Friday, July 2, 2010


Exhausted. Bitter. Embarassed.


Why is it so hard to see the little girl everyone else sees. They look at me like I'm insane when I describe what she's really like at home. For those I dare indulge with the truth. No, at home she doesn't call the little ones "sweetheart", open doors for them, kneel down and help them figure out a toy. No, at home she doesn't sit back quietly, her hands folded in her lap with a sweet grin on her breathtakingly beautiful face. No, at home her brillant blue eyes do not sparkle when she laughs because she doesn't laugh at home. No, at home she doesn't ask others who look lonely or sad to join her in play leaving them smiling from ear to ear with silly games and play. No, at home she doesn't charm with "pleases" and "thank you's". No, at home she doesn't come to me for a quick embrace in between giggles with friends or as she flies happily by me between dance classes.

At home - there are no redeeming qualities. I find it hard to sit in the same room with her. Because at home she screams and kicks and lashes and slaps and grins an evil grin. She heckles me and her dad and her 3 yo sister. She screams she hates me. She screams I'm the meanest mom ever. She runs away and the next second she stalks. She envokes tears of hot rage and anger and saddness from me. She embarasses me beyond belief. I don't raise children like this. I'm a strong woman. A strong mother. A mother whose 2 other children behave well. Who after an outburst of average length settle down and return to themselves. I'm a mother who was raised by parents that stressed respect and honor and self control. To treat others as you'd like to be treated. My children know these same rules. But Ava does not follow them.

I'm typing between hiccuping tears. Hot tears of embarassment. My amazing brother in law is here for a week. He has brought the new love in his life. A woman he met in China while on business. She's a phenominal woman. And she's now witnessed the monster of a child I have. Do you know this child? Do you know the child you await to appear but hope with all you have in you that she won't? Do you know the pain of parenting a mood disordered monster? One that rages in front of people you hardly know. And how do I explain? And how do I not look like the one who is the monster? I asked Ava to clean her room and hours. Yes, literally HOURS later she is still raging in her room. So, do I just let the room go? NO! I cannot, it's actually to the point of dangerous it is so messy. So hours go by and her rage builds until it's time for a "garage time out". The only place we can put her where she cannot break a door from beating on it. A place where we can escape her physical and verbal abuse. All the while here my brother in law and his lovely girlfriend sit, confused and uncomfortable. She ruins everything. Everything. And this is just another example of that.

But this is not the girl you see. No, you're not one of the lucky few that get to see my real child. Or is it rather my real child that you DO see? Perhaps the animal I see is not really my Ava. And if that's the case then what logic can explain to my heart the reason as to why I get the raging animal? I understand what is said - that mood disordered children treat those they love and trust the most, the worst. And while my mind my fully understand that - my heart and my soul never will.

A mood disorder is not an excuse. It's a suitcase full of shit that some lucky folks carry around their entire lives. You lug it and you learn to accomadate for the space it requires and stink it expells. We all have our own suitcases. None of us are free of baggage. And now I carry not only my own suitcase, but Ava's as well. My heart hurts. My heart aches for peace.

I love my daughter far, far beyond words could ever express. I would give my life for her in seconds. I would take away all of her pain and confusion for years, decades of my own torture. But my daughter, I do not like. I dig deep. So deep - every morning when I wake, I dig to remember the little chubby toddler that loved me. Who reached for me and melted into my hugs. Who bloomed with love when she heard my voice. Who smiled from ear to ear and threw back her sweet blonde head laughing to run to me. I remember her because right now - anymore - my reality - these days - my 7 yo old is so far from the girl I thought she'd be. So far from what I hope she will be.


  1. My foster daughter won't be 4 until fall, but she is everything you say and more. She has voices that tell her to do things to her little brothers. No one else sees or hears what I hear. But I hear you and I'm crying with you because I know the pain that you live with day-to-day. It's my pain too.

  2. Thank you - your words "I hear you" brought me to tears. I feel like that's all we're asking for as parents - someone to hear us. <3

  3. oh my dear Lord, I found you via another Blog and then another, and oh my. I so, so, so understand. Oh my Lord. I watched my 9 year old son "perform" a play circus with neighbors and he was sweet, brave, confident, and charming. Joyful. Bursting with life. Only to be knocked down and beaten up back inside our fortress - home. It is So, so hard. Why can they not see what they do? It is almost like their IS another personality... another child there, where my son should be. It drains us so. I will follow your Blog - and pray fr you all as well.

  4. I hear you too. I scream, cry, plead, beg for the same explanations and understanding you seek. Your family and especially YOU will be in my prayers as well.
    Jennifer in OK

  5. I understand your pain and the confusion this disease brings to your loving heart. It is so hard to love someone that shows hate and abuse, yet you remember that sweet child that was once there. It is enough to torture my sole.

    Regarding your comment about which daughter you see, is it the real one, or is everyone else seeing your real daughter. I truly believe as mothers, we see the mental illness and our children are those sweet bundles of joy that have become lost to the mood disorder. Whenever my son is stable, I get that sweet boy back and I once again remember the boy he REALLY is, but as you go through so much pain over the years, it gets harder to see through the illness.

    My son started acting out in front of others for the first time, I can imagine how hurt you feel after your daughter raged in front of your brother, I only hope they can have compassion for you and your family. I hope that after this reunion you will gain more support, I really hope...

  6. Perhaps it will help you to know that you have helped ME immensely by sharing your pain, anger, love and frustration. My 10-year-old daughter has spiraled downward rapidly during the last six months. When I found your blog and read your comments, I felt a small consolation. There are people in the world suffering as my family and I are suffering. Sometimes it's so embarrassing, so painful and so stressful! Sometimes, I feel like no one else has a kid like mine, and why me? I know God has a plan for my daughter. I just pray I can hang on and fight for that vision during the raging storms... So, thank you for being out there for others like me!

