mckarlie

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

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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I’m baaaack!!!

Hello my lovelies. As you may well know it’s been a few months since I have posted. Unfortunately I spent some time in hospital, then after coming out we had issues with our internet and got fed up with our ISP so we changed to a different company who then screwed us around for 8 weeks. Then we found out the place we’ve been renting for five odd years is about to be sold so we decided it wasn’t worth getting the internet back only to pay an exorbitant fee to move it to a different address so i got myself a dongle to access the internet. It’s a bit like going back to dial up but at least I can do basic browsing and keep in touch with all of you dear souls.

So, the last few months have been a bit of a roller coaster for me and the family. My hospitalization was crazy and intense but after I came out I was deeply inspired and started writing my novel. I’m still not done but happily I have interest from my friend’s literary agent already so I’m feeling really positive about that. It’s my first full novel, I’ve started a lot of projects over the time but such is the bipolar mind that many tasks started go unfinished, but this has been a labor of love. While I was ill i spent nearly every possible moment I could reading, that was always my issue with being a ‘writer’ – i wasn’t sure of my identity as such, could never decide on exactly how i wanted to write and what message i wanted to purvey. After reading dozens of books and spending time with some of the most amazing ‘characters’ i’ve ever met in the hospital, i finally had a clear voice and started with my story outline and started to fill it in. I wont go into the details of it at the moment but I’m feeling really positive about the work. I know so many people who want to write just so they can call themselves a writer, and I suppose I can understand that but I find it brings me more joy than anything else in life (aside from my lovely kids of course) – i’ve been writing poetry and songs and short stories since i was a wee one and it always pours out of me and provides such catharsis.

Now, my Mother. We have had our ups and downs over the past few months but I’m most pleased to share that things are going quite well. Writing that letter was the best thing I could have done, and I’m so pleased I didn’t send the first version of it, the one laced with disdain. She is still a passive aggressive nut but her heart is in the right place and she knows she let me down in the past and has been trying her absolute best to make it up to me. She still has a bit of denial as to just how much she neglected me when I was younger and some of the atrocities that happened under her watch, but there has been SOME acknowledgement from her and even that is a miracle and more than i could have dreamed of. We are both flawed individuals and have realized we need to cut each other some slack. I do admit I get pangs of jealousy when I see her interact with my half siblings, but i’m also delighted that she saw the mistakes she made with me and corrected them with my siblings, she has been a much better mother to them than she was to me but she was 13 years older when she had my sister than when she had me and she had a partner there unlike with me, albeit a drunk partner but still, she had a bit of support. So my sister is 20 now, my brothers 18 and 17. It’s been so lovely spending time with them all, we are slowly rebuilding the relationships we lost over the past few years I hadn’t seen them and they are really sweet and quirky people. We’ve even taken to having Sunday roast dinners at Mums, how very domestic and functional of us! Unfortunately my Stepfather is still drinking, and my Mother is still miserable in their marriage, but I don’t think either of them is capable of the change it would take for them to be truly happy together. It breaks my heart watching my mother scrimp and scrape money together because he is spending hundreds a week on alcohol. He has had a long history of being caught drink driving and recently got his license back after losing it for 12 months and copping a rather huge fine. Because he is a consistent repeat offender he now has an interlock device attached to his car, is that how you spell it? I don’t know, I’m only aware of them because of some reality show I occasionally catch on telly. Basically, it’s a breathalyzer built into his car, and he has to blow into it to start his car and if he has any alcohol on his breath it wont operate. It also gets him to do random breath tests while driving, and if he doesn’t breathe into it it causes his horn to start beeping and his lights to start flashing and then once the engine is off it wont start again. It’s demoralizing that it’s taken such an extreme measure to ensure that he doesn’t drink while he drives but it is what it is, he got into an accident when he was about 20, he was drunk and driving in a rural area with his then girlfriend and he crashed. She passed away and I think he’s been trying to drink away the memories of that ever since. It’s such a shame because he’s almost two people, sober he is a very quiet and kind man who works hard and loves kicking the soccer ball around with his grand children or picking tomatoes with them in their garden but when he’s drunk he’s an absolutely vile creature full of hate and vitriol. I will never forget the abuse I suffered at his hands but I have finally forgiven him because it was eating me up inside and holding onto it just wasn’t worth it. I think it will always hurt a little but I had to let go of the hate, and slowly healing has started to occur.

