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I haven’t been able to write or update about my mom, but here are some photos from today…

It is heartbreaking. I have no words. My son and I visited this afternoon.

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Why the 40s are the best years of my life

Once upon a time I was an abuse survivor- 

Once upon a time I was an abuser-

Once upon a time I was a selfish cow who believed my own hype-

Once upon a time I was chronically depressed and unhappy-

None of the above is true anymore.

None of the above applies to my current life, nor has it in almost 8 yrs.

Someone once told me that the 40s were the best years of their life- way back when I was still in my early 30s and couldn’t even FATHOM being ‘that old’.

For me it is completely true.

My 30s were pretty decadent. I had a successful career that took me all over the world. I hobnobbed with the rich and famous. I was fit and in shape.

I was miserably unhappy and chronically depressed. My relationships with my family, my loved ones, myself were so unhealthy.

My 40s brought a separation from my long-suffering spouse, 2 small strokes (TIAs), the diagnosis of lupus, many deaths of people close to me, dealing with a (then) bipolar teen son with a substance problem, the diagnosis of bipolar and dementia in my mother- also, a new partner in my life, and a baby girl at 45.

The ‘bad’ things that happened weren’t so bad.

I found out that my chronic fatigue and frequent health problems I’d suffered all my life (and depression) were caused by alarmingly low vitamin D3 levels and an autoimmune disorder.

My sisters, mother, and niece all suffer from the same things. Had I not been diagnosed, neither would they have been.

My TIAs (and frequent miscarriages in the past) were genetic and due to my hypertension and Factor V Leiden which causes ‘thick blood’ and blood clots. I now take blood thinners and blood pressure meds. I was forced to change my diet and go semi (to total, depending on my whim) vegetarian/vegan.

I started juicing, working out, quit smoking after 25 yrs and started vaping.

I had to get tough with my family regarding my son’s (and mother’s) bipolar. It was a rough few years, but now at 22 (knock wood), he is on his way to becoming the person I always knew he could be. My mom’s issues will never be resolved, really. She now has dementia, so it is all downhill from here.

I had to get tough with MYSELF about my own emotional responses and PTSD from a childhood of abuse.

Therapy was a godsend for my family and me. You just take each day as it comes and live in the now.

My new-found healthy living gained me a great partner who is understanding, kind, loving- and quite a bit younger (though his maturity level probably tops mine by a TON). It also (with the help of the said person above) got me pregnant at 45.

I started growing my own heirloom veggies and went from glamma wannabe to hippie earth-mother.

I rarely travel any more and I am ok with this. My life is cozy and happy and I am catching all the bits I missed as a young mother with children.

Being happy- being content and at peace- is it’s own reward.

If someone offered me ‘the old me’ of 13 plus years ago, I’d run away.

Life is meant to be lived with the people closest to your heart.

Anything else is meaningless.

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Updates on my week: memories of others, more drama, back pain and procedures…

** am unable/unwilling to edit this properly, as the pain and meds I am on am making it impossible at the moment, so apologies in advance **

I am hoping things get a wee bit better here on out.

After the last post re ‘avalanche of crap’ the other day, I simply did not feel like posting again. My back pain was pretty high and I was feeling down from the drama.

My son and I ended up fighting/discussing/hashing it out until 4 am that night. The man has some issues, which breaks my heart. He says he doesn’t even remember me hugging or kissing him as a child- which is shocking. His father was there and was just as shocked as I was- anyone who knows me, KNOWS that I am pretty demonstrative with my kids and that boy never lacked for love and kisses. He said what he DID remember, when I DID show him affection, it felt ‘fake’ to him somehow.

I mentioned this to other family members and they were just as shocked as we were. We have no idea how he’d come to this conclusion. It was telling, though, when his younger brother tried to hug him and calm him down after the fight on the porch- he pushed C away twice. He eventually apologized to C, but we just simply don’t understand how/why he feels the way he does… and I am heartbroken, still.

He has come back from his time in Chicago a very changed person- a bit neurotic, more so than before. He started pushing us away as a teen, but we assumed it was a normal teenager phase and just due to the kids he ran around with. He went from being a rather shy, but close to his family type kid to acting ashamed of us and feeling jealous of me.

