Failure. Simply not an option.


She stood in the kitchen with tears streaming down her face. Her hands were over her mouth and she tried unsuccessfully to stop the sobs before they began. A gut-wrenching cry escaped from her core and she melted down. The harder she tried to stop, the more angry she became with herself that she wasn’t stronger, and so the faster the sobs came. She loathed this part about herself. She hated when she did this. Angry hot tears burned her cheeks as she sucked in a breath that did nothing to cool her parched lungs. She could hardly take a breath in for all the emotions flowing out of her. She was terrified of herself.

She glanced at the dirty dishes on the counter and her eyes lingered on the long knife that lay there. No thoughts consciously went through her mind. Nothing said, “Oh, I think I will solve my problems by sinking that long knife into my chest,” but the reality was that the image was firmly in her mind and her will was being enacted in order to refrain from doing that very thing. She was horrified.

An unseen force was relentlessly telling her to do it, egging her on, but she didn’t want to, not really. She wanted to run, but there was nowhere to go. There was no where to hide from the voice inside her mind. She was angry with herself. She was so stupid and so pathetic. Why couldn’t she just be normal? Why couldn’t she just do what other girls did? Why was this a big deal? When would she be different? Why was she such a failure? She hated herself. She couldn’t hate herself more than she did right then, except when she thought of how her mom would react when she found her like this.

With that she began to sob uncontrollably.

 

This was the scene in my kitchen on Monday night. The fact that I did not have the reaction my daughter was dreading was good. Truthfully? I never know how I am supposed to react to the fact that my daughter battles weekly, even daily, thoughts of suicide. I don’t know the way a mom is “supposed” to feel about the fact that their child has been battling demons that tell them that ending life is a better choice than fighting through whatever there is to face at any given moment. I don’t know the right way to love my child through pain and torment that only can be experienced and understood from living on the inside of their life.

Her realities aren’t ones I can see nor even understand. Her mind does not allow her to see reality as most of the world out there does. It skews it and distorts it, twisting it in sickening ways that makes me ill just to see from the distance I am forced to keep. I am as close to her as I can be, but I can’t get inside her heart and soul and know her pain more than what she shares. I can’t make it better. I can’t make it go away.

How is a mother supposed to react to that? 

Let me tell you how. WRONG.

Most of the time I get it wrong. Don’t be nice to me and say that I am doing great and that I am doing the best I can. I don’t want to hear it. Sometimes the best you can is just frankly not enough.

I often get mad. I get livid mad. I am not mad at my daughter, but I am mad because she lives with bipolar disorder, OCD, and a host of anxiety disorders dictate more about OUR lives than I want to admit. I can’t change this and it makes me madder than hell. It makes me angry that she can’t just enjoy her life. She is so imprisoned by her mind and her mental illness that I am angry. It affects everything she does.

I don’t always say the right things. She needs to hear “it’s OK” one more time, and I am tired of saying it. Not because I don’t feel it’s OK, not because I don’t care, but because I am tired of needing to say it. I am tired of her mind telling her a lie that requires me to do battle with it daily.

I get impatient, irritable, frustrated and fragmented. I am tired, stressed, sad and alone. Most of the daily routine and battle against her mind falls to me. It is wearying. She feels responsible for this and she adds stress upon herself for this, guilt and anger of her own. It’s a vicious cycle. We both understand it and we talk about it.

I apologize a LOT. I flat out tell her I don’t know what the hell I am doing. I tell her I love her, that I do know, but that’s all I know. I tell her I don’t know how to love her through the pain the right way, but I love her. She gets it. She somehow manages to understand me. She somehow knows in her heart I am trying. And I am. I’m just not doing a good enough job. I’m not.

How do you ever get used to having a child who battles a demon inside that says that suicide is a good option? At the age of 10 she gave it her first real try and it scared the hell out of me. She’d been talking about it since she was 7. She’d shown signs of issues and problems and we’d been in and out of counseling since she was 6. We did everything “right” and still we didn’t have a plan that was helping her, so she tried to end the pain. Now at 15 we have been at this more than half her life and somehow I am no pro, nor old hat, at handling it. In fact, I still sometimes wish I could wake up one day and it would all just be over.

