mckarlie

I have happiness in my heart and a thorn in my soul

Wow, blogging gone awry

I have always found wordpress to be such a helpful place, I have shared so many stories with so many people here and I have learned so much about myself and others. I have laughed and cried with some of you, I have read your stories and wept, I have read your stories and smiled, this place has been my lifeline at times and I’ve been so so thankful for it.

Today, I read someone’s blog that said she was worried about how many people she is helping and that it was stressing her out. I left a comment suggesting she not worry about how many people she is helping and instead focus on herself through her blog, and if she wants to help people professionally that she should get a BA or diploma. She understood what I had said and responded nicely but a bunch of people she has apparently helped have since attacked me and it’s the most bizarre thing ever. I’ve had misunderstandings with people before but they’ve always been cleared up because I have spent many hours of my life on here trying to be positive, and sharing my pain but by suggesting this woman either goes professional or focuses on herself instead has incited incredible vitriol from these people and they wont see what my actual point was, they refuse to acknowledge that perhaps it was worded badly, but the advice is sound.

I’m sorry but if you want to help people professionally, you NEED to learn about duty of care and all that goes along with that. And to learn about that you need to get a diploma, or a certificate or SOME kind of course! Why is it that me simply commenting on that has made people attack me? Have any of you thought about how you’d feel if you were simply trying to help someone by leaving what you considered a thoughtful comment and having a bunch of their ‘fans’ attacking you? Do any of you small minded people that missed my point have any idea how it feels when you’re just trying to communicate your opinion to someone and you get shit on? Told your opinion is wrong and that you should stop telling people how to live their lives!!! OMG! I wasn’t telling her how to live her life!!! What I said to her was clear, I’m sorry people are so offended that I’ve suggested a mental health professional should have some BASIC education on the subject, but it’s true! I have seen harmful advice being given in comments here so many many times, and the problem is that a lot of people think they are helping when they are potentially doing more damage than good, and there is no way for them to know this without a basic level of training on the subject so sure, I think a bunch of us are able to help each other and lean on each other through our blogs, you don’t need an education to be a successful blogger and reach people and help them, but if you want to be a mental health professional you simply have to learn a few things first.

So i’ve learned my lesson, I will no longer be going through other people’s blogs or leaving comments or generally bothering to try and help anyone else through this place because the way these people attacked me is not something i would wish on anyone else, and it’s not something i care to experience again. This place has gone from being my rock to somewhere that just makes my heart hurt!

Peace xo

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Hi!/Asking for your WEGO Help (even if you already voted!)

She is seriously one of the coolest women blogging and has the biggest heart, this would help her know just how special she is so take a few moments and vote if you would, we need more incredibly kind people like her in our mental health community 😉

Please endorse a mom with bipolar disorder who wants to help other mothers with bipolar. Her goals include mental health advocacy and providing free support groups for women with bipolar. via Hi!/Asking for your WEGO Help (even if you already voted!).

http://bipolaronfire.com/2014/12/13/hiasking-for-your-wego-help-even-if-you-already-voted/

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Can you replace a Mother?

Anyone with a mental illness will know what it’s like to feel alienated from the people around you. I used to have a lot of friends, not real friends you can count on but friends I’d socialize with and other crazy endeavours. So over time I have learned to get along without many people to count on, I’ve learned that my man and kids are the only ones that I really can rely on. I have a best friend who would be there for me if I needed her, but she is heavily pregnant at the moment and occupied by that so I have been giving her space to sort all of that out. Even though I have learned who I can count on and who I cannot, I still crave this unattainable relationship with my Mother. The smallest slight on her part and suddenly I feel like that ten year old again, completely out of control and hurting, rejected and abandoned. I can be completely fine, having a great day and feeling completely on top of my shit and BAM, my mum cancels or does something kind of crappy and I’m reduced to this emotional creature.

Will I ever stop wanting a Mother? Will I ever be ok with things the way they are?