He said he saw me more as a sister than a mother at some point and that he did some of the things he did to me as a teen (lied to his friends and mine about me, so that I was alienated from my own friends) when he started doing theater out of jealousy and didn’t really know why he did/said the things he did back then. It was difficult for me to hear from my adult friends back then all the things my son said to them which weren’t true at all… and he apologized for what he did.

I don’t understand the jealousy part at all. I always have been silly in how supportive and proud I’ve been about my kids and their achievements. I always loved to support them and give them encouragement and just felt joy when they accomplished things. I guess he didn’t feel the same way.

To explain some of it: I’ve always been semi-in the public eye with my work and hobbies. I had no idea and am also baffled as to why my oldest son would be jealous about that. I always assumed (and been vocal) about how proud I was of him. I am very uncomfortable knowing this and my heart hurts over it.

I feel sad for him. I feel sad for us. The rest of us (brother, dad, yadda) can’t really comprehend his side of it. It’s like his perception of how life was is totally at odds with ours. Granted, we had some emotional issues when the boys were growing up. I was gone a lot abroad working. I’d come back to a house that was beyond horrific and get upset over it. My mother and middle son were going through their bipolar. It was not all roses and ice cream… but no family ever is.

At one point during the ‘discussion’, I simply removed myself from the house and went outside on the porch be alone and have a cry. I sobbed for a while, which isn’t like me. I needed the alone time, I felt overwhelmed.

He came outside after a while and demanded to know why I was doing this.

HIM: “What’s this?”

Me: “What’s what?!”

HIM: “WHY are you doing this? Crying?!”

ME: “WTF?! Why do you THINK?”

HIM: “I don’t know”

I am wondering, honestly, if he is not on the autism spectrum sometimes. He doesn’t seem to understand subtle nuances in emotion and can be extremely literal and has a lack of empathy. My youngest son, who IS on the autism spectrum, is very empathetic and ‘gets’ emotional things more-so than any person I know, tried to explain things to him- tried to diffuse the original situation- but could not get through to his brother.

I was on the verge that night of having him move out, honestly, I was. I can’t take much drama like this- not on a constant basis. It’s unhealthy. It’s not good for the baby to see people screaming and crying all the time. It upsets the rest of us and we’ve been pretty much used to a quiet, peaceful, rational calm these last 5 yrs since the 2 big boys have been grown and on their own.

He also told his father about my blog and for a moment there, they attempted to stop me from continuing this. FUCK THAT SHIT. I am blogging. It’s the only thing I have that’s mine alone and the only thing saving my sanity. I won’t hide behind secrets and pretend crap away. I can’t live like that anymore. If they don’t like it, they don’t have to read it. Period.

The next day, my oldest seemed better. Maybe the drama and discussion provided him some sort of catharsis. He actually came with me to a 1 yr old’s birthday party and played with Maisie on the playground and helped watch her. He said he had a good time. I was very grateful that he helped with Maisie so much and seems to adore her as much as he does. I think he’s warmest to her than any of the rest of us and it makes me feel good to see this.

C, on the other hand, was in a hurry to get home.

C: I need to get home, Mom, I have to mow my lawn before the city gives us a citation.

The statement above kind of illustrates the differences between the two boys. Not that it’s bad, but C is probably more mature than all of us combined in the household. He likes to keep on schedule and get stuff done. I really respect that and wish I were more like that myself.

C also came to me the night of the ‘big discussion’ and said he had to go to his room to decompress, it was way too much for him emotionally that day. I could totally concur.

It just worries me that my oldest must have been used to such emotional drama during his time living with his ex. His father keeps reminding me that he must be simply projecting the relationship stuff he had learned/lived in Chicago on me, since I am the only adult female in the house. After the exchange I had with his ex via the text, I am starting to think his dad must be right. This girl is estranged from her family for many years and apparently it wasn’t a great situation to begin with. Her mother was never supportive, nor did she care about her achievements. My son has mentioned her upbringing at great length in the past and it saddened me to hear about it. I was and am still shocked by all of this bullshit this week.

