Monday, July 25, 2011

questions/answers 2

I am really interested in answering these questions from my new friend, anonymous. They are well thought out and have me really thinking. I have had a recent leg injury so I have been laid up. Please pardon the short breaks between posts.

For this post, I would like to focus on my own mental illness. The following excerpts came from 2 different comments:

Okay, so I started reading back a bit, and it looks like your daughter did inherit your mental illness, and your mom also seems to have a mental illness. I noticed that you feel that your daughter will be better off than you were because of the availibity and information etc (plus your own experiences). How do you feel knowing that she will battle this life long illness? Do you encourage her to have children of her own- knowing that in all likelyhood they will face the same challanges?

What I am stuggling with is that your mental illness would be (in my opinion) a bad environment to raise a very well adapted child in, let alone a child with any difficulties! So what was the motivation behind the adoption? Was it so you could feel loved, and have a family? Children are really sensitive and perceptive - they would be very aware of your mental state... And your mental illness makes it so much harder to parent in general... So why adopt?

I have had suicidal ideations for years. I have only shared that with a handful of people. My mother does not even know how very far they go. When I do think about it it is usually when I am really struggling with stress or with feelings of failure. My Obsessive Compulsive Disorder causes me to want things to be perfectly solved in a timely manner. If things go wrong, I stress and fret and worry. They worry causes me to feel badly about myself and focus on my failure to make things go the right way. This is when I get frustrated and angry with myself. If it goes far enough or I am in a deep enough hole of depression, this is when I wish that truck driving down the road would hit me. Or I would like fora freak accident to happen that would simply take the pain away. I have never considered doing something that would actively cause my death. I am not sure if that makes sense, but to me, it does. I am not trying to make it sound better than it is, I am just trying to explain.

As I think about it, my suicidal tendancies tend to be more of the self loathing variety and less of the "world sucks" variety. I tend to want to die to be done with feeling like a failure. I hate myself sometimes and I would prefer it would just be over. I don't look at it as though it is hindering my life, just something that I have to keep on top of so that it does not take over.

My OCD is certainly something I can live with. I have been treated for my OCD for 10 years now. Most people would have no idea that I struggle with OCD. Once again, it is something that I have to deal with an understand, but not something that is so terrible.

While I have tried to be quite outspoken about my feelings here to make other's aware that there should be no shame in mental illness, I live a pretty darned normal life. Most people in my life have no idea I struggle with suicidal thought. My husband was the first person that I really spoke the feelings to. We sought counseling and that is when we found out I was OCD. So many things fell into place at that time! Since that time I shared these feelings with 3 people whom I am close to in real life and a couple of people from the blogging world. That is all. The last person I shared them with was quite shocked and said she would've never guessed. I have known her for 10+ years and consider her a close friend. Most people know I am OCD because I share it openly. My OCD tendencies that linger tend to be beneficial. I am the one people go-to for organizational help etc. I am not the crazy cat hoarder who lives down the street! :)

I do feel pretty terrible being responsible for my daughter having OCD. Her OCD does take on a different form than mine does. She does tend to have more of the compulsions than I do. She has tics that lately are under control, but she has struggled with in the recent past. I think her OCD may be a bit more intense than mine is. While I have found that I feel quite responsible for bringing her into this world and giving her a portion of my mental illness, I don't regret having children. I knew that possibility could exist. I also know that I am better equipped to deal with my own OCD than I was even 5 years ago. Knowing that she has OCD, knowing our treatment options and addressing them head-on seems to have given us the upper hand. Even though she is still quite young, I have tried to teach her to be empowered by her illness (or more likely power over her illness) and not to be afraid of telling others her brain works differently than theirs does. We talk about not being made from the same cookie cutter. We equate it to the oldest's difficulties and talk about knowing a little more about what he feels like. While it may not be a blessing to have OCD, we can look at it in a more positive light if we try.

I have told my husband an several occasions that having the oldest definitely changed my position on having children on psychotropic meds. We have laughed that perhaps that was his purpose for him coming into our lives. Had he not been here, I would have had a hard time embracing meds for both of the bio kids. I totally believe that their medications have allowed them to live their lives to the fullest and I am not sure I would've felt that way before adopting the oldest.

(I am recovering from an accident and am laid up for 6 weeks! I hope this makes sense as I am on a bit of medication. . . I reserve the right to edit later if I don't feel I was clear on different ideas)

Friday, July 22, 2011


The last post brought a series of questions from an anonymous poster. They were some great questions. I did not take offense at anything that was asked as it was asked in a respectful manner. I think is poster just simply wanted to understand. I will attempt to answer them here as opposed to in the comments section since I think they will offer some clarity to my issues and our adoption.

Our adoption journey did not start out as one. My husband and I simply wanted to provide a child with a home who needed one at the moment. We became foster parents to provide a home to children who still had parents. We were well aware that they could go home to their parents and welcome reunification if that home was their best option. We did not let our foster kids call us mom and dad because I thought that was disrespectful to their parents. My oldest came to us while we were fostering. We had no intention of adopting this child. He had a mom who was working her plan. She was however quite mentally ill and moderately handicapped herself. The state did terminate her rights and he became available for adoption. We did not plan on adopting him and he was not even made readily available to us. He was labeled "non adoptable". We were told he was likely to be institutionalized. We committed to being his home until they knew what his "final placement" was.

