Kids Should Not Have to Choose

When parents get divorced, in most cases, joint custody is awarded. There are exceptions. Mental illness, addiction, distance, who has more money, etc. Then the other parent becomes non-custodial.

In some ways I have been lucky. I still get to see my kids on holidays and am able to go on school trips. The kids are old enough to ask now and I have had the fortune of being asked twice this year.

Sometimes it is horrible. I have to account for almost every minute that they are with me. All the other parent has to go is plan the trip and go. Because the kids have passports, they can go out of the country and I do not have a say.

The other thing that I hate about my custody arrangement is that the other parent and their new spouse speak negatively about me. I am a bad parent, I do not pay enough money, I do not care about them. That can really have an affect on a teenager. Sometimes the child feels like they need to choose a parent.

I am looking forward to when they are 18 and can make their own choices. Maybe, I will be able to see them more often. Also when they can drive. Maybe they will come to visit. All I do know is that I feel like a bad parent all the time, yet I do see them. I need to work on that. All non-custodial parents want to see their kids.


Everyone Matters *MAY TRIGGER*

When is the government going to wake up to the needs of the people who are not funneling millions of dollars to have their view expressed?

Columbine was not the first school shooting, yet I remember the day that it happened and thinking where is our future going? Since then there have been additional school shootings. 7000 pair of shoes were outside the capital. Imagine 7000 children in those shoes. What would they say if they could speak?

The government thought that mental health was solved with deinstitutionalization. Nothing was solved. No additional help was given and the mentally ill could not find adequate treatment. What has happened is that more prisoners are diagnosed with mental health issues. Often these prisoners are not there for violent crime. If the government can afford to give medication to inmates why can it not afford to continue that medication when the inmate is released to end the high rate of recidivism?

There are thousands of properties that have been condemned. The government complains about how much they are losing. Why not build houses no for the homeless where they can find stability and possibly a job?

All of the above populations have no voice or influence in today’s government. They represent groups that have become invisible to those who are supposed to represent them. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over with the same result. Does that mean that our government is insane or bought out.

Something needs to change so that those who do not have a voice are let in and allowed to be heard. I think the government would find that the oppression of the individuals has hurt them and the population of the US. Those in power need to listen to those that up until now have had very little to no power. Then things may have a chance of changing.

A Crazy Weekend

Friday, my cat, whom I consider my best friend, was sick. I thought it was the typical hairball and did not pay much attention. then she was sick again. Soon she was not eating or drinking. By this time, it was well into the weekend and I had no choice but to take her to the ER.

Once there, we were told that she was dehydrated. All of her tests came back normal, but the still wanted to complete an ultrasound. I had a hard time leaving her there overnight and went back the next morning. When I saw her again she had an IV and a cone from pulling out the first IV. Once all tests were completed she checked out ok. I took her back home that night after a long and trying day in the waiting room.

After she came home, she was interested in food and even eating. Then the symptoms started up again. I had not fed her anything but her normal food, which is ProPlan. She went back to the vet yesterday and were told that it was still gastritis. She was hungry last night. The ProPLan has been omitted from her diet and she seems to be on the mend at this point. I question if the food was bad? I have no way of knowing what caused all of this.

Since I took the cat to the vet yesterday, I missed therapy. We are processing right now and some of the memories are uncomfortable. I know that it will only get worse as I delve deeper into the memories and try to connect feelings with events that happened in my life. At least my therapist does not push and I feel comfortable at the rate that things are going.

In other events, my ex will not allow me to have the kids for two one night visits in a row. He thinks that it will send me back into the hospital. I am so glad that he thinks that he is a doctor. He has no clue what I went inpatient for in the fall. What was going on at that time is over and done with and I am getting on with my life as best I can. Having to give up a Masters program was hard, yet it was the right thing to do. Maybe it was the right course of study, yet the school was the wrong fit. At least I see the kids next weekend. High school is looming for both of them. I am concerned with how they will adjust, yet I know that they are strong and that they can come to me with anything.

This morning the cat got me up to be with her. I am grateful that she seems to be on the mend. This weekend scared me. I do not know what I would do without her companionship. She is one of a kind.

A Mentally Ill Parent

A parent with a mental illness is still a parent. If the person is in treatment and is stable, they should be able to see their children. Instead, we have a damaged court system that takes custody away and is some cases only allows for supervised visitation.

As a patient I have to often white knuckle it so I will not need to go inpatient. If I go inpatient, I need letters from doctors and a meeting with a separate psychologist just to see my kids again.

Thankfully, all of my kids will be 18 within the next 6 years. At that point it will matter what they think and how they feel about seeing me. There will not be a visitation schedule or a holiday schedule. I hope that the kids will still want me as part of their lives. That is to be seen.

The other aspect of being a non-custodial parent is that it is public record. Any parent can look up and see that big black dot and not want me around their children. No one ever did an assessment of my competence to take care of my kids. They just assumed that I would not be able too. I think my kids are the ones who have been hurt the most.

Another Try

I do not want to give up after the disaster at graduate school. I met with an advisor today at the community college. There is less pressure and more support at level and that is what I need. I will have to make sure to use the disability office.

It will not be much longer before I get to have the kids for an entire weekend again. It feels good to be able to see them.

Therapy has been tough. Describing what happened in detail with emotions is rough, although I have to do it to get well. At least my therapist is going at a reasonable pace.

Valentine’s Day With A Mental Illness

I have been off of Facebook today. I celebrated Valentine’s Day on Sunday. Sunday I had an amazing lunch and was able to relax.

