So, what does that make me?

I’ll tell ya what it makes me….
Some kind of cross between an agnostic, humanist, atheist, and spiritual something-or-otherist.  A realist.  A naturalist.  An “I-don’t-really-give-a-damnist”.   Or do I?

Ok… so, basically I’m messed-up-ist!  At least I admit it!

But, please…  whatever you do, do not try to “save me”.
I am not crying out for help.  I have no desire whatsoever to “find my faith”.  I am not sad.  I do not miss going to church and the guilt and pressure that went along with it (not to mention the fear).  I’m not looking to get into any big heated debates or arguments.

Sure, I like to ponder – thus this blog exists – but, I’m more interested in sharing and exploring ideas, thoughts, experiences, feelings. I want to try to be supportive to others that may be going thru a somewhat similar situation (because, much to my amazement, there WERE other people out there that could relate, I found.)

Mostly I’m looking to understand myself in the process.  I am not trying to figure out who are the chosen ones that get to go to heaven and why, etc.  I decided some time ago I didn’t believe that BS.  So, I’m really not worried about your salvation or my own.  So, please – don’t you sweat it either… (at least not mine.  Feel free to save yourself, though!)

This blog and it’s topics are only a small part of my life.  A sort of therapy if you will..  but, certainly not all I think about or do.  I actually think I turned out okay… but, that is a matter of opinion, and totally relative.   You might not think I am normal… but, I’m pretty sure you couldn’t pick me out in a crowd.  I look just like all the other “normal” people out there.

What’s that?  You don’t see all the other “normal” people?
Me neither.  I learned early on in life that nobody is “normal”.  Especially not my mother – but, it wasn’t until fairly recently that I really started trying to learn more about her, her family, our relationship, mental illness, and how it all plays a part of who I am.

Tack on “ACIMP-ist” to my description list. (Adult Child of a Mentally Ill Parent).
You see, I think my mom has some issues.  I am not sure what… she’s never been officially diagnosed or gone to the doctor…  (a lot more on this on the “story behind this blog” page)… and I don’t’ want to trash her or religion on this blog – I am just trying to sort some stuff out in my own head.

It was only this past year that I started actually researching a little about mental illness… what my mom might have… and how it may have effected me. Verrrrrrrrrrry interesting stuff, I must say. I can’t believe I never looked into it before. I guess I was scared to find out. My family didn’t talk about it growing up. We had to figure it out on our own… and then deny it.

There is still so much stigma out there regarding mental illness. I still don’t talk about it much for fear of people looking at me with that questioning look in their eyes. My worst fear is to be like my mother. Which ironically has got to be my mom’s worst fear also – to be like her mother (who was mostly institutionalized with severe schizophrenia – and undoubtedly had much, much, more severe problems than my mother).

Not too long ago I decided to go to psychiatrist about it all.
I had always joked about going and giving some poor doctor a run for their money – but, I was kidding, and never really considered it. Then, last year, I had the opportunity to go thru work for so many free sessions, so I did. I am glad I went. It was very validating… and a relief to hear that ,

“No.. you are not like your mother or your  grandmother”.

I didn’t think I was… but, well… unless you have a relative with mental illness… you probably don’t understand how good it is to actually hear a professional tell you that.

So, I’m not crazy… Or am I?
Depends who you ask, I suppose.
Another one of those “relative” questions (and yes.. pun intended!:).
Don’t ask my husband of almost 20 years on a bad day if I am crazy or not.. But, go ahead and ask anyone else.  I have plenty of long term friends and co-workers and family that I’m 99% sure would vouch for me.  😉   I wanted to ask the shrink to put it in writing for me that I am “not like my mother”… but, well.. I didn’t want to get my “your not crazy card” revoked for asking, so you’ll have to trust me on this one… ( *insert evil laugh here* >;))


ps- for those of you who were looking for a short and sweeter answer?
I’m also a woman…  married…  for  a long, long time to a good man and we have 2 boys.  My husband and I don’t always see eye to eye…  but, we do love each other, and I won’t trade him in any time soon.  We live in the US in a household where we all run around like crazy working, playing baseball and whatever else, and running from one family event to the next.  We have our ups and downs – but, I can’t complain too much.  I’m a lucky woman to have the family I have.  I know that.

I chose to keep this blog somewhat anonymous, so, no, my real name isn’t Samantha.  I only post pics and details of my kids in a private journal that is only for my family and real life friends… but don’t think that they don’t get their fair share of my time and internet space… 😉

Someday, when my kids are older… maybe I will share these journals of mine with them… It will either mess them up for good, or clear a few things up for them. 😉

14 Responses to “So, what does that make me?”

  1. vaguelyfamiliar Says:

    I really enjoyed reading this. I am also an ACMIP-ist and this blog completely rang true to me. I KNOW what you mean when you say your biggest fear is being like your mom or “crazy.” That too is one of my illogical fears. As I get older though, I take peace in the fact that I have realized that I have a certain amount of control over life and I don’t have to repeat some of the mistakes my mom has made.

