that the sound of my children playing video games or fighting 15 feet away kept me from finding out.  But my mother, being bi-polar, an alcoholic, and an abuse victim (many times over), does not have the in your face reasons to prevent her suicide.  So, with vodka courage, she held a knife to her throat. 

I understand the urge, almost a need, to end the seemingly endless pain that is life sometimes.  I understand the desperation to escape the feelings of worthlessness.  And on Thursday night, when my husband was leaving for work and he asked me if I was okay and would “all be right in his world tomorrow” I could only give him a blank stare and tell him I was fine.  In a way, I thank him.  He made me angry with his comment, as if “his” world is the only one that counts.  But at least I felt something, instead of blinding numbness.

I sat here on my couch, in front of my laptop for a while.  I listened to my phone ring, but I didn’t answer.  And then I picked up a bookmark that I purchased at the end of May on a day trip with my kids to some local caves.  It’s one of those ones with the penny that has a shape cut out of it.  This penny has a cross on it, and the bookmark one of my favorite writings:  “Footprints In The Sand.”  I know it by heart, but I sat here and read it anyway.  As I read, I could feel myself getting lighter and lighter.  By the time I got to the end, I knew I was being carried through this very difficult time and I knew I would be okay.  I prayed to God for strength all through Friday and he provided it.  When my mother called me screaming, I made it through.  When it was time to go collect my work for the weekend, I made it through.  When I was taking call-offs and emergencies (and there weren’t many), I made it through.

And now I know what I want my next tattoo to be.  I want something symbolic of “Footprints in the Sand.”  My tattoo artist thinks I have lost my mind.  If any of my wonderfully creative friends out here in internet land has any ideas, I am open to suggestions.  This has to be just right.

I Don’t Know What To Do

My mother tried to kill herself yesterday evening.  I had her committed to mental health.  Her bipolar medication was messed up and things are seriously bad.  She has already called me yelling this morning.  I don’t know what to do.  She doesn’t want her pets at my house, she told me to have them euthanized.  I’m not going to do that, but I don’t know what to do with them now.  She doesn’t want to see anyone.  She said they had her strapped down most of the night and that she broke the restraints once.

I feel so lost and alone.  My husband doesn’t care for my mother because of all she has put me through, but she’s my mother.  He says she wouldn’t actually kill herself, but I know this time he’s wrong.  She had a box cutter to her throat and only missed her jugular by half an inch.  My grandmother isn’t well, and this is so hard on her heart I’m afraid she is going to end up in the hospital.

I don’t know what to do.  I’m already late for work, but I called in and I can go in this afternoon.  I’m also on call all this weekend.  But I just don’t know what to do.

Can you still be a victim of child abuse at 32?

For the past nine years, well most of my life really, I’ve been dealing with my mother and her various addictions.  When I was a kid it was just pot, by the time I was a teenager she’d added pills into the mix.  At 14 I can remember checking to make sure she was still breathing.  When I moved out, into an apartment with my boyfriend, it moved into crack and heroin.  She kept those things secret from me for a long time, or maybe I just didn’t want to see it.  Sometimes I wish I could have stayed blind.

I got married at 23 and pregnant two months later.  During my pregnancy, my mother’s house was raided by the police, my stepfather was in jail, and we were battling to keep my mother out of jail and get her clean.  It was a futile battle of course, because you can’t force someone to stop using drugs.  Take it from me, you’ll make yourself crazy and run yourself down in the process.  I tried to detox my mother at home, cold turkey, from 10 bags of heroin a day.  I will talk more about that another time, I’m just not up for the emotional beating rehashing that would bring me.  Let it suffice to say that it took almost two years for her to get away from the needle and the catalyst was the death of my cousin.  My cousin was my age and killed in a car accident.  I think the shock of how she was throwing her life away as opposed to how someone who’s life had barely started had been stolen really shook her up.

She made it about a year, maybe 18 months.  She didn’t start using heroin again.  She started drinking.  Now you might think that this is an improvement.  And honestly, for a little while, it was.  But my mother is not a good drunk.  In fact, she’s a mean drunk.  She is a blackout drunk.

She ended up with a man just a few years older than me who fed her alcoholism.  Once he’d found his way in, he became abusive.  But only when they were drunk and only when no one that cared about her was around to see it.  She ended up with brain surgery because he’d beat her so badly she had bleeding on her brain and clots.  We just found out recently that all of her back pain is being caused by three fractures that didn’t heal properly.  He ended up spending time in jail for violating a PFA (protection from abuse) order against him.  The PFA was filed because after my mom threw him out of her house he kept breaking in.  He held her hostage (and we didn’t know it) for almost 36 hours at one point.  Smashing phones, disabling them, keeping her from leaving…that was all part of his MO.  But after this stint in jail, he was released in June, she managed to stay away from him and keep him away from her (at least that we were aware of).  That is, until this weekend.

