Things I’ve learned about myself and others part 2

Please read part 1 before you continue with this post. It is a two parter about dealing with people who hurt you and treat you badly. Sometimes just because you have a mental illness. Other times because you’re a threat to them. Whatever it is… this post shows you that you can be the bigger person.

The wife… She was so mad at me for bringing up the project she threw out. So angry that she did something extremely cruel. Something that put Lucas’s life in Jeopardy. Something I’ll never be able to rationalize.

We got a call from Lucas’s mom a little while back. She told Andy she was going to talk to a lawyer because she didn’t want me around Lucas. The wife had told her I attempted suicide.

For the first time in my whole life, someone used my mental illness to hurt me.

Wow.

It hurt all right.

But instead of calling her every name in the book and trying to hurt her as much as she hurt me, I decided to talk to Lucas’s mom face to face.

Things haven’t been easy between us since we first met. I haven’t talked about it much because I don’t like to. It’s frustrating and difficult to deal with. But here it is.

Lucas’s mom, let’s call her Sandra and Andy argue a lot. And sometimes it’s about me. Not because I do anything wrong, but because sometimes when people enter new relationships, the ones they emotionally leave behind get angry. They feel hurt, abandoned, and excluded.

I get it. But it’s not my fault. She threatened to take custody away because she had this idea in her head that Andy and I treated Lucas badly when he was in our care. That we would get drunk and ignore him. We’d let him watch TV all day so we didn’t have to deal with him. It was absurd, obviously. We love Lucas so much. But I didn’t know how to get her to understand that. She made rules like “Lucas can’t be alone with Jess” and “Jess can’t speak to me whatsoever.” My baby mama drama was real.

She lost her spy because we moved out. The wife was always willing to rat on us. Only problem was we never did anything rat-worthy. The last time she could blow up like this was because the Wife told her I didn’t have a job, but that one was removed once I found one, so it didn’t last long.

Unfortunately…this time she gave her the perfect ammunition to attack. (Because the idea that Andy being forgetful makes him an unfit father wasn’t working).

And once again I had to be the bigger person.

I didn’t have any way of articulating things correctly besides texting, so I sent her the following: (I would have just screenshot it to prove it’s what I really said but it includes all their real names so…)

Sandra,

In the time that I’ve had the pleasure of being in Andy and Lucas’s lives we have laughed, shared memories, payed games, eaten home cooked meals almost every day, and practiced our numbers, letters, shapes, and spelling. In our home he watches minimal TV (mostly Mighty Machines or Phineas and Ferb) and spends more time with activities like homework, coloring, playing matching games, and reading books.

Sometimes we all go to HEB together and he loves using his buddy bucks. He and I put the stickers on our hands and pretend to be super heroes. When Lucas is in our home, you are mommy. And no one speaks ill of mommy in front of him because we respect that you are his mother and that he is impressionable at this age.

He always sits with Daddy to do his homework while I cook and tidy up. We all sat down together to do his art project and had a blast! Andy does forget to put his school items back in his backpack sometimes but as you can understand people can be forgetful. That doesn’t mean he loves Lucas any less. Andy gives Lucas baths at night while I grab him clean clothes from the drawers that we have provided for him in our house. Above them are all his books and toys that he is allowed to ask for at any point.

We do not consume large amounts of alcohol when Lucas is with us because we care for his safety. That is always our number one priority. When Lucas leaves he is always out the door with hugs and love and we miss him when he isn’t around. Last weekend we were at a loss because he wasn’t with us.

Over the last year Lucas has drawn me in his pictures as part of his family. He says I’m his Jess. You see, what you are doing is threatening to take Lucas from, first off, his father. Who, in my opinion is a wonderful and caring man who stood by your side for many years because of the love he has for his son, and even when the relationship ended he made him a priority. You’d also be taking him form a person who cares for him more than she realized she ever could. I have no obligation to take care of Lucas, but I do it happily and willingly because I love him. Andy and I are going trick or treating with him and he wants to be a vampire. He asked me to be a pumpkin so I went out and got a costume just to make him smile. When Lucas is with us, he is not ignored. He is the center of our attention, and he knows it!

You do have a right to know what goes on in our home when he is with us, but you do not have a right to dictate our lives. If Andy treated your boyfriend the way you treat me I’m sure you can see how upsetting that would be to you. He trusts that you have Lucas’s best interest at heart and you wouldn’t let anything happen to him. Why can’t you trust Andy to do the same.

