Tag Archives: family

mt rainier fron kendall catwalk hike

the brother i never had

I got a phone call this morning. i think i feel a little like anxious mom when recently she found out about the passing of her biological mother that she never knew. I felt and feel sadness when I heard my brother has lost his battle with cancer yet the feelings are definitely tempered considering the years of disconnect between him and I.

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mt rainier fron kendall catwalk hike

sad but true

as Mary and i drove home from her sister’s house for easter, i noted that I felt more comfortable with her family than my own. it’s not like i’m sleeping with any member of her family, well except for the person with whom i exchanged vows. 🙂

read for about the state of affairs with my family

fall on the way to kendall catwalk

we are fam-i-ly?

or are we?
family(n) a group of people related to one another by blood or marriage; friends and family can provide support.
i wrote to my siblings on March 22, 2013 announcing my most recent swim in the mental disorder pool. the second part of the definition above troubles me. i’ll do a review of my family support structure since then.
oldest sister: I am probably closest to her. we are separated by ten years and one day.  she always voices her appreciation for me not being born on her birthday. she had a long planned trip, years in the making, to the area. communication happened to coordinate that, not much more.  in her visit, I never remember us talking about my situation. she calls for celebration days; birthdays, thanksgiving, christmas, but still months go between calls.  we shared some truly excited interest on our last call.  I told her about a book I am writing. she uses many of the ideas that I will develop in the book in her work. she looks forward to see what i develop.
oldest brother: I get a christmas (cash) gift card from him every year.  I get a beautiful calendar he produces using photos he has taken throughout the year.
middle brother: he has contacted me twice _through_ my middle sister. the first time he wanted help picking out a new computer.  the second time he had questions on how to install old programs on his new machine.  i guess i meet the qualifications to answer the questions, but I didn’t even feel like the most qualified person in the family. more about him later.
middle sister: we had a tight relationship at one time.  things fell apart when my dad died.  she served as the conduit for the computer questions. one time in one of those calls she actually asked about how I was doing. beyond that, not much more has happened.
youngest sister: she lives in the area, also. so we had communication to coordinate my oldest sister’s visit. she suffers with depression, also.  nothing like two siblings fighting wit depression trying to fight through isolation and make a call.
you would be right in saying I could have picked up the phone and made a call at anytime. maybe you’ve never dealt with a full blown case of isolation. for me, i always struggle with feeling worthy. depression makes that struggle all the harder. i reach a point where i don’t feel worthy to make calls to my friends or even my dysfunctional family members. isolation feels like living in a prison with no bars. even though no bars are present to hold me in, there doesn’t appear to be a way out. isolation sucks! it sucks the life right out of me.
I promised more about my middle brother.  we have been on similar tracks for about the last year, me with depression and he with cancer. i try not to get resentful on the difference in treatment, but it keeps getting more and more difficult.
my middle sister has bedn his advocate. she sends out regular updates on how he is doing and the progress he is experiencing. she lines up transportation for him to his cancer treatments; his cancer makes it not possible to drive the eight hours to his cancer treatments.
the topper came this last week when i got an email request for his financial support.  i won’t be participating; something about not having worked for two years and having to dip into retirement just to get by.
i guess I’m glad my brother still has a “family” and support. i hold nothing against him, personally. but, i an part of that family structure, too, i know because i continue to get the updates and request for support.
my question is where is my support from my family beyond the maybe two dozen or so phone calls i have received in the last two years? i can tell you, absent. I find that sad, real sad.
seattle japanese garden panorama

a reflection on shame

as i reflect on my recent post the choice is yours:guilt or shame, i realize much of my current depressive cycle is tied up in unmet expectations.

i am not the provider that my wife, or me for that matter, wants me to be.

i could not make a go of my first business endeavor.

i isolate because i don’t want to call my friends. perhaps, i have done something wrong and won’t meet, or haven’t met  their expectations.

i am not the brother my family wants me to be. i have seemingly alienated my brothers and sisters with things i have done or said. i am not meeting their or mine own expectations of what a brother should be.

all of this ties me to shame. shame makes the leap from i feel bad to i am bad. that feeling, “i am bad” ties me up and holds be prisoner. the stronger that feeling becomes the stronger the grip of depression becomes. i feel like the walls become thicker and thicker, like there is no way out. i fell like i am in an inescapable place.

That reminds me about the three i’s of depression, but that will have to be another post.

so, my challenge going forward is to explore these expectations. they seem to be the root of my current depressive cycle. perhaps some of these expectations are misguided. perhaps some of them need to be re–explored. perhaps some of them need to be re–adjusted. maybe some of the expectations are now truly unattainable.

i must truly face and hopefully defeat these expectations if i am to have a chance to break from this current depressive cycle.

blue boat getting away?

letter to the family

this is an email that i sent to my family letting them know of my new diagnosis.


title: Good New!

body:

I’m bipolar.

I bet your reaction was similar to a good friend of mine. His wife has struggled with depression much of her adult life only to be diagnosed bipolar. He initially replied to my diagnosis , “I’m sorry.”
You see, even he, who deals with this disorder every day, still fits into societal stereotypes. Society has preconceived, misconceived, and ill–conceived notions of Bipolar disorder, bpd as I’ll refer to it.
Bpd, or its equally other maligned name, manic depressive disorder, for to long has had stigma of wild and nearly uncontrollable moods swings from depression to manic.  Along with that, comes with someone unable to deal with society and best be locked away. If that’s the case, better get ready to throw away the key, because I’d be headed to the loony bin.
¿Fortunately?, my manic swings are nearly non–existent. That lead me and me docs to believe that I only had struggles with episodic depression. Because of that, my real problem had gone undiagnosed for years.
An additional “side effect” of the treatment of my depression with SSRI’s potentially shortened the times between my episodes of depression.   Oh what joy!
With a proper diagnosis, there are some “mood stabilizers” that will help restore some balance to my life. With that, comes a good prognosis.
With my new found discovery, I would like to pass along some advice. If you or someone you know has been struggling with on and off depression, it might make sense to schedule a trip to a  psychiatrist to review if there might be a misdiagnosis, similar to what happened to me.
It would also behove you to add this to your medical history; there is a genetic component with this disorder. Studies with identical twins show that if one twin has bpd, there is a one in three chance that the other twin of suffering with the disorder at some level, also.
My psychiatrist has given me a pretty extensive package of information on bpd and its treatments. If you would like to see them, just let me know and I can forward them on to you.
It has been a long a rocky road. There is a new found hope that perhaps, with a little bit of roadwork, I’ll finally have a smoother ride. Let’s hope so. I’ve already worn out one too many sets of shocks!