There are days I lay facedown on my bed and sob into the feathered duvet, screaming at God that I’m not strong enough to do this anymore. I’m not strong enough to be her mom. What if I screw up? What if one day I get it wrong and she acts upon this demon of hers. No one will see a mom who tried so hard for half her daughter’s life; they will see that I failed on one random day when push came to shove and she couldn’t hold the demon at bay. They will see that no one was there for her. They won’t see years of trial, pain, torments; successes, victories and massive strides made. They will see the failure. They will see the death.

I live in fear of failure. Not because failure is bad in and of itself, but because failure isn’t an OPTION.

Do you see? Failing means I lose my baby. It means she’s dead and there was no better way out she could find. It could be as simple as I had the reaction she was dreading. A look on my face or word from my mouth that confirmed (in her mind) that she wasn’t worth it. That I was tired of HER, not just tired. That it was HER I hate, not the disease. If I get that wrong, even once…

This is real life here… One with no answers. This is what life behind my front door looks like. It’s raw, it’s real and it’s a hidden life that I don’t live alone.

There are many faces that you pass in the store or on the street that hide lives that live in fear of failure. Lives that are touched by mental illness. I am grateful for my network of support. Living without it is not an option.

If you or someone you love needs support, please get it.  Here is a link to some here in Fort Wayne:  http://www.nami.org.

I don’t have answers, but I can be real. Know that, while I will still share my silliness (like a week where a squirrel decided to move in with us because he mistook ours for NUT house versus a nuthouse…http://ditchingthemasks.com/2014/01/20/mistaken-for-a-nut-house/) I will still keep it honest here.  My guess is that is what someone needs.

Laughter is good. Honesty, needed. Prayers, crucial.

 

This blog, to anyone who questions, were written with full permission from my daughter. She and I are beginning a blogging venture where we will be blogging through the reality and pain from her eye and mine. My hope is that we will give hope and a needed look at reality to what is often an invisible battle waged in homes across the country, and worldwide. We are hoping to be “real “and open an honest dialog. Mental illness is not just school shootings and tragedy. It’s daily life on multiple fronts – including some amazing highs and powerful successes mixed in with the lows.

 

 

 

Sickdays for Moms? Is there such a thing??


There’s NO way Mom’s are allowed to get sick.  Ever.  Right?  It’s just the way it is.

Imagine my surprise when I got a bad case of bronchitis and NO ONE DIED while I was down and out and somehow the house stood up to the onslaught and so did the family!  Join me over at the MOM’s blog for a funny look at the realities of being a parent and battling illnesses.  Reality is ever changing when you’re a parent!

http://moms.fortwayne.com/?q=blogs/post/moms-cant-get-sick

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Mistaken for a NUT house


It’s a nuthouse around here, not to be confused with a NUT house.  Sadly, Mr Squirrel misunderstood the difference.

The kids lately had been complaining about someone being in the house.  I said they were crazy.  When we’d be gone, they’d swear someone was in the laundry room and they were freaked out.  Eventually I conceded that maybe we had a mouse, but it was not a big deal.  Then I heard it.  The insane ruckus that was in the backroom was nothing to dismiss.  The mop slamming, 2X4 crashing, bedding shredding ruckus was even a bit freaky.  SOMEONE most definitely was in the house!  I stopped thinking it was funny long before laughter ever arose.1528477_10203306296564632_1727396376_n

I couldn’t figure out how our nut-lover got inside.  Where did he come IN from?  This uninvited house guest didn’t understand the rules of knocking or asking to be a guest.  He instead chose a backdoor entrance, or more specifically, the apparent chimney on the roof that leads directly into our furnace as a good entrance.  I listened to him clawing and scratching up a storm and tracked the sound and then watched him come OUT of my furnace.  This was not some tiny, little, scrawny, cold squirrel.  No this was a BIG-ass squirrel who was VERY unwelcome!  Thankfully our furnace is behind a little slatted door that was just strong enough to keep him from escaping into the house itself.  What the hell was he thinking when he decided MY house was a good place to move into?  He intended to stay.  He made it clear.

