I spy with my red little eye something that is…

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I’ve been crying steadily for almost two weeks now… but only out of one eye, and mostly because it’s infected, but there are times when it feels real. Like I’m actually crying for an emotional reason, and the infection is a convenient cover.

There have been moments, some long, some not, over the past few weeks when it feels like I’m worn out enough… or worn down enough, that I just want to lay down in the snow. Or disconnect my phone service and retract the staircase to my second storey apartment.

It was my birthday a few days ago. I told my girlfriend, when she asked, that I’d like to just stay in, watch TV and eat apples. Or something. Not because I wanted to be alone, or alone with her, but because I knew the other options would all fail.

The last remaining people in this village I can call “friends” without feeling like I’m lying, are in England until March. If anyone else I had once been friends with had showed up at a party I’d have known it was out of guilt. Or I’d feel guilty for having lost touch.

I pretty much felt the same about seeing any of my family there. But my girlfriend, being the ultra-considerate girlfriend she is, organized a dinner at the semi-local Chinese restaurant. My mother helped.

My girlfriend, our son and I were there at the time my mother had arranged. Forty-five minutes later the guests started to arrive.

The first person to arrive was my mother’s best friend, Anne. Then my mother along with my step-grandmother, and finally a young couple who my girlfriend uses as babysitters.

Two hours later my step-father showed up.

Just before people started showing up I thought I saw my brother peering in the window, and I thought “Jesus, this might just be cool”. But it wasn’t him, and he hasn’t called or emailed me… this was also the first time in a decade my mother hasn’t called me, or left a message, telling me about the day I was borne.

What would have been great about my brother being there… he disagrees, in no uncertain terms, about my having broken with my grandmother over her comments and abuse directed at me. He characterized what I was doing as “breaking the family”.

I’ve sent twenty or more emails to him over the past few months, and received maybe three replies. It felt good, seeing his ghost in the window, and thinking “he hasn’t abandoned me”.

The evening was like I was being reminded just how far removed from my reality I’ve become. Or maybe I was being shown what I want as my reality, my life as I knew it years ago, was just an illusion.

During the birthday dinner my mother and I barely spoke. My step-father and I shared a handshake, and that was it.

It was the same at Christmas. This past Christmas was the first time I’ve ever missed a Christmas Eve and Morning with my family. It was two days afterwards when we finally gathered together… me, my step-sister and her boyfriend, my girlfriend and our son, my step-grandmother and my mother and step-father.

I skipped Christmas because it was made clear my parents would be welcoming my hyper-abusive grandmother to the festivities, and I could either show up to break bread with a woman who demanded to know why my son hadn’t been aborted, or else I shouldn’t bother.

So I didn’t bother.

Which brings me to my eye. For the past two or three weeks it’ll take four days for the eye to puff, getting progressively more painful and itchy then, over two days, it’ll deflate and look normal. Except, whether it’s puffy or not, the tears keep coming.

And there’s a part of me that thinks, maybe I’ve just had it. Or I’m about to hit an emotional wall. Shedding tears when the eye is puffed, and it feels like I’m being stabbed just under my lower eyelid, that’s normal. But maybe, since my eye is constantly wet, any additional pressure is just going to knock a few real tears out.

I haven’t gone to the ER, or called my family doctor about it because the pain isn’t intense, and the infection breaks just before I commit to going.

Crying is not something I have a lot of experience with. And the other eye is mostly dry, so maybe the infection is the last push, the last 15% necessary to get things going.

I’m comfortable with my decision to purge my grandmother’s bullshit from my life. But the reactions from my family have been surprising.

What I’m not comfortable with is how abandoned I feel, by both my family and the people I used to call friends. Especially because I know I’ve lost friends because I’ve been open with them regarding my recovery from manic depression.

Then again, I’ve also lost some over the past decade because my behaviour was erratic, especially in the beginning of my recovery.

So, basically, I’ve lost friends through my recovery, and I’m being shunned by family because I’ve made a break from one of our lifelong abusers.

And now I can’t fill a dinner table with people who respect me, or who want to be around me… I’m doing the right things, but I’m surrounded by people who believe differently.




About Gabriel...

...diagnosed with manic depression when I was nineteen, 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. It's now 2022, and I have an 8-year old son, and a 12-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, CSG, Depression, Family, Granny, Health, Little Victor, Living With Depression, Living With Manic Depression, Manic Depression, Mental Health and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to I spy with my red little eye something that is…

  1. Bromac says:

    You need to go to the doctor about the eye. If not for yourself, then for Victor. you don’t want him to get the infection. Plus, although it is appearing to be self-limiting, it keeps recurring. You need to take care of yourself!