My Mum was a single Mum, she lived with her parents and had support from them but she was only 20 when she had me and ill prepared to cope with looking after a baby. She married a man when I was 7, she left him abruptly when I was 9. Her first husband sexually abused me. We have never spoken about it but we both know it happened. She met another man when I was about 11, he had moved in with her within a few months and a few months after that they were expecting a child together. He was quite nice for the first little while but soon enough he showed his true colours. He is an alcoholic and when drunk he would physically emotionally and mentally abuse me. My Mother never stopped it so I moved in with my Grandparents to get away but they ran out of money and ended up moving in with my Grandparents too. So i couldn’t get away, the abuse continued in my Grandparents home. I ended up getting on the first bus leaving spencer st station just after I turned 18 and I never really stopped traveling til I moved back to Australia from England 6 years ago.

My Mother had three children to him in three years, my sister, the first to be born…the day she was born I came home from school and no one was there. They had forgotten about me. After a while I went a bit nuts and broke the back door down, it was basically a show of things to come. My Mother established this new family with this man and there wasn’t a place for me in it. I was edged out because I was difficult and didn’t fit into her new family.

Now, my Mother and I have been speaking again for just over a year. Before that, we hadn’t spoken in a bit over 3 years because the relationship was making me crazy and she kept cancelling on seeing my girls and disappointing them and so much passive aggression, I just couldn’t handle it anymore so i cut my family off. But now we are trying to work on a relationship and I keep thinking that it’s just not going to work out, it keeps making me feel so utterly terrible, I don’t think we can attain a relationship that’s healthy.

My Mother runs around after my half siblings, my sister is 21 middle brother is 19 and the youngest turns 18 in a few weeks. She will pick them up from work at 3am or run around to the other side of the city to get a school book or what have you, fairly normal parent behaviour right? Well when I see this, it makes me crazy that she wont do a damn thing for me, it makes me crazy that she was apparently able to be a proper parent to these three people but not to me, why doesn’t she want to be my Mum? I keep seeing her doing all of these things for them and I can’t even get her to do a few tutoring sessions for my kids even though she is accreddited as a tutor and that’s her frickin job! I’ve been asking her for months to do some tutoring for my girls, I even offered to pay her normal fee but she keeps arsing around like it’s too hard. And recently I’d loaned her some money and then I had to chase her up on the day she said she’d pay me back and she advised me she didn’t have time to get to a bank to pay me back as she was too busy watching my brother play netball.

It now seems that she’s even more of a mother to my insane cousin than she is to me. My cousin was another family member I cut off when I initially stopped talking to my Mother. She is three years older than me and we were both looked after by my Grandmother when we were growing up so there was more of a sibling bond for a while than a cousin one as we were both only children and got along fairly well. As an adult I do not care for my cousin one bit. We spent a lot of time together and she is just the most negative, self absorbed abomination of a person that I’ve ever known. She married the biggest douchebag I’ve ever met, the kind of guy who started making good money from selling crap on Ebay and then would brag to people about how much cash he had and how well off he was. Yuk. He is a bully and a creep, the daughter she had when they got together is treated like shit by him because he has ‘his own’ children with her now and he admits freely to not loving her as much and this is why he treats her poorly, and he gets away with it. He used to love picking fights with me too, he’s just a really unpleasant man with double standards for everyone else. In the time that I stopped talking to my cousin she has been on a campaign of talking shit about me to whoever she can, I hear random gossip from mutual parties and the girl is just a sad case, it makes her feel better to think my life is in shambles and judging from the gossip I hear, my life is just a mess! Haha, but yeah she is an alcoholic and just loves getting off on my misery apparently.

My Mother always does something for Melbourne Cup Day, it’s a big race here in Melbourne and many people have bbq’s and what have you. I kind of knew that my Mother had planned something at her place because she always does, so I decided to poke the bear. I’m regretting that I did it now because I feel like shit, but that’s what I get for playing games. So yeah, knowing that she was probably doing a big bbq for the “family” I sent her a text saying ‘Hi, what are you doing tomorrow?’ then I got back, oh i was thinking of doing a family bbq I’m just waiting to hear back from Aunty Jane. Then another text – you’re more than welcome to come if you want. Then another text a few hours later ‘we’ve decided to have a big family bbq, you’re welcome to come after 1230 if you want to. warning you that your cousin and her husband will be here though’. Now my Mother knows I dislike my cousin and her husband, she knows that I refuse to have my children around these people, but her version of a family bbq doesn’t seem to involve me. She wouldn’t have invited me if I hadn’t of prodded, I was being passive aggressive and just wanted to shine a light on the fact that she hadn’t even invited me because that’s all i wanted, i wanted to be thought of and liked i guess. Feeling that your own mother doesn’t like you, it makes you feel like the most defective person on the face of the earth. If she doesn’t like me then why would anyone else?

