I Just Want You to Understand, Mom.

Mom,

“We’re medical people; we don’t understand all of that.”

The same response over and over when I try to tell you what it’s like to be rapid cycling bipolar I. To have Borderline Personality Disorder (that you denied for four years). To have a rare neurological disorder triggered by stress that even you doubted was real at one point. To have Generalized Anxiety Disorder despite having it yourself. To have been actively and passively suicidal since the age of 14, though I’m not now. You’ve even been telling me that I’ve been ADHD since the age of 13.

But if it doesn’t involve medication, you refuse to stop and listen.

“We’re medical people, your dad and I; we don’t understand all of the therapy and psychology stuff. We took that years ago in nursing school.”

Tch. Dad’s a recovering drug addict now. A changed man. Now an “expert in therapy” after a year in NA. He “knows everything”… and nothing at all.

You can’t stand to be around me for more than a couple of hours once or twice a week when I’m manic.

When I’m depressive.

When I’m in the middle of a conversion disorder episode—stuttering, the right side of my body dysfunctional, just losing chunks of time, having dissociative seizures, my vision tunneled, my hands not working well enough to even type.

When I’m having crippling anxiety attacks that leave me locked in my room, crying and shaking, or just shutting down completely and avoiding all work entirely.

I’m scared shitless, but you ghost on me because I’m “too stressful” to be around anymore with my mental health, my school stress, my work stress. All of my stress.

All of my past mental health issues have been too much, and you didn’t allow me to get the proper diagnoses to get proper treatment. “They’ll follow you for the rest of your life; they’ll label you. You’ll never be treated the same.” I finally told you to piss off and got diagnosed when my meds stopped working. Just depression was acceptable. You were diagnosed with depression; it’s okay to be clinically depressed. That’s “normal.”

You’d know about treating patients differently though. You do that to your own with psychiatric histories. Or you did, until karma bit you in the ass because your own kid was so borked in the head. You stayed with an abusive husband.

You’ve gotten meaner as you’ve gotten older, and the longer I’m around you, the meaner you get. I see you once or twice a week, sometimes every two…, three weeks. You’re sweet, loving. You tell me how much you miss me. You hop off my ass. You’re the “safe parent” I grew up with, even if you were meek and submissive back then. …Even if you’re defending dad now, comparing him and I despite him refusing to take responsibility for his behavior. Stockholm’s Syndrome. I swear.

Now, you just don’t listen. You don’t try to understand what I go through every day. The medication changes and side effects. The therapy. You know the medical bills because I’m still a student, on your insurance. You just don’t know what I deal with; you think you do.

“I’ve been doing that for years; buck up bucky. We’re all crazy. Just keep going.”

“Well, xxxx happened to me, and here I am.”

“You don’t have cancer; it could be worse. This won’t kill you.”

You have no idea. J literally saved my live. The friends I’ve made, all the way in Europe, thousands of miles away, have picked up your life. J, my Dutchie boyfriend, has been there for almost nine months now. He’s learned about every disorder, handled every manic episode when I become so erratic, so ragey, so spastic. HE takes care of me, from 5,000 miles away, where you can’t 30 minutes away.

Where are you? I appreciate the financial support; I need that despite hating the fact I rely on that through school. I don’t want it, but I have to have it. You’ve ghosted on me though when I’d needed you most.

Not that our household has ever been known for emotional support. Maybe that’s why I’m such an angry jackass now. At 22, an early-onset cynic.

I just want you to understand what I deal with on a daily basis.

You think you know. You don’t.

Tell me what it’s like to stop breathing normally, to wheeze and choke, just because psychological stress completely borks your Central Nervous System.

Tell me what it’s like to go without sleep for 61 hours, sleep for three, and go without for another 54 hours feeling completely refreshed. Snapping at friends, starting fights with your boyfriend over nothing… and fighting to control that manic brain but just losing the battle in the end.

Tell me what it’s like to vacillate between loving and hating your closest friends, reacting irrationally emotionally despite knowing it’s too much, to feel abandoned when you know damn well that person is still there (unlike you and dad)…

I could go on, but you’ve stopped listening a long time ago. I’m wasting my breath. I’ll be back for Sisi, Ollie, Kellan, Damon…, but when I’ve got my degrees, I’m out. Everything’s going well with J. I’m peacing out to the Netherlands. I’m staying. Don’t expect to hear much from me. I’ve tried to have functional relationships with you two.

I’m done. I can’t do it anymore.

I still love you, but you’re getting more and more toxic with age. For the sake of my mental health, I have to detach completely, and for good.

~Jessie

I Am Not

am not cookie dough.
You can’t just find your favorite cookie cutter,
hidden in the cabinets,
long forgotten from my childhood,
and press me into who you want to see—
what you wish I’d turned into rather than what I’ve become.
am not cookie dough,
and I am not sorry that you can’t handle the warped finished product.
You burned the cookie.

am not a quilt.
You can’t just take your favorite fabrics,
your favorite pieces of me,
and sew them into a pretty little blanket.
Crisp edges and bright colors with wide fields of May flowers preceded only by mild April showers.
am not a quilt,
and I am not sorry that you’re unhappy with the aesthetic of a frayed, storm-torn, barren cluster of scraps.
You fucked up the stitching.

am not a military contract.
You can’t sign up for 18 years,
serve your time,
and choose not to reenlist when shit goes south;
decide that you don’t want to re-commit because the state of my psyche has declared WWIV.
WWIII was mandatory—
year 16 or 18.
Damn.
So close, right?
I am not a military contract,
and I am not sorry for the wars you let happen, contributed to.
You were blind to the red flags.

