2001

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“Shhh…”

I pluck the squawling bundle of wrinkled flesh from my brother’s rigid arms and immediately the screams cease.

Walking quietly to the rocking chair in the corner nearest the door of the hospital room, I hold the tiny life to me and soothe him until his squinty little face relaxes into sleep.

I look at my brother.  Rage is etched into his every feature. I can see he’s struggling to hold it together. He hates hospitals as much as I do, but for different reasons. The last time he was in this hospital, he was a patient. In the Psych Ward.

I glance toward my brother’s girlfriend and inwardly shudder.  She claims she’s back on her meds, but it’s clear she made a visit to the street pharmacist before her labor started this morning. I don’t know what she’s on, and I don’t want to know. What I *do* know is, nobody in her state of insobriety should be able to conjure such a calculating look in their eye.

And nobody in her state of insobriety should be given charge over someone else’s life.

Especially not the life I am holding.

I press my forehead against my nephew’s and breathe slowly.

I don’t want to think about the multiple diagnoses, the implications, the propagation…

But I can’t not.

Schizophrenia.
Dissociative Identity Disorder.
Manic Depression.

This is just the beginning of the list of ingredients in the chromosomal cocktail.

I close my eyes and, heart tumbling over the truth, send my love silently to the babe in my arms.

I cannot save you from the monsters, little one.  Not the ones you will reside with…  And not the ones that will reside in you.

Now, thirteen years later, the truth of that sentiment reverberates in the echoes of a teenager’s fists pounding themselves bloody against the wall of a treatment facility.  And as the future unfolds, the past repeats itself.

Genetics are a loaded gun. Last week, the trigger was pulled.

0 thoughts on “2001

  1. The Suburban Domme

    The words seem so hallow and empty in black and white typed script, but from my heart, I am so so sorry for you and your family. It’s from my guts empathy—— not just sympathy

    I wish I had better words for you….for him and I wish I new how to unload the fucking gun. It’s genetic Russian Roulette and I am so terribly sorry it appears your nephew ended up with a loaded chamber.

    I really wish I had better words for you…….it is hard to sit here and read all this….because I know what it feels like and I hate that anyone else in the world knows this pain.

    Keep processing—-just remember to breath and step away for a bit to take some of the load off the old scars. If at all possible, fake a smile for me…just for a second or two….remind your body what it feels like to feel that smiling sensation.

    1. Mrs Fever Post author

      I’ve learned how to protect myself pretty well over the years, and when it comes to current events, I can steel myself and deal. I’m not walking around in a funk or worrying myself to death; it’s just that the ghosts rise up at times like this, and writing it out helps lay them to rest.

      And I don’t have to fake a smile for you, my dear. 🙂 The depth of my humor comes from the breadth of my life experiences, and I learned early on how to find joy even in unhappy circumstances.

      *

      Aside: My sunny disposition drives my husband bonkers sometimes. He catastrophizes the tiniest things, and I’m a glass-half-full kind of girl. It’s made for some interesting interactions, that’s for sure. o_O

      *

      I know this hasn’t been easy for anyone to read, especially those who have ‘been there’. Thanks for trudging through the muck with me, my friend. As much as I am sorry you know what this feels like… It helps to know someone out there knows what this feels like.

      As for unloading the gun… Ufh. I have decided opinions about that one. Let’s just say I believe there are some people who shouldn’t have children. And in my family, the only ones who should (or who are at least reasonably qualified to be decent parents), can’t.

  2. The Suburban Domme

    You got some “cowgirl up grit” in you……no wonder you loved them Tony Lama boots so much 😉
    We could probably swap war stories until we crashed the back bone of the net.

    Cliffnotes here:
    Mom was always “off”…..didn’t know why until her late 30’s…..and she refused to medicate once she was diagnosed with manic depression. I had to drop off the family grid a few years ago because I couldn’t take what she was doing to me and in turn to my own kids. My siblings were all grown and didn’t need me (the oldest) to protect them anymore.

