Today I was thinking. A lot. And it didn’t even hurt!!! I was thinking about why, on my 43rd birthday did this stupid illness come to a head and kind of take over my life. I have actually been thinking about this for a few weeks now….but lately more so than normal. Here is what I have concluded….
I believe that I have had this disorder my entire life. My mom and grandma have both told me that I was a very hard baby. I cried all the time and nothing ever really made me happy for long. I also remember a story my mom told me about something I did when I was young which also makes me think this disorder manifested way back when.
I guess I was about 6 or so. We lived down the way from this grocery store that my mom shopped at. This is when Brach’s candy first started showing up in stores in bulk. Some of you may recall the Brachs Pick a Mix bins. You could buy the candy by the pound and mix and match all the goodness. Well, in that particular store, the Brach’s display also had a small metal box with a slot in the top where you could put in a nickel and get one piece of candy to sample. This system was based on trust–I never actually saw this in any other store but the one we lived by. Well I loved the red and white mints (I still do actually) and so when we would go my mom would always give us a couple nickels so we could get some candy. At some point, I had the brilliant idea that using a penny would work just the same, because all they had to do was hear the coin hit, right? I was devious even then…ugh. So I collected a bunch of pennies before we went each time and I would put in pennies and fill up whatever bag I was carrying. It took a couple times, but my mom finally caught on–she kept finding candy wrappers all over the house and in the trash and didn’t know where they were coming from. She searched my room and found purses full of candy that I had stashed. She finally got me to confess—or maybe my sister told on me, since I was using her purses and making her be part of my evil scheme—and made me go back to the store to tell the manager what I had been doing and return all the candy I still had left over. Well, I was not okay with this I guess. By the time we got to the manager, I was in a full blown teary sob fest. I guess I never was able to apologize because I couldn’t or wouldn’t stop crying. The manager felt bad for me with all my sobbing and dry heaving, and told my mom to just take me home, that he could tell I was sorry. I doubt I was ever allowed to go grocery shopping with my mom at that store again….
The point to this story is that even so young, I was not able to admit my wrongdoings without having a full blown emotional breakdown. I still have this problem to this day when it is something I feel truly horrible about. I have learned, as the manipulative borderline I am, that instead of having to apologize, I will just try to not do things that require apologizing. Pretty brilliant, yes? Yeah, whatever. Too bad that doesn’t always work out for me……
Anyhow, back to my original point. Why I believe this disorder has taken control of my life recently.
From the moment I escaped the hell that was my childhood with my mother, I have distracted myself. Distracted myself both on purpose and on accident. I got freedom, so I went buck wild. While I was drinking or smoking weed or taking acid or snorting meth, I didn’t have to deal with my turbulent past or my insane mood swings or the emotions that threatened to overwhelm me at any given moment. Drugs kept me focused on fun and partying and hanging with people who liked me for who I was at that moment. They gave me a purpose. They made me brave (or stupid). I was fun, and funny and cool and liked. I liked who I was when I was high on any given thing. I felt strong and powerful and in control of myself and my surroundings. I was focused. Nobody mattered but me and whomever I chose to share my life or myself with during that time. I became sexually promiscuous. I was attention-seeking and getting instantly gratified. What a life I thought that was……so much so that I did it for almost 10 years straight. I was lucky though…in the fact that I never got any permanent sexually transmitted diseases.
I did, however, end up pregnant a few times. Which was just another distraction for me so I didn’t have to focus on my real issues. This worked out well for me also. I did have moments however that would throw me into an emotional hole so deep I never thought I would get out… My kids were my miracles. They still are in that regard. They saved me from the life of a junkie. Because of them, I became a “responsible” drug user. A “responsible” addict. (this just makes me shake my head and roll my eyes now) I was so focused on giving my kids a better life than I had—- nobody was going to tell me how to raise them, I was not going to let anyone hurt them, I was going to make sure they knew their mom loved them all the time. Yes, I was still doing drugs, because I felt in control when I was high (irony alert). I made sure my kids were always clean, fed, housed, schooled, etc. From the outside, I was the perfect mother. This way nobody would think I was a user and try to take them away. It worked. Some people still don’t or refuse to believe I was high for most of my 20’s. On methamphetamine. Daily. There were some times I wouldn’t sleep for a week. Other times I would use weed to get me down enough to sleep normally. Or as normal as you could get using dope to regulate a sleep cycle…. D’oh. I always made sure my kids were on a schedule, though. They had regular meals, naps, bedtimes, etc. For all accounts and purposes, I did what I was supposed to do. Nobody knew what was happening in the background. Which was just how I planned it.
