|My Mother, Grandmother, Aunt and Daughter|
Over the past 10 years I have suffered from depression more than I care to admit. But really it goes back 29 years. Growing up raised by an alcoholic single mother did not afford me the luxury expressing my feelings or of learning coping mechanisms. My coping mechanism was to shut down emotionally and when that was not enough to call my Grandmother. There were more times than I can count where my Grandmother, who was a 4th grade teacher and had to be at work at 7am the next morning, drove 40 minutes to pick me up at midnight or 1am because I was alone and scared and my mother was still at the bar. Those nights were some of the only ones that I showed my fears and even then it was not talked about. My parents separated when I was five years old because my father was also an alcoholic. My Grandmother, although married twice, was single my entire life. I grew up learning the unspoken rule that if you needed something you did it yourself, you didn’t need help from anyone.
This system worked pretty well into my teenage years. My Grandmother came to protect me during the worst of my Mothers drinking giving me solace at her home many, many times although never permanently. Even after my Mother became Sober when I was in 8th Grade she was still my saving grace. While my Mom may have been sober at this point her choice in men still had not changed. She ended up marrying a man she met in AA who’s drug of choice was not just alcohol but also crack-cocaine. She married this man even after going through several relapses with him(his relapse not hers). During this time my Grandmother, the one person who saved me from living in that kind of situation retired and decided to move 3 hours away. I had just turned 16.
This meant I had to live there with my mother and my new stepfather. This is also when my mother got sick. The week before Christmas 1997 she was hospitalized and diagnosed with ovarian cancer and given only 6 months to live. At this point they had also started a business that I now had to help run while also trying to attend school and working 40 hours a week at a grocery store. Work and their business won and I was failing my senior year. I had to work and I had to help run their business, I was exhausted. I dropped out of school.
My stepfather relapsed several times again as well. Their relationship ended when my mother finally decided to put her health before him and he relapsed once again. The last time I saw this man he was screaming at the top of his lungs threatening to kill my Mother and myself while trying to throw a charcoal grill at me as I got in my car and pulled out of the driveway. I was 17. This meant I had nowhere to live.
I ended up living with my uncle for a few months until I was able to find a job. I had also met my ex-husband just before all of this happened. He was the first guy to ever really pay me any attention. I thought I was madly in love. Once I started working I found a place of my own to live. After telling my then fiancée (now ex-husband) this I received a very excited phone call from him telling me he was going to quit school so that he could go to work full time and move in with me to help with the bills. I had not ask for this and my reaction was “Do your parents know about this?!?”. I did not want this but could not bring myself to tell him this. I desperately wanted “MY” place, but I also did not want to loose him.
Going back I would not change this….this was also the beginning of a relationship with my Mother. After getting sick and leaving my step-father she had finally begun doing some serious work on herself. She helped us get moved in. She helped Me plan our wedding. We got married. I was 19.
When I found out I was pregnant 2 months after our wedding she helped me through my pregnancy and the delivery of my daughter. She helped me through my post partum depression. I was 20. My marriage was a bad joke.
Before I got married we were having some problems but I remember thinking “well he is just nervous because we are getting married”, after we got married I thought “well he is just nervous because we are having a baby”, after the birth of our daughter I thought “well he is just nervous because we just had a baby”. Things never changed he became more and more distant. I finally realized things weren't going to get better, he was never going to be what I needed. We tried counseling or should I say I tried and he reluctantly went a few times the last of which the therapist called him out and said that he was not taking this seriously. He never went back. I later found out that this is also when he had begun seeing someone else. I knew he was cheating on me. When the man you have been in a relationship with who no longer took care of himself appearance wise suddenly starts shaving regularly, wearing nice clothes again and is home less and less its pretty damn obvious. I tried telling his mother this and she told me I was imaging things, there is no way he would do that. We began talking about separating. This is also when my Grandmother passed away from breast cancer. Shortly after this just before his birthday he came home one day told me that he had met someone and ask me if he could go out on a date. I told him yes. This was the week before my 21’st birthday.
It was not so much that he was seeing someone else, we were ending, it was more that he did not have enough respect for me to wait until after we separated to start seeing someone. My ex-husband was a coward, when we got engaged his sister told his parents, when we got pregnant I had to tell his parents and once again when we were getting divorced I had to tell them. A month later we signed papers and a week after that I went on vacation with our daughter and his entire family. This vacation had been planned for more than 6 months. His family still loved me and there was no way he was taking my 2 year old more than four hours away without me. He had not changed more than a handful of diapers (literally) or fed her more than a few times in her life. Strange I know. We were stuck sleeping in the same bed and I tell you that was the smallest queen sized bed that ever existed, It may as well have been a toddlers bed, we could not sleep closest to the edge. Avoidance was the world of the week. A week after this vacation I moved out. I was 21.
I warned you I could be long winded, therefore I am breaking this up….
Part II will be in the next post
Peace, Love and Happy Blogging