The First Post Marking The End Of My Second Year

The second year of Salted Lithium ends on November 14, 2008. This post is part one in a series looking back at the last two years.

The idea of these Anniversary Posts is to encourage people to hopefully take part in the conversations which were started on the original posts last year or two years ago… but sending money is totally cool instead.

After “manic depression” the most common, and most important topic has been my relationship with my father. These are selections from some of those posts…

“In 1978 my mother escaped, literally, from a completely devastated marriage with my brother and myself. It involved lies, subterfuge, a train ride and panicked phone calls. One morning Larry and I were playing in his driveway, that afternoon I was 600 miles away.”
“Larry, The Escape From My Father And My Twelfth Home In Nine Years”; June 9, 2007

“My sisters grew up not knowing they had brothers because of my father’s lies. He only told them when it became inevitable that my brother and I were going to make an effort to connect with them.”
“A Lying Maoist Revolutionary Con Artist Stole My Family And All He Left Me With Was A Crappy Bike”; June 25, 2007

“My grandfathers absence and unwillingness to be my father-substitute wasn’t something I considered Unusual, partly because that level of neglect was something I expected from the men in my life as I grew up. But also because I believed the ’suffering’ was what made me mature.”
“…Turning Thirty When I Was Ten Was Not As Good A Life Plan As You Might Think”; October 5, 2007

“He was a stocky old-school prison Chaplin, the kind of Bible Talking Dude with blue-ink tats and lots of stories he could relate the Bible to us with. A twelve-stepper who looked like John Goodman after he lost some of the weight. I’m pretty sure he converted all the fatherless boys that year.”
“For A Long Time I Believed In ‘Father’ But Even The Devil Believes In God… What I’ve Never Had Is Faith”; October 25, 2007

“Lying is a tool, mostly one of survival, I learned a long time ago. One of my first experiences in my New School after we escaped the Cult we were in was crying at the lunch table and when someone asked “what’s with the new kid?” I told them “my father died yesterday.””
“The Fish That Bit Off A Finger Plus This One Time My Father Died And Other Lies I Have Told”; December 12, 2007

“[I]t took two years when it should have taken six weeks, but the last piece of my father’s identity has been removed from my wallet. My new birth certificate came in the mail yesterday. It’s purple. It has the name I was born with in the “old” column and the one I’ve chosen to replace it with in the “new” column.”
“Sure A Rose May Smell Just As Sweet But Call It Herpes des Quatre Saisons And People Will Never Plant Them Again”; June 10, 2008

...

For the most part my relationship with my father does not exist. This has always been his choice. There was no alimony, no child support, no presents, no phone calls, no letters or postcards and no visits.

He showed up at our door a few weeks after mom took my brother and I and escaped the cult we grew up in, and he started. He stayed most of the night arguing with mom all of the reasons why he thought we should come back with him.

Because all I really understood of what I overheard were the bits about money for the next few days I collected every penny I could find, I emptied my piggy-bank, put all of the change into an envelope and asked mom to mail it to him.

That was when I was eight. When I was fifteen I took the initiative and put together the money I had earned working as a farmhand and took a train to his parents home. Two days later I took a train to the city where my father lived and worked. We spent thirty minutes in his office, then a little more than an hour in a restaurant where he bought me a Coke.

When I was thirty I had a job interview in Toronto so I took the opportunity to meet my sisters for the first time. During the visit my father, who was not living with their mother anymore, stopped in for a few moments. After shaking my hand he sat at the dining room table and watched me and his older daughter talk. I kept waiting for him to say something, but he never did.

When I moved to that city so I could be closer to my sisters while they were in university I had weekly contact with my father. It was very strange. There are so many pieces to all of us that we only find in our parents, or in our brothers and sisters, or in the two sides of our family.

As he has been getting older — I believe he’s in his mid-60’s now — I’ve been periodically asking myself whether I’ll attend his funeral.

I’m still not sure. That’s where our relationship currently stands.

