My mom came for a visit this weekend. We got to spend some much needed time together, and of course, I milked her visit for some assistance in cleaning my place. Lol. I can only clean on the weekends so why not wait till the morning she visits? I’m horrible; I know…haha. My place is tiny so it’s not a difficult task. I think the hardest part is cleaning off the appliances after cooking. You could do a full clean of the place in less than an hour or two if you don’t stop for breaks like I do.
My mom has known that I’ve had a disorder since I was diagnosed. I’ve struggled with anxiety, panic attacks and catasrophizing since I was in high school. Yet, it was never addressed until I moved out on my own and I started having panic attacks on a more regular basis. If you’ve read some previous posts (click here), then you know I act one of two ways to stress, either a full on panic attack with a huge adrenaline spike, or I go into a depressive episode where I don’t want to do anything.
We were discussing the last time she came to visit several months ago and the way my mother addressed it made me a little uncomfortable. She said at the time that I was in crisis. Her terminology threw me off and I didn’t really know what to say. I didn’t feel like I was in crisis. I was just having an anxiety episode with a more depressive leaning. I stopped cleaning; I wasn’t cooking, etc. I wasn’t in crisis; I was unmotivated. I didn’t consider taking my, and I’ve never been a cutter. I wasn’t sure what she meant, but I didn’t want to bring up an uncomfortable topic for her.I was driving past the pet store where I buy supplies for the Dictator, and it was then I realized that mom can’t say the D word. She can’t even say disorder.
We’ve talked about my panic disorder several times; yet my mom has only ever referred to the disorder as “it.” She’s never called it by name; she’s never said “your disorder.” It’s always “it.” I’m not sure the letter D exists in her alphabet when I’m having an attack or episode. I don’t think she’s living in denial as I’m so vocal about it, but it does seem taboo for her.
I know she’s feels guilty and somewhat responsible for my disorder. My experiences in our household growing up assisted in conditioning my responses and my need to be perfect, to be good. If I wasn’t, I was screamed at, put down and occasionally hit. The best I could hope for each day was to be ignored. This started the need for things to be right or for me to be good at all times. My mother truly felt that despite that it was best to be raised by two parents. She needed the additional income to keep a roof over all of our heads. I don’t really know how much she was aware of to this day, and I do give her the benefit of the doubt. She did try to get me out of the situation as often as possible, having my brother in law and grandparents take after school well into my teenage years. But I know she feels at fault since she has told me so.
I have to spend time telling her it isn’t her fault whenever we talk about my disorder, and I find myself comforting her. Sometimes I wish she would just stop and listen; stop taking responsibility for something she didn’t really have a part in. I do get exasperated with her and will occasional snap in my response. I don’t mean to, but it becomes a bit…overwhelming…when I’m trying to communicate my thought process. It’s hard to get my emotions straight and then have to listen to hers as well. I know that sounds selfish and uncaring, but in the midst of a panic attack or anxiety episode, having to console her for me having a panic attack is something I struggle with. I wonder now if the reason why it’s so difficult is because she can’t even say I struggle with a disorder. She doesn’t say the “Ds.”
I’m very open about my disorder in all aspects of life. My bosses know; my own team knows. I like to discuss whatever it is I’m stressing over and how it’s affecting me to begin with. It helps the process of coming to terms. I’m hoping one day she’ll be able to acknowledge my disorder and actually call it what it is. I’m not sure when that day would come, but I hope one day she can just say the words so I can stop having to tell her it’s alright and not her fault. This is just the way my mind was wired.