Why I Hate My Birthday 

I hate my birthday. It’s taken me a lot of years to realise this. It has always felt crap and then a few years ago I realised: hey I actually really fucking hate my birthday.

Realising that helped.

Unfortunately husband hasn’t got the memo. In fact he thinks I love a big fuss on my birthday, that I like to drag it out over several days, that presents and surprises are important to me. Yes, of course I’ve told him but he says that I’m wrong and that if he didn’t make a fuss I’d be unhappy. Ummm….

So here we have the classic dialectic. In some ways he’s right. Birthdays are supposed to be special days and therefore yes, I would like some acknowledgement. However, it’d be really in keeping with the spirit of the day if said fuss was something I could actually enjoy. I mean, if I was listened to, rather than having BIRTHDAY!!!!! thrust upon me then that’d be great.

A few years ago I started being quite specific with what presents I’d like from the husband. I did this because it really hurt my feelings that he would choose stuff that wasn’t me at all. How can my best friend, the person to whom I am closest to in the whole world get it/me so wrong?! Even now he always buys me Ferrero Rocher chocolates because that is his Mum’s favourite. I like Ferrero Rocher – don’t get me wrong – but it’s not what I want, not what I’d choose and, after 14 years, you’d think he’d have noticed that but you’d be wrong. Anyway I let the chocolate thing go. Chocolate is chocolate so it doesn’t really matter. Husband agonises saying that I need to have surprises as presents. Nope. Again I’ve told him that this just simply isn’t true but again, apparently I’m wrong. 

Whilst we’re on chocolate this is often what sparks the Birthday Argument. The Boy has real issues with jealousy so he will go on and on all day about how he doesn’t have any chocolate. If I share it out (after all I’m desperate to get rid of it) then he will loudly, repetitively and really rather specifically check that my sharing is equal. He will go on and on about how I could divide up the remaining chocolate fairly. He will ask when I’m going to eat it. He will talk about how much he wants chocolate (and how unfair it is that he doesn’t have any), he will want to discuss the healthiness of it. I’m short he will go and on relentlessly. Some years I snap at him. Sometimes I leave the room and cry. It always ends up with the husband shouting at the boy over chocolate I didn’t even want. DON’T  YOU KNOW IT’S MUM’S BIRTHDAY?!

Mum doesn’t want a birthday. Mum wants to be dead. If I had never been born then all of this stress wouldn’t be happening. I was never supposed to be born. My core belief right there – my birth was an accident, a blip in the Universe. By being born I brought chaos, stress and a badness into the world that was never supposed to be. My existence is all wrong. Why the fuck I’d want to celebrate that I don’t know.

Anyway, my parents usually send a gift. This is also unrecognisable as chosen for me. Of course it is because they don’t see me. To them I’m not even a real person, I’m more of an idea. I hate unwrapping their gift. If they have wrapped it at home then it comes with their smells. The smells that make me want to vomit. Happy fucking birthday? What a joke. More often than not now they’ll just randomly purchase something online and send it. This has the added bonus of not having their smell. However it will come without any note. I mean why add a Happy Birthday message that would be a lie right? We all know that day ruined everything but society demands these niceties. 

My parents used to forget my birthday sometimes.

Well, they had a lot on didn’t they? Oh, they deny that this happened but I was sure. Utterly, utterly convinced and I found a photo as evidence. Me, aged 9, wearing pyjamas because it is bedtime. I am posing in front of a defrosted Victoria sponge with 9 candles. Back in the 80s it was harder to get cakes so when they realised they had forgotten to sort one out they went to Asda, stressed the fuck out, bought this frozen thing and then had to wait until bedtime for it to defrost. I absolutely remember this happening. They deny it. The photo confirms it. It’s no wonder I’m fucking mental.
Quite often over the years my dad gets the date wrong. Easily done I suppose. Who remembers the day the first child, their only daughter, was born. Easily done. How selfish I am to want to occupy some brain space. I remember one year he went on holiday with the boys (my 3 brothers). I stayed at home with home. She was drunk and cruel the whole time. The house was dark and had its usual stink of vodka, cigs and piss (ah! There’s no place like home!). Dad rang me to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY! 2 days early as he’d gotten the date wrong again. He said there was a present hidden for me somewhere in the house but he couldn’t remember where. Gee, thanks. Anyway, Mum was so awful that I packed a bag and headed to join him on holiday in a caravan somewhere in Scotland. To this day I have no idea how I achieved this. I must have had money. There was no internet for looking up trains etc. I had to get a ferry. A fucking ferry! I mean, just how?! But I did it. At least two trains and a (fucking!) ferry and I arrived. I had escaped.