So yeah, that’s my crappy situation and I really don’t know what I will do. My heart aches for a Mother, I just want someone to love me and guide me and want to be there for me like a Mother is. But this woman who is my Mother, she doesn’t seem to want that with me. I don’t want to give up but I can’t keep trying and getting nowhere. I can’t keep my heart open to this woman who doesn’t take care of it. I just don’t want to feel like such a loser anymore.

Peace xo

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Holy child abuse

So another “celebrity” has been found out as a child abuser. Recently there has been Rolf Harris, Jimmy Saville, a couple of actors off Coronation Street, the Dad from Hey Dad, and now the Pastor Dad Stephen Collins from 7th Heaven. Yes it’s a crap show, none of the aforementioned men have the most incredible body of work, but for some reason this last one has pissed me off. Yes, it’s because I was abused as a child, and because I have children no doubt.

It’s been somewhat of a joke for a long time now that there are high instances of child abuse amongst Priests but can we now add actors and entertainers to that list? Why is there an apparent flourishing of sex offenders emerging from the entertainment sector?

I watched Hey Dad and 7th Heaven when I was younger and felt some affection for these men. I grew up without a Dad and the men that stepped into the Fatherly role in my life were not good experiences, so i would watch these shows and see these “Dads” and I would feel genuine affection for these fictional characters that were these great loving Fathers.

So sure, these men have an illness right? And we have to be understanding of other people’s mental illness’ but when a person’s mental illness causes them to act out in a way that destroys the lives of children, is understanding really what we have to be? Yes, my mental illness causes me distress, it has caused distress to those closest to me, but when i have a bipolar spending spree or whatever else i may do because i’m bipolar, it doesn’t destroy another person’s life. I suppose at the end of the day i do have sympathy for anyone out there who has urges towards children and is fighting them, but for anyone who has actually acted upon said urges, cannon fodder as far as i’m concerned.

Yep, cannon fodder. I know i should have respect for all life but i don’t. If you choose to abuse a child you lose your rights as far as i’m concerned, and the fact that i feel so coldly towards these people does make me question my morality somewhat, but it is what it is. I have so much love and respect for humanity, and i also fear for it at times, but i just can’t feel bad for anyone who acts upon these urges, it just does SO much damage to the victims.

Peace xo

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Adjusting expectations

I spent years in emotional turmoil, my Mother issues were rampant, so were my Daddy issues to be fair. I was just so angry at my Mother, so angry at my Stepfather, so angry at my cousin, so angry at my husband. Everyone had let me down and I was pissed. True, my Mother let some pretty terrible shit happen to me when I was younger, my Stepfather has done some pretty terrible shit to me when he’s been drunk and raucous, and my husband and I have had our issues but I held onto every little slight, and let it fester.

I would look at my friends and the relationships they have with their Mothers and I would feel this ache in my gut, such sadness that I will never have that. After not talking to my Mother and extended family for about 3 years we started seeing each other again a year ago, and I’ve learned a lot in this year: if you expect the world from someone they will surely let you down.

Basically, i realized that i was holding people to an impossible standard and expecting them to jump through hoops because of their previous fuck ups towards me. I had to let go of the past, the anger and the pain and realize that yeah, my Mother and I will never have a normal relationship but who says we need a normal relationship? Why can’t we just be what we are, slightly dysfunctional but both trying our best. She tries her best with my kids and they really enjoy the sunday night dinners we have at her house, we don’t really do much else together but that’s ok, dinner once a week and the occasional lunch or shopping trip is enough for me now, now that i’ve lowered my expectations.

