A Screw Loose

Thinking about it today, it really saddens me how social media inspires so much targeted hate and stigmatizes mental health even further than it is already. Words are a powerful thing. There is a bonafide difference between your “crazy” ex girlfriend that Facebook stalks you and real, honest, people with mental illness and disabilities. 

9 times out of town a mentally ill person, especially if they are a parent, is not going to purposely call attention to their problems or publicize their fears for the sake of attention (like I said, USUALLY, it depends on the condition of course). They hear all the talk about such and such being nuts, how such and such should of never been allowed custody or have children at all, or how.

I completely understand and agree with ridding your life of toxic people, whether they are to blame with choices or whether it’s a genetic chemical problem. But you’re NOT riding your life of it if you continue to air your dirty laundry by speaking harsh judgements and uneducational and incorrect assumptions whether these are about your “crazy” ex or about a real mentally ill person because though it may feel harmless. The person you speak of may completely deserve your words. 

But what you don’t see is that it’s not just this one person that words hurt or humiliate. By labeling someone crazy, it isolates and ostracizes those that really have a chemical problem and their, innocent, already struggling loved ones. Children. Generations even.  

They hide it. Let predujudices hinder steps to healing, out of fear. They silence the voices of children who love their parents deeply but want and need help. The lies that silence and spread ‘crazy’ propaganda say this is okay. They harmfully raise yet another generation of mentally ill persons unsuccessfully trying to find balance in their soul between their personal reality and the only world they’ve ever known. The one that has forever said who they genetically are, is all they will ever deserve to have and be. 
That’s just not okay at all. But you know, let’s just throw them all in jail and demolish families 

An Open Letter To My “Favorite MiddleChild” On His Birthday

Unlike your brothers, giving birth and raising you never scared me. You were a fussy baby for a few months yes, but you settled in and scheduled yourself without any effort from me. That’s just who you were, and who you remain. You fit so right, so perfectly into my heart, like you were some extension of me. Your personality bubbled and overflowed with silly boyness, and now has become such immeasurable kindness, comfort, and love I don’t understand how in the world you’re my child. I’m selfish. You think of everyone else first. I’m not patient, you wait for appropriate times. 

I’m timid and anxious. You tell me there’s nothing to fear. 
I’m afraid my dear, ive failed you. 
You see, I’ve always heard we need to raise our children _______ way or do ___________ for them and teach them ___________. But here I am eight years later, your Mom, and you have taught me so much and raised me up to be what you needed me to be. For you. You never forget to leave room for daily grace as I stumble through our lives, hoping to get it all right, one day. 
You live, and I’m alive. You smile, and I’m happy. You help others, I stand in amazement. You’re this incredible miracle, a maker of magic, you have so much to give and you never give up, not for anything. 
Not even on me. 
I love you so dearly and pray time will stop, just for a little bit, so I can take it all in. Put difficulty aside, and see what is so right. What is wonderful but temporary. What I know must be recognized, before it’s gone and I wake up to see I have missed it. 
I focused on confound worries instead of the reality of priceless wonders; these flash before me like old projector films. I don’t want to have to cope with knowing I lived around it, this life with you, instead of engaged, soaking it all in to the depths of my heart. 
My love, I know you will grow up (and maybe one day I will as well) leaving this season behind us (though not quite doing so as well) in a mad dash to adult identity and the discovery of your passions. As you rightfully should. 
I would never dream of holding you back; I will most assuredly stand and support you, in whatever calls you. Whatever lights everything inside you up. With joy. With fulfillment. 

Even if it hurts to let go. 
I think letting go is a complex concept. It doesn’t mean forgetting. It doesn’t mean dwelling or not dwelling. It is keeping all that you once were as a memory (and triumph!), all that you are now as wisdom, and all that you will become as an expectant, steadfast promise. 
Life was lived in each and every season, and the next one will surely be just as full, moving, raw, powerful, and miraculous, as the others have been. 
On your birthday, especially, I pray you know what you hold in you. You are not just “the middle child”, best or otherwise. You are not invisible, I see you and fiercely love you as a whole- flaws and all. You are not who you are because of what you do, not even because you’re great at doing your school work or listening to instruction or scoring goals in soccer (though I’m proud!) or helping with chores without complaint. Not even because you take great care of your brothers, looking after them with a watchful eye, when necessary. 
If nothing else, please know that. 

We are going to fail. All of us. If you believe who you are is made worthy by what you do, trust me when I say you will wander aimlessly. Wandering can be wonderful, but not in the vain of hopelessly doing so. Allowing soul depletion. Unhappy. Un-purposefully. Without expectation or the enlightenment to see all you need to utterly thrive, you already have. 
I love the compassionate and helpful things you do; but even if they didn’t exist, you could never ever, ever, even for a minute disappoint or fail me. Never is there a way, a decision, or a developed personality trait that can remove your soul and all its love, from mine.
You are who you are because you exist. You live with all you have inside of you. 8 or 98, you are my son, and all I am is because of you.
Although she referred to her romantic partner in this quote, I find its truth to be remarkably accurate still: 

  .g so. Allowing soul depletion.  could never ever, ever, even for a minute disappoint or fail me. Never is there a way, a decision, or a developed personality trait that can remove your soul and all its love, from mine.
You are who you are because you exist. You live with all you have inside of you. 8 or 98, you are my son, and all I am is because of you.
Although she referred to her romantic partner in this quote, I find its truth to be remarkably accurate still: 

Mothers and Mental Health

 I don’t remember the day or even the year that I learned of my biology. Adopted at three months old, it feels as if that moment never really happened, but that I’ve known since birth.

