The Circle Game

“Unfriendly friendly universe…”


If you’ve read my previous posts, you know what the above means. Don’t worry, just because I’m feeling suicidal doesn’t mean I’m going to do anything. I remember a quote I used to know from an Anne Rice book, something like, “I always wished I was dead. It was a way to go on living.”

I’ve wanted to die since I was at least 11. Around that time, for some reason I developed a very strong belief that I would die on one of my birthdays. It was a great disappointment to me whenever one passed and I remained alive. The first I remember clearly is the 13th. I dressed all in black that morning, and sat on my bed for hours, wondering when and how it would happen. As the sun went down, I realized with concealed grief that I had at least another year to go.

I always have to have something to look forward to. It can be something as simple as a package arriving (which is probably why I’m an eBay junkie), or the next pain-relieving pill I get to take, or the next video from someone I’m subscribed to on YouTube. It was the same with death. Each time a birthday passed, I told myself, “Next year, next year for sure.” I was so hopeful for the 16th, because that’s an important one. It passed. The 18th, that’s even more logical. It came and went. After the 21st arrived and slipped away, I finally realized it was not going to happen. The first suicide attempt was around this time.

It was a serious attempt. I wanted to die. During my subsequent week or so in a psychiatric ward, a nurse told me that considering the amount and the kind of medication I overdosed on, I was very lucky I didn’t go into a coma. I just slept for about a day, during which I assume my stomach was pumped, and when I woke up, I told myself that there was at least a consolation prize – my parents would realize what their fighting was doing to me and stop. They didn’t. Nothing changed except that my mother was a little nicer to me for a short time. My older sister for quite a while wouldn’t let me be alone with my young niece, whose nanny I was.

That was also one of the reasons I tried to kill myself, because I was the unpaid, all-day, every-day caregiver for my niece, who I adored and adore, but for someone who was psychologically damaged by the pressure of babysitting when I was young, the work my sister guilted me into was too much. When I was a kid, I had to watch my younger sisters constantly while my parents gave all their attention to my older sister during her psychological problems. I never got that kind of attention from them. And the constant fear one of my little sisters would get hurt and I wouldn’t know what to do crippled me with anxiety and depression. I stopped being social. I just wanted to be alone, read, play music to drown out my parents’ battles.

I was always alone in my sadness, and I still am. My mother currently is not talking to me, I guess because she figures I should have given her all my pills, and it rips me apart to hear the rest of my family laughing together. It also infuriates me, the way she holds grudges like a child on a playground. When she’s mad at one of us, she always behaves extra sweetly to the others, does petty things like dash into the bathroom when I she knows I need it and stays in longer than necessary, ignores me when I do try to say something to her, hears both my youngest sister and I coughing and only asks her if she’s okay. The unfairness of it tears at me. I don’t know how a mother can be so uncaring toward her own child. I only faintly remember having children, but I would never have forgotten or repressed my love of them, for any reason. My mom told me recently that she loves me, and in the same breath told me she was going to lie to our pain management doctor and say that I stole pills from her. Out of concern, she said, because I’m “taking too many.”

The projection abilities she possesses are astonishing. I occasionally take an extra half a pill if I’m having a rough day. My mother, contrariwise, takes 2 of hers every 3 hours, when she’s supposed to take 1 every 6 hours. She’s an addict, plain and simple. She’s in real pain, probably, but while I both hate my pills and appreciate them for helping me get by, she’ll get a prescription filled, dance around and announce she’s going to “take 2 just to get high.” She was also addicted to speed as a teenager, on top of whichever mental illness she has; my dad says bipolar, I think borderline personality disorder.

In my teens and early 20s, I would sometimes get so stressed I’d lose the ability to speak. My research told me this is called hysterical aphonia. When it happened, my dad and sisters would be kind, patiently reading my notes and asking what they could do to help. My mother would corner me, yell at me that I’m being rude, and nastily say, “You and I both know you can talk if you want to.”

One of the worst things is you’d never guess any of this if you met my mom. To strangers, she’s the nicest lady ever, always making scarves and cookies for people. To her family, though? She’s told me I’m a product of rape (she and my dad are still married and I have two younger sisters), she told my youngest sister she was disowning her because youngest sis wouldn’t give her money for cigarettes, she used to force my older sister to go to the emergency room to get pills for her, and she once went after my dad with a knife and ended up on a psych ward.

I’m angry right now. But the worst thing is that this has happened before, and will again. Eventually the feud will end, we’ll be friends again for a little while, and then this will happen all over again. The only way to survive in my family is to just forgive her for everything, never get an apology, and pretend the bad times never happened. I’m just not sure I can do that anymore.

Author: athlynne

"From mirror after mirror, No vanity's displayed. I'm looking for the face I had Before the world was made." - W.B. Yeats

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