We thought we’d be nice.  Hubby bought a live trap.  Mr. Squirrel was not amused.  He thumbed his nose at us and found US amusing.  He used it as a restaurant.  He’d come in and grab something to go and go back to the little nest he made.  The trap wasn’t holding him.  He remained unconvinced this was a bad place to live.  We were going to have to get tough with our house guest.  He was NOT a member of the Campbell clan and I wasn’t going to have it.

He had hunkered down for the long haul.  A cozy nest of shredded bedding had been cozily made along the wall where he’d knocked over a handful of 2X4’s and an odd piece of boarding from a long forgotten project.  Part of me said, “awwwww” when we peeked in at him one night and saw the rise and fall of his little furry body with his tail wrapped around him like a blanket.  He was so peaceful and happy.  He’d found the perfect home.  MINE!!!  He had learned how to get in and out, meaning he had NO need to ever leave us, save for running about in the trees now and again to stretch his legs.

1604588_10201440582112749_30321111_nIt was time to make him rethink this little apartment of his.  Using a brick, Derek weighted the trap so that he could not just back out of it before the latch was hard and fast in a locked state.  He was VERY unhappy with the fact he’d been foiled!  I cant say it was a bad way to wake up today, on OUR part!  His great annoyance was our celebration dance.  As my husband left with the evicted furry nut-lover, I did a little jig.  We WIN!!

Operation Nut-Cracker was a success.  Now lets just hope this guy is not overly intelligent and that he doesn’t find his way back to us, and that he never showed anyone else the cool spot he found.  I know it’s a frigged cold winter outside this year, but my sense of caring for the furry critters ends when they invade my space!!!  Goodbye dude!  Have fun running in the park!

2014 Resolutions I wont fail to fulfill


Happy-New-Year-2014-1-1This year I am making resolutions, but unlike other years, I will last WAY longer than a week in fulfilling them.  Guaranteed!

(This is a BETTER resolutions list.)

Here’s a list of top things I plan to do and succeed at in 2014:

1.)   Add more JOY.  Everyday.  (yeah, this is so happening.)

2.)  Laugh. A LOT… Not just that little smile/grin laugh, or to say LOL texting, but the REAL gut busting laughter that nearly embarrasses anyone sitting near me.  I want to do LOTS of that this year.  I want 2014 to be the year of laughter.

3.)  To be authentic.  To be more “me” then I’ve been in the last 20 years.  I plan to ditch those masks and let people love or not love who I am, but to be okay with that.  I am who I am and God was okay with that when he made me, therefore, so am I.  No more sugar coating who I am for the masses.  If you cant handle this bundle of awesomeness, take a breather.  Come back when you can, or dont.  I just need to be me the second half + of my life.

1521889_790982800928800_2035079924_n4.)  To be there for my family and be the kind of role model they truly need.  This one is not an easy one, but I pray I can do this as fully as God would have me do it.

5.)  To be the friend I crave.  I want to be there for my friends in the ways that I have always needed my friends to be there for me.  Many will argue that I already am, but the minute you are not intentional about it, you begin to get lax.  So it’s high on the list because it counts.

6.)  What do I LOVE to do?  Do MORE of that.

7.)  What DONT I like to do?  Find a way to delegate so I do LESS of that.

8.)  What is one thing I’ve never done but always wanted to do?  Begin researching what it would take to make it happen…the DO IT before December 31st (At least step 1 to make it happen)

9.)  Do lots of writing.

10.)  Be the best ME I can be.  LOVE that “me” and realize that perfection is NOT on this list.  Not anywhere.

NOW – go make a list of things that you can LOVE achieving in 2014.  One that will make you a better you, and not that will beat you up for not being MORE than you are, but will celebrate the best of WHO you are.