Tuesday, May 1, 2007

“i hate DC and everything it represents”

My mom and I used to talk every day. Shortly after Jesse and I started getting serious, my mom and I had a falling out. She said a lot of things that hurt me even though she now regrets saying them (and claimed she said them only out of anger). Since then, we don’t talk as frequently and I keep the details of my life to a minimum. It makes me sad that we’re not as close as we used to be but if she knew EVERYTHING about my life now, she would be mad or disappointed (most likely both). So I keep the details out mostly for my benefit but also to protect her.

But there are some things that I probably shouldn’t keep from her, regardless of how she might react. I’ve decided that one of those things is therapy (I’ll keep my sexual experiences to myself, thank you). I feel kinda weird that all of you blog peeps know something so personal about my life and my mom doesn’t. There is one big reason why I haven’t told my mom. I know for a fact that she would blame herself for my going to therapy (or worse, blame my not-very-good-Catholic-girl habits). And honestly, the guilt trip is not something I need right now.

However, for some strange reason I felt the need to come clean and I did so the other night. My mom had called and we started talking about the Virginia Tech tragedy, more specifically the gunman’s apparent mental illness. My mom and I were on the same page on this issue (this could’ve been prevented if someone had noticed and forced the gunman to seek treatment early on) and we so rarely see eye-to-eye on things lately. And of course, I had to ruin the bonding moment by mentioning my mental illness (anxiety) and telling her about my treatment (we were on the subject of mental illness, after all). I really didn’t see a better segue way.

Naturally, she had a lot of questions. What is anxiety? How do you know you suffer from it? Is this why you can’t sleep at night? Are you depressed too? Do you have to take medication? And the big question—Why do you have anxiety? I answered the last question the best I could. I said, “Well, my therapist thinks I have a fear of loss and abandonment, something that I’ve been feeling for a long time but it’s not something I always think about so the fear manifests itself in strange ways.” She replied, “Is this my fault? I have always been there for you. Do you think that I would leave you?” I sighed and responded, “No, mom, this isn’t your fault. I don’t really know why I have this fear. I guess that’s what therapy is for.”

My mom isn’t exactly a psychology denier (like Tom Cruise) but she often assumes that God could be the answer to all of my problems. She supposed, “Don’t you think this is something God can help you with? Maybe if you went to church like you’re supposed to…” Ah, the guilt. My mom is so predictable. Not surprisingly, a comment like this would’ve upset me. Surprisingly, I took it in stride. I told her, “Yes, maybe He could help. But my therapist has already helped a lot so I’m going to stick with her.”

My mom continued with the guilt trip. “You know, if you had never moved away, this would’ve never had happened. You would be safe and secure and you would never be alone because you could be here with me.” Immune to her guilt trip, I answered, “Well, we don’t know that. And you know why I moved here. It’s not like I did it for fun. I did it because I needed to advance my career.” My mom said, voice quivering, “I hate that place. DC. I hate DC and everything it represents. That city took you away from me and I’ll probably never get you back.” Trying desperately to diffuse this situation, I told her, “I’m sorry you feel that way, Mom. But if I hadn’t moved here, I wouldn’t have become the person that I am and I like me. Everything happens for a reason.” She composed herself and immediately regretted what she had said. “I’m sorry,” she said, “I shouldn’t have told you that.”

I accepted her apology, but I’m sad she feels that way. However, I completely understand where she’s coming from.

And I’m certainly not convinced that I’ll stay here forever. Time will tell, I suppose.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As JD Salinger said, "Mothers are all slightly insane" ;)

Good for you for rising to the occasion!

And great example w/Tom Cruise. Didn't he finally apologize to Brooke for his comments re: taking antidepressants? I love it when non-medical people make comments like that. It reminds me of Rush Limbaugh's comments about Michael J. Fox's Parkinson's symptoms (Mow-ron).

That being said, there's alot of research that shows that plain old exercise can work just as well as meds do (for depression, ADD, and some other conditions, but I don't think it does anything for things like Parkinson's, sadly).