I have decided to start my story from when it all began. I need everything to make sense to me. None of it is lately. I’ve had a lot of confusion and memory gaps. I have to keep a dictionary and thesaurus next to me at all times. I have trouble remembering peoples names that at one time I had no problem spitting out. I don’t like it.
My parents had known each other in grade school. My mother had a crush on my dad. Sadly they both had to quit school and wouldn’t see each other until years later in a bar. Both of my parents are alcoholics. My father has been sober 35 years. My mom passed away several years ago but had been sober 28 years at the time of her death.
Mental Illness and Alcoholism is prominent on my mom’s side of the family. 2 Alcoholic Uncles, 1 Schizophrenic, IV Drug addicted Uncle. 1 Alcoholic Aunt, My mom and 1 other sister suffered from Depression, my mom an Alcoholic, 1 more Aunt an Alcoholic and the last Aunt Schizophrenic. My Grandmother was something but the words I would use wouldn’t be polite. She did drink and personally I thought she was more than Mentally Ill. How my mom survived that woman I’ll never know. Almost all of her siblings fled at an early age. My mom was the oldest and stayed in the State. As years went by she felt responsible for her mother. If I could go back in time, grow a spine and speak up for my mom maybe things would’ve been different. But I know my dad didn’t sit back and watch so it must have fell on deaf ears. My mom could be stubborn when it came to family. I was lucky she was.
So my parents met again in a bar. It wasn’t love at first sight it more like Fatal Attraction. My mom chased my dad until he gave up. He says it was the best decision of his life. He was petrified when he learned she was pregnant and went away for awhile. He came back just in time for our delivery. My mother didn’t know she was having twins. It was January 1973. We were one right behind the other so the Doctor was only hearing one heartbeat. It was actually 2 that were in sync with one another. I wish my sister thought about that now.
When I was a baby/toddler I moved around a lot in my crib. I also had bloody noses frequently. My crib was one of those extra safe ones with wheels that didn’t quite lock in place. At some point I had begun to bang my head on the mattress of the crib as a soothing mechanism. When my parents would wake up in the morning they would come in to find my crib across the room.
They went out on a much needed date one night leaving me, my twin sister, and my seven year old brother with a babysitter. They forgot to tell the babysitter about my bloody noses or head banging crib moving. The babysitter walked into what looked like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. My crib across the room, blood all over the walls, and blood all over me. She did the logical thing and called the police. My poor parents came home to a swarm of police cars thinking the worse had happened. Nope. Just me and my “quirky” behavior.
I continued to bang or bounce my head for years. I also continued to get nose bleeds. I had my nose cauterized 3 or 4 times. If you don’t know what that is it’s like in movies when they would amputate then use fire to stop the bleeding. In my circumstance it was a chemical equivalent that burned the vessels in my sinus cavity to stop the bleeding. I would say it was uncomfortable. They took out my Adenoids and Tonsils thinking it would help. I was the oldest one having their tonsils out and of course something went wrong. I spiked a fever and started vomiting. This caused my stitches to tear so I had to stay longer.
My twin always looked at me with contempt or disgust when I had a nosebleed. I had no control over them. Sometimes all it took was the hot water hitting my head in the shower. I never knew when it was going to happen. The bouncing I could understand. I also would rock side to side while standing. I never felt comfortable no matter where I was. I had many soothing mechanisms. While sitting one leg was going up and down like a jackhammer. Hardly anyone noticed through the years what a big bundle of crazy nerves and self hate I was.
I really don’t know how so many people could’ve missed it. Teachers, Guidance Counselors, Parents, Relatives and even my own twin never could see me slowly dying day by day. A six hour school day was like thirteen hours to me. There was no place where I found joy or relief. I couldn’t even look to my sister for help. She had made it clear by the time we were in Junior High that I was on my own.
Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, Easter, and my own Birthday I would sneak away to my room to read. If I was reading I was in another world and not in mine. If anyone asked why I wasn’t joining in I said I “didn’t feel well”. I was the sickest kid in family history. As I became a little older things started to change. Around 12/13 I became irritable, spiteful, I would talk too much and read all night not sleeping. My parents always let us drink soda. But they started to ask me how much of it I had been drinking and if I was drinking coffee too. Someone suggested to my mom that it was “hormones”. Nope. I was an early bloomer making things more difficult. I had my period by age 10. I was a size 36 C by age 11. ( I apologize to the men reading. ) So in my expert opinion hormones were not it.
Someone recently asked if I felt resentful because I hadn’t been diagnosed earlier. What’s the point? It doesn’t change anything. Would I like to speak to some of the so called experts and tell them what it’s cost me? Sometimes. There isn’t a Psychiatrist, Doctor, Nurse, Therapist, who knows what I’ve been through unless they have been through the exact same thing. It’s impossible. I don’t understand what War is like and would never presume to. I don’t understand Religious Belief and wouldn’t pretend to because I’ve studied Religion. It doesn’t work that way.
Regrettably even other people with Bipolar Disorder and Addiction think they have or know the answers. They don’t. We can only take educated guesses at the similarities in certain groups. Human brains are like snow flakes. There are no two alike.