I used to ask for a chemistry set for birthdays and Christmasses. However I was never given one as my parents told me that I didn’t really want one. Ummm…ok. One chemistry degree later…god, I am so fucking sick of people telling me who I am. It’s no wonder I have no sense of self and instead was given the gift of a personality disorder. No, I really didn’t want that!

Birthday parties were a no go. Obviously. Who would I have invited anyway? Friends weren’t really my thing were they? Or certainly that was something else I was brought up believing.

Anyway, you get it. I hate my birthday.

This year to navigate the upset I’ve provisionally planned out the day. Apparently this is quite demanding? Well, I’ve only done it to try and minimise the upset and arguments and to try and take pressure off of the husband. Sigh. How is it that I’m so misunderstood? 

And there’s the food of course. I’m having a bit of a difficult time with food at the minute. I certainly don’t want to eat loads but heyyyyyy it’s your birthday so you gotta! No, no, no thank you. Please don’t make me explain. Again I’ve planned somewhere for lunch where I’ll be happy with the food (oh how demanding!).

Fortunately no one outside of close family ever remembers my birthday. I say fortunately but yes, it hurts. It’s not unknown for husband to buy a card from the kids and then forget to write it. I’ll find it, still in the cellophane and tidy it away.?I most likely won’t even get texts from the 3 brothers I raised. God, I hate my birthday.

So, I guess I do want a little fuss. I want the people that I love to show me a little bit of extra love and to help me enjoy the day, as I want. 

On the plus side it’s only 24 hours and then it’s done…until next year.

Advertisements

Morning has broken

Good morning!

I want to be dead.

Same old, same old.

Got to be a good parent this morning though so activity scheduling it is.

How to stay present? How to stay as a mum? I’ll have to use all my skills. By the time I drop her at nursery this afternoon I’ll be exhausted. I’m tired already and there’s 5 hours ahead. Then I’ve got a one-to-one with Monica. Night-mare.

I already feel like a failure. Because I am.

But I’ll try and we’ll get by.

Diagnosis, or not

Today was the feedback from my son’s autism assessment. It’s been a two year process. The conclusion: no diagnosis of autism. We had already had a letter explaining how that decision had been reached but today we met the (very competent) clinical psychologist to discuss the findings. 

It’s a strange thing really. I didn’t care one way or the other – I just wanted to know. My gut had always told me that there was something different about my boy; about his need for routine, his obsessions, his sensory issues. I never really had anyone to mull this stuff over with. My husband seemed to just shrug it all off. Sometimes I’d mention something on the odd occasion I’d see another parent and they’d tell me that theirs was just the same…but, no, when they described their child it just didn’t sound quite the same.

Several lengthy questionnaires (and over a year) later we had our first appointment with the psychologist. We discussed the issues with our boy and had reams of examples to give. Honestly it was one of the most uplifting conversations I have ever had. As my husband and I openly described behaviours and an intensity that wears us down so completely the psychologist appeared to understand where no one else ever had. Our son is intelligent, polite, follows rules etc. No one could ever imagine how exhausting managing my boy’s ‘quirks’ could be. We felt like failures. Here were we with this fantastic son and yet, somehow, we were just collapsing with his intensity. So, you can appreciate, having someone recognise and validate what we were saying was a huge relief – maybe we’re not crap parents after all?

The next appointment was our son meeting with the psychologist and an assessor on his own. I fell asleep in the waiting room. He was brought back out to me after 40 mins. I assumed that given the speedy turnaround that they had quickly arrived at the conclusion that he was not autistic and we were, as we feared, just crap parents.