I guess at some point we are faced with the question of whether we can let go or not, and until very recently my answer would have been no, but thankfully i’ve started uprooting the pain that has itself so deep inside my psyche, it’s a work in progress but it’s so so worth it. I was so scared to let go of the anger and pain because I feared there would be nothing left, no link to my Mother at all, but instead there is love and understanding and patience. Just let go.

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Guilt

I was abused sexually/emotionally as a young child by my Mother’s first husband. As a teen I was abused physically/emotionally by my Mother’s second husband. For years I would find, whenever referencing any of the abuse, that I would always be sure to mention my part in it. For instance, I would say ‘yes my Stepfather physically abused me, but I was an incredibly difficult teenager’ or ‘he would beat me, but then I was such a nightmare when I was younger’, there was always the default reaction of mentioning how terrible I was. For most of my life I genuinely believed that I was an active contributor to my abuse, that essentially I deserved it. I have spent so many hours of my life reeling in guilt, guilt over shitty things I have done to people, guilt over shitty things people have done to me just bathing in it and letting it swallow me up. When I was younger I would go to bed and lay there in the dark for hours thinking about details of things I have done to people, like running out on ex boyfriends or being a dick to a friend or whatever, any mistakes I have made have been played out in my mind over and over and I have let it cause so much anxiety it’s incredible.

A few years ago I did therapy and actually made some progress, the therapist was talking to me about my children and asked me if there is anything my children could do that would warrant me hurting them physically as a response and I said no of course not, and through this I realized that I was a child when my abuse occurred, and badly behaved or not there is no way, as a child, I could have actually warranted my own abuse. I know it may sound simple to most but for me it was a revelation, I started to let go of so much guilt and anxiety and began seeing things perhaps a little closer to reality.

The fact of it is that all of us do shitty things sometimes, whether you’re bipolar or not, whether you’re depressed or schizophrenic or any number of things, every human being has done shitty things to another human being. It’s just life, we all screw up and make mistakes. What I tell my children about mistakes is that everybody makes them, it’s ok to makes mistakes so long as you learn from them and do your best not to repeat the same mistakes. I tell them this often, so why can’t I take my own advice eh? Why do some of us hold ourselves to this impossible standard of human behaviour where we feel like we’re letting the entire world down if we step out of line? The fact is, the entire world really doesn’t care about our trivial screw ups and we need to cut ourselves some slack.

So, I guess I just need to remind myself that it’s ok to make mistakes, I just need to make sure I learn from my errors wherever possible and try not to repeat poor behaviour. Beyond that I need to relax and focus on healing, when all your energy goes into feeling shitty about yourself you really can’t heal any of the past trauma that’s happened, but now, I can begin.

Peace xo

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When does supporting become enabling?

It’s amazing what you can learn about yourself from observing those closest to us. Recently, as my two girls have merged into ‘tween’ territory (i have great disdain for the word “tween” but it is what it is) and i have found myself navigating their moods much like a minefield. I empathize with their plight i truly do, they have these immense moods where they simply can’t control themselves, they are sad for no particular reason or aloof and distant just because, difficult and bitchy – a lot of which i am myself at times, and i consider these traits those of my ‘bipolar self’. Either way, i get what they’re going through and try to be as supportive as i can be, but then there comes a time where sweetness isn’t what’s called for, sometimes you have to get a little tough and call them on their bullshit. Not often, but sometimes. All this makes me question the relationships that people have with their mentally ill loved ones.

I’m not claiming that all mentally ill people are bitchy and aloof and distant, i can only speak for myself and my observations of loved ones but there are definitely some parallels between a lot of mental illnesses and the effects of puberty on the young brain.

My chappy and i have been dealing with my illness together for over 13 years, i have always wondered if i would have the strength to stay with me if i were him and i probably wouldn’t but he has stayed with me through my lowest of lows and haziest of craziest days. He isn’t an emotional person by any stretch but he does his best to support me, but it has occurred to me that support can very easily slither into enabling a person not to try or be better or be brilliant. Sometimes we need our loved ones to kick us in the arse when we’re unable to see our own silliness, which then poses the question: when do you decide to stop supporting and start well, ‘motivating’?

