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Re: pax........ justyourlaugh

Posted by leeran on April 26, 2003, at 1:23:35

In reply to pax........, posted by justyourlaugh on April 25, 2003, at 23:07:14

JYL - you said "can you relate..mabe she doesnt know she is all that ill.."

JYL, PAX, DINAH et. al,

JYL, you're right, my mother didn't know she was that ill and I'm willing to bet the barn that Pax's wife doesn't know either. I never know with myself until I get to a point where I can look back and say, "Wow, I was in a pretty bleak place." Usually, it happens when my son goes back to see his father. I can kind of carefully let myself fall apart.

Years ago, when I was away at college my mother called with the news that she was in early menopause (another family heirloom) and that her gynecologist had diagnosed her with depression. Quite frankly, I don't even think I knew what depression was until that night. It was the late seventies and I was pretty naive. After so many long years someone had finally put a diagnosed her agony and she was so relieved. She went on one of the tricyclic anti-depressants that were available back then and she improved vastly (note, there were still "episodes" but as I recall, it was when she would take herself off her medication or when something was completely out of her control, which would trigger her need to control).

I told my husband tonight (this has been the week of "revelations" at our house) that I felt terrible for revealing that part of my childhood so graphically this afternoon. But, not revealing it has had some long-term toxic effects and sublimating it all has taken its toll. I don't know why it all seems so shameful, maybe because back then mental illness was only found under rugs where it was so carefully swept from view.

From all appearances I have had a relatively successful life. My parents scrimped and saved to send me to college and they did the best that they possibly could. Both of them have issues that go back to childhood and I'm sure that they feel they did a better job of raising me than their parents did with them. That's not a snide remark. I think it's all any of us can do.

One night my son made a remark about something I had said that wasn't very nice about a slow waiter. Of course, just like my mother - I took offense.

My husband told him to take note of the things he sees that he doesn't like (and likes) in the adults he knows, including myself - himself, and his father, stepmother, teachers, etc. and incorporate those likes/dislikes into his own belief system (he worded it far better than I just did, but that was the gist of it).

Point is, we just struggle along like they did trying to do the best with what we know.

My inner-child wrote the post to Pax because I was thrown back to my eight year old self when I read his post. Apparently, I'm at a place in my life that I feel safe experiencing that again and dealing with what's leftover.

I know for an absolute fact that my mother does not want to be the way that she is when she spirals downward, or when she's not on medication.

As an adult, everything seems so understandable because:

a) Along with my son, they are the only family I have (meaning, no siblings and I'm not that close with extended family, nor are they).

b) I live/suffer with depression as well and it's opened my eyes to their pain.

c) Growing up in that household forced me to understand a lot of nuances of human behavior that I might have missed otherwise. I'm observant to the point of annoyance, but I think I can also empathize because that child in me who used to sit and listen to her pain still exists.

I'm a firm believer (I'm sure I've said it here in the last month) that there "are no accidents." (I'm borrowing from a book by the same name (" There Are No Accidents: Synchroncity and the Stories of Our Lives").

Every little thing that happens in my life has always seemed to come along right when I've needed it. No sooner, no later.

So much of my anger toward my mother has washed away over the years since I've had my son. Initially, she resented the thought of his exisence in our lives because it would change things for her. Because I was unhappily married and she was unhappily married we finally had something in common - and we spent a lot of time together running off my nervous energy. She instinctively knew I wouldn't have as much time to try to keep "us" occupied. BUT, and this is a very big but, I know that she loves him probably more than anyone else in this world. And that allows me to forgive her - and love her.

I know she loves me as well, in her own way. She was twenty two when she had me - still so young and from what my grandmother and father have told me, unhappy and aloof before I was even born.

She is able to love my son in a way that she might not have been able to love me because she is on anti-depressants and he isn't her full responsibility. In other words, she can enjoy him.

Anti-depressants changed her life. I'm not sure she's on the right one, or the right combination - but I thank God for the improvement it has made in her, simply because I have seen moments when she has been truly happy in the last ten to fifteen years. And that's really all I wanted when I was little.

So, in many ways, my wishes have come true. We (human beings) don't have happy moments 100% of the time. Lord knows I don't and it's unfair of me to expect that from her (and I don't think I do anymore). As for myself, I would just like to stop thinking that something bad's going to happen for a period of about a year or so (or longer) so I could get myself organized again.

Getting rid of all this agita (any Italians out there will know what I mean, it's a word I picked up from my husband) must be part of the process.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot. My mother apologized to me seven or eight years ago and said she wonders what my life would have been like had there been Paxil back then. It was a weird relief to hear her apologize after all those years but by then it didn't matter. I don't mean that the way it reads. It mattered - but somehow my son had already erased a lot of pain between us, so it wasn't some big cinematic moment.

She hugged me for the first time four years ago when I moved 2000 miles away. Another big milestone. And she hugs me when she sees me and when I leave.

She is not a bad person, nor is my father. I guess I'm not either. I just need to learn that it is okay to feel angry about some of it without feeling like I will "get in trouble" for having those feelings, or that something bad will happen to me or someone I love because I've relaxed for a minute. Intellectually, I accepted it many years ago. Emotional acceptance is next.

Gosh, I'm so sorry this is so long.

I guess my inner-child posted this afternoon, but my 44 year old self needed to put the other perspective on it.

Pax, you are right, it was one of the most cathartic actions I may have ever done. It was certainly one of the most public displays of inner anger that I've ever shown. And yes, I think there is a therapist's sofa somewhere in my not so distant future.

Paxvox, the voice of peace. May this peace come to your life (and your wife and daughters lives) soon.


What came through in my post was my extreme anger - but what didn't come through as well is how much I love her. Of course, that is why I'm so conflicted. Mental illness runs in our family. Her grandfather hanged himself in the barn. I think with each generation it's been diluted somewhat, but I want to stress


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poster:leeran thread:221860
URL: http://www.dr-bob.org/babble/social/20030421/msgs/222514.html