In the next meeting the psychologist fed back to us and I couldn’t believe what she said: our son scored as highly autistic on 2 out of 3 of the measures. I was shocked. They had observed so much in such a short space of time. Entirely selfishly I was so relieved, my god, it’s not just me and my mental illness, two actual trained professionals saw it too! I’ve always been so scared that all of this is just in my head that to have it confirmed, after 10 years, was just…I can’t even describe it.

However,

Ah yes, there was a but. He hadn’t scored as autistic at all on the 3rd measure. For autism diagnosis the person must score on all three measures – a triad of impairments. Also the report from his school completely contradicted what we had reported. Ok, so next steps were to send a trainee psychologist in to observe my son in school and then take the complete body of evidence to a cross functional panel to decide. Ok, cool with that.

Well, you know what they decided, no diagnosis. So we discussed it. Honestly I didn’t mind whether he was diagnosed as on the spectrum or not, I just wanted certainty. Being told he was a borderline case was my worst fear. He does show difficulties, strongly in fact, in 2/3 areas but, but, but this is not ASC. It was the rituals thing that he doesn’t do so I said that he does this yawn/lip smack thing and looked at my husband. No he hadn’t seen that. Ummm…ok…just me…

Somehow I then started getting emotional. I told them about my BPD and cPTSD diagnoses. This changed things. They knew already about my mental health problems but when I confirmed that I had those specific diagnoses, officially then questions were asked about how I was coping and was I being supported adequately by the adult mental health. I threw myself on the sword babbling away about my own concerns about projecting my own difficulties on to my son. I was awful, however I tried to reassure the psychologist that I felt my parenting was ok. I looked to my husband for confirmation. None came. Talk about leaving me hanging. The psychologist reassured me that there had been no concerns about my fitness as a mother and that the adult mental health team had not been in touch with any concerns. That helped. Would have been nice to hear something reassuring from my husband.

Anyway, suddenly the mood lightened. We all agreed with bright smiles that everything was fine and my son was discharged from the child and adolescent mental health (CAMH) team.

And that was that.

Two years. Hundreds of questions. Half an answer. 

Doesn’t matter though does it? Let’s be honest, with a BPD mother me like he’s up against it. 

Mummy is in bed

My children are in the hall outside my bedroom playing catch. My daughter’s voice is full of joy and giggles and she bounces about shouting “catch!” to her older brother. He’s excited because he’s wearing his new football boots to his game today. Hearing them happy makes me smile. I’ve already had bad thoughts this morning and hearing them is a nice antidote.

Then my husband tells them off – they shouldn’t be playing here, making all that noise. Mummy is in bed. Mummy doesn’t want you to do that does she?

Triggered.

His intention is good. He knows that I was in a bad place yesterday and he wants me to have peace. He regularly makes these assumptions about what I need though without actually asking me. I’ve told him more times than I can count that he doesn’t need to silence the children on my behalf. It makes me so sad. All I want is for them to be happy and healthy. Please don’t stop that for me. 

I was already having intrusive thoughts when I woke up (I could overdose when they’re all out and then just start walking until I fall somewhere). Now I feel worse. Everything is my fault.

Mummy doesn’t want you making all that noise.

Mummy is still in bed.

Leave Mummy alone.

My daughter is going to the football game despite her chesty cough. It is 830am, cold and damp outside and I worry about her chest. My husband decided to take her without talking to me because it’s what I need, apparently. 

Guilt. Shame. Anger. Love. Sadness. All swirling around. 

They’ve gone now and I’m alone. My family are gone. Without me. I feel so wretched. Swallowing a load of tablets wouldn’t phase me at all but I can’t do that. That doesn’t help them. Instead it’ll be the knife. Will need to go torso I think. Better weather is coming soon…short sleeves…

Oh, I didn’t take anything last night except my quetiapine. That was a positive step forward of which I’m quite proud of. I slept til 4am and then I was restless/awake and any sleep came with nightmares. Lack of sleep is a vulnerability factor they say. Lucky for me I get to stay in bed whilst my family are out together.

Lucky me indeed.