This is going to be such a long post. This is also a three part post. There should be a cup of coffee and a croissant involved with reading this. I won’t apologize for I really do need to get all this off my chest.
Do you ever spell a word, it’s spelled correctly although you swear it’s misspelled? That happens to me all the time, even though I’m pretty good at spelling. Comprehension has always been a bit of something I have to apply myself towards. Reading almost always consists of having a dictionary, or now my phone, close by.
Alexis is now 15. I swear my head keeps saying she is 13 and I have to keep correcting myself. I always wonder if my mom is going to send her grandkids a birthday card. I try to understand why she never wants to communicate with them. Ok, I knew that someday when my girls became older that the relationship would change. I never came right out and told my girls that something with their grandma would change later. I could never tell them to not get attached to her, not to become too close. In a way, I hoped that it would be different for them. With their dad gone, they needed the family. I just felt that at their young age they would not understand any warnings that I gave them. I did tell them to be mindful, to be a little quiet around grandma. I explained that she needs her rest at times so if she was taking a nap, to just go play quietly. I wanted everything to go well. Especially for little Lex. She was such a grandma’s girl. Grandma was everything to her. I tried my best to keep their relationship going well.
I use to tell my mom that if she wasn’t feeling well or the girls were being too much to handle, to always call me. I didn’t care if it’s 2 am. Really, just call me so I can pick them up. Usually, they only spent three days at their house. Alexis wanted to spend the whole Spring Break with her. I knew it wasn’t a good idea but the girls were so excited that grandma said yes that I let them stay the whole week. Sunday came and my mom dropped them off. She was giving both girls the silent treatment. Wouldn’t even say goodbye to them. I tried to find out what happened. Both girls tried to give grandma a hug and say goodbye but my mom just left. She was screaming. She wasn’t making any sense. She was angry. Said the girls were disrespectful among things. Both of my girls were crying. After my mom left I calmed my girls down. Assured them that they weren’t in trouble and I wasn’t mad. Karissa has always been a little emotionally young for her age. I knew that I needed to talk to her later because she couldn’t get any words out. She became kind of mute. I started with talking to Alexis.
Alexis, as being the little sister, always wanted her sister to play with her. After being a long week, I’m sure… my mom spent the whole day in the den, with the door shut, while the girls were on their own. Alexis was bored. She wanted Karissa to play with her. Karissa wanted to watch tv. Alexis then took a piece of gum that she was chewing and rubbed it into her sister’s favorite shirt. I could easily imagine Karissa’s reaction to this. As Karissa being 12 and Alexis, 9, I know Karissa had a very less than adult reaction. Alexis then told me that grandma came out of the den yelling at them to stop yelling and then told Karissa to stop being mean. Then Karissa, of course, tried to defend herself. Karissa later told me that Alexis did tell grandma then that she, Alexis, had put gum in Karissa’s shirt cause she wanted Karissa to play with her. The rest of what the girls told me was so jumbled. Both girls said that grandma told Karissa that she is going to throw her out of the house and that she wasn’t welcome back. Alexis said both her and Karissa had made up later that night cause she wanted to sleep with Karissa in her bed. They said that grandma gave them both the silent treatment for all of Saturday and Sunday, till they were dropped off.
It’s so hard to understand what was going through my mom’s head. I really wished she would have just called me. The girls don’t understand whatever happened that night or why it happened. They don’t know why grandma isn’t speaking to them anymore. My girls and I do send her birthday and Christmas cards every year. I think it’s more of something along the lines of, well, she is family so we will try to keep communication open. Though it’s only one-way. Alexis and I spent that Sunday night getting the gum out of Karissa’s favorite shirt. Both girls blamed, and still do, themselves for what happened. I don’t blame them. I knew something like this was going to happen. The difference between me and my girls was that I was able to get them away. Alexis doesn’t have much to say about her grandma. Though I’m hoping, through her therapy, for mostly anxiety, can talk to her therapist about her feelings about grandma. Maybe about her dad also, since Alexis has always felt that her dad was just a dream and doesn’t have much feeling that there is even an existence with him. Karissa still feels she is to blame and has wanted to write her a letter but doesn’t quite know what to say. She wanted to say she is sorry, but I told her not to say that. If she were to write a letter, just write about what is going on in her life now, as if she were talking to her every day.
With all that has happened, for years I have always worried that I may be Bipolar. I knew my mom had something when I was young. I know she does now although I can’t diagnose it. I just don’t have the credentials or education to do that. Psychology is my hobby, so I can only make assumptions. I’ve always thought she may have Manic Depression, which is what Bipolar was called when I was a kid. Or maybe some form of Borderline Personality Disorder. So naturally, I feared that since this is all genetics, that I may have something. Note that on my dad’s side of the family there is something also. Though it’s physical. I, along with Karissa and Alexis have seen a genetics doctor. They first thought Noonan’s Syndrome. Now maybe it’s CHARGE Syndrome. However, that is a story for another time.
I do have a mild form of Bipolar. I have Cyclothymia. Not many have heard of that. Especially when Bipolar itself is so big and takes up much of the topic that other types of Bipolar isn’t normally discussed. It’s a mood disorder. I go from depression to emotional highs, just not to the extreme of someone who has Bipolar. The changes are not so extreme so many see it as “moody.” I’ve been described as moody my whole life. My dad used to call me Ms. Sunshine and Ms. Congeniality. The difference is that this moodiness is without reason. There is no reason that I’m depressed one week or month and then excitedly happy for the next. Sometimes my mood changes so quickly throughout the day. I can feel great in the morning and then after a bit, I’m feeling so down that I can barely get myself moving. It’s hard to have control over my moods.
When I was younger this was easier to handle. I did have those real low times where I just felt that I wanted to be happy and wondering how I can make that happen. How can I stop feeling so sad? I didn’t think I had full-blown depression, though I knew I had something. It was easier to get by daily without much help. After Kevin passed away, then my dad… I found that I was having a harder time. Especially with the lows. My anxiety had gotten so bad that I would go through periods of shortness of breath and dizziness. I didn’t know how to get help. How to tell anyone that I needed help. Mostly because I couldn’t articulate it myself. How do I ask for help when I don’t know what I need help with? At that time, people didn’t really go get help for anxiety. It wasn’t as if anxiety or mental illness for that matter was talked about much. Not so much as it is talked about today. Today, we still have a ways to go with understanding all this. However, it is better than it was ten years ago. Yes, I was depressed at that time. Yes, I felt overwhelmed with two babies and being a single parent. In a way, I felt that I need to prove to myself and everyone that I could do this on my own. That I didn’t need help. I truly felt that I was doing ok.