When my second kid was an infant, I had a nervous breakdown.
I look back at the blog entries for that time and it’s not really there. I thought I was revealing myself, and in the posts, the crazy is obviously there, but the gravity of my situation never made it on the page.
I mentioned my parents moved to my town because I was losing my mind. I had infected hardware in my skull, two surgeries, a three year old, a newborn with acid reflux, and no outside help. What’s not in those blog entries is that I was exhausted in a way I’d never been in my life before or since.
I had lots of breaking points that year, but one I feel comfortable telling you today is that I was so sleep deprived and depressed that I thought to myself, “I need help. I need a babysitter. I don’t know any babysitters. I don’t have the energy to find one. I don’t have the emotional resources to figure out where to look…. Maybe I’ll call the police. They help people. I’ll call them and tell them I need help and they’ll know what to do.”
That chain of ideas took several hours to put together. In the end I didn’t, because I was too scared to ask for help, and I had the back-of-my-head warning system that maybe it wasn’t a great idea. I knew I was doing life wrong and anyone taking half a glance would know. What would an authority figure do if they saw how badly I was handling things? It was a horrible place to be.
I managed to call my dad*. I’d lost my higher level functioning and couldn’t really explain why he needed to come out. Instead, I asked him to drop his whole life and help me. My parents came right away. A few months later, they sold their house, moved across country, and spent the next few months rehabbing me.
And here’s the big hook for me: My mom said, “Get a house keeper. Get a babysitter. We will send you the money.” And I said no. I couldn’t accept that help. I needed my parents.
*I did post about that, and here it is, in all it’s cringe-inducing glory. It’s clear to me now how completely alienated my father and I were from one another. That phone call came from a desperate place, but it was also the start of reconnecting with my Dad.
The last few times I’ve spoken with my mom, this cold dread fills up my insides. She’s saying the same stuff she’s been saying for a year now, and I’m not sure what’s changed, but I feel it. I think I feel it. That piece of me who was so exhausted and stressed eight years ago perks up. It’s like that part feels the kinship of end-of-the-line desperation.
It unnerved me so bad I spent the morning ferreting out day care options for Dad. I just (felt like I) knew it was time to step in, that things were headed down a dark path with no help of changing without outside influence.
I found a place that seemed pretty good. Called Mom with the info that afternoon. She gave me ten different reasons why she couldn’t put Dad in day care. No, no, no. No outside help of any kind. Not yet. …But would I come up to visit this weekend?
On the surface, her reasons for refusal kinda made sense.
Scratching the surface revealed nonsensical (or at least making no sense to me) logic – Dad can’t see a doctor because they don’t like their new GP, and that makes it impossible to call for a referral. Dad can’t go to daycare because have you seen the people in daycare? They have dementia – he’d have nothing in common with those people. (Um… what? Also, since when has Dad ever been interested in other people even when he wasn’t demented?)
When I tested her again, she got angry and eventually said, “This is like a puss pocket. You can keep poking at it, but until things are ready and the time is right, all you’re going to do is cause pain with no results.”
I am so mad at her. I hate that she’s willing to ride this into a catastrophe before taking the slightest step towards helping herself. I feel like she is hanging off of a tall building ledge, and I am standing on the cement below with one of those old fashioned firefighter’s nets, trying to help her when she needs it.
But as this goes on, my arms are getting tired, and she’s dicking around up there, unwilling to climb off the ledge or let go already. I hate that she says, ‘wait until I think the time is right’. I feel like a bad person because when I was so sick and needed help 9but said I wouldn’t take money for housekeeping or a babysitter), she did my way. If my mom judged me or thought I was insane, she kept it to herself. She never second guessed that I knew the best way to heal myself.
I’m struggling with my options. I don’t know if I can keep watching my mother do this. I don’t think I have any real power to stop her. I don’t know if I dishonor her by trying to undermine her plan, or if it is my duty as a human being to keep telling her I think she’s not thinking clearly.
Thank you for the feedback on last post. Your replies surprised amazed laughs out of me! Have never considered myself a character to you. What a bizarre level of meta to realize there is evidently no way to break the fourth wall of the computer screen. *Pounds fist, yells “I am a real girl!” to no effect*
Also, I have been frenetically repressing all my thinking/creative time into wattpad this past month. Am writing under the name Talia Vines, an R rated story called DarkWeb. If you have not been to wattpad and you love reading crazy, unfiltered, unpolished stuff for free, it’s pretty good. To stave off panic attacks about my parents last night, I decided I would funnel that terror into cross-contaminating two aliases.
As soon as I decided, I got heavy flashback from childhood of tv watching. Remember “Wonder twin powers…. activate!” ?
Well, my brain yelled, “Splintered identities… conglomerate!” Because fuck it, what’s with all the hiding Anne? I mean, I’ll never be as cool as an ice-bike ridin’ octopus, but I can do this.