Monday, February 28, 2011

Monday Madness Chocolate Ice Cream

This is a new meme started by Shah atWords in Sync.  For those of us that have a mental illness or our caretakers or partners or family members.

I thought I'd share a little humiliation I endured as a child and actually well into adulthood at the hands (not literally) of my uncle who suffers from Bipolar Disorder.  His way of feeling better was to put people down and I'm not sure why he chose me, perhaps I was the weakest link.  I was the most sensitive.  I swear I'd be richer than Bill Gates if I had even a penny for how many times I'd been told I was "too sensitive".  Anyone else?  Because I cried so easily.  No one knew how deeply depressed I was and how much I thought of checking out of this nightmare called life.  No one cared.  I was taught to put on a smile and keep all the rest inside.

So every birthday (there were at least eight a year) Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas, Easter, Fourth of July, Mother's Day, Father's Day, any excuse at least once a month and more if there was a birthday or holiday in it, I was subject to his belittling.  It always started with, "Did I ever tell you about the time when Heather got chocolate ice cream in her shoes?"  That was the whole story.  I was probably four at the time it happened.  I never defended myself by explaining how the ice cream melted and dripped down my arms and onto my legs then down them into my shoes.  I just crawled deeper into my shell and got embarrassed first at the attention and then at the imperfection that was me.  I was the only one that got chocolate ice cream in my shoes.  The thing was, that wasn't the only story like that.  There were were others and he told them every chance he got, in front of new people, in front of boyfriends, new friends any way to embarrass me.  And I don't know why.  I loved him better than my own father.  Yet he hurt and embarrassed me constantly.  He and I share the same disorder.  I've helped him with his medications when he's told me some symptoms he was having I suggested his medication might be doing it and he stopped it and it helped.

Now days, he's slowly sliding into dementia and the stories don't come up.  Now when I'm strong enough to say, "That's not how I remember it.  I remember licking a chocolate ice cream cone that melted down my arms and dripped on my knees.  And with gravity it naturally dripped from my knees down my legs into my shoes.  What did I care?  I was four.  I was just enjoying my chocolate ice cream.  What else did you want me to do?"  But now, I get trapped by him as he tells me I can use his property in Virginia anytime I want, that they built it for me and my sister too.  Not just for his son and daughter.  And he talks in fatalistic terms as if this will be the last time I see him.  And it takes his son in law and son to rescue me from his still firm grasp as I wipe my eyes and they explain to me how much vodka and wine he's had.

Once again, he makes me feel little and small and trapped.  He can throw me into depression faster than a bottle of wine and a migraine.  He breaks me down every time I see him.  So what does this have to do with mental illness?  To show you two different sides of it, the sufferer and the watcher.  I am both in this situation and both parts hurt.  I would take the belittling again not to see him not battered down by his disease.  Is that what I'll look like at his age?  Will my mind be so ravaged  by the medication that I'll have dementia?

I wish I was four with chocolate ice cream dripping down my arms and legs and running into my shoes and not a care in the world.


  1. "I wish I was four with chocolate ice cream dripping down my arms and legs and running into my shoes and not a care in the world." There have been many times I felt this so strongly that I just curled up and cried. I wish I could give you a big hug right now - just know you're not alone.

    Visiting from Monday Madness.

  2. It's awful to see someone you love suffer - and it's awful to have someone we love hurt us. I relate to this part of your life in many ways. I'm proud that you could share this with us and hope it gave some cathartic relief. And I hope you will keep sharing with us here, where its safe to do so. Shah, wordsinsync.

  3. It was brave of you Shah to share this with everyone, and I appreciate your transparency and fear. I sometimes wonder if the meaning of life is being purified from all the things that assaulted and damaged us as children. Certainly it has to be part of it. Thank you again.

  4. I hear you. I have a family member who's struggling with some thoughtless words tossed out by her bipolar mom.

    When I was about 20 I ruined a beautiful pair of gray suede shoes by eating butter pecan on a hot day. Ice cream accidents can happen to anyone.

  5. Oh, I just came from my dad's and I had so many times in my life he made me feel two incehes tall and like he didn't care about me at all.he's an alcholic; it runs in my family. When I read your post, I thought, wow, that is how I feel right now too. I totally understand it, and I'm sorry your uncle has been so hurtful and abusive to you. You deserve better, and I hope that you are able to know that and to take good care of yourself, and eat ice cream any time you want.

    I found your blog through the blog hop, at wordsinsync, and I'm your newest follower. I hope you'll have a chance to visit mine too. I really look forward to reading more of your bblog posts.

  6. That picture is so cute. It's good that you've gotten stronger, but it's still hard. When a person has been doing that you're whole life like that, even as an adult now, it can transport you back to when you were a kid and feel the same way. Like they say it takes 1000 at-a-boys to make up for every 1 hurtful comment.

    Thanks for sharing your story. I'm now following you and look forward to reading more. I will have my story up in the morning. Would love if you could follow me back

  7. Hello. Following you from the Monday Madness bloghop. Hope you're having a nice night.


    hope you'll follow you back at

  8. I am visiting from the hop! I am your newest follower and would love it if you would follow me back! thanks so much!