• MollyCT

    Since we’re sharing, I failed at keeping my father happy and calm, and if I had been more lovable/happier/less needy/better-in-some-unspecified-way, he never would have had his rages. And I would have been hugged, kissed, and told I was loved a lot more often.

    Sigh. No matter how long I *know* all of this is disordered thinking, the pattern of negative self-criticism that fills my head about every aspect of my life that it set in motion is as dogged as ever. Turns out, beating yourself up all the time can bring a lot of success! And depression! These days I’m trying, *trying* to find positive ways of motivating myself, not just relying on the fear of failing to “fix” everything.

    Parents, do me a favor and give your kids a hug and tell them how great they are for no reason! And then admit to them outright when you’re feeling sad or angry instead of modeling ways to hide emotions! Thanks.

  • Crazy Card Lady

    My little kid is 2. I can’t afford therapy. It does effect my relationship with my kids and with men. I don’t really care about the men part, but it does about my kids Though dispite everything, they are doing remarkably well. I just try to be real around them and they pretty much know their Mom has some issues.

    As parents everything we do from the moment our kids are conceived effects them. If only a lot of parents realized that, maybe they would have not had kids in the first place, or maybe they will get help if they need it.

    Thank you for sharing Heather. Take good care of your self.

  • cory212

    Remember the time you pooped in the tub and Jon cleaned it up? You are loved. Remember when you gave birth to Marlo without drugs? You are strong.
    Remember when you used to write monthly letters to Leta that made me cry with their raw love and wit? You are talented.
    Remember when you hugged Gwyneth Paltrow? You are a star fucker. (A cool one.)
    Remember all these things and more. You are a loved, strong, talented, cool star fucker and, oh yes, you are human, so you’re allowed to give yourself a break.
    Namaste, baby.

  • Mir

    Thanks for responding, Heather. Very much appreciated. (And I’m glad you’re getting the support you need, now, and that you’re willing to give us a peek into that process.)

  • 1katiem

    I’m 26 years old and my parents are going thru a divorce. My 29 year old brother and I have been expecting it since we were in high school, and now that it’s actually happening, we’re both stunned by it.

    I’ve been dating a wonderful man for three years, and now that everything I’ve ever known about marriage is crumbling before me, I’m questioning my relationship with him. As much as I deny that the divorce has any part in my need to turn my happy, normal life upside down, it absolutely does. I never thought that as an adult, I’d be affected by this, but I am.

    At times, all I can think about is how I would have handled a divorce if it had happened when I was in high school. At least at 26, I can assess what I’m feeling and place some sort of logic behind it. At 10, I can’t imagine how confusing and emotionally terrorizing something like that must have been. You’re not alone.

  • help4newmoms

    You know, it gets pretty frustrating when you feel a certain way and you have to counter it with, “I know I shouldn’t feel this was, I’m so lucky, blah, blah, blah!” Sister, you feel the way that you feel and you’re entitled. End of story. Feel it and try to deal with it, that’s all you can ask of yourself.

  • Gen with a G

    This hour sounds like the hardest one so far. I’m glad you shared it with all of us. It’d probably be easy to be like, then I do a bunch of emailing, funny funny, etc. etc.

    I hope all the hard work that happens in hour four eventually yields peaceful happy results.

  • Greta Koenigin

    Beautifully told. And, you unveiled an interesting, unspoken reality, which is that we feel such an obligation to hide our suffering or at least earn our suffering. And you’ve still managed to make this post entertaining.

    Guess what? You accidentally branded again.

    I hope you can feel the internet giving you a hug.

  • Dragonfly

    I am the luckiest woman in the world. My life is awesome and perfect. And yet I wallow in this deep, dark morass. Knowing I am not the only person in the world feeling this way is a little lifting of the weight on my chest. Thank you.

  • medkid

    You’re still a 10 year old girl trying to hold your family together too?! This particular hour of the day is lived at 6:30 PM on Tuesdays for me for similar reasons. I hear ya. Hang in there.

  • Lauren3

    Loves youuuuuuu.

    You have a therapist for the REAL help, but here is some Lauren3 therapy.

    Here is a baby penguin flapping his wings and giggling:

    Here is a funny cartoon about old people and cocaine:

    Here are ALL of the celebrity Jeopardy segments on SNL compiled onto one handy dandy webpage:

    And here are a blind dog and goose who are friends:

  • stucknowhere

    I never comment, but this reached the depths of my soul. More than anything I admire your bravery and honesty; most people can’t or won’t share their demons. Mine is here with me now; nasty little booger doesn’t want to leave me. It is a demon, and once it gets in its hell to get rid of. I feel your pain, I understand your struggle, but I still envy your “blessedness”. The fact that you can see that is hopeful and encouraging. Right now, I can’t find any blessings in my life. I know I have them, I gave birth to two of them, but the darkness is dragging me down, and in turn, dragging them down, and that thought alone is enough to make me want to walk away with my demon. The struggle is overwhelming.

