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Domino Effect

I never liked dominoes. I never was interested in playing the game. I would just line them up, stand them up on their ends and push the first one causing the rest to fall over as I watched with amusement. I would create twists and turns with the rows of upended dominoes to see how far it would continue on after the first push. It was entertaining for me. Much more so than the game itself was. This is what it feels like is happening in my life, but I’m not amused with watching as everything falls apart around me.

It’s March 1st. I should be writing a February Goal Getter recap and a March Goal Getter Guide. I should be spouting off about everything we have accomplished and how we do it. I should be writing a congratulatory letter to myself as I get to say this week I will have successfully raised one of my threefold to adulthood. #1 of my threefold turns 18 in only a few days. I should be planning a 18th birthday party and car shopping. I should have a promotion and a raise in my sights. What I shouldn’t have is two daughters in crisis mode leaving mom to manage the onslaughts of stress, financial worries, emotional turmoil, and trying to figure out where I went wrong. Yet here I am mommin’ mental illness and trying to manage my own. It’s been the domino effect of triggered responses.

It was a week to the day I discharged #3 from her psychiatric facility for acute care. It was that same day that we discharged #3 that #2 was admitted to the psychiatric hospital for her crisis management. Today, I was back with #3 for another admission for acute crisis management. Yes. That’s right. I have two of my threefold admitted for psychiatric care simultaneously now. As much as I don’t want to be the mom who says that, I am. I’m completely lost in my own emotional overwhelm and exhaustion from the past several weeks that I can’t worry about what that sounds like or how that makes me look. All I care about is that they get the help they need. Everything else is inconsequential at this point. My dominoes are lined up and life has begun to watch in amusement as each of us falls into the darkness of depression.

These admissions weren’t by my choice or even my recommendation. With # 2 hers was initiated by her outpatient therapist. With #2’s history I was pretty much guaranteed admission as soon as I said she had been inpatient for 17 weeks during 2021. With #3 the school has requested evaluation and assessment for mental illness and trauma treatment since her first out burst three weeks ago. #3 returned to school and now here we are with another outburst, more trauma disclosures and another referral from the school for assessment. I’m back to inpatient and trauma momma in the position of chaos coordinator and crisis management. Not the promotion I had hoped for this year. I didn’t ask for the domino free fall, however the pieces are left for me to put back in place. I’m trying to stop the falls, but they are being knocked down before I can even pick up the previous fallen pieces. I’m not sure how to stop the continued cause and effect from the initial piece falling into the one after.

I’m trying to figure it out. I’m trying to muddle through the whole situation. I’m flailing, but I can’t fail. This domino effect will hit a spot where the fall can’t continue and the progression will end. I’m not going to let my threefold down. They won’t be left to fight this alone. They need to stand up and I’m going to make sure they stay balanced whatever it takes. I need a break, but mommin’ mental illness is a full time job with no pay and no benefits. I’m broken and they are too. All I can do is work towards finding them the right care and keeping my sanity so I can manage this crisis as it comes. I’m scared. I’m sad. They’re scared and sad. I’m not sure how the next part of this story of ours will go, but I know that it’s going to be a hard one to write until they are home with me where they belong. In the meantime, all I can say is I’m trying to be positive. I might need some help along the way, but I’ve got this. ☮️❤️😊~M

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Destination Unknown

I’m unsure where I’m headed. I’m on the path I’ve been going down for a while, but suddenly there is this huge fork is in the road. A decision is there waiting for me to make up my mind. Which way? Both paths have darkness, obstacles, warnings and mysterious circumstances that look daunting. Both look scary as hell from here, but whether or not one will lead me to where I want to end up, I’m unsure. I can’t see what is beyond where I am in this moment. I just know my decision is one I not only have to make for myself, but for my threefold too. I’m the only person that can make this choice.

I am tired of asking for directions from people who have never been where I am now or don’t understand the struggles we face trying to find a better way. Everyone seems to think they know best, but no one has walked in these shoes or been inside my mind. It’s not as easy as ‘choosing to be happy’ mental illness isn’t a choice and it’s not an excuse. I apologize when I do wrong, I don’t blame my illness for my every move.