Anyway, that’s the highlights. I have really unreliable internet at the moment but will be checking in with as many of you as I can. I’ve missed interacting with you lovelies. Peace xo

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My own little miracle has happened

I know some people know the story of this, but to give a brief run down: I haven’t seen my Mother in years, we had a falling out and I felt really disappointed by her because she let a lot of bad stuff happen to me when I was a kid and then alienated me from her ‘new’ family. She met my second stepfather when I was about 10, great things hadn’t happened with the first, she dated a fair bit between stepfathers but then she met Mark and within a few months we were spending every weekend with him as he lived a fair way away and didn’t drive, we would pick him up every friday and then drive him home sunday nights.

My stepfather has a bit of a jekyll/hyde situation happening. When he is sober he is a quiet man, quite respectful and would help anyone with anything, when he’s drunk he’s a feral nightmare, and he drinks every day. He singled me out often and we would have violent fights, he would knock me around and verbally attack me. It wasn’t super fun.

I realized through therapy a couple of years ago that I didn’t deserve this treatment, for years I had made excuses for my abusers, saying I was a difficult teen and that I was a nightmare to deal with, but during therapy I realized that no child deserves abuse and I matter, that even if  I was difficult it didn’t make the abuse ok. After this, I got pretty pissed off at my Mum. I didn’t really blame my Stepfather, he has a disease and will never stop drinking, he has issues and I can’t hate him for having a disease, like I said it’s confusing but he’s a nice guy when he’s sober so it makes things with him complicated. However, I felt my Mother had a duty of care and she had failed me terribly, so I got mad at her.

Fast forward to a few months ago, I had heard bits and bob through mutual friend and the like and basically my family were claiming that I was crazy for just cutting them all off and they were all innocent bystanders while I cut them out of my life. So I wrote my Mother a letter, the first one I wrote I sat on for a few weeks not sending it, then my therapist helped me realize I hadn’t sent it because it was too angry, and I realized I didn’t need to be angry at her I just needed to ask why, and how she could let her child be abused and then force me out of her family. I felt abandoned by her and then as an adult, I felt that I could never do anything good enough. (fot perspective she visited us in england 3 weeks after my daughter was born by c section and then came home telling people my toilet wasn’t clean enough and i didn’t sweet the kitchen floors enough, i mean shit i could barely walk after complications from the csection but by all means bitch about my floors lol)

So I wrote this letter saying how sad it made me and how all I ever wanted was a mum who loved me and had my back. How disappointed that I was that she let me get abused and instead of standing up for me she edged me out of my family because she chose my abusive stepfather over me.

Fast forward to this week. Part of my bipolar is that I can spend without thinking sometimes, and with christmas coming I went and got presents when i really should have waited for our next pay and now i’ve left us quite short on funds for the next couple of weeks. My Mother called me at the start of the week to ask how I Was doing and i told her about how short i am and how it’s just annoying when the bipolar sets in and i bust my budget. so out of nowhere she turns up at my house with a bunch of groceries for my girls and she gave me a tearful, genuinely beautiful apology for the way she has treated me and the things he let happen. I think the groceries were a guise, an excuse to come, but i think the gesture was sweet. I still have money to get us food but i wont say no to a few snacky things for the kids.

So here we are, both of us in tears, her finally acknowledging how much she’d hurt me and APOLOGIZING! i couldn’t believe it. I’ve never actually wanted to bear a grudge I just couldn’t let go of the pain that was deep inside me. I was maddened by my family claiming i was the one in the wrong and not accepting any responsibility, but finally we are moving forward. I just needed her to say sorry and actually mean it, and she really does. We have spoken a few times this week and things are going well, we both realize that things aren’t going to instantly be just ok, that we need to talk things out and work on them before we can have a mother daugher relationship, but we are on our way and i’m both surprised and deeply deeply happy that things have turned around. She’s been really supportive and understanding of my bipolar and how it can cause me to act, she has after all suffered depression herself for most of her life, so we have been bonding over that.