  7. I came here today after you followed my blog, and aside from you having a daughter and I a son, those same feelings of grief, disappointment and shame for feeling them are mine. Thank you for being so honest. It makes all of us who are living this crazy life feel not so alone.

    I hear you too.

  8. I feel your pain. Most of my son's outbursts happen at school. I feel like the teachers are judging me and wondering what kind of mother would raise such a defiant child.

    With the proper treatment things have gotten better. I hope you will be able to see your little angel again with time. I'm sorry you have to go through this.

  9. Erin-I so understand you but I know you know that already. Our girls are so similar. In one way I hate it when other people tell me how wonderful or helpful or sweet my Kenz is and then on the other side of it I am thankful that she can be that person outside of the home. It is so comforting to know that I am not the only one who experiences this. Everything you said in your post I have felt at one time or another and it sounds like others have too-by reading your comments. Hang in there and keep writing-it really does help. Amy

  10. ugh! i totally get it! sometimes i feel lucky and happy that Taz can do well with babysitters and camp and stuff then other days (after one of them says, "oh well he knows the rules here cause i don't let him get away with ABC...") where i wish he would be just as terrible there as at home. then i can say, "ha! told you so! now go suck on your stupid rules!" ok. so childish yes. but really, i don't know how many places i've left sweating with a red face while my son spit at people screaming stupid butthead. oh, and now he says shut up to everything i say. yeah...when i was a child...that would never fly! it's SO embarrassing. the worst part is...i can't do anything about it. yes, my 4 year old tells me to shut up. and you know what i do? nothing!

    i would love to tell him to stop, or that it's rude, or that we don't say those things, but it will only make him do it more. and when he's on the verge of an all out rage, saying shut up is my last priority.

    we've had to leave family events early, vacations early, school events early, etc because of the embarrassment factor. oh, and i've gotten into heated debates with family about what's wrong with Taz (usually it's our parenting right?). so i totally get it.

    i'm on this new kick now where i force myself NOT to be embarrassed about anything. i just pretend that everything he is doing is completely normal and i just don't sweat it. not sure if other people think i'm even more nuts but it helps me feel better.

    i'm sorry for your brother-in-law and his new g-friend. is there anyway your dh can explain things to him on the phone or something so he understands just a bit?

  11. I followed you here from your following my blog. I so understand. They are still trying to determine what is going on with Spawn. All they do know is that it is a mood disorder of some type.

    I can't count how many times I'm told that other people just don't let her get away with things. Well I don't either. This is something we live with, deal with, try our best to help them through and ourselves as well.

    It's always hard when new people experience what they go through and what they put us through. I'll keep you in my prayers.

  12. People just have NOOO clue what goes on when our bp kids are in the safe confines (well, safe for them) of their home. For ages, the teachers at school looked at us like we were just crazy when we'd tell what was happening at home. "Not that sweet little girl!" Yes, sweet until she threatens to cut your head off. One of the things that makes this disorder so hard to deal with as a parent is the constant doubt om others. It's hard not to take personally. And it hurts, and it's embarrassing, and you just want it (not your child) to go away.

  13. When our dd was seven, she was so out of control, we were completely freaked out . My other kids were scared of her. I hid the knives deep in the kitchen drawer, way in the back. I didn't know what she was capable of in her rages. We went through years of trying different meds mixes. We didn't find the right med mix until she was 13. She was hospitalized many times and the med changes would work somewhat for a while, but never really made her well enough that she was functional. We finally had to send her last year to an RTC. If was so difficult, but we ran out of options because we were so exhausted and our kids were traumatized. Don't rule this option out, as awful as it may seem to send your young child away from you to get better. Sometimes that is the best thing, not because they are monsters, but because they are very sick. Our dd still says it was the best thing that ever happened to her, as hard as it was. Have you checked out the CABF website and all of their resources?

    You are a great mom. Hang in there.

  14. ur blog has inspired me to blog. i feel ur pain.. and i too feel so alone

  15. OH MY GOSH!!! This is so familiar to me... I have just found your blog, so I am not up to date on the details, but this post I DID read out of the many and I am stunned at the resemblance! My daughter is almost 20 (in less than a week). The description you gave of the difference between what others see and what she is at home was what got me. She didn't show signs when she was a young girl...well, not that I recognized as anything other than engaging, busy, active, etc. Looking back, well maybe there were signs, but I didn't see them. Now she has a child, and has been in legal trouble. A lot. I have spent the last three years chasing her, tracking her down, sending in, who I called, "my extractor", when she would disappear and I would find her. I've been fighting the courts so she doesn't go to prison all these years and I have had custody of her now 2 year old daughter, since birth. I am also divorced and her father is...unavailable. I also have another daughter, 16, who is doing very well. THANK GOD! My life has completely come to a halt! It is depressing, exhausting...well, I guess that's it, depressing and exhausting...what else is there? With those two things, there's no room for anything else, is there. I'm too depressed and exhausted to have any other emotions, at this point. Well, there is the feeling sorry for myself. You betcha, I do. I've given my life to this child and now I'll give it to her child. Ugh, that was not what I intended to write, at all! You are so lucky to have a husband who loves her, too. I am lucky to still have my mother. I am with you, in the struggle. Stay strong, I will too (I think...well, maybe...we'll see... :D) Thanks for this particular post, I'll look forward to reinforcing that I am NOT alone, by reading more. Kelly