Reflections about my difficult child and life

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by recoveringenabler, Sep 16, 2012.

  1. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Today is my birthday. So far it's been a pretty good day with plans for more festivities later on. I'm fortunate in being surrounded by love, family and friends.

    I can't help but reflect today on the past year with my difficult child......... all the ups and downs, sorrow and joy, heartaches so big I thought it would break me into pieces, relief so great I thought the renewal could cure all my pain...... and everything in between those two poles. And then life continues along it's usual path, except the usual is no longer usual, it's highly unusual and brings with it a mixture of feelings which are now beginning to define me. Underneath my days, beneath the surface is the knowledge that 'out there' in the world existing on some other plane, is my daughter who by my own request, is keeping herself and her mental illness away from my door. I have accepted that that is the way it is, that is what I chose to stay sane and healthy and keep the sharp teeth of insanity from taking continuing bites out of me and my family. It is what it is.

    I have really good days now that I'm not embroiled in a world where I have no power to change or help or support or alter in any way. I can slide easily into laughter, peace of mind, routine, sleep and ordinariness. I recall a therapists response many years ago when I asked her what her opinion of what the goal of therapy is. She said, "living within all the paradoxes of life and not going crazy." I have always thought that was the best answer I ever got and as I've gotten older, I see that as the truth.

    This whole last year with my difficult child has brought that truth home, for this is one of those paradoxes. Life goes on, with or without my acceptance of 'what is.' Do I wish it were different? With all my heart, yes. Can I change it? Even with all my heart, no. So, today, on my birthday, amidst all the frivolity is the recognition that there is an empty space where my difficult child used to be and along with the joy and love and fun is the ever present sadness of that. She just called a little while ago to wish me a happy birthday. We talked for a little while, she is still doing battle with life with all her armor intact and all her mental 'weapons' at the ready. Oh my poor difficult child, living in a world all her own.........

    Today I was thinking of one of my brothers who shares my birthday. He is a paranoid schizophrenic and has an extremely limited life. He also lives in a world all his own. I thought of all the horror I went through as a child to 'save' him.........and then did the same thing with my sister, who has bi-polar, Aspergers, and a host of other diagnoses. It seems as far as my immediate family has been concerned, all I've ever done is go through the 'agonies of the damned' to save them...... only to reach a point of reckoning, a point where there was just no where else to go ........but to let accept............Good Lord it's been hard.

    I didn't mean for this to get maudlin, for in many ways I feel as if I landed in a pretty good place. All of that pain and all of that grief and sadness has all cooked together and is now simply a part of who I am. By everyone's accounts I am a very joyful person, somehow it's all incorporated inside me and mixed up with the end result being one of a rich and very colorful embroidery of a life lived on the edge of what we call sanity. Teetering on that precipice has given me a unique perspective and for some strange inexplicable reason makes me feel rooted in a very deep way into the earth. As if all the pain grew roots from the center of me right straight down to the center of the earth where all of us, in all ways, are connected, regardless of how we live "up here." It brings me peace to feel that way.

    So, today is a special day for me, the day of my birth, but also the time in my life where I understand that paradox and can live in it not only without going crazy, but with a joy and a sense of wonder and awe that life is a mysterious, heartbreaking, wonderful, exhausting, exhilarating, fabulous ride and with all of that............. it is still way too short...................
  2. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I think it's sad that we all seem to include sad retrospection into our birthday's such a paradox. on the other hand, I am genuinely glad that you've been able to process the past and even more delighted that your birthday will be celebrated. As you know I have followed your posts for quite some time and honestly can't tell you how happy I am that you've chosen to focus on you and the happiness you deserve. Happy Birthday. DDD
  3. Tiredof33

    Tiredof33 Active Member

    Happy birthday, you deserve a happy one. I was in the same mood in July during my difficult child's 34th birthday. It was difficult and a little strange not having a way of telling him happy birthday other than posting on facebook. I'm am not a fan of the social media. Since my son does not remember when my birthday is, it will not bother me in November when I turn 60 lol!

    My son-in-law has a brother suffering from schizophrenia and the times he has come to our family get togethers have been 'interesting' to say the least. We always kept the events very small to make him feel more comfortable. He is another that doesn't want to take his medications as prescribed and it can be a little scary when he starts having conversations with himself.

