Me, Myself, and the Voices in My Head

A place to ramble and maybe make some sense about a thing or two.

Archive for the tag “mental-health”

Just tired of it all….

No, I haven’t been posting the past few days.  Even my therapist got upset at me because I’ve not been writing.

When you’re in a funk, you can’t write.  You can’t do anything but sit and spin your wheels which just causes more frustration over how you’re not going anywhere in your life.

I can end up waiting up to six months for someone to do something about my ERO/EEOC claim because that’s the law.  Even though I now can’t work doing the job I had because some idiot decided he wanted to make the rules instead of following the law, I have to wait for the legal process to take its course.

I’ve applied for so many jobs in the local area I’ve completely lost count.  And have I heard anything back?  Nope.  Or when I go somewhere thinking I might like to apply and I can already see in their faces the fact that they’re not thrilled over my 86-pound constant companion, I don’t bother.  Besides, I’d rather have her with me everyday than the crap that can happen at most places.

Got news about a family member who’s going through some tough times.  I want to be able to help and give support but I also don’t want to be intrusive.  I remember when I was in a somewhat similar situation and the last thing I wanted was pity from anyone and I usually got a lot of unsolicited advice that didn’t do me much good.  I don’t want to be one of those kinds of people.

One of my friends was to get married tomorrow and her fiancé left her today.  She and her young daughter who had opened their home and lives to him and his excuse is because his biological son is afraid of having to make new friends when he moves.  What a jerk.

I’m trying to help celebrate Youngest Son’s upcoming birthday.  I went to the movies with Husband, Youngest Son, and four of his friends.  They had a great time and I was really glad they could go.  I just feel like I wish we could have done more.

Husband and Youngest Son are currently in the basement doing laundry and playing a computer game.  I sincerely appreciate that they’re doing the laundry because that means I don’t have to do it and I don’t have to go outside to get to the basement.  It’s not a “finished” basement like many people have.  It has a floor and walls, but there’s no way to access it from inside the house.  And with the heat the way it is, I’m not in the mood to go outside much.

And, yes, Depressive is trying to get me to post but I’m so sick and tired of being sick and tired that it’s just been easier to do nothing and sleep instead of trying to come up with something to write and crying while I feel awful.

Maybe I’ll get back on a schedule.  Maybe I’ll stop writing completely.  I’ve already told my therapist that I’m not writing anymore at the moment about my past because I’m getting to big areas that I don’t really remember.  There are a lot of blank spaces in my memory — some last days, some last years — and whatever is hidden inside them I do not want to bring back to the surface.  It wouldn’t be healing; it would be reopening the wounds that my brain has found a way to deal with that doesn’t cause me any additional damage.  I remember trying to deal with them and it didn’t work then.  Time does not heal all wounds.

Advertisements

Almost missed today

Got up at 5 a.m. to take my medication as usual.  Felt really sleepy and did doze for a few moments on the loveseat.  Made the decision to go back to bed after Husband and Youngest Son had gotten up and started preparing to go out to yard sales and a big storage unit auction.

Slept until noon.  Not incredibly unusual when I’m not feeling well and didn’t go to bed on time the night before.  Stayed up late with Husband watching silly movies and talking.  It was worth it.

Ate a little lunch and was convinced by Husband and Youngest Son to go back to bed because I was feeling tired.  Did so and said I’d sleep for about an hour.

It’s now 6:30 p.m. and I’m finally awake.  What the hell happened to me?  I don’t feel outrageously ill.  A little warm but that could just be my own personal global warming at work, too.

Glad I woke myself up ’cause the other two would have let me keep sleeping.  I know they mean well but if I sleep too much in the daytime I can’t sleep during the night and then I get my days and nights mixed up, just like a baby can.  And it happens too easily because of my medication, too.  I don’t need that right now.

So, I hope nothing really earth-shattering happened today because I completely missed it.  And my brain and eyes are already telling me I should be back in bed.

*Yawn*  Maybe tomorrow’s post will be worth reading….

