Three Lies I Tell Myself

I can be normal.

I suppose it depends on your definition of normal, but I will never meet the status quo and that makes me sad so I tell myself that one day I will even though I know that I will not. Sometimes it is better to openly lie to yourself instead of completely accepting something that will crush part of who you are.

I will be Superdad.

I will be the best dad I can be, but that will never be enough for some people. I have days when I think it won’t be enough for my kids either. I have already failed my six year old, will I fail my two year old as well? Will good enough be good enough for me and my kids? Will I be what they need or will I fall short giving everything I can? I will never be Superdad, I will be lucky if I am Decentdad.

I will one day be healed.

This is the big one. I will never be healed. I will be “sick” for the rest of my life. I will be a burden to those around me forever. I will always be that guy with schizophrenia. AND as an added bonus I could pass it on to my kids. Yea!

We tell ourselves lies to soften the blow of reality, but when we live in a world of lies reality has a way of breaking through and crushing us. I try not to be crushed, but I fail most of the time.


Another Birthday Gone

September 6th was my birthday. It was a day that I would have rather slept through. A total of 8 people wished me happy birthday and one of them was not my son. I had to take the dog we just adopted to a rescue because my chiwawa mix (Beverly) was vomiting on herself, peeing on the floor, refusing to move, shaking and had been tossed around a bit by the dog who was an English Mastiff. A big dog was not a bad idea, a HUGE dog was a horrible idea. My wife and mother-in-law hate me, if only temporarily, for getting rid of the dog, but I really had no choice as I could not put my Beverly in any more danger. I cleaned the couch to get rid of the big dog’s smell and I made dinner. I took care of my daughter so my wife could work and I got no time to myself. My wife did not even wish me a happy birthday until after 5pm. She did say that we could observe my birthday some other day, but it was my birthday and it seemed like everyone just forgot and didn’t care which makes me think they didn’t care about me. I don’t want a party I just want a little “happy birthday” form those that are supposed to love me and be my friends. My family even fell short, but I stopped counting on them years ago.

Another day, another year, another disappointment.

The Introduction Of The New Me

Over the last seven years my life has changed dramatically. I got married to the love of my life and life itself seemed wonderful. We had a blissful honeymoon and I thought that was how the entirety of my life would go (I believe she did as well). We were both disappointed.

My mental illnesses got worse and worse. I became more and more susceptible to the stress around me. Jobs started lasting less and less time (I had never lasted long at a job because I got bored or my anger got the best of me, or I had the rare anxiety attack and I never went back because I was embarrassed). I spent quite a bit of time in and out of the hospital because of the anxiety attacks that were coming on weekly or sometimes even more frequently than that.

I lost my last job because I had too much time away due to the inability to handle stress and determined that school was my best bet. I would change majors from Culinary Arts to something less stressful. Instead, while living with my in-laws I had my breakdown.

Over the next two months I degraded so fast that neither my wife nor I knew what was going on. She became cold and I became distant. Everyone was out to get me and I could not leave my desk chair other than to go outside to the comfort of my secluded balcony to smoke. It was obvious that I needed help so, with my wife’s help, I got it.

To make a long story short as I have gone over most of this before, I eventually found the psychiatrist I am with now. I eventually found the right mix of medications and I eventually started to feel normal.

I wanted out of the house. I want out of my desk chair. I started to do more around the house. I started spending time with my daughter. I started being a somewhat normal human being.

Last week I decided that it was time for me to go back to work. Due to child support from my first marriage, I need to make a certain amount just to bring in what I am bringing in now with my disability and the jobs that disability will find for you are a joke.

So I am job hunting. I haven’t worked since 2007. I am a published writer so I use that as my work experience for the last several years, but a lot of employers don’t look kindly on that. I will find a job. I will contribute to my household. I will be a active member of society. I will introduce the world to the new me.

Family Camping Trip Failure Leads To Mommy Blacking Out

My two year old daughter’s first camping trip started after her soccer practice on Friday evening. The tent was up before full dark and we were in decent spirits … until she realized she was going to have to sleep in tent. Not in her bed. On her own air mattress. Not in mommy and daddy’s bed. Without her music. Not in the climate controlled luxury of a home.

She finally passed out around midnight on my wife’s arm as we flitted in and out of sleep. She was being pinned in place and I was fighting to not fall off the mattress. I should have gone to my daughter’s mattress, but I refuse to sleep with an animal in my bed and the dog was occupying my daughter mattress.

