I talk about Keira’s struggles with her mental illness, and the toll it takes emotionally on her; as well as me as a mother, (not as a person suffering from BPD)
Today was the first day Keira screamed it out of despair in her room.
I closed my eyes and drew in a deep breathe. My worst fear came true.
Matthew went to console her. She asked him straight to his face.
“But why me Dad?”
As I sat in the other room cuddling Guy Danger I listened to their conversation.
Matthew has now become a hero in her eyes saving her from the hallucination that debilitates her capabilities to function properly.
I am proud of him.
Even now as I write this, he sits next to her validating her emotions.
Not a standard validation; but this child was promised her hallucination would go away with medications.
It has been 2 months since she started anti-psychotics.
Keira is angry with the Doctor. Angry with Matt and I. But most of all,
Furious at the world.
It is the ultimate question people use. Not just with Mental Illness,
But a loss of a loved one,
Financial loss such as foreclosure.
A best friend passing.
Those are just a few examples.
To hear Keira finally mutter that simple phrase (which I have been dreading to hear) was nothing short of a stab to a Mothers heart.
He answered her.
Because you’re special.
We always tell her she was meant to change the world some day.
Keeping her hope alive that she may some day be the only voice within her own mind can be a heavy task daily.
But it is something Matthew and I do with extreme strength and pride.
She is one of a kind.
A bipolar who hallucinates.
But as always I tell Keira to say,
“I am not my illness…”
I am a woman suffering from BPD…
I am also the mother of an extremely mentally ill child.
Keira’s psychotic breaks are severe and can be extremely aggressive upwards of 3-6x a day ranging from small defiance to suicidal ideations/threats of harm to Matt and I.
It is bizarre to say we are “used” to them, but they are threats used on a daily basis when her mind is gone.
I don’t share the details of the horrors of Keira’s mental illness; as it is MY coping mechanism to staying strong.
Yes, Keira’s hallucinations are more on my plate as a Stay at Home Mother.
I’ve always been a shitty Susie Homemaker.
But now I have no choice but to be Wonder Woman to get it all done in one day and prove to myself,
To The World ,
that her illness will not stop me or this family from living life.
Ive allowed myself to forget to fold laundry or clean the bathroom because I ride on the excuse that I had a rough day with breaks with Keira.
I’ve come to the realization that these excuses are not valid by any means…
Because this is OUR LIFE.
I have no career.
Keira and Guy Danger are my life.
I no longer have an option.
So feeling sorry for myself because she’s had massive psychotic breaks will leave me cold and crumpled in a fetal position on the floor unable to care for the children.
As much as I wish that were my fate some days I have to pep talk with myself. I say,
Suck it up buttercup…
Life is a bitch sometimes.
But you can either lie down and take her beatings, or rise up and become stronger than you’ve ever been before.
It may always seem like two steps forward and four steps back…
But if you think about any obstacles and challenges in life that are presented to you, you’re always moving forward regardless.
Never stop walking forward no matter how many times you stumble.
Find the beast within.
I’m seeking to bed the Lioness and transform into the Lion. 👊🏻
I’ve given up on even feeling.
I have to wear a mask everyday. Not by choice.
It’s what is necessary to my daughters mental health and well being.
People consider it me being strong and are proud of me for controlling my demons…
This is not control.
This- this is Purgatory.
I’m never going to wash the filth off, cleanse away the bad.
It’s a part of me.
Always has been, Always will be.
I can’t show the world my pain like I had before.
My deepest desires to mutilate and see blood dripping from my face.
They see me as an unfit mother.
CPS was called once already because of my blog.
So now I bottle my pain and stuff it deeper each day.
Because I know I cannot show the world to help the adults/teens and keep my status as a sane mother and caregiver to our little girl.
I am the only one who can take care of Keira.
Matthew tries but even he admits she can’t have a successful life without me.
Go back to “But What About Me?” It started there.
There’s no other way of putting it but to say I am gone.
I am mourning the loss of myself.
Cutting and self sabotage has been a part of me since I was a kid just slightly older than Keira.
I’m certain she will have these battles throughout her life but if I don’t allow her to see that it is what her mommy does, than I am sure she has a lot less of a chance at creating these outlets which are by no means healthy,
But are exactly that. Outlets.
A release from the pain.
People troll the Internet to find a weak spot on me and fuck up the life this little family has.
If I show me, at my weakest, and one of those persons decides to call Child Protective Services again, they will have most certainly condemned Keira to a life of pain and failure.
I Am The One.
The one to care for her. Show her when the time is right, the horrors of battling your own mind.
So that she may seek comfort in knowing; she may certainly be the only one (out of millions for that matter) who hallucinates at her age.
This, I cannot tell her we have in common.
But the brutal inner battle between good and evil, I do understand.
And she will seek solace in knowing her mother has battled that (and still does) her whole life.
It’s a desolate feeling knowing your child isn’t home with you.
I’ve been walking for a few hours now.
I can’t emote.
No matter how hard I try to cry I cannot.
I feel lost.