She wants to bring more groceries which I have told her is unnecessary but I think the gesture is her trying to make amends and I can understand that, it’ coming from a good place so I’m going to let her feel like she’s helping because it will make her feel important like she’s helping me, and i can tell she’s truly sorry and ‘helping’ me in her mind makes her feel a bit better.

I didn’t think my Mother and I would be able to arrive on the same page but with complete honesty and a bit of time to heal old wounds, we are working on the future and how we can move forward. I feel like the hole inside me is slowly filling up with love and good things instead of despair and emptiness, it’s such a lovely feeling. We have a long way to go, but if we can do it then anyone can.W

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Just stop for a moment

Sometimes I feel like i’m standing in the middle of the world’s busiest motorway, cars whizzing and whirling past me, wind blowing me backwards and forwards in a violent sway. Cars honking at each other to hurry up or slow down or move over or move round, DOOF DOOF DOOF from the subwoofers that people install in their vehicles because standard bass just isn’t enough. Constant chatter from everywhere around me, negative thoughts and mantras stuck in my head like glue, my brain a gelatinous magnate that attracts such thoughts like flies to a corpse. Sometimes I feel like screaming at the top of my lungs ‘why can’t we all just get along’ – a thought to which people roll their eyes or turn up their turny uppy noses. We live in a world where if there isn’t a fight people will find one, even if you agree on a point a person can find a way in which you agree differently and thus have a problem with each other. When the fuck did everyone become so hard and unwilling to bend? When did we all become so concerned with our causes and making sure everyone knows our thoughts on our causes and bending others to our own will?

Some might say that life is hard and to suck it up and get on with it, but i choose not to live life that way. Life is hard, but life is also beautiful and amazing at times and if we could focus a little less on shouting our opinions and forcing our points and maybe listen to what’s going on around us, listen to what other people have to say, life would be less like grating a piece of steel wool and more like it’s meant to be. Maybe we could have more positive encounters than negative.

I don’t go out looking for a fight but if one is thrown at me I will defend myself accordingly. But the fact that I have to do this is taxing, social media has given people just the right amount of anonymity to purge their opinions and thoughts and feelings on perfect strangers and act as if it’s their given right. If the devil is real he created facebook, never has such passive aggression and general whining come together in one place in such a way that it makes me want to not have any “friends” at all. I’d rather watch my cat lick itself than spent an afternoon on facebook, it seems far more productive and much healthier for my social well being.

Some people are just intent on being negative, in finding the bad in any given situation. If that’s you, then FINE, be as you are, just don’t shit on my doorstep and call me a hippie because I give a fuck about other people. Roll your eyes and call me your names because it makes you feel better, it makes you feel like you have some semblance of control in what is in fact a big old cluster fuck of randomness and the only control we have is over ourselves, how we act and how we treat other people. What we contribute to society and what we take away is completely up to us, if people treat you miserably it’s probably because you are miserable. Given, I sometimes feel like I’m not treated fairly but then I realize I’m feeling sorry for myself and when I actually think about what is the root of someone’s motivation if anything it’s apathy as opposed to callousness. But we take exception and get offended over so many little things that we just don’t need to stress ourselves over.

The human brain exists in such a way that we used to have to fight for survival. Shelter, food, these things were never guaranteed, so as we evolved we had to be mindful of how to survive. Now, in today’s current society, most of us do have a roof over our head and enough food to get by so that part of the brain goes searching for something, and a lot of the time what it finds is a fight where there isn’t one. The urge to defend ourselves from something that isn’t an attack, the urge to be heard when all we need to do is speak, not scream and flail about like our lives depend on everyone hearing our thoughts.

I try to have positive experiences with people but sometimes it’s like pissing up a flagpost. Nothing good can come of it and you end up covered in your own pee. I do truly wish everyone could just get along but I have my brain stem connected and realize this is never going to happen, but I do genuinely think it could happen on smaller scales if people just chilled out, put themselves in the other person’s shoes and showed some grace and thoughtfulness when interacting with other people.

