“You deserved to have your baby die!”
“Your baby that died – she was lucky because she didn’t have to grow up with you as her mother!”“You’re a fucking liar!”
“Let me tell you a few things, the only reason I live is for Grandma & my friends. If it wasn’t for Grandma, I'd have committed suicide.”“I hate almost everything about you & I wish I never was born.”
“I could care less about what you think & I hate that I even lived through birth.”“You are not a fucking doctor, you miss no-it-all.”
“You were never meant to have me as a daughter! I wish Deanna lived & I died. She would be your dream daughter & your devilish child, me, would not be here.”“Let's face it! I am a burden walk'n! I am a no good nothing & was never meant to be here in the first place.”
“I am no good to you & you obviously wish me the worst in life bcz obviously I have never brought joy to you as the person I am today.”“I hate myself & wish the bastard that molested me & fucked up my mind had killed me.”
“So, here it is, accept me for who I am (not a perfect angel you always wanted) or pretend I am something I never will be (the daughter you always wanted).”The quotes above are mostly excerpts from emails I received from my daughter (the misspellings and abbreviations are hers). Some were, however, screamed at me in person.
My daughter, Paige has mental illness. She has severe Anxiety Disorder. She has Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. She has Major Depressive Disorder. She has Attention Deficit Disorder. On top of all that, she was sexually molested when she was six years old, so she has psychological issues. She has Premenstrual Disphoric Disorder. She was fourteen weeks premature when she was born, weighed only one pound, twelve ounces. She developed Retinopathy of Prematurity and sustained permanent retinal detachment in both eyes. She has learning disabilities caused by visual sensory deprivation during her formative years.
And guess what, two weeks ago, her psychiatrist diagnosed her with Asperger’s Syndrome.
It's been so hard for her with all her challenges. My heart aches for her every single day. At times she’s been so tortured and miserable and I just want the same things for her that I want for all my children; to be happy, to feel good.
But ohmigod, being her mother has not been easy. The words she flings at me, they have razor-sharp edges and they hurt. She knows they hurt, she means them to. She knows exactly what buttons to push to get maximum effect. Talking about her older sister, Deanna, who was also premature but only lived for twenty-six hours, is the easiest, most expedient way to reduce me to tears. And that, after all, is the goal. In her mind, when she’s in one of her rages, her purpose is not fulfilled until she’s elicited either sorrow or anger.
Paige wasn't always this way. She was a bright, happy girl; very affectionate and open. After she was molested, I took her to child/play therapy. I went to her school and asked her teachers to let her talk about what happened to her, to never stifle her in any way, so she would have the opportunity to work through it. Her crayon drawings showed per progress; the sun shone on a happy family again. For almost four years, she remained the cheerful, warm, engaging child. Everyone knew her, everyone loved her.
All these changes heralded the beginning of our journey through a long series of medical and mental health professionals. Psychologists, psychiatrists, clinical therapists, neurologists, gynecologists, they all offered diagnoses. Each new label was intended to direct her course of treatment but the subsequent remedies were mostly ineffective.Now she is twenty years old and lives with my sister 60 miles away from me. She is on anti-depressant medication, and combined with the fact that she seems to be maturing a little, she seems better able to control her behavior. My sister and I are trying to get Paige into a program over there which will, hopefully, provide her with services to help her to be independent. The facility we found provides job coaching as well as supported living opportunities. We find out next week whether she’s eligible for this program.
I can barely think of anything else.