Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Crazy

Posted by Anonymous.

Am I crazy? I think I just might be. My mother was, so it would stand to reason that the Nutso might jump from her branch to mine in the ol’ family tree. (She wasn’t like, dangerous crazy. Not really. I mean, she might have been, given a weapon at the right time, but since that never happened, she was generally not physically harmful. Emotionally, however, is a different story… And that wasn’t intentional. She didn’t mean to be the way she was…)

I’ve wondered for years – since I was old enough to observe that other moms weren’t like mine, and that I wasn’t like other daughters -- if maybe, just maybe, I’m cracking up. Maybe my attic has a few leaks, if you know what I’m saying. The idea scares the ever living shit out of me, the thought of being out of control in the same ways that I witnessed for so many years, the very possibility of harboring that kind of beast inside my brain… Why, it’s enough to make me want to scratch my own face off.

You see, my mom was different. Very large Catholic family. Very, very religious. She thought she heard God’s voice as a child, and she may have. Having never heard it myself, I wouldn’t recognize it and have no reason to brush off her claims. (She was a lot of things, but never a liar.) She was her father’s favorite. They weren’t poor, but were rubbing elbows with it. She married a rich boy straight out of high school, he joined the military, they moved overseas to a small island. He became wildly abusive, attempting to kill her every chance he got. She had my oldest sister in a hospital in Germany, alone, when she was 20 years old. They all moved back to the states, and eventually back to the place my mother was born and her family still lived. Her father was diagnosed with cancer and died. Her husband mocked her pain, and in her rage she found the strength to leave him, although she was no longer… whole. The years of terror and pain and torture had left her already-fragile mind fractured. She was still beautiful, brilliant, vibrant and so brave, but there was something foreign in her mind after that, something that warped her view of herself, the world around her and the people in it... She met my ‘father,’ married him, had my other sister. I believe she then had an affair with a man she never identified to me let alone admitted to being with, and then I was born.

She loved us so much. More than I can even fathom. We were her entire world, my sisters and I, or at least everything in it that was good. That love didn’t keep her whole, though. In fact, it frequently acted as a bludgeon she used to break our hearts and her own. She had two major psychotic breaks that I know of, because I was there for them. I grew up idolizing her, and living in terror that I would become like her. She was everything to me- my fear, my love, my hate, my protector and the person I longed to escape. As I got older, she became one of my best friends, the person I loved more than life. She died three years ago. Cancer. Was diagnosed in January, died in June of the same year… It literally tore her apart. One of her obituaries said “died peacefully after a long battle with cancer.” What a fucking load of shit. It was a horrific, swift massacre. Nothing peaceful or long about that “battle.”

Oh! When she died? I was pregnant. My boyfriend of seven years and I were expecting a baby. A little girl. I was the exact same age my mother had been when she had my oldest sister. Did I mention that we were high school sweethearts, and that he joined the military? Or that he was stationed on an island overseas? And wouldn’t you know, he had this really odd habit of getting violent when I made him angry, which happened a lot. (His hurts were small potatoes next to the torture my mom lived with, but he was gearing up for the big stuff with shocking speed and enthusiasm. However, I’m sure we can all see the parallels between her life and mine.) Yeah… So, she died about 4 and a half months into my pregnancy. I turned to my boyfriend for comfort, he shoved me, I fell and went into early labor. Miscarried a few days later. That was three weeks before my 21st birthday. Four months later, I left him. (I know. Really long time, huh? Well, I probably AM crazy. So duh.)

Then I got together with a guy that was my best friend. He was happy, spiritual, beautiful. He was everything I’d ever wanted. He was more than I ever thought I’d get, given the fact that my stepfather and my mother’s psychosis pounded “you’re shit” into my brain for many, many years. Three years later, he wasn’t even a shadow of the man I’d met and I called our relationship off because I got tired of killing him. We ended up being really terrible for each other… I made him sad, and he made me angry. We both struggle with clinical depression, so… bad combination. I loved him so much, I never thought we’d be apart. Leaving him was the most terrible choice I’ve ever had to make.

Now, there’s this great guy. A guy that’s so peaceful, so mellow, so supportive. I have no idea how to be with him. I’m so far out of my depth that I can’t even see the shore, even though he’s right there with me, encouraging me to swim. You can do this, you can be this, it’s okay, I’m right here. After being on an emotional roller-coaster for nearly 25 years, I don’t know how to stand still. I don’t know how to be sane, or even how to fake it. I know he makes me wildly happy, and that he cares for me and understands my issues as much as he can, and is so loving. I know he quiets the static in my brain and eases the terrible grief in my soul. Yet… every day I find something to dissect, something to pick apart and sharpen and stab myself in the heart with. Something that tells me I’m not good enough, I’m fucking it all up, I’m ruining everything and the sky is about to fall in.