 

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It’s easier to feel alone

It’s easier to feel alone, it’s easier to believe no one cares and that we are destined to be held within our own shell, battling ourselves and never finding true happiness. For so long I was told I had depression and anxiety, i got my diagnosis just over a year ago, I’m bipolar. Being bipolar for me means I’m sensitive to how people treat me, how they respond to me, if they reply to a text or email or tweet or what have you. It means that sometimes I’m full of hope and productive, I believe that life is hard but ultimately worth the effort of trying and that trying is the only way to be happy. Then BAM, I’m on the floor in tears, empty, i feel like nothing tethers me to this life other than my children and if not for them I’d already be gone. I feel so empty yet so full of pain that the contradiction itself is a source of great discomfort.

I spent my twenties curled up in my own ball of sadness and madness and all that goes along with it. Not understanding my illness properly didn’t help, I hit rock bottom a few times and nearly took my own life, more than once. When I heard people say things like ‘it gets better’ or ‘talk to someone it will help’ i would instantly get my back up and roll my eyes, ‘stupid hippie’ ‘what do they know?’ – i didn’t believe anyone knew my pain, couldn’t understand my pain and had no interest in me.

I craved love, but when anyone got close to me I’d find a way to push them away, preempting the inevitable rejection from them. Not trusting that anyone would love me once they got to the real me, I suffered rejection as a child and couldn’t possibly handle anymore as an adult.

I understand why someone would put up walls, a lot of us do. I’m not completely without them myself, but I have knocked many of them down, I’ve started to let people in and started to share the real me, and it’s more healing and cathartic than I could ever say. I know it’s hard, but if you can just take baby steps and try a little at a time, share some of yourself and when you find others like you it makes you feel so much better. The fact is, no one is alone in their pain, there are so many of us going through similar things at any given time, and it’s when we connect and use each other to lean on that we start to win the fight. Big love to you all xo

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Who cares when you can’t?

I think this is a common thing amongst those of us who suffer from a mental illness. The feeling that we are misunderstood, no one quite gets us, we are alone in our pain. We end up isolating ourselves and shutting in our feelings because we have learned through past experience or have just generally assumed that sharing these feelings will just alienate us from friends and family.

So here we end up, dealing with this mental illness while feeling alone and isolated, the worst possible position to be in while dealing with a mental illness. But then a lot of us have had an experience where we have shared a little or a lot with someone, where someone has said ‘you can tell me anything’ and you tell them anything and inadvertently they shy away or find themselves overwhelmed with what you’ve told them. The fact of it is, you CAN share with people and it’s the healthiest thing for you to do, but you have to choose wisely. I don’t mean to segregate people into us and them, but people who don’t suffer from any form of mental illness can be as understanding as understanding can be, but they can never truly empathize because it’s impossible to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes unless you’ve worn the same pair.

If you have a friend who is bipolar or suffers depression or agoraphobia or schizophrenia or any manner of illness, it may not be the same as yours but there is commonly overlapping symptoms, and you will probably find greater understanding from such a person than those who are not afflicted by any mental disorder. If you don’t have any such friends then find a psychologist, write a blog, find a forum or any number of things, there are people out there just like you and connecting with each other can only help. They say misery loves company, which i find untrue, when i’m miserable i lock myself away from the world, but in misery understands misery, so there may be some truth to it.

When we give up on sharing or letting our feelings out, it breeds more discontent, we are unable to heal and things just stagnate or get worse and worse until things spiral out of control. It’s scary, and i spent years locking my feelings away to myself and isolating myself from others like me, cancelling on friends all the time and having them get so annoyed with me that a lot of them just gave up inviting me places in the first place, i never told anyone why, i just kept it all inside and it nearly ate me alive from the inside out.

So take a leap of faith, if you have a story, share it, if you have questions or just want to vent, do it. Just being heard can bring such a sense of peace, it’s amazing and liberating and I’ve finally started the healing journey, as healing isn’t an overnight thing, it’s a journey and happens in inches and feet and you fall backwards sometimes but if you keep yourself open to others and keep trying to move forward, you will eventually get where you need to be.