Writing about him here on Salted over the past two years has been the first time I’ve been able to collect and sort through the memories I have of him. More importantly, however, this blog has allowed me to examine what growing up without a father has meant to my development, and to find out what behaviours come from his total lack of involvement in my life. Salted has given me a decent shot at being able to fix things I thought I was stuck with.

But mostly Salted has given me a place to just get out what I’ve needed to say about him in a meaningful, thoughtful and helpful way. Because the previous thirty years of quiet self-loathing and internalized ranting just weren’t helping like I thought they would’ve…

As always feel free to leave a comment here, but the idea of these Salted Super Special Second Anniversary Posts is to continue the conversations on the original posts. The idea being I’d like to encourage people to read the conversations which were started last year or two years ago… and hopefully take part in them.

Or you can send money… seriously, anything that folds.

.

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About Gabriel...

...diagnosed with manic depression in 1989, for the next 14-years I lived without treatment or a recovery plan. I've been homeless, one time I graduated college, I've won awards for reporting on Internet privacy issues, and a weekly humour column. In 2002 I finally hit bottom and found help. I have an 8-year old son, and a 4-year old son... I’m usually about six feet tall, and I'm pretty sure I screwed up my book deal. I mostly blog at saltedlithium.com....
This entry was posted in Bipolar Disease, Bipolar Disorder, Clinical Depression, crazy people with no pants, Health, Manic Depression, Salted Truths. Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to The First Post Marking The End Of My Second Year

  1. thordora says:

    I do need to send something….money poor, but I’ll find something that screams Gabe one of these days….

    Writing online about my relationships, my past, has helped me hit a few revelations-lately, one regarding how I believe drama=love, and how I now need to relearn that not every coupling needs to be on fire-sometimes a slow burn works.

    I wish you had a Dad. A proper Dad. Mine has been a fuck in the past, but he is still a DAD, and I am always his daughter. You deserve that.

    Happy Second. I made cookies tonight-I’ll have one for you, unless you think they’d ship ok…:P

  2. exactscience says:

    Suggesting sending money? Dude that’s not even a full step away from setting up a paypal donate button. Though I have toyed with sticking my amazon wishlist up on ESoMD and seeing if I get sent anything.

    So daddy issues. “I suppose the things I want from life are partly born out of things I want for myself and perhaps more so the things I think I need to achieve to hear my dad say I am proud of you, to believe him when he says I love you.” is something I wrote on ESoMD a while back. It still holds.

    I am trying to form up a post about my relationship with my dad. If I manage it soon I post a link.

    One thing I do know is that all my friends have weird relationships with their dads. I come from that slice of suburbia were the men work and the women stayed at home and raised the kids. The dads saw their kids as often as if they had received great custody rights in a divorce. As such myself and my peers were raised to fear the phrase “just wait until your dad gets home”. The first thirteen years of your life being based around a fear of that phrase will mess up your father/child a bit.

  3. Soire says:

    It’s a wonder anyone survives with the issues we’ve caught from our parents. My bio mum was removed when I was 18 months old, and I grew up with just my dad. It’s odd to think about doing it the other way ’round.

    I guess it means I have my own via rail of baggage cars, and a couple more “mum” type folks I’ve picked up along the way.

    I often wonder what my children will think of my job raising them in 10-20 years.

  4. Immi says:

    Anything that folds… I have visions of bits of paper and futon mattresses and Egyptian cotton sheets there.
    I wonder too if I’ll go to my father’s funeral. I keep coming back to the thought that I’ll probably go if my brother does, for his sake.
    Good job on 2 years Salted.

  5. Gabriel... says:

    Don’t worry, I was only mostly kidding about the money thing… I’m always surprised when I see a PayPal button on a mental health / recovery blog. Chances must be about 99.999% that the person being asked for help is in the same desperate financial shape as the person doing the asking.

    Thanks Thordora, but as much as I might deserve to be someone’s daughter a goal that lofty might be just too far out of reach. I’ve had a few things that screamed “Gabe” before, I’m looking forward to receiving whatever you can find.

