Sunday, August 24, 2008

Angry (long)

I think Im suffering from PPD. I don't know how you can actually tell if you have it, but Im just not right anymore. My life has basically been shit for the last few months and that is just fact, not my interpretation. Coping has been hard and Im not sure how much more I can take. In my real life people see me as this incredibly strong person who can do anything that I put my mind to. And that is true in a sense. Problem is that when I reach a breaking point people don't see it. They blow it off and just expect me to overcome whatever obstacle has come up. But inside I am freaking out. Even in the subtle ways that it usually comes out, people don't see it. I know when that is happening and because I did a lot of psychology in university alongside my sociology, I understand a lot of the shit that I do. Is this making any sense? I don't know.

Back to the point. Ive become incredibly angry and I don't know what to do with my anger. I am angry at everything, even stupid things. Im a little worried about actually saying what I am going to say in this post because I have made friends online that may read this and I do not want them to know that I have failed. Ive skirted the topic in many ways when I write on here and in the various other places that I post to. But the truth of the matter is that I have really fucked up my life and my kids' lives and there is no one to blame but me. It seems that every decision I make is the wrong one and the worst possible thing that could happen always does. Im sure some of you would say that surely I am overestimating, at least I had this or we were ok because of this, but no we really hit bottom.

I spent five years in a horrible relationship where my kids witnessed daily abuse in many forms. I can not say that it was all my ex because it was me too. He and I ended up treating each other like crap and it became physical on more than a few occasions. He left for good in April of 2007, my 24th birthday to be exact. I thought that he had been the source of all of my troubles, he wouldn't work, did a lot of drugs, spent way too much of our money, and really just contributed very little to our family. The day after he left though, he met his now fiance. It didn't take long for him to find a decent job and move in with her. I see them now and they seem to have the life that I always wanted with him. They have a new daughter and he is actually a dad for her. He supports them while she is home with the baby and they seem happy. Im angry that I couldn't have that life. Im angry that I worked so hard for all those years supporting my family and putting myself through university only to end up alone and miserable with nothing. Im angry that all the lies that this man spread about me being lazy or every problem we had being my fault, seem true now. Im angry that his new daughter gets to have a dad and mine barely see him.

After the relationship ended I went through a really rough time mourning the life that I had known for those five years. It was horrible and terrible, but it was still hard to see it end and face the fact that I was again a single mom, this time with three kids. But I did it, I made it through and I was happy for a little while. I was learning who I was. Then I had an opportunity to go to a conference in another province. My family was right there offering to babysit and I decided to go. It was a wonderful opportunity in so many ways and I was really excited and happy to go. This was the first time since I became a mother that I was truly able to be kid-free for a few days. I was pregnant at 17 and so I had never experienced being an adult without being a mother. I went too far though and met a man who I immediately trusted. I think I had just let my guard down too much and I was trying too hard to just forget responsibility. So needless to say, before long I got pregnant. When I tried to call him, he wouldn't answer. Same when I went to his house. I finally saw him walking one day and I stopped the car. He was with his girlfriend (who it turns out he was seeing at the same time as me) and I told him. All he did was turn around and walk away. Without even a word. Soon after he changed his number and moved so that I could not contact him. I still haven't accepted that this really happened. How the hell did I end up with another child? And one that doesn't have a father? Im angry that I have another child. Im angry that he is a boy. For some reason I told myself during this pregnancy that it would at least be worth it if it was a girl. Im angry that Im angry about my own baby. Im angry that I cant afford to give him everything that I want. Im angry that when he was born, he had four sleepers. Im angry that my ex's baby has more clothes than she can wear and every toy or baby item imaginable when mine had to be wrapped in a blanket while I did laundry. Im angry that my child had to sleep in his car seat for the first week of his life because I had no where else to put him.

Because of all the negativity that I was feeling in my life at that time (December 2007) I decided to move. My apartment had rats and it was also the home where my ex and I lived. I wanted to just close that chapter in my life and get serious about providing a better life for my kids. I found a beautiful little place for rent not far from where we had been living. It was across the street from family and there was a park just down the road. I rented it for probably a little more than I could afford, but it was something that I wanted so I promised myself that I would make it happen. And I did. The landlord was a little iffy but I though it was just my imagination or maybe they were just weary and overprotective of their investment. The first power bill came in at $280 for 18 days. This is where the problem came in. I couldn't afford the high cost to heat the place but I refused to give up this home. My kids loved it and I finally felt like I was providing properly for them. I paid what little I could on the power bill and just waited for summer to come and for it to get lower so I could catch up. Unfortunately I never made it that far, and on June 18th the power was cut. Law here says that if a tenant fails to provide power or water to the premises, they can be evicted immediately. So that is what happened. My dad came over to watch the kids on the morning of the 19th so that I could take his credit card and go pay the power bill off. After speaking with the power company on the phone, I knew that if I paid it, they would come the same day and hook it back up. Before I was able to leave though, my landlord showed up with the eviction notice. My dad handled it though because I was just a wreck. If he had not been there, my landlord would have escorted me out of the house, with my little ones in tow. Instead, he was able to talk the guy into giving us the day to get everything together and get out.

