Friday, November 8, 2013

Mom in the Psych Ward

I'm not sure I remember much of this one.  It's in a really fuzzy part of my memories of high school.  It comes after my near suicide attempt and just after my mother's near suicide attempt on the bridge.
My mother was given the option to go into the psych ward at a hospital or be put there.  I believe she chose to go  on her own so we wouldn't hafta see her cuffed.  We did not go with her to the intake, only Dad did.  We, as a family unit, visited her a few times, not very often.  Whether that was because of hospital rules or because of schedule conflicts I don't know.  I remember she seemed at her happiest sad while she was there.  She didn't want to be there, and felt deprived, but I could tell it was helping her.  To my knowledge, that's the only therapy my mother ever has done, is that 6 week stint at Parkland.  One of my strongest memories of that time is her saying "they won't even let me have a scrunchy, how am I supposed to kill myself with a scrunchy?!" and my thought of "I'm sure you'd find a way."
I was embarrassed of my mother being in the psych ward.  I think, to this day, I've only told a handful of people about it, including my high school best friends.  I think I was/ am more embarrassed of her being in the psych ward that I was of her suicide near attempt.  I think part of it is because, with the suicide near attempt, I was able to cast myself as my mother's savior, I did it, I was the hero, even if I'm now no longer certain that's true.  If she had abandoned us in suicide, it seemed more "honorable" in my head for her to leave us in death than to just leave us.  I was also embarrassed of her being there because of the stigma attached to mental care facilities.  I know better, now, but back then, ti was flat out embarrassing, way more than the suicide near attempt.
I was also mad at her.  How dare she abandon us, yet again?  Intellectually, I knew better, that she had no real choice.  Then again, my mother CHOSE to go to the psych ward rather than come home.  What had we (I) done so wrong that she wanted to kill herself and spend all that time in the hospital?  Didn't she know we needed her?  Dad worked, picked me up from school (that was a quiet car ride, usually Mom and Dad carpooled), came home, and started drinking.  I think dinner during that time, more often than not, was fend for yourself.  I pretty much went to school, came home, tried to get everyone something to eat, and babysat until bedtime, even though Dad was right there, most of the time.  Or maybe he wasn't, I know he went out with his best friend to bars a lot around that time.
I blame Dad, too.  One of the times we needed someone the most, there was no one.  He was there, but we all knew better than to bug him about Mom when he drank.  I was furious at him.  We needed a father, not just a source of income.  I was doing everything around the house. Do you have any fucking idea how rough it is to step up as both parents at 16 when you don't even fully understand why?
Why do I have abandonment issues?  Because both parents continually abandoned me. Dad was always either at work or drinking, unless it was a holiday, in which case he was a happy drinker.  When Dad drank, he retreated into his head, became a statue in the chair, unless he needed to yell at someone to shut up. Mom just flat out ran away for a period of time when things got hard.  Usually only a couple hours, but a couple hours of not knowing where your Mom is when you're a kid is fucking scary, especially when Dad is freaking out and pressuring you to remember "anything she might have said about where she was going."  Hell, we usually didn't realize she was gone until we heard the sound of keys and the front door slam.  There were times I wished she would stay gone, then immediately chastise myself.  Every Saturday, she would either drop us off somewhere or I'd watch my sisters while she went and played bingo.  I realize she needed a break. It still hurt to watch Mom drive off, usually  because she would have a rare smile on her face as she left.  What caused that smile?  Not us.  Not me.  Matter of fact, it the idea of the absence of us.
I felt worthless, while she was in the psych ward, like somehow we kids should have been enough to keep her happy and home, but we never were.  Of course, because I was the eldest and should have somehow known, it was my fault we weren't good enough kids to keep her happy as our mom.  Your kids are supposed to be a reason to live, not a reason to run away or a reason to die.

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