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Ask The Band: Is Happiness Too Much To Ask For?

I feel terribly alone.

I feel like I’m in a black hole, like I’m caught in the undertow and everyone is a few feet away, not reaching out to help.

Hypersensitivity at its finest; any sound, color or person makes my bones ache and my head pound.

I scratch so much I bleed.

I sit in the dark staring aimlessly at nothing, my mind blank.

People suggest things. They just don’t get it.

No one does.

Hopefully, you do.

I have no friends – maybe I did it to myself. But I wouldn’t hate a hug from someone other than my mom. Often times I feel like I’m not appreciative enough of my family, but I want friends, too.

That isn’t too much to ask.

Is it?

Why I Left A “Good” Marriage

I believe in love. I believe in forever.

But I chose to walk away.

Unlike many other stories here on The Band, my ex-husband didn’t beat me or abuse me, but I during my marriage, I started to lose my sense of self.

I went to a therapist a few years into our marriage for some issues that were mine, and in therapy, I came to realize that he had some issues, too. I had some issues with depression which I worked through with medication and my therapist.

My ex used to give me grief for going and working out – complaining that I “never spent any time with him,” although he spent hours a day glued to online computer games. He also had anxiety and some Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, but never wanted to admit it.

When our son was born, I did more than 95% of the parenting. I was a single parent who happened to be married.

He installed the security system for our son’s daycare, and, three weeks later, it was broken into. So he was called in the middle of the night to go to the daycare and make a DVD copy of the security video for the cops. This event apparently triggered flashbacks of the trauma that occurred several years earlier, when he walked in on someone burglarizing our house.

A month after the daycare break-in, he had a huge breakdown. We’d gotten a baby sitter and gone out to have a few drinks – nothing really crazy. That night was spent with him curled in a ball on the bathroom floor as I tried to calm him down. Eventually, he agreed to allow me take him to the emergency room for help. He was agitated, irritated, and anxious. They sent us home, advising us it was a panic attack, and told him to see his regular doctor.

He promised he would see the regular doctor and he did…but he refused all types of treatment – no drugs or therapist for him. He told me he knew his triggers – he had it under control. But I began to notice his behaviors getting worse – he didn’t like being out at night. He didn’t sleep well. He didn’t like being home at night when I wasn’t there, if I had a work function to attend.

He complained that we didn’t have sex enough. I worked a full-time stressful job outside of the home and came home every night to perform the majority of childcare and the house.

He liked the money I made, but never let me vent about my job, like a partner is supposed to do. I spoke to my OB/GYN about medication to help to increase my sex drive. My OB told me that I also needed to have consistent time to myself every week to recharge – just an hour or two would do. So I told him that. He told me our schedules didn’t allow for that, even though for years he had gone to a foreign language class once a week and, at one time, also had two evenings each week to himself to play online games.

That was the last straw for me.

I began to sleep more. I stopped taking care of myself. So I called my OB and resumed my medication. I told my friends what I needed to do and they hashed through all the good, bad, and ugly issues with me, strengthening my purpose and resolve.

We tried marriage counseling, and the counselor affirmed my concerns regarding his anxiety issues. She helped give me the courage to walk away.

I did not want to be a statistic. I got married believing it was forever. I loathed the thought of letting go of that dream,  breaking up my family. However, I knew that my son deserved to know his mom was happy and healthy.

And I am. I’m off my medications for anxiety or depression, though I wouldn’t hesitate to call someone if I needed it. I have a great support network of family and friends who all helped me through the rough transition.

My divorce was final on December 14. I walked down those steps outside the courthouse and wasn’t sure how to feel. It wasn’t exactly something to celebrate, and part of me mourns what I lost, but I know that I can move forward now.

Dose of Happy: Almost Broken Habits

I painted my nails two weeks ago in honor of Susan Niebur and her almost-5-year battle with inflammatory breast cancer.

I’ve never had a period of time where I stopped picking my nails.