I am not your “smiley baby girl.”
Not anymore.
You can’t just stick your head in the sand,
watching the clips of the past in the recesses of your mind.
She’s dead;
she has been for ten years.
What’s left is the husk of the creature she wanted to be.
I am not your “smiley baby girl” anymore,
and the only thing I’m sorry for is the burden you place on others in picking up your slack because you can’t face the truth.
You let her slip away.

Just a Little Bit of Happiness

“Do you even know what he looks like?”

You really ask me that?
Honestly,
I thought you’d be happy for me.
For us.
You know what I’ve dealt with,
lately in particular.
I can’t just have this little bit of happiness?

“He’s only seventeen.”

And just who the fuck are you to judge?
Twice your age,
not that it particularly matters,
but playing petty games even?
You’re to blame too, you know.
I told you as a friend.
I thought we were friends, anyway…
I just want a little bit of happiness.

“That’s some serious long distance.”

Really?
Fucking really?
Sure,
you two aren’t quite as far,
but you aren’t particularly close either.
How many miles?
Cross country, yeah?
Goddamn hypocrite.
I need just a little bit of happiness.

“I thought you weren’t into guys…”

Ever heard of fluidity?
I’ve had so much trouble,
so much fucking trouble,
with my sexual identity—
had to defend it to my mother for ten years.
And here,
someone who dares call me a friend,
tries to shatter that?
I deserve just a little bit of happiness.

Don’t take your problems out on him.
Don’t spit your acid,
mess with his head,
cause him astronomical amounts of pain,
confusion,
suffering,
because you refuse to face your own fucking problems.

Don’t call me a chameleon,
accuse me of “blaming my pills”,
not taking responsibility,
calling me my fucking father.

I will have just a little bit of happiness,
and you will not ruin it because you cannot find your own.

I Thought I Had One

‘At least I have one good parent…’
I’ve been telling myself this from the time I realized I never had a father.
Funny thing is,
my parents were [and still are] married.
We lived in the same house.
We did these superficial little things together.

But, …if we’re being honest,
were we genuinely a family?
Fuck.
No.

My father was always absent—
drifting off into the recesses of his own mind,
ruminating on his self-serving need for the gratitude of others,
fixated on this mindless drive to be a caring, devout nurse, loved by every patient and coworker alike,
focused on his sole purpose in life of spreading love to the entirety of world,
…excluding his family.

So, what were we to him?
A wife: secondary income-earner and sexual object.
A daughter: the only thing he created to pass on his genes and continue his “legacy”.
A step-daughter: the seven-year-old came with the wife from the previous marriage.
Apparently,
not a whole lot.
Usually,
it felt like nothing.

Now,
as of February 2016,
a changed man;
a recovering drug addict.
He has a disease,
and just like that…,
it’s as if the last 25 years,
of which 22 I existed,
no longer mattered.
You forgave him quickly.
Easily.

I am so.

Fucking.

Disappointed.

In him?
Sure.
But in you?
More than you can ever imagine.

You were our rock growing up.
You were forced to raise a child, a teenager…
and a husband.
You worked the overtime.
You paid the bills.
You found the money to pay for Christmas,
when there was no money to be found.

You took the brunt of the physical abuse,
for both Sisi and I.
Even if you were so angry because you couldn’t save us from the emotional,
the verbal abuse,
you did everything you could.
You even grew a pair with age;
you’re no longer that meek, doe-eyed woman I called “Mommy” as a kid.

But you can see drug abuse,
unlike an unbalanced brain chemistry,
and because he’s a “changed man”,
your marriage is “better than ever.”
10/02/1993 to Present

“He’s just like you—he has a disease.”
You beg me to open my eyes,
to magically forgive a lifetime of abuse—
my own, your own, Sisi’s…,
all of which I had witnessed first-hand.

But you can see his,
because you can see drug abuse.”
The acid splatters across your skin;
my words—impulsive, resentful—are corrosive.
Don’t you dare compare me to him.
You can’t see excess dopamine.
The flesh on your arms begins to melt away.
The words erode further inward,
exposing more and more of you as I go on.
You can’t see disordered patterns of thought… maladaptive schemas!

Schemas…?
I read the question in your expression,
can see it in your eyes.
The rage condenses in my chest,
implodes,
forms a black hole.
It consumes everything,
beginning with me.

You know what?!
I’d explained it god-knows-how-many-times.
Once again,
you hadn’t listened to a goddamn thing.
Fucking forget it!
Shaking my head,
I walk away.
Again.

What happened to you?
What else did he do to you?
You were ready to finally leave;
for once, ready to think of,
think for,
yourself.

You were ready to do what’s best for yourself

I just…
Who are you?
Please tell me.
At least then,
I’ll know who I’m talking to,
because I’m sure as hell not talking to Audre Annette.