This post intentionally left blank

Well….not totally blank.  Depressive here!  Still writing; still in charge.  More issues on the table today, so I’m not really ready for myself to feel any different.  Not that I have a choice.  But, I don’t want to address things going on here right now, so I’m just going to “skip” today. Keeping my promise of posting but just nothing worth reading.

Greetings from Depressive

Hi.  I’ve been around for quite a while but haven’t had the opportunity to actually post anything here myself.  I’ve been trying to keep me from being noticed but when things get really hectic or stressful or disappointing, then I just can’t stop from showing up to practically ruin it all.

Oh dear.  I see you looking at what I’m writing and you’ve got that weird look on your face.  It’s the same look that my family gives me when they can’t figure out what’s going on or when they think I’m just trying to hide something.  Usually I am trying to hide something — myself.  I don’t like me being here and I don’t like it when I come around just out of the blue.

I guess I should explain.  If you’re a long-time follower of this blog, you already know that I have bi-polar disorder (along with some other absolutely fascinating issues that can cause havoc at any moment).  Now, for those who don’t understand bi-polar disorder, it was originally called manic-depressive disorder.  This is when your brain — or, rather, my brain — decides that it wants to do something different for a while without my consent.  I can either become extraordinarily hyperactive, hyper-vigilant, hyper-emotional.  Just pick a “hyper” and it’s on the list.  This is my manic phase.  This is when Manic appears and keeps me from sleeping for long periods of time (days) or has me obsessing over certain things that need to be done and I can’t stop doing them or I end up listening to the rest of the voices up in my head arguing because they’ve decided that since adrenaline, their favorite drink, is on-tap that they’re going to join in the fun.

Manic and I get along well at times but we do have problems when Manic gets OCD a little over-excited instead of its usual state.  Then I can be in big trouble.

But today, I’m here.  Well, I am always here but the specific “I” that is writing here is Depressive.  I am the one that can take any happy moment from extremely ecstatic to morbidly horrifying in seconds.  I have the ability to just wander up while I’m hearing good news and start whispering all the things that are either untrue (whether they are or not) about it or about how everything from that moment on will go horribly wrong.  And I don’t shut-up easily, either.  I’ve been around for ages and I’ve learned all of my defense mechanisms against me.  Even the medications are having problems with me now.

My favorite one was when I was ordered to a psychology group for manic-depressive people and the class leaders said, “If you just think that you’re happy, you’ll be happy.”  They repeated that a lot.  I raised my hand and asked them how that could be possible especially when I was incredibly suicidal?  Was I supposed to be happy about being suicidal or was I supposed to picture rainbows and kittens and cotton candy and hope that the suicidal bit would pass?

They kicked me out of the class.  Seriously.

For a while I’ve been puttering around here reading what’s being written and critiquing things.  It’s one of the things I do.  I also keep bad things at the forefront of my mind.  The whole ERO issue, for example.  Today I got my paperwork that the informal stage is over and I can now file for a formal hearing.  However, I keep reminding myself that I (1) only have 14 more days left to do that, (2) that I have no idea how the whole process works, (3) that I could really use a good attorney to help me, (4) that I’ve been referred to a really good attorney who wants to help me, but (5) the attorney costs $300 per hour that I don’t have and that leaves me sitting and staring at the paperwork and going back to #1.  And then I start it all over again.  See how much fun I am?

I’ve seen celebrities who have bi-polar talk about their different extremes with cute little names for them.  I don’t do that.  I am a part of me that is the whole me and nothing but the me.  Remember, even the voices are mine.  There are just too many of them at times to not give them their own grouping.

Well, that’s enough about me for now.  I have a prior engagement (I think) with PTSD.  We hang out together a lot.  Of course, I’m glad that I have Celeste who helps me keep myself from overly freaking-out when I get this way.  I’ll probably be around for quite a while longer because there’s so much going on that I have to get involved with and I’ve not seen my therapist for almost three weeks so the environment is just how I like it.  Moody, sad, stressed, and down.

