After my oldest child stopped speaking to me I have let it get in the way of my relationship with my two youngest children. I need to realize that they want to be here on the weekends and want me at their activities. For some reason I do not take my own advice that they are all different people.
I have also been told to make my illness clear to them. I do not know how to do that. I feel like they do not know enough, yet I still need to continue to keep a healthy boundary.
Finding the right words is going to be hard. Not only do I have a mental illness, but a physical one as well. One that stress negatively affects. I need to allow them to know that they are not causing any of this. The problem is that I already think that I have told them. From what I remember they did not even want to hear. Maybe instead of talking, I should put things in writing. Not to much, yet enough for them to understand.
Last night was a great example. One of my kids had an activity. I was exhausted and did not feel well. I really thought that it was best not to go, yet I had already promised that I would come. I need to begin to be realistic with them. This is where boundaries come in again.
My children mean so much to me and I want them to be able to focus on themselves. At the same time I need for them to understand that my decisions have nothing to do with them. They have to do with what is happening in my life. A good therapy topic and I can ask my therapist to read the completed letters before I give them to the kids.
Over the years I have had many identifiers that I felt comfortable using. College graduate, stay at home mom, and returning student to name just a few. I did not question them. I knew who I was.
Today, I cannot say the same thing. I am not sure what identifies me anymore. Due to my mental illness, I did not get through 5 days in my field placement. I gave birth to three children., yet I do not consider myself a mom. One of my children has chosen to cut me out of their life and the two others barely see me. I feel like I do not know who they are even though I talk to them throughout the week.
After this falls bout of self harm, I have been left with scars that are very visible. I have seen people stare when I am out in public. I feel like saying at least I am still putting one foot in front of the other. I am not moving very fast. I have found that thoughts of self harm are coming back and I need to address that.
I am wondering where I fit in at this point. Who would accept me as I am these days. I feel damaged and unlovable. My defenses are up and I am leery of what others may think about what they see. This causes me to isolate and the entire cycle of feelings of self harm to begin again. What is one more scar to the many that I have??
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
I have recently spent almost a month in the hospital. Well, technically I was in two different hospitals. Up until recently I have always had a psychiatrist who is aware of the side effects of the medicines that I was on. Weight gain is one side effect that someone with an eating disorder does not want.
Unfortunately, I am running out of medication choices and there has been some weight gain. I think that I am taking it well. I have began to examine my diet for foods that are not healthy and I have begun to use the exercise bike again. This side effect sucks, yet I know that it is not just me going through this.
The status of seeing my kids is still zero visits at this point. I have explained to them why I was in the hospital and have given my ex more I formation that he is entitled to. Today, I am going to an agreed upon doctor in order to obtain letters from my treating physicians that show that I am ok to have the kids. I was not even in the hospital for anything related to them.
I am hoping to get things worked out by the holiday break. I really want to see the kids and spend some holiday time with them. A good meal and presents!
I am so unsure of my future. Two months ago I was in an MSW program, now I am back to seeing doctors 2-3 times a week. I just feel like school may not be the answer at this point. I really need to think about what it is that I want to do. Maybe then I will have some direction.
My wound is healing. I have to go back to the wound care center next week. At least it seems to have gotten smaller and less infected.
Next week is more doctors visits. They take up a lot of time. Prepping, driving, the appointment and then the drive home. This can take all day with traffic! At least I have doctor’s to go too.. some people are not as lucky.
I am already burnt out not even halfway through the semester. I need to enforce the modifications in my 504 plan. I need the adaptations to make it through the semester. Parking is crazy. I am so tired after having to talk so far. Then I have trouble staying awake in class.
My kids are taking things better than expected. The always seem to find a reason to do their work with me. They motivate me to keep going.
Field is not going as well. My field instructor believes that my mental illness is going to have a negative effect on my work and capability in the field. I have had to go above my field instructor and I hate that. Why can’t I get through a semester without an issue?
The only saving grace is that I have therapy twice a week. That has helped to reduce the impact of secondary trauma. The times are effecting my school work, yet I need the time to work on my issues.