    Soire… hopefully in ten or twenty years you’ll have saved up enough money so you can move out of the house, leave your kids behind and start a new life.

    Thanks immi… a futon would be nice. Another question I’ve had was if he’d come to mine. I’m not sure about that one either. Weirdly enough, in the suicide fantasy’s I’ve had he was rarely, if ever, in them.

  6. susan says:

    I just found your blog through a hyperlink on another blog. I really like it. Will be back to read you often.

  7. Gabriel... says:

    Thanks Susan… come back anytime, I’m usually in here somewhere.

  8. susan says:

    I will Gabriel.

    Strange that we both read so many of the same blogs for the past 2 years, but never met before….

  9. giannakali says:

    hey,
    how’s it going without the seroquel? I don’t know if you remember, but that was the first thing I mentioned when you told us you had diabetes..it really worried me that you were on it…

    I hope coming off it is going smoothly…
    be well!!

  10. Gabriel... says:

    Thanks Gianna. You thought it would be a good idea to stop the Seroquel, my family doctor thought it would be a good idea, and my psychiatrist thought it would be a good idea… and now that I’ve stopped I’m not liking the idea so much.

    With the diabetes my blood sugar levels have halved since I started taking the Glyburide, but haven’t changed since stopping the Seroquel.

    I much preferred the Seroquel to the Remeron… as a sleep aid. It has only been a couple of weeks (if that) since I started the Remeron and I don’t like the quality of sleep. The dreams are more vivid and somewhat exhausting. I had dreams with the Seroquel, but they were much more… muted.

    In terms of “coming off” I thought there might be some problems because when I ran out of Seroquel I always had a really hard time getting to, and staying, asleep. But I haven’t felt any of that, the sleep is different with the Remeron but I’m still getting to, and staying, asleep.

    My plan is to give the Remeron a couple of months and reevaluate the switch.

  11. giannakali says:

    well, my best to you…
    I know sleep is tricky, but I got off all my sedating meds but one now and I used to think I needed seroquel too and I was on a lot of it…

    But I sleep like a rock now without it…I take amino acids…which are not recommended if you’re on antidepressants…but there are other ways to go…and Seroquel is really bad when it comes to raising blood sugar…in the long run it would probably be safer to stay off of it..I’ve even heard of some people reversing diabetes once coming off antipsychotics and changing diet…

    I know messing with meds is never fun though…I hope your sleep feels restful and peaceful soon.

  12. Gabriel... says:

    Thanks again Gianna.

    Sleep is tricky, but it’s also essential to someone’s recovery from manic depression. Which is why I’d recommend Seroquel to anyone with a sleep disorder associated with bipolar disease. There are side effects with any medication, and it says right in the instruction booklet that type two diabetes is a possibility with Seroquel. It’s a side effect, but one that’s extremely rare. It’s also preventable and reversible with medication like Glyburide, along with diet with exercise.

    But it shouldn’t get that far. Just like with the Lithium it is possible to use occasional blood tests to monitor someone who is at risk for diabetes while they’re taking the Seroquel.

    As a sleep aid Seroquel worked perfectly for me. As a tool to keep my manics under control I think it also worked pretty well, although that was secondary. The diabetic situation I’m in now started a long time before the Seroquel and hasn’t improved since I’ve stopped taking it. But, given more time, it may.

    …actually, there have been recent sleep studies showing a general lack of sleep over as little as four or five nights will push your body into a type two diabetic state… so having pushed my body through fourteen to fifteen years of bad sleep as well as the horrible high sugar, high carb diet I had (kind of still have) I wasn’t surprised to get my diagnosis.

  13. Pingback: The Second Post Marking The End Of My Second Year « …salted lithium.

  14. Pingback: The Third Post Marking The End Of My Second Year « …salted lithium.

  15. Pingback: Second Salted Anniversary « …salted lithium.

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