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.