Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Crazy Train

Where does depression hurt? Right fucking here, damn it!

Hi! My name is Mimi LaRue and I am bipolar. I've been bipolar for more than 20 years. In my teens and early 20's this presented itself with many thoughts of suicide. Thankfully I didn't actually act on those thoughts. In my early to mid 20's depression manifested itself in...let's just call it "risky behavior." In my late 20's I broke up with the love of my life and married someone equally as fucked up as myself. When I had my son I saw that my life wasn't just about me anymore and found it much easier to fight through the rough times. I had something to focus on to keep my mind busy. When I lost my daughter, I chose to use that loss to make positive changes in my life and not allow it to bring me down further. My outlook changed. During the next few years, I divorced my baby daddy, moved back to my hometown (which really is a step backwards for me since I really don't like living here), reconnected with the love of my life, got married to him, bought a house, and had a little girl. All's well, right?

Despite everything being so wonderful in my life, depression can still weigh me down. Unlike when I was a teenager, I understand that it's not that I'm feeling worthless or unloved. It's my fucking brain chemistry. Oh...over the past 20 years or so, I've tried antidepressants and anti anxiety meds. The anti anxiety meds usually rock. But the antidepressants really don't help at all. For me they make me not give a fuck about anything. No joy, no sadness, nothing. I could win a bazillion dollars and be like "meh." That's not what I want out of life. And, I've never understood why one of the possible side effects of antidepressants is "thoughts of suicide." Fuck...that's why I was on this shit to begin with...so how exactly is it helping? Anyway, so I have chosen not to take the medicinal route to deal with my depression.

On top of this, I am manic. This means that literally I could be coming out of my skin happy and over the top full of joy and bursting at the seems and bouncing around (you get the picture) for a period of time...could be a few minutes, could be a few hours...typically it's been a few weeks or even months, then I "hit bottom." I crash. As overjoyed as I was is as miserable and unable to function as I become. It's frustrating for those around me. Hell, it's frustrating for me.

I am in one of those manic down periods right now. I've been trying hard to get up and exercise for the past week. Instead, I get up before the alarm goes off and reset the alarm for a later time...as late as I can get by with and still make it to work on time. In the evening when I get home, I'm so exhausted that I really have a difficult time dealing with either of my kids. I just want to be left alone. I have to push myself to make sure everyone is fed, bathed, homework is completed and checked, studying is completed, etc. All I want to do when I get home is crawl in bed. Last night I fell asleep laying across the bed all wonky like and woke up many hours later. I was only able to do this because my husband was home.

Just getting out out bed is a humongous chore. Caring about anything...well, it's difficult. If someone gets angry with me or snaps at me, honestly I'm less likely to battle it out with them simply because it's just not worth it to me right now. I'd just rather move away from that person and be by myself...because I just don't care and in the grand scheme of things it doesn't really matter. It's not that I don't WANT to do things, I just don't have it in me to do them. If I didn't have a job and kids I would literally stay in bed for days at a time. Thankfully I have the presence of mind to come to work and take care of my kids. I still retain the logical part of myself that understands that my brain chemistry is fucked up and I will eventually "feel" better. I know that if I can FORCE myself to exercise, I will very likely start feeling better. It really is true that exercise is good for the mind as well as the body.

For the moment, however, I really just don't give a fuck about much of anything.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Cat's in the Cradle

The time of the bitter divorce and pitting kids against the other parent is past. The time of tearing each other apart because you can't stand to be married...or in the same room together is past. If parents make the decision to divorce, the children should not have to suffer more simply because one or the other other or both parents are too selfish and childish to suck it up and get along with the other parent FOR THE CHILD'S SAKE.

It is in the child's best interest that parents not only get along, but that they also communicate. In my own situation, my child's father and I had a wonderful co-parenting relationship for a while. We were able to call each other anytime and give information pertaining to our child. We were able to make decisions together concerning our child. We put our child's needs first and any issues we had with each other stayed on the back burner. Our child was so much better for it. We provided a united front.

Well, that was in the beginning. What has transpired since that time has been painful and heartwrenching for my son. My son's father remarried. No big deal, right. I had met at least one of his previous girlfriends and didn't think that there would be any major changes in our co-parenting relationship when he remarried. Heck, I was remarried and we still managed to maintain an open line of communication when it came to our son.

This is no longer the case.

This man's entire demeanor and personality changed when he met this woman. He is completely unrecognizable now. He has become rude, mean, callous, and puts his and his wife's needs ahead of his child's best interests. I used to call to tell him of conversations I had with my son's teachers or doctors. But, since this woman entered his life, I have been told not to call. I have always made sure that my child had a gift for his father for holidays, birthdays, Father's Day, etc. I was told "we'll take care of getting each other gifts from him from now on." This statement I have ignored. I am my child's mother and I will make sure that he has a gift for his father. When my ex and his wife make plans to take our son out of town, I ask questions that EVERY parent has a right to know BEFORE his or her child is taken out of town. Where will he be staying? May I get the telephone numbers and addresses of where he will be staying? How long will he be staying? Will he be at the same place for the entire vacation? What is the airline information? Etc. I don't think it's too intrusive to ask for this information. This is my child and I should know how to reach him and where he is. When my husband and I take my son out of town, I provide all of this information to his father prior to leaving and without having to be asked. I feel it is common courtesy. However, this actually became a problem before one of their vacations to California. I asked repeatedly for weeks for the information via telephone, in person, voicemail, and email. The day before they were to leave on their trip, a mere hours before my ex was supposed to pick my son up from me I finally called him and told him that if I didn't have the information I requested, our son would not be going on the trip.

My ex made it abundantly clear that I was not to communicate with him in anyway, shape, or form anymore.

My son has been telling me more and more frequently that he does not like staying at his dad's house and that he really doesn't want to go. He says he enjoys spending time with his dad, but that he would rather just see him for a few hours and then come back home (my house). My son (without prompting from me) tells me that his dad doesn't listen to a thing he says. He tells me that when he asks about going to Cub Scout meetings, his dad will tell him that they will be going to visit relatives and then when the time comes, they don't go anywhere.

I have always encouraged my son to have a good relationship with his father, even after his father and I could no longer communicate with each other. When he brings his concerns to me, I've told him that he needs to discuss it with his father. What else can I do? I've been told by lawyers that as long as my son isn't being abused, then what goes on when he is with his father is "not my business." That seems so wrong to me. I am his parent. It is my business to know what goes on when my son is with his father just as much as it's his father's business to know what goes on when my son is with me. But, the few times I have tried to discuss anything with my son's father, I was dismissed. My concerns fall on deaf ears.

All that I can hope for now is that as my son gets older he will feel more comfortable expressing his concerns to his father. The problem is that his father is laying down such dysfunctional groundwork that when my son does come out of his shell, it's going to be to tell his dad that he wants nothing to do with him. He's damaging his relationship with his son for the sake of his wife. One day my son's father is going to want to talk to his son. He's going to want to offer advice. He's going to want to be there. But, the possibility exists that it will be too late then.