Today, I have therapy. Once the bad crap gets let out, it does not go back. The only thing I am going to want to do when I get home is to watch mindless TV and go to bed. I am lucky that I have someone in my life who understands.

I am thinking about a program in the fall that I can get a certificate. I have also signed up for writing sites and am learning more about what it will take to write a book. I think that in my case, it may need more than one. Whatever I am going to do the in the future it will need to accept me for who I am. I wish that the grad school that accepted me would not have now. I do not think that they really wanted someone with a mental illness. I still fell that I was just someone who met a diversity qualification.

A New Hobby

For years I have journaled, colored, drawn, and made jewelry. I have found a new interest in Diamond Painting. It is a combination of paint by number and beading. I find that it relaxes me and that I can focus because it is so tedious. I have been successful in purchasing the product online although it is not covered in the local craft stores. If you like color by number or cross stitch you may like diamond painting.

In other news, my therapist is once again requesting that I get out of the house. I think I know every way to not have to leave the house except for therapy. I promised that I would check out some options in order to get out of the house and spend time with people.

My kids, at least the two that speak to me, are growing so quickly. It is nice when they call me and need to talk. That makes me feel like I did something right. Even when they have a birthday party or event the falls on my visitation day, the confirm that it is ok if they go. Of course 99% of the time I say yes. I want them to experience what being a teenager is all about and have fun. I know all to well that one cannot do those years over.

Today, I have already accomplished one goal and plan to complete the other this afternoon. Maybe  I need to start to make a goal for everyday. It seems as if it would push me to get more accomplished. I will have to consider that. The other nice thing about today is that most of the work on the house has been completed and it is once again quiet except for the occasional reminder from the kitty that she wants food or attention.

Again, check out diamond painting. It is detail oriented and can be used as artwork when completed. I just wish more people in my area were doing it. It would make for a great meet up group.

The Weather is Just How I Feel!

Rain. Normally an umbrella and windshield wipers and the rain is taken care of for us. What if there is a hole in the roof or the storm drain is blocked? Then the rain seeps into the house and causes problems. Water damage, costly repairs, ruined memories.

That is how I feel right now with my mental health. The more that I try to convince myself to get it together the more it seems to flare up. I hate leaving the house. It’s not just that I am nervous to go places, it is the fear of seeing my abusers.

My biggest motivation are the kids. I need to do well for them. Then it feels like I am ignoring the problem. Therapy is supposed to be a place to air some of this. I feel guarded in therapy. I feel like I am not bad enough to deserve treatment. This has been going on for 12 years. I feel like if I stay guarded enough then no one will ever know how messed up my life really was and I will not have to voice it.

The silence is trapping me in a place that I feel I cannot get out of. The doctor can only do so much. He cannot read minds! If he. If he could that would be worse.

Just a quick note to try and do something nice for yourself on Valentines Day. Read a book, craft, journal, or watch a movie. I need to remember to take my own advice!!

Visitation Only

Even though I have been divorced for a number of years, the custody issue is ongoing. The county that I live in believes in giving a parent with a mental illness visitation. After the first agreement was reached I thought that the battles and stress were over.

Fast forward to a hospital stay where I came home to a letter that stated that seeing the children was detrimental for them. Almost a year of lawyers and court went by before I was able to see my children again.

I hate having to go inpatient, even though I know that it might be for the best. After I get out of the hospital there is a list of steps that I have to take to get to start to see my kids again. That can take months waiting for documentation.

Sometimes it is hard. I have to report everything to my ex. When, where, how long for any type of vacation. I cannot even take the kids somewhere in the state overnight. Meanwhile, he can leave the country with them without any problem.

The bright side to all of this is that I have less time ahead of me than behind me. I already anticipate another court case coming. That will be another day.

A Path

At one time I was going to school for education and even had a job as a schoolteacher. I had kids and stayed home with them. Then, the mental illness hit with all of its challenges.

So, I tried to stay stable and went to nursing school. That would have worked out had it not been for a physical illness. I was so let down at that point.

Then, I worked for years with my doctor to start Social Work classes. I had no idea that I would not last even 5 clinical days in my placement when I was told that I did not fit in. Social work just was not right for me.

As I sit here writing this post, I have absolutely no clue where my life is headed. What do I do now? Where do I go? No one is going to tell me, I have to figure this out on my own.

For now, I am taking a DBT class. It is interesting and has given me a different way to look at situations. It is still the beginning. Time will tell. I still see my therapist as well. I am not even sure what we are working on at the moment. I think grief and loss.

I have been able to see the kids twice so far. I enjoy spending time with them. Now that they are older they get sarcasm and humor. They still put a smile on my face. I will not ever stop being in their corner.

So what is my path right now? I think that it is to discover what I am made of. To take each piece and event apart and examine it in order to move on and be able to stop allowing it to run my life.

There was a time that I did not think that I could get away from the abuse. Then there was the realization that handling 120 students was not for me. I had a trying marriage and a terrible divorce.

In that time I have also learned to fight for what I believe in. Even though I do not have custody, I make sure to see the kids every time that they can visit. I am still taking my medication as prescribed and being honest with my treatment team. Sometimes they never know what I will say.

Right now is another time to dust off myself and figure out where I am going to go with my life. I have a few ideas, yet I need to see if that is really what I want to do. Therapy tomorrow. Hopefully one more step toward a life that I can be proud of.