I am wondering how many of my son’s ‘memories’ are simply things he absorbed from HER.

Freaks me out a little bit, to tell you the truth.

I look and feel like shit here… but that’s to be expected lol

I had my back procedure yesterday- lasted longer than I thought it would. It was an epidural with injections to my lumbar region done under live x-ray at a hospital 40 minutes away from my home. I didn’t expect it to be as painful as it was- I am now in more pain today than I had been prior. The side effects (nausea, dizziness, sweating, lethargy, fever, pain) have been BRUTAL. I am hoping it all works- doctor said it may or may not. The tailbone procedure I had last week only worked on half of my tailbone and pain. The doctor says he hopes this procedure that I had yesterday will resolve all of it. From what I’ve read on the Internet, after looking up the side effects i was having, there’s a 50 percent chance that it won’t.

Seems like a lot of work and odds for such shitty odds that it may not work.

I also DETEST these narcotics and my need for pain relief.

I have never experienced chronic pain in my life- nor the need to take these types of medicines on a regular basis- and I am freaked out by how they make me feel emotionally.

I want to wean myself off these things. I want the pain to subside. I want my sons to feel better. I want to rid myself of this sudden depression I have been drowning in.

We also had Maisie’s 1 yr photo shoot 2 days ago, but will save that for another post.

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PANIC ATTACK: So, I get a call from my family wanting to go out like nothing happened…

So, I just get a call from my parents and the sister who yelled at me for ‘not sticking up for myself’ with my mom a minute ago. They wanted to meet me at some restaurant like nothing happened.

I instantly went into a panic attack. I can’t do this. I won’t do this. I don’t want to see them.

I was just finally recovering from this lupus flare, had stopped crying for the first time in days.

I need to be left alone. My memory isn’t as faulty as theirs. I cannot breathe when I think of this shit.

Their stance will be ‘oh, don’t make such a BIG DEAL ABOUT IT’.

They don’t understand that my body needs rest. I am not a mindless machine. I am burned out.

$5 dollars says they show up on my porch today, anyway.

Jeff says they were here earlier this morning before I woke up, but went to an antiques market.

I don’t want to cook, entertain, serve coffee, sit on the porch listening to my mother alternately berate me and praise the baby. I KNOW that she is ill. I know that she likely may or may not remember what happened 2 days ago.

FUCK that.

I need to decompress.

I am laying in bed with the baby, trying to get her down for a nap. R has gone to work, the rest are out shopping- and the house had been blissfully quiet (except for the sounds of BabyFirstTV blaring in the background for Maisie).

To top that all off, my back went into spasms again. Valium time. I hate medication.

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My First Vlog: HUGE THANK YOU to those who supported me these last few days…

I’ve never done this before, so… thank you all. Really.

I just figured out that I could record video on my new macbook pro.

Thank you for reading my blog and the problems with my family re depression, lupus, bipolar, and dementia

What happened: http://bit.ly/1IS8ZG7

About Lupus: http://bit.ly/1g41yVx

On Why I Overshare: http://bit.ly/1LdBgIW

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Something horrible happened to us yesterday- If you have a parent with bipolar and/or dementia, you’ll understand- maybe

the boys and maisie before the shit hit the fan yesterday

the boys and maisie before the shit hit the fan yesterday

I am super exhausted and depressed today. My lupus is flaring from the stress and I can’t get out of bed.

I will probably get a lot of flack from relatives for posting this, but I simply don’t give a SHIT. I cannot fathom bottling this up and hiding this like we have for so many years. It’s killing us all.

I am rarely ever depressed and spent most of yesterday crying- so did my oldest son, Sam.

My lack of depression is due to years and years of therapy, high doses of vitamin D3 (NOT antidepressants, they don’t work for me), and changing my mindset/lifestyle.

Yesterday was my youngest son, Connor’s, 17th birthday. For the first time in years, all three of my sons were home for this occasion.

