I watched a video of my daughter when she was just 5 years old carrying an oversized black backpack walking into school by herself for the first time. This may not seem like a big accomplishment to some but for her it was one of the proudest moments in her life.
I watch the video proud and ashamed. Proud that at just 5 years old she could accomplish such an enormous task, but I still fight to get out of bed I know it sounds cliche See I have bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, severe generalized anxiety and issues with psychosis.
So for me some days getting out of bed is my biggest accomplishment and I know she sees it. I know that even through heavy wooded closed doors she can hear me fight with her daddy about the bottle of pills I can’t let go of because in my mind being dead is more useful to her than being alive.
I know that in her eleven years on this earth she’s seen me go to a psychiatric hospital, overdose on pills more times than I count, has a shotgun temper breaking windows and doors out of anger and do things I can’t always remember, but I always remember her crying and saying, “Mama please don’t leave.” Every time I storm out of the house after screaming about something as simple as not being able to find the remote and I know I sometimes I can’t help it, I try to control it or maybe I could control it if I try harder. It is so frustrating after years of therapy and medication still never knowing what could possible trigger it knowing I will never be that Mom who is always comforting because I can’t comprehend your emotions. I can’t just be happy or sad or neutral. It is always one extreme or the other or a mindless zombie from the 1200 mg of medication I take everyday just to function. I am sorry Cami. I’m sorry that I possibly have you the same demon that haunts me. I’m sorry I get so mad at you for no reason, that you can’t go to school and tell your friends anything besides you worry about me all the time. I’m sorry this disease has made me so selfish that I take time from you. That I can’t remember when you took your first steps or your first words, but I remember that time I overdosed on Xanax in the bathtub. I’m sorry I’m not a good mom. Your daddy tells me I’m a good mom, but I think he doesn’t want me to hurt more, because I’m not a good mom. I’m selfish, distant, angry, isolated. I keep our relationship at a distance so I don’t hurt or disappoint you. I’m sorry that my illness has become a normal part of your life and I tried not to cry the day your daddy got my medicine and you said, “I don’t want to be like you and take medication for the rest of my life.” It hurt because I don’t want you to be like me either but how do I explain that to you. I’m not always strong enough to fight the courage to put the bottle of pills down. That your memories may consist of that was the time my mom tried to kill herself, rushed to her doctor, fought with my daddy because she couldn’t control her emotions. She ruined holidays, birthdays because of something so small I can’t even remember why but I know she loves me even though she is selfish, isolated, distant and angry she loves me. That you knowing I love you even though I don’t know how to show it is the one thing you remember most about me and I tried to be a good mom.