Tuesday, 14 April 2020

Head down, still here, wish it were different

So I am still here, trapped in my house with Jack who is usually on a different planet and Kate who is struggling with the current state of affairs in all the ways that 14 year old should be.

I have wanted to come write, to put pieces of this time of isolation down so that I would remember it later when I looked back but I needed to get the last of this semester finished and that took all the stamina I had. Coming here and writing was just one more thing that felt like it was going to take energy that is definitely in short supply.

In the midst of it all of the current chaos that is the state of the entire world I am still trying to manage the fact that the world is often not a safe place for children and right now that is really hard. I wish that was not the case, I wish we lived in a world where kids were valued and loved in all the ways that they should be rather than hurt.

In this time of isolation I am seeing once again how broken my family of origin is. Others are sharing how they are zooming and face timing with family. I have spoken to my parents once since this all started and texted with my older sister about once a week. That's it. There are no virtual family gatherings over meals or chats with Kate as they connect virtually because they can't be together because the truth is we would not really talk to each other in normal times so why would we talking now.

That makes me sad. I wish that it were different.

Today I am going to read and garden and do nothing just because I can. The next semester starts in 3 weeks so I have to get in all the lazy I can before then!

Sunday, 22 March 2020

Choices

Last night Kate came to me as I sit and watched TV on my iPad. She sat down and stroked the puppy for a few moments and then said " If you could go back in time would you still of adopted all three of us?"

I tried not to gasp.

I tried not to let the tears start and say no I would not.

Instead I explained that I could not go back and change what had happened and so that was an impossible question for me to answer because I would loved her and would be sad if she was not in my life.

But if I was not here I would not of been hurt by my brothers.

Her life would be so different.

The weight of that statement takes my breath away as I type it. The guilt and shame that I so often feel for choosing to adopt again, for searching for a child who we could call ours when we already had two is something I will forever wonder about.  But those thoughts only happen in my head.

Instead, I talked with her for close to an hour about what had happened. About what I thought about our broken world and I how I felt about her brothers who had both been offered and accepted plea deals. About how Kevin might hurt other people about how what he had done to Randall was horrific.

I talked about how my eyes did not see what happened. About how professionals in our lives made so many mistakes. About how I did not know then what I know now and how much I wish that this was not the path that we were on.

I apologized for not keeping her safe. Again and again she was hurt and I did not know.

She told us but we did not listen. I believed my son and did not believe the small girl, who I had only just gotten to know. When she said she was lying and that she had made it up we moved on and I thought I was so careful. I trusted Kevin. I never should have trusted Kevin.

She was not lying, not at 6 and not at 12.

And today the weight of that conversation from last night is heavy. In the midst of all of this chaos in the world as COVID creates so many problems I have a child who wishes we were not her family because then her life would have been so much better.

That makes me sad for me and for her because most days I feel like the only thing keeping me here is her. The thought that leaving would mean that she was alone and that would not be something she would ever recover from.



Monday, 16 March 2020

When the structure is crumbling...

So I went away last week, it was a much needed break from reality but it was far from easy to be away. While I was away Jack and Kate fought, again and again. I would deal with them both getting in touch with me and  ranting about what the other one was doing. My friends supported me though and it was so nice to hear that I was not crazy in being frustrated with Jack's behaviour.

Towards the end of my time away the COVID-19 crisis ramped up and I was eager to get home. I slipped in before anyone actually told me that I needed to self-isolate at home for 14 days but I am pretty much doing it anyway because I do not want to be the person who makes another human sick. I have a high risk partner, a high risk kid who is far away and all alone and I have my own long list of issues that make me a pretty high risk patient as well.

Today all of that feels overwhelming. The state of the world feels like more than I can manage.

I was already struggling in so many ways before this started and now my past trauma struggles and depression have ramped themselves into high gear as I try to navigate all of the many balls I have in the air on my own trapped in a house with  stressed Kate and a clueless Jack.

It's hard.

I really hated my life before and now I hate it even more. The one thing I look forward to all year ( going away with my friends) has now created a situation where my struggle around being isolated and trying to manage alone is forced to continue in the most extreme ways.

I wish there were some options for making things less hard and yet I know that is not going to happen. My trauma triggers aren't going to listen to the crisis that is occurring and stop happening. I am not going to all of a sudden  be able to be touched without being scared. My intense hyper-vigilance is not going to magically resolve itself because I am overwhelmed by the pandemic. The intense depression that today, is so overwhelming isn't magically going to remove itself. Jack isn't going to figure out how to support me as I struggle with just existing let alone when when I am triggered and scared.