If I get angry I apologize and I recognize that I’m at fault. If I’m stressed I may be irritated but I can reset and refocus. I don’t let every single life stress melt me down into a puddle of pity. I do buck up and get back on the horse and jump the damn hurdle. I give myself pep talks and positive affirmations. I meditate, I journal, and I work in my therapy. I do try. It’s not always the quick or easy response people expect, but I get back on track. It’s not without effort.

Right now, I’m not in a good place. I know that is a fact. My thoughts betray me faster than I can counteract them. I can be laughing and ignoring all of my problems one minute and the next be in emotional distress holding back the tears. I’m trying. I fall apart more often. I’ve isolated myself a lot more than I know is healthy, but it’s not because I want to be alone. It’s because I don’t want to be told I’m moping or sulking or enjoying a pity party. I’m m not trying to be negative. I just am not seeing the silver linings of my current situation. I don’t need toxic positivity. I need the validation that this is a shitty time and that I am allowed to not be ok. I need that support. Not some grass is greener and rainbows come after bad storms bullshit. I know it gets better. But damn it, right now it’s not even close to that better.

I know I’m a badass and I’m tough. I know I’ll get through this and get to my desired destination eventually. I know my threefold is going to be ok. I know that I’ll ride the struggle bus until I can make my way back to the fuck yea freight train. I know.

Right now, I also know this is not fair. I know that this is not what I wanted, needed or even expected to be happening in our lives. I need a little less heartache, hard time, and headache. I need more help to understand why this is happening and how I can avoid it again. Who can honestly say they have admitted and discharged a child from a hospital, admitted another child back into the hospital all while dealing with a narcissistic, drug addicted ex, still worked 70 hours, signed settlement papers and managed to keep a fairly level head all in the same week? If I can’t have some rough days and a hard time smiling after that week, then damn, I’m sorry. Im exhausted. I am completely drained emotionally, physically and mentally. If I knew I would not lose everything I’d worked for I’d probably say I’m entitled to have my breakdown now. I won’t let myself have that breakdown. However, my depressed and anxious mood shouldn’t be just understandable but acceptable after all of that.

I’m not going to curl up in a ball and rock back and forth. I am going to have my feelings. I can’t always mask them and I won’t shove them inside so I change into someone else’s version of me. I’m aware I am a fighter, but I won’t pretend everything is ok and that I am just up against an obstacle. I may not be entitled to a breakdown, but damn it, I AM entitled to be upset, stressed out, and straight up mad that this all is occurring. I’m not going to let it be all consuming, but I will let the emotions out in the safety of my home or my car or in a public bathroom if necessary. I won’t apologize for that.

The depression will lift and I will figure out which road to take. Whether I take the right or the left, face more challenges or find myself lost in the big unknowns I ALWAYS find a way to head back in the right direction. I’m not walking on crutches, I’m not making excuses for my darkness. Not today. I have a reason to have my feelings right now and if anyone wants to tell me to suck it up and keep going because it’s bothering them to see me ‘give up’. Then my response will now be that my life is not a spectator sport. I’m not currently accepting any applications for life coaches. Opinions aren’t needed and the facts are I’m allowed to feel like this or to have any other feelings. You have no clue the amount of strength it takes to deal with what I do inside my head let alone my threefold and all of the trauma, lack of sleep, anxiety, work and constant pressure. When you get your hell week participation award I will then be more open to listen to how you would feel, do, behave and react to my current situation. If you can’t support that then I suggest you shut up with your buck it up bullshit. Today is not the day, and my dear, I am definitely not the one you need to preach the ‘live, laugh, love’ or ‘fake it til you make it’ bullshit to. You can peddle that toxic positivity to people crying over their kid not making honor roll and getting caught smoking pot. Those are high class problems. Mine are life altering issues that have longer lasting effects than those things. I’m trying to stay positive. I’ve still got this. ☮️❤️😊~M

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Learning to Let Go

Yes, I know, hard to believe. Nonetheless, here I am at a loss for words. I’ve been quiet this week. I’ve been trying to figure out how to let go. I’ve been trying to find a way to teach my threefold to let go. Yet, I’m finding the actual process of letting go is hard, however it’s critical to find healing and to move forward. I’m writing this still unsure how to proceed. It’s imperative that we find a way to let go of the past so we can move forward into the future.

