Depression Marathon Blog

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Diagnosed with depression 19 years ago, I lost the life I once knew, but in the process re-created a better me. I am alive and functional today because of my dog, my treatment team, my sobriety, and my willingness to re-create myself within the confines of this illness. I hate the illness, but I'm grateful for the person I've become and the opportunities I've seized because of it. I hope writing a depression blog will reduce stigma and improve the understanding and treatment of people with mental illness. All original content copyright to me: etta. Enjoy your visit!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

family...too predictable.

I'm sitting on a hotel bed, watching football, about two miles from my youngest brother's home. After a long, chilly drive--my car's heat is not working properly--I spent just 2-3 hours with my brother's family and my mom, and already I'm wishing I was somewhere else. Sometimes I hate how screwed up my family is. And why does screwed up get so much more pronounced during holidays?

It started with me getting lost, not understanding my brother's directions or my brother not understanding where I was...who knows, but that began the tension. As I entered his home, despite my resolve not to comment on my frustration, my brother's initial sarcastic comment initiated a brief heated discussion. It went something like this,
"I was right."
"No, I was right!"
"No, I was right!"
"No, I was right!"
Get the general idea? Futile. Stupid. I don't even think we said hello.

I fed my new nephew, visited with his 3-year-old brother, gave my mom her presents, and listened to my sister-in-law's comic antidotes about my father's latest clueless, social mis-steps. (He's really good at being socially inept!) Nothing substantive was mentioned, which is fine. No goodies, coffee or even water was ever offered--again, not unusual with at least two of my brothers. Perhaps social ineptness is inherited? All in all, it was an awkward, barely comfortable time.

My brother and his wife left for her grandfather's home, as is her tradition, and my mom made me pancakes. While making pancakes, she told me my other brother asked if I was going to be around when he arrived in two days. My mom added that after she reported I wouldn't be around, my brother expressed disappointment and said he had wanted to see me. This is the brother of whom I wrote a few days ago. This is the brother who lives less than one hour from my home. After pasting me with a verbally abusive tirade, this is the same brother I haven't spoken to in over a year.

I should have kept my mouth shut, but I didn't. Before I knew what hit me, anger and resentment boiled to the surface. I spurted, "Oh bullshit, mom! He couldn't care less about seeing me. He's so selfish and self-centered! He doesn't care about anyone but himself! The last time we spoke he blasted me with names so mean... He's never apologized, because he doesn't do that, and we haven't spoken since!"

To my mom's credit, she ignored my heated burst as if nothing had escaped my lips, which is what I immediately wished, that nothing would have escaped my lips. She said, "I'm not sure this pan will work for pancakes." I looked and said, "Sure it will." And so we went. Almost comical really...

I thanked my mom for the good pancakes as I exited my brother's home. I could have spent the rest of the evening with my mom, but I chose to come sit on this bed with my dog instead. She probably doesn't feel too good about that, and realizing this right now for the first time, I don't feel too good about it either. She flew up here to see us. I guess when one is raised around social ineptitude, it does rub off. Damn!

What is it about families that brings out the worst in some of us? How can I be so comfortable and real with my friends, yet uncomfortable and protected with the ones I'm supposed to know and love best? We keep trying, but I feel as if we barely tolerate one another versus actually enjoying each other. It's always a relief to leave, and from the rooms of AA, I know I am not alone in experiencing that exit relief. Why is that? What is that? Anyone?

I'm feeling frustrated with what feels like banging my head against a wall. Why do I put myself through this? My family doesn't know the real me. Even if I could show them, I'm not sure they'd see the true me anyway. My brother proved as much with his ages-old anger during his hurtful tirade 1.5 years ago. The shit he referred to, the feelings he vented--they were old, very old. It was as if he were yelling at the pre-teen me, age 12, rather than the adult etta, age 40. I'm feeling frustrated. I'm feeling sorry for myself. I'm feeling guilty.

I'm feeling sorry for myself... I need to approach this differently, but I have no idea how to do that. No idea whatsoever! I can't continue to bang my head against the wall. I need a different perspective. Perhaps I need to practice some forgiveness. Maybe I need to try out acceptance. I don't know. I'm totally open to suggestion. Thanks for letting me vent.

1 comment:

Clueless said...

I'm glad you were able to vent. First, off no "should." It just is. You know this...they are not going to change and dealing with the reality of that sucks.

Families bring out the best and the worst of me. I am not looking forward to tomorrow (Christmas Day). Although, there is some family that I want to see, but I ask am I going to follow the same routine and feel phony because I won't be real...maybe, it is feels safer because it is predictable and maybe for this moment in time that is okay. Either way, I am still okay.

I am sorry that you are having a tough time, but it sounds like you are realizing some things about you and your family and acceptance of that sucks!! Hang in there!!

By the way, I will pay you to not tell my therapist that I wrote this and when I write my vent that you don't throw these words back at me. :-)

Take care,