We tried to recover in the morning, but as the cloud of condensation poured out of my mouth I realized that I packed nothing for weather below 65 and sunny. A morning trip to Walmart for clothes and McDonalds for a quick breakfast as it was nearing 8:30 am after the leaving the store and would be too late to get breakfast cooked by the time we got back.

We got back and the demon came out. She demanded that we go hiking so it wasn’t all bad, but as we had to drive to the trail because the one off the campsite was not suitable for a two year old, she screamed the whole way that she wanted to “GO HIKINIG NOW”.

Hiking started out marvelously.

On her own to start the hike

Getting a little help from mommy up the first hill.

This was the las happy face until it was all over.

The remainder of the hiking consisted of standing still and being carried, along with crying, hitting, kicking the dog, and butt busting. We cut the hike in half and went back to the campsite.

While we were relaxing my perfect angel poured an entire can of soda in the tent, threw the dogs water and food, kicked the dog again, went on a general rampage to the point that I finally said enough and started packing things up as my wife cleaned and helped me tear down. The first camping trip was over. It did not look like there would be another one.

I called and begged my mother-in-law to take our daughter overnight so that we wouldn’t go further out of our minds and she (thankfully) agreed. When we dropped her off I realized that I forgot to give my daughter her nighttime blankets and buddies which could have been one of the reasons for no sleep and we also found out she is cutting her lower rear molars. All of that added up lead us to believe that we could probably try camping again under different circumstances and if we took her brother to keep her busy (and out of our hair).

We headed home and contemplated climbing in bed and not getting out until morning even though it was only 3:30 pm.

We should have.

Instead we decided that we were going to go home and drink a little while we watched a movie which, somehow, turned into, “Let’s buy a bottle of rum and play a movie drinking game”.

Watching The Hangover (a great comedy) and taking a shot every time someone says “Doug” is impossible. I remember making it 32 minutes into the movie and that is only because we were laughing and missed some Doug’s.

I woke up with a horrible headache at 9 am. I freaked out as we had to have our daughter picked up at 11 am. I rolled over to wake up my wife and when I touched her I smelled it. She had vomited in her sleep. She warned me not to come near her as she woke up in it at some point and apparently rolled it up in the sheets (which are being thrown out) and passed back out.

She was lucky that she wasn’t sleeping on her back or she would have choked to death as she was not sleeping, she was passed the ‘f’ out.

Sad part? Probably the best night I have had in years and even thought it took me until 3 or 4 pm to recover enough to not vomit every time I moved, I know I would do it over given the chance and I plan on doing it again. The next time we will wait until the guys get to Vegas to start drinking and instead of slamming shots we will drink mixed drinks and beer, adding a few rules of our own.

So now the house is a mess. Our daughter is asleep after being drugged with teething tablets and Tylenol. My wife is asleep on clean sheets, covered with a clean comforter. My week looks atrocious as I will be struggling to find a way to get back into a routine. And we all feel like we were in the back of a box truck rolling down the side of a mountain.

  • Camping with a cranky toddler – bad.
  • Drinking with your wife – good.
  • Drinking until you blackout – bad.
  • Smiling at the end of the day because you realize the love that exists in your familiy is strong, deep and real – wonderful.

How was your weekend?

I Assaulted My Wife And Have Been Abusing Her For Years

The assault was provoked, but not excusable – assault never is.

I had a terrible childhood. One male role model (my grandfather) who still cheated, drank, yelled screamed and hit my grandmother. The others were drug addicts and were even more physically abusive to me and my mother or their significant others or random woman.

I was determined to be a “good dad” I was determined to be nothing like any of them. When my son came along I was crushed because I knew I was going to end up a weekend dad as I was divorcing his mother because I had no love for her.

When my daughter was born I was in a healthy (or so I thought) relationship and was determined to be the dad I always wanted too be. As a note: when I got married the second time, to a woman I knew I was in love with and had spent two years determining that that was true, I was determined to be the husband that my mother never had (higher aspirations than reality).

I have been and hope to always be a better husband than those sacks of flesh that my mother called boyfriend, fiancé, or husband, but apparently part of being a better husband is not only to treat the woman like a queen and do whatever she wants, but to understand her needs, to truly appreciate what she thinks is important. It is to not continue to dote on her at every chance and more, but to show her you love her in subtle ways, less public ways, less “embarrassing” ways. And most important that every woman is different and no matter how much “experience” with women you have, you have none with that particular woman.

