Make Your Partner Your First Priority

Tuesday was a rough day. I more or less emotionally shut down and I’ve been trying to process it while working on my book’s outline. Okay it was more like pretending not to feel anything about it while burying myself into a project.

The day started with Dad yelling at Mom that the chest pain might be a heart attack and that she should go to the ER because if she didn’t she could die. It just came out of the blue. I was working on the book, bringing my coffee back to the desk actually and stopped in my tracks. This time it wasn’t about Dad having a heart attack, it was about Mom. And she was sitting there in the chair looking like shit, weak, and all washed out. My mom.

And Dad looked at me and asked me to take her to the ER. HE DOESN’T COME WITH US. He had other things to do at home. Like what the fuck. My only challenge to that was passive-aggressively stating that I had an appointment that I couldn’t miss otherwise I would end up back on the waiting list. I started to get a bullshit apology from him, so I just left. Closed the door on it and drove Mom to the ER. I have no words for the rage I felt.

Just last week he bitched to me about how Mom spends so much time on the computer and does nothing with him. He pisses and moans about how their relationship is shit. Yet she was the one that every time he has gone into medical crisis she has put her entire life on hold to be right there by his side every second of it. When she goes into crisis where the fuck is he? He can’t be bothered. He has things to do. He convinces her she might die if she doesn’t go yet he can’t even take the time to be with her. Because for whatever reason working on that bedroom is way more important. Not going told her that. He didn’t need to say it in words.

I know it’s not my fight. I know it’s between my parents. The problem is it mirrors exactly the relationship I had with Scholar Owl’s father. It mirrors exactly the relationship I have with Little Bear’s father, my husband. So I’m angry. Then and now. You want your other half to reach out and make an effort to connect with you, then you had better make damn sure you do the same. Otherwise shit like this makes people give up.

So we get to the ER and they hook my mother up to all kinds of shit. They draw blood and run X-rays. I was trying my best to hold my shit together. I was on the verge of a panic attack. Between my mother in crisis and my morbid fear of hospitals I wasn’t doing well. At one point Mom asked me to call my sister because apparently she rather had her there than me. That’s how NOT HELPFUL my presence was in there. The last thing Mom needed was to see me go into crisis on top of everything else. And of course my sister had to work and wasn’t able to come unless Mom took a turn for the worse where we were waiting on lab results. Finally Mom just kicked me out, telling me to give her car keys to Dad and go to my appointment.

Sure we talked a bit before that point. She tried to hit me with the “you have no motivation anymore” bullshit again but that’s for another post, another day. I left like she told me too. When I got back to the house I handed Dad the keys and told him that Mom said he needed to be there. He said, “So it’s not a heart attack.” I told him I didn’t know because they were waiting for the lab results and still have her hooked up to everything. There was no way for me to tell him at that point that Mom was okay. I just went back downstairs and headed for my car so I could go to my appointment that was an hour drive away. Even then I knew I would end up early for it but I couldn’t stay because I KNEW I would rage vomit on him if I did.

When I did finally see the therapist I just dumped everything on her. I’m tired. So very tired. Of everything. Why must so many people think it’s acceptable to treat others this way? And the most alarming thing about it all is that it’s the so called “normal” people that are the guilty party. And when we the sick, the ill, and the disordered get upset and call them out for it suddenly we are wrong and we are punished for it.

It’s not right. It needs to stop.

In the end, my mother was okay. It appears that she had a reaction to the medication that was used for the annual colonoscopy they did Monday. Still it was scary. And I’m still angry that my dad had convinced her that it was a heart attack only to then not go in with her. Why the fuck would you feel the need to scare someone that much? And apparently he didn’t even think that was what the problem was based on what he said and how he said it when I gave him the keys. WHY? Why fucking do that? To make her go? Was that it? Wouldn’t it have been just easier to take her and say, “Well let’s go and find out what the problem is?” and not make it a scary thing? Let’s not forget that Mom worked as an Intermediate EMT at one point in her life. Don’t you think she is capable of deciding for herself if she needs to go in or not? So I think it’s pretty shitty he felt the need to play the heart attack card like that and feed into a deep rooted fear to make her go. Honestly I don’t think Mom thought it was a heart attack until Dad said it was. Yet he is so quick to accuse family members of being hypochondriacs. And bullshit like that is wrong.

You want your relationships to be happy? You want your relationships to work? Then you NEED to do the damn work and put in the effort. You need put your life on hold when your partner is in crisis. Every. Time. And it doesn’t have to be only when they go to ER. Here is a fine example of when it’s done right and how much it means. IT MATTERS. The little things matter too, even with our friends and co-workers. IT ALWAYS MATTERS. It gives us light. It adds to hope.

Same goes for us with illnesses. We have good days. Let’s take advantage of them. Use the good days to show gratitude for those in our lives. When we have strength, lend it. Even if those times are few and far between. And especially during our darkest hour we must try to be mindful to show gratitude for those that stay by our side.