I so long for this chapter of my life to be over.

Monday, 2 March 2020

dread or something like it.

I am going away this week to gather with a group of women I have been getting together with every year since 2010. I woke up this morning with an intense sense of dread deep within my body because I am worried about what might happen with Randall while I am gone.

We managed his hearing last week and then found out that they found a semi-independent apartment for him that is over 80 minutes away from us. 80 minutes on a good day with no weather or traffic issues for a kid who is unstable and often suicidal. I am astonished at the lack of planning or listening on the part of the agency. They have known since October that this was going to happen and they now act like it is a surprise that they need to figure out housing for him. He moves there on Wednesday, the day before I leave and I day that is already full of appointments and so I can not even take him there and help him settle in.

It is so frustrating. How can one kid fall through so many cracks so many times.

It breaks my heart that he is so unstable and that no one can seem to get their crap together and provide him with the support that he desperately needs.

But I am still going away. I need this break. I need to see these women. I need to decompress from these last few months because they have been so very hard.

I look back at the end of 2019 and the beginning of 2020 and I am surprised I am still here. I am surprised that I got through that and can tell the story because there were so many days when I thought was just not going to be the case.

A trip, another hearing, some papers for school, one step at a time and hopefully with time the dread will decrease and some version of normal will emerge.

Saturday, 22 February 2020

My heart hurts

Literally. My heart hurts this morning.

My reaction to the articles about Jean Vanier sexually assaulting multiple woman has consumed my morning as I have tried to calm myself in the reality that yet another man thought that somehow he was more important than the women he ignored as he assaulted them.

My body pain increased as I read more and the spot above my heart that often hurts actually began to ache as did my head as I began to develop a migraine.

Why is it that so many humans feel that their humanity is somehow more important than someone else's? Why do they feel that they have the right to take something that is not theirs to take? Why do men in positions of power use that power to silence women when they assault them? Why are they assaulting them at all?

Why on earth are they pretending that somehow this is their God given right - I mean seriously, how on earth can anyone believe that a loving God would encourage men to assault women.

My heart is broken, my faith is shaken, my belief systems continue to crumble around me as I see more and more brokenness in the world.





Thursday, 20 February 2020

Therapy thoughts

I went to therapy today. I feel like I should get a gold star for that most weeks.

I'm glad that when my life was less chaotic and insane than it is right now ( yes there was a time)  I found a therapist who got adoption, attachment and trauma. Luckily for me she is sticking it out through this super insane portion of my life where I frequently feel as though life is never ever going to get to better. She is hopeful, I am not so hopeful but every now and then I have a good day and think this time will eventually pass and things will get better. Today is not that day.

So while we were talking about all the damn trauma in my childhood she made a comment about my parents that got me thinking about why I have made so many of the choices I have made as an adult. So many things in my childhood were chaotic and crazy and as an adult I searched out stability and relationships that were safe with little risk because I was terrified of losing anyone that I cared about.

I just wanted to have people who loved me.

The thing is, my parents did a really shitty job. That isn't news to me but what I hadn't ever really thought about was how if they had just changed some of the smallest things the outcomes for me might have been so different...

That hadn't really ever occurred to me before. I hadn't ever really though about the trajectory of how things went and what might could have been different.

Not that I can go back and change it.

But as I struggle with trauma that I now need to work through, I can't help but wonder what would have been if things had been different. If I lived in a world where they talked about the elephant in the room instead of ignoring it and hoping it would go away. I have always said that my parents did the best they could with a crappy situation  because addictions, trauma, and PTSD were all part of their lives. But, the thing is, they could have done better. They could have stepped up and changed things and when I challenged them as a young adult, they could have apologized. They could have been there for me as a kid instead of leaving me all the time so that they could go off to wherever with little regard for what that meant for me or who was supposed to be taking care of me.

But they didn't.

And here I am, an adult working through things I didn't remember happening until now. I don't have the safe loving family I longed for, instead I have a partner who can't see or hear my pain and kids who are so broken that loving them with my whole heart was not enough for them to heal.

But that is not the end of my story. I am not the person I was two years ago but I am still here.

I am changing the endings. I am talking and apologizing and seeing what I did not see before. Not because I was not paying attention but because Kevin was so manipulative that he would have found a way to hurt them regardless of what I did.

I tried so hard for my kids.

I wish someone had done that for me.

Tuesday, 18 February 2020

Thoughts from today

Today has been a long day.

I often find taking Kate to therapy to be overwhelming simply because it is a constant reminder to me about what has happened in my home and to my family. Add to that the discovery that I have more school work to finish this week than I realized and Jack continuing to be clueless about just how much I dislike my world at the moment and the day felt like it took forever to be over and even now it is still not done.