Just like women, every child is different so my outline for being The World’s Greatest Father did not take in to account the individual child or her mother.

I can give a million excuses as to why I am not everything my daughter and wife deserve, but it boils down to me. No one and nothing else can possibly be to blame for how my relationships with my family are.

To the issue at hand:

Sunday. Mother’s Day.

It was raining and my initial plan of taking my daughter and the dogs to the park was out of the question – not because of the rain, but the mud. I racked my brain for other ideas. I thought about indoor activities that would take a couple of hours as the dogs don’t really bother my wife and she could still have some Mommy Time.

The Natural History Museum would have been a good idea, but they were having a “Mother’s Day Brunch” and I am not big into crowds (the museum holds over 1000 people in a small area).

The Aquarium would have been an option, but even though we are not poor I am not paying $40 for my 2 year old and me to go see some fish for 45 minutes. Plus parking.

My extended family were all running in their own directions and they are all between 45 and 70 minutes away. My in-laws just got back from a very long drive where they dealt with the death of my mother-in-law’s father’s estate so I didn’t want to bother them and I would just end up sticking my foot in my mouth anyway.

Finally I checked the weather (65F – 68F) and saw that it was supposed to rain all day, but no storms (thunder and lightning) were expected. I really wanted to get out of the house so I decided to go to the zoo. I dressed my daughter in jeans that were tucked into boots over socks, a long sleeve shirt, a hoodie, and a jean jacket. I also brought towels and my hat.

When we got to the zoo my daughter went in the stroller and I put the hood up which ensured that her head was going to stay dry. I think that if her head would’ve been getting wet we would have come straight home.

We got to the elephants (first animal on our trek) at 10:15 am and had a blast. I got soaked as I will not carry an umbrella and I hate ponchos (I am a stubborn person). My daughter also got wet, especially her legs as they were sticking out of the stroller. At 11:42 am my wife sent me a message saying,

I miss you guys Sad smile I’m not used to being by myself

I called her and she was crying. I made myself believe for a minute that she missed me enough to make her cry, but before too long I knew better. I am sure she missed me, but she missed our two year old.

I had been getting ready to leave and go get a bot to eat with my baby girl anyway so I just asked mommy if she wanted to go. She said that she would like to, but she didn’t have to. I should have left it at that and gone to lunch. Instead I wanted to give her what I thought she wanted (in this case it is what she wanted) and take her to lunch with us.

When we got to the car, my daughter and me, I took off her jean jacket and her hoodie was dry. Her legs were soaked, but her chest was dry. When I was young I was told that as long as your chest was not wet you were fine. I was even told this by the Boy Scouts so I took that to mean that my daughter could sit in wet jeans for a while.

After picking up my wife and getting to the restaurant, my daughter’s mommy felt her pants and had a fit. I told her what I had been taught and she was not satisfied. She decided that we could eat, but she was still upset.

When we got the toddler in the high chair my wife felt the pants again and realized they were even wetter than she thought them to be. She informed me that if she would have know they were wet we would not have gone out to eat, but we would have changed her pants. I apologized.

She called me a Bad Dad.

This may not mean much, if anything to some people, but I would have rather had her cut my gut open with a rusty scalpel than have someone call me that.

I blew up. I thought I hit the table and lifted it off the ground, but instead I threw my drink at her and said:

F*ck You!

I stormed out and went to the car. I texted her immediately and said that I was not leaving as I would not leave my daughter anywhere without a ride.

When I calmed down I tried to call and text, but got no response. I was trying to not go back in the restaurant as I didn’t want an even bigger scene, but I had to apologize and tell her that she hurt me so I tried to go back in. The manager met me at the door and said I assaulted her and she would call the cops if I tried to go back in especially since there was a kid involved. She did even let me say a word. I made it her business when I blew up in her store.

I have all kinds of issues with this. If the roles would have been reversed and I was the one who got yelled at and had a drink thrown at them, no one would have barred my wife from entering the establishment. No one would have helped me clean up (everyone apparently helped her). No one would have offered to pay for my food (everyone from the manager to the couple in the booth next to us tried to pay the bill).

Yes it was assault. No it’s not better than hitting her. No there is no excuse.

Men get assaulted too and even though there are hundreds of thousands of domestic violence cases that go unreported every year, that only takes into account the man on woman cases. What about the woman on man cases? Or the woman on woman? Or the man on man? None of it is right. It is all wrong. There is no excuse for any of it, but none of it should be treated any differently.