And when we fail to do these things when the need arises, we are tossing our relationships into the trash. Stop doing that.

17 thoughts on “Make Your Partner Your First Priority

  1. Wow. I don’t know what your father’s motivation was but to not go with her to the hospital is pretty damn shitty. You’re right about using our good days to show love and appreciation to the people we love. They need to get it from us sometime and when we’re not doing well, it’s hard to show that gratitude for their presence.
    Thank God for therapists. All the things we cannot say get dumped at their feet and they take it. Yes, we pay them, but they take it all in stride. And they don’t judge, which is so crucial.

    • Yeah, she was as blown away as I was by it. I came in and she asked me how I was and I just blurted it all out. Pretty much exactly what I posted, plus what my mom and I talked about in the ER room, but I still need to process that more.

      It’s an ongoing subject between my parents and I concerning my “lack of motivation” and I know it’s because of my meds suppressing the hypo/mania and the damn brain fog. They don’t get it. They don’t live this life. So how do you put this into words for people on the outside to understand? Because what my parents see is that they have lost the daughter that once juggled being a single mom, full time college, raising 2 special needs children, a part time job, AND held a GPA above a 3.0 – THEY DON’T SEE ME, who had a psychotic break and who’s brain will never be the same again. They don’t see that. They can’t seem to comprehend that at all. They claim that I do nothing. What I hear is I’m not doing what they want me to do.

      All I can say for a brand new therapist (new to me, second appointment), she was pretty awesome this week.

      • Your parents are refusing to mourn who you used to be and accept who you are now. The mourning process is natural, but sticking their heads in the sand isn’t helping anyone. Not you and certainly not them. The only thing I can suggest is coming at the whole thing from the point of brain damage. Which, it is. And sometimes that is easier for people to understand, because they don’t have to put themselves in your shoes. Everyone understands brain damage. We have receptors in our brains that just don’t work properly. Also, it might be useful to print out articles that you find useful and give them to your parents. They may not read them, but at least when they question you, you can say that you’ve given them these articles and blog posts that explain it. Kind of put a little bit of the responsibility on them to at least read what you are giving them. And if they don’t, well, that’s on them.

      • Well surprisingly what I have found so far is that PTSD is also on the list of disorders to have psychotic symptoms. I didn’t know that. And after reading a very well written PDF document from Australia explaining psychosis I’m seeing that I’m not fully recovered from it. It explains why I feel like my brain is changed. This isn’t just delusions or hearing things for me. That’s gone, but there’s other stuff that’s still there that this document FINALLY explains that I couldn’t find anywhere else. I need some time to sort it out but I do plan to share the links. Maybe it will help someone else. I know I hate not having answers.

      • I think that PTSD is on the list more because of the stress induced psychosis and that some of the PTSD symptoms are difficult to differentiate from psychosis as well – such as intrusive recall and intrusive re-experiencing. Maybe disassociation would fall into that as well in term of making differentiation challenging for diagnosis? I thought I should clarify that. But extreme stress most certainly can trigger psychosis and I would imagine anyone with an acute case of PTSD would classify as being under extreme stress. Is that me? I don’t know. I do know that since my youngest has been born I haven’t handled stress well at all – as in I tend to either completely shut down or explode. One extreme or the other. I’m having difficulty finding middle ground.

      • I have the same problem with that as a result of my bipolar brain. I’ve been sick this week and it’s been kind of a treat. My body’s energy is being used to help make me better physically and my brain is so tired of being sick that it’s not misbehaving. I would give anything to feel like this on a regular basis.

      • It sucks that you’ve been sick but good that your brain is behaving.

        I have both the Bipolar and the PTSD and have recovered from Postpartum Psychosis (I think), so I’m kind of left trying to sort out what is what and wondering if it’s even worth trying to do that. I’m almost at a point of saying “all of this is me now, take it or leave it” and just let it go.

      • It’s almost impossible to completely sort all the disorders from each other. I have bipolar, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder with agoraphobic tendencies, panic disorder with OCD tendencies and have attributes of borderline personality disorder. I can usually set aside the panic disorders from one another, but the bipolar and GAD are too close. I never know what is causing anxiety and I’ve mostly stopped trying to figure it out. There’s no real way to know. It’s one or the other or it could be both. The BPD I pretty much ignore. Plus, don’t forget that the meds bring their own set of challenges to the table. I think that you’re on the right track with just saying “This is me now” and letting it be what it is.

      • So much of that overlaps there is almost no point in trying to sort out really. Honestly I’m surprised they diagnosed your anxiety the way they did. They could have condensed it to something like: GAD with panic attacks, OCD-like traits, and agoraphobic tendencies. Then again I’m not a specialist and I have no idea why they diagnose people the way they do.

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