It’s been a long and emotionally exhausting week, yet again. I was excited for things to get better as I was discharging #3 from the hospital and signed my final marital dissolution agreement after two long years. I just knew that was going to take so much of the weight of worry off of my life and off of my threefold. I was right, it did. I however wasn’t expecting that weight to be thrown back on me mere hours later. I was speechless.

I was sitting in the therapist’s office for my threefold and waiting for the discussion about #2’s relapse. I could see the anxiety in my daughter’s face as the therapist and I looked at her wondering why we had been called to meet. I was sick. My stomach was in my throat as my body tensed. #2 had been having increased intense thoughts of suicide, with a plan, and the means to complete the plan. I couldn’t breathe. It was only a couple of hours before that I had picked up #3 after her 2 week hospitalization. #2 hadn’t said anything to me. Why didn’t she tell me? Sooner?! I was unsure of what to do. I knew that her being suicidal and with a recent self harm relapse, I was most likely going to have to seek a higher level of care for her. That’s not anything like how I thought this day would go. I was stunned.

I’m not sure why we didn’t follow the safety plan. I did my part, I thought I was doing everything right. I locked up the meds, I gave her support, we talked and checked in often, I was doing skin checks, she was never without supervision for longer than a few hours, but never left alone. I couldn’t figure it out. We were doing good. She was doing so good. Why. Why?! I got angry and I was scared. I was scared for her, for my threefold and also for myself. Why wouldn’t she have talked to me.

My anger met fear, and my hurt saw her pain. I couldn’t understand in that moment, but I understand much more than I care to admit now. It’s not weakness, it’s not attention, or a pity party for ourselves. It’s the past scaring us out of our future. Over the next few days, my own thoughts would betray me. I too am vulnerable to my own darkness. I wanted to quit. I wanted to stop fighting my own battle. I hate to say that I thought about it, I thought about it too much. What if it was all my fault. I needed to blame someone and that person needed to be me, because I couldn’t blame her. She is only a child with an illness and more pain than is fair. She was my responsibility therefore I was to blame.

It’s hard enough managing mental illness in yourself as an adult. I can’t fathom what it’s like to have the trauma, stress, and all of your darkness swirling at the same time and during such a pivotal time in their lives. I truly wish I could take their pain and destroy it or give it back to myself. They don’t deserve to have life be this hard, this young.

I’ve found we all are still allowing our past lives to hold so much power over us. We’ve suffered from that pain. When will we let it go and move into a future that isn’t controlled by our past experiences? I know that’s the only way we find our way forward. It’s so much easier said than done. I’ve been trying to let go of the past, but I know it’s so much more difficult when the other people in your life are working on healing too. We can trigger and influence each other. We validate the past, but when can it stop taking our future?

This is my journey, this is our journey. I’m not perfect and some days I’m barely holding on. Some weeks I question everything. I am just as damaged as my threefold or anyone else in the world. We’ve all been damaged, but some of us can’t find our way to fix it. I want to fix it. I want to fix it for my threefold. Now I must figure out how. This process may take time, but it’s time to move on.

I’ll figure it out. We’ll find a way. We always do. For now, I wait for the #2’s discharge. I distract myself from my guilt and fear. I keep running away from my own darkness. I keep fighting. For all of us. Even when they stop, I won’t. As scared as I am that my threefold and I will let the past steal our future, I know we have the strength to overcome the fear and move forward. I will be hopeful and lead us to a future that frees us from that past. We can do this. I’m positive. We’ve got this! ☮️❤️😊~M

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Movement

It’s been a hell of a week. I don’t want to say ‘Hell Week 2022’ because that’s like a challenge to the universe and it’s only February! I’ve been through the ringer this week, between hiding the hospitalization of #3, fighting through those feelings and dealing with the domino effect this trauma talk triggers in all of my threefold and I, my vehicle breaking down, working to distract myself, and my court chaos with the ex, I felt like I wasn’t going to make it through this week.