That’s how I assaulted my wife. “I’m sorry” is a phrase not only overused but one that even though it does say everything I mean, it says nothing that I mean, nor will it ever.

As far as how I have been abusing her for years (this is serious, do not laugh or take this lightly, this is not to take attention away from the prior information) –

She has said that she was going to leave a few times over the years for various reasons and I have told her that if she leaves I would kill myself. After a while I thought that was too much so I just told her I would be dead soon after. She considers that psychological abuse.

I tell her that she is my world. I write her love poetry. I compliment her at every turn. I send her cute text messages, I write cute messages on her Facebook wall. That is all abuse as well, since she doesn’t want it.

I am not saying I have not abused her because if she thinks I have then I have, but she is not alone. The difference is that I would never tell her for fear of losing her and I think just telling her would be a form of abuse if those other things are abuse.

My Name Is W And I’m Mentally Ill

Rethink Mental IllnessI was officially diagnosed as bipolar sometime around 1990. I don’t remember the first time I got married, but I don’t remember a lot of things from those 15 or so years. Drugs were a huge factor for my memory loss, mental illness was another. My son was born October 28, 2005. My divorce from his mother was finalized in April of 2006. I got remarried on June 15, 2007. I was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 2008. My daughter was born on March 3, 2010.

My son was not planned. We found out that my soon-to-be ex-wife was pregnant when we filed for divorce, a pregnancy test was a mandatory part of the divorce proceedings. My ex,along with my current partner and all of our respective families knew I would not be a good father because of the many issues I was having (I was drug free at that time, but there were many other issues that turned out to be one big issue), but I was determined to be a better dad than I ever had. I have no contact with my father anymore and when I did it was not the best. He encouraged me to continue using a lot of the drugs I was using – not a father and a horrible dad. I had more custody of my son than I probably should have had, but instead of giving up rights to him, which would have been better (read: easier) for me, I did everything I could and more.

My swinging moods, increasing anxiety, building fears, and growing paranoia made caring for just myself difficult. It made showing the love that I had for my partner nearly impossible at times due to the lack of emotion and, regretfully, that little boy took so much of a back seat in my life that he was barely in the car.

Luckily I had and have a wonderful support system. My partner was number one. My ex would not let me have my son unless my girlfriend turned wife was going to be with us for the entire time. She never took this or any other issue to court as I never gave her a reason by arguing with her. I don’t want to know what would have happened if she did and I find it is best not to dwell on it. Next came my now mother-in-law and by extension her husband. They were there even more than my own mother. It was more than I could have asked or expected from them. What I did get from my mother was more than was expected, but less than what was wanted; however, she came next. Then was my little sister and finally my partner’s sister (not that her contribution was small). I had others helping me, both mentally and physically (not including my mental health professionals), but those were the primary individuals. That amount of people assisting me was more than most people ever have in their lives to assist with their kids or their lives in general; I know that and I am grateful to them all.

The reason my ex would not let me have my son alone was because she knew I had mental issues (i.e. bipolar disorder, megalomania, compulsive lying, hallucinations and more). She believed that I was one day going to snap and, without someone else around, hurt our son – which was never going to happen. My ex also believed that I just needed to work hard enough (at a paying job) and I would be cured because hard work cures everything (except cancer, diabetes and anything there is a blood test for – other than migraines which she had so that made them real unlike mental illness).

Just like cancer, those with a mental illness can’t just magically “get over it” by wishing it away or “just not thinking about it”, but like the cancer patient that braves through it and doesn’t overreact, the mentally ill patient needs to take a page out of the cancer patient’s book and stop overreacting and attempting to get sympathy for their illnesses (if they are able to).

Another big misnomer is that every one with a major metal illness (especially schizophrenia) is violent and if they are not currently violent then the violence is just below the surface waiting to strike out at anyone and anything. I have a ton of anxiety and sometimes need to walk away from a situation or feel like I am going to have a heart attack, but I am less likely to explode in a fit of rage than the average parent of a two-year old who gets overly frustrated.