Connor's birthday yesterday- he loves his Papa so much

Connor’s birthday yesterday- he loves his Papa so much

Sam, the oldest, recently moved home from Chicago, where he’d been at college and living for quite a few years. Jay, my middle, spent a year at college in Houston, TX with his father-before that, he’d been living on his own. Only Connor and Maisie are at home now.

My mother has battled her entire life with Bipolar NOS. When I say “battled”, I mean she mostly battered US when she lost her mind and had her cycles, because she surely didn’t get help for it. There was nothing to be done about it when I was growing up- psychiatric medications and treatments simply did not exist as they do today. To compound things, she now has early dementia at 71- which is likely due to small strokes from her Factor V Leiden genetic clotting disorder (which I also have and take heparin daily to prevent. I had 2 small TIAs- little strokes- before being diagnosed). Her memory isn’t the greatest, at least the short term. Her long term has always been selective at best as well.

Little things have ALWAYS ‘triggered’ her. To her credit, she’s been much less violent since getting older/dementia, but it’s still no cakewalk.

When she is “GOOD”,she is funny, charismatic, charming, engaging, loving. When she is “BAD”, someone may end up in the hospital, things destroyed, people may get hurt physically.

I feel so horrible for my poor father, who has always had to care for her and now is in bad health himself. She leaves on the 21st of September to go back to the Philippines and we’re all waiting with baited breath for this.

I have a unique form of PTSD, my therapist says, due to years of abuse from her. It is called “Complex PTSD“.

When she goes off, I FREEZE… and fall to pieces, as if I cannot defend myself at all. Oddly, if anyone ELSE tried the same shit she did to me, I would defend myself and others probably to the death. I am so not submissive- except with her, I turn into a scared, anxious, frightened child again. What I have is not uncommon in people who suffered long term physical and mental abuse as children- and luckily, I am not as bad off as my poor sisters.

As a result, I want better/calmer/more peaceful for my own kids. I cannot live like this anymore. I can’t. My older 2 were exposed to her/my mom helped raised them and the oldest is very like me in his responses- the middle is EXACTLY LIKE HER, down to the bipolar and rages. Connor was not around her much during her worst times/when he was small because I lived in Wisconsin. He’s probably my most well-adjusted kid. I am a much different type of parent with my younger children than with my older 2. I feel guilt and shame when I think back and realized that I ALLOWED my mother’s ‘wisdom’ and will to color my parenting style- and that I left them with her at all, truth be told.

Now she also has dementia on top of this and my dad and I are the only caregivers she has in this country. My siblings won’t help- they live too far away and she’s much more abusive to those girls than to me. My oldest sister can handle her to a certain extent, but the poor woman recently was diagnosed/is going through a horrible lupus flare and works 12 hours a day.

So, anyway, yesterday I tried to make EVERYTHING perfect: I baked Connor’s favorite- a New York Cheesecake with sour cream topping. R bought cookies and snacks for my mom. The boys tidied up the house, made coffee in preparation for their grandparent’s arrival. It was just the children, my ex, R, and my parents. We were so excited.

Poor R hadn’t showered that day and left his ball cap on because he felt grubby and had been running around town buying last minute gifts and food goodies. The boys rough housed in the dining room like old times. My oldest, Sam, got on the piano to play “Happy Birthday” so we could all sing while Conny blew out his candles.

My parents arrived and mom sat down. R came from my office with his hat on. She yelled at him that it was disrespectful to wear a hat indoors and he said “I haven’t showered”- AND SHE LOST HER FUCKING MIND ON HIM.

So, R STORMS out, the door slams- which isn’t like him at all, but she is always mean to him, calling him “That fucker”, etc. She starts screaming at ME, at Connor, at EVERYONE. She SCREAMS at Jeff about him ‘allowing’ R in our house and Jeff says quietly to her: “Mama, I have no idea what’s going on”- so she screams more and chucks her car keys at his face.

In the midst of this, I am behind Jeff and holding my baby in my arms. I see the knife near the cake and whisper to Connor- “grab the knife, please hide the knife”- because I HAVE SEEN HER TRY TO STAB PEOPLE IN THE PAST. I am getting yelled at and holding my baby and looking at my feet, scanning for escape routes just in case, just flight or fight mode x10000.