And thanks in advance to anyone who types anything positive about what I’ve written about myself.  But I’m going to be completely honest with you — it’s not going to matter for a while.  When I’m here and this far out in front of myself, it takes a lot longer to get me back with the rest of the crowd.  And I don’t mean to be snappy or make anyone think I’m ignoring them.  I just enjoy screwing with my emotions enough so that I don’t want to do anything.  Well, sleep is always fun.  But I only do that when I don’t need to be doing it.  Like when the medication makes me do it.  Or if there’s a ton of things I need to get done and I fall-over on the couch or the bed and doze for, oh, say, three or four hours.  Tonight I’m going to try to make myself get some sleep because I’m really tired just from being me today.  It won’t work the way I want it to, but I’ll still try.

And….*sigh*….Husband and Youngest Son keep coming in to check and see what I’m doing (occasionally led by Celeste who knows something’s wrong).  It irritates me because while I appreciate their worry about me very, very much I also don’t like it because they have their own things to worry about and I don’t need to be getting in the way.  Plus I don’t like people trying to read over my shoulder when I’m writing or reading something out-loud.  And that’s not “Depressive” saying that — that’s just me.  So I’ll go for now, but we’ll meet again.  Don’t know where; don’t know when.

ZZZzzzzzz….

Best of all he (Odin) liked to sleep.  Sleeping was a very important activity for him.  He liked to sleep for longish periods, great swathes of time.  Merely sleeping overnight was not taking the business seriously.  He enjoyed a good night’s sleep and wouldn’t miss one for the world, but found it as anything halfway near enough.  He liked to be asleep by half-past eleven in the morning if possible, and if that should come directly after a nice leisurely lie-in then so much the better.  A little light breakfast and a quick trip to the bathroom while fresh linen was applied to his bed is really all the activity he liked to undertake, and he took care that it didn’t jaunt the sleepiness out of him and disturb his afternoon of napping.  Sometimes he was able to spend an entire week asleep, and this he regarded as a good snooze.  He had also slept through the whole of 1986 and hadn’t missed it.  – Douglas Adams, The Long, Dark Tea-Time of the Soul

It’s a long weekend and I’ve enjoyed quite a nice, long nap today.  I have to sincerely thank Husband and Youngest Son for allowing me to sleep-in this morning.  Well, when I say “sleep-in” I mean that I did get up at my usual time to take my medications and let the dogs go outside for “walkies.”  But, while they went to yard sales I was allowed to crawl back into bed and sleep away a lot of the stresses from this past week.  I don’t usually do that, but today it was imperative that I do so.  Plus, weird dreams when I’m stressed-out happen and if only I could have filmed it.  I would have made a great B-movie (or even worse).

Can we say “discrimination?” I thought we could!

*Insert loud screaming in frustration noise here*

Well, I just heard from my Equal Rights counselor regarding my long “quest” to find out why I wasn’t reappointed to my job and to try to get it back.  I still have another phone call coming from her when she receives the message of whether or not the person she is dealing with has the right to reappoint me or not.  At the moment, however, I couldn’t give crap one if they try to reappoint me to my old position.  There’s no way I could possibly stand to work for these people after what I was just told they said about me and my disability!

So, quick rundown before I have to go grab another Xanax.  The main Equal Rights Officer I worked with last year to get my reasonable accommodations to have Celeste come to work with me stated that I had proven that I had a disability and with all the letters from therapists, doctors, co-workers, and the trainer of my service dog that I had proven the need and should be allowed to bring her with me.  My assistant Cadre Manager signed-off on all of the paperwork and sent me a memo stating how in the future I was to notify her when I was deploying with Celeste and the rules/regulations that I would have to follow for having her in our field offices.  Basic stuff, all approved, all signed, and copies (both physical and electronic) are saved for my records.

Then, the counselor contacted my Cadre Manager and his assistant to speak with them on why I wasn’t reappointed to my job.  He stated that he’d heard my name but didn’t know who I was.  He also stated that he knew that there were issues last year with me bringing Celeste and problems at the office (which there weren’t any from her, just from others who wanted to pet and play with her) and that she was not a “service animal” but was a “comfort dog.”  Really??  Since when did he become so educated on what constitutes the difference between a SD (service dog) and an ESA (emotional support animal)??  And this is a man I’ve only ever spoken to once since I started working for him in 2009 because he never returned my emails or phone calls and I always had to go through his assistant.