Some mental illnesses are brought on and caused by environmental factors such as a parent with wild mood swings or abuse of any kind or any number of things, but it is not always about “blaming mommy”. People whine and complain that people with mental illnesses constantly are blaming other people and they are right. Some of it is justified and some of it is just ridiculous. Most mental illnesses are the subject of constant study, but have not been completely unlocked. It is believed that the brain chemistry has something to do with a lot of the mental disorders (proven by scans and such) and genetics are suspected to also be a factor, especially in patients with schizophrenia. Drug use and self harm are also thought to be causes, but the causes why that is present in the first place is another unknown. Most illnesses, mental and otherwise, are still being studied to determine the cause and origin. Many may never be discovered, but we are working to fix what we do know about. The only mental patient that should be ever begin to be browbeaten is one who does not seek help. There are programs out there so anyone of any class can receive help. I did when I was broke, nearly homeless and completely beaten down. Even physical illness have a similar situation only sometimes it is not as easy for them to get the help they need.

So the big difference between the severely and permanently physically ill patient and a mentally ill patient is that one is more accepted than the other and the other can receive help easier. An illness is an illness and should be treated as such. Most of us do not wish to be treated any differently, however some of us have to be treated with a bit more caution and ease.

I will die will my illness, but my treatment will hopefully prevent me from falling into a world where my illness rules me and I lose control of my mental facilities.

To all those out there that share my situation, just remember to not only take one day at a time (minute by minute), but also keep goals and dreams in mind and share them with a partner or close friend so they can help you reach/achieve them.

Positive Or Negative Reinforcement – What Works Best

We have tried spanking, hand smacking, yelling, time-out, removal of privileges and others. We are at a loss. We are currently researching positive and negative reinforcement. I am not an expert in … anything, but I will share what I have found and my opinions.

To figure out whether positive or negative reinforcement works best for you and which works best for me, we need to understand what they mean.

  • Positive reinforcement

    1. In behaviorism, positive reinforcement occurs when a reward, sometimes called a reinforcer, is given for a specific desired behavior. Other behaviors, even those that are negative, are simply ignored. Over time, this will lead to an increase in the desired behavior.
    2. Positive reinforcement must be individualized to the specific person receiving it. What reinforces one person’s behavior may not have the same effect on someone else.

My notes on Positive Reinforcement

    • There is absolutely NO discipline. My daughter is 2.
    • She throws things, kicks the dog, bites mommy and daddy, colors on the walls, tries to break the windows, spits on everything and more.
    • I can not begin to imagine just ignoring that behavior and praising what little good behavior she does have.
    • I understand the theory, but I don’t believe it will work with my little one.
    • It may, however, work for my six year old as he would understand the benefits of it.
    • I would also recommend explaining what “prizes” the child receives for each good deed.
    • And last I would keep the rewards steady and once a sticker is given for cleaning up their dinner plate then they always get a sticker for doing so, not an extra ten minutes of TV.
  • Negative reinforcement

    1. In behaviorism, negative reinforcement involves the removal of an unpleasant stimulus when a desired behavior occurs. It differs from positive reinforcement as the stimulus is taken away rather than given when the behavior happens. The principles of negative reinforcement may actually worsen a phobia.
    2. In negative reinforcement, a response or behavior is strengthened by stopping, removing or avoiding a negative outcome or aversive stimulus.
    3. Aversive stimuli tend to involve some type of discomfort, either physical or psychological. Behaviors are negatively reinforced when they allow you to escape from aversive stimuli that are already present or allow you to completely avoid the aversive stimuli before they happen.
    4. One of the best ways to remember negative reinforcement is to think of it as something being subtracted from the situation. When you look at it in this way, it may be easier to identify examples of negative reinforcement in the real-world.

My notes on Negative Reinforcement

  • This is what we are probably going to do.
  • It is close to what we have been doing and I believe it will be an easy transition.
  • It will mean less discipline, but we will not be ignoring bad behavior.
  • We will reward the good behavior by rewarding our daughter not the behavior itself.
  • Just like negative reinforcement we will set the rewards ahead of time and explain them to our little girl and hope that she understands them.
  • Instead of spanking or hand smacking we will attempt to divert her to a positive action (i.e. coloring on the walls to coloring on her easel)
  • My hardest transition: no time-out.

Our pediatrician suggested time-out only and if she ran away from it or tried to get away at all we should strap her into a five point harness while she is in times –out which should be 2 (her age) +1 minutes. I know that after a minute and a half she forgets what she has done and I refuse to restrain my child. I like the pediatrician, but I think that was a bit harsh.

Stickers and Mickey Mouse here we come. Time-out chair, you have served us well, but it is time to retire you – for now.