I got a call on Sunday from my grandmother.  No one had heard from my mother or seen her car since early Saturday morning.  I, myself, had talked to her Saturday around 10 am.  That was the last contact anyone had had with her.  I went to the house and the dog and cat had not been fed, the place was a wreck, the mail had not been collected, and the back door left unlocked.  This was so out of character for my mother, even in during the worst points of her addictions, that we all very, very concerned.  After over an hour of called everyone on her caller ID and getting no results, my grandmother and I decided it was time to call the police.

We filed a missing persons report on Sunday at approximately 6 pm.  Then we waited.  We were worried that this ex-boyfriend had gotten her and hurt or killed her.  A very valid fear considering his past abuse and his family history.  At around 8:30 we, my husband and I, decided to get her dog and take her home with us.  My husband, my aunt, and I went back to her house.  A news crew was there and I did a quick interview in hopes that someone would know were she was or what had happened.  When we went into the house, it was obvious that someone had been there since we were there earlier.  Things were moved around, lights were off, the deadbolt had been locked, and the mess in the kitchen had been cleaned up.  Very disturbing since no one else has a key and my mother is still nowhere in sight.

We returned to my grandmother’s, called the police again, and waited.  Shortly after 10 pm my husband and I decided we needed to head home.  Our kids were here with a babysitter and I needed to get things ready for school the next day.  We gathered up the dog and went to the car.  As we were getting ready to pull out, didn’t my mother’s car pass us going down the hill.  We did a three-point turn in the middle of the hill and took off after it.  The car pulled in at my mother’s house and as soon as our car was stopped, I jumped out and ran to the driver’s side.

It was my mother.  She saw me coming and tried to back up and take off.  My husband jumped behind the car so she couldn’t go anywhere.  She refused to roll down the window and it only took a minute to realize why.  HE was with her.  I grabbed the door handle and yanked it open and began screaming at her.  She was so drunk I can’t imagine how she was able to drive.  After a few minutes of screaming, I let her go.  I was hysterical and completely out of control of my emotions.  She took off down the street without a backwards glance.  We put the dog in the house and went back to my gram’s.

We were able to stop the new report, thank God.  And after a call to the police to tell them what happened, they were on the lookout and ready to arrest both of them.  You see, even though the PFA was against him, because she was with him willingly she was also violating it.  Also, if they’d have caught her driving she would have been arrested for a DUI.  Somehow, though, she managed to get home before the police ever caught up with her.

So I have to ask myself, the roller coaster I was on…the fear, the worry, the anger, the hysteria…can that be considered child abuse?  I’m not a child anymore, but when faced with the possibility that your mother has been kidnapped or murdered you certainly feel like one.  There is obviously no doubt that she put our entire family through hell and all she had to say for herself was, well I was drunk and I thought it was still Saturday and then finally I thought I’d get away with it.

The excuses are getting old.  I’m getting tired.  I told her the next time I got a call about her drama, it would be when they called me because she was in the morgue.  Is that wrong?  I don’t know how much more I can take before her problems break me.  My own problems, mental and physical, from the abuse I’ve suffered at the hands of my father and my grandfather are debilitating enough.  I don’t think I can spend the next nine years as I have spent the last nine years–cleaning up her messes.

I don’t know.  The whole situation is fucked up.  Add yet another scar to my already damaged soul.

Everyone Has Scars

I think the most often told lie is that someone had a great childhood.  I’m trying with my kids, but I know at some point (if I haven’t already) I’m going to screw up.  My only hope is that I don’t hurt them in ways that leave scars that fester like mine do.  If people were really honest though, I feel sure most would find that they have been abused emotionally if not physically and sexually.  The hell of it is, a good portion of the time it’s the people who should be taking care of us who are abusing us.

My abuse began as early as the womb, at least from what I’m told.  This wasn’t abuse directly aimed at me, but when someone is forcing pills down the throat of a pregnant fifteen year old girl…well the fetus inside her is not only getting the effects of the pills, but suffering from the emotional roller coaster she’s on as well.  It’s amazing I’m even alive.  My father, and I use the term loosely, was a brutal man who took advantage of and brutally abused a young girl who was an easy target because of sexual abuse at the hands of her stepfather and the subsequent emotional abuse at the hands of her mother.  My mother was also given pills at an early age, uppers to help her be able to do housework or whatever, and then downers to make her sleep.  But, this isn’t about my mother, it’s about me.  So let is suffice to say that my mother was a child when she got pregnant with me and the abuse she suffered both before and during her pregnancy was a catalyst to my own abuse.  Her home life made her vulnerable to my father, a man almost five years older who had already been to jail, not to mention an habitual drug user and later discovered to be a paranoid schizophrenic.

My mother moved back home before I was born and was divorced by the time I was two.  That did not stop us from going back and forth between my father’s house and my grandparent’s house until I was seven.  We would live with my father until he beat my mother badly enough that she would run for her life and then when things started grinding on her at my grandparent’s house we would go back and start the cycle over again.  And while I don’t remember seeing or experiencing what she went through until the last day, I know that it effected me. 

 Thus my first scars, formed even before my first breath was drawn, grew as I grew until I feel like they’ve overtaken me.