Wednesday, January 27, 2010

When do we let our parents go?

When do we let our parents go? I used to think it was an only child thing to want to protect your parents to the point that you make yourself sick. Then, through therapy, I learned about a thing called co – dependency. The first thing I noticed going to my first CoDA (Co – dependence anonymous) was that you could protect anyone in your life to the point of making yourself sick. It could be your spouse, parents, children, etc. I also learned it could be anyone, only children, people who feel they need commitments, people with an abusive past. I remember the first movie I saw about co – dependency It explained that if you have an alcoholic father and he comes to your school drunk and you make it your duty to apologize for him and clean him up then you have shame! Shame stays with you forever. Guilt is healthy, shame is not. For me, it’s when my Mom’s in the grocery store and she acts like it’s the end of the world that the bagger didn’t double bag the soda! I used to try to bend over backwards making the bagger feel better. Now I just walk away pretending I don’t know my Mom!

The reason I am bringing this up now is because my parents are filing for bankruptcy (Amber please don’t tell my parents you know, K?). Anyway, yesterday I tried tirelessly to sooth my mother so much that I got a panic attack! I made it my personal duty to make her feel better. Now I am not saying that you can’t try to cheer people up. However, it is when you make your feelings dependent upon another’s that it is co – dependency. I couldn’t even sit still. My Mom took her anxiety pill, but what I did was talk myself out it. I promised myself I would work on it. So you know? Yesterday I had went to bed thinking of how I was going to tell the lawyer that I needed to be in the consultation on the bankruptcy case! Didn’t learn my lesson. Sometimes it’s when we rest and refresh our body that we see the solution. Did you ever hear that “going to bed mad” is a good idea? Well, I did. And I really didn’t “go to bed mad” I went to bed still ashamed of my parents! This morning I woke up and made a decision. I am NOT going with my parents to the lawyer. I told my Mom and we made this compromise, I am going to stay out in the waiting room. I have even picked a fresh new book from my bookshelf to read. NOT MATTER what my parents say, I am not going in there. What makes me sad is thinking that if this had happened when I was eleven years old, I would have gone in there not knowing the difference and my parents would have let me! And I owe to that eleven year old girl, who was the ref. in many arguments, to NOT go in there.

Yes, ladies in gentlemen my co – dependency stems from my childhood. The biggest problem I have to under go in my therapy is realizing that I DON’T control everything. My therapist finally helped me figured it out! She said I feel like I am “God” meaning that I feel I can do things like love people enough so they don’t die is because my parents made that eleven year old sit down and make adult decisions on things that where none of her business. So now it’s 2010 and I am thirty years old. I have had some really crappy friendship in my past (see last entry) and my therapist had me write to my inner child how I would protect her from now on. I think that I have to promise her that I will STOP this co – dependency. I can see a scared little “Mandy” sat in her room, many nights, trying to figure out how to solve her parents’ problems and I can’t go back in time and fix that. However, what I can fix is staying out of the hospital by not holding the burden of the world on my shoulders!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


By Amanda Robin

I thank God with
A heart full of love
That overflows like
The Jordan
For the friends
He has given to me.

It wasn’t always this
I used to stand
Like a lone statue
On the playground
All by my little lonesome.

It got so bad over the years
Repeatedly like nails
To starch on a chalkboard.
That in college
I shelled out money
To buy friends.
They called it
A sorority
But I call it cult

Then recovery came
Like a breath of fresh air.
Then millions of friends
Came on the wings of Angels.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

What happens after Christmas?

I wonder if after Christmas everything goes back to normal. I wonder if it has changed us at all. I mean for a lot of us Christmas is hard. We dread big family gathering and memories of people not joining us this Christmas season. I knew someone who was so concerned about how people would be hypocrites at Christmas. You know she had distaste for Christmas because of those only going to church on Christmas and Easter? My friend told me what happens the rest of time. I mean really where does God go? And she also felt that people were only nice at Christmas. My friend also wanted to know what was up with the rest of the year? Well, guess what? Her sister invited her to Christmas and she walked in the door and cried! Not just cried, but cried for a good ten minutes. I think the spirit of Christmas got to her, seeing her brothers and sister, nieces and nephews, and her dying mother. So what happens now?

Are some of us relieved that Christmas is over? Not more putting on a face and looking good. Are we sad because the spirit of Christmas touched us and now all we have is a little tree in our living room that needs to be taken down? I wonder is it different for people that believe it’s Christ’s birth? We are now ready to celebrate His death. We got more out of Christmas service than opening Uncle Buck’s present. Or is it harder because we don’t have the glory all around us, the promise of something new.

For me it has always been a little smoother transition from Christmas to ordinary time. The reason being is my birthday always falls twenty – seven days from the holiday. This year I am going to be thirty years old! I can’t believe it. However, today I got my first birthday card and I have to admit my tree is still up! It motivated me to take it down and to get ready for the third decade of my life. I can honestly say that I am looking forward to thirty. I heard it once said that mental illness gets better as you get older, but I don’t think it has to do with being older. It’s really the maturity that comes with age. I know several people “in the system” who have never matured and are still stuck in dark periods of the soul.

Living with a mental illness is about learning about yourself. It’s about knowing when your body is a little off. Did you know that you can physically feel something wrong with you before you actually experience a symptom mentally? I was taught to listen to my belly because that’s where I store my stress. When my belly feels all tight and like I am going to puke, I start some deep breathing. Others feel tightness in their neck, aching in their back, or tingling in their legs. Also it’s about heading off symptoms before they get worse. I remember being twenty – one going through my second schizophrenic break and now I know I could have stopped it. I had symptoms before, but didn’t tell anyone because I was afraid of going back in the hospital. I remember the first time I was responsible enough to say, “Hey everyone there is something wrong with me!” In 2006 I was feeling really depressed, I was twenty – six., I told my parents I wanted to go to the ER and I told the crisis nurse that I wanted to be admitted into the unit. It felt really good to be in control of my symptom and I didn’t hear any voices or see any eyeballs.

There comes time in everyone’s mental illness where you learn to manage your symptoms and know your body. I know some ready my blog have gotten a mental illness later in life so maybe at thirty you don’t know your symptoms. However, it’s the same principle with time, and the age that comes with time, you will. Christmas is over, but dealing with the real world isn’t. Let’s not be hypocrites and let's go out there and take care of ourselves. I know my New Year’s resolution was to take better care of myself!