So with the help of family, all of our things went into storage and we were out. Before Rayden was even home from school that day, we had moved out of our home. Im angry that my son left for school having a home and was homeless before the end of the day. Im angry that at soccer one time this summer, he announced to the team and their parents that we didn't have a home because the power got shut off and we had to move. Im angry that we had to go to a shelter. I spent a lot of nights crying at that shelter. I was so embarrassed to be there, I didn't want anyone to know. Rayden was invited to two bday parties and even though it was really hard to get there, and I didn't even have a way to wrap a gift, he still went. And I made sure that none of the kids mentioned where we were living. It was too hard to hear out of their mouths let alone the embarrassment of the other parents knowing. We at least had our own room in the shelter but the window overlooked the same intersection where I told Josiah's father that I was pregnant. I couldn't believe that only 7 months before I was standing down there gathering myself back together and deciding to forge ahead. I could not have known at the time that instead of making our lives better, I actually made them so much worse. Im angry that I didn't know better. Im angry that because I tried to take my kids out of a rat infested hell hole, we ended up in a shelter. Im angry that I had to worry about giving birth at the shelter or what would happen to the kids if I suddenly had to get to the hospital. Im angry that their father would rather see them live in a shelter than take them to stay with him. Im angry that I lived in a shelter.

When Josiah was born, the kids stayed at my parents' house. They are also renting right now and their lease is specific about the number of people allowed to live there. This is why I wasn't allowed to stay with them when I lost my house. Im angry they allowed me to go to a shelter. Im angry that none of my family stepped in. Im angry that the only person to finally offer me a place was my cousin and when I decided to take her up on that, her family decided I was a big inconvenience and didn't hide it. Anyway, so since the kids were already at my parents' house that is where I went when I left the hospital. Im angry that I couldn't bring Josiah home to our house. Im angry that we are still living with my parents, two months after we lost our house. Im angry that I am sleeping on the floor along with all four of my kids. Im angry that the housing market is so horrible here right now that there is no where to live. Im angry that I applied for government housing two months ago and still have nothing. Im angry that I had to resort to government housing. Im angry that Im angry. I take things out on the kids. When my mom makes comments to herself or anyone else about how she is sick of her space being taken over, I yell at the kids. At least a dozen times a day I feel unwelcome, or in the way. I can not control these little kids and that makes life very impossible. My dad works nights so for the last two months, the kids haven't been allowed to make any noise during the day. I don't have a car anymore and there are no buses that service this area, so I am stuck here all day long in a house where my kids cant make noise. I am angry that they can not be kids. Im angry that I am stuck here. Im just angry.

So now that I have outlined the suckiness, and that is just the main stuff...there is so much more, I need to get onto the point of this post. The PPD. I am not proud of it and I am really scared of saying this, but I think often about giving my kids to someone. Sometimes I think short term and sometimes I think permanently. I have tried to convey how hopeless everything seems and how I just can not cope anymore but no one seems to get it. I had my SIL totally tell me off after I lost the house and then try to act all nice a few weeks later and ask me to be her son's godmother. She is the only person that I went right out and told that I was at the end of my rope and that I couldn't even handle talking to her. But even she did not understand what I meant. At that time, I was fantasizing about just getting on a plane and leaving. I know I wouldn't be able to ever commit suicide but sometimes it crosses my mind. Im not crazy or whatever. Im just at my end. I need things to finally start looking up. But they aren't. This is why I started those gifts to myself to try and force some happiness.

I know that I couldn't actually let my kids go because I wouldn't be able to live with myself. But then I think about how much better off they would be with someone who had it figured out and wasn't such a fuck up. Im angry that Im a fuck up.