I don’t bite. I pick. I did realize a long time ago that biting them was pretty gross. But I pick. And pick. And pick.


I know it’s anxiety. And maybe even a little OCD.

But I painted my nails and wanted them to be perfect. For Susan, who would never see them.

I haven’t picked at my fingers in TWO WEEKS, y’all!

I changed the purple sparkle polish twice and now it has clear/silver glitter polish. They’re so pretty I can hardly stand it.

I want to pick. But I’m not.

My Dose of Happy this week is that I’m able to tap my fingernails on my computer and THEY MAKE NOISE!!


What’s your Happy?

Don’t think you have one? Look harder. Something will make you smile today.

We want to know! Just find a bit of happy in this Monday!

I Just Wish Someone Understood…

A wise woman told me to write up my story and tell the hell out of it.  So, here I am.

Sometimes, I feel like I have the only kid like mine. My son was diagnosed between 3 and 4. He is one of 3 I have, with special needs. For the time being, I’m focusing on my oldest.

We knew something was not right with him. He threw an 80 lb. mattress across the room at me. How does a 3 year old do that? He never slept. He would have meltdowns and throw things at me. I have gotten black eyes from everything from a book to an army boot to the back of the head.

Thankfully, I had a wonderful doctor tell me how to deal with the meltdowns and those came less and less often. However, he would wander. We had two incredibly scary events where he wandered off when he was 5, but he had angels and off duty police officers watching out for him.

When we got the Autism diagnosis, I knew nothing about Autism. Most people equate it to the movie Rain Man. I had never seen the movie so I had no clue. All I knew was Doug Flutie, an NFL football player, had a cereal that’s proceeds went to autism awareness. The only reason I knew that is because I saw the commercial once while my husband was watching a game. That’s all I knew.  Nothing else.

So, the journey was rocky and hard.  The first year my husband was stationed in Korea, so he was not around to learn what I did.

I relied on “friends” I thought that I had to help. Instead, I got investigated by CPS (child protective services) for making everything up. The only thing that was founded was that I was stressed. (Gee no idea why???)

My son’s first year in school was horrible. Open classroom and he would have meltdowns. They did not want to deal with him, so 5 out of 5 days he went to school, he was sent home early. I had no idea what I was supposed to be doing or how the school should have been handling him.

Thankfully, the school he was moved to had a wonderful Spec Ed teacher that knew what she was doing, to this day, I will still kiss the ground that she walks on.

He improved and stayed in school. Had messy moods and lack of sleeping so we had to join the medicine bus. So many doctors and specialists, “you should do this” and “don’t do that and this and that.”

The kid is a loving, sweet amazing kid. He has a hard time showing that. He has many co-morbidities along with his autism. ADHD, ODD, Anxiety, depression, hypermobility, OCD, etc.

In our journey with him, we realized he wasn’t like most kids with autism. So many can use an iPad and it’s nothing. A phone and no problem. With my son, he can not tell the difference between reality and what’s on the iPad or phone. We tried. We tried so many times, so he could be like his friends or brothers. But it ultimately turned out so, so, so, so bad.

When he was 11 a child that bullied him at school told him that triple x rated stuff on the internet was bad and if you looked at it you were super special because not everyone’s computer can look at it. Ever since that day, my son has been fixated on it. At 11 he had no idea what it was, just that it was special and not everyone could see it. As he grew into puberty it got worse and worse. I still don’t think he knows exactly what its supposed to mean to a person, because his thinking age is around 10, but he knows its bad, he’s told his therapist it’s bad. He’s tried to look at it on the internet at school.

We had everything on our cable blocked so that he could not watch it or order it and somehow he got around it and we had a $900 bill.  (I’m still drinking coffee to cope with that one)

Now he’s in a dark, dark place. He’s obsessed with death. He writes and writes and writes about death scenes. Then he tears them up. He talked to his therapist, but he sees no problem. We can not even let this child watch cop TV shows it’s that bad. Nothing to do with magic, or death.

