Under Water


What’s on my mind right now:

  • I worry that I’ve ruined my son by making him so comfortable and confident about being a person with mental illness that he has no motivation to work on his challenges and thinks that if people don’t like him exactly like he is then they can put a stick up their noses for all he cares.
  • My left hip has been hurting me for months now.  I rarely mention it to anyone unless I’m in a group of women discussing their hip replacements and pains.  Back of my head is the knowledge that it doesn’t matter if the joint degenerates and cripples me, I can’t get a hip replacement.
  • We still don’t know if we get to keep our house.  Silence from the bank is unsettling.  Philip keeps meaning to call for an update but I don’t think he wants to make the call in case it just means finding out we didn’t get approved for HAMP.  15 months of this uncertainty and counting.
  • My teeth need a major dentistry overhaul.  I apparently chose to take a vacation instead of taking care of my teeth and the gravity of that decision is only now sinking in.
  • When I don’t drink beer for four days it’s amazing how I’m just fine.  Except for the sleep thing.  It wasn’t really horribly bad until last night.  Last night was so bad I want to punch things today.  Insomnia alternating with nightmares.  Took me two hours to get to sleep, then when I did I kept waking up from the nightmares.  Nathan Fillion and I are no longer dream BFFs.  I will soon make an appointment with my doctor about the sleep thing because I’m committed to not drinking beer or any alcohol at least 4 days a week again.  It feels good.
  • Max’s eating.  Always there.  This anxiety.  I get so tired and give up.  Then I make a push for a while and sometimes get some fleeting results.  Then I’m exhausted and depressed from it so I give up.  The cycle is never ending.
  • Max’s sleep issues.  In our case the apple actually never fell from the tree at all, we’re apparently so much alike.  It makes me so sad.  So fucking sad that he should be at all like me.
  • Been feeling really depressed all summer.  It’s always like this in summer.  Worse than usual this year.  I’m really depressed all the time if I’m being totally honest.  Will talk to my doctor about this too.  I hate to have to up my medication.  Especially after what I experienced when upping my paxil.  I’m still wearing that consequence on my bones.
  • I’m being continually haunted by the first chapter in Jane Doe and know that the whole book has to be consistent with it.  I want to dive in.  I am feeling itchy to bury myself.  It’s calling out to me that it’s time.  It’s ready to be written.  Can’t scratch that itch.  Canning season is here, my family needs me, I can barely find the time to even cook anymore, work needs me, and my head is too cluttered.
  • I’m also scared of where that book is going to emotionally take me.  I know in my gut that it’s the one that’s going to scream the loudest if I don’t bring it out into the light.  It’s a dark dark place.  You can’t ignore what you were born to do because if you do the rest of your life will corrode around you.
  • Scared of how Max’s mind is practically an adult’s mind and yet his emotional state is younger than his years.  Scared of the stark divide between his toughness and his vulnerability.  I don’t know how to raise him.  I think I may already have ruined him.
  • Skin issues bother me and nag at my head.  My skin hates me.  Max’s skin is sensitive too.  Every time a mysterious rash appears or my athlete foot returns (I think that’s what it is) or rough patches show up I feel sharp anxiety as though it is the signal of the end.  Maybe a sign of the apocalypse I don’t even believe in or maybe a sign of physical decay or oncoming cancer.  I know it’s irrational.  That does not make me feel better.

Being a mentally ill mother is not a good gig.  I’m heartbroken when I realize the things I’m not doing for Max because I’m too tired to do it or too stressed to cope.  I should be enforcing more chores on him and creating more independence in him but his challenges mean that chores require 100% supervision from me and I don’t have the energy to do that when it’s so much easier and faster and less frustrating to just do things myself.  I know it’s a disservice to him but I just don’t have it in me.  So when people criticize him for being “lazy” and for not doing anything himself as though this is some terrible shortcoming in him I want to scream at them to leave him and his character the fuck alone because it’s MY FAULT AND MY SHORTCOMINGS they’re criticizing.

Then I just want to tell everyone to fuck off.

For god’s sake, this is not a cry for help.  This is just sharing.  Share back if you like but please don’t try to “fix” my problems.  I am not helplessly experiencing my life.  I have doctor’s appointments to make, I have sleep to try catching, I have my child’s therapist appointment to make.  I have medications to take and possibly more that are needed.  I don’t want a list of things I should do to help myself or my kid.  I’m a pro at being mentally ill.  I know that this is just part of the cycle.  I know how much in my head is irrational.  I know how much my brain blows up my worries, my fears, and my depression and projects them on the dirty back wall of my brain.

What I want is support.  What I want is to hear that others sink too.  I want to know that other parents drown under their responsibility.

I want to not be alone with all this in my head.



  1. If you wanna hear the details drop me an email, the stuff involved isn’t stuff I am happy having in a public comment on the interwebs.. but I am more than happy to share.

