My Life’s Emsemble of Characters
Welcome. I am not quite sure how to begin this first post. What I want to do is give any audience I may have some context; I have already done this to some extent in relation to myself specifically at the ‘About Me‘ page of this blog, but I thought I would use this first post to introduce the other characters in my life that have the most significant bearing.
Obviously for the sake of brevity I am only including the main players here. Should anyone else relevant come up at some future juncture, I will of course out line their role in my life.
A is my partner of six years. We have lived together for just under two years. Undoubtedly we have had our problems over the years but ultimately A has been very good to me; emotionally, financially and intellectually.
Before we even met in person (we met online, where we corresponded for nearly a year before finally meeting up), A was aware of my depression. That did not mean he understood it; when I had my most recent episode before this one in mid-2006, he was very much of the view that I should “pull myself together”. I cannot expect him to understand as he has never experienced this; however, as any other sufferers of this illness will know, this is far from a beneficial attitude to take.
However, A has been incredibly supportive throughout my recent breakdown. He indulges my weird idiosyncrasies without fucking me up further. He tries to cheer me up when I am miserable. He listens to my self-analysis, tries to analyse himself where appropriate and just supports where not. He makes me the obligatory-in-the-UK cup of tea for me. He goes out and works five days a fucking week whilst I lie wallowing in my pathetic despair.
A is extremely intelligent and articulate, though would admit to sharing some of my social ineptitude. He is witty, down-to-earth and generally very well regarded by people he meets. Of course there is more than this facade to him – at home he can be easily irritated and rant a lot. But the more this blog progresses, the more you will see this is one of the many things we have in common 🙂
A and I have two cats.
I am assuming the above-named individual’s relationship to me does not require explanation. I hardly know where to start with her. She is to some extent a typical woman, the kind of which I have alluded to in a slightly disparaging fashion on my ‘About‘ page here on WordPress. She is sensitive and emotional in many ways, but very strong and resilient in others.
She married my so-called father in the early ’60s, and to the best of my knowledge the physical, mental and sexual abuse that she endured at his hands began shortly thereafter. I do often ask myself why she tolerated this unacceptable state of affairs for twenty years, but I wasn’t in the position, so I try not to judge her. She does sometimes lament the fact that there was no such thing as Women’s Aid or domestic violence helplines during (the majority of) her marriage, though I believe she did go to some sort of shelter at one point – and then back to my da.
She divorced him after I was born in the early ’80s, for fear that he may harm me too, whether deliberately or inadvertently whilst in one of his drunken stupors. She did let him see me for a while after their separation and divorce, but he kept (a) not turning up or (b) turning up pissed. So she told him to fuck off and not come back. I don’t think this was necessarily a demand that he never re-entered my life, merely that he would stop having to disappoint me and clean up his act before he did so.
I suppose I subconsciously blamed my mother for my father’s desertion for quite a long time. As a child I was unaware of his true nature, of course – and as such I had this stupid father-daughter idolisation of the cunt. But perhaps I digress – I can say more about my father forthwith.
I was fairly stable during my primary school years and didn’t really give my mother any significant hassle. However, come grammar school and my diagnosis with depression, I think my poor Mum almost lost the will to live along with me. I am fairly sure she believed, at least in part, that I was just an angsty teenager with an attitude. She would lay into me both verbally and physically on the days when I could not get up (and thus go to school). I think she thought my two suicide attempts were attention seeking.
I cannot entirely blame her, of course.
Anyhow, the nature of our relationship is fairly positive at present, and has been since I would say I was about 17 or 18. I do feel she takes things out of context and falsely accuses me of things of which I am not guilty, but I suspect that this is probably related to her own defence mechanisms and is not necessarily something I should take personally. That does not mean I don’t, of course.
She is sometimes guilty of seeing my mental illness in a somewhat simplistic fashion – for example,”you just have to start trusting people” or “why don’t you just think about x differently?” Spot on, mother – I’ll just click my fingers and that’s that then. Problem fucking solved. She also doesn’t get that I won’t talk to her about the things in my head. Partly this is because I don’t really want to talk to anyone about them, as (I presume) that would admit weakness. Part of it is also to protect her; I know she worries about me enough as it is, and I have to wish to add to that by conveying to her that I am clinically mad. Furthermore, so much of the issues relate to the way she was treated that she would end up feeling guilty. Yes, that is irrational, but for whatever reasons I am convinced she would blame herself. So her constant bleating about her wanting me to “let her in” really fucks me off. But generally she tries her best to deal with my insanity and support me in the subtle ways that I will allow her to do.
