My Life With an Undiagnosed Bi-Polar Mother
This is a surprising story of things I have remembered through four years of counseling. I was raised by an undiagnosed Bi-Polar mother. She would have her mood swings, She would use alcohol and prescription drugs to self medicate herself. You may find some of the things I am going to recount as impossible but they are true. My counselor says that it is good therapy for me to tell others about what I have been through. I am 52 and my mother has been dead for five years and she still has power in my life. I am going to do my best to get the power back for me to control my life.
I hope that I don't offend anyone but the experiences are true. I have a fuzzy memory of me as a young child. Almost all children are scared of the thunder and lightening of storms during the summer months. My sister was taking care of me. We were having a severe thunderstorm and my parents were gone out for the night. My sister, to calm me down, told me that the thunder and lightning was God bowling. I fell asleep happy with this description but when my parents arrived home my mother went off on my sister as I was covered up and sweating. My mother wasn't happy that I was sleeping. She was furious that I was soaking wet with sweat. My sister didn't understand; any more than did I, why Mom was so upset.
The next memory I have is I was five years old. You have to understand at this point that life was so much easier. Children didn't have to know their phone number and all they need to know now. In my neighborhood, it was understood that there was a child molester. At five I didn't know what that was. I had after school went home with a friend of mine. I don't remember going into my friend's home but I remember when I got home. My Dad was there and he paddled my butt and put me to bed with no dinner. When my mother came home from work she found me crying and blamed my sister for it all. I was so confused. I thought everyone was allowed, friends. I learned from that day forward that I would never have friends until after my mother passed away.
I was still five and could tell that my maternal grandparents didn't have anything to do with me. They would take my sister fishing and buy her things but I got nothing from them. My mother had made my grandmother not have anything to do with me. She said she wasn't going to have any good daughter. I would do things after school like sit in our garage and stare out the door and just sit there like I was watching the grass grow. Nothing was normal. Everyone in school had friends but me.
When I was nine years old my mother had me sign up for a future homemaker of America weeklong thing in the summer. It was in Dell Rapids, South Dakota and we lived in Baltic, South Dakota. The sessions for the first few days my mother was there every day to pick me up, The last day she wasn't there to pick me up and I walked from Dell Rapids to Baltic. I was stopped by a Highway Patrol Officer who thought I was running away from home. I explained that I was walking home. My mother had no explanation for this.
When I was in fourth grade my mother used her medication to calm me down. This is one of the secrets of my life. She told me never to tell anyone. I according to her had a nervous stomach and this medication would calm it down and put me to sleep. I have done the research and there is no such condition in my records and no such medication in my records.
When at sixteen I had to have an ovary removed due to endometriosis. That is a female disease caused by delaying pregnancy. She told me I couldn't tell anyone in my class why I was gone for a month. No one was supposed to ever know because it was a family embarrassment. I couldn't understand why.
At 21 I had to have a hysterectomy due to the endometriosis again. The doctor at sixteen hadn't done all he needed to so I had it again. It was so painful and keep it from the family. How do you do that when you are so uncomfortable?
I find each of these experiences to be something I am supposed to learn from. My mother would go off in a rage every day if my sister was late getting home from school by even a few minutes. My sister was sixteen and I was six and I remember my sister breaking her piggy bank and running away. My mother didn't even seem to care. She didn't call the police.
As I got older I remember only two times that my sister and I were allowed to be alone together. My sister took me to the movie Briar Bear and one other time when I went to her apartment and spent the night. We had pizza and pop. It was the first time I felt normal.
My mother as I got older wanted to know whenever I wasn't at home who I talked too and what I talked about. She would control how long I was in the bathroom and what I thought was wrong if it didn't agree with her. If I voiced my opinion that was definitely the wrong thing to do. I would hear about it for days. I never was allowed to date in high school or even think of having a boyfriend. I had to live at home even after I was eighteen because my mother told me what I had to go to school for a career. what I wanted to make no difference. I was told after my first career didn't pan out that nursing would always be something I could do. I didn't want to be a nurse but off I went to nursing school. Flunked out after half the time needed to be an LPN. Mother then told me to find a job. I found a job as a motel housekeeper and did that for 25 years. I tried to get better-paying jobs but they were usually at night and I got told I couldn't do that to her and dad. I got hurt on a job and had to give up working for nine years until she passed away and I had my father deal with Alzheimer's. I would love to hear if someone had the same kind of life so I knew I wasn't alone.
This is more than I have remembered since I first wrote this. My mother was a nasty and controlling person. She told me that I was an average person and would never succeed in life. I remember just two times in my whole life when my sister and I were alone. These were both when I was a young person. I remember my sister taking me to a movie which many won't remember but it was called, "Briar Bear". I enjoyed the time we spent together. Then my sister was living on her own in an apartment one time and she invited me to spend the night. My father didn't want me to go and I told him that Mom had already availed. I spent the night. We enjoyed eating pizza; the flavor we wanted. We drank pop that we wanted and we stayed up as late as we wanted. It was the most fun I had ever had in my life.
I felt guilty the week that my mother passed away. She had been sick and my father told me to take care of my mother. I told her many times she needed to go to the doctor but to no avail. The day she went to the hospital I knew in my heart that she was not coming home. I hadn't taken care of the mother. I didn't know how to get past the pain and guilt.
Mom developed Dementia in her later years and did many things that were weird to the world but to her they were normal. Until the day she passed, I had never heard that she had been diagnosed but the ER doctor took me aside and told me. I guess if I had known more about dementia/Alzheimer's at the time I would have spotted it. I just took it that it was just part of my mother. Many mornings she would tell me she had seen silver dollar size bugs on the wall but they were gone when she went to look. I thought she was hallucinating. She told me that there were three dogs in the house. I am deadly allergic to dogs so knew that was wrong. The night she told me that we had an elephant in the house I wondered what to do. I did nothing as I just thought it was another of mom's hallucinations. Never told the doctor either. I guess if truth be told I was getting tired of being the brunt of her cruel jokes and mean remarks so I just let her go.