I know in my heart I should be rejoicing knowing that for the first time in nearly 5 years of seeking answers to Keira’s condition and only receiving empty answers from medical professionals, we’ve finally found a team who wants to help her.
But how is a parent to feel after the deed is done?
Keira knew what we were doing.
I let her choose what she wanted.
Deep down a part of me was desperately hoping she wouldn’t oblige.
Having been inpatient twice in my life I know the feeling all too well when you’ve finally been admitted and your family leaves you.
But you see, we know they aren’t leaving us.
And yet the person cannot help but be grateful to those who have helped them, and at the same time feel a deep obligation to themselves to say Goodbye.
I don’t care what Keira is diagnosed with.
I know she’s been suffering more than any 8 year old should ever have to endure.
A seemingly beautiful and normal child to the outside world.
But you must understand that she wasn’t raised by a normal mother.
All her life she was subconsciously taught to mask her true emotions.
So much that she became the mask just as I had.
She has been internalizing a battle within which has up unto l recently, been one that even her father and I hadn’t known how severe it had been.
Please do not think this is by any means easy for Matthew and I to speak of so transparently to the world.
I’ve made it home finally.
After sitting on my stoop the last hour I realized it was time to go inside.
But you see, this home is not a home without her.
I’ve never realized how much our daughter has saved me up until recent weeks.
Such a queer disposition; explaining to the world that mental illness healed mental illness.
But there is no denying.
Keira has saved me from myself,
She is wiser beyond her years emotionally and yet she do desperately wishes to live the life of a child.
She deserves that much.
I know we’ll never be able to fully satisfy that, but I can only hope that those who love and accept her for all that she is, will do their damnedest to protect that inner child and allow her to flourish.
I grew up too quickly.
I had to to survive.
If there’s anything I know about Keira, It is that she is a warrior just as her father is.
Matthew may be strong, but he is feeling the sting from today’s act.
I know after a few days, he will have the ability to regulate far better than I will.
But no parent should ever have to do what we did today.
The one parent I could remotely seek solace in, has forgotten his experiences with me.
I don’t blame him.
She will be gone for a while.
I promised her I would see her as much as she desired to have her mother there.
I will fight to make Matt proud.
A weakness has consumed my mind and it has been egging me to give in.
I owe Keira that much to stay strong and resist self punishment.
Never take your children for granted.
If they are acting out, even if it pisses you off to no end,
VALIDATE their EMOTIONS.
Too many years did I treat her emotions poorly.
Far too many times did I write off all of her elaborate stories.
I am listening now.
And yet I know she will always have an internal battle against wanting to push us out to punish us, and desperately needing our love and affection to nurture her.
Love your children.
Hug them tighter each time you see them.
I think I needed to expel some word vomit so I could sleep.
I have an IEP meeting at her school tomorrow.
I am in hopes to wake up strong,
Knowing she is safe, and she is waiting to hear my voice.
You cannot possibly make up the things we’ve experienced in our lives together.
Matthew and I live a life movies are based on.
But it is a life I would never exchange.
And I am ready to show the world how selfless I can be.
By saving our daughter; just as she has saved me…
For anybody that is wondering I am indeed still here.
When I last wrote to you i was having a hard time finding a way to remain emotional but still handle Ashleys emotional swings. For those of you wondering what i have been talking about and I don’t know how I do this, but I can take all emotion out of things and replace it with logic and reason. The result of this is a cold but steady person and for many years this was beneficial to Ashley, but it is no way to live
It has been a couple months now and i feel that with a little practice, patience and good communication i have found a happy medium. It is still overwhelming at times especially with our daughter’s condition getting worse, but I feel that I am becoming a better husband and father. Till next time when ever that is remember you are not alone.
I love our son.
His name is Guy Danger.
Matt named him.
In February 2014, two nights after super bowl night, I found out I was pregnant with another child.
All my life I wanted a large family.
Countless years after giving birth to our beautiful daughter I had been told by my husband and other family that the reason we shouldn’t give birth to another child was that I wasn’t mentally sound.
Other stipulating factors are what most other families argue- finances.
As the years went by with Keira, I still had an emptiness within which propelled a compulsive yearning for another child.
Perhaps it was to “fix” what I hadn’t done to raise Keira.
The night we found out I tested positive for pregnancy, it was the polar opposite of what I had always dreamed.
Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be a woman dreading that other line popping up.
My heart sank.
Keira had been showing more symptoms over the last year of her life.
She was (at the time) just shy of 7 years old.
Matthew and I were at the lowest point of our relationship.
We lost apprecitation for one another.
He was cold, and I was completely selfish with my own emotions.
Abortion is something I have always believed is the woman’s choice.
For me however, terminating a life for lack of precautions on my behalf is an act which is unforgivable.
Matthew knew how I felt.
It was a bitter night, I told him bluntly by showing him.
My hands were shaking as I held up the test.
What do we do?