My husband and I have been watching his behavior as of the last 2-3 months and I’m not liking what I see. Neither does my husband.

His moods are very erratic. One minute he’s happy, the next he’s angry and ready to fight. Then he’s happy. (Note: he has not touched a soul, just has gotten angry with words) These mood changes make me think he’s bipolar. We were warned that he probably was a few years ago. We knew it was coming.

Now we’re questioning the doctor, because my husband and I are so completely and mentally drained from dealing with his moods and trying to keep his brothers from upsetting him. The doctor is trying to tell us that he’s making it all up and that we just have to deal with it. My first thought, no lie, was, “The fuck you mean deal with it? I’ve BEEN living with it! We came to you for help on how to KEEP dealing with it, asshole!”  I, of course, did not say that, because I was too tired.

This kid has been in-patient 7, lost count after that, times for being bullied and being suicidal. I’m scared to death something is going to set him off. Granted all sharp instruments are kept under lock and key. We continue to try and understand what is going on, but our son can not tell us because he does not remember the mood swings.

His doctor said, because he does not feel bad for being angry and mean, he is not bipolar. DUDE, he’s autistic, he’s not going to feel bad.

I had 2 major surgeries and he bumped what I had surgery on, I started crying and he didn’t give two craps. That does not mean he’s not bipolar!

It’s hard to keep him busy. He gets bored with puzzles and crosswords and TV, because we have seriously toned down everything that he can watch. I’m just at a loss on where I should go from here. There’s probably a lot I left out of his story, I’m sorry for that.

Here’s another twist on his story. He legit thinks he’s from another dimension. He thinks he is a female from another dimension, that he will leave to find when he is 18 years old. There are artifacts all over the world that he has to collect in order to remain safe in this other dimension. He thinks that the here and now is just temporary. Because of his beliefs with this, he can not watch or read anything that involves fantasy. Because he can not and will not be able to tell the difference between what is real and what is not.

His therapist and I had a long talk today about it. I had to stop from bursting into tears, because I have never heard of another child like mine. I explained that to him and asked what do I do. He said I do what I’m doing… Be mom.

It did not help when he said that in the 13 years that he had been doing what he does, he had never met another kid like my son.

Sometimes, being a mom is rough as hell when it feels like no matter what you do, it’s out of control. You know all those books you read before you have kids?  I never read any chapters on Autism or special needs and I sure as hell never read any on how to deal with this kind of life for your child.

I guess I should add that I am dealing with my own depression and anxiety right now. My anxiety is off the charts and my shrink threw me into counseling. Didn’t even ask just threw me in. I also have a chronic illness and it flares up in the form of pain when I’m extremely stressed out, the last 3 months I’ve gotten little relief.

It’s sad to say at this point, I’ll deal with me as it comes. I just want my son to be okay. I know I need to worry about me, too. If he is okay, then I can be okay.

Basically, I’m writing this because I just need to know I’m not alone. I’m so tired. My gut instinct with this kid is never wrong. My gut says he needs help with this anger thing and his doctor is being stupid.

The Rest Of My Life

Anyone who claims the teen years are the “best of your life” is lying.

This is his struggle:

I was born in 1998, and until fourth grade, I was the big kid everyone knew and liked; I was popular and well-respected. No one bullied me. That all changed in fifth grade when I moved to Arlington, WA and started over at a new school.

My first – and worst – mistake was mistaking a jackwagon of a “friend” (who’s not much of one now) for a girl I liked.

You see where this is going – I was called “gay” and “bisexual” until the end of seventh grade when people forgot about it.

In the summer before eighth grade, I had my first real girlfriend. Over that summer, she sexually abused me, and I was traumatized.

After I ended it with her, I was scared of girls, until I met my previous girlfriend whom I dated for seven months. She was too scared to tell me when I was doing something that made her uncomfortable, so she left me. She broke my heart when she told that I made her feel like a “slut.”