    The older my son gets the more convinced I am that he has a mental illness that was never detected, and gets worse with age and no medical care. My prayers are that we hear good news about our difficult children soon.
    (((huggs and blessings)))
  4. lovemysons

    lovemysons Well-Known Member

    Just wanted to say Happy Birthday and give you a hug.

  5. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Happy Birthday and I am so happy that you have been able to go on living, I loved your comments about how life goes on with or without your acceptance. How true. I remember when you first came here and you have certainly come a long way.

  6. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Happy Birthday!!

  7. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Have a Wonderful Birthday! You certainly deserve that!
  8. Calamity Jane

    Calamity Jane Well-Known Member

    Sorry this is a little late, RE - Happy Birthday! Your posts are always inspirational and wise and loving all at once. It is clear that whatever comes your way, you will deal with it with elegance, strength and compassion. You're a gift to everyone here.
  9. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    And again Calamity Jane was able to put it so much better than I could. So I just second this!
  10. ThreeShadows

    ThreeShadows Quid me anxia?

    So beautifully said, it is a gift to all of us. Thank you, and happy Birthday.
  11. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

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    And thanks for being such a positive presence here.
  12. Star*

    Star* call 911

    So I'm late to your party and I refuse to attend your paradox..........I guess my gift to you would be a paradigm.

    I decided long ago that not everything a therapist said was true. My life despite its many ups and downs was not a contradiction of itself. I mean if I was attending therapy to better myself? How could it be in the end that I had lived and continued to live to only be a contradiction of truth? I wanted to be for myself and my son and those around me - an better example of what was good, HOW I was supposed to be....HOW WE ALL were supposed to be - I strive every day and be more like my higher power - but I try. There fore I am NOT a contradiction or a paradox......but rather a paradigm - a good example you RA...

    So maybe this year you can realize that you've broken the mold. You have risen above even yourself in as much as -------you are no longer in that same place spinning your wheels, in a rut, trying to get out, but rather that you have gotten out, and you HAVE set a standard even for a daughter that has challenges far beyond what most of the world could scarecely understand. And look at you! Take a good long look in the mirror at yourself. Are you like everyone else? Hmmm? I think not. Are you where you were when you started therapy? Are you where you once were with your daughter? Your brother? Yourself?

    The truth to me? Is that you are setting an example. Not in spite of yourself but because of the knowledge you have gained in living a life that few could survive......and that to me says so much about your character..and it's ability to break out and be ......UNIQUE. Not casual, not contradictory.

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEAR ONE.....HAPPY FIRST BIRTHDAY!!!!! You deserve this day (or that day to be accurate) and so much more.

    And as far as your brother? Stop pitying him because of what YOU consider his limited abilities. He is how he is because he is also UNIQUE......not normal....and beautiful........he never needed saving. He just needed understanding and you have given him that his entire life. YOu just didn't understand that - THAT is what he needed and you already gave it to him because your heart wanted to give so much more because you are so beautiful.

    HUGS and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!
    Much Love
  13. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Happy happy birthday -- I hope it was a wonderful as you are, despite the undercurrent of melancholy. I understand your feelings all too well. Your posts frequently speak to me on a very personal level, and I often sit here nodding as I read them, even if I don't always respond. I'm really glad to know you.
  14. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    Happy Birthday! What a wonderful gift you have for yourself...insight, joy, knowledge, personal power, growth....goood stuff! All the best.
  15. I want to echo what the other posters have said and add that I am happy that difficult child called you on your birthday.
  16. blackgnat

    blackgnat Active Member

    I know I'm late to the party, but Happy Birthday! Mine was 9/11 and everybody (but me) has a sad face when I tell them the date...

    This time last year, my difficult child called me from jail to wish me a happy birthday.. It was a bittersweet day.

    This year, he called me from a Mission, where he is working a seven hour day (every two weeks it's a 14 hour day) feeling fantastic about himself and is drug and alcohol free, without any desire to return to that lifestyle. I have to admit that I am waiting for the shoe to drop. It always has, in the worst way...

    I am convinced that a miracle has occurred. Even one month ago he was living the most sordid life imaginable.

    There is hope for everyone!