I can’t get out of my own head, I can’t stop the shockwaves that keep pounding me down into the terrible, dark hole I know is waiting just beneath this delicate net he’s woven for me, allowed me to weave for myself. It’s the hole my mother dug, the one she was trapped in for most of her life, the one she pushed me toward and shoved me away from. I see it there and know it like the back of the hands I inherited from her- every detail is etched into my mind. I’ve had a quarter of a century to stare at that hole, to slip into it and claw my way back out. I can’t stop staring at it now, from the corner of my eye, even as I try so hard to focus on this happiness in front of me, this reality that could so easily be mine if I could just fix what’s wrong in my head and heart and quiet the voices that scream out so much terror from the bottom of that pit.

I know that the next time I fall, when the net finally gives, that I’ll never get back out of that terrible darkness again.

I am so scared. I don’t want to be this way.

13 comments:

Mr Lady said...

Oh, dude.

DUDE.

My mother is nuts. Dangerous nuts. Her mother was the same. I'm not.

I was petrified of living my life for so long because I was just waiting for her shoe to drop on my head. It just never did, maybe because it's not going to, maybe because I'm not going to let it.

I will say this: I believe with my whole heart that this stuff travels through families. Getting some help, talking to a doctor, was the hardest and best thing I've ever done. I'd really encourage you to do the same.

Anonymous said...

After going through the hell your mom went through, can you blame her? After living in her exact same footsteps, can you blame yourself? Seriously.

Move away from the word crazy. Move closer to 'natural human response to destructive toxic people wreaking havoc on your life and trying to pick up the pieces after the storm has left".

NGS said...

If you're not in therapy now, I would recommend getting yourself to see a good counselor as soon as you are able. It won't make those old hurts go away, but maybe it will help you to confront them a bit and move on to a new life. Hopefully, a new life with some less baggage.

elizabeth said...

My own mother is nuts and did alot of damamge to my brothers and sisters and I. Therapy helped me so much. Please think about it for you too. It will help you so so much.

As for your mom, don't forget what she went through too. Her life wasn't easy.

Anonymous said...

I've always had the same fear as you - that I would follow in my mother's craziness. And really, I think it was major depression which led to some kind of mental break. I've been seeing a wonderful therapist for almost 2 years now, and I'm on anti-depressants as well. That combination has really helped. I've been where you are. Where I've just wanted to die, and not have to feel the pain anymore. The only reason I didn't kill myself was because I couldn't leave that legacy for my own 2 children.

Please get some help. It won't be easy, and it won't get better right away, but it will help. You will have fewer bad days, and eventually you'll have more good days than bad. Take care of you...

Aunt Becky said...

Standing up and raising my hand to tell you that I've always wondered when the other shoe was going to drop for me. When I would become a bipolar alcoholic.

I've been lucky so far. And I think that you and I will always, always wonder if we're going to go crazy.

I wish you luck. And I send you peace.

Kay said...

As I look back at my own mother and hers, I wonder the same things. I see the patterns that were repeated, the signs that appeared.
But you see... there's a difference. You (and I) SEE the similarities, accept them, and want to move past them. Knowing what you're up against is probably the best defense you have.
And didn't you know? The truly insane never wonder if they're crazy. Your insight alone puts you miles ahead of your own mother.
I'll make the same suggestion as the others - counseling. I'm finally doing it, and it's making more of a difference than I ever imagined it would.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I could hardly hold back the tears as I read this. I've been there too. My mom is bipolar and her mother died to young for anyone to know if she was okay. Her grandmother thought that people inside the TV were going to kill her and she spent 25 years of her life in a mental institution.

I'm manic depressed and have a mild anxiety disorder. I am so scared when things go wrong in my life that I won't know what to do and I'll try to take my own life again. I'm afraid its not even my fault that I'm like this at all.

I hope that this man that you love so deeply can give you the strength to finally escape that fear. I only recently met someone who has begun to do that for me.

I am glad you sent this in, it really touched me deeply.

MissAnna said...

I can only echo the therapy suggestions. The fact that you recognize the similarities and want to prevent the cycle from repeating seems like a huge step. But this emotional damage didn't happen overnight and it won't be fixed overnight.

...Lots of positive thoughts your way that you'll get some help and learn how to love & trust the right people...

The Girl said...

Hi, all. I'm the one that wrote about the crazy.

What up.