    Believe me you ain’t the only one that sinks. Anyone sinks with enough pressure. You aren’t the only one that wishes that the world would go f*** itself right now. You aren’t the only one who’s parental responsibilities weigh heavy on each breath and half the time stand there dazed and wondering what the hell happened for you to find yourself here.

    I don’t care what anyone says, not even you, teaching Max to be comfortable with his mental illness is not “ruining” him. He will work on the challenges of his mental illness for his own reasons and in his own time, working on them to please others is just “a paved path to hell”.

    You have my thoughts, my support and anything else that you need that I can give.

  2. Robin says:

    I know I have shared life with my ex with you and then all the fears of what that brought to my children plus what I already deal with myself and I know you guys have your hands full too. Even so callled Normal parents have these same challenges…maybe not to the extent that you do in your household but I guess what I am trying to say is hang in there you always do the right thing in my opinion for you and Max. You are the best parent he could ever have because you understand so much about him…I would truely suck at this. I love that you are so open and sharing about this mental illness issue. I think we all suffer from some minor or major mental illmess it is just part of being human. Just rememberyou are not alone in this you have a lot of people in your support to bounce things off of. Many of them are or have gone through what you are. You don’t whine or cary on about things so it is easy to forget you are suffering too my dear friend…just know that we are here for you…

  3. Aimee says:

    Oh god, I think we all are scared we’re ruining our kids for some reason or another. Really. I worry so much about how my kiddos are going to be when they hit the big, bad worlds of junior high and high school, because, yeah, I’ve probably babied them more than most other moms baby their boys, while simultaneously yelling at them way too fucking much for probably no good reason.

    Big hugs coming your way. Wish I could give them in person.

  4. Jay says:

    I will only say that you are not alone with all this in your head. In writing about it, I supect there is release, and your readers not only feel compassion for you, but respect your abilty, and willingness, to express what we daily repress. You have no idea how much we value your gifts,…though we wish they were easier for you to bear.

  5. angelina says:

    Thank you! That is just what I needed to hear. On a rational level I always know I’m not alone but sometimes I need to really hear it. I’ve found a local support group for parents with special needs kids. I will check that out. I need support in this adventure. I don’t typically do well in group environments but whatever my anxieties might be around it I suspect the good aspects may outweigh the stress I feel in group environments. Like- what if all the parents turn out to be very conservative religious people?

    Writing about it definitely gives me a sense of release and eases my head quite a bit.

  6. angelina says:

    Oh- and I was going to say that I do wish there was a support group specifically for mentally ill parents parenting mentally ill kids because being mentally ill myself presents a lot of challenges and difficulties in parenting that parents with good mental health don’t have to contend with. They come to the challenge of raising mentally ill kids with more bullets in the chamber than I do.

  7. Karmyn R says:

    Kind of off subject, but not really – My MIL just had back surgery because her HIPS were killing her. And it turned out to be her back – not her hips. So – my advice is “get your back checked” at some point.

    I can’t drink beer anymore either. Without a thyroid, I just can’t metabolize it like I used to…1/2 a beer and I”m gone. It’s so sad.

    And I think you are one of the bravest women. Sometimes life sucks – it is challenging. (that’s when I grab a book and disappear for a couple hours and let my kids eat candy)

  8. angelina says:

    Karmyn- I can see how back problems can make hips hurt. I’ll bear that in mind. However- since breaking my other hip 6 years ago I know that the pain has made me put more pressure on the one I didn’t break and also my weight makes all joint issues worse. When I manage to get rid of more of it I think I will find it hurts less.

    I hope your MIL is doing well?! Back surgery is so serious.

    Beer- is my downfall. I don’t drink much other alcohol. I’m fine not drinking alcohol when I don’t. It’s very hard when I’m super stressed not to fall back on it because beer has this amazing capacity to ease my anxiety. Even my doctor said that beer is an effective anti-anxiety medication EXCEPT for the fact that it is so heavily caloric and alcohol used as a medication is very dangerous. She’s so right. It feels good to me to go back to not drinking during most of the week. I’m upping my Kung Fu while I can afford it so hopefully I’ll shed a few pounds this way.

  9. Skye says:

    I would never presume to tell you how to fix your stuff, nor do I believe that by writing it out on your blog you’re inviting such a response. It’s so obvious to me that you are meeting all of your responsibilities, and even exceeding what a lot of people do, but you need someplace to vent. Good for you for taking that opportunity.

  10. angelina says:

    I know you wouldn’t Skye. Sometimes when I’m just letting shit out people think it’s a cry for help. Most of the time I just need to share and hope that others will share too. And thank you! Max tells me I’m doing a great job.

  11. EmmaC says:

    I’m just catching up on my Better Than Bullets reading, so I’m a little late to the party on this one. But I just wanted to say that I’m totally here for you and supporting you even though I’m miles and miles away (though fewer miles than a few months ago!). I do wish I could wave a magic wand and make it all better, because what kind of friend would I be if I didn’t wish that for a friend in trouble? Sigh…Stupid non-real magic wands.

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