I know for myself, that at times my mental illness means that i simply can’t function very well. I do the basic bare minimum and just get by. Some days it takes all my strength to just exist, it may sound lame but it’s true. Sometimes the sadness and grief and emptiness compounds so desperately that i feel i might not make it.
Then other times, i’m down but not out but i lack any semblance of motivation. I could quite easily stay on the sofa for a month at these times, if i wasn’t a mum and partner, if i lived by myself i sometimes wonder what state i’d be in at times. So basically, i think we need to learn what is what with our loved one. We need to figure out when they are just so low that they need nothing but our love and support, and when they are just down and need us to help pull them out with some form of motivation.When we need to hold them and tell them it’s ok to be sad, it’s ok to cry, it’s ok to be whatever you need to be and when we need to say ‘hey, get your butt off the couch’. It may sound almost impossible but it’s amazing what can be accomplished with communication and observation, i most certainly don’t always get it right myself but i’m trying my best and that’s all any of us can do.

peace xo

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The many masks of mental illness

Sometimes i feel like a vapid fraud. I think all of us adjust the way we act or speak depending on the company we are with at the time, but it doesn’t usually adjust one’s actual sense of self. For instance, around one’s parents you’re probably less inclined to discuss your sex life and how you got so drunk friday night you may have peed yourself a little. You may have friends that you tend to use more colloquialisms with, more relaxed syntax and what not, you probably have friends that you swear more around and so on.

See for me, the issue is that my sense of self is as fluid as the company i keep, and i have determined that it’s predominantly because of my mental illness and the trauma i experienced in my formative years. I wont bang on about what happened to me because many of you already know, but in a nutshell – i was sexually abused by my mother’s first husband from ages 7-9 then physically emotionally and mentally abused by her second husband from ages 11-26, true, i was 26 the last time he got drunk and had a go. Added to the abuse i have abandonment issues with my mother, we are trying to resolve all of this now but it’s a long and drawn out process. I am bipolar and have ptsd, boy am i fun at parties!

I feel like my masks run deeper than most and that it’s dysfunctional. I feel like almost an entirely different person depending on who i’m spending time with, it’s bizarre and exhausting. I’m trying so hard to look like i have it all together, there’s no one that sees all of the real me, not even those closest to me. I hide my pain, I hide the ways I deal with my pain, i try to look like i have it all together but i’m really just treading water, no matter which version of me i’m being at any given time, i’m always treading water. My sense of self is skewed, i know things about myself that are definite, i have opinions and views and inclinations but no true character, no definite being. Maybe that’s what your 30’s are for? Figuring out who you are?

xo

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Why do men and women fight?

This question, why men and women fight, has plagued me for some time. Relationships can be tough, we all know this, and yet there’s no definitive answers when it comes to why so many of us find it hard to maintain relationships and why fights happen. There are obviously many options and answers when it comes to this question, but recently during an argument with my man i sat there and analyzed what was happening, what he was doing and why, what i was doing and why and i came to somewhat of a realization: priorities!

Different priorities are often the root cause. If you think about the last few arguments you had with your partner, you can probably trace at least some of the cause to a difference in priorities. Basically, if something is important to me but not deemed as important by him, it causes issues. If he wants to do something and finds it important but i don’t feel the same way, it causes issues. I genuinely believe most problems in relationships boil down to some version of this, different priorities.

I have been married for nearly 13 years now, at the start of the marriage i was still a kid really, packed full of bipolar wonder (many many years before i was diagnosed and understood my patterns of behaviour at all) and ready to take on the world, i got married on my 21st birthday. It was whirlwind to say the least, we had known each other for a while but barely, and then within six months we were ready to walk down the isle. We were married in melbourne and moved to england about six months after the wedding. I was, to say the least, incredibly selfish at the start of the relationship. I was so infatuated with butterflies and this big passionate love and when he disappointed me in any way i turned it into a big drama. The amount of silly fights that ended in me throwing my arms up in the air and declaring ‘i just can’t do this anymore’ was ridiculous. Basically, i had grown up with my mother having a string of dysfunctional relationships so my model of how men and women worked together was skewed. Everything i knew about relationships was either from my mother or movies, probably more so movies, and we all know that movie love is so very very different from how things actually work in life.

