How to pop a blood vessel

I sometimes have moments where I think, it can’t get any crazier or scarier or more stressful.  Then, without fail, I’m proven wrong.

I’m doing my best to keep the anxiety at bay.  The man helps me in this way immensely, but when he’s not around, it creeps up again.

I am stressed/anxious about many, many things right now.  The prospect of child support and/or alimony coming to a halt.  The Boy wanting to live at one house because he is tired of dragging his possessions around and having to keep track of what is wear.  The Girl sucking up all the energy in the room, day in and day out, not leaving space for anyone else’s needs to be met.  My mother being 89 and me waiting for the phone call that will change everything.  Moving.  Buying a house and blending a family, selling another.  A job where I am working three jobs at once and slowly losing. my. mind.

If I hear another person tell me that all I have to do is prioritize, say no, make things simple I am going to pop a blood vessel.

I need something good, something unexpected to happen.

I need to really, really believe that this too, all of it, shall pass.

I need to just be, instead of always doing.

The sweet and the bitter

It’s been a hard, hard day.

The girl (for quick reference, as ‘they’ don’t subscribe to binary descriptions of gender) has been riding me hard. This is not new.

There are benefits. She has made grow in ways that were previously unfathomable to be. She is unapologetic about who she is, whereas I, growing up, very much subscribed to a make-the-parents-happy-and-do-not-shame-them kind of model. She’s more honest. I, because of her, have been growing towards that level.

Maybe that’s one of the perks of ASD- the inability to edit yourself to the world. Whereas more typical people, like myself, are constantly angling, politic-ing our way into being…just so. I am growing because of her – more so than anyone else. And, as hard as it is, I am trying…trying…to be grateful for that.

Suicidal ideation

I’m at the local children’s hospital, with my daughter. After a particularly epic meltdown, she told me that she sometimes thought about killing herself. She said that she knows how much of a burden she is to me, to her father, and to her brother.

I have to take this seriously, which explains why we are here, surrounded by sniffling toddlers and weary parents. Every once in a while I glance up and see someone staring, then quickly looking away. I don’t even bother trying to hide my tears. We all have a story, after all.

I feel lost, stuck, scared, worried, hopeless. I wonder about her future, if she will ever be able to tear herself from the internet to make a meal, get to a job on time, or even just brush her teeth. Her internet addiction is that bad.

She has told me over and over that she escapes to her devices because she’s learned to use them as a coping mechanism for the huge anxiety she feels. I believe her, but I don’t think it’s the full story. She doesn’t care about marks, about brushing teeth, about picking up the piles of garbage that quickly accumulate in her room. All she cares about is connecting with her online friends, who live in many different time zones. It doesn’t matter that she has a test tomorrow or a dishwasher to empty.

Her brother is miserable. He can’t stand being around all the conflict. I feel guilty because some days I literally don’t have energy to parent him. When the kids are with me, he wants to go back to his dad’s to escape her, and when they’re at my ex’s, my son wants to be in the peace of my house.

That’s when I catch myself thinking, she’s right – she IS a burden. But she doesn’t get that I do everything I do because I so badly want to see her happy, to see her build a life.

I’m so sad and I don’t think there is any clear path for me to take.

Wicked witch of the west, that’s me

I am having one of these moments where I’m realizing that sometimes, I really don’t like my daughter very much.

Pretty much the second I picked her up from her dad’s she started in on me. I’m mean because I don’t let her have access to the internet 24/7. She tells me she hates neurotypicals. That I’m looking, yes, LOOKING, for ways to make her miserable. And oh, can we pick up Lebanese food on the way home?

I said very little in the car. I tried my best to not react. But, when we were approaching the intersection to turn towards her favourite take-out, I said, I changed my mind.

I’m not going to buy dinner for someone who is actively trying to pick a fight and make me upset.

I said, I can’t change the way you talk to me, the way you treat me. But I can change how I react to it.

And right now, I said, my reaction is that I don’t want to buy you dinner.

She started crying. I kept driving towards home.

***

She denies she is addicted to her screens. (I don’t use the phrase addiction lightly, either.) It’s interfering with her academics, her ability to socialize…everything.

But I have my online friends, she protests loudly.

I can’t even go there.

Her dependence, she says, is a result of her experiences with so-called friends in the real world. She’s anxious, untrusting. She uses her phone as an escape, an antidote to the great stress she feels.

Honey, I say, this is why your father and I are trying to get you help. To alleviate your stress. To build up your social skills, to give you more confidence.

But you’re abusing me by not letting me have internet! You are isolating me from the only friends I have! I bet you wish I was still at dad’s!

I’m clearly the wicked witch of the west.

***

I don’t like her very much right now. That’s a very un-motherly thing to admit. I’m tired of her drama, of her sucking all the energy out of this family. I’m resentful. Her brother, who doesn’t get even close to the amount of attention he should, resents her. I resent her father, who cares about himself more than anyone else and lives through this by faking the motions of fatherhood.

***

There are three floors in this house and right now each of us is on our floor.

At least my son comes to chat once in awhile.