    My oldest daughter…diagnosed MD in her late teens and it was hell getting to that point.
    ( I hate the term “bipolar”…it sounds so…fluffy and sorta like “golly it’s not so bad”. Manic and depressive….carry the weight of what is really going on…and for me it will always be the words manic and depressive)

    It took her a good 10 years to grasp how vital it is to STAY on her meds…but when her phone number or her husband’s number pops up on my cell, now days…my heart skips a beat…because we had too many calls in that 10 years….. that started with “She’s at such and such hospital under 72 hours watch”.

    Then there were the dead space times where she dropped off our grid because in her mind we were the cause for her need for medication.

    In her mind…… what was wrong with her….wasn’t chemical or genetic…….it was bad parenting that made her crazy.

    The most I have ever cried over her illness..is the day she called me to tell me she had decided to not have kids and was scheduled for a tubal ligation the next week. On the phone with her that day, we cried ….. I cried because I was proud of her for being so responsible and I cried because I was grieving for the fact she would never have children.

    Ha…..I think I am processing with you…… but maybe we never stop.

    Maybe it just runs more in the background like anti-virus software….and only hit’s the surface when there is obvious viral infection threat.

    You got guts, girlfriend…..doing this in a public manner…….not hiding or being ashamed….hoping your own pain can help others find peace.

    Yep…..where I come from that 100% cowgirl up grit……you need a new pair of Tony Lamas…..you have earned them.

    1. Mrs Fever Post author

      I am well familiar with that lurch in the stomach when the phone rings. Ooooof.

      I know people who are bipolar… And I know people who have been *diagnosed* as bipolar but who actually have (or at least display clear symptoms of) a schizotypal or dissociative disorder. Unfortunately, there is a lot of stigma around certain diagnoses. Bipolarism (and I understand what you mean about that term) is much more widely accepted than many other forms of mental illness, and it’s my educated opinion that the condition is overdiagnosed. Not that there isn’t *something* wrong, but that too many “doctors” (I have decided opinions about the fields of psychology and psychiatry) are afraid to figure what what that *something* really is. It’s easier not to dig too deep. My husband’s ex-wife, for example, was diagnosed as bipolar. In actuality, she had (and still has) borderline personality disorder. Untreated. OY.

      Did you find that your experience with your mother helped you get through your trials with your daughter?

      I watched an interesting documentary by Stephen Fry (the actor) about bipolarism, called The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive. It’s available for viewing on youtube if you’re interested: Part I and Part II. (And if not, perhaps someone else who reads this will be.)

      You said:

      In her mind…… what was wrong with her….wasn’t chemical or genetic…….it was bad parenting that made her crazy.

      Wow. That description is bang on. And not just with my familial MD experiences. My uncle (schizophrenic) blamed my grandma for everything. My brother (DID) blamed my mother. My father (who I have not talked about on this blog, and probably never will) blamed his wife. My nephew is blaming his grandmother. (His maternal grandparents were awarded custody when he was two years old. Thank God, because they are the biggest reason he has a fighting chance to get through this.)

      Hmmm… Are you noticing a theme there? Why is it that the female parental figures are the ones blamed?

      And as for parental figures…

      I cried because I was proud of her for being so responsible and I cried because I was grieving for the fact she would never have children.

      Wow.

      As out of place as it sounds here… And please don’t take this the wrong way… But I envy you this.

  3. The Suburban Domme

    Talk about processing……I think we have some kind of Vulcan mind meld going on here. The “Female influenced pattern” is something I have pondered for ages.

    “~As out of place as it sounds here… And please don’t take this the wrong way… But I envy you this.~”

    It’s not out of place and I get it, there’s nothing there to take wrong.

    I have never….. to this day…shed a tear over my mom. I think sometimes if I could…..I might be able to let go of the anger. It doesn’t eat me alive now days but it is still there. I know my mom isn’t healthy….I know she doesn’t behave the way she does out of outright conscious intent….but that doesn’t help the emotional scars left on me as a young child who spent nights sitting up watching her sleep because before she went to sleep she’d threatened to kill herself after I went to bed. I learned back then being angry at her made it hurt less and made it seem less scary. Then there was the anger that came with her refusing to medicate.