In summary, she’s a good woman who has been through a lot herself and yet, with the passage of time and greater awareness of my various conditions, tries her best to be supportive. She is retired now, and given my current absence from work, I have taken to going to visit her for two or three nights each week.
V – Father
V is dead, having finally popped his clogs in September 2007. Nevertheless, I feel it’s important to include him as a key player in my life, even though he was absent for the vast majority of it. I was asleep on the sofa at Mum’s house the day the phone call came to announce his demise; she woke me up and urgently intoned, “your Da’s dead!”
My response was, “oh, right”, and then I went back to sleep. Then, between Mum and my oppressive wankstain family I was virtually forced into going to the old bastard’s funeral – but that and the blackly hilarious story about his will are tales for another day.
You will already have developed some understanding of V from the above entry about my mother. Additional misdeeds committed against her included adultery and financially fucking her over.
He was an alcoholic, and whilst I completely understand that this is an illness like any other, I cannot allow his behaviour to be excused on this basis. I have complete admiration for alcoholics or drug addicts who fight against their addictions and ultimately overcome them, but my father was not one of them. The fact of the matter is that he never even tried.
He tried to contact me once when I was about 12 or so. Mum and I had just gone to bed and the phone rang; some drunken tosser kept asking for me by name. I told said tosser that he’d got a wrong number, but of course he hadn’t; he knew it and I knew it. My ma became panicky at my protestations down the phone and tried to take it off me, but at that point I hung up and told her that it was just some bloke who’d got a wrong number. I am not sure if she believed me, but after some reassurance from me she did let the matter drop.
I say he only contacted me once, but that depends on your perception. Three weeks after my 21st birthday, I received a birthday card and £20’s worth of Boots vouchers (last of the big spenders) purporting to be from the twat. My reasons for not believing this was actually from him require a bit of context.
1. V suffered from MS and eventually was put into a nursing home. Needless to say this has been a source of much annoyance to me as he lived rent free, got a range of benefits and by all accounts had a nice room and was liked by the staff. But that’s yet another story.
2. V’s brother, M, is married to my mother’s sister, G. G and M have lived in the USA for decades and my older (double-)cousin was born there. In any event, shortly before my birthday G and M were back in Norn Iron and detestably visited V during this time.
I am therefore convinced that G and M, in conjunction with one (or more) of the nursing home personnel, engineered the stupid birthday card. They have denied this, but I don’t believe them. They subscribe to this ridiculous, unfounded notion that blood is thicker than water; as such, they presumably felt that I should “make peace” with my father.
Perhaps I should have gone to see him, even if only to have told him exactly what I thought. But he was the supposed adult in the situation; surely the responsibility to make contact was his?
Anyway, the foregoing invective does belie one issue about which I am generally loath to discuss, but since this is basically an anonymous blog I will do so. My reluctance to do so is presumably resultant of the fact that I do not want to admit it to myself, but having at least in part done so to C, my psychologist, why the hell not here? Whilst V was in the home, and around the time of his death, I kept hearing a lot of shit about how piteous a state he was in, yet what a nice man he was. Poor fucking V, isn’t it such a shame, no one in the world wants him or cares about him, yadda yadda yadda. I was mostly infuriated about and resentful of this, which was both an unfair endorsement of V, and an unfair inference about my behaviour towards him.
But part of me also wonders, “what if?” Would I have got on with him? Had he really changed? Had the public persona he portrayed as a charismatic, generous, fun-loving man (even when he was at his most violent) actually permeated his personality entirely? I will never know. Annoyingly, this kind of saddens me. I despise the man and would happily piss on the fucker’s grave, but I suppose I miss the father I wanted to have.
I have an intense fear of abandonment, of which I was not consciously aware until I began therapy with C (see below). Presumably this relates back to V.
D is my best friend, though we have been separated by the Irish sea for the past six or so years, as he went to university in Scotland and now works as a very successful business journalist in London.
