life on the funny farm

Monday, January 19, 2015

Coming Clean

I miss writing.

I miss writing for what it gives me.
I miss it for allowing me to bond with others and make them laugh, and to provide help sometimes.
I miss it for "talking" to the folks who stop in to read.

Looking back, I've only posted very sporadically on this blog in the last couple of years, and I've submitted next to nothing to other publications.

I did go back to work part time around the time my writing slowed down, but I'd be lying if I said that was the reason.

Truth is, life just got friggin' HARD.

And although I'd never shied away from writing about the stressful things in my life, there seemed to be a shift.  I felt like if I were to continue writing about the daily goings on under my roof, it would be less how-to from a Mom who'd been-there-done-that, and more Jerry Springer.

Writing about PTSD and trauma and RAD of my young children, in the vein of venting and commiserating and also educating?  What's wrong with that?

Writing about misdemeanors of now adult children?  Not so easy to go there.

Writing about the fall-out of parenting children with mental illness, trauma-based or otherwise? It's all in the name of keeping it real.

Writing about 911 calls, paramedics, police, questioning neighbors, in-patient admissions?  We've moved on to a different realm.

And aside from the parental side of my life, there's the marital.  How does one write about a separation after 26 years of marriage and not feel just wrong on so many levels?  There's privacy to think about, my kids to think about, my feelings, his feelings, trying to figure out how I feel/he feels/where we stand from one day to the next.  How do you write about that sh**?

Hence, the absence.

And hence, after giving it some thought, the "coming clean".

Although I know first-hand all that is wrong with "wearing a mask", it is something I have been guilty of.

Nothing to see here!  We're just one big happy family that managed to go from three kids to four through international adoption of a special-needs child, then from four kids to six with the addition of two older internationally adopted kids with mental health issues including RAD, PTSD and more!  Woo hoo!  Plus my husband and I were high school sweethearts that got married when Reagan was in office!  We can weather ANY storm, right?

Holding that image up for all to see is a disservice to me, to my family, to my readers.

If I can't write on my blog that it's ok that we are where we are, how am I going to convince my kids?  How am I going to sell it to myself?

The truth is, it IS ok.

It's ok that two of my three adopted kids have had their lives dominated by the fallout of the trauma-born mental illness that is often part of the fabric of the lives of adopted children.  I have dealt with those issues with dignity, compassion, and love.  I have been able to tell my children that no matter what they do, I will always love them, even when their actions have caused me to take drastic measures such as eviction, filing charges, hospital admissions, outpatient programs, residential treatment facilities.  It means I love them enough to do whatever it takes to help them become the best persons they can be, even when they may feel that my actions prove just the opposite.

It's ok that life is difficult for the entire family when one of my children (one that's wearing my genes) is dealing with the ramifications of his own mental illness demons.  He didn't ask for it.  My husband and I, given our unique genetic histories, should never have spawned children.  It was the perfect storm. What the family has gone through in dealing with his (and the others) sequellae have stretched us to the limit.  I love my kids for their resilience, their flexibility, their adaptability, their compassion.

It's ok that my husband and I may not have a happily-ever-after marriage.  It just means that we're honest enough with each other that we can attempt to deal with it, that we can own up to having problems, and we can have the courage to try to fix them.  I can't tell you how things will end with us.  All I know is that we're trying to figure out if we have what we need to make our marriage succeed.  The answer may be yes, and it may be no.  Right now the answer is elusive, but I pray that God will show us the answer in His own time.

So that brings me here.

An owning up.
A coming clean.

I'm done with hiding.  I will use discretion to a degree to protect and respect, but I will no longer hide.

I am proud of myself for having weathered so much, and to still have the strength I need to deal with problems as they continue to surface.  Let's face it, my life is one big Whac-a-Mole game, and I have to keep sharp and quick in noticing the issues and dealing with them as they arise.  Have you ever watched someone playing Whac-a-Mole?  Their face is always a mixture of both fun and determination. I've got to keep that smile on my face and have fun.

It's life.
It's MY life.

And it is what it is.


  1. Wow. Funny, I was just wondering about you the other day! Saying you've had a lot to deal with sounds like an understatement. It's nice to see you back though and great you've written this post. Hang in there!

    1. I was just thinking about you (guys) too! Just yesterday. Thanks for the support!

  2. Hugs, my friend. You're one gutsy broad and I mean that as high praise!

  3. I have missed your blog like I said, and I'm glad you're back!

  4. I've been in a similar boat.


  5. I'm happy for you to find freedom in honesty. Seriously, I don't know where I would be if I hadn't started blogging anonymously. I just couldn't hold it all in!!!

  6. Oh boy. Good for you for writing this doozy. We all have our own versions of 'real life' that we don't always choose to share, and I applaud your bravery here. Wishing you strength and resilience...and love.

    1. I figure there's a big difference between wishing things were different and shame. I was starting to feel shame, so I decided to stop that in its tracks.

  7. What I like about the community of Blogville is there exists very little judgement and a lot of virtually hugging. Sending you a virtual hug and and understanding nod of the head right now. Few people understand the trauma a child in an orphanage or in foster care goes through unless they are somehow involved with adoption. Those kids carry those trauma demons to some degree the rest if their lives and as a parent you cannot predict how or when those demons will surface. It doesn't make you a bad parent - it doesn't mean your family is bad - it means that you are human and doing the best you can with all the love and understanding you can muster. It isn't easy and there is no timeline. Hang in there. Vent a little in Blogville. . . cry for help sometime. . . we're here to help you through.
    Welcome back.
    Love Noodles

    1. Few people understand any of the "invisible" disorders, an that's where the judgement comes in, right Noodle? Thanks for the hugs!

  8. I haven't been reading here long, but it's long enough to know I admire your character. No one's life is perfect, and you do a disservice to yourself and others if you try to pretend otherwise. As some very wise friends of mine say, "you're only as sick as your secrets".

  9. I just heard that the other day for the first time! I realized I was doing a disservice to not only myself but my kids, as well, and I couldn't have that. Thanks, Kathy G!

  10. Wonderfully written post. I grew up in the "white picket fence" family, or so I thought until it eventually brought a lot of demons to my older brother (a very long battle with mental health and severe addiction issues). I can so very much relate to the concept of having to be tough on a family member in order to help him out in the long is a struggle to find the balance between loving them but still enforcing what is right. It always does feel a little better after sharing and venting. Thank you for your willingness to be open and honest, it isn't easy to do. Sending hugs to you for all the difficult times you have faced, and you will continue to face.

    1. Thank you, Ali. You are so right about that balance point. It is a very fine line, indeed, and it's made all the harder because it keeps shifting! Flexibility and patience are key....

  11. I am so inspired by your story and honesty. Thank you for writing! It brings such a measure of peace to know that others are walking with and in front of me.

    1. Thank you so much, Rebekah. It's a hard road to walk, but it's nice to have hands to hold.



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