    Living with my mom…absolutely prepared me to deal with my daughter…it’s a hard way to get prepared but I have learned to see that part of my own history as a bizarre blessing.

    My dad said out loud…what I was thinking after a very strange episode with my daughter at about 13…….he said “She acts too much like your mom”.

    I knew exactly what he meant. That was the start of a hellish three to four years of trying to get someone to listen to me…instead of writing her behavior off to “teenage angst and puberty hormones”.

    Again…Vulcan mind meld…seems you and I share some of the same thought process when it comes to the medical profession overall and how lazy the profession is with the slapping the labels on people as opposed to doing the work to find the root cause inside the brain and being specific and treating each person precisely as opposed to treating them as part of a “herd” The advances made from when my mom was diagnosed in the late 70’s to the mid 90’s when my daughter was diagnosed…to now….are amazing…but they have barely scratched the surface.

    Just as a lay person and (limited) self-educated out necessity…I see patterns in behaviors of people I know have some type of mental illness diagnoses. I can also –in hind sight— think of family members who weren’t diagnosed…but as someone who lived with it in face and space pretty much every day of my life…it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know……someone—somewhere….. dropped the ball with these people.

    Are there any autoimmune issues for your family members who have a diagnosis? It’s an off the wall question…but is something I have noticed in my family……there is a variety of genetic autoimmune issues on my mom’s side of the family…that seem to be more devastating to the women who are struggling with the mental health issues. I deal with most all of them—another reason I wonder “Me next”…and like you… I wonder…will I recognize it in ME?

    I have to admit…I have a hard time toeing the “PC” line when it comes to the topic. It isn’t because I am insensitive but it’s back to the weight the words carry…..and sometimes the words need to carry the weight of a sledge hammer to get the message thru. I understand the stigma issues….but I am at a point in my life want to get a bull horn and start screaming “GET OVER IT! It is what it is and lets all stop pussy footing around! Trying to not hurt feelings is doing more damage!!”

    I will also admit my own history has left me with a warped sense “of being PC and polite” and a very dark twisted sense of humor. Monsters aren’t so scary when you laugh at them well…that’s what I have convinced myself…my own “whistling in the dark whilst walk passed the grave yard” coping mechanism.

    I get the “glass half full” thing….it’s a huge piece of the “mental steel” armor I wear…guess it’s part of yours too..

    Thanks for the links on the documentary….I’m going to clear a spot here in a bit and watch them.

    I gotta say it again….you got guts. For my daughter, I want to add a thank you. Her biggest gripe now days is there aren’t enough people who cope with family members like her, speaking up. I’m going to send her a link to your blog.

    She needs to know there are people standing up.

    1. Mrs Fever Post author

      …nod-nod-nod…

      Just as a lay person and (limited) self-educated out necessity…I see patterns in behaviors of people I know have some type of mental illness diagnoses. I can also –in hind sight— think of family members who weren’t diagnosed…but as someone who lived with it in face and space pretty much every day of my life…it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know……someone—somewhere….. dropped the ball with these people.

      I have learned a lot ~ on my own as well as in traditional educational environments ~ over the years about multiple mental health diagnoses, and I often find myself mentally clicking together pieces of The Puzzle That Is My Family when I absorb new information.

      I hear what you are saying about falling through the cracks. And I agree.

      Again though, there is the stigma. Looking back, even to the ’90s, and seeing how my brother’s diagnosis was received… Oy. We’ve come a long way since your mother was diagnosed, but we’ve got a long way to go. And to tag on to what I was saying to Wild in the comments yesterday: Neuroscience has helped the advancement (and authentication) of the treatment of *some* psychiatric conditions, but it’s still a new science. And with psychology still being largely based on theory, and the DSM being based on limited quantifiable data… If a person is able to function, I can easily see why they’d want to leave well enough alone. It’s when they aren’t functioning ~ and can’t/won’t recognize their own inability to function ~ that the most damage is done.

      Your autoimmune question is a good one. I’m not sure about the people who have a diagnosis, except that schizophrenia is considered by some to be an autoimmune disease. Therefore, the diagnosis itself is autoimmune.