Of course–even the best laid plans backfire sometimes. Mine didn’t. I never had my kids taken from me because of dope. I never had anyone question my parenting. Except my sister—who was terrified for most of their childhood that I would abuse them like I abused her. But I didn’t. I couldn’t. That would break down the system I had going on. Plus, it seriously gets expensive when you have to replace your own shit you broke from having a temper tantrum and throwing things through walls and doors and windows. I stopped that when I realized I couldn’t really afford to replace all that I had damaged. And there was no replacing my kids. Don’t get me wrong–there were times, as there are in every parent’s life, that I wanted to beat the holy fuck out of my children. But I never allowed my violence to be taken out on them physically. I was as screamer. Ha. I say that like it is better. It wasn’t. It isn’t. But in my mind, yelling at them was much better than getting physical with them. Don’t get me wrong here, I disciplined them. They got spanked, and smacked in the mouth here and there….because I am a firm believer in capital punishment…but I never went overboard and broke their skin or left bruises on them. Not on purpose. And never in anger.
When I decided to get off drugs—I did it of my own free will. Not because I was forced by a person or a court system or whatever. I chose it. I did it. And I succeeded. One day I took my kids to a friend, told them what I was doing, went home and detoxed for a week from hell. Then I went back, picked up my kids and we went on with our lives. It was easy as that. And yes, I mean it was easy. Once I make up my mind, that’s the end of that–whatever that may be. I am extremely strong-minded that way. Unless my emotions are involved. Then I am just useless. Anyway–I stopped using and never used again. It’s been 14 years since I last used any type of drug aside from an occasional drink now and then. I stopped smoking the same way. Yes, I still get cravings once in a while for all my old vices, but not enough to worry me or stress me out.
So even when the distraction of drugs and partying was gone, I still had my kids to focus on. So I did. I made them my life. I struggled every day with my emotions and my mood swings, but I still managed to ignore it for the most part and fake my happiness. Of course when I would get stressed, it would be a bit extreme, but it was never like it used to be, so I figured I was still hiding it well.
And as my kids got older and more independent of me, I filled in the gaps with boyfriends. Boyfriends full of drama so I could have that to complain and bitch about–without the drama, I went to dark places with my emotions. I needed the drama to distract me. I never picked healthy relationships. I always picked guys who needed to be “fixed”. Looking back now, that makes me vomit in my mouth a bit—because for the first time in my life, I don’t want to fix anyone. I want them to already be whole…so they can help me be whole. Weird. Still getting used to thinking and feeling like that.
Anyway, I picked drama. And if you didn’t have drama, and I couldn’t make it up, I would have to go. Which didn’t happen often. My emotions were so whacked out, I could talk myself into any sort of drama you could ever think of. And convince you it was real too. I picked my friends that way. I picked boyfriends that way. The last boyfriend I picked lasted almost 9 years of drama. And it was more him than me….haha. So he fulfilled my need to distract myself from my own issues and focus on his crap. And there was so much. It made my life so miserable—and I thrived. (yup, still vomiting in my mouth here)
Then all of a sudden this was all gone.
I finally said goodbye the drama that was my ex…….though mostly because he finally grew up and stopped the drama and I could no longer summon the energy to make it up anymore. And now my kids are almost all grown up. They don’t need me anymore like they used to. My daughter is 19, and being all independent and junk. My youngest son is about to be 18 here in three months and then what? I no longer have kids to focus on. I have no boyfriend to focus on. And no drama to speak of. And the fact that I don’t even want to find or make up new drama is a new one for me. I have finally exhausted myself to the point that there is nothing left but to heal……..and take back actual control of my life, myself and my emotions.
And I don’t hate it. Mind you, it does mean I finally have to face my own issues and really actually deal with them, but I don’t miss the chaos or distraction anymore. And I think that is good. I also think that is why my disorder has reared its head and took me over.
For the first time in as long as I can remember, I am able to focus on just me and nobody else. I am able to focus on the needs of my inner child and the grown up I want to heal. I am finally able to really take the time that I have always needed to take and denied myself to be here for myself and put my own needs first. And while this is all really good, it damn well scares the living fuck out of me.
I’ve never been alone. Ever. I have always had someone there in my life–living in my space, being my distraction–family, friends, boyfriends, kids, etc.
Now it’s just me. Just me, myself and I.
And I can do this. I know I can do this. I have overcome everything I have ever set out to overcome. I am strong-minded. It is time I remember that and start using that strength to my advantage. I know I will have setbacks. I know I may have them daily. I know my emotions will cycle so fast I won’t be able to keep up. But I also know it will pass………and it is in those times of silence when I am able to regroup, rethink, and remember that this is going to be my biggest obstacle yet…..and I will overcome it. Slowly but surely. Alone or not.
I. WILL. DO. THIS.