    I just overshared, and I’m sorry for that. This is a tough road. Keep counting those blessings and you will find the light, I believe that for you.

  • tullisjen

    Here is a hug and much love for that 10 year-old girl! She is a beautiful gift from God. Love her, that’s all we can do, is just love her so she can heal.

    I’ll light a candle for you. Good vibes and prayers coming your way.


  • Jen143

    My parents got divorced when I was 3. If that’s the age I’m stuck at, this explains a whoooooole lot.

  • cpchrisman

    God bless you Heather….I agree with kentuckienne….I thought you could be talking about me! And how useless it is to keep telling yourself your blessed, your blessed you’re blessed, when it just feels like you’re telling yourself to suck it up!!

    Thank you for putting it out there, Why is it so hard for us to accept that we had hurt feelings, despite the best everyone did?

  • Issa

    I just really wanted to say hugs. Truly, I get this more than I could begin to tell you. Except that mine is seven. Seven year old me.

    Anyway. Hugs to you. I hope it starts to get easier soon.

  • janenyy26

    You are such an amazing woman. I have been reading this blog for 7 years, this month. Every single post has been so awesome. I look forward to reading your words, hearing your stories, seeing what new way you’ve managed to pose Chuck– seriously, you STILL have new ways?! Oh, the creativity!

    Thank you for being willing to share the truth, whether it’s funny moments or stories about sitting in therapy. More than once, I have forced myself to go back to sitting across from a therapist, knowing that I’m not the only one and that in some way, it’ll help. Thank you for sharing all of this.

    And seriously, I think you’re awesome.

  • Catewms

    Heather – everyone does the best that they can in the moment. That’s you, it’s your mom and dad, it’s the asshole in line at the drugstore – it’s everyone. The past 8 months “should” have been better? You did the best that you could. Ease up on yourself. I know, easy for me to say, but then again I have my own shit I’m messing up left right and sideways. It is what it is, as the kids say these days. We don’t live out lives in anyone else’s reality but our own.

  • writtendad

    This may be the best post I’ve ever read on dooce. I haven’t read all the comments, but after reading your post and perusing through a handful of them, I noticed two things: 1. you’re not AT ALL alone and 2. many people not only join you in experience but in age (more or less). After noticing the age similarity, I began to feel that, despite being able to relate to much of it, I was still alone but, the more that I run it through my head, the more I realize I’m not.

    I went through the same thing at 20. Yes, I was 20. I was living at home and going to college when my parents separated and it tore everything our family ever was into more pieces that I could count, but I tried to count. I needed to count. I had to reassemble, to find the piece that went askew, to fix it. To make sure my younger brother would be alright. To make sure my dad would be okay only months out of hip surgery. I’d spent the previous six years or more hearing about money problems, about mortgages, about marriage, and there was nothing I had done to make it better. So it died. And part of me went with it.

    I still don’t know that I’m really ready to explore all of that, but I know it’s there. I can feel it when my girlfriend and I talk about marriage and when I look at our son. I just don’t think I’m ready to do anything but feel it because I don’t know how to talk about or how to talk myself off that ledge.

    But this post helped. I applaud your courage (as I always have) and I want to thank you for opening yourself to all of us. At the very least, this helps me have hope that I can eventually find myself at a point where I can confront the 20 year old me.

  • Shea

    I am grateful for you, for your honesty, for your strength and your vulnerability. You are a powerhouse and you are shattered and no matter where in the world you are from you are still wonderfully and completely human which, I think, means you hurt and you carry guilt. I am definitely not one to tell you how to cope. In fact, I think you’ve helped me by coming here and writing and sharing your life.

    All I know to say is thank you.

    Much love to you, Heather.

  • jzamoyta

    Heather, take it easy on yourself. You are an amazing woman and I wish I could do even one-tenth of what you do (I congratulate myself when I can match an outfit and put on eye makeup on the same day!). You will get through this, too. There are so many of us out there who talk to that dark monster every day, the one that tells us we are crap, that we are ruining our husband’s and children’s lives, that everything we do is WRONG. Thank you for putting words to that, and letting us know that even someone with your beauty, your style, your courage, your tenacity, your intelligence, still struggles too. And yet, I know how hard it is to see beyond that feeling. Keep fighting. It’s the crazy that makes us interesting and unique! I know I’m one of thousands, maybe millions, of your readers, so this might not mean much to you, but reading your blog, no matter what kind of day you are having, has helped me through some of my dark days, and makes me feel good about the decision to find a psychiatrist, medication, and help four years ago when I was trying to decide whether or not to exist anymore. Your family is so lucky to have you, and you are creating the family you didn’t get to have, regardless of how you feel on any particular day. Sending you love and hugs, from a fellow monster-fighter.

