July

July financial

 

Monthly budget for July. I’ve spent $854.64 more than I’ve earned. Holy crap.

 

A lot of this is extra childcare expenses because of babybot’s daycare closing. And the incidental expenses of having to replace stuff I lost at the beginning of the month. Like my bus pass. Modifications to my student loans haven’t gone into effect yet, and I started paying off some past medical expenses. But holy crap. I was actually making an effort this month.

 

There’s really not much I can cut. Next month transportation and childcare expenses will go back to normal, but “normal” is still too much. I made a few dollars selling old books, but that’s literally only a few dollars. I located a food bank that gives out free baby formula. I’ll start using that one of these days. I need all the “free” I can get. And I need to stop eating out. Heck, I just need to stop eating.

 

I’d love to sell some plasma, eggs, pretty much anything short of a kidney.

 

Next month will be better. It has to be.

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Lost to Bipolar

http://www.cnn.com/2013/07/24/health/change-mind-real-simple/index.html?hpt=hp_bn13

This just about made me cry. And almost made me jump up and down.
 
Someone else gets it!
 
This could be my family.
 
Except when my baby daddy said he could hear the baby talking to him, it was followed immediately by “I don’t like the way she sounds. I think she’s a threat.”   And every time I insisted that an unborn baby talking was a symptom, he insisted that he would take his meds if the voices were in his head. But they’re not. They’re in the baby. Let’s get rid of that baby. And every time I went to the police, they said they couldn’t do anything about it. Every time I tried to leave him, he escalated.
 
And I, too, took way too long to realize that a generally unhealthy relationship was actually part of the paranoia. Not letting me out of his sight. Wanting to see everything and control everything. Hanging on my every word because he thought there was some deeper hidden meaning. I saw it as annoying rather than dangerous. Without even realizing it, I gave into his whims to avoid confrontations. I was walking on eggshells without seeing it for what it was. In hindsight, it was psychosis, abuse.
 
Even when he takes his medication, the symptoms are there, he’s just more careful about not discussing them with doctors or law enforcement. He checks himself out of the hospital every time. The medications are for bipolar, but his symtoms are classic paranoid schizophrenia.
 
 
The responses to this article are intensely split. And in a way so am I. I had the same decision to make, but I know I did what was best for me and my child. Some day I will have to explain to my daughter why daddy’s not around. And I worry, too, that she might have the same illness some day. I struggle to integrate what I know about mental illness – that it’s treatable, that people recover, that it’s not linked to violence – with lived reality – treatment hasn’t worked, he isn’t recovering, he is dangerous.
 
I keep hoping some day he will get better. A new medication, a break through. Court ordered medication compliance. Or one of these days he’ll end up hospitalized, or locked up, or living on the streets. Or maybe he’ll end up making newspaper headlines when he finally does one of the horrible things he talks about.
 
A part of me wants to track this woman down. I  want to hug her, cry with her. I want to know that 12 years from now everything will be okay. That her daughter is safe and happy and loved; and mine will be too. I want her to know she made the right choice. She’s not alone.

 

another idea

I keep seeing adds for egg donation online. It’s something I’ve actually looked into before, but because it’s so invasive I never seriously considered it.

 

Now I actually am.

 

I’ve rented myself to medical professinals before. Usually minor things like MRIs and studys about heart rate and violent video games. I once participated in a birth control study where I took the pill and kept daily notes. None of them paid much, but a hundred bucks here and there does help.

 

I don’t want to do anything long term because of babybot. I don’t want to take any scary medications that could have unforseeable effects. But a few thousand dollars for eggs sounds fair. I sure don’t plan on using them, and although I have some ethical doubts about IVF and other reproductive technologies, I do appreciate that some parents just can’t have children any other way.

 

I’m not in a position to get a second job, but I think I could handle daily hormone injections. Maybe.

fear (part two)

Left the office again today because of anxiety. Again because of him.

 

He found out where my parents live and started mailing packages. I begged them not to open it and to call the police. I had protected my family from this drama for so long. I’m still ashamed that I have to admit to my mother that I’m afraid for my child’s life because of some stupid decisions. I never should have gotten involved with an abuser and drug addict. I never should have let things get so out of control. I shouldn’t have just gotten drunk instead of admitting I was afraid and I needed help. But these things happened. I got pregnant because he took advantage of it. He spent most of my savings on drugs.

 

The packages will all be returned, with a note reminding him that he’s breaking a restraining order and can be prosecuted. I can’t even imagine what’s inside. Before I moved he would mail me things like half-eaten granola bars. One time he left a ziplock bag full of body hair on my front porch. He delivered a back pack full of his ex girlfriends sex toys. He has this weird fetish about using household objects to pleasure himself and then offering them to people. He likes knowing that people are unknowingly handling objects that have been up his rear end. I don’t want to have to explain to my mother why she can’t touch something as innocent looking as a ceramic cat. I hate having to explain these things to the police. I hate knowing that some day I will probably have to explain it in family court.

 

I wish I could pay for a lawyer (and a body guard, and a nanny, and a whole bunch of other things.)

