writing out loud

Why the hell am I writing this? shutterstock_122485786-1024x640

First, spare me and yourself the it’s so sad, how did this happen garbage.

Second, there is no shame, no blame, no hate, no embarrassment, no resentment that I bear my daughter.  On the contrary, my love for her is immeasurable, my respect for her immense, she is in my heart and soul, unconditionally.  She has a disease.  I am humbled at how she continues to endure what is a life-long hell on earth.  She is a beautiful, artistic, graceful, fragile creature of air and light who didn’t choose bi-polar, heroin addiction as a life path.  She has a disease, for which this country offers jail, institutions, or death as the treatments of choice.

Third, I, we, her family, finally have our backs against the wall;  the only way we can help her now is to deliberately, even callously,  leave her to her own devices.  And baby, that sucks every ounce of strength I have.  So I thought, write.  I know there are so many people out there in the same stinking boat, feeling the same stinking way, so I thought, write it out loud, write the truth, because it’s not just about me anymore.  And maybe, somewhere in these words, I’ll find some peace of mind, some piece of my mind. And maybe more people will realize that her disease is not a crime, not a choice, and that families are no more equipped to treat this disease on our own than we could cancer.

Fourth, and utterly essential to my survival, is because if she can suffer this, I can goddamn well be her mother through it, even if it’s from a self-imposed, soul-tearing distance, and I can goddamn well not pretend she doesn’t exist, or that everything’s peachy-keen, or that I have a clue how to keep it together.

just a little pin prick

I came to my teen years during the late sixties, the decade of protest and change. No parent of my age is naive to the trinity of sex, drugs, rock-n-roll…we invented it, we lived through the fads – grass to cocaine to pills.  The sixties and seventies were rife with hard-core drug songs: Lucy in the Sky, Cold Turkey, White Rabbit, Sister Morphine, Gold Dust Woman, and Heroin.  Neil Young’s The Needle and the Damage Done was likely one of the earliest drug-warning laments.  Nathaniel Rateliff’s S.O.B. aint nothing new.  My parents both hailed from a long line of alcoholics, but the addiction gene went past me without so much as a glance.

My sons, born in the early eighties, also dodged the gene bullet.  My daughter, born in the late eighties,  rose through her teen years as a privileged, suburban, white collar college student, who loved ballet, art, social causes, and her friends.  That she is bi-polar wasn’t something obvious until too late.  The gene did not pass her by – it wrapped itself around her and practically invited the college boyfriend to introduce her to his close personal friend, the devil.  Opiates, the needle, and hell on earth. It can happen to anybody…brutal comfort.

I wonder if my generation didn’t just take the counter-culture-became-our-culture for granted, and not for the sordid warning it should have been?  So smack (no fucking pun, believe me) me in the face with a shovel, and  our kids are dying in a heroin plague.  My daughter is still dancing with the devil, but my son’s best friend, over a dozen young women I’ve met through my daughter’s programs, young men and women my kids went to high school and college with, are all overdosed and gone – all in the arms of an Angel, and God bless her, but Sarah McLachlan was not writing about heaven, but about a friend’s heroin death.

May they find some comfort there.

losing it

I’m stressed, you’re stressed, we’re all stressed.  Our stress has stress.For the longest time, it’s how I knew I was alive, how I knew I was tough, and why I took happy pills.  Recently when my counselor (I went back for a tune up after a 15 year break) firmly corrected my self-diagnosis from stress to trauma, it explained a lot.

My first thought was denial – so many people I know are worse off.  My second thought was that physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, I’m overwhelmed and lost and sick.   The camel’s back is broken – I’ve just kept trying to ride it anyway.  All of the major  tragedies of my life have decided to re-awaken and join the current situation to kick my ass.  To misquote Neil Young – I’m painted in a dark, dark place, losing my soul on a long highway in my mind. My counselor is a tough, smart lady; she has some advice on finding peace again on the “spirit road”..we’ll see just how tough I am.