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Damien Rice – The Professor

You know when a song captures your mood on something or someone, a situation passed. I find this insightful and melodic, it helped me get over one of the worst depressions i experienced from a break up.

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Standing Tall

I fall down over and over again

I may wither a little but I will not bend

Haunted by those who trespassed on me

Torn apart by their asserted depravity

I will not become a story of ill

They leave me my scars but also my will

Even when I am fallen and weak

Moments of pain and feelings so bleak

I hold on to know I will make it alright

I know I will again regain my true fight

And now the fight, it stirs in me

Declaring out loud, what i shall not be

Your victim yes, your trophy never

Healing is my passion’s endeavour

Round and round again I know

But one thing with certainty do I know

I may fall but I will always get up

I will decide when enough is enough

They things they took I now regain

As I wade my way through my past of pain

They chewed me up and spit me out

But here I stand, proud and stout

Together I will piece my puzzle again

They will be the ones to break and bend

 

 

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How much does our happiness depend on those around us?

Yesterday I read a blog urging us to take ownership of our own happiness, not to try to meet the needs of others but meet our own needs and get happy with ourselves. This made me think about how much my happiness depends on how the relationships in my life are going, what state they are in, and how this is dysfunctional.

I have put a lot of stock in trying to make others happy, the more happy i feel i’m making others the more happy i feel myself, while not actually being happy WITH myself. I know a lot of people with bipolar or depression are more sensitive to the relationships in their lives so I wonder how many other people are doing this, trying to ‘feel’ happy by meeting other peoples needs as opposed to being introspective and dealing with ourselves and our own true happiness.

Ultimately, making ourselves happy and being happy with ourselves is a difficult thing to do. For a lot of us, we have had trauma in the past and have a lot of issues to work through, we have low self esteem because of events that have happened so being happy with ourselves seems an abstract concept, something that will happen one day when i’m old. I always figured i was doing the right thing because they tell you that making others happy is a good thing, but when you do it in place of taking care of yourself, it’s more of a coping mechanism than truly giving.

I have had many many friendships in my life and have a gazillion facebook friends but only a small handful of real friends, i feel quite lonely a lot of the time.When things are going well with my friends and they seem happy with me and we are talking often and interacting, i feel better about myself. When we aren’t interacting as much and i perceive there to be a possible issue or potential problem, i let it fester and it affects my whole outlook on life. If i were truly happy with myself then my mood would be more stable independent of what state my relationships were in, i would of course care if there were a problem with a friend but it wouldn’t affect me as much as it does now.

Realizing that i do this is only the first step, I’ve only recently dug up repressed memories of sexual abuse that occurred 25 years ago, and still have a planet of issues to deal with around my mother’s second husband and the way he physically mentally and emotionally abused me along with the abandonment issues i have with my mother herself. I feel like i’m a teeny tiny person standing at the foot of a great big mountain with no climbing equipment, but i have will, and to be completely cliche, where there’s a will there’s a way.

I wonder just how many of us deflect our own happiness in this way, because looking at this great big mountain is scary shit, and it would be easier not to do it, but the blog i read yesterday was right, i have to get happy with myself. Once I’m happy with myself i think i’ll have a lot less issues with my friends because i wont be putting that pressure on myself and them for things to be ‘perfect’ all the time.

I’m interested in thoughts and opinions on this so please feel free to share if you have anything to say.

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In the mud

Stick in the mud, don’t bend or you’ll break

Standing still, no steps can you make

Held by the past and all that it holds

Frozen by stories you’ve kept untold

You watch as the world passes you by

You accept failure before you try

So scared to bend in case you break

Not yet sure of what steps you would take

Standing still is fine for a while

It’s inch by inch not mile by mile

Take just one thing that’s caused you pain

One thing for which you’ve worn the blame

Let it go and watch it leave

And slowly you will feel some ease

Little by little, piece by piece

You will slowly feel some ease

Dig deep down, you’ll find in there

The strength to lay your demons bare

Face the past, bring on the rain

To wash away that muddy pain

And free yourself from standing by

Just begin and you’ve already tried

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