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Yesterday I Grew...today, I Shrunk

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Today was a bit of a rough day for me.

A pharmacist at my godfather's drugstore asked me to participate in this study thing that a student pharmacist needed to complete. She just needed to go through my medications and make sure that they were working for me. Somehow or another we got on the topic of fibromyalgia. Her mom has it, too. Note the has--not had; meaning she's still alive.

I talked a bit about it with her and a bit of my struggles. It just all came rushing back. All the feelings. The helplessness. The many, many visits to the ER. My mother was always running from one doctor to another trying to fix her pain. Doctors kept saying that there was nothing they could do for her. She just pushed harder. I can't tell you how many doctors she seen over the last ten years of her life. They would all often prescribe something, yes, often just to get her out of the office. She'd fill the script, take one or two, decide they didn't work, and go back to another doctor. She was relentless. They would give her advice, such as to do some light exercise. But she "couldn't do it". Not that she tried, mind you. And we'd hear about it. She'd say about how big her chest was, how she needed to have them reduced. (They were extremely large and probably did cause pain in her back.) In order for that to happen, she had to lose weight. So we'd not only hear about how her back hurt from her large chest, but we'd hear about how she couldn't lose the weight to have the surgery. She did have problems with a packed bowel years ago and eventually got hooked on laxatives. Anyone who uses them a lot knows that there is a LOT of gas and bloating in the stomach. And yep, we'd hear about it. And we'd hear how she couldn't get off of them and how she needed them all of the time.

It might not have been so bad except she always had to include others in the whole thing. She could never go to the doctors alone, she had to have someone take her. I can't tell you how many hours my family had spent in the waiting room of the hospital back home. And no matter how many times she was told the same thing, she'd try it again. She was absolutely convinced that there was something that someone could do for her to take the pain away. She didn't want to help herself, she wanted EVERYONE to help her.

I eventually got messed up with OTC pills. Began with Gravol. Read somewhere on the internet that you could take just a few and get a high. I had some handy and thought...why not? But I hadn't had anyone to really care about me in years. My mom started getting sick when I was only 16. I didn't have any friends and the rest of the family seemed to be worried about my mother. My godfather paid some attention to me, but he could only do so much at the time. Now since I have bipolar, one of the problems with it is you can't sleep, which is how I got messed up with Gravol in the first place. But one night I couldn't sleep. It was 3 am and I just wanted to get some sleep. So I went to my mother's medicine cabinet and found her Ativan and took 4 2mg. Well, I was asleep in seconds. And pretty much stayed asleep for about three days.

I was about...24? 25? at this time, btw. No, earlier than 25. Anyway, I kept taking them when I felt I needed them. My mother would always try to hide them and whatnot, but I was always two steps ahead of her. I was addicted--both mentally and physically. And they are very addictive. During the last year of her life, she'd beg me not to steal them. They can cause some nasty side effects, make you feel like you are dying. And she did need them. But they were my lifeline, too. I was working full time, dealing with the crap of my mother, and had friends who wanted me to hang out with them and be normal--but I couldn't. I also couldn't tell them what was going on. How do you explain to people who have "normal" lives that you're afraid to go home in the night because you just might find a murder-suicide??? It was so hard dealing with her. I worked dayshift, starting at like nine am. She'd wake me up on my days off at seven am asking me to take her to the ER. She'd lay on the couch all day and cry. She wouldn't bathe, for weeks she wouldn't even change her clothes.

I remember there was one day in May, this was just before she died, (btw, most of the above took place in the months before she died), that I called home to see how her doctor's appointment went. The phone was answered by my grandmother. I didn't have a clue what my grandmother was doing there. She then eventually told me that my mother had collapsed because of the heat and needed an ambulance. I left work and went to the ER. Of course, she was discharged that night. And, I later found out it was all a ruse to get an ambulance. For the rest of the summer, that seemed to be the only thing I heard was that she wanted an ambulance to come and get her. Almost every single day. There was one morning that she was being completely unreasonable and my brother hit her with her sandal. He then sat down, she kept it up, so I hit her a few times with it. I just wanted her to stop. I just wanted a mom that was...more capable of taking care of herself. She was just completely relentless. There was another incident about two-three weeks before she died that I wished she was dead and I said it to her face, too, in a fit of anger. She said that she wished it, too. Like they say...watch what you wish for.

I didn't want that, of course. I wanted a MOM. Like the other girls had. I never had that. For as long as I can remember, it was me who took care of me. I remember when I was in a church play when I was 14 my parents couldn't come to the play because there was a hockey game that night. The other kids had parents there. I always wanted a mom that I could go shopping with--alone. But my father always had to be there, too. She needed him there. I am not fully sure my parents ever knew me. I couldn't tell you the last time I'd gotten a card from them, not even for my graduation. And I had problems in school and then with the bipolar...I had a very, very lonely existence until I moved here. Here, people care. People remember and know that I love Winnie the Pooh. They buy (my godfather and his wife) me stuff that I enjoy. They took me to Disneyworld. But it isn't the stuff they buy me. It's the fact that they call me and ask how I'm doing when I'm sick.

