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Meet the Critic

At my darkest and loneliest times, she is there. In the silence of the night, she is there. When I’m at my weakest, she is there. She is with me when I walk into an uncomfortable situation. After a heartbreak and in my grief, she never leaves me. When I’m on cloud nine, and hopeful she shows up. When I’m anxious and unsure, she is talking to me. When I’m hurt and angry, she supports my feelings. She validates my actions. She gives me the option to run away. She remembers everything I’ve ever said. She knows my past. She knows my weaknesses. She takes pictures, so I remember what we’ve done together and all of our experiences. She is the one who hasn’t ever abandoned me, and the one never stops showing up.

I’m sure you’re wondering who this is. Maybe a mother, a daughter, a sister, a lover, or a friend. She is none of these and all of these. She isn’t anything and she is everything. She is the voice inside my head that I fight to silence every day.

You may think that you know her, but let me explain. She isn’t there supporting me or empowering me to keep going. She wants me to stay this way so she can thrive while I struggle to merely survive.

Who Are You?

You won’t meet her, but im sure you know someone just like her. You can’t see her, but her voice is always there. You probably aren’t a fan if by chance you know her as intimately as I do. Consider this your proper introduction. However, I don’t know if you will understand.

She steals the spotlight, demands to be heard, and aims to hurt anyone who dares to silence her. She is the one who tells me that I’m never going to be enough. She shows me the worst parts of the people around me. She drives them away, then tells me “see they don’t love you. Otherwise, they would stay.” She manipulates my feelings and twists my words. She tells me the worst-case scenarios and keeps me fearful of my every move.

Where Did She Come From?

Sometimes, she sounds like my mother, telling me I will never be pretty enough, thin enough, smart enough, good enough, or just enough. Other times, she sounds like my abusers who made me believe I was always to blame. In my head, she can make anyone sound like a hurt from my past. She has pictures and videos she can play to remind me of every hurt I’ve ever endured. She holds the buttons to my triggers. She is persistent and doesn’t care about the consequences.

I know she is made up of the broken pieces of my past. She is the child who felt unwanted. She is the teenager dying to fit in. She is the young mother looking for a way out. She is the abuse survivor. She is a traumatized woman. She is bleeding in the shower. High in the bathroom. A thief. A covert narcissist. An abandoned young adult. A lonely wife. The mother who was too scared to fight back and save her children. She is the addict. She is the worst part of me. That’s who she is. She is the version of myself I’m scared to become and equally terrified she is the real version I keep hiding from the world.

Change Her, Break Her, Abolish Her

I have tried to allow her visitation and then quickly see her out. However, she is relentless. At times, she is the only one who validates the unfairness of this life. She allows me to be not okay. It’s oddly comforting to be able to wallow and grieve a life I didn’t live. However, she aggravates those wounds I am trying so hard to heal. She breaks them back open and makes them bleed.

The past suddenly becomes present, and she revels in the power to overtake me. She feeds on my pain. It is as if my own mind is going to destroy me slowly. She holds me hostage. I struggle to break free. No matter how hard I try, I haven’t found a way to rid myself of her.

Fighting to be Free

You may think I’m just negative or that I’m weak. I’m the exact opposite. I am strong because I fight this voice that prays on my downfall each day. I’m successful in defeating her, but she knows when to strike. She pulls me to the darkness and holds me captive to her cruel onslaught of verbal blows.

I’m unsure if others fight off this toxic voice made up of their past. However, I know it’s lonely when it’s her and I. Maybe another person wont feel alone with no one who understands that the voice inside your head is sometimes hardest to silence. Even now, years into healing I still struggle to find my healthy escape from her torture.

Now you’ve had an introduction. If sometimes you see me cloaked in fear, paranoia, resentment, anger, or anxiety, please know I did not choose this for myself. I don’t need your attention, but meet me with compassion instead of judgment. I’m broken, and this is what repeated trauma has left behind for me.

It’s not easy. Sometimes, it’s the hardest battle I fight in a day. It is a battle of dismissing my past negative and limiting beliefs. I try now to remind myself of the 3 years of work I’ve put into my healing. However, I fight every day for the future I want, not to stay prisoner to the past, I escaped. I hope you, too, can find healing, and one day, I hope there is comfort in silence instead of her voice telling me how I will never fully overcome the trauma of my past. You and me, we’ve got this! ☮️ ❤️😊~M

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Stop the Insanity

I’m screaming. Why am I screaming? I know it’s not going to help. However, nothing I’ve done to this point has helped either. Here we are again. I’m sitting reading and re-reading the suicide note from my 14 year old daughter. Asking myself again, how we got here, what did I miss, and why she doesn’t want to be in this world anymore. I just want to stop the insanity.