 

I’m starting to doubt that seeing a counselor will help at all. Coming to terms with his abuse isn’t going to do anything to make him stop. This needs to stop.

reframing everything

For years I begged him to get help. Drugs and alcohol were his problems that only he could address. Mental illness was his issue, but he wouldn’t take his medication. Suicidal thoughts, criminal behaviors. So much wrong with him, but I was doing just fine.

 

Next week I’ll be starting therapy. All those years of telling him to get help didn’t work. I’ve finally realized that if anything is going to get better, if me and babybot are ever going to be safe or stable have healthy relationships, it’s on me to make that happen.

 

 

I used to work in drug treatment. Where no one ever uses the word “addiction.”   They only talk about “recovery.”  The entire system, doctors, therapists, social workers, residential staff, patients, they all act as if everyone gets better. The whole system revolved around the idea that everyone does. Mental health, disability, medicine. They all work on the principle that things get better, everything will be okay.

 

I guess that’s why I always saw it as a drug problem, not a violence problem. You would never tell an abuse victim that treatment works and the abuser will stop and everything will be fine. I no longer expect him to get treatment and get better. Suddenly I’ve gone from spectator to victim. I’m the one who needs help.

 

A part of me has known that for a while. It was more than I could handle even before there was a baby involved. That’s why I ended up drinking so much that I don’t remember the night I got pregnant. That’s why a month later I walked away from an enviable position at a great agency, and all of the professional and personal networks that went with it. That’s why I spent a week calling domestic violence agencies and begging for advice before I ever even thought about telling him about the pregnancy. But I kept calling them and saying he was abusing drugs, not abusing me, so they wouldn’t help me. I guess only a part of my brain was willing to acknowledge the reality of the situation.

 

It wasn’t until the stress actually started affecting the pregnancy that I finally realized how unsafe I was. I knew I couldn’t expose a baby to all of the conflict, violence, drugs and alcohol. But still the police wouldn’t help me. I begged and begged him to get help. I have him ultrasound pictures thinking he would be more motivated to change if he could visualize the little person depending on him. I gave him books about child birth and parenting so he could prepare himself and be supportive. I asked him to pick the name.

 

But instead he demanded money from me, threatened to throw me down the stairs or push me in front of a bus in order to cause a miscarriage. He insisted the child was a threat to him, that if it was a boy he would need to kill it in order to keep himself safe. If it was a girl, he could punish it, dominate it, break it of its evil ways.

 

When she was born, I was optimistic that he was doing better. Maybe I was just hormonal, but I really thought he would step up and get himself together. Instead he started saying the baby was possessed by demons. He said we should kill her and start over with another one. He talked about killing himself. Sometimes he said the baby wanted him to do it.

 

 

Now he talks about filing for custody.

 

Does that mean he finally feels he’s ready? Would he be willing to ask for help if he started having dangerous thoughts again? Will a judge recognize that he’s dangerous, or will they just talk about “recovery” and assume that he’ll get better, that everything will be okay? I lose sleep wondering if babybot will survive her first visitation with him.

eel syrup?

When I kept tropical fish I used to love shopping in Chinatown for their treats. The fish markets down there are off the hook weird. You can buy live frogs, dead squid, and dried-salted-just-about-anything. I liked watching the fish eat weird stuff. Sometimes I wouldn’t even buy anything, I’d just hang out and watch people pick out live food, or try to imagine what the heck a particular ingredient would be used for.

 

I happened to be close to Chinatown today while replacing my state ID card (which for reasons I don’t understand did not require ANY documentation to accomplish) so I stopped for some groceries. There’s usually an affordable selection of frozen dumplings and new flavors of instant noodle. I have fun trying random things with incomprehensible foreign packaging. Sometimes I find a real winner (toasted seaweed snacks, yay!) and sometimes not (abalone flavered raman, omg). Either way it’s an adventure and I hadn’t tried anything new for quite a while.

 

For dinner today I had braized eel and lotus seed paste dumplings. Both completely not what I expected. The eel was basically canned fish coated in some sort of (plum flavored?) high fructose corn syrup. Candied fish. Not what I was hoping for. For some reason I was picturing something more like kippered fish. Something salty. Seafood is salty. The syrup coating was not okay.

 

The lotus seed buns were also full of super-sweet candy filling. I had no idea what lotus seeds were, but in my imagination it was something closer to sweet and sour flavored. Or maybe more like poppy seeds or sesame seed paste. I’m not actually sure if these were supposed to be desert buns instead of real food, but where I come from seeds do not taste like frosting. These little things were like very disappointing seed-paste filled donuts.

 

I have plenty more in my frezer, unfortunately. Note to self: always buy very small quantities when trying out strange imported foods.

time to regroup

I have a day off tomorrow, assuming there are no crises among my caseload (I’m always on call. Always.)

 

I can follow up with therapists and lawyers. I can get my ID replaced. I can buy groceries. I can finish up overdue paperwork. I guess it isn’t really a day off if I do all those things. But I need to do all those things. And if I get enough done, I can spend more quality weekend time being mommypants instead of stressed out workaholic-pants.

 

Babybot just spit up a little then reswallowed it. Babies are awesome.