At this point we had just had our own biological child. With the addition to our family came a newfound understanding of a parent's love. I mourned the lost of the oldest childhood and all the hurt and trauma he had gone through in a new way. I could not fathom how a other could do that/allow that to happen to her own flesh and blood. As a new mother myself, I wondered how that was even possible to live with one's self in that situation. My oldest was definitely loved in my home prior to this, but I loved him in a much deeper way after becoming a mother myself. My husband voiced the very same feelings one evening without ever having heard my feelings on the subject.

It was the next day that we put in an intent to adopt. I never looked at my oldest as a way to further our family, as though we were giving him the gift of a family, or as he was fullfilling a need in my life. I simply loved him with everything in my being and wanted him to be a part of a famil, our family, forever. The alternative turned my stomach.

I still feel that way today. We will keep on loving and supporting him forever. Just becasue I get angry and have some resentment at certain behaviors does not mean that I plan on doing anything different than what we do everyday. We keep on keeping on. We love. We support. And we do what families do.

The remainder of the questions dealt with my own mental illness and why I would choose to bring a child into that be it through adoption or biologically. . . . I will deal with that in another post.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

anger and resentment

There is a bit of a scuttlebutt in the trauma mama blog-o-sphere lately. Last mom wrote a post about HOPE and letting go of the anger and resentment directed toward our kiddos. I get what she is trying to say, I do. But it irritated me. And I will tell you why.

For YEARS I have had suicidal ideations. I understand that these were there long before we adopted a "broken" and hurt child. But the struggles I have dealt with over the last few years I believe were directly related to the sense of failure of my ability to parent him and more importantly the self loathing that I felt for myself at the feelings I had for him.

Yes, I hate his mother for what she did to him. I hate that she was unable to care for him in utero. I hate the selfishness that allowed her to drink and whatever else while pregnant. I hate the PTSD she has caused him with allowing abusers into her home. I hate the mental illness that runs in their family. All this allowed me to focus my anger on something other than my child. But, when I became honest with myself and allowed myself to be angry at my child for his choices (whether or not they were conscious) I began to hate myself.

Recently a secure place for me to vent and be honest with myself and others opened up. The darling Courtney opened a private group on facebook where we can share and support one another. I have always said that blogging saved my life, I think this group has saved my sanity. Blogging made me understand I am not alone in dealing with the crazies of kiddos like ours, this group made me understand that I am not alone in feeling the feelings of dealing with kiddos like ours.

Sometimes things I read there are depressing and sad. Sometimes they make me laugh. I have said, "OMG I understand!" more than I ever thought I would. Some people would not like the things they read there, heck, I don't like everything I read there. I sometimes cringe at things that are said. But I quickly realize that this is the ONLY outlet some of us have. So many moms have come in thinking they are the only one feeling this way, and low and behold they find out they are not the only one! It is freeing. I have to pace myself, some days I cannot read everything there or I will go crazy. Sometimes I need a break from the crazy or I will focus on nothing else. Sometimes I am struggling so much I need to dwell there a bit. It has been a definite god-send.

As I was reading the post from Last Mom today I realized that I have been doing really well with my anxiety. I have been pretty chilled out with the son's behavior. I am pretty sure that is directly related with the opening of the group. I have had a place to vent AND hear others vent. It has taken the taboo out of saying "I don't want to look at my child" or "Hugging them makes me want to vomit". Do we still hug? Sure. But there, it is okay to admit to yourself and others that you had that feeling. It may sound really ugly and really bad, but you realize that those feelings are not solely in your own head. For me it has allowed me to love myself again.

By admitting my anger and resentment of my child it has allowed me to love myself in spite of the feelings, by knowing I am not in this alone.

By admitting my anger and resentment it has allowed me to release it and love my child despite the feelings, by knowing I am not in this alone.

The past few months has been pretty amazing. I was hooked up with an Orlado Trauma Mama who is more like me than I ever thought possible. Through her messages and her blog she has touched me more than she knows. The women of the facebook group may not know how much I have appreciated their candor and their raw honesty. They may not know they saved me from the self loathing I felt every time I looked in the mirror. For that I am eternally grateful.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

give an inch

Today the oldest slept until 5:00pm. He was up late with his dad watching movies and I took advantage of it an let him sleep. When he got up he was pretty compliant and we had an okay afternoon. I had to do some yardwork and I usually keep him close to me or he plays fighting games and whacks the littles when they get near him.

Today he was playing appropriately and I gave him a little more freedom. I was constantly keeping an eye on him, but I let him play with his sister. They are usually like oil and water, but they were doing well today. She was bossing him around and he was doing what she wanted him to. They played well for almost and hour and a half. I should learn that when I give him an inch of independence, he takes a mile.

When we went inside all hell broke loose. He did not want to do his normal chores. Chores he usually loves. The child loves to help and I was asking for help. He was grunting and hollering at me. He bolted. He ran straight out the door and he was gone by the time I got outside. This time he was at least clothed.

The husband just came home from getting him. It only took 25 minutes or so. Lately he runs to the same spot. This time he got in the car fairly easily. The bad part was he refused to get out of the car when they got home. It's hot. The air conditioner is on. All the windows are shut. The husband was hollering for help and I didn't hear him. Now he's pissed at me because I didn't come. He stood outside hollering like a maniac. When he finally got inside he began screaming at me and cursing at me with the front door open. He accused me of ignoring him. Yeah. Like I just sat and ignored him. Why is it that men cannot fathom that you just didn't hear them, they always assume you are ignoring them. Ugh.

We live in a very lively rental area. Lots of people are outside enjoying the night.

Nice. Now we are the family with underwear boy AND the family who screams at one another and throws hissy fits in the front yard.