    Are you still going to therapy regularly? Maybe it’s time to increase the frequency again??

    Please try to focus on those that are still there for you, like gf. You can’t control the reactions of others so tormenting yourself is of no use. If you’re still OK with the decisions you made regarding your grandmother, then you have to resolve to be OK with the ramifications. I hope your brother will come around.

    I would have come to you bday dinner. You have others that care.

    I’m worried about you. Please be proactive and take care of yourself.

  2. Gabriel... says:

    Thanks Clare… you and Bromac are definitely invited to my next birthday party.

    I am seeing my psychiatrist regularly again, we had a Christmas break, but we’re mostly back on our twice monthly schedule again. I’ve been in a state of denial for a while now. I’ve been holding back during the past few appointments, at least I haven’t been going as deep as I should be… I do this thing sometimes where I’ll talk about nothing, or the minor stuff for forty-five minutes, then jam the real stuff into the last fifteen. It leaves very little time for feedback, or exploration.

    Our appointment a few days ago was probably the most… useful, I guess, in a while. I think I’ve been holding back because I don’t want to be angry at these people, because there can be no confrontation with them… because they can’t see the effects their actions / inaction’s are having. Or something.

    The infection is coming back again, so I’ll get it looked at — probably by a professional of some kind — soon. Hopefully.

    Thank you both for the comments.

  3. zoom says:

    You can count me among your friends. I respect you. I like being around you.

    Take that eye to a doctor – it might be conjunctivitis.

  4. jen g says:

    even if you don’t go to a doctor, you can go to a pharmacist – maybe there’s an over-the-counter product that would do the trick

    i agree with the comment above – focus on those who are there for you. there may actually be more than you think.

    also, people often feel threatened and react out of fear when the family dynamic is altered – even, maybe especially – when the alteration is a healthy one. their versions of reality, maybe incorrect versions, are threatened, and they close down. but if you are clear that you need to break contact with your grandmother, and that is the healthy choice, then good for you. because it’s hard to feel these consequences and stick to the healthy choice.

  5. Gabriel... says:

    Well, you’re all definitely invited to my 2012 birthday… as long as the Mayans are wrong of course.

    The thing that’s most mystifying to me is… everyone in my family is totally aware of at least the abuses done to them, and are punishing my grandmother in their own little way. But no one seems to consider the abuse done to the family members around them.

    * My grandfather told me a few months ago that he knows he’d be better off if she moved out, if there was a separation. She’s even told him she’d be better off with a separation. But he’s afraid he’d have to travel to look after her, because he’s her primary caregiver in the mornings. He has known for fifty years about the horrible things done to my mother, but he’s only just deciding to split from his wife because she’s been abusive towards him.

    * My mother told me she no longer invites her mother to dinner or special events, but won’t deny her entry if she shows up with my grandfather. Not because of abuse done to my mother, or to my brother and myself, but because my mother is generally fed up with listening to my grandmother’s bullshit. My grandmother, however, has no clue she’s being punished by her daughter.

    * My brother, who thinks I’m breaking up the family, admitted our grandmother made hateful remarks to him, because his son is half-Filipino. My brother told me his response was to punish our grandmother by shoving his son into her face. Again, our grandmother has no idea she’s being punished for anything she has said to my brother.

    * My step-father, meanwhile, told me he and my mother, as my son’s grandparents, have the right to override any rules laid out by myself or my girlfriend regarding my grandmother. His stated belief is that all family is good family, and as soon as they walk into his home they would be treated as such, regardless of the abuses done to anyone… he included my father — who abandoned my brother and I, as well as sexually, mentally and emotionally tormented my mother — as part of the family.

    But, a decade ago, when my step-sister was out of control, my step-father fought against my step-grandmother because she was overriding his rules. He also fought very hard to keep his ex-wife away from their kids because of the abuses she laid on them.

    So… where do I rank in all of that? My grandmother screamed at me, pounded her fists on her table, demanded to know why my girlfriend hadn’t gotten an abortion — so, after this and years of watching her abuse my family, I told her to fuck off and absolutely refuse to let her be around my son.

    I definitely agree with you, jen g. I do believe my family’s reaction to what’s going on is a result of decades of abuse being disrupted. I refuse to be abused anymore, and I don’t believe they thought that was an option.

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