I just wanted to give a heartfelt thank-you to everyone for your advice and your listening ears. Err... Reading eyes. Whatever.

Also, just an update since I wrote this in like... December(?) : I wake up these days and have to pinch myself in the ass to make sure I'm not dreaming. (Then I scream and punch myself in the eye because my ass, she is a sensitive lady.) My life is more bright and full of life and happiness than I ever thought it could be. I had no idea, literally NO IDEA it was possible to go months without breaking down or wanting to or needing to. No clue!

Dudes. I feel like I've been hatched out of an egg just now, 25 years into my life. An egg with glitter and shit all taped and glued to the outside. A really festive, happy egg that I would have rolled my eyes at before because seriously? That kind of crap does not happen. People aren't happy and bright and smiling and stuff, not real people. Not ME.

I was such a butthole. A butthole with perfectly good reasons for both my butt and my hole, but a butthole none the less. I was so scared to live my life that I WASN'T living. I was dying inside, and crippling myself, becoming jaded, and I'm so glad I'm not doing that anymore. (Also, an aside: I completely understand why my mother was the way she was. I understand more than I can explain - you aren't your mother's care taker for 15 years without understanding what she went through and what her motives are. There is not one hard feeling inside of me, nor has there ever been, against my mother. Just to clear it up.)

Adding to the happiness, and also the panic? I just found out I'm pregnant.

Holy shit!

So yeah. Sorry this is so long -- just really, really, really: Thank you so much for your input and feedback. Thank you for your well-wishes.

To anyone that's felt this way, or been scared like I was (and still am): IT CAN BE BETTER. It WILL be better. Look for a star in the darkness and follow the light, TALK to people, be proactive with your mental health and I promise, I PROMISE, it can be better.

Amy said...

Dr. Phil* says "no baby should be born with a job."

By that he means, "Don't have a baby to fix your problems, and don't lay your happiness on your baby, and don't expect it to fix your life or your relationship or anything else because babies don't even know how to eat or fart, much less fix stuff. Oh, and by the way, being a mom is about a thousand times harder than you could imagine, and you're not going to have time to make your baby fix anything until he's well out of grad school." Ok?

You. Therapy**. Now.

I know things are better now. I just read your update, and I know that you're cycling up, and that's GREAT! Use all that up energy to get yourself as healthy as possible before that baby comes. Get a great therapist who can dig around inside your head and help you reach all the cobwebby corners so that you don't saddle your baby or your relationship with the job of fixing you.

I don't think it's possible to get over what you've been through on your own.

I'm not trying to pee in your Wheaties. I promise. I am ECSTATIC that you're doing so much better than you were when you wrote this. Really. But make it a lasting, permanent change by making sure that you do the hard work of getting healthy.

Let it end with you.

May your baby be born strong, healthy, and an excellent sleeper.

Amy

* even a broken clock is right sometimes.
** Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is great for those "I suck so much, why is he with me? He must suck too to put up with someone as awful as myself..." downward inner-dialogue thought spirals. When I had my kids it became, "I suck so much, if I really loved my kids I'd get as far away from them as possible before I screw them up." CBT taught me how not to do that anymore.

Anonymous said...

I have some similar issues, a long history with not good guys, crappy self esteem, the crazy dark yuck in my head - yah, fun.

Anyway, I finally made a conscious CHOICE to be with a better, healthier guy, and the roller coaster, it stopped. I have learned to enjoy the standing. Sometimes I have to shift a little, and try the merry go round a bit for some motion, but I can stand for a long time now. I have learned that it is ok for it so be easy, ok for it to be nice, and that hum drum - means that shit is not hitting the fan!!

I just had my first baby, I am 33 and she is 5 months. It is hard, so hard, but I am doing it, and I am doing it well. Please take care of yourself through pregnancy, and get LOTS OF REST. In case you missed that GET LOTS OF REST!

I find that being tired makes the crazy come back and poke a bit more, makes me more vulnerable to the yuck. And with a baby, tired is a state of living. But I fight harder, for her, I fake it till I make it, because to see her smile lights up all the corners of my broken little soul. I fight to stand easy, because she needs steady, and she needs happy, and she needs a Mom who can get out of her own head and care for her baby properly. I was doing well before she came along, lots of counseling, lots of support for the husband, and though the tired and the amazing, life altering "Squeee!" of having a baby has rocked my foundation, I can handle it better.

You can do it. You ARE doing it. Just keep doing it. You CAN kick crazy's ass, it just takes some work.

Love, Evolution, and Resilience said...

Every thought I had, has already been said. So... I relate and I'm working hard to stop the other shoe from falling... reaching out a hand and some loving grace... one sis to another.