I have tried on more than one occasion to talk to Jack about our world right now, about my trauma memories and my depression and he just cannot hear me. That makes me sad and frustrated because I need him to hear it, I need things to change in our home and if they don't I am not sure how much longer I can keep up this game of charades that I feel like I am playing everyday.

Next week Randall has his sentencing hearing and I am not sure if Jack even plans on coming. Randall will not care if he is there but I will. I expect that he should support our boy especially since we asked him to plead so that we would not have to manage a second trial and this really is the best thing for all of us at this point.

Kevin's case will not wrap up until next month and his sentencing will be more complex for so many reasons and honestly, I can't even really think about that right now because when I do I get all panicky and start to worry way more than is reasonable since it is still 5 weeks away.

And then what happens?

What happens for our family?
What happens for the boys?
What happens for me, because even once all the court pieces are finished this is always going to be a part of my story, of our family and a piece of my life that I really would rather forget.

Will the sad always be this overwhelming?
Will there be a time when depression is just an occasional emotion rather than a constant state of being?
Is my marriage over?

There are more questions than answers.

Monday, 17 February 2020

For me and for you

I’m just going to leave this here because I will likely need to hear it again in about an hour.

Thursday, 13 February 2020

Truth


I wish with my whole being that my story, my version of life did not mean that this is true. But, it is and most days these are things that make me feel the most vulnerable as well.



 

Tuesday, 11 February 2020

And just like that I go from managing to overwhelmed in a moment,

About 2 weeks ago Kevin pled guilty to some much lesser charges. I have a lot of big feelings about that. Mostly it makes me mad because I feel like he is getting away with so much more but I keep trying to tell myself he could have gotten away with it and been found not guilty. I fee like I should just be relieved that he has admit he did something.

Except I am not relieved.

I am overwhelmed and sad for Kate and for me too.  I just found out that although we can make statements about the impact these crimes have had on our lives we can only speak to the lesser charges that he pled guilt to. Which feels a bit like being run over by a truck and then being told that you can only tell people it was a bicycle that hurt you even though the truck has altered your life forever and bicycle might of just been an annoyance or caused some minor injuries.

I am shocked at how fast I go from  - everything is okay, I am managing this, to oh my goodness I can not do this and there will be no managing.

I feel as though this going to need to be a day with a lot of deep breaths as I try to keep myself calm because this event is still six weeks away.

Monday, 10 February 2020

How much longer?


A friend who has been struggling in her marriage for a long time just called me to tell me that she and her husband were getting a divorce. It has been a long time coming and she finally in a moment of anger just said out loud that she was done and he agreed. Then they both left for work. 

I am jealous. 

It is no secret that Jack and I have been struggling for years to remain connected in the midst of all the chaos that has become our normal. On Friday I tried to talk to him, tried to tell him something that was gigantic for me and he could not hear me. Instead of listening and offering empathy he compared my sharing, to recent events he also is struggling with. they are not the same. It's not because he doesn't care because he does, and deeply. Instead it is that his pain is so great that he can't acknowledge mine and understand how that pain is currently affecting every single aspect of my existence at the moment.

We are both so broken from years of parenting trauma and all the implications of this journey. I have found support and friendship through the hardest parts and he has not found anyone. I go to therapy and try to manage and still be a good parent to Kate and Randall in spite of all that has gone on. He does not. He spends his time working, complaining about working and lying in bed watch cop shows on his iPad and then wonders out loud why the kids are not connected to him and don't tell him anything. 

Most days I feel like staying here with him is a battle that I do not want to fight anymore and he has no idea what is going on because he refuses to take the time to listen to me when I try to talk to him. 

It makes me sad for him, for me and for our kids because I do not think I can keep up this charade for much longer. 




Thursday, 6 February 2020

what do you do when it is all just the same?

There have been many moments in the last week or so when I have thought about coming here, thought about writing something to help me process some of what is happening in my head and to my spirit but I haven't. I feel like I have nothing more to say that I have not already said.

Things are hard.

Most days feel as though I lived through enough life to last for a whole month.

These days that are hard for me, seem to last forever. For awhile now I have been working on  acknowledging the level of pain and exhaustion that I am feeling as a result of my life and my own trauma that has been front and centre in all moments of my life.

I so wish that our lives were different. I wish that I could go back and change the past. I so wish my life had turned out differently

I have been hanging on to this message for awhile and made it the wallpaper on my phone the other day, not because I feel as though my story is something people need to hear but more because I know that knowing I am not alone has been such a comfort to me. Perhaps one day sharing my story will help someone else realize that they are not alone either.

