Here’s the thing – life doesn’t give you the opportunity to really start over very often. I’ve been married and divorced and remarried and lived a ton of different places. I’ve had all kinds of jobs. I’ve been mentally ill, fake-cured, mentally ill again (and will be for the rest of my life). I’ve lived near my kids and far away from my kids. I’ve been in mental hospitals and released. I’ve been to individual therapy and family therapy and couple’s therapy. I’ve been sexually abused and in loving relationships. I’ve been happy, sad, depressed, excited and everything in between.

I’m sure many of you have been through some of those things, as well. And you probably know what I mean when I say that each time there was a positive change, I looked at it as a new beginning. A chance to get things right, do better. Be better.

These past few years have been a roller coaster for me and those close to me. I’m sometimes a bit (read: a lot) unstable when it comes to everyday life. It’s never been my strong suit. Being mentally ill has its challenges and while I’m really good at some things, maneuvering through life always capable of facing the day is not one of them. Working a straight 9-5 job is sometimes impossible while telecommuting and working my own hours works great. I have to create a life that works for me. I craft what I need for myself on the terms that make sense in all my weirdness.

If you’ve read my blog for very long, you know that the highs and lows of being with or not with my children is a regular topic around here. As a mother, I’d like to think that I’m the best thing for them. That they need me to be nearby and to take care of them. I’ve learned the past few years that they really don’t need me to take care of them in the way I thought. They get that from who they call their ‘Parents’, my ex and his wife. They don’t think of me like That Kind of Mom. I’m a friend and someone they want to hang out with sometimes. And when my mental illness makes an appearance in any variety of ways, it makes them feel like they did when they were little kids – scared, sad and worried for my well-being instead of experiencing their lives being taken care of by an adult and worried about regular things like school and friends. Their grades slip, they get depressed, they don’t sleep well, they find reasons not to visit my home and then feel guilty. As the person that wishes they were the mom that was able to take care of them, I feel horrible. I live with the guilt and shame every day.

Recent circumstances have brought these things to light with more force than ever before and I guess I’m finally listening. Yes, I want to be near them and just watch, if that is all I can do. But at some point, I really have toput their needs ahead of mine and give them their space. And now is that time.

As if that wasn’t enough, some of you know that Joe and I have been having some issues. Much of it too private to mention here, but let’s just say that being mentally ill is no picnic for your spouse. We considered a divorce, but that sounded too final and decided to try and do what we needed to do as Separated, which so far has worked really well. Part of the reason we are succeeding, I think, is because we do actually love and like each other. With that as a foundation, we’re pretty sure we can work the rest out.

As confusing as this is to others, it makes a lot of sense to us. We’ve come up with some solutions to help change our lives in a very real and substantial way. More on that very soon.

Here’s to Starting Over.

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10 Comments

  1. you are good at making me cry. you are good at putting into words your feelings and your life experiences that i can identify with on many levels. thank you for continuing to share yourself like this so that people like me know they are walking in good company.

    this that you wrote, “A chance to get things right, do better. Be better.” is something that i strive for, and some days it seems as if i should just say fuck it. and then i see my kids or someone and decide that if not for me, i must continue for them.

    you put so much good into the world and i’m often grateful i found your site and your book.

    xoxoXOXO

  2. I’ve always really liked reading your blog, and appreciated your openness with your mental illness. I wish the best for you.

  3. Whatever works for you is whatever works for you – and sometimes what is isn’t the conventional path (which got many of us into the pickles we’ve been in over the years in the first place.)

    I am cheering you on! I hope this is the best kind of change for you.

  4. Here’s to it babe. I am rooting for you. I think it makes perfect sense to find the space to balance things.I think it is good to know what you need. I wish you so much love.

  5. You write about everything in a matter of fact way. But it sounds very hard. I admire you, though.

    I’m not together really. And I envy you your children! They are lovely.

    Good luck starting over. I always think I’m starting over. It keeps me going…

  6. I love the two of you and think you are both such splendid people. Your creativity and vision and willingness to act is so amazing to me, and Joe has the kindest eyes of pretty much any man I have ever met. I am blessed by the time I get to spend with you, no matter how fleeting and infrequent it is.

    Love to you as you travel your path.

  7. God made you and loves you exactly as you are. I love you, too. You are a gem, brave and strong to keep moving forward…That’s what life is, you know. We just keep trying to attain our place in life. It’s the same for everyone, but some were just born to handle more…like you. I am blessed to be your friend.

  8. Thanks Goinspire for the positive words. Of course, I have some, I’ll share my mantra: We are all the physical embodiment of unconditional love. And the love that you are selflessly showing your kids is epic. Do you know who Ruth Riechl (http://www.ruthreichl.com/, sorry, I’m not sophisticated enough to link in the comment) is? Her new book, Not Becoming My Mother (http://oneminutebookreviews.wordpress.com/2009/04/15/ruth-reichl%E2%80%99s-memoir-%E2%80%98not-becoming-my-mother%E2%80%99-%E2%80%93-an-apple-falls-far-from-the-tree/) talks about the issues you disclose that your kids have, from the kids perspective. Here’s an TG’s interview: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=113758495.

    Anyway, segway. I love you, and regardless of the state of your mental health, physical health, your relationships and your state of consciousness, you are the physical embodiment of unconditional love all of the time. PWN it.

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