The psychopath in my life

Yes, yes, I know… with the advent of the DSM V both sociopaths and psychopaths have been rolled into Antisocial Personality Disorder. Though for general discussion, sociopaths and psychopaths are distinct

Sociopaths tend to be nervous and easily agitated. They are volatile and prone to emotional outbursts, including fits of rage. They are likely to be uneducated and live on the fringes of society, unable to hold down a steady job or stay in one place for very long. It is difficult but not impossible for sociopaths to form attachments with others. Many sociopaths are able to form an attachment to a particular individual or group, although they have no regard for society in general or its rules. In the eyes of others, sociopaths will appear to be very disturbed. Any crimes committed by a sociopath, including murder, will tend to be haphazard, disorganized and spontaneous rather than planned.

Psychopaths, on the other hand, are unable to form emotional attachments or feel real empathy with others, although they often have disarming or even charming personalities. Psychopaths are very manipulative and can easily gain people’s trust. They learn to mimic emotions, despite their inability to actually feel them, and will appear normal to unsuspecting people. Psychopaths are often well educated and hold steady jobs. Some are so good at manipulation and mimicry that they have families and other long-term relationships without those around them ever suspecting their true nature.

How to Tell a Sociopath from a Psychopath

So, what do you do when you know that something must be done? Wait, watch, and plan. The thing that those with Antisocial Personality Disorder never count on is that there is someone who is immune to their manipulation, see through their lies, and is smarter than they are.

Wide awake beside the infant queen

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When it is my turn to sleep with our daughter, I simply do not sleep. In the good old days when cribs were involved and I slept on an inflatable mattress on the floor, I did have some sleep. However, since my parents and husband decided that she was big enough for bed sharing, our time together is fraught. In good news, since she is a relatively good sleeper my husband and parents tend to let her sleep with them. This leaves me to sleep alone on the couch (at home) or bed (at parents). Nights like tonight leave me nervously counting down the hours and praying for the possibility of dosing.

You may wonder why I have such difficulty. It is a combination of long-standing insomnia and abject fear. You see, the queen was born at 29 weeks after a pregnancy that was difficult and almost resulted in both of our deaths. For 9 long weeks, we watched as she fought to gain weight, to tolerate food, to learn to take a bottle. We experienced the terror of random and unexplained apnea and bradycardia episodes. When she finally came home it was on an apnea monitor.

It was never easy. She had reflux from the beginning. I don’t mean that she had a little spitting up. She had reflux while taking a bottle that would stop her breathing and slow her heart to a near stop. She had reflux that 1.5 hours after eating she would vomit so much that it would cover EVERYTHING. At 3 months old, she began medication that if not covered by our insurance would have cost several hundred dollars a month. Her formula, which in 2014 was no longer considered a “medication” and was not covered by our insurance, was close to $500/month.

The cost doesn’t really matter. The main thing is that I sat for hours every night and watched her breath. I would watch her monitor as I tried to fall asleep. I looked for each and every breath. Over time, she got better. The monitor was no longer necessary, the medication, and the special formula.

The thing is that I still watch for her to breath. Without fail, just as I am about to doze off, she will be too still for too long, and I will need to reach out and feel her chest just to make sure. Then we start over again. She will never know the hours that watched her sleep and worried. I hope that she will always recognize that I loved her each and every day of her life.

Republicans, please explain to me why refugees are scary and militias are not?

Militia Members Take Over Federal Government Building In Oregon

I’m puzzled by this, and I will admit that in the last 16 years I have become increasing perplexed by the American political system. In 2003, I graduated from Georgia Tech with MS in Public Policy. I understood the system then, really. There was at least a degree of sanity in both political parties at that time but now, now I look at these parties and cringe.  The Republicans have moved so far to the right that they would be unrecognizable to their most lauded heroes, including Ronald Reagan. The Democrats are no longer a polar opposite but occupy the place that moderates held two decades ago. Except Bernie Sanders, who I like, but after the come from behind story of Barack Obama is unlikely to get the Democratic nod. I digress.

We come to this weekend when a large group of heavily armed militia members invaded the headquarters of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Over 150 heavily armed militia members have taken control of FEDERAL property and have said that they are willing to kill and/or be killed. By federal law, this is definitionally domestic terrorism. What are we as a country doing about these people?  Multiple agencies are currently working together to come up with a solution. What? Yes, terrorists who have invaded and are occupying federal land are being handled with kid gloves. Actual heavily armed terrorists are being treated with courtesy and care.

So, tell me Republicans why are these people not as scary as a bunch of Syrian women and children?

 

What if I told you?

Do you remember those terrible posts that people would tag you in on FaceBook and you were supposed to fill in the information and repost tagging other unwitting participants? They were never very interesting, but consuming somehow. It was if we couldn’t wait to tell some banally intimate part of our lives to people we hardly knew. Did we hope to shock them? Perhaps. I’m sure that my middle school teacher did not expect that I had two tattoos. I had seen her only the week before wearing a sundress. Maybe she wondered where they are located. More than anything, I think most of us want the people that we had left behind years before to see that we had become people that they did not know. We were not our high school selves. We have lived interesting lives.