Friday, 31 January 2020

Tripping over trauma

For the last 12 years I have parented children with significant trauma and as a result I am often find myself tripping over my own trauma when I am least expecting it. The resulting stumble that trip creates might overwhelm me for days and sometimes for much longer.

That is where I am today.

After the first set of trial days for Kevin in October, my own childhood trauma memories moved their way back into my daily existence. Some were new pieces of a puzzle that I did not know existed and some were old, I thought I had processed them the first time I worked with a trauma therapist in my early 20's. Clearly, (although I did a lot of work) I was going to have work through them all again, especially the new ones.

That's the thing, I had no idea they had happened, my brain had protected me for all these years because the truth was more than I could handle. It it still more than I can handle because I have so many blank spots where things do not make sense and no matter how hard I try to figure out what happened all those years ago.

Even though I can't fill in all the blanks my body remembers, things scare me or make me oddly uncomfortable. Last night I worked through a physical reaction to something I had discussed in therapy and it was so hard to manage. I was nauseous and filled with anxiety and felt as though my chest was going to explode with each deep breath I took to try to calm myself down.

I am 42 and this is so hard.

How do my children manage it? How did I manage it as a child?

Why do we live in a world where children are hurt by adults or other children? Why do we live in world where this okay and people are not held responsible for the choices that they make.

I know that part of my struggle last night stemmed from what happened this week. From the fact that I spent almost an entire day and night in an ER with Randall as we fought to get him the psycheratric help he so desperately needs. Then, the next day, I learned that Kevin had accepted a plea deal that would see him getting probation and therapy rather than serving time for what he did to his siblings. And, although I never wanted him to go to jail, I am so upset that he gets to walk away only accepting the smallest amount of responsibility for his actions.

Much like the people in my childhood and in the childhoods of so many others, he is not going to be held accountable for what he did. It is complicated to wish that your child is going to be punished for the choices that they made when you know that hurt people, hurt other people.

Who hurt him?

Why cannot we be in place where we just love and support each other either rather than hurt and destroy as we try to manage our own intense pain and brokenness...

I wish I could answer that. I wish that this was not my reality. I am trying so hard to be okay. To not go back to that very dark place I was in last week where the best option was to just cease existing.


Friday, 24 January 2020

for me

I have mostly written in this place for myself because it helps my head to get the thoughts out and because there are so few people that I can talk to about what is happening in my life. There are a few people whom I have told about this place and a few others who have stumbled across me because they found me again on twitter when I followed them and they figured out who I was or were interested in what I have to say.

That anonymity has meant that I could come and go here as I wanted to and not worried about what I have said or not said because so few people come to see what is written on this little corner of the internet I have carved out for my own.

This week I wanted to die. I had a plan. I had the means and it truly felt as though I could not live another day.

That was Tuesday. Today is Friday and I am still here. To be honest I cannot tell you what stopped me and it was not the first time I have felt that way in the last year and half. I did see my therapist that day and I know how worried she was. That night I texted her and told her I needed her to hang on to my meds so that I did not take them all in an attempt to end my life.

She certainly helped and did all the things she should have done. I am not sure why it was that I stopped and asked for help rather than taking the pills.

But I did and I am still here.

The days feel hard. I get wake up each morning faced with the grim reality that is my life and I do not want to get out of bed. Randall texts me and say mean and hateful things and I wish that there was a way to fix him. Kate is sassy because I am annoyed that most of our forks have disappeared and although that is not a big deal it kind of is because of where they came from. Yep, forks are just things but when getting out of bed each days take all the energy you have fighting with your teen about forks becomes just one more thing you have to do.

I do not want to do anything.

I move slowly in the morning because everything hurts and I am not a morning person. I have coffee and try to muster up the will to shower and get dressed, if I do both before 9am it feels like a monumental accomplishment. I push through all the things I must do like take care of dogs and attend appointments. I might fit some school in somewhere if I can find the emotional resources to manage it. But, the reality is I spend a lot of time thinking about how hard life is and how much I hate mine.

Sometimes I fantasize about how life could be if I made some changes. How it would be if I left Jack and started over again just with Kate and then I feel guilty for even thinking that. He has also given the last 15 years of his life to this marriage and family when he could have been doing other things that would have been a hell of lot easier than the life we have lived. I care about him but we are so broken and I just can not see a way for us to mend ourselves and be in relationship with one another.

Where will I be in a year or even in a month. I can not see or hope past this day because that just feels overwhelming.

Depression is the not the companion I would have asked for at this point in my life.