      Looking strictly at my mother’s side of the family, the people with autoimmune issues are not the people with mental illness diagnoses. For the most part, mental illness affects the males; the females have reproductive health issues, most of which are not considered autoimmune diseases.

      Your comment about laughing at the monsters made me think of the movie Monsters, Inc. Mike Wazowski! 😉

      Mike Wazowski

  4. Fatal

    Unfortunately it is very hard to avoid the eventual destruction that a cocktail of bad genes creates. I’m diagnosed with manic depression with rapid cycling with hints of paranoia and anxiety. My mother is a paranoid schizophrenic who doesn’t like to stay on her medication. My father is undiagnosed but… there’s something there–at one point we were doing family therapy and the therapist asked him to see my shrink to get a formal diagnosis, he refused. His family is full of… many different mental health issues.

    The majority of my family has been in and out of psych wards (myself included), some are on extended vacation–suicide is the most common form of death on my father’s side. Though I don’t feel like I’ve ever been in your shoes (if only because I always seem to be the one crawling up the walls of an institution, and I don’t feel like… I’ve earned… no. I don’t know what I’m saying here), I have watched family committed and I’ve attended numerous funerals… I’ve also felt like I’ve failed the most important member of my family (to me) by allowing him to see me fall apart.

    This was touching and a little triggering (it’s been my choice to read so I’m not being accusatory, please understand that). I feel like SD in that I feel like I am processing with you, and have been since you first started posting.

    I’ve commented needlessly on all of these posts… but again, I am here.

    xoxo

    1. Mrs Fever Post author

      Your comments are greatly appreciated darling, always. And I admire your fortitude in choosing to read these entries.

      One thing I haven’t touched on is Guilt. You say you feel like you’ve failed someone important. I identify with that sentiment, and from more than one perspective. Intellectually, I can wrap my head around the idea that it (and there are a great many “its”) is not / was not my fault. It’s not my fault for having emotions, for being scared, for not knowing what to do… It’s not my fault I was born to this… It’s not my fault that things (and there are a great many “things” – my own things as well as others’) turned out this way…

      I get it. Intellectually.

      But the heart thinks for itself, doesn’t it? And the past cannot be rewritten. Decisions cannot be undone.

      And for that, for all of that, I feel a tremendous amount of Guilt. Capitalization intentional.

      As for your father… His refusal, his family…

      I get that too.

      Heart hugs for you, luv. And thank you – seriously, genuinely thank you – for being here.

      xoxo

        1. Mrs Fever Post author

          I read your post dearest. I didn’t ‘Like’ it because I don’t like it…

          But I want you to know I am here. <3

          1. Mrs Fever Post author

            I sent you an email today my friend. You may have to fish it out of your spam box. Hotmail doesn’t like links.

            This is territory into which I do not normally publicly tread, but since you wrote of your love of religion in your post, I thought you might appreciate this:

            When the prophet Elijah called down fire from heaven and defeated the prophets of Baal, he was elated. Flying high, on top of the world, he was victorious.

            Then he received a threat from Jezebel, and in his fear he loses all hope. His response ~ immediately on the heels of accomplishing an impossible feat ~ was to go into the wilderness, lay down under a broom tree, and pray for death.

            The ultimate high…

            …followed by the ultimate low.

            As demonstrated through the behavior(s) of the ultimate old testament prophet. (I Kings 18 and 19)

            It’s one thing to know that Martin Luther suffered from depression, and that John Calvin experienced manic episodes. But Elijah? It puts things a new perspective, doesn’t it?

            And while Elijah was laying in wait for death, he was visited by an angel, who touched him, and gave him food and drink, so that he would have sustenance for the journey ahead.

            We all have our ups.
            We all have our downs.
            And we all need our angels. <3

  5. The Suburban Domme

    I’m diagnosed with manic depression with rapid cycling with hints of paranoia and anxiety

    I’m leaving a hug here for you, Fatal……I don’t know what it feels like to cope with this, but I know what it looks like …….because this is my daughter too.