“Please don’t think this is what I want right now. I know I’ve only asked for this for years, but you have to believe me, it’s not what I want. It’s not what we can have right now…”
There is no point in revealing the details of that conversation In specifics, but that little bit was a Segway into how the proceeding 8 months were to be for my family.
I carried Guy alone.
At least I felt that way.
We’ve had closure on this topic after we were married in May of this year.
But I still have pain thinking at times how he never touched me.
How he never spoke to him.
Keira’s pregnancy was planned, sort of.
We said Wing It. 6 weeks later we conceived her…
At our sonogram appointment to see the sex of the baby, Matthew was cold, he attributed his attitude to having been exhausted from just getting off of night shift.
I later found that all of this heartless demeanor was quite the opposite of how he truly felt.
He went through hell with Keira’s birth.
Watched his daughter almost die.
He watched the woman he loved nearly die.
I am one of the Americans unfortunate enough to not have antibodies against HSV, or herpes simplex virus. (Cold Sores)
For those of you who don’t know, HSV is extremely deadly to infants.
The sexually transmitted form (HSV Type 2) is almost a guaranteed death warrant to an unborn fetus.
Keira contracted the virus in utero while in labor.
My body shot the herpes into hyper drive and also attacked my body.
Long story short, (since this post is about our son) she almost died. We didn’t know it was herpes.
My doctor- (Dr. James Allen Joki) seen Matt at Seattle Childrens Hopsital when visiting on his own time to check on Keira.
It was day 4 and she had been placed in a medically induced coma to keep her alive.
All tests showed her body rejecting anything they had attempted to use to save her.
The blood transfusion Matt signed off for was failing as well.
He saw Matt,
He had a bad cold sore on his lip.
He asked him very abruptly if he’d had cold sores his entire life.
My doctor ran up to the NICU and told them to put Keira on Acyclovire for treatment of Herpes.
He saved her life.
He’s never forgiven himself for that. But we do not see it as a failure.
He saved my life when he delivered me.
I was suffocating and he gave me cpr after the cord strangled me into a still born.
I am in debt to that man.
All this is pertinent to the story I am explaining about my pregnancy with Guy.
For you see, Matthew endured more than any man should through their first child’s birth.
And because of those trials, he attained some painful scars and PTSD.
The whole pregnancy it wasn’t a matter of him not loving the child like I thought every day.
It was that he couldn’t bear another near death experience of two people he loved.
When we delivered Guy, Matthew was clear and present.
He told me at that moment in the operating room for cesarean, he knew Guy (as well as myself) would be safe from harm. Because we had the best doctor on this earth.
Dr. Joki was far more emotionally invested in this pregnancy than he should have been due to Keira’s birth.
Even after all these years he continued to apologize for what had happened.
There was no need.
Because his diligence and passion to protect a patient he’s known her whole life, made Matthews mind at ease.
Guy Danger was born healthy.
We both had problems emotionally at times.
I never was able to hold Keira for the first 3 weeks of her life.
To have a tiny human on your chest, feeding and skin to skin comfort- was something I could not fully appreciate because I thought I was betraying Keira.
She never had that.
Why should I have deserved it with Guy?
He is now almost 10 months old and a beautiful child.
Just as smart as Keira.
And growing faster than I’ve seen a child grow before.
Within his normalcy for growth, he has to battle a crossfire of turbulent emotions with Keira, myself, and Matthew.
Her psychotic episodes are so rapid day to day, that our beautiful little son has to hear things he shouldn’t.
His sister screaming uncontrollably.
Matthew and I going from logic and reasoning, to “tough love approach” yelling at Keira.
Anything to bring her back.
If you’ve never seen a person break from reality and start full hallucinations, it’s terrifying.
Add that war to a innocent 8 year old girl and you have a living hell which no parent deserves to see or experience.
I’ve always known Keira was different.
We both believed for years it was from the severe viral trauma at birth.
But in the last year, I knew she had breaks from reality.
I cannot diagnose but there’s no other way to relate than to tell you I’ve seen my uncles eyes in Keira’s when she has gone full psychosis.
My dear uncle is severely schizophrenic.
They said he attained it after being exposed to fire in their Home at a young age.
Years growing up, I would see James as a child, and when he was in “the dark side” his eyes had a way of narrowing downward in such a way that the very hairs running down your spine stood up.
To fear somebody you love is a horrible thing to feel.
The one Mother I could ask for advice on how to raise such a gifted child has passed on two years ago.
Guy Danger will always be loved as much as Keira.
We have had the fear cross our minds that there is the possibility that this illness could be genetic…
I refuse to think about that right now.
Love your children.
The ones who appear healthy, like Guy Danger, are actually the ones who will suffer in the long run.
Just as Matthew has with me.
And many other people who are the true victims in the battle against mental illness.
I try to hug him more.
I try to spend more time alternating “alone time” between Matt with Keira and me with her (vice versa with Guy)
Trying to find the balance for the other child is something I know we can never perfect.
All we can do as parents is show him we love him.
Reassure him he is here with us because we want him to be.
In the end, a mothers intuition is the strongest lead you could ever have.
And Stay Strong.