I felt on the verge of a mental breakdown last week when I admitted my daughter, #3, the youngest of my threefold. I am hiding that from my workplace not because I don’t feel like they would be supportive or understanding, but because I am up for this promotion and I don’t want to get the label of ‘single mom who has too much on her plate to be as committed as this position requires.’ I know I would get that label for sure. I’m more qualified and capable than even the last manager was, I know that I can excel and don’t need more stigma standing in my way. I am ready to move up, and I know my worth. Time to add the tax to that and take my place. I earned it.

I love my day job. Don’t confuse that with the fact that I would not leave in a heartbeat if I could support my family on writing and content creation, but right now that’s not feasible. The starving artist isn’t a good path when the ones starving would be my threefold. They’re growing girls and they have a grocery bill that’s higher than a car payment each week! I’ve used work as a distraction. I’m good at my job and it’s busy so I can easily get lost in it. I love that I leave it all at the door at work and escape to a place where I shine just being me. That’s true for writing and for my day job.

I got my truck out of the shop {1k later and a new fuel pump later} I realized a few years ago not having my own ride would have not bothered me at all. Now I’m so much more independent and I love it. I drive everywhere. Ruby and I are going to stick it out longer. She is bipolar too so it’s important she take her meds and I need to be more mindful of her needs so she doesn’t have a breakdown again soon.

I’ve been really hard on myself this past week in more ways than one. My self talk has been negative. I haven’t been meditating or manifesting much. My goal getter book has been empty when usually I would’ve had my goals laid out for the week. My sleep has been sporadic. My mood has shifted more often. My self care went to nonexistent. I’ve been isolating and not really in the mood to do much of anything. I tried to keep it together. It’s been really freaking rough though. This depressive episode is not near as intense as the last one but when you’ve been in a good place for a while the down feels deeper. You just want to snap out of it. Unfortunately bipolar doesn’t work like that. Instead it means med adjustments and pushing yourself to keep going. I can’t give up or give into the darkness of it. My threefold needs me to be their strength and their rock. Not a mom in bed or hiding away so they don’t see it. They know what’s going on, because unfortunately it’s like a domino effect. They can mirror my mood as I mirror theirs and those of others. I need to move myself out of this darkness.

This domino effect as I call it has resulted in depression symptoms and anxiety for everyone else. It’s also not good because no one wants to be the cause of any additional chaos. Especially when it’s obvious I’m in stressed out anxiety mode right now. This makes my threefold feel like they can’t ask for support or talk about their own feelings because they don’t want to worry or upset me more. One thing I had hoped we learned was that shoving it down and hoping the feelings subside on their own rarely works. Especially when the feelings and thoughts are intense. This led to issues across the board this week. we’ve got to move away from triggering these episodes in one another. It’s gonna start with my personal movement.

#1 of my threefold {the oldest} expressed she felt like I was too busy with everything going on with #2 and #3 that I wasn’t giving her the proper attention or focus that I should. She expressed her feelings and I was grateful she did. It is difficult to split focus when you have three and give them each what they need. Especially when they each have varying needs and those needs can change in a matter of minutes it seems like. I want to give her that security, but I also know that she will be making her own big moves soon. With her 18th birthday fast approaching I know that her independence is also going to be tested and she needs to show she can make some moves solo.

#2 of my threefold relapsed. I cried until I could no longer feel it. I’ve been so watchful and mindful ever since the beginning of her journey. She had eight months free of self harm. She was in an amazing place in her recovery for so long. She worked so hard for those eight months. Then within moments it was gone and that made both her and I feel like we were f’ing it all up. She was triggered by the increased trauma talk, the self harm discussions, mentions of suicide, and being on this side of the hospitalization equation. The guilt she felt for being hospitalized for 17 weeks last year was overwhelming. She saw me at my low, and when you’re inpatient you don’t see what is happening to your family. You don’t see the stress, the tears, the anxiety and the hurt. She saw me and realized how awful it must’ve been for me. Instead of that fueling her motivation, she allowed that guilt and remorse to eat away at her. That same guilt that my behaviors and my inability to keep it all together for my threefold is heavy on me right now. I’m trying. Everyday. This trauma drama bipolar momma bear life is hard on me too! I’m not cured of mental illness, therefore I can’t expect them to be either. we will move past this hiccup. It doesn’t negate her work over the past eight months. Im still proud of her and this time I was able to better handle my reaction and response.