  • sybann

    …and sweetie? It’s OK to be sad – really sad – for that little girl. It really is. XO

  • hester

    The vast majority of your commenters have been people like you who have been the children of divorce, so I thought I would add my voice. I am a nearing-50 year old woman who divorced at 34 with two children about to enter the first and second grade. I cannot say what would have happened if I hadn’t divorced, or if I hadn’t shared custody with their dad, or if I hadn’t remarried a couple of years later, and then their dad did the same and for most of their childhood we all lived in the same town, attending all the events and sitting together on bleachers, folding chairs, and other uncomfortable places. But it all seemed pretty OK — kids with an extended family (how bad can it be to have more people who love you?, happily remarried parents. Now I am not so sure, though! I wonder what is latent, what lurks. Yours is a voice that seems so honest, Heather, and unsparing. My two are now 22 and nearly 21, and I have never feared, really. But maybe that is a set of blinders that I have gladly and gratefully worn.

    While I ponder and poke at the best, my best wishes to you. So many people you never hear from think you are pretty amazing.

  • julielsullivan

    me too. Same ten-year-old girl. Same feeling.

  • psweet

    I feel ya hard Heather. The darkness takes me sometimes too. And I can seethefeelthehearthe judgement from people because my life? what’s to complain about???

    So feel your feelings and don’t let anyone negate them. Okay? okay, me too!

  • pgrandst

    Someone once told me (patronizingly) that emotions are just weather passing through; you just have to be patient and this too shall pass. That’s great if your emotional/geographical orientation is like Hawaii – a balmy 80 degrees most of the time with the occasional thunderstorm. But what if your particular brain chemistry makes your emotional/geographical orientation more like Mount Washington, famous for its dangerously erratic weather, where winds often gust in excess of 200 miles per hour? Yeah, batten down the hatches, bitches, cause we’re in for a nor’easter. You have my deepest sympathy.
    And this:
    “… come celebrate
    with me that everyday
    something has tried to kill me
    and has failed.”
    —poem by Lucille Clifton

  • ZachsMom

    Ok I have to write in again cause I’ve been thinking about this all day and I can’t get it out of my head.

    I think the part that hurts most about your parents getting divorced at least for me, was looking at them and thinking “why aren’t we enough?”. Almost 25 years, 4 beautiful children and we weren’t enough to make you guys keep it together? Why can’t you suck it up and put whatever your issues are aside for US. You chose to have us why can’t you hold it together?

    I think that reinforces every inner 10, 12, 16, 19 year old girl on the inside who has never felt good enough for whatever reason and pounds at you and tells you that you might not be good enough for the snotty girls at school to be your friend and damn it, you aren’t good enough for your parents to keep it together either.

    The hard part is realizing that you ARE good enough and these two screwballs who brought you into the world were winging it …. just like I am.

  • jessiCat

    Comments number 16 and 101 say it all….

    You are not alone. You have given us the gift of the DoCo, and the gift of the amazing support system we’ve created. Thank you. Thank you so much more that I could ever type here, no matter how many exclamation points I used. You have given us strength, and you have given us the knowledge that it is OKAY to be weak. It is OKAY to be US, and nothing more.

    You, missy, have done so much good with your complete honesty and sharp humor. You have saved so many of us. Please don’t forget we’re here for you, too. Even if it’s just on the purty lit up box you type in at night….we’re here. :)

    Hugs, Love, Bourbon, Smiles & all the Valedictorian merits you can round up…(ps: OF FRANCE!!)

    xoxo, Jess

  • kerri

    it probably doesn’t help, but i was that girl too, but i was 18. and i still feel guilty that i couldn’t save us from the hell that opened up and swallowed my family when the divorce hit us. it was 17 years ago and i still deal with it every day. but it’s getting better. one thing that has helped me a lot has been allowing myself (with the help of a trained professional, of course!) to feel angry at my parents. yeah, they did the best they could, yadda yadda, i get that. but making excuses for them doesn’t help me. they also sucked big monkey balls and messed up our lives in a way that was not okay and put us through misery we shouldn’t have had to endure at any age. and it’s been freeing to allow myself to feel angry at them –mostly because i have learned that i can still love them at the same time. my anger at them for allowing me to think it was my job to save us, among other things, doesn’t have to be the dominant emotion in my life and it won’t eat us all alive. i don’t know if that makes sense, but i had to be led there by a really excellent therapist and it helped/helps a lot. it never goes away, but it wanes.