 

 

The Most Eeyore Bear in the World

 

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I saw this bear the other day while walking in an animal park with my husband, stepdaughter, and 14-month old. The stream that normally placidly flowed below overflowed its banks, and into his enclosure. He seemed to be mournfully watching the water as it crept ever closer to him. I reached out to the fence and wanted to soothe his melancholy soul. I felt this kinship with him. My own sadness reached out to him.

For most of my adult life, I have struggled with Bipolar Disorder. My manic episodes are few and far between, but depression has been my frequent companion over the years. Over the last month and a half, it has reared its very ugly head. Drug changes, schedule changes, positive attitudes, and all of that… none of it matters. It hasn’t made a bit of difference. I feel like that bear.

The day you went away

I will never forget that July 5th. I woke with a hollow feeling in my stomach, but I tried to ignore it. I ate breakfast, went to get a haircut, and received that call. My sister telling me that she needed to meet me at home. She met me outside, beside the swimming pool. Sat me down and told me that you had died. I had been waiting for that news for years at that point, but it still broke my heart. I had divorced you because I loved you and I love me. I needed you to get the help that you so desperately needed. I waited, and I loved you. I dated another person, but I didn’t really love them. You were the only person who I had ever loved. I believed that we would find our way back to each other because that much love couldn’t be for nothing. That day broke my heart in a way that I didn’t know was possible. It ripped a hole into the very core of me that in some ways has still not healed.

Though, I am happy now. Married again, to a man that I love every bit as much as I love you. Something that I didn’t think was possible because I had never loved anyone before I loved you. We have a beautiful daughter. I am pursuing my dreams. Yet, despite all of this, sometimes I worry that I have changed my telephone number too frequently and you won’t be able to reach me. I wake up at night, and am shocked that the person curled next to me is not you. I miss you more than I can bear at times, because ours was a story with no ending. We loved each other and one day you died. You died because you were an alcoholic trying to get clean on his own. You died because your heart just gave out. You died because no one could ever tell you how to do something. You died, and no matter what happens in my life you will be the person that I loved first. I pray that someday it stops hurting so much during this time of year. I pray that at some point, your loss won’t drag me down.
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What I should be doing

I should be writing a paper about racism, sexism, and other types of discrimination. What I am doing, I am fact checking some crap that my ex-boyfriend put up on Facebook. There are many reasons that he is my ex, and this is one of them. Dammit people, fact check, from reputable sources, or don’t post stuff at all.

And then there was today…

A few years ago my therapist suggested that I should write a blog. I thought, “screw that, who has the time.” She also mentioned some stuff about meditation and breathing exercises that I tried to follow, but even though I would really love to be that person I know that I am not. In the last few years, as my life has changed, additions, subtractions, and multiplications, I have collected anecdotes in my head, and on FB, and occasionally in text and emails only meant for those who understand my sense of humor.

Then there was today. I guess it could be any day in the last year, but it really had to be today. I am the mother of five. Before you start thinking, wow that last one must have just waterslided out, I am the biological mother to only the youngest. My other four kids are amazing, maddening, intelligent, and socially awkward. I never have a clue what the day will hold with them. Perhaps a funny story from my 11-year-old about why being a building contractor is the perfect life choice, or my 14-year-old being forcefully committed to a mental institution. The 7-month-old can be relied upon to scream, vomit, and otherwise show that being cute is the only reason that she is still with us.

But, today, with my husband hundreds of miles away, my kids with their mom, and me at my parents’ home, I realized that I am tired. I don’t just mean that I am physically tired, which I am, or mentally tired. I mean that I am deep down in my bones tired of everything. After trying to pick clothing for my 14-year-old daughter that doesn’t make her look like a daytime hooker, working on my master’s degree program, playing interactively and developmentally stimulating with my 7-month-old, and being unbearably cheerful, my sweet darling daughter vomited gallons onto the table (and me) at a nice restaurant. Okay, I realize that you shouldn’t take your 7-month-old to a nice restaurant, but other than the vomiting she was exceptionally well behaved. Also, I gave the server a crazy large tip. She earned every single cent of it. I was eating dinner with my father at the only restaurant in their small town that has decent food and decent alcohol. The alcohol is especially important after the vomiting. God bless a dry Grey Goose martini with extra olives. And, yes, I was the woman standing at the bar with her baby.

I need an outlet, or a place to voice all of the things that are on my mind. I need to be honest because I really think that I am failing at the whole being a mother thing. In my defense, I never planned to do it. It’s not that I don’t like children because I do, I was a middle/high school math teacher for a while. When I met my husband, I was a bit reticent about the sheer number of children. Seriously, four is A LOT OF CHILDREN. Then we married, and less than two months later I was pregnant. That man has (had) potent swimmers. Standard birth control was no match. Seven months later we have a baby. That’s a story for another day.

Maybe this is enough for my first missive. I’ve never done this before. Wait, I still haven’t said why today! Here it is, as I was downing my second martini and my father was bouncing my daughter, I realized that I didn’t have anyone that I could say the things in my head. I have friends who would be horrified, friends who would be all “yeah, welcome to parenthood,” friends who would ask “have you talked to your doctor,” and acquaintances who would be thinking about how they should coordinate their nail color with their child’s outfit in case of pictures. All of those things are fine, but I need to be able to share the craziness of my life, and it is crazy. Not just to me, both my psychiatrist and psychologist agree.