disclaimer or something

A mummy-hand holding, (former) biker gang affiliating, hippie influenced semi crunchy granola mom's ramblings and reminisings on an off-kilter life

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

An awakening

I recently have gone through some sort of awakening, except its not some pretty sunrise type but more a "red sky in morning, sailors take warning" kind of awakening.

I have started to reflect back on my childhood, now that I'm a mother. Okay, I'm a little late to the party as I've been a mother for three years, but I'm just catching on.

There's always been something I couldn't put my finger on, that I barely detected as a child and that felt like bottled up rage as I entered motherhood three years ago. I couldn't label, categorize, or identify this uneasy pit in my stomach feeling, but come three years later- today- I can no longer ignore it.

I grew up with  "non-traditional" parents, who themselves are beginning an awakening to the fact they were exactly that- non-traditional.

I grew up in every semblance a normal girl in a normal family. I mean, my mom had her MA degree. We owned our home and cars, and we went to art museums and on yearly vacations. We'd been on two Caribbean cruises, I knew a smattering of French, and my family watched only PBS and CNN. Our spare time was filled with books, art, rock-hounding, and re-creations (as in Renaissance Fairs, Pioneer re-enactments, etc). I went to college. I had food on the table, a roof over my head, and clothing on my back.

Normal, right?

But under the seams, nearly undetectable even to me, were some worn, jagged, off-kilter threads.

My parents both came from families you don't hear about in Leave it to Beaver. Alcoholism, gangs, divorces, domestic violence, extreme poverty, homelessness, mental illness. So I must credit them for really, truly, doing their best in raising me. They went above and beyond.

But is that ever enough?

I, too, ended up experiencing the generational cycle of dysfunctional families. My dad didn't work, and never attended a school awards assembly, father-daughter dance, or other "normal" thing. Friends had to call to announce they were coming over, and couldn't knock on the door, so I had to go greet them a home away and bring them to the door. Someone once OD'ed in our yard during a party, I thought it was cool to help my dad explode gunpowder in the yard, in an attempt to show my friends how cool he and I were, which needless to say, drove me into the friendless zone... a zone my dad enjoyed, being an "Aspie".

The patterns of their childhood came to haunt them, and my parents separated for a while. My mom said she was in "survival mode" and didn't really take care of me. Before that, my dad admits he was too 'loaded" to really "be there" .My mom said it hit me pretty hard. I even ended up peeing myself. Apparently, I was a mess.

I wonder how these things, in my formative yet forgotten years, affect me now. I'm slowly trying to unravel this mystery.

I look at my own kids, wondering where I'm going wrong. But I feel so guilty, because I'm just beginning to realize how my own childhood had some damaging "wrongs", so I can't yet identify good from bad, right from wrong. I refuse to continue generational things handed to me, but I'm not even sure what baggage I might be carrying.

I don't want to damage my children.

I want to heal, forgive, and love, and pass on those skills to my children - without the baggage I am being crushed by.

I can do it. Somehow. Right?

Saturday, June 14, 2014

just be happy

Mental illness is an illness, but often it gets blown off or even ridiculed. Imagine if people with diabetes or heart disease were told to just get over it. And yet, people with mental illness are told this far too often.

I'm here to admit with some shame (although I should not feel ashamed) that I suffer from dysthymia, a version of depression. And I cannot tell you how many times people -good friends and family even- tell me to just get over it already. I've been told to just stop being so miserable, as if it is my choice. I even had someone close to me recently ask, "well, whatcha sad about? Nothing much? Then why are you depressed?" As if depression can only be triggered by a stressful or, well, depressing event. I was told to just "think of what you're grateful for and you will be cured". As if it were that easy.

Nowi certainly am aware of thepower of suggestion and thought. So sure, I did think of what I'm grateful for. And sure it put me in a better frame of mind, but I was still depressed. Sure, events can trigger depression and I can account for that, but again, you can have depression or other mental illness for no tangle reason. I know "thinking happy thoughts" can help distract my mind temporarily, but the mind does a dark snowball of macabre thoughts effect where the badness judt blossoms and becomes a thousand ton runaway train full of venemous fire breathing dragons.

If you know someone who is depressed, please don't treat it like a passing mood. It is a real disease. Talk to your friend and let them know you are there for them. You will listen to them cry at two in the morning if need be. You will offer hugs. A quiet restful and serene place to relax. Their favorite cookie and a nice book to read. A walk in the park to try and enjoy the beauty of nature and distract themselves for just a moment. Realize that while that person has some control over their moods, they cannot just cheer up and move on. Again, it is called mental illness because it is an actual illness many suffer with, in silence, for fear of ridicule or rejection. Be that gentle little firefly of light in their dark world.