mckarlie

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

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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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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Bitter devotion

I need you now like man needs air

You can’t be found but anywhere

I wait on your words and watch the clock tick

This piercing silence is making me sick

You know how much I want this and yet you stay so hush

And each day now that passes is one day one too much

 

You wield your power willingly, as you sit above

You place your mouth in places and make promises of love

Yet when I truly need you, you vanish into air

You know just what you do to me, this ache is mine to bear

Do you feel so tiny do you truly feel so small

That you lord my love above me, knowing you’re my all?

This feeling you call love, it brings me twisted agony

The waves are crashing violently, taking parts and chunks of me

I’m sure if I had sense left in me

An exit would be my strategy

But I follow your crumbs as you make your trail

This epic love is sure to fail

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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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Little Tree

I sway in the wind like a limp little tree

Watching as the world passes by me

I sink my roots deep down in the ground

Searching for things that cannot be found

Searching for something to heal my pained mind

But a limp little tree, such things cannot find

I wave around for someone to see me

I stretch out wide and high in futility

Silently screaming for someone to hear

And maybe plant a little tree somewhere near

It’s been winter for a thousand days

After a while you run out of ways

To find the things you need

To find the food to feed

But someone came and watered me

I burst with life and strength instantly

I’m still just a limp, little tree

But now I have some fight in me

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Burn it down

I am a puzzle with pieces askew

I am a knot that you cannot undo

I am the voice you hear in your bed

You are the void that creeps in my head

I was a child when you broke my bones

I was a child when you left me alone

I was a child when you threw me away

I was a child with no words I could say

Now I am grown I don’t fit your mold

Now I am grown I am strong I am bold

I will not wither and wilt under your will

You will not take from me your fill

You did your damage long ago

I’m full of secrets no one knows

Crimes that you have committed

Tales you’ve never ever admitted

But now I have my own loud voice

And with it I have found my choice

I will not hide and I will not be quiet

I will burn it all down, I will start a riot

Your house of lies you carefully build

Your dishonest palace you carefully filled

With perfect pictures and memories fair

You will not find me anywhere there

I live out here in light and truth

And while you may have taken my youth

You cannot touch me on this day

For I have found my own damn way

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Fallen Star

The moment that I realized, when I found out you had died

I had to wear a brave face but it was on the inside that I cried

It had been a long time since you and I had spoken

And when I last had seen you we’d left so many pieces broken

We made some peace and laid, side by side in the sun

There was a good portion of my life I thought you were the one

But you were the first to taste my love the first to go inside

The first to do a lot of things, we’d plans I’d be your bride

No one told me of the accident, you’d fallen from a cliff

I had a feeling something was wrong but I was shunned on a tiff

Now you visit in my dreams almost every night

I wonder if it’s really you or me trying to put things right

To redo things with me and you, find a happy ending

But you were gone so long ago, no hope for us of mending

I hope you are in heaven or somewhere you are free

Of all the things that trapped you in life, this brash insanity

All the things that kept you caged now can’t hold you down

I hope in death there is some way your peace was finally found

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Bipolar makes relationships so freakin hard

I think it’s the bipolar, i’m sure within myself i see the grey area and am fairly open minded, but bipolar can make things very black or white. My husband and I have been together for 13 years, we have been struggling a bit of late, but the last few months have been really great. I have been trying my absolute best and hardest to make things work and he has been putting in a lot of effort too, but when something comes up and i try to talk to him about it, i get a brick wall. He turns things around and tries to make me the bad guy, i’m not trying to make anyone the bad guy i’m just trying to talk, but i don’t know how much more i can take of this, we haven’t been on truly steady ground for a while now and i wonder just how far down the rabbit hole i’d fall if he wasn’t around. But I don’t know how much longer we can tread water, something’s got to give.

I think my bipolar has affected me in a way in which I am going to be a lonely person, people don’t flock around me as i share my opinions too freely, i don’t edit myself enough i just say what i think, and i can understand how this puts people off side. i have a handful of close friends but there’s only so far a friendship can go, there’s only so much of each others shit you will put up with in a friendship, so yeah, i’m feeling pretty alone.

He’s sitting out there in the lounge right now with the kids, i can’t bare to be in the same room with him at the moment because it makes me want to cry, so i’m hiding away in the bedroom writing and watching tv. Surely my kids have sussed that something is wrong, we usually all do things together, i don’t know what to do.

I’ve cancelled plans we had for today because there’s no way either of us can put a smile on our faces and make it through a social occasion, we aren’t even talking to each other i don’t feel like talking to everyone else and pretending everything is great.

I wonder if i was born with bipolar or if all the messed up shit that happened to me caused it, part of me thinks it’s the latter and i get angry at the people that did those things to me when i was young. i get angry at my mother for letting it happen ’cause now i’m a broken human who can’t make relationships work and who feels completely isolated from the world. Anyway, just my rant, it’s best to get this stuff out.

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Open heart

It’s hard to heal or find happiness when you feel you have no home

It’s hard to find your place in life when you feel you’re all alone

Sometimes we shut each other out for fear of being hurt

We crave love and attention but build walls to keep avert

We lock ourselves away from love believing we don’t deserve any

We think that we are all alone just another one of many

But we are each special and unique in our own way

We all are worth something and should each have our own say

If we let a little love in and make a crack in all the walls

Then soon we’ll feel we’re worthy and those walls will start to fall

I know the last thing someone wants is to feel like a charity case

And when love is offered to easily we turn and run apace

We don’t trust something that seems too good because of all the pain

We feel we are not worthy ’cause on ourselves we place the blame

So next time someone offers you an open arm or ear

Trust that they truly care and that it’s genuine and dear

The fact is we all need help sometimes there is no shame in this

And if someone offers love to you, it would be a terribly thing to miss

 

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