So I know that a lot of these issues come from being angry and that is something I can work with. But the thoughts of leaving or giving the kids away; the thoughts of no longer being a mother, they scare me and make me worry about PPD. My mom is a psychologist and she has seen more and more of this lately from me and this morning she asked me why I was so angry. I didn't tell her much because I couldn't through the tears. I did however tell her that I thought about giving them away daily. Since then, the house has been a little weird and even my dad hugged me tonight. I don't want to fuck up anymore but I am just worried that any move I make will be the wrong one. I cant even decide if I should continue to push for the government housing or if I should find a house that I can rent even though it would be too much money and could potentially mean the same problem. God, Im so sick of poverty and all of the bullshit that goes with it. I went to school so that I could make a better life for my kids and now that I have my degree, Im stuck here with a newborn and cant work.

I know this is long and I thank anyone who has made it this far. Just knowing that you have read this makes me feel better. I feel very alone in this situation and like I don't have anyone to talk to. Hopefully now that this is out there, I can get some support and help from my fellow Internets.


CP said...

I'm so sorry that I can't reach out to you and try and help. I wish I could. I'm sure hearing "hang in there, it will get better" doesn't help. Your mom seems to have a small insight into what is going on. Let her help. Let your dad help. Please. And email me anytime.

Susie Q said...

First of all I just want to say you HAVE NOT fucked up your kids lives, kids are AMAZINGLY resilient and from what you have written about them so far they seem to be wonderful little boys and that is ALL of YOUR doing. Nobody else. Whenever you think about ending it all or giving your kids away remember you are an amazing woman who is raising 4 little boys who need her desperately. Take it from me who adopted children you don't want your children raised in the foster care system or by resentful relatives. I want to know where you live now and what possibly could I do to help? I'm certainly not rich and we are struggling financially badly too but even if I could help just a little bit in some way, whether it is by encouraging you or helping you out by sending you things for the boys please let me know. I know we don't know each other but in this sometimes lonely and crazy world it is nice to help someone out the best you can. Susan

Kristi said...

First, you have made friends online, and we are not here to judge you or think you have failed in any way. We're here to listen and support you whenever you need it.

Second, I think you are stronger and braver than you are giving yourself credit for. I thank you for sharing your story with me. I haven't even gotten up the courage to share my most personal story.

Third, your boys are wonderful, and you have not screwed up their lives. They love you and need you.

Everyone has made decisions that they are not proud of. I know that I have. It's how we handle our situations that makes us who we are. We just have to take things one step at a time.

If you are having trouble, and think that you might have PPD, let someone help you.

Please email me anytime you need someone to talk to.

Emblita said...

I concur with Susie q- you have NOT fucked up your kids lives, yes, you are in a totally shitty situation and it is understandably overwhelming. If you think that you have PPD then please go get what help you can get.

I can't believe how callous your landlord was- that is such a terrible thing to do. I wish I could offer you a house- but I'm renting myself.
I don't know if you have talked about this before- but don't you get any child support from the children s fathers? If you don't I'm pretty sure you have a legal right to that support and that might help a bit financially.

As for housing- I would call the government housing office and try and pry some sort of timeframe from them (its like pulling teeth but worth a try)and if its going to take to long see if you can't find something to rent instead. At least- I've always felt better just having my own home- even though its tiny. It has helped me feel like my own person, maybe it will do the same for you.

If you need anything for you or your kids- please feel free to email or let me know. I'd like to help, even if its just a little bit.
Big hugs

Emblita said...

uh forgot email address silly me

Swistle said...

I'm sorry. This sounds like it really sucks.

Whimsy said...

Hey sweetie,

I'm so very sorry that you're going through all of this. It just sounds so very very awful. Please try to take the advice of the other folks who have commented - do everything you can to reach out, to ask for help, to do what you need to do to take care of yourself and your boys. If you need to talk or anything at all, you can always email me.

Astarte said...

Wow. I don't blame you for thinking about giving up your kids, not at all. I think anyone in your situation would have had that cross their mind, and it doesn't make you a bad parent. You're in a tough, tough situation, no doubt about it.

I think the first thing you should do is show your mom this post. Talking to her may be too hard, but you've already written everything here, and I think it's important for her to know how you feel. You need to share this with someone irl so you can get some help.

Have you looked into WIC, and welfare, and your state health insurance? Many states provide free health insurance for children. Please don't be afraid of welfare; it's there for people in need, like you are. A LOT of people have been on welfare, they just don't talk about it. It's not the end of the world, and being in the state system might help you get other needs met as well, like mental health support.

I agree that kids are resilient, and yours are so young. I wouldn't worry about their mental state. If they seem happy, then they are.