    ======SMJ REPLY:

    hey – ya know? You DO look vaguely familiar!
    Just kidding… I’m tired and getting delirious. Feel free to ignore me. 😉

    I am glad you wandered over. I think you are the first fellow ACIMP-er to come to my blog – or at leat to leave a comment. If I had a gold star, I’d give it to you. =)

    The fears ARE illogical, aren’t they? I know that… but, it’s still so hard to let them go sometimes. I don’t think I’m anything like my mom… I try not to be… even the GOOD parts of her, I don’t want to repeat. Which is another illogical thought – but, real feelings nonetheless. For example… she was a teacher.. I think, I would’ve liked to have been a teacher myself.. I loved working with kids and people… but, I totally dismissed the thought early on in life…

    Anyway – thanks for coming by and posting. I hope you come back… it’s good to meet people that can relate.

    Take care,

  2. JC Says:

    Well, I really like this place. SMJ you may know me as JustCan’t. I think I’ve read a good portion of on this site in the past two days, and I feel like you are my sister. My mom wasn’t mentally ill, but she was the crazy-making enabler/victim side of my horribly alcoholic father. To this day she’s a mess. It’s hard to even talk to her she’s so aggravating and frustrating. We’re trying to help her, but she’s a tough nut. Maybe that is mental illness. And of course as you may remember, my wife is born again hardcore all of a sudden, and wants to confront my whole family into Christianity to prove her good Christianess (thats not a word, I know). So that’s not helping, as she believes mom is the link to the salvation of my father, mother, and all 5 sisters (and their husbands and kids) all in one fell swoop. She’s gearing up for something at Christmas, I can feel it. Yuck. Anyway….
    I’m leaving another note for you at the other site and I hope you can answer it. I found your words very helpful, and it gives me hope. Thanks.

  3. samanthamj Says:

    Hi and welcome, Bro. 😉

    You really are having a rough time, and I’m sorry about that. I wish I had some great advice to offer… but, I don’t really. I thought to myself… how I could ever change my Mom’s radical beliefs about religion… and the only answer I could come up with, was I can’t. But, she is my mom… and so, entirely different scenario that you and your wife. But still.. So hard. I had a few suggestions on the deconversion blog… but it’s so hard to say.

    You asked me back about HOW to get info… and that if you asked the churches he used to attend, word would probably get back to him that you were asking about him. My first thought was “so? let him know!”. I mean, I know it would tick off your wife.. but, doesn’t sound like she or he are worrying to much about ticking you off. I would call it “self defense” and be honest with her about it… telling her YES you ARE asking about him because you want to know who you (and SHE) are dealing with.. that you DON’T trust him… even if she does… and why SHOULD you? Maybe his words are making sense to HER… but, tell her that do NOT make sense to you. You see him as a danger to her and your marriage and your daughter (because your fighting, and possible divorce ultimately affects her, right?). So what if she knows this? Who could blame you? ANd, if she does blame you… that’s another sign or HER irrational thinking.

    I bet a lof of those churches that he use to attend would be more than happy to give you the dirt on him if they kicked him out… even if they don’t see you as a “believer”. You should be honest with them too… tell them that you are worried about your wife… that you may not be a “chrisitan” but that you love her.. you love your daughter… you want to keep your family and that this man seems like he’s dangerous and why.

    I know this is all easy for me to say…. since I don’t know you or them or the exact situation… but, it’s my first reaction. I have a big mouth.. and, when I get on a mission for something…. I am not afraid to speak my mind… and to involve folks when I think I’m right. I will do it nicely… but, I can be relientless when I want to get the bottem of something. But, that’s me. And that’s me now. I wasn’t always like that.

    I hope you are getting some other good advice too… and you should feel free to ignore anything I say.. because really, what do I know? LOL 😉

    I do hope you can start to get some real help…. let us know how the counseling session you mentioned goes.

    Take care and hang tuff.

  4. JC Says:

    I appreciate your honesty. Yes, I suppose I shouldn’t be such a sissy about it, but I think I’m gunshy because of the words this bully used against me last week: He said to her that if I’m not standing completely clear of it and allowing her to do whatever crazy fundamentalist thing she wants without even a questioning of it – well, here’s the scripture that allows her to get out of the marriage and “save” our son (not daughter, he’s 3). 🙂

    Suddenly, I’m not so vocal about everything. He’s really very good at setting me up that way. I’ve decided to not speak with him at all for fear of escalating the conflict or perhaps scaring him into forcing her to do something rash.

    But I understand what you are saying, and of course you are right. I didn’t get to this point in life by just taking the easy way out (or maybe I’d be writing things on the Discovery Institute’s website this evening, lol). So I will look into this, and learn what I can. If this man hasn’t left behind a river of woe, I’ll be surprised.

    The session tonight went well, and I feel a little more relaxed. My wife almost seemed miffed that I wasn’t upset or crying when I returned (or maybe she was hoping I’d report that I’d just converted!). I’m going to go back just after Christmas, and I’m being coached on relaxing a bit and not dwelling on the stuff I can’t control. He reminded me that I have to be the sanity in the house for my little guy, and to fake it if I have to for now, but to smile and be the perfect reflection of happiness for him… and my wife. After all, if I’m not fretting and losing weight (13 lbs in 2-3 weeks) — then maybe I’m not being run by the devil after all!