I guess in reading through all of this, I'm not to blame for her death, though I still am not convinced she didn't die from Ativan withdrawal. I'm not excusing that behaviour, but I was sick and staying in the same house as them and not taking them wasn't possible. But my brothers and uncle, who knew what was going on, never stepped in to help. I do know that my mother had numerous medical problems, was on many different medications, so it could have been anything. I also know that my mother wouldn't have survived without me there. She just couldn't face reality. She couldn't face that she would have pain for the rest of her life, she couldn't face that no one could make it better, she couldn't face that she was ripping us apart, and she couldn't face that her daughter was an addict who needed to be away from her. It's sad to say, but my mother wouldn't have even survived my grandmother's death.

I just feel so rotten today. I haven't heard from a friend back home in forever. I finally thought to email a co-worker, who was able to tell me he was still alive. I replied to that email, but haven't gotten a reply yet. I'm not sure what is up with that. My apartment is a disaster, I'm still in pain. I ended up buying some OTC pills today, after promising my brother that I was ok. I guess that probably had a lot to do with the conversation earlier about my mom. I realize that now and have taken a healthy approach and typed about it. My godfather was going to come to my place on Saturday after he was done work, but I had to tell him that I was tired and sick. (My hip was bothering me and I couldn't really sit.) But I feel like I let him down. We hadn't had plans, he had just told me that morning. And I wasn't feeling good and was tired. I noticed today that some of my Pooh Bears have fallen to the floor. I don't even have the energy to fix them. I normally baby those. lol I also haven't gotten my conquest, the cab driver, in forever now. I fear that I told him too much about me and scared him off or he figured out (or had someone tell him) that I had a thing for him and that scared him off. That saddens me. I had put a lot into that friendship, well, not a lot, but more than I normally would. My worst fear is that I'll be alone forever. I want to have my own family and get married someday, but I'm convinced that there is no way anyone could possibly love me enough to stay with me for long. I swear, I can hear my biological clock ticking. Yeah, I'm 30, still young. Blah.

Ok, I'm hitting the post button. I've prattled on. If anyone had made it this far, kudos to you. I know she's a long one.


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Wow. I feel strangely peaceful today. I slept for the first time in weeks last night. I mean that I had nice, pleasant dreams. I believe my conquest was in one of them. :wub: I did not dream about my family or my past.

It had been really horrible weather-wise lately. I think it must have rained each day at least once for the last two weeks. Last night we had a good storm. It was thunder and lightning for about six and a half hours. Anyone who knows me knows that I connect the weather to my parents. Well, today? I can see the sun peeking out from the beautiful white; not gray, clouds.

It's like my personal storm is over. For now, anyway. I've purged myself. I've let all the demons show their evil side. I've turned myself inside out and now I can turn myself outside in. I believe that I will be able to find the energy to take care of the stuff that I need to do. At least put my Poohs back where they belong. :P

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I find my life is full of growth. It is what I seek. However I don't think I can 'un-grow' or "shrink" in a way because I can't un-know what I know.

I can forget.. because I'm human, but I always come back to recalling what I know and sometimes I then know it in a new and deeper way.

I have 'personal storms' too and I find they usally create a growth spurt.

I find my focus clears up and I am able to accomplish much.

I hope the same for you.


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I'm sooo sorry to read about your life, Shauna. And I'm soooo sorry about the pressure your mom put on you. It wasn't and isn't fair that your family didn't step in! You must be a really strong person to endure all of that. My dad used to say: "Unfortunately, you cannot choose your parents." but you can choose your life. I know, it's easier said than done. I'm struggling with it myself right now...

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ty (((((leeann))))) and (((((father's daughter)))))

leeann--You're right, you can't shrink. I proved that last night at my godfather's summer staff party. One woman recently lost her mom. Her mom was "only 69". Normally, that would have felt like a slap in the face to me and I would have spoken up to say that I lost my mom at 56. Or I would have just sat under my own storm clouds. And when my godfather and his wife dropped me off, my neighbor asked if they were my parents. I just explained who they were, without telling her anything.

father's--No, you can't choose your parents, but honestly, I wouldn't have changed mine. I am who I am because of them and for that I am very grateful. Yeah, there were some hard times, but no harder than anyone else. Honestly, it was only the last year that was really bothersome with my mom, simply because she had a broken heart amongst all of her problems. :(

Thanks again for replying. :wub:

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