D is irreverent, funny and a bit crazy (not in the sense of actual insanity like mine, but just random and hilarious). His apparent flippancy belies a much softer soul, though. For instance, he cried when I self-published a series of ridiculous stories we’d written as children for his Christmas present last year. Although I seek comfort in him in the form of amusement, he is also quite capable and willing of being serious when the need arises. He is astute in analysing a situation rationally and irrationally and has given me some very prescient advice over the years.
Unfortunately D, who was apparently unsure of his sexuality throughout our teenage years but finally realised (or openly admitted, at least) his homosexuality whilst at university, is presently experiencing a difficult time himself. He believes, with some justification, that his partner of three years is cheating on him. Also, not entirely unlike myself, he feels he has few close friends in his locality – and he feels greatly under-appreciated at work (as I did when I was last there). I am not very good at counselling without patronising, so I don’t know what to say to him half the time. I do care, though.
D and I met at the end of our first year at grammar school, so we would have been 12. Since he left Northern Ireland, we probably haven’t kept in as good touch as we should have, though this has improved of late. Whatever the case, when we meet or talk it’s just like old times.
B is my oldest friend, and second best friend to D. We met right at the start of our foray into secondary education. B and D, although they have a companionable enough sort of relationship, have never been close friends. I suppose they don’t share the same interests really, and thus represent different sides of my personality. B is relatively introverted whereas D is, ostensibly at least, more of an extrovert.
B claims that he is rubbish at listening, but during my recent breakdown I have found him extremely supportive. He lives close to me, though the poor sod works two jobs and has a girlfriend so it is not always easy to get time to see him.
Of late he, like D, has been having relationship problems, though the circumstances are different. His girlfriend has a penchant for flying off on one at him for no reason; in fairness, the poor woman has a really bollocks life and seeks a scapegoat to blame. Transference, perhaps? Being mental myself, I can of course empathise with this behaviour, but B is my oldest friend, and I do not want him to go through this when he has done nothing wrong. Luckily, over the last few weeks I think things have become less volatile.
B is something of a computer nerd – as am I. Me likes nerds.
AC and DL
More AC than DL really, as I keep in much more frequent contact with AC, but DL deserves a mention too. I group them together as they are both former colleagues – the only two colleagues with whom I have ever kept in touch after leaving a job.
DL is a 40-something woman – one of my few female friends. DL is married and has two grown-up children – one of the cool things about her is that her children obviously consider her a mate as well as a mum. They share the same interests and go to rock gigs together. I think this is seriously cool. DL is witty and a bit mad (in the same non-mental way as D). We don’t meet up that frequently – something always seems to come up – but when we do, it is always good craic. My meetings with DL almost always include AC.
AC is a 20 year old gay bloke, also suffering from depression and anxiety, though at the risk of not knowing what I am talking about I don’t think his situation is quite as serious as mine. The poor thing is certainly lonely and has no success in meeting men. This is mainly because he is scared to try – a relatively self-assured exterior to those that do not know him well hides deep-seated introvertism and, dare I say, self-doubt. Nevertheless, he is irreverent and funny, and has been supportive of me during my spectacular fall from semi-sanity.
I alluded briefly above to G and M, but of course they are not the only members of my extended family. I hardly know my father’s side of the family, apart from M, and I am quite happy to keep it that way, as the self-righteous hypocrites at V’s funeral fucked me off intensely.
My mother’s side I do know. She had two brothers though both are now unfortunately deceased. Aside from that, she has three sisters, including G. The other two are MMcC and MMcF. MMcC and her husband – his initial is also M so I don’t know how to differentiate him from her – are alright, if somewhat boring. They are both retired teachers, living a fairly well-to-do lifestyle after very clever property investments from yesteryear.
MMcF and her brood – where the fuck do I even start? Ostensibly MMcF is a lovely, generous woman, but in reality she is intensely manipulative and can be very cruel. She has a multitude of health problems, but perhaps the thing that is most striking about her is her absolute need to have a house-full of talking fucking people. She “likes to have her family [and friends] around her”. She is always delightfully nice to me – too fucking nice I think, how can you be so positive about me all the fucking time? It’s just not natural – but often bullies her daughter S. Not physically, as she cannot physically do much, but she is always complaining about her, shouting at her and criticising her.
