Loopy, Lonely and Lost

Something of a family drama

Posted on: March 21, 2012

Every time my mum is ill, she turns into a bitch. I’m not supposed to say that, am I? If someone’s ill, you’re supposed to call them brave and inspirational. If someone’s ill and you don’t like them, people think you’re tempting fate, and that if they die, it’s your fault for pointing out their flaws. I think people think it’s unreasonable to expect a person who’s unwell to be everything you want of them. They have more pressing concerns than keeping people happy.

Maybe it’s true. But I don’t believe in fate, and this is a cycle that has shaped my entire life.

She gets ill. It’s not always the same thing – in some ways, it doesn’t matter what it is (obviously it matters to her, but the outcome is always the same). She experiences a lot of pain, and cries a lot. I hold her hand and give her hugs and ask if there’s anything I can do. She insists she’s fine.

She cries some more. She starts shrieking. My dad asks what’s wrong, and she tells him. He asks what he can do to help, but she just keeps crying and saying she doesn’t know. He tells her that if it’s that bad, she should call the doctor. She insists that she’s too ill to call. Too ill to speak or hear or move. She insists that she couldn’t possibly make a phone call. He points out, gently, that she’s speaking and hearing and moving now. She calls him a bastard and says he doesn’t understand.

He offers to call the doctor. She says it’s an empty gesture, and that he doesn’t intend to call at all. She says he’s making her worse. He finds the doctor’s number, and is about to call, but she stops him. She says that even if he calls, she’s not going to the doctor. She doesn’t want to see anybody, because my dad won’t speak for her, won’t tell them what’s wrong. He tells her that he can’t explain her illness, and that she’s capable of speech. At around about this point, she usually throws something at him.

Then she has another cry. He calls the doctor, but because of all the endless faffing, it’s out of hours now. He leaves a message on their messaging service, asking them to call back tomorrow.

She doesn’t believe him. She thinks he hasn’t really called them, has been standing there talking into a dialling tone, or the speaking clock. Even when redial takes her to the doctor’s number, she’s not convinced. It’s pure irrationality and paranoia. She thinks he’s out to get her. She tells him that he’s the reason she’s in pain. She says the reason she’s ill, and the reason she can’t speak to the doctor, is that my dad doesn’t believe her enough. He doesn’t understand, she says. She says he thinks she’s making it up. She says he’s cruel and evil and trying to kill her.

If, at any point, I try to intervene, I become part of the problem. I try my calmest voice, I try my clearest logic. I try platitudes and reassurance and promises. She looks at me and says that my dad has brainwashed me. She says we’re ganging up on her. She says that, next time I’m ill, she’ll remember this, and be as unhelpful to me as I’m being to her.

I feel useless. I feel like a child again. I can’t make this stop. Every time I try, things get worse. I end up just going to my room and wrapping a pillow around the back of my head, covering my ears so I can’t hear, trying to stop myself from thinking.

I need to get out. There’s no excuse, really. I have the money. I just need to find a place and move there. I need a safe haven, where this isn’t always happening. Somewhere still and silent where I can breathe. But I’m afraid. Last time I moved away, things got out of control. I know it might not be the same – I’m a lot older now, for one thing (there’s a part of me that thinks it’s all just adolescence, that sooner or later I’ll grow out of whatever the fuck you want to call my mood swings). I’m scared that living in a house where I’m so often scared and frustrated and ashamed and lonely is the only way to live a normal life, because while of course those emotions are negative and exhausting, they focus the mind. I have too much to think about, so my thoughts don’t wander. I have routine. I have expectations to live up to. I have a facade to maintain.

I’m worried, and have been for a long time, that the only way to keep myself sane is to keep myself miserable.

There’s a team manager’s position available in the company I work for. My boss and my closest friend at work have been encouraging me to apply. They, and others, say I could quite easily get the job. I was seriously considering it, for a moment.

But how can I do it? How can I cope with an application and an interview, when I can’t cope with my own family? And if I were to get the job, I’d feel like a fraud. Because how can I be in charge of other people when I have so little control over my own life? How can I believe in my powers to influence and persuade when all the time, at home, those powers are insignificant? How can I look anyone in the eye and honestly say I’m the best person for the job when I know that I am useless, ineffective and pathetic?

I don’t want to be stuck in stasis forever. I don’t want it to suddenly be ten or twenty years from now and for me to still be in the same job, bored after exhausting every possible challenge a million times, and in the same house, trying to stop my family from falling apart. It’s a long time since I had much hope or ambition, and for a while now I’ve been content to stop, to rest, to only do as much as necessary, to charge my batteries, to attempt to build some sort of emotional strength and resilience. But right now I’m feeling frozen in time, stuck in one spot, rotting.


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My name is Laura. I was once told that I have cyclothymia. This blog is mostly where I write about living as a person with extremes and instability of mood, and the history of a life that led to the development of those symptoms.

I complain a lot, I'm very repetitive, unreliable, and I tend to contradict myself.

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