Missing the Signs

I missed the Signs? AGAIN. She didn’t confide in me. AGAIN. I’m calling the crisis hot line.https://www.samhsa.gov › find-help
988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline | SAMHSA I’m calling the psychiatrist. I’m calling out at work. She is bleeding. Inside and out. She is hoarding medication. Planning her suicide. AGAIN. She is deciphering if jumping off a cliff or overdosing would be a quicker way to end her existence. I’m lost. I’m confused. I’m angry.

Blame Game

I’m so incredibly angry. I’m not sure where to place my anger. Who can I blame? Why is this happening to her? To us? I choose to place blame on everyone, especially myself. I blame her, too, which isn’t fair. I bought the act. I handed her the weapon. I chose, yet again, to believe the pretty picture she had painted to cover her pain. I wanted so much to believe it. However, I should’ve known. Why didn’t I know? We’ve been through this before.

I Should’ve Known

I should’ve learned how to catch on quicker to the cover up. The first hospitalization in 2020 taught me to take it more seriously. The hospitalization in 2021, that lasted 18 weeks, should’ve been enough for me to understand the gravity of it all. After the hospitalizations earlier this year, I should’ve known that she would hide the hurt until it was nearly too late. Now, here I sit asking myself, what are we going to do this time?

What Now?

Another hospitalization, more medication changes, intensive therapy, inpatient, residential, intensive outpatient, or something else? There is no cure, that’s what she told me just last week. I know. I wish there was. In conclusion, I’m lost, but I’m thankful that I haven’t lost her to this battle.

Keep Fighting

Regardless, what the statistics say, I won’t stop fighting. No amount of money or time is going to stop me from finding her the treatment she needs. I’ll keep fighting her demons, and my own, for as long as I live. I’m not giving up. I’m never going to surrender even while I scream how unfair this is for us. My pain is no match to the pain she is living with. Pray for us all. Pray for #2. Pray for my threefold. Pray for this mom who is trying to mom mental illness. Together, we’ve got this. ☮️❤️😊~M

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Forced Silence & Seeking Support

This will read like a rant from the pity party parade. It’s written with frustration for those like me who suffer from and/or care for those suffering from mental illnesses. I’m in tears right now as I write this. I’m spiraling into the anxiety of the situation I am currently in. The truth is most people will never understand. This won’t be a plea for support and understanding. This will be another issue that is swept under the rug by the society who forces us to stay silent. It won’t be shared across the world or spark the social change that needs to happen or stomp out the stigma surrounding seeking help for mental illness. I will be labeled, criticized, judged, and scrutinized for how I choose to raise my threefold and for how I mom mental illness while managing my own from those that have no clue how real the struggles are. Yet still, I feel like I am obligated to speak up. If not for myself, then for my threefold, because at the end of the day I’m the one left advocating and fighting for them. Even when no one else will.

I’m in tears, not because I feel sorry for myself and feel the need to place blame. I’m crying because I know how hard this road is. It’s not a road I would wish on anyone. Yet, it’s my reality and the reality of my threefold. I have just admitted my youngest daughter to an inpatient acute psychiatric facility. We walk down this road of life with mental illness weighing us down. I am too familiar with the inpatient stays, the safety plans, the medication management, the highs and the lows of bipolar. This isn’t my first rodeo with admitting a child or myself to a psychiatric facility. We’ve been here before. We’ve battled the suicidal ideation and self harm demons before. It wasn’t that long ago. It’s not a fun ride on the bipolar express. I’m not going to sugarcoat the truth and paint pretty, positivity filled pictures with sunshine and rainbows about overcoming the obstacles. The obstacles we face are ominous, over whelming and either over criticized or completely overlooked by the society that surrounds us. Ignoring and judging is not helping anyone, it is silencing our voices, while the screams inside our head are so deafening. The stigma is real. It’s a social injustice. I don’t say that lightly.