For the sake of context, MMcF lives with her husband, her son K, her daughter S and S’s son ScumFan. If she had her way, all of her four children, their spouses, their children and even now their children (as she recently became a great-grandmother) would still live in her house. In a way, all of these people are inexorably tied to that house forever anyway; they all seem to spend a disproportionate amount of time in it. A once said to me that MMcF’s house is like Hotel California: you can check out, but you can never leave. This is about the most truthful statement I have ever heard.
It is possibly worthy of note that it was MMcF’s husband that was responsible for my childhood sexual abuse. He is also mental; he suffers from an extreme form of paranoia. Infuriatingly though, when he had his most recent, and most serious, episode, a psychiatrist was out to his house the next day. I have been waiting 11 years for one and when I finally do get one I will have to fucking go to them! A few years ago, he was sectioned, which from my twisted point of view I suppose is quite funny.
For the record, I don’t hate MMcF’s husband. He is just an irrelevance to me. If anything, in some ways I pity the poor, sad bastard because he has to live in that God forsaken house. No wonder he is fucked up.
I never reported his behaviour towards me even though I was concerned about his various grandchildren. But I honestly do feel that it was only me. I did tell A, and D and Mum also know some of the details. Mum thinks I misinterpreted his actions, though to be fair to her she does not know the whole truth. Even what she does know is not particularly open to interpretation in my view, but I have never and will never push the issue with her. I don’t want her to confront him; I don’t want to ruin the family unit. I don’t really give a fuck about it from my point of view, but my mother loves her family and I do not want them to ostracise her, because I know they would not believe my claims.
One thing that really, really fucked me off about MMcF and her family is that half of the entire billion-strong brood turned up at fucking V’s funeral. They claimed to have been there for M’s benefit – thanks to G they are related, and M (in their estimation) is a likable man. But what about my mother? MMcF and her family are perfectly well aware of what V did to her. Why were they honouring his death regardless of their affection for his brother? Cunts. Logistically, I was actually glad to have them there as it meant I had someone other than G and fucking M and the other fuckwits from my da’s side of the family to talk to. One of the brood, MMcF’s daughter-in-law and sometime carer, did have the grace to ask me if I minded them attending. But in principle, I was furious, and a year and a half later I still am. Not that I have ever told them any of this, though I have ranted to the other characters listed above. But I do keep the peace with them themselves. In fact, I am going to stay at their cunty house tonight. I have no idea why let Mum talk me into this.
I will go into more detail about C in another post, as I intend to blog on all the therapists I have seen to date. C is my present psychotherapist, a clinical psychologist with the National Health Service. I have seen a number of therapists of different specialisms over the years, but C is the first one I actually want to open up to, even though it is still difficult at times as I have so many defences built up. He is the first one, I think, that ‘gets’ me. He doesn’t patronise me yet he does show compassion and understanding.
He is a very intelligent man (presumably his PhD in clinical psychology affirms this), which is good for me as, without wishing to sound arrogant, I think I need to deal with someone on my intellectual level. I do live in constant fear of my weird relationship with him coming to a close, because I feel reliant on him and don’t know how I will cope with having to deal with my life on my own again (this after only nine weeks). Or maybe because I am terrified of abandonment; last week with him was the last of our initial sessions, and I was petrified he was going to kick me out. I begged him not to abandon me, which is not in my normal everyday character at all.
C knows I am scared of this, and it is something on which he wants to work. Currently I am scheduled to keep seeing him until about July 2009, at which point the situation will be reviewed.
So there you have it. The main cast list in the saga that is my shitty little life. Reading back over the above, I find it interesting that the people I have no problems with are the ones about whom I have written the least. Is this demonstrative of my internal anger with the others? Perhaps this is a query for C.
I intend my next post to be an analysis of the therapists I’ve seen over the years – I got this idea from a friend on Twitter who very astutely made such a post about herself. I may post something shorter in between, I don’t know. For the record, I don’t anticipate that most of my blog entries will be as long as this one or (I’m guessing) the therapist one, but I feel it’s important to lay a contextual path if I am to speak freely in future about all the bullshit that enters my head.
Thank you for reading.
This entry was posted on Tuesday, 5 May, 2009 at 10:30 am and is filed under C, Context with tags anxiety, borderline personality disorder, bpd, clinical depression, depression, insanity, insomnia, madness, major depressive disorder, mental health, mentalhealth, people, psychiatry, psychology, Psychotherapy, social anxiety. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.