And speaking of his assistant, she was very quiet throughout the interview.  I have her signature approving my request for reasonable accommodation but she told the counselor that all of that was handled at headquarters by the ERO officers.

I was right!!  They were discriminating against me when they didn’t reappoint me.  The Cadre Manager stated that my “comfort dog” would cause a problem and I couldn’t be deployed or retained because of it.  Also, he said that he had to drastically reduce the number of people he had employed but he only released two people in my section.  I guess all of the people who I trained last year will be able to go on to have full employment and success now.

I’m not expecting to get my job back because he said he’d be happy to write a letter of recommendation for me (which was the easy-out option given if they weren’t going to keep me) and I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t want me back anyway now that I know what I know.  But, I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.

I’m shocked.  I’m flabbergasted.  I can’t believe that someone would be so bold to basically state outright that my disability is the reason they didn’t keep me — especially since this is a FEDERAL position and there are FEDERAL laws to protect the disabled.

You can be sure I’ll keep things updated as more info comes in.  However, for anyone who thought I was just uselessly chasing a dream, I’m not upset and I’m not going to dance around with my tongue sticking out and my fingers in my ears saying “I’m right and you were wrong!”  I’ve always had a tenacity to grab hold of something and see it all the way through to the end, regardless if I’m right or I’m wrong.  I’m glad that I have that now because I have proof that I was right this time.  And anyone who feels that they’ve been wronged should be brave enough to stand-up for what they believe in and fight for what is right.  I hope I’ve been a good example.

Now I need to try to relax before I pop a vein in my head.  That would kind of make going on to a formal complaint process difficult.

Not in the mood again….

*sigh*  Just not in the mood to post anything.  Have been on the computer all day trying to post items on eBay and still have a lot more to do tomorrow for my business’ website.

My eyes are exhausted, my brain is frazzled, and my emotions are depressed.  I even polled the voices in my head and they came up with a unanimous “I got nuthin’ today” answer.

Oh well, better short and staying on schedule than not posting and freaking-out about it all night.

Am I paying for this???

Today I had another therapist appointment.  She began the session by trying to tell me about Jay Leno on the “Tonight Show” last night and how she really liked this “black female comedian who must be new.”  I mentioned the name Wanda Sykes and she said, “Yeah!  That’s her!”  I began to list a number of television shows, movies, and voiceovers she’d done before and my therapist still had no idea who she is but thinks she’s the funniest person she’s heard in a long time.  I agree, Ms. Sykes is funny.  But then my therapist attempted to recount the entire conversation and all of the jokes between Jay and Wanda, but she couldn’t remember all of the bits.

She sat there trying to tell me jokes and repeat what had made her laugh so hard but couldn’t remember all of the punchlines or even some of the stories.  What she did tell me didn’t make any sense at all.

Then she began to tell me the story of how her dachshund had escaped from her house when a friend was dog-sitting and the very intricate details of how turkey hunters and neighbors (she lives in the country, so “neighbor” means “lives within a mile of you”) had seen the dog but weren’t able to catch it.  On and on the story went and she was stunned that the dog had been gone for 15 days and had survived.  The vet says it has tapeworms now because it was probably eating rabbits while it was away.  She couldn’t believe that her dog, a pampered pet, could kill something.

I reminded her that dachshunds were bred for hunting and ratting.  They’re low to the ground and have short legs so they can follow their prey into the burrows.  And, most importantly, that it’s a dog and when hunger sets in it’s not going to debate over whether or not the food comes from a can or hole in the ground.  It will go back to its nature and hunt, especially if it’s a breed originally designed for that.

She kept on-and-on about how shocking it was and could I possibly believe that her dog (which I’ve never met) could do something like that and then, oh by the way, did I know that her pig was getting bigger?  I had to stop for a second and ask her to repeat herself.  She was telling me that the small piglet she’d been bringing into the office because its mother had stepped on it and it had a large wound that needed to be cared for was doing much better and is getting bigger.  She also asked me what she should do with such a large animal.  She’s raised pigs before, so she knows that sows can become VERY large.  I suggested that she make it a banquet centerpiece but she said there was no way she could eat it.  She might consider breeding it but she doesn’t know what to do with such a large animal.