    I crept into his room after I got home, and kissed him on the cheek about 20 times, and whispered into his sleeping ear, “Daddy loves you and will ALWAYS be there for you. ALWAYS.” And I will be. I’ve calmed down – thanks to my session tonight, but also because of some wonderful new friends I’ve met at these sites, and my new sister of course. I’ve always wanted an even half dozen of those! 🙂

    If you are willing, keep up the thoughts as they occur to you. Your story has so much familiarness to it, and I value your experience. Take care.

  5. Anastasia Says:

    Hi Samanthamj, I admit, I didn’t read the blog to which i’m responding. I actually clicked on your page because of a comment you left on Adam Smith’s Blog about Atheism. I just wanted to recommend a book to you. It’s called ‘The Case For Faith’ by Lee Strobel. Lee is a former Athiest and a Journalist, who went on a mission to find truth. He interviews a number of renown philosophers, athiests and christians, and presents the info in his book. I think you’ll enjoy the read and gain insight. I appreciate your honesty, and i detect that you are searching for truth and by your own admission, you would like to believe. I believe in God, because I have a relationship with him and i’m certain that although kooky and wierd at times, I’m not kraziee lol!! I would love to chat with you some time, if you’d like. I’m on myspace, you can copy and paste this link to my page if you want to:
    Thanks for letting me post, and I hope i’m not being presumptuous.

  6. Anastasia Says:

    Okay, I should have read before typing my first comment! I just did, and you’re a really deep person with an honest and open heart. Thanks for sharing your story. It makes me want to know and understand more.

    PS I still highly recommend the book, it is a great read!

  7. samanthamj Says:

    Anastasia –

    Thanks for stopping by, reading a bit, the nice comments, and the book suggestion. I had heard a little about that book… but, not much. Maybe I will check it out.

    Take care,

  8. OneSmallStep Says:

    **It’s called ‘The Case For Faith’ by Lee Strobel. Lee is a former Athiest and a Journalist, who went on a mission to find truth. He interviews a number of renown philosophers, athiests and christians, and presents the info in his book. **

    Ummm … doesn’t Lee Strobel only interview conservative Christians for that book? He may try to present the other side, but from what I’ve heard, he doesn’t let any of the liberal Christians or atheists speak for themselves, the way he does with the conservative Christians.

  9. mary a. kaufman Says:

    I think I’ll like being a part of the discussion going on here. If you want some real lowdown on how Christianity got its start in the world, rely on such books as The Jews in the Roman World by Michael Grant. Mary from Meander

  10. romi41 Says:

    This wasn’t short but it was certainly sweet! 🙂 What a nice insight into some of your thoughts/ideas; I myself am not a religious person; it wasn’t a conscious vehement decision, I suppose I’ve just spent the better part of my life focusing on people’s actions/behaviour, and using that as a measuring stick of what the world is/should be about. At the same time, I have this open-door mind, which loves to travel into the realm of wondering what we’re all doing here, and if there’s an invisible force in the universe guiding us (which I think there is)…I don’t understand it all, but it’s a different journey of discovery for each of us eh? (oh, and don’t mind the “eh”, I’m Canadian 😉 )

  11. samanthamj Says:

    Hey Romi –
    Thanks for the visit and post. Yeah… I can really ramble on with the best of them. Sorry about that. I have an easier time believing in “an invisible force”, than I do the in the “God” of the bible that I had shoved down my throat. At least an “invisible force” sounds more open to letting us have our own journeys (that don’t result in a firey pit of doom!).

    By the way – your blog is hysterical. You are a gifted writer, with an awesome, warped, sense of humor. I love it.

    And, for the record, I also say “eh?”, and I’m not even Canadian. I just know too many people who are, I guess..

    Take care,

  12. romi41 Says:

    Wow, thanks for the kind words on my writing 🙂 .
    And by the way I enjoy the rambling, and I agree in the openess of the “invisible force” concept; I may not understand it all, but at least I’m free to figure it out 😉

  13. mary a. kaufman Says:

    So much of what I read reminds me of the terrible days, weeks, months and some four or five years and more back in the early 1960s when I had to cope with a husband who would have dragged me back into the church and forced my recently recanted religion back down my throat if he could. I learned to cope by learning more about the Bible than he, any of the congregation, and the psstor knew. I learned to out-fox him at every turn. I was able to turn the Bible upside down and inside out and exposed it for what it was: a book full of contradictions…proving it to be anything but the “inspired word of God. That was my “salvation”.

  14. Sue Ann Edwards Says:

    rofl…I think it’s part of the Chinese Art of Warfare to first disarm opponents and there is nothing quite like using the Bible as our foundation before others get a chance to hit us over the head with it.

    Nothing quite has the Power to expose the hypocrisy of any code, like someone who has the Courage to genuinely live it.

    An impotent Omnipotence is a contradiction. So is a limited Unlimited. And deifying an emotional dependent? Forget it.

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