As much as I am grateful for the life I’ve been able to lead with my mother, father, stepmom, stepbrothers and sisters etc. there is something that always pulls at my heart strings. Moreso now that I am a mother, myself.

My four sisters and I were all separated and adopted by different nuclear families. But thankfully, each of them were very dedicated to giving us as much of a normal childhood as possible. 

They were not threatened, and allowed us days and weeks and phone calls, summer vacations and reunions so we would have the chance to know and love each other. 

Sisters, though different residing states. Now as adults, best friends as well.

However, in the last few years it’s become clear, this tangled web we weave.

Whether by deception or not, we were told our biological parents were very troubled people. They were drug addicts that slowly descended from fairly normal to severely mentally ill. 

They said our mother was schizophrenic and bi-polar and our father was a dangerous paranoid schizophrenic as well. For me, this knowledge was debilitating. I feared nothing more than losing my mind. 

Being crazy. 

Crazy itself did not scare me, it was the notion of slipping into madness unconsciously. Unknowingly. The possiblity of becoming and living in uneducated delusion. These were my dwelling place; these constant dark and looming thoughts.
However, this year has been enlightening. With the passing of the family purse strings, the truth has slowly begun to unravel. Peaking out, finally unearthed.

Our father was certainly mentally ill. Drugs may of been involved, but no one can say for sure. He was in and out of psych units and constantly drifting into and out of our mother’s life. 

Our mother, however, she was and is the kindest, most loving person you’ll ever meet.

The destruction of her mind came from a life, saturated with the many misunderstandings of mental health and those ill and impaired because of it. Tireless, crushing years of feeling the weight of burden, before mental health became more “mainstream”. She alone, carried such burden and guilt. Chained to her own learned inner critic. Vulnerable. 

But the destruction of her world, started with our father. She loved him. She loved him more than most people ever desire to be cared about. 

 In turn, great love inspired deep hurt. Immeasurable destruction is the powerful wrath of misguided anger and brokenness. 

She loved him far more than what would be healthy for her mental state and stability. 

But she knew no other way.

She had issues with anxiety and depression but crazy? No. Drugs? She won’t even take Tylenol for a headache. 

Our mother’s name is Charly and the sacrifices she made for “her girls” remain undoubtedly, selflessly convicting. 

Our mother has a learning disability and a few other non-violent mood imbalances. She processes emotions and stimuli much differently than the general population. She sees the world with such beautiful, simplicity. A way most of us will never get experience. 
She lives and loves in the supernatural peace of a woman who knows her world will ultimately be whatever she chooses it to be. A woman that knows she is the world itself and that she moves and cycles. 

Life circles itself, it is constantly  breaking and building. It’s ever moving, ever revealing, ever loving. Ever after.

Our mother doesnt know, she feels. She doesnt see what is before her, she simply trusts. She does not reason and strategically plan for some ideal, self serving, happy ending and tropical retirement for herself.
She pours out all she has and all she can possibly give. A humble, pure, deep love, though life has never quite dealt her a fair hand. She was a mother. She is a mother. 

Our mother.

For over 30 years our mother thought one day her love would matter more than her IQ. That with time and valiant effort, she would be deemed smart or better or almost responsible enough. 

There was a still small hope she clung to though reality seemed to paint a picture of hopelessness and impossibility. She waited, for years, for her girls to be nutured in healthy environments. 

Not only wanting what was best, but consciously choosing to sacrifice what she could of had, for what was needed. 

Over 30 years have passed and she still believes in time, God’s provision, justice, and humble, obedient prayers. She believes in the soul, connections that breach the borders of legality, disability, and distance. 

She passionately believes in the God of wayward sons and the God who brought his people out of bondage, out of Egypt and rescued from the lions mouth. 

She believes in some way, at some time, God will graciously afford her a way to find us again. And despite the very evident odds that, that would never happen, she never gave up. Never. Not for a single minute.
She prayed and still prays for her girls; got involved in church and community activities. She endured abuse, homelessness, and the vicious judgements of unkind hearts. She used her pain to better herself and bring joy to the lives of others. She worked hard and loved whatever season life brought her to. She dreamt not for herself, but for her girls. 
My name is Mary Lee and on September 25, 1985 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, I was born. But not with that name. I was born Crystal Diane and I’m proud to say my Mom is Maggie, my Dad is David, and my stepmom is Sue. 

They love me dearly, fiercely, incredibly, and completely, of which I’m undoubtedly ever-grateful for. 

But then, there is Charly. 

Charly, is my birth mother and the most unselfish person I’ve ever known. 
Charly, is my hero.