Sitting here thinking about life is challenging. I feel like I need to make a pros and cons list for continuing to go on.
The kids are a big factor. All of the research shows that a child whose parent commits suicide is more likely to do so. I would not want my kids to get into this dark space.
So much has failed including school, losing touch with one of my children, and constant court cases with my ex. All of this has left me drained. I feel alone no matter how many people are in a room. What do I even talk about with people. The kids are a hard subject and school was a disaster.
People do not want to hear about hospital stays and wound care centers. I believe that eating disorder treatment centers are also not at the top of the list. Those are the topics that I know best at this point.
Maybe a better option would be to talk about the diamond paintings that I have done or the garden that my husband is working on. Yet, those topics do not feel like me at this time. One day blends into another.
What to do? Going back to school is going to be rough. I feel like I am on a never ending ride in that department. Keep seeing the kids until they too realize how damaged and flawed I am. Continue to talk about the worst memories of my life in therapy.
This is not the life that I pictured. Not even close. Being a non-custodial parent was something that I did not even know existed. Failing at school because of an illness that I did not choose and is directly related to negative childhood experiences. Living in a neighborhood where I do not feel safe. Even as I write this there are helicopters circling the block.
One day I need to make a choice. I cannot live in between any longer. There needs to be a clear side to work on and pursue.
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.
My children are visiting me this weekend. I am excited to see them and catch up with what they have been doing. It is great to be able to have the simple things like meals together and a movie in the evening.
I am scared every weekend that they are scheduled to come and visit. My oldest decided that he did not want to see me anymore. That tore me up. Until this day, I still do not know what I did that made him so upset. He has blocked my number so I cannot even ask him how come this has gone on.
What if my other children decide not to see me? They mean so much to me, yet at the same time they have their lives to live. I am hoping to be a part of that and be able to see the changes and special events as they grow.
I know that all I can do for now is to cherish the moments that we do have. Take lots of pictures and just live in the moment.
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.
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 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.
You will feel better soon. You have to get through this to lesson the pain, anger, etc. This group/treatment should help. How about a new medication?
Really!! None of those things has worked. I still feel horrible. Yesterday I told a close friend that I do not feel right without an open wound on my body. That would feel better. It would be better than feeling like a failure everyday. I feel like I let so many people down when I could not even get through the first month of grad school.
Now, I am just lost. I am not sure where to go or what to do. Am I so messed up that I am not able to live a “normal” life. I have thought about that. What are some alternatives? I have thought about writing. I am not sure about that one. Then there is the addiction counselor. I know that an eating disorder and self harm are addictions. Maybe helping others get through their dark and challenging days. Right now, I am just not sure.
At least I am able to see the kids again. They keep me going. I do not want to leave them with just their father. I am not sure that would be good for any of them. Just a few more weeks until they will be able to spend the night again!!
Lately, I have felt pretty bad. Like I do not want to get out of bed or off the couch bad. I do not see the point of all this therapy and treatment if I still feel like crap. Then again maybe I need to go through this to get to the other side. Feeling better would be good.
School and work are on the back burner for now. My goals are to try to process some of the things that happened to me in order to decrease their impact. That looks so good on paper. In reality it feels like crap and does not seem to be getting better.
I had a meeting with my ex and I have the kids today. I am excited to see them, yet I feel weird after not seeing them for two months. I am not there to know their friends or even the little things that they are doing. I just found out today the my son wants to do a certain program in high school.
Being a non custodial parent is hard in that I always feel like the kids can be taken away at any time. They are amazing kids. I just do not feel like a good enough mother to them.