I’m crossing my fingers and my toes, {and my legs because I’m a damn lady,} that Tuesday #3 of my three will be discharged. I miss her with everything in me. It’s too quiet. I’m used to her loud ass tv, the TikTok dances, jump roping, karate practice and the echoes of her laughter {or arguing} from the kitchen. I miss her fighting me to go to bed and to wake up. I miss her silly stories about school and seeing her light up as she tells me about her positives for the day. I am ready to see her face and hug her. 10 days inpatient for a 10 year old. She has never been away from me this long. Having five minutes each night to recap the day is not near enough for a mother with her child. I want her home so I can have every minute I want. Im ready for her and I to move into a direction where she knows that she is loved, supported and that she is an important part of the lives around her.

Court is finally over. I hope. A settlement is on the horizon. I refused to backdown and allow him to make decisions for my threefold. That’s a decision I will stand behind. Supposedly he has accepted that and I have agreed that settlement is going to be a much better route if possible. Now I wait for the final signatures and the freedom that those papers will give me. A chapter my threefold and I have been unable to move on from for two years. It’s well overdue. This is our chance to move on from the past and move into the future…stronger…together…in hope.

Thank you for reading my current state of the union address for my threefold and I. I’ve received many messages requesting an update with shows of support and love. Thank you so much! You will never know how much those little messages make my day.

I’m glad to be starting off a new week. I’m hoping this one has more ups than downs and more happy than sad. I’m hoping we have less trauma drama and more trauma talk. I’m hopeful, which is something I couldn’t say this time last week. I’m hoping that some relief from the stress and the strain will mean that I am able to lift some of this heaviness off me and focus on the future for my threefold and I. Move on, move up, and move into the next chapter of our lives. Stay positive! We’ve got this! ☮️❤️😊~M

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Emotional Overwhelm

I’m trying to mentally prepare myself for the day. Every morning I sit and reflect on the day ahead. I try to remind myself of the good things that I have to look forward to and brace myself for the obstacles I will encounter. I am not doing a great job at seeing the good this morning. My anxiety is through the roof. I’m on edge and have been since the moment I opened my eyes.

I tossed and turned all night. I keep attempting to predict the potential outcomes of my next decision. I am mulling over and over analyzing every single detail. Going to court with a narcissist isn’t an easy decision to make. Deciding to fight against a narcissist in any scenario will lead to disruption in your life. Their manipulation and ability to sway people to their side is on another level. I’m not sure I can win this battle, but I feel like I definitely need to stand up and try.

My hope is that my narcissistic ex husband will see I’m not backing down. I’m praying that he will be too proud to allow his facade to be shattered in court and he will give in. Either way I’m not going to roll over, not this time. I may be anxious and scared to speak out in court against the man who has abused my threefold and I for years, but I know that I am stronger than I was two years ago when this all began. He can’t intimidate me into silence anymore. My truth and the truth of my threefold deserves a voice and my voice is the only one that can speak it.

If he settles with me now then I will breathe a sigh of relief, but if he doesn’t I will do whatever I have to do to protect my threefold. He can play games, tell lies, twist the truth, and try to manipulate the situation, but I feel I can show that I have been the best mom to my threefold while he has been only looking out for himself through this. I won’t lie to protect my image, as I know I’m not perfect, but the truth will destroy his image completely. Nothing is more threatening to the narcissist than exposure.

Send all the good vibes and positive energy my way. Pray for me or send the juju of positivity and calm to me. I’m scared out of my mind for this fight, but still I will keep fighting. I fight for my future. More importantly I am fighting for the future of my threefold. Here’s to hoping the fight is in my favor. In the meantime I’m trying to stay positive. I’ve got this! ☮️❤️😊~M