Welcome to My Bumpy Ride.......

Before you all read on, I guess it is best to introduce myself to you and let you know a bit about myself. I am Susan, and first and foremost, I am a mother to a wonderful young man. Though he is grown, he will always be that three year old little boy, that asked all those questions and expected answers to them all. Though I will tell you much about myself in this blog there is no one or nothing that is as important to me as him, even if I don't discuss him much, because he kina likes to remain private.

For years I was actively trying to find myself, but that was a big waste of time, since by doing so I was not living. All my life I have always known that I was "different", but was unable to know why that was. I first thought that perhaps it was because I was adopted, but that was not the case. Turns out, I am bipolar and pretty much have been all my life. This was explained to me about nine years ago when I had a major melt down. I tend to be more on the depressive side, but have on occasion been quite manic. My last episode was early thru mid 2008, with full blown depression. For five months, I bearly left my house, let alone my bed. Why am I telling you this? I just want it out in the open and let you understand that I discuss my illness from time to time.

Present day, I am currently a full time student, studying social work. At the end of 2011 I was approached by a mentor of mine, who mentioned a new program that was going to launch here in Rhode Island. This new program called the Peer Wellness Coaching, was something that I had always wished would become a reality and to add even more excitement was the fact that this mentor was inviting me to train for a position as one of the Peer Wellness Coaches.

So currently (spring 2012) I am part of the three phases of training and should be employed by the fall of 2012. What is even more excellent about this program is that they are aware of my education goals and are willing to work with me on maintaining those goals.

Also you might hear me mention NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), because I am actively involved with them. I am a facilitator and state trainer for the NAMI Connection groups (peer run support group) here in Rhode Island, and I also help teach high school and college students about mental illness through NAMI RI's Inside Mental Illness program.

So with all that being said...I hope you read on to my daily activities and thoughts and such.

Monday, February 27, 2012

New Jersey

Have you been wondering where I have been?  Well let’s just say that taking the semester off was a great idea on my part.  Only a couple of weeks after my mother died did my father’s doctor tell me that my father had only two weeks to two months to live.  Apparently his cancer has spread.  Within a week of hearing the news, I headed to New Jersey to spend time with my father. 

Unlike my mother, it was hard to except the fact that he will die shortly.  My mother was in remarkable pain and discomfort, where as my father just shows signs of weakness.  He is in no pain and the only discomfort he has is how difficult he is finding it to move around.  There is also evidence of confusion with him, but he was already showing signs of that well before I got the news from the doctor.

So I went to New Jersey and set him up with Hospice and managed to get some equipment that he needed and my brother neglected to even think about.  I was also able to get some of his paperwork in order.  The hardest part that I had to set up for him was his funeral arrangements.  I had to make it so all my brother would have to do is make a phone call in any situation.  If my dad has any medical issues while I am not there, all my brother has to do is call hospice and should my father pass away all my brother has to do is call the funeral home.  Being that my brother is not really good at any kind of situation that requires any form of thinking and planning I had to be the one to set that sort of stuff out.

I was also the one who had to inform my father what the doctor had said and had to ask him what it was that he felt he needed done to get his affairs in order.  You want to talk about shit that sucks, that has got to be the top of the list.  My brother again was useless in helping in these discussions.  Of course the major thing that my father wants to make sure of is that my brother is going to be ok and he sure as hell figured out a way to make sure that I will continue to “take care” of my brother until one of us dies ourselves in his will. 

All my life my brother had to be “taken care of” and honestly I had thought that once anything happened to my parents, I would be done with it, but no, dad made sure to make that virtually impossible.  I am so over worrying about how my brother is going to deal with shit.  I wonder why my parents never thought that way about me.  They just always thought that I could handle any situation and left me to take care of myself and all their attention was focused on him.  My thoughts on the matter is why not let him grow up.  Shit he was older than me and I still had to babysit him when I was young.

Funny thing is I had this belief that while taking care of my father he grew up a bit, but when I got to my dad’s house I was completely surprised to see that my brother did the bare minimum and that was ok with my father.  What really aggravated me the most was listening to my father praise my brother for doing shit that I bugged him about for over a year to get done.  I told my brother to finish the bathroom on the first floor (my brother is a construction worker) and move my father to the dining room on the same floor.  I was getting sickened listening to my father ask everyone who came to the house to see the bathroom and how well my brother had done on it and how very frigging talented he was.

Ok so I am acting like the jealous sibling and I know it is wrong to feel that way.  I try to get past the fact that my brother is the golden child and that I am last in line in my parents eyes and there is nothing I can do about it, but it is so hard that all my life I have been through so much shit and have made it through so many times and it would be nice to hear my parents let me know that I am loved as well.  I am not saying that my dad never tells me that he is proud of me, but ever single fucking time, he always adds that he is proud of my brother as well.  There is never a time that I have heard that dad is proud of me without adding my brother as well and it somehow becomes this major negative feeling, because honestly there is nothing to be proud of anything that my brother does.

The whole time I was there in New Jersey, my brother only went to work one day and he set up his drum set in the basement.  He didn’t manage to do anything worthwhile the whole time he was home, except get in my way and ask me to take care of shit that he was just as capable of taking care of.  Ok I know he has some serious social anxiety and can’t really deal with much of the shit I did, but I have anxiety as well and I still managed to get the stuff done.

All I can say is I really wish my sister was alive because at least we both would have broken up the things that needed to get done and worked together to do what needed to be done.  My sister would have made it so my dad gets washed up often and we would not have had to hire people to do it.  She would have been able to help my dad to express how he is really feeling about the whole situation and helped him to except what is going on.  But she is not here and well I guess that is up to me and in nine days I will return back to New Jersey and work on helping my father share his feelings and help him to understand what is really going on, and I will do that with my brother walking around in a fog and try to convince my father that my brother is going to be ok, even though I have a feeling that I will have to look into my brother being hospitalized after my father passes away.  And maybe when I have done all that I have to do, I can deal with my own feelings and emotions that I have stored away just so I can deal with all this shit.

The picture that I picked for today was a picture taken for the New Jersey Star Ledger paper after my parents were chosen to be my parents back in the early 70’s.  You can pretty much figure out who everyone is in the picture.  I am the one on the horse.  Funny when I look at that picture I often wonder what it would have been like if I had been adopted by one of the other 300 people who applied for my adoption.  What kind of family would have I been living with.  And then of course I think about my son and realize that he would not exist if someone else adopted me and that makes it all ok.