Wishing for a Family

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I’ve been severely depressed the past couple days. Two nights in a row I’ve been teary and weepy and feeling very much alone. Late last night I lay curled up on the bathroom floor crying, a position I often find myself in when depression gets severe.

I do have the support of a wonderful husband and he spent probably a good hour yesterday listening to me cry and talk about how I’m feeling. Sadly, he struggles with much of the same issues I do, so I always feel bad unloading on him because it brings out the same feelings in him that I’m suffering with.

I think what is getting to me the most is just the desire for a loving, supportive family, which I simply don’t have. Most of my immediate family is dead, only one member is still living and they seem to not be talking to me right now for some unknown reason. In some ways it might be best if we don’t talk since the constant ups and downs of the relationship really affect my moods, but it is still not easy to know that your only living close relative doesn’t seem to want anything to do with you or seem to care about you.

I wish I could replace those family relationships I have lost, but where do you find family if you don’t have one? You can’t exactly go shopping for one or even expect friends to step into those positions (if I even had friends). Sure, I could make friends if I tried harder maybe, but it still wouldn’t be FAMILY. It wouldn’t fill the huge hole in my heart left by those who have left me.

Bipolar or Borderline? Part 1

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Although I was recently diagnosed with Bipolar type 2 mood disorder, honestly, I wonder myself if it might not be Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) instead, or even in addition. The reason I say this is that so many of the stories of other Borderlines hit close to home and so do the symptoms. My greatest fear is fear of abandonment, and has been since childhood. It doesn’t matter if that abandonment comes from rejection or death, it all feels like being abandoned to me.

As a child I wouldn’t even spend the night at friends’ houses normally because I would have panic attacks at night and end up calling my mom to come get me. I was always afraid something would happen to my family or they would somehow be gone in the morning if I wasn’t there with them all the time. This fear became much, much worse after my dad died when I was 12. After that, my fear centered on my mom dying or leaving me, which wasn’t helped at all when she remarried when I was 15 and started dumping me off on anyone she could while she went on trips with her new lover.

When I got married at 20 years of age, that fear transferred to my husband. At first I feared he would just get sick of me and leave or find someone else he liked better. I was extremely insecure for a long time. I would get upset over the silliest things, like thinking he loved the kids he worked with more than he loved me. It was ridiculous. The one and only time we have been apart since being married was when I went with a church group to Tennessee for a week. One night during that week he told me he would be home by 10pm, so I called him after that and couldn’t get an answer. I freaked out, and ended up leaving 19 tearful messages for him within an hour because I was so scared something had happened to him.

Fortunately, I have matured over the years and my fear of my husband leaving me or cheating on me has greatly reduced due to his loving nature, although deep down I know I must still have some of those fears because I have nightmares about those things happening. However, now my fear focuses mostly on my worries that my husband will die before I do…a fear that might be somewhat justified by my being about a decade younger than him. This fear of something happening to him is so strong it literally gives me panic attacks if I think about it too much.

My fear of abandonment and rejection greatly affects my ability to develop other relationships because I tend to push people away before they can get too close, mostly out of fear of them rejecting me once they really get to know me. I know I have poor self-esteem and a flawed self-image, which I’m sure I will address further in part 2 of this post.

* Art by Maranda Russell