I apologize in advance if my ramblings this evening sway too and fro. If they seem to be scattered. My thoughts are scattered so it would be fitting. There is, however, a method to my madness. I can only hope that I get my point across. That someone will take something away from my words.
My heart is heavy this evening. As my mother lies in a hospital bed several hours away I am numb. She overdosed yet again. For 25 years we have watched as she battled personal demons. I am pretty sure that she has been battling these demons for a lot longer than 25 years.
I have only been able to forgive my mom recently. I have spent my adult life angry. Angry at her. She grew up under dismal circumstances to say the least. Her mother was absent for most of her childhood. She was raised by her father. He did what he could. She had no mother. She had no one to teach her how to be a mother. My mamaw was a nurse. She lost her nursing license when she was caught stealing medication. She also had a heroin addiction at some point. My mom walked in several times while her mother was shooting up with a friend. Yes, my mom grew up under dismal circumstances to say the least.
She did, however, have two daughters that needed her desperately. We were not important enough for her to get past the hell that was her childhood.
My sister and I have gone through life without a mother.
Every momentous occasion in my life is coupled with an attempted suicide or her being committed. My son’s birth. My graduation from college. My daughters wedding. Those are just a few.
This evening, a family member asked if my mom was committed around the time of my daughters wedding. It had been a question “weighing heavy on her heart.” Yes, she was committed around my daughters wedding. (She was also committed numerous times over a 25 year span.) She went on to say that she “knows why my mom was committed around that time. It was because her heart was broken due to the fact that she wasn’t allowed to come to my daughters wedding. I knew what was coming next. “Julie, I have to ask, why didn’t you let her come to the wedding?” She knew but I guess she wanted to hear it again. Without hesitation I told her exactly why. She ruined my wedding. She dictated who would be at my wedding, leaving my dad and all of those relatives out. She bought my wedding dress, I had no say. She told me I didn’t deserve a wedding. So, my mom was not welcome at my daughters wedding. “What did Casey think about that?” Well, my kids have seen my mother a handful of times over the past 25 years. There has been no relationship. So why would Casey have cared if she was there or not? This person was laying the October committing at my feet. She is dead wrong. She had no right insinuating that I caused it. I have not lost one ounce of sleep for not inviting my mother to my daughters wedding.
If you haven’t walked in my shoes, you have no right to tell me how I should feel. How I should act. What I should have done. And if you have been in my shoes, you do you and I’ll do me. I can guarantee you that our outcomes are going to be different and that is ok.
I have spent the past few days looking for articles or blogs from my vantage point. From my sisters vantage point. What I have found is that there is much “out there” talking about what it’s like to have a mental illness. There is not much information “out there” regarding what it is like to be the family member of someone with a mental illness.
Are people scared to talk about it? Are they afraid that they might offend someone? I am not scared. I will tell you what mental illness does to family and friends. I will be candid.
Maybe, just maybe someone who is suicidal will read my ramblings and understand what they are doing to those around them. Maybe my words will resonate with someone who harbors guilt or anger. Maybe they will realize that they aren’t alone and their feelings are normal.
Mental illness is real. It is ugly. It is destructive. It is soul sucking.