  6. Jamie Ray

    Beautiful series of posts on family and mental illness. I’m the first in my family to go to psychoanalytic therapy and therefore I was fingered as the one who had the problem (because if I wasn’t sick I wouldn’t need to go and if they were sick they would have to go right?). But like everything else, it runs in the family.

    1. Mrs Fever Post author

      Thank you, Jamie.

      I ‘get’ that You’re obviously the one with the problem, because you’re in therapy… But I’m not in therapy, therefore I have no problem mentality. My mother ~ bless her heart ~ has tried for years to embrace the general concept of therapy as a positive thing, because she’s seen the good its done for some of the people she cares about. Yet she cannot fathom the idea of going to therapy herself, and when she’s gone with her children the results have been… Disastrous.

      This… I dunno what it is… Pride? Ego? Resistance? This… Attitude… It runs in my family. And since mental illness(es) also run in my family, it creates a collision course between What Is Acceptable and What Needs To Be Done.

  7. wildoats1962

    It doesn’t run in my family, we’re too lazy for that. It’s more of an amble. The thing that got to me the most in the last few years were the episodes of House where he {and you,the viewer} couldn’t tell when he was hallucinating. Sleepwalking {intensified by Ambien} usually is like a blackout. I don’t remember it at all. What’s worse are false memories where I dreamed it and later thought it had actually happened. On Mythbusters the intro has Adam saying, “I reject your reality and substitute my own.” Sometimes I feel like that.

    There was a telecourse from the 80’s called “The Brain”. There was a lot of good info there. Psychology was never a “Hard” science like physics or chemistry. For one thing it’s frowned on if you experiment on people. It’s unethical to intentionally harm people, but that means you might end up waiting quite a while for evidence. Phineas Gage comes to mind. They still study his brain injury {a tamping rod set off a charge and went through his head. He survived but he was a completely different person afterward.} Even something like insulin can completely change behavior. And there always has been that dichotomy of behaviorism and {as wiki calls it} mentalism. It’s not easy to measure what’s going on in someone’s mind, but you can observe behavior. Why is the question not easily answered.

    1. Mrs Fever Post author

      “It doesn’t run in my family. It ambles.”

      THIS. 😀

      I think you should coin this phrase. 😛

      That whole wide-awake-in-dreamland thing would be scary. I had a few sleep walking incidences when I was young. Oddly, I remember them as though they were waking events. It frightened my mother pretty severely. Each time it happened, I walked down two and a half flights of stairs into the basement. Each time, she followed. I remember being quite intent on reaching the furnace room, which was probably one of the reasons she was so scared. We had one of those beastly pot-bellied octo-armed monstrosities; I could have done myself a lot of damage. I have no idea why, but that was always my destination. And sometimes I would stop to pick up my ice skates from their storage box along the way. Very strange.

      The case of Phineas Gage was the basis upon which the concept of labotomies was founded. I believe it was after the second world war that ice pick labotomies started being performed on a regular basis. Soldiers returning home with “shell shock” (in the days before PTSD was a “thing”) often reported feeling ‘back to normal’ or, at the very least, much calmer after the procedure was done.

      Those who lived through it anyway.

      You say it’s frowned on to experiment on people. Such has NOT, unfortunately, always been the case. And the days of experimental torture on mental health patients are not that far behind us. Psychology is a field with a horribly gruesome history. And that history, along with the attitudes upon which that history was built, still colors people’s interpretations and (lack of) acceptance of mental illness.

    1. Mrs Fever Post author

      So hard to know what the future holds, and so hard to carry the knowledge that ~ in many ways ~ we are helpless against it. It’s called “fate” for a reason, I guess. *Hugs* back to you. Thank you for reading.

  8. seattlepolychick

    I’ve just spent the last while reading and catching up. I missed a chunk of your blog there and found it just now. My reader isn’t telling me when you post. Will be fixing.

    I’m sorry to hear about what you guys have been going through. I relate.. god I relate to the stuff that tromps through my family too. I don’t really have great things to say. I just deleted that sentence and wrote it again 9 times. There aren’t any good words for this. It sucks. Hugs. I’m sending hugs.

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