Saturday, September 28, 2013

Mother and daughter

I have written nothing since my mother died this past winter. The inspiration left me, and probably when I needed my creative outlet the most. Even now it seems like the words are just not quite right, and the feeling behind them is not coming through the way it should, but I am going to do my best. 

I have been thinking about the relationships between mother and daughter, and how different they can be for each of us. My mother and I rarely saw eye to eye, and did not always even have respect for each other. I do realize my mother did the best she could with what knowledge she had. She sometimes went about things the wrong way, but she also did not have the ability to do things differently.  She did not understand my mental issues, and she certainly did not know how to handle them. For my mother I think it was simply frustrating and scary, and strained our relationship well into my adult years even after I was diagnosed. 
I spent years fighting against being like my mother to the point that I rebelled against being who I really was. Years of making myself believe I was far more independent and interesting than my mother. Now I will say I am a very interesting person, and have been through some things my mother probably never imagined living through.  There are some things though that we do have in common that I have realized and come to terms with. You could say we are the two sides of the same coin.

Now I have my own teenage daughter, and I have never felt more blessed with the child I have. She is amazingly tough far more than most realize. Most people see my tiny sarcastic and sometimes crazy kid. I see something more. 

My daughter was born with cystic fibrosis, and over the years she has been diagnosed with adhd, and a mood disorder which many a psychiatrist has told me off record is bipolar disorder. I kind of already knew, because I have bipolar as well. She is stronger than me though.  Maybe because I understand and I can talk to her about it, maybe because she has meds to help her through, or maybe she has been through so much medical stuff having some mental disorder seems dim compared. She is my heroine.  

My daughter has had three big surgeries since she was born. The first one was immediately after I pushed her out. They rushed her to a hospital in Boston,  and has the scar to show for it. She had a blockage in her intestines,  and so they had to remove it, and sew her intestines back together.  She spent the first month of her life in a hospital, and I never got to breastfeed. I pumped for the first couple weeks and she got it, but I did not have a lot of milk, and my nipples were bleeding. So from the start things were rocky for my bean. She was tiny and looked like an alien. Her head to big for her body it was amazing when she was able to hold it up. I was scared to death. 

The second surgery was years later when a doctor realized her spine was stretched, and they did surgery to snip the cartilage so that her spine could be like the rest of us, and she would have less pressure on her legs. The surgeon explained to me that not all her symptoms would leave, but that this would keep them from getting worse.

The third surgery was for a gtube so my daughter could get a higher calorie intake since she needed to gain more weight. This is a hole in her stomach fixed with a small plastic device that can be hooked up to bags of unflavored nestle drinks that add over a 1,000 calories overnight. She was in the hospital for over a month, and missed out on half of her summer that year. After the surgery it took her some time to get back up to speed. This whole thing was hell! She had to stay in the unit and schedule time in the extra room where she could do art. She had to walk her metal pole with her iv over there and would get so sick of the whole thing she would cry and beg to come home.  I wanted to rip her out of that bed and tell the doctors to "fuck off".  I of course just waited it out with her. 
Although I did kind of tell one of those physicians that they could go where the sun does not shine. Maybe just once. 

After all this her mood disorder really came out in full throttle, and it took some time to work out the right medications, and therapy that was helpful. This one time last year she told me what it felt like to her when she had what I call a bipolar freak out. She said it starts out she is just upset than it turns into a something else and she no longer has any control. She knows what she is doing and saying is wrong, but she loses herself and until its done she can do nothing.  I know that feeling all too well. I hold myself in check quite often for fear of that rage. I try to stay away from confrontation , and even amaze myself sometimes that I hold it together.

My daughter has her moments, but I can say she has far less than I did at her age. She is amazing to me how often she holds it together.  How rare it is that she loses control compared to myself back than. I often tell people that if they knew me when I was younger they would not have liked me.
I sometimes have to explain to my bean that not everyone is going to understand,  and sometimes we have to just face those consequences of these actions even though we lost control. We just have to hope we can do better next time, and hope for future friends who will understand and help us through rather than shut us out. 

My mother did not have the knowledge or understanding that I have been able to pass down to my daughter. She also maybe should have handled things differently a few times, but she did not know any better. I still turned out pretty good.  I think my daughter is turning out even better. I love you my bean, and I will always be here for you.