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Erin Grace

Monday, January 30, 2012


So much of me wants to race through writing my life get it over with. I'm so scattered with my thoughts. Supposedly I have ADHD. Whatever. Shame. I'm letting the shame get to me. It's so easy to do. It's the worst thing about going through all of this. You cannot seem to escape the feeling that it was your fault. You're crazy. You're a bad daughter. You should NOT be talking so openly about this now. I imagine people saying, "How could you talk about your parents that way?" I have to remember that they were two people who could have handled things differently, considering how many times they did eventually reach out for help and people did try to help. Especially my mother. My father carried a great deal of shame around. It wasn't hard to see in him. Head down, very quiet. He'd try to stay out of everyone's way. My mother was very demanding on him, despite her knowing he had schizophrenia and knowing his life story. When you're aware of what someone you love has been through in their life, their losses, fears, etc., not to mention their mental state, you're supposed to be sensitive to that: appreciate it and act accordingly. She did not.

For as bad as things were with my father, he showed me what I thought to be affection and love. Maybe none of it, with him, was good but she didn't show me any, except for her manic nights in the living room, dancing with me in the dark, to The Doors. I always felt more like her mother. She is a very selfish person. I know that sounds terrible to say but it is what it is. Even when my father was dying, she refused to give him his medication on schedule. She told me and the doctors, "I can't get up at that time and give him that medication. No, I simply can't." If you try to confront her with any of her behaviors, she has always said, "What??! I did that? I would never say/do that!" I finally resorted to saying, "Geez mom, do you have multiple personality or what?" She actually has said, "Maybe I do." She does not. I know her intelligence and her memory well enough to know that she remembers what she wants to remember. She has even gone so far as to tell me how she deals with people she doesn't want to talk to. I've cornered her on her behavior so much now, that she just gets frustrated and hangs up on me. Eventually she'll talk to me and act like nothing happened, just like she did after dragging me up the stairs as a kid, biting me and gouging my arms...she'd disappear into her room for an hour or so and then re-appear and act as if absolutely nothing happened. Nothing that happened prior to that was ever talked about. Talk about confusing for a kid. That, to me, was normal. Pick and choose what to acknowledge. SHE was in control...if she didn't remember it, it didn't happen.

My parents pretty much isolated themselves and didn't encourage me to get out and socialize. All I learned from them was how to be quiet and very polite. I was sick so much, with all sorts of infections and strep throat, that I began to welcome it. It was too much trouble to try and be around people, when you are so unsure of yourself. Some people say they remember me never making eye contact in high school. I'd stare at the floor. I starved myself and then hid behind black baggy clothes. I'd do things to get attention and then want to hide myself at the same time. I joke that I wasn't bi-polar but my life was. Even now, as much as I love being around people and I have a much easier time socializing, I still have to work at getting out around people. Old habits die hard. People have said, "Aren't you afraid people will think you're mentally ill too?". I was. Especially in my 20's. Schzophrenia seems to first show itself in young adults and I was so scared through my 20's. When I was in trouble a lot in high school (drugs, drinking, truancy, suspension, detention), I even overheard my mother talking to my guidance counselor about me and she broke down crying, saying that she thought I was going to end up sick, like my brother and father.

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