Movies teach women that we can act however we want to act and if he really loves us he will fight for us through all of our batshit crazy nonsense. He will stand outside our window with a boombox playing peter gabriel love songs, or he will chase us down at the airport as we’re just about to get on the flight to paris, he will confess his love in front of a mall full of shoppers over the public announcement thingie. You get where i’m going with this, it gives us this sense that love should be manic and passionate and impulsive and a constant battle. If you’re not feeling something big at all times, then something is desperately wrong and it’s not true love. That’s all well and good for movies but it doesn’t help us much in real life.

After a few years of marriage we hit trouble, my behaiour was all over the place because of my silly expectations and ideals and he started to withdraw and play video games more and more. We stopped actually talking to each other, neglected each other and nearly stopped working as a couple all together. Then, something occurred to me. One day i caught myself making an unrealistic demand of him, and thought to myself ‘if he said this to me, how would i feel?’ – this became my new map, a new and better way to navigate my relationship, and it was something as simple as ‘do unto other as you would have them do unto you’ ha, i knew all those years of sunday school would someday have a use to me.

So armed with my new weapon, let’s call it logic, i started to consider my actions towards him more. I tried to put myself in his place, i started to care more about his feelings and the effect i had on his feelings. I had spent so much time concerned with MY happiness and MY love and MY feelings that i didn’t know how to put someone else before myself. But i learned, slowly and with many mistakes, how to monitor his feelings and try to be a loving positive thing in his life instead of a constant stream of stress.

This is not to say i’m the perfect wife, or that i have it all figured out at all. I don’t. But i’m bipolar, and there aren’t many bipolar people who get to have long term marriages, so i must be doing something right somewhere, right?

So i would encourage anyone out there who is having relationship issues or finds themselves arguing a lot with their spouse to have a think about what’s underneath the yelling and screaming and throwing and nonsense, what the REAL reason for the disagreement is. It’s usually something as simple as the other person feeling bad because you don’t care about something that is important to them or feeling like they’re not being heard or respected. It’s easier than you think to show love and respect in a relationship, and as cliche as it may be, communication truly is key. It’s easy to stop trying, to go from arguing to nothing at all because you just can’t be bothered having one more fight, but talking is so important. If we spend a little less time consumed with getting OUR point across or having OUR feelings heard and focus on the other person’s feelings and needs then we will probably have happier love lives. If two people in a relationship are both looking out for the other person’s needs then you have two people looking after each other, which is ultimately the whole point.

Peace xo

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Are you completely alone?

I’ve been browsing through blogs and i have read so many sad posts, so many people are writing that they are really down and alone and can’t find their way out of it. So much depression and sadness, it’s like we’re all shuffling around staring at our feet, not noticing that there are others all around us that are going through the same shit. We end up so immersed in our own negativity that we are consumed by it, we can’t see any end to the despair and we convince ourselves that we are completely isolated and no one truly understands what we are going through.

It amazes and worries me that today, with 50 bazillion different ways of communicating with each other about every aspect of every day we live, that we are in fact talking less. We know what our friends had for dinner last night and that they’re going to the beach this weekend but no one really talks anymore, we get scared of telling anyone what’s actually going on inside for fear or rejection or judgement or just the pain in the ass of having to explain it all. So we bury ourselves deeper into depression, isolated but desperate for some understanding or affection.

If you’re someone who feels alone, i urge you to reach out to someone. if you don’t have anyone in your life that you can talk to about this stuff then find someone online, there are so many good people out there who will listen and care, and sometimes that’s all we need to start to put ourselves on the road back to good. if anyone is alone and desperate then heck, tell me! i’ll listen, i’m happy to give my email to anyone that wants to talk.

if you’re feeling like you can’t keep going please just remember that all things eventually pass, good and bad, and you will get through whatever it is you’re going through. i know how it can feel endless and how despair is not conducive to helping ourselves but we have more power to help ourselves than we often let ourselves believe, there is hope.

xo

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