I am a single mom. I have three girls that I lovingly and sarcastically refer to as my threefold. They are me, and then some. They were cursed by my genetics and an illness that was passed down to us from the generations before us. It is what it is. The cards have been dealt and we are forced to play this hand or fold. Folding for my family is not an option. I will fight for us to survive. Even still I would be lying if I didn’t state that my own inner demons are begging to run rampant and it’s taking everything I have to hold it together.

I could sit and pretend that I have it all under control. I could act like I’m the picture of mental health leading my threefold on a ‘live laugh love’ journey through their mental illness struggles. I’m barely holding on right now. My grip is slowly slipping and I’m on the tipping point of an episode. I’m not sure if I’m cut out for this. I feel like I’m failing. I feel like I have very little support to make it through this day, week, month year. I’m silenced, because no one needs my sob story about how hard my struggles are. People have their own problems. I’m just a drop in the bucket of like. No one is going to save us, that’s all on me.

Seeking support seems like a great concept in theory. no one is jumping up and down to be friends with someone who has children in tow 24/7. I can’t go out, mom nights are nonexistent, and my threefold is more important than those things. Yet it’s lonely. When there is no family support nearby, it’s all left to you. You are responsible for every therapy appointment, psychiatric consult, evaluation, treatment team meeting, and every single hospitalization. You don’t get the break from school IEP meetings, teacher conferences, and the carline. Days off surround seeing how many appointments you can squeeze into a single day.

It’s not easy Mommin’ mental illness when everything costs money, especially the treatments required and the medications needed. Therefore I work, hard. Every phone call from schools or hospitals and every appointment means I lose money. When a child goes inpatient it only increases your mental stress because now you’re overloaded and overthinking every path forward. There is no rest. Even when you try it’s futile. You are left tossing and turning with anxiety as you worry about how you are going to do everything. Alone.

My relationships suffer, because not only am I completely wrapped up in my own children’s life, but now I am not a nice nor fun person. I’m angry and I’m emotionally drained. I’m overwhelmed with anxiety and I want to be alone. Until I don’t. Then I am needy. To top it off I don’t want to share my spiral with my family. I don’t want them to see me fall apart. I don’t want the ‘everything will be ok’. I want it to be ok now.

We hide these struggles from outsiders because we are already being ripped apart as if I am being pulled in a million different directions at all times, but right now the last thing I need is society’s stigma ripping me apart too. People don’t see the bravery and strength it takes to seek help. The balancing act required to keep it all from crashing down on you. They instead want to pick apart your past, your flaws, your parenting and your children until they can find a reason to blame for the mess you are in. I know my guide to Mommin’ mental illness why managing my own was just right here…oh wait I didn’t get my copy. Can I borrow yours, judge Judy? That’s what I thought. We don’t need more judgment.

That’s not even close to support that’s shoving the stigma in our face. So we swallow that stigma and suck it up. After all, we can beat ourselves up without having others do it for us. We are black belts when it comes to beating up on ourselves and we can kick ourselves when we are down. No extra help is needed in that department. If you think I don’t cry alone as I try to figure out how I messed up this bad. Then you are mistaken, I’ve been blaming myself relentlessly. Even when I can rationalize the why and the purpose for the pain my guilt still follows me. Pretend I’m the bad guy, it’s ok I play that part of the villain of this story in my own mind over and over. It’s not going to be the first time I’ve been validated by society that my self deprecating thoughts are true.

So why should we even speak up? Why seek support? Why shouldn’t we just fight our invisible enemies solo? This fight, the one that is life or death, needs support to be victorious. this isn’t a singular battle we are fighting. This is a war. Sometimes we are our own worst enemy and we need the support of others to fight for us when we begin fighting against ourselves. It’s not fair. How childish of me to say. It’s not something everyone can handle. It’s not easy to understand. It is a real fight everyday to not give in.

If the options are to lose everything to save one of my threefold or lose one to hold everything together then I know what I’ll choose. I’ll lose everything before I let this invisible enemy win. Even if it means I go down with the darkness myself. I’m not afraid to fight. I’m afraid to fight this in silence alone and fail. I’m not sure what enemies are lurking in the shadows that will darken my doorstep. I refuse to let those enemies take my threefold captive without seeking support and rounding my troops. Until I can find our path forward again, I’ll be here fighting. Fighting for all of us. I will continue to speak up and stomp the stigma surrounding mental illnesses. Failure is not an option.

☮️❤️😊~M