Hey….here’s a fun fact — if you breed a very large animal, its young will also become very large animals!!  If you think you don’t have room for one now, having a bunch of others isn’t going to help your space issues!!

I was about to ask, “Am I paying for this time?” when she finally asked me a question about how I was doing.  I asked if she was telling me these disjointed tales as an example of what it’s like to talk to me and she said that she didn’t realize she’d talked so much.  She then asked me why I’m not writing a novel and wanted to know more details from some of the posts that the voices have been writing and suggested I take them and write a book with them.

Yeah….people really want to read the Great American Novel about a plain kid with a dysfunctional family who’s bat-shit crazy.  Sure, it will be the top of the bestseller list in the category of “Most purchased for use in lighting fires” or “Most purchased as cheaper alternative to toilet paper.”

So, my one-hour session didn’t quite last that long today but at least it gave me subject matter about which to post tonight.  I was too depressed to type much today anyway and still am.  However, the goal of having a post every day is intact.  My OCD is still sated for another 24 hours.

They’re back! Voices in charge again!!!

Aha!!  The voices in my head are still going at it.  Oh sure, it’s been a few days since they last ranted like this, but I think that’s just because they’ve been saving it up for a nice explosion.  One where not many people come out happy or unscarred.  One where the majority of people who read this won’t give a rat’s ass and others will either be embarrassed, offended, or so confused they won’t know which opinion to choose.

Things are just stupid all over and I have no idea why.  I hate chaos and disorder except when the disorder is created by me.  Then it just looks like disorder to others but I know where everything is and I don’t want anyone touching it.  But the past few days/weeks have me remembering more in the continuing story (which I’ll get back to soon) and watching things happen that just have me shaking my head in disgust and frustration.

Example:  Husband read a post by Half-Sister on her Buttleaflet account.  She made a comment.  He replied to the comment.  Nothing offensive, just an opinion.  She called him an asshole and de-friended him.  So what?  They’re adults and can do whatever they want.  What I thought was strange was that she did the de-friending after calling him an asshole and that prevents him from seeing it.  He didn’t know that she’d responded until I was on my account and saw what was posted.  Not that either of them care, I’m sure — they’ve never gotten along for a laundry list of reasons (some I know and some I don’t) and I don’t think either one feels slighted and/or vindicated by the actions.

So it seemed strange to me when I was reviewing my account online today and found that one of my Sisters-in-Law had de-friended me.  This was weird because quite a while ago we’d had a bit of a difference of opinion regarding something I’d posted somewhere and what she typed to me hurt my feelings.  I let her know how I felt and she replied and I realized that we were both reading way too much into things (which we both admitted) and mutually apologized to each other.  Just recently I’d been seeing posts from my niece but nothing from her mom.  I thought maybe she was just being unusually quiet recently and had even received an email from a mutual friend wondering if she was okay.  Now I know why I’ve not seen anything.  Am I sad?  A bit because we were close in age and had a lot of things in common and always have enjoyed each other’s company.  But, if that’s her choice, then I have to respect it.

So, all of the voices are now trying to get me to continue with the retelling of my story (’cause we’re getting to some of the juicy parts) and argue over whether or not being able to contact family members online is a good thing or a bad thing and lamenting over yesterday being Mothers’ Day and not hearing from Eldest Son.  He sent a brief text, but that’s all.  I don’t want a parade or anything like that but he doesn’t call or return messages anymore.  He didn’t say or do anything for his step-father’s birthday and the last time I sent him info about what Youngest Son was doing he seemed disinterested.  I always take his calls, regardless if I’m at work or in an appointment.  Just as long as answering my phone won’t cause a dangerous situation (like when I’m driving) I answer because I worry about him being far away from home.

