Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Quick recap - and joy!

Some of you know that my mum was recently admitted to a psychiatric unit under suspicion of a suspected suicide attempt. It wasn't that, it was actually that she'd taken too many of her anti-anxiety drugs in order to stop thinking for the day. The trigger for this was that she had just been to visit us when Debs was 3 weeks old and she found it very difficult as it brought up too many memories of past stillbirths/miscarriage that she had before she had me. Anyway we've been talking on the phone as I have not felt strong enough to see mum, and last week I sent her some lovely photographs of Debs. Last night I got a phone call saying she has been readmitted to a psychiatric unit for intensive medical therapy. In a way it's been really helpful as something inside has finally clicked and I no longer feel responsible for any of it, just really, really sad. I always used to feel really responsible as when I was little I was told mummy got ill when I was born, and I figured that therefore her being ill was my fault and that it would have been better if I hadn't been born. She was also a serial abuser and used to regularly hit me leaving marks as well as lots of shouting and emotional abuse. She only stopped hitting me once I was big enough to hold her off but she was still hitting dad in a "play" way before he died. I did stop her when I saw it happen. Obviously I love her as she is my mum and I do think that it's quite obvious that she has never had adequate medical support. Also I'm aware that somehow our family slipped through the net to a certain extent to allow the abuse to continue. As a child I didn't realise it was abuse that realisation came later, also accompanied with the realisation of how awful it must be to be the perpetrator of all of that. As the survivor of it one can go forward and be joyful about the future but as the perpetrator the guilt stays with you. It certainly stayed with mum and many of our conversations during the time I was pregnant dwelt on my childhood and and even more so on her previous stillbirths (2) and miscarriage. It was always very hard as I actually want to leave my childhood behind and don't feel I can absolve mum of her guilt. I have said many times it's ok, as I do understand she was ill but it's up to her to drop that final burden. The times when she talked her children were particularly difficult as Debs was growing fast within my womb and I was extra vulnerable then. I asked her a few times to not talk about these issues, the last time was 2 weeks before Debs was born. Then I wrote her a letter asking her to seek help elsewhere I was unable to give it. This triggered some major psychosis which also involves feelings of guilt about my father's death. This then led to her first admission into hospital after meeting Debs.

Last night was a blessing in disguise. I have finally twigged that I am not responsible for any of this and despite the fact that many of mum's episodes seem to be triggered by good things happening to me I've finally realiesd it's not punishment. It's not mum beating me up anymore which it felt like but just her irrational brain doing irrational things which I can't hope to understand. So although I naturally feel very sad about it and want to cry I no longer feel at fault. This is such a huge relief it's like dropping the biggest ever piece of luggage so in a way I am grateful to mum right now. It is good she is back in hospital - the mental health worker I spoke to last night feels that mum has been treated for too long with the wrong dosage of the older type of anti-psychotics - mainly because mum has refused newer treatments and will not take stronger doses lol. Hopefully that choice will be taken away from her in order to benefit her which seems a funny thing to write.

As I write I can feel my neck extending upwards. For years I have suffered from a huge emotional flinch that has dominated everything. Like many other survivors of abuse I felt compelled to re-create this flinch as it was the only form of love/attention I felt happy with, hence when I was presented with real happiness I had to re-produce my flinch through fear and perfectionism. But now I see my flinch for what it is a conditioned response not a crutch and its ok because I can make friends with it. it's good to make friends with my flinch as this I can do. I can't undo the past, I cant stop mum from hurting, but I can make friends with my flinch :)

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