Major depressive disorder affects approximately 14.8 million American adults in a given year. Suicides drop overwhelmingly when someone is on medication that works.

I am currently on Lamotragine and have been for a month or so. It is working wonders and I am a fully functioning person. But even when I wasn’t I still loved my boys. I’m sure you know your cousin would have opened her mouth if that wasn’t true.

I know you are in school to be a nurse but you can’t possible know the complexities of any given mental illness unless you have lived through it. I have lived with it for many years. The triggers you referred to on the phone with Andy is merely a word related to depression. Triggers are the result of trauma, but when on medication do not result in depressive effects.

You see, depression didn’t break me. It made me incredibly strong. It doesn’t cause me to love less, but actually makes me love so much more because I treasure every happy emotion I feel. The very things you are using against me is one of the best things about me. I have lived through it all and I will live through this.

I am not doing this because I’m afraid of your attempt to get a lawyer. I guarantee no one would take that case. I am doing this for Andy and Lucas. They both deserve to live in a world where two important people in their lives can get along or at least put on a brave face.

I have attached a link to depression statistics and a few photos we have taken since I met Lucas. If these things don’t give you peace of mind, then it is clear that your problem isn’t with my illness, your problem is with me. And if that is the case, then I can’t help you.

Jess.

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Because of this, she decided to sit down with me and have a chat. During my lunch I met her at a Starbuck’s and we talked it over. We’re actually in a better place now than we’ve ever been.

She no longer constantly calls Andy to yell at him. She hasn’t mentioned me at all in her texts. She has given us space and trust, and when she does call or text, I no longer feel annoyed or worried because I trust her, too.

Things aren’t perfect, but they are getting a lot better.

That’s the second wonderful thing the wife has done for me without knowing it. Sometimes people’s terrible actions end up giving you an opening to make your life better. But ultimately it’s up to you.

4. I have way more support than I think.

It’s really hard to see how many people love me from where I stand. I live in Austin and most of my friends and family live all the way in Chicago.

It makes me forget sometimes that they are always there for me.

When people who don’t like me are so close by, the things they say about me becomes a part of me. It makes me believe that I am what they say I am. It was especially harder not to feel that way when I wasn’t on meds. I have some friends here, but they are just that. Friends. People I haven’t known long and sometimes hang out with. My best friends are not at arms reach and I sometimes feel like I can’t turn to anyone but Andy.

That is so far from the truth. My best friend, Ray, is ALWAYS only a phone call away. And he is always there to listen. Same with my mom, my stepdad, my brothers, and all the people I have known and cared about since I was a child. Talking to them actually makes me feel like myself again. They give me words of encouragement and I feel their love from miles away… it resets me. They send me off into the world with happiness and love in my heart.

I will always have them.

5.The hardest part is letting go

This is how I did it.

I imagined myself in a black space. A space where I’m not distracted by anything. A space where nothing exists unless I want it to. I imagine an open doorframe in front of me, emitting a bright light so you couldn’t see anything outside of it.

I imagine the wife and husband standing in front of the light. I look them in the eyes for a few seconds and then turn away from them. I envision myself walking away form them. I can see their confused expressions follow my back as I get further and further away from them.

Eventually I walk so far that they are mere specks. The white light is only a glimmer. I come across another doorframe. As I walk through it, the door shuts on its own. A little further on I come across Andy.

He is smiling at me with that warm handsome face I know so well. He offers me his arm and I walk with him a little further.

As we get closer I can see a crowd of people.

It is every single person that loves me. I see Ray, my brothers, my mom, my step dad, Roxy, and countless other friends who have always been there for me.

We walk into the crowd and we hug each and every person. Even Andy’s family is there. They love us too. Standing in this crowd of people makes me realize that letting two people that hurt me run my thoughts and emotions was so pointless.

For every person that doesn’t like me… there are 10 who love me.

And now… I feel better. Now whenever I think about being angry again I picture this scenario over and over again. I hope you can find one that makes you feel like this one does for me. You can borrow mine until you find one that is truly you!

If you get anything out of this post I hope it’s that you can move past unresolved issues. You can walk away from people forever. You don’t deserve anything less than love, respect, and consideration. And if you don’t agree with that then there is a toxic in your life that is making you feel that way.

Get rid of them.

Love you guys.

-Jess

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One thought on “Things I’ve learned about myself and others part 2

  1. Pingback: Things I’ve learned about myself and others: part 1 | Never Ask "What If?"

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