But is it “home” to him?  He lives closer to his biological father and paternal grandparents who give him everything he wants.  I see him for maybe a week around the Christmas holidays when I pay for the Amtrak tickets to get him here and back.  He should be graduating from college soon and I certainly don’t want to miss that, but I can’t get an answer out of him when I ask when he thinks he’ll be done.  He used to call me for everything — even issues I couldn’t solve for him but he knew that I’d give him my best advice and intelligent options for him to weigh.  Now it’s nothing.  No texts.  No calls.  No emails.  And he dropped Buttleaflet and the other thing with a plus sign after it when he wasn’t interested in it either.

I don’t really know what to think about much of anything anymore.  I make up my own mind and have my own opinions and invariably someone gets offended.  I explain that my opinions are just that — mine — and that anyone who is offended should (1) say something to me so that I understand that their opinion is different than mine and we can come to a mutual understanding that I’ll have mine and they’ll have theirs and be respectful of it or (2) be quiet about it if all they’re going to do is try to shove their opinion down my throat and tell me what an awful person I am for thinking or believing the way I do.  I have seen and experienced a lot of things I’d never wish on anyone else.  I have friends who have seen and experienced a lot of things — some thousands of times worse than anything I’ve had — that they’d never wish on anyone else as well.  We all come from a damaged background in one way or another.  It was different when people lived tens/hundreds/thousands of miles away from each other and only called/wrote every now-and-then.  With the Internet, everyone is in everyone else’s business 24/7 and people don’t understand that sarcasm/humor/anger/despair won’t translate well through printed words.  So we all (and, yes, I include myself in this) jump to a conclusion based on what we see and what we believe that person would say/do/think.

I try to make a point of stepping-back and thinking about what I’ve read and how it could be interpreted different ways.  I’ve been doing that with a lot of things from my past recently, too.  That’s one of the reasons the voices in my head keep telling me to write more and get things down on paper.  It’s not to beg for pity or to embarrass someone else by airing anyone’s dirty laundry.  It’s trying to see things objectively and get them out of my system once and for all.  The voices have been rummaging through the cabin trunks in my brain to clear out the crap and make more space for the penguins (if you’re a Douglas Adams fan you’ll get that reference).

So now that I’ve gotten that mess out of the way for now, I’ll pick up where we left-off in the story.  My parents decided to divorce and the summer between my 4th and 5th grade years of school they took me on a really long “family” vacation.  Then they waited until the summer between my 5th and 6th grade years to actually finalize the divorce while I was away at summer camp.

I talked briefly about 6th grade but it needs more information.  Not only was I again attending a school where my biological father was the principal but his mistress was the school secretary there as well.  Oh joy.  As if I needed further reminders of how much my life was going into the crapper.  But, I was an honor student and was meeting even more people because the school district had two elementary schools and the students from both combined into one class during 6th grade.  Yay….not only did I have the ones who knew me and knew my dad was the principal but I had a whole new set who would look at me as if I was the privileged one because my dad was the principal.

I can assure you that being “privileged” was far from the truth.  Some of my teachers liked me because I was a good student and I worked hard.  Some of my teachers just outright hated me because they didn’t like my father or his mistress or both and were determined to make my life hell and were upset that they couldn’t fail me because I made high grades in all of my classes.

There was an instance, however, where people felt I was being given too much privilege during my 6th grade year.  Previously I mentioned that I began playing the flute in band in 4th grade.  When I finally made it to the middle school where grades 6-8 attended, my father said that he was going to try to get me into the beginning band (7th grade) because I’d already had band experience.  He also knew that I was going to be bored to death in the 6th grade music class because I’d already learned to play the recorder and the keyboarding part of the year would be equally as boring since I’d been taking piano lessons since 1st grade.

