Thursday, August 23, 2012

Part 3: The dad question

This is the follow on story about when I met my son's father and how my beautiful boy came to be. Part 1 is here and Part 2 is here.

Walking into the abyss

"He's been in prison."

I said it as casually as anything as I looked around the large dining room that was slowly filling with patients carrying trays of food, trying to find somewhere to sit. I had been back in rehab for about a week. Mum was visiting.

Averting my eyes from my mother, I took in the faces of the other patients and tried to size each one of them up, work out their story. It was easy to tell which wards people came from after you'd been an inpatient for so long and on so many occasions. The younger, louder group sitting by the window and closest to the exit were the drug and alcohol patients. They, or should I say we, ate quickly so we could escape to the garden to smoke. Smoking was the only real vice we had left. Oh and chocolate. I consumed both in abundance during my rehab stays.

This ashtray full of filthy cigs is basically what my life was like.
Photo borrowed from here.

The women quietly chatting on the other side of the room were obviously from the post natal depression unit. They pushed crying babies back and forth in their prams while trying to eat the tasteless cafeteria style food with their free hand. There was so much sadness in their tired eyes when they first came to the hospital. Sadness and desperation. I would later come to stay in that ward too, with Noo. The difference with the PND ward is a sense of hope, knowing that what we were suffering with our young bubs was temporary - it had to be. Not like the druggies and alcos. They - we - have to battle our addiction demons for life.

The other patients, chatting with each other or eating alone, were the chronically depressed or anxious or both; the self-harming borderline personality disorder girls, older patients with seemingly incurable melancholia, bipolar suffers admitted for ECT. They came from all walks of life. All ages, backgrounds, gender. Mental health issues are indiscriminate.

I looked back at mum. She didn't know what to say. I knew, she knew, I said what I said to hurt. To make them worry about me. To make them see what they'd pushed me away to.

"Oh, yeah and he's got five kids from three different women."

Ner, ner, so there! I'm really fucking up now, aren't I mum? Put that in your pipe and smoke it!

"What are you doing, Vanessa?" asked mum without emotion. She was trying not to show that my campaign of hurt was working.

"Nothing, mum. I really like him. He's coming to the family day and I want you and dad to come as well and meet him".

"Oh. Right. Ok, well I'll have to speak to your father", was mum's non committal reply. And she left.

I knew I'd been a bitch. I felt bad. But mostly I was angry. So fucking angry. Angry at them, my parents. I wanted to hurt them.

When I got kicked out of the previous psychiatric hospital and mum said I couldn't come home, I was so pissed off. I felt so abandoned, so lonely and vulnerable. My own parents couldn't deal with who I was: the damaged, drug addicted rape victim who'd fucked up her life. If the people who made me and nurtured me couldn't love me, how the fuck was I going to love myself? To give a shit? I wanted to wash my hands of myself just like I felt they were trying to wash their hands of me.

I couldn't get away from myself. Being in rehab they make you stop running. They make you take a good hard look at yourself so you can see who it is really there looking back at you in the mirror. I didn't like what I saw. Not one little bit.

The next morning, a Friday, actually Friday the 4th of April 2008, my dad called me in my room back in the D&A ward. He said in no uncertain terms that he wanted nothing to do with this person who I'd been spending my time with and that he and my mother wanted me to stop seeing him immediately. I was to not tell this person anything about our family - where we lived, what their names were, where my dad worked.

I lost it. Screaming and carrying on over the phone. I won't even write what I said. I no doubt sounded like a crazed teenager having a tantrum. It was horrible. I was so incredibly angry and hurt but wasn't what my dad said the reaction I was looking for?

After I hung up the phone I walked out of the ward and out of the hospital grounds and to the nearest place that sold alcohol and ordered a Toohey's Extra Dry and drank it. It tasted disgusting. I ordered another and drank it too. I had to have enough grog in my system so when I went back to the hospital and the nurses breathalysed me they would tell me to leave and not return for seven days.

I then called the man who my parents had expressly told me not to see and told him to come get me.

More to follow.


Part 1: The dad question
Part 2: The dad question


Anonymous said...

V - you have been through so much.
You are so brave and writing must offer some recovery for you.
Ned is blessed with a beautiful mother who loves him more than anything, a mum who has been through hell and back, a fighter.
I love reading your blogs for their honesty and openness. Stay strong my friend. Looking forward to your next blog :-)

Mitzi x

The Babbling Bandit said...

Hey Mitzi. Thanks for your comment. Writing this stuff helps me to remember how far I have come. Although those times were bad, I wouldn't have my beautiful boy if it wasn't for these very things that happened. If I didn't have this fight with my dad. Ned probably wouldn't have existed. Maybe things do happen for a reason. V.

Kim-Marie Williams said...

Oh, that's a very powerful tale.

Diet Schmiet said...

Am still enjoying this tale (though I know enjoying isn't really the right word to use).

Do you look back now sometimes (at the decisions your parents made) and think they were for the best / understand them or are they still as hurtful I wonder?

I can relate to the 'trying to hurt those around you' or wanting them to worry about you or see how much damage they've done!

The Babbling Bandit said...

When I look back on it all now I understand where they were coming from in regards to Ned's father - he was a loser and he was dangerous. I'll never understand why they kicked me out when I was so messed up though. But the way I look at it is, if they hadn't, I wouldn't have had Ned. He was conceived that night I left the hospital. But that is for the next instalment!

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