My older sons eventually somehow get her out to the porch and try to calm her down. Jeff says to me “I want her to leave”, but nobody makes that move. I can’t call the police, because she has DEMENTIA on top of this and my father can’t afford the damned bill of hospitalization again so close to her departure date for Manila. Dad ended up finally taking her home and I spent the rest of the night worrying how he was faring at home alone with her, but I did not dare call him lest it cause her to go insane again.

It went from joy to feeling like a fucking FUNERAL.

We eventually were able to blow out the candles and let Conny open presents, but his poor face was so sad. I won’t even post the videos. They make me cry every time I watch them. We took C out for a huge dinner at our favorite restaurant. He received a new Xbox One and tons of games for his birthday, which he did not expect at all.

I kept having flashbacks to an earlier birthday party at our old house, many years prior- I think it was Sam’s- when she threw hot coffee in my face and I had to lock myself in the bathroom and brace the door closed with my legs while calling 911 because I LIT THE BIRTHDAY CANDLES BEFORE SHE TOLD US TO. This was when she was still reasonably young and healthy…

…or the time when Sam was 4ish and Jay was a year old and I lived at their house. It was winter and I wanted to take them outside to play in the snow. Jay was bundled in his little snowsuit and Sam was almost ready, but she lost her mind because we COULDN’T FIND A GLOVE. I was not dressed, barefoot, in the snow holding my baby. My father was outside, too. I had a DREAM OF THIS EXACT SCENARIO A MONTH PRIOR BEFORE THE SNOWS CAME AND TOLD MY DAD ABOUT IT- in my dream, she shot us all and our blood was over the white snow. My dad called it bullshit when I told him about the premonition…

Dad and I were in front of the house and she came outside. Dad held baby Jay and she tried to beat my father with a snow shovel. She abruptly went back inside the house and I exclaimed “OMG DAD, THIS IS EXACTLY LIKE MY DREAM I TOLD YOU ABOUT!!”- so he tosses the baby to me and sprints to the barn.

I only got as far as to hide behind the tire of one of the cars with my hand over my year old baby’s mouth.

I hear the door open and I see her with the shotgun and she is SCOPING. Suddenly, I hear shots fired- I peep around the corner of the car where I am crouched and SHE IS SHOOTING INTO THE PUMPKIN PATCH.

She went back in and I ran to the barn where dad was and said “WE HAVE TO CALL THE POLICE- WE NEED TO GET HELP” or something similar.

He agrees and I walked BAREFOOT IN THE SNOW through the woods holding my baby- where she cannot see me (we lived on an isolated 20 acres, about 1/8th of a mile from the road) to the neighbors… and called the cops (this was before cell phones).

When the cops came, my dad told them I was lying.

Did I mention that my dad was ALSO a cop?

When I asked my dad later why he lied to them, his answer was:

“What good would it have done anyway? It’s embarrassing, yadda…”

So I took my children to my best friend’s and moved far away for many years.

Since my middle son started to go through similar as a teen, I have been a HUGE ADVOCATE for getting healthy mentally/mental health screening/therapy. My father never came around and didn’t support this at all until my middle boy moved in with him and he had to go through this himself.

Hiding and making excuses for mentally ill loved ones is DANGEROUS AND LONG LASTING IN IT’S DAMAGE.

I am still crying typing this. I can barely function today.

I hate untreated bipolar. I hate abuse. I hate dementia. I hate living in fear.

If you want to beat someone- become a dominatrix. If you want to be beaten, hire a domme.

DON’T FUCK INNOCENT PEOPLE’S LIVES AND YOUR OWN.

My 2 stories are mild ones in my family. I have more that are far worse.

If anything resonates with you, if you’ve been through the same, I send you hugs.

If you are like this- get FUCKING HELP NOW- YOU *CAN* DO IT. DON’T WAIT TIL IT’S TOO LATE AND YOU’RE 71 YRS OLD AND HALF YOUR FRONTAL LOBE IS GONE.

End of my rant.