Saturday, November 7

Home from the hospital

This is not an easy post for me to write but I'm not ashamed, just at a loss for words.

TB and I went voluntarily to the hospital ER Tuesday morning after I started to have an emotional breakdown at the therapist's office. I don't remember *a lot* of what happened that day. I remember saying that I wanted to break glass with my fists and I had an urge to take a broken piece of glass and cut my arms. I remember I said I didn't want to die but I wanted to escape from the pain and desperation I was feeling. I wanted to take a bottle of my valium so that I could relax and not feel what I was feeling. Susan called it passive suicidal thoughts and she's right. I don't know if I would have gone through with it because I've had these feelings before when I was a teenager and when I've felt trapped and I never did anything. Still, the situation at home was getting so bad maybe I would have acted this time.

And so Susan and Dr. Layne said I was at risk and needed to go to the ER.

I was admitted and I stayed in the psych ward until last night. TB and Bill came to pick me up. They'd just come back from returning my mom to Maryland and so I was able to go home. I felt better last night but I still feel very fragile and anxious. It doesn't help that TB spent a lot of money on stuff we didn't exactly need right now and we're so tight financially. I couldn't get my meds today because there wasn't enough money. Luckily I have enough...and it turns out some of them had already been filled on Halloween. I guess I forgot the pharmacy was holding them.

So why did I have a meltdown? Well, it's complicated. It started with mom moving here. I thought that it was the right thing to do. I thought I was able to cope with all of that. Years ago, when I was married to Rich, I'd gone for counseling and to ACOA meetings. At that time my therapist said that my parents were toxic and that I needed to distance myself so I could get well. So I was distanced for 20 years while my brother was left to deal with it all. And when my dad died and I knew mom was coming to live with us, I was sure I could handle it. After all, I'd had all that counseling and years of distance and I thought I was okay.

It's really weird trying to understand all of this. On one hand, I think to myself: hey, it wasn't all that bad and mom is just a little old lady, unable to hurt anyone and she's just lost her husband. I figured she still had a lot of anger issues and it's so hard for an elderly person to lose a spouse and then get uprooted from home--even if she says that's what she wanted to do. I figured it was normal for her to be angry and resentful and to blame my brother and me for everything happening. She said we'd forced her out of her home, she wasn't comfortable with us, she wanted to be alone and not bothered with all these children nor having to share a bath and so on and so on. And she'd stay she was stuck because my brother didn't want to care for her--even though I'd explained until I was blue in the face that he *had* been taking care of her but wasn't able to run to her ever minute she wanted. She blamed my dad for almost everything and when she wasn't blaming him, she was blaming my brother. I think if I hadn't been there and my brother had, she would've blamed me for everything.

I tried to tell myself that this was just normal kvetching on the part of a bitter woman who'd lost her husband and was unable to take care of herself in her own home anymore. So I'm not understanding why I fell apart like I did, knowing all these things. I just know that her anger and hostility against my brother and my father and yes, even me, started to freak me out. She'd get "that look" on her face and go off and suddenly it was like it'd been when I was a kid and so scared of her rage. How stupid is that? I'm 55 years old for crying out loud!

And it wasn't ever going to stop. The first time it happened I let it go. The second time, I wrote her a note and said I was sorry she was so unhappy and that she ought to go back to MD since her trailer hadn't sold yet. She'd say no, she was stuck here now because she couldn't afford to go back. I didn't get that at all because she's got quite a bit of money in her account. But old people worry about that stuff, right? I wrote her that this was creating too much stress for me and she stopped, said she was sorry and "behaved" for a while. But then it began again. And she's been like that my whole life so I didn't see it would ever ever be different.

I would never be good enough, never do enough to make her happy, never make the right would always be wrong. My brother and I talked about it and he feels the same way. Nothing we do will ever be right or enough.

I wrote her another letter and I could see it was just going to be the same old thing. There were excuses and rationalizations for everything. Above all else, she maintained she couldn't go back even though she knew she'd be happier. I'd hear her door close as she'd come out to the main living area and I'd cringe, dreading having to talk to her or see her angry face. On Wednesday night, TB said he was scared because he saw me run through a gamut of emotions within a very short period of time--fear, anger, compassion and then fear again. I couldn't sit still. I scootched down in the chair so she wouldn't be able to see me if she came in. I stalked around the room in a rage. And I beat myself up for not being kinder to an old lady.

So we had an appointment with Susan Tuesday morning. It started out okay even though I felt stressed. When I started talking to Susan though, all the emotions I was feeling broke through and I couldn't shut myself up.

About smashing the glass and cutting: yes, I wanted to do it. I'd been thinking about it Wednesday night. I didn't want to die. I just wanted to escape and I felt so trapped and in such pain. I thought if I could just break the glass and cut myself I could release some of the rage and fear I was feeling. If I could just gulp the pills down my heart would stop pounding the way it was. And I just wanted to be honest when I answered Susan--she asked, "Are you thinking about hurting yourself?" And this time, instead of lying and saying, no, of course not, I blurted it all out.

I heard her and Dr. Layne saying I was at risk. I heard them saying that it was toxic at my house right now and that the thing to do would be to return my mother to MD as she wanted. And so Ted did, taking Bill along to help.

When I was in the hospital, one of the nurses said to me that I had to be prepared for my mom to be mad and to tell everyone what a horrible daughter I am--that I kicked her out. won't be in my face every single day. And it's not true. My brother and I wanted her to be safe. She said she wanted to live with me, that she couldn't manage on her own. TB was having surgeries and so we needed to move her in September. Now she says we forced and rushed her, that she should have stayed there, wish she'd stayed there, etc etc and so really, we were just doing what she wanted.

That's what I'm telling myself.

Guilt is an ugly monster though. I struggle. I tell myself this but I hear a little voice whispering, you are a bad, bad daughter.

1 comment:

Nancy in PA said...

You are NOT a bad daughter. You are a good daughter doing a hard thing - what's best for ALL of you, not just you. I'm so sorry you are having such a rough season. I know talking is hard, but I am here if you want to, either by phone or computer. I care about you very much, and you are not alone! Sending loving hugs and lots of prayers...

Grace In Small Things

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