It killed me to hear that.

After that, I screwed up, continued texting her, tried to be around her. That was a colossally bad idea. Things got so much worse.

People who’d been my friends turned on me because I’d hurt her, even though I wasn’t aware I’d been hurting her. Only few people tried to comfort me, trying to help my broken heart.

One day after a long track practice, I was finally getting over her, and a few buddies were fooling around, relaxing and telling stories. We were chatting about cars, girls, and fishing and I brought up some stupid (yet true) things about my ex-girlfriend. One of those guys told her.

After a month, I texted her, asking who’d told her what I’d said. She confirmed it was one of the guys from my track team. I lost control and punched him in the mouth – not because he’d told her, but because he’d lied to me; telling me he hadn’t told her.

Her parents showed up at a fourth of July parade and stopped to pet my dog. I looked in her Mom’s eyes and shook her Dad’s hand. My ex hid her face behind her hair.

I learned that her new boyfriend is one of my most trusted (well, WAS trusted) and close friends. I have ADD, an unusual form of OCD, which means that it’s far harder for me to get over things. Something a normal person forgets about in, say a week, takes me months. Since what I’m trying to get over is heartbreak, it takes more than months to work through.

I was sentenced to eight hours of community service for juvenile assault. I’m finding ways to express myself – music, friends, and cars.

I’m now helping a friend who was sexually abused get back on her feet, and spending more time with my girlfriend. Wish me (and my friend) luck, The Band!

Thanks for reading, The Band.

Do you have any advice for me?

Dark Days Ahead

I didn’t know if I wanted to write about this subject or not.

It’s a dark one.

One a lot of people don’t want to talk about. But I have been suffering with this for several months now and I need to talk. I need to get it all out.

You see, I am what they call “crazy.” I suffer from a wide range of issues. Social Anxiety Disorder, Generalized Anxiety, Severe Depression, Panic Disorder, PTSD, Agoraphobia, OCD. The list seems endless which makes me feel extra crazy. I also suffer from extreme pain in my feet, hands, knees and ankles. They doctors have no answers for that yet. I don’t know that they ever will. If blood tests can’t show it, I may never have answers. And my last issue is my stomach, I have awful pains in my stomach. My upper GI tract is where the pain is and the only answer they have is GERD but the medicines thus far aren’t helping. I always feel like I am about to throw up, I live in the bathroom and a lot of times I spend days and nights vomiting. It’s no fun. And now I have been afflicted with migraines and insomnia. I am sure the two walk hand-in-hand. I am not sure how much I can truly take. I want it all to end but I don’t know how. I have so much wrong with me. And so much people really don’t know, because I am afraid to talk about it or it’s to painful to talk about.

But my biggest problem is the medicines I’m taking. None of them seem to help. They only seem to make everything worse. And I just don’t know what to do. I know I need medicines. But what do you do when the medicine cause more problems than it solves?

I am afraid of being crazy forever. I am afraid I will end up in the loony bin. I am afraid I will snap and there will be no coming back. I am just afraid. The panic is the worst. I think the depression stems from the panic. And the pain and stomach issues cause more panic. So it’s a never-ending cycle.

But I have been doing some Google research and it seems Cymbalta, which I am on, can cause more harm than good in some people. And I started taking it because it had the least stomach side effects as well as sexual side effects. Well the sex thing is non-existent and is ruining my marriage. And my stomach obviously isn’t getting any better. So I just don’t know what to do. Do I stop the SNRI? Because all the others’ side effects are way worse.

Do I just focus on the Panic? What do I do? And for sleep what do I do? I haven’t slept in months it seems like. And I am losing my mind. I thought it was the anti-anxiety pills I was on, but I am now beginning to think that it’s the Cymbalta and it does not play well with others. I am at the end of my rope. I just don’t know what to do anymore.

I just want to feel normal again, and I am not even sure what normal is anymore.