One afternoon, my father told me to bring my flute to school with me the next day and I would be allowed to play with the woodwind class.  I happily entered the classroom the next day and was excited to get back to playing.  The band instructor said that it was “Challenge Day” and we would have to play a section from the book to see who would be placed in which chair based on our performances.  The students in the classroom had already been playing together and were in their “chairs” so I was told to take the last seat and would play first.  I played the piece from the book (which was the exact same book I’d already completed in 4th grade) and did better than the person next to me, so I took her chair and moved up the line.  This continued over and over again.  Each time I would play, then the next student would play, and then I would be moved up another ranking by taking their “chair.”  Finally, I had moved all the way from last chair to second chair.  This is when I got really, really nervous because the person in first chair wasn’t just the child of my 6th grade science teacher but was also a boy.  I’d not played against a boy before and I’d heard that he was very, very good.  He took lessons from the same piano teacher I had started with in our new town and if he could play the flute half as good as he played piano I knew I had no chance.  I was so nervous and I actually made a mistake while playing the same line that I’d been playing all day.  He, however, played it perfectly and remained in the top spot.  I was humbled and highly impressed at the same time.

I didn’t even get to finish the week.  Word spread quickly of what I’d done and how I’d nearly unseated the top player in the class.  How dare I, just a simple 6th grader with 2 years of previous playing experience, walk into a classroom of older children who happened to live in a district that didn’t allow them to begin band (in school, they could have taken private lessons though) until they were 7th graders and do so well?  How could this happen?  Who would allow it?  After enough teachers and parents complained, my father wouldn’t allow it.  He yanked me out of that class faster than I could think possible.  He tried telling me it was for my own good that I stayed with my “regular” classmates but I knew better.  He was always trying to be popular with everyone and if someone said something negative about me being in band, he took it as a personal assault on his character.  It never mattered if I excelled at something — if someone said or even thought anything negative he would immediately stop me from doing whatever it was so that people would think highly of him.

And it just wasn’t in school that he did this.  He enrolled me in golf lessons at the local country club.  I wasn’t the least bit interested in playing golf the way he was.  He bought himself the newest Jack Nicklaus “Golden Bear” clubs and made sure that he was seen playing with anyone he thought could get him viewed in a more positive light.  I had a teeny kids’ set with a 3-wood, a 9-iron, and a putter in a vinyl bag.  Yeah….that was going to get me into the LPGA someday.

I suffered through the lessons and one day went with him to play a round at the country club.  I’d never played all 18 holes but he wanted to be sure he was getting his money’s worth out of my lessons.  As predicted, he did much better than I did on every hole (and he had me teeing-off from the men’s tee instead of the women’s).  Every hole….except one.  There was one hole that had the longest par 5 on the front-nine and from a short kid’s perspective seemed to go straight up instead up a sloping hill.  I got there in par — a feat I was never able to reproduce but I was thrilled.  My father did not fare as well.  It took him more strokes to complete the hole than I’d made but he was still ahead in the game.  It didn’t matter to him.  That wasn’t even the last hole on the front-nine.  He was angry.  No, he was pissed-off in a way I’d not seen for quite a while.  He was shocked that I beat him on that hole.  He couldn’t fathom the idea that a young kid could get lucky (with a bit of training) and make a par on that hole when he couldn’t.

Immediately, he said he was done and didn’t want to play anymore.  Just like a spoiled child, he took his toys and said I couldn’t play in his sandbox anymore.  He wouldn’t finish the entire game.  He wouldn’t finish the front-nine.  He never asked me to play again.

So, with my broken family and the semi-acceptance of “friends” from school and church and my mother’s depression and ranting at me as if I was the cause of everything evil in the world, what was I supposed to do?  If no one was happy seeing me or wanted me around, why should I be?  But, I wasn’t quite ready to give up breathing yet.  Summer was coming and my favorite thing was just around the corner — summer camp in Mississippi.

I escaped to Mississippi by begging my mother to take me a day earlier than usual and spending the night in the nearest town so that I could arrive very, very early the next morning.  All of the campers were allowed to pick the cabins they wanted to stay in, the hobbies they wanted to learn, and the bible classes they wanted to attend.  But, all of those were first-come, first-served.  If you weren’t there early enough in the line, you didn’t get anything you wanted.

I needed this to be a good summer.  She agreed and we went early so that I could be one of the first in line.  I knew that my second week I would get pretty much anything I wanted because they would allow me to pick my cabin/hobby/class before the others would register so that I could help show people around the camp, answer questions, and make sure that parents were comfortable leaving their kids.  I even had one father who, when he heard the name of my hometown, demanded that I look-after his daughter ’cause she’d never been away from home and anyone from where I was from had to be “good people.”  I said that I wasn’t a babysitter and that she’d be fine but we were going to be staying in the same cabin so at least she’d have a friend from day one there.  We actually got along and had a blast that week she was there.

