The Non-Custodial Parent

When the kids were little, I stayed home with them. Even when I was first diagnosed with a mental illness. The marriage deteriorated and the only place I had to go did not have space for the kids. I am not able to work and my ex’s parents are millionaires.

Fast forward many legal fights, struggles, and years later. I am lucky to see my kids every three weeks and some holidays. Easter is coming up. Holidays are so hard. The kids are not at the house enough to get them a ton of candy. I cannot afford to take them anywhere and I always question what to do. This year, I will not even see them on the Holiday. 

It is hard to write about this. I love my kids and call them every night. They are getting to the age where friends and technology are winning out. Yet they still say I love you and still hug me when they see me. 

I always feel like a bad parent, yet I did not choose to have a mental illness. At least this year I get to see them. Last year, I was fighting to them at all. 

So the question still is what to do for this holiday. Gift card? A little candy? What will they enjoy the most? 

To all of the other non-custodial parents, I hope that you have a good holiday. If you cannot see your children, hopefully you can still talk to them. 

How Trauma is Influencing Dancing

I have danced since I was two years old. I ran out of gymnastics crying, so dance was my parent’s next choice of activity. Not that they wanted to put me in anything. According to my parents my legs were deformed as a baby and I had to wear braces on my legs. The doctor suggested an activity that would strengthen my legs. Dance was on the doctor’s orders.

Throughout the time that I danced, dance was always just me and the mirror. I guess that for me I was lucky. My studio did not do partner work and I could be in my own “bubble.”

Fast forward to today and all I have been through. The thought of having to touch someone else or depend on them for balance scares the hell out of me, yet that is where one of my classes is. I do not want to go back. There are so many flashbacks that I cannot handle being in the class. The trauma that I went through is a part of me. Sometimes, like when I present for NAMI, I can handle letting out a little bit. This class is flooding me.

It is to late in the semester to drop. Maybe I can talk to a counselor on campus about dropping for medical reasons. I know when I can push through. Pushing through on this is going to lead me down a dark path that I am just not ready to face.

Another Challenge

The other day, I was triggered in a class. It was yet another moment of “If I would have known this I would not have done it.” The class started off ok. We were lying on the floor breathing. I just thought about mindfulness and listened to the internal meeting that was going on about how much to open up to my therapist and how to start.

Anyway, class starts to progress and we are supposed to feel our limbs getting lighter and floating. Again, I am not very comfortable, yet I can take myself out of the room.

Then IT happens!! We are told that we are going to be doing contact exercises. Bring on the panic attack and the flashbacks. Does she really mean touching someone else and them touching me. All I could think was”I am not prepared for this”.  I did the exercise and then that day when I got home I regretted it because it brought up so much that I was not ready for.

Now, I do not want to go back to class. I do not like people touching me. I do not want to fail the class either. The problem is that there is goI got to be more contact.

This is something that I need to address in therapy, yet I do not have enough time to do so. It seems like the traumatic memories just come. I can journal and I take my journal with me to school. Touching me is just something that brings up to much!

50%

Today I wanted to accomplish something. I already have wash in the washer and dryer. Great start to the day!!

Then, I went to finish my schoolwork. The one assignment is up and ready to go. The other assignment is not listed and the professor is out of town. I emailed the person that he left to see what to do.

Then there are the assignments for therapy. My therapist would like to see me start to work on art again as a form of expression. For some reason, parts are fighting this idea. 

At least it is Friday. Only one more week until Spring Break and seeing the kids. At least this year I can celebrate Easter with them. Last year I was fighting to see them. Things have improved little by little.

St. Patrick’s Day to Me

To me, this is just another day. Today is hard. We did some activities in class yesterday that brought up a few flashbacks. 

Today, for a lot of people is about drinking. I do not drink. I guess as an adult, a lot of activities involve drinking. That may be the reason I am not invited to places. 

For me, today is about thinking of my Irish heritage. I have ancesters from a variety of cultures. One of my grandmother’s once called me a mutt. Today , also means rest because I have a clear schedule and am not feeling well. 

I hope that everyone has a good day and takes care of themselves. 

Another Day

As long as I keep looking forward , I guess that is a positive way to be. I have a midterm today and another assignment due. Tomorrow my fibromyalgia and the fact that I am sick are telling my body it needs to rest.

Last night I talked to my kids as I always do. I am lucky to have teenagers that still tell me they love me and hug me when they see me.

Dancing is a huge part of my life. No matter where I go, I need to make sure that I am in some type of class. It a nice to see the same people every week and get to know them.

Therapy is hard right now. We are trying to figure out a different way of working that will work for all of my parts. Some of them are more on board than others. I have to work at this. I cannot go back into the hospital. For the kids and for myself. Not to mention how upset me husband would be.

Old Wounds **May Trigger**

The loss of my psychiatrist is huge. She was a large part of my life and I am not sure I have to turn to at this time.

My symptoms are high. I have been thinking a lot obituary self harm. It would be so easy to just release all of the pressure building inside of me.

Then there is my eating disorder. That seems to be coming out at this time. It has become so hard to eat. When I do eat, I feel horrible. What does not help is conversations about weight and size like what went in before class yesterday. I struggle when my kids come over. I do not want to eat, yet I need to be an example for them.

Then it is this time of year. So many triggers and bad events around this time of the year. I am trying to use my skills and support system, yet it is hard when I feel so closed up.

Being A Parent With A Mental Illness

Where I live, having a mental illness is a sentence for supervised visitation. I guess I was lucky, my ex and I came to an agreement that I get to see my kids every third weekend. 

Last year, my kids were almost taken away from me. I had been in and out of the hospital so much in the previous years. I fought and got my visitation back.

I love my kids, yet sometimes my depression is bad and I have a hard time getting things done. This past weekend I pushed myself to take a walk with my daughter and to play a game with my son.

Sometimes, I wish that I more energy and more money. Unfortunately, I have to pay child support and that is Abigail chunk of change.

Luckily, my kids are older and I have been able to have therapy sessions with them. They know that they did not cause any of this. It still dos not help when I am not 100%.

 Wish that I more energy. I wish that I cold control the flashbacks. I wish that the kids did not see the medication that I have to take to keep myself stable.!i wish that I was well enough to work.

On the outside, I look ok. I even try to go to school functions and games. Sometimes I wish that all of those intrusive thoughts did not interfere with my day.

I am lucky though!! I have teenagers that still tell me they love me. They still have me a hug before going to bed. They are great kids!!

The Affects of Trauma on Life

It has been increasingly hard to get up lately. My body is tired and my mind wants to fight off the emotions that are being stirred up by loss. 

Having the kids has been good. I know that I have chosen a different path with them. The abuse has stopped. All they know is time out or their games being taken away from them. I do not want them to carry all of that pain with them.

Hyper vigilance. Hearing every little sound around me. The flashbacks and nightmares that I cannot stop even though I want to so badly. 

Then there are those around me. Always wondering if they know or if I am acting in a weird way. Help comes in the form of therapy and the support from my husband. Even with that I feel lonely and misunderstood. 

 

When Will I Get Through This?

The loss of my psychiatrist has created a hole that cannot just be patched up. I feel so empty. On top of everything, it is my weekend with the kids. All I want to do is crawl into a ball and go to sleep.

I don’t feel like I fit in anywhere. Feelings of abandonment have taken over. My senses are overactive and heightened. I love my kids, yet selfishly, I want time to grieve.

Trauma makes trusting people hard. To lose someone that I trust so much is a real blow. I wonder if I will be able to get through all of the negative and to find the positive in all of this?