During lunchtime, all of the campers would get excited about mail call.  Some kids were shipped items they’d forgotten from home.  Some kids got care packages from their families as if being in the middle of the forest prevented them from obtaining decent food.  (We got decent food, and lots of it!)  Some would get letters from boyfriends/girlfriends back home but most never received any.  I usually didn’t get mail because it would take 3 days to get there from where I lived and by the time a letter would arrive I’d either (1) have already been able to call home on the weekend (’cause campers weren’t allowed to call except in emergencies during the week) and found out everything or (2) I’d have left after the second week.

This year, though, there was a letter for me.  I was stunned.  The Camp Director enjoyed teasing the kids by pretending there were things written on the outside of the envelope, usually the gooey-eyed type of phrases people thought that people in love would say to each other.  It always got a big laugh and usually helped whomever received the letter he chose to play with feel better.  My family and I were good friends with him, so when he saw this letter I became the target of his humor.  It was funny and I proudly walked through all of the applause and laughter to receive my letter.

It was from my father.  This was very strange.  And it wasn’t handwritten.  He’d typed the envelope and the letter.

After lunch we had a mandatory 30-minute “rest period” in our cabins so that our food could settle before the swimming pool would be open for the afternoon.  Yes, we had a huge lake there but it was much safer to swim in the pool!

I sat on my bunk in the cabin and read the letter.  I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.  I still have the letter somewhere in my house.  I’ve packed it away with other important items but made sure that I’ve put it somewhere where I won’t casually find it but also where it will remain for a long time because it was a great turning point in my life.

My father typed a letter to me saying that (and I’m paraphrasing here) he knew I’d be having fun at camp; that he hoped that I got to be in the classes I wanted that summer; and, oh by the way, that the day I’d left for camp he and his mistress had traveled to Arkansas and gotten married.  He gave a half-assed excuse for not inviting me or letting me know about it before I left for camp and that I should be prepared for them (him, her, and her 2 kids) to pick me up at the end of my second week.

I don’t really remember much after that.  I was shocked and hurt.  To think that he purposefully didn’t want me to know what was going on was the worst.  I can only remember them coming to pick me up in his diesel Chevette and me being crammed into the middle of the back seat between her kids (both of whom I was older than by many years) for the 8-hour drive back home.  No stopping except if they wanted to stop.  No eating anywhere except where they wanted to eat.  It was if coming to get me was a huge chore and not an attempt to help mend any wounds or begin to create a family.  I couldn’t stand it.  It still makes me ill to think about it.  I was ignored the whole way back and dumped-off unceremoniously at my house.

“Well,” I remember thinking to myself one day around that time, “this is it.  Mom’s mad because she’s divorced and has me to take care of on her own and Dad’s being a jerk as usual except he’s rubbing it in my face with his new ‘son’ (step-son, actually) that he’s always wanted.  What’s the point anymore?”

I went to the church camp sponsored by our local church that summer as well.  Fortunately, they drove a bus to get us out there and back so I didn’t have to suffer either of my parents’ unwillingness to deal with me.  I tried to have fun and I remember our group of girls (we were divided by age and gender) doing well on contests, but there were many who didn’t want me in their group.  And I dreaded every day having one or both of my parents showing-up to give me some additional news that should have been told in person but was just haphazardly typed-out in a letter.  It didn’t happen and I don’t think I could have stood it if it did.

Well, poop….looked at the clock and all of my time is gone again.  The voices are still trying to cram words down my arms and to my fingers on the keyboard but I’ve got errands to run.  Need to get things done or Husband will be irritated that I stayed inside all day again.  I know he says he’s not but I also know that it does upset him because I used to be very outgoing and my disabilities are not getting better.  Maybe in the long-run this “therapy” I’m trying with these posts will help.

Could today get any worse?

Yes.  Yes it could.

Thank you for reading.

Post Navigation