    also, my former advisor from college told me recently that when her parents divorced — when she was 50 years old, a mother of teenagers herself — despite the fact that she and her siblings had believed for years that her parents *should* get divorced, it, as she put it, “undid” her. at age 50! so 10-year-old heather had a perfectly normal reaction, as does 35-year-old heather, to a really bad thing.

    also, suffering is not a competition. just because other people have seemingly “worse” challenges doesn’t lessen your burden. yours is yours and you have to give yourself the right to struggle with it.

    i always thought of myself as the physical manifestation of my parents’ love for each other. and it has been hard to figure out what that makes me now that that love no longer exists.

  • Tara Newhole

    Boy, do I know this scenario. You are too amazing and strong – do NOT let it get You. I know you won’t. And I know you know that, too…..but, it doesn’t make it any easier. You can DO IT, though. You have….and You CAN…..and you WILL! ! ! ! love ya!!!!

  • Tara Newhole

    Boy, do I know this scenario. You are too amazing and strong – do NOT let it get You. I know you won’t. And I know you know that, too…..but, it doesn’t make it any easier. You can DO IT, though. You have….and You CAN…..and you WILL! ! ! ! love ya!!!!

  • Delightsandshadowstumblr

    If you’ve never tried EMDR therapy, I can’t recommend it enough. I use it in my practice and it’s effective for clients who’ve spent YEARS trying to heal younger versions of themselves. If you decide to give it a try, be sure to find someone qualified. There’s a list by zip code at http://www.emdria.org

    Take care.

  • BryMayhew

    Brava Lady, Brava!!!

    I want to add my thank you to the chorus. The fact that you share your experience with depression, and write about it so eloquently helps me with my own slog.

    You’re simply awesome.

  • PrincesseEmma

    You are so brave and so inspiring. Thank you for writing about mental illness the way that you do. I hope that other people who have a mental illness find your blog and discover they are not alone, like I did, and those that are not ill read what you share and learn what so many are going through.

  • Buddahkat

    Great post! I love reading your posts and how you are willing to share the joys and pain of life! Life can be a shit sammich and dealing with it can be a pain in the butt. You inspire me to keep on plugging away..you also inspire me to get some counseling. I feel strong and capable, but those little demons are popping up more and more.
    Great luck to you and keep on keepin on! You are a strong example for lots of us.

  • dykewife

    pain, like any emotion, is relative and therefore comparing it to the pain of others is neither desirable (for the sake of working through it) nor useful. there will always be someone who has suffered more, been more afflicted, experienced more difficulties, than ourselves. pain sizing gains nothing but leaving us filled with a sense of unworthiness.

    the dissolution of your family and divorce of your parents was something that marked you and your life. you didn’t allow yourself, or didn’t know how to, recover from that. what you knew as your family was gone and was replaced with something that wasn’t the american dream. it was also pretty uncommon for a morman family to split up as well, i’ll bet. how many kids were there around you that you could relate to?

    allow yourself to feel the hurt of that 10 year old child. allow yourself and that 10 year old to let go of the guilt of not being able to keep the family together.

    i know it’s hard. there are many others in the world who have more on their plates than you, but you aren’t them. if you really want to live your blossoming life, you’ll do this for yourself, your husband and your children.

    let go.

  • Ridgerunner

    So moving, Heather…and so true for so many children of divorce. I love your writing and your ability to turn the every day into the hilarious, but most of all for your honesty-keep it coming, lady…and know you are not alone!

  • sugarleg

    mine split when I was 16. although so hard to have the family break apart, they were worse together.

    I got my own divorce at 35. (that one however, was an immediate blessing.)

    I hate the voices too. I try to remember they are lying, manipulative, nasty buggers that I would kick the shit out of if they were saying the things they say to me to one of my friends, outlaw step-daughters, family members, or my dogs. I figure if I can defend the people I love, I can defend that 16 year old girl who got her heart broken so many times by her heartbroken parents.

    it works, but it is hard work.

    I will be kind to myself if you are kind to yourself. thank you for sharing so that we all may share.

  • Katie Granju

    Nothing profound to say, but I wanted to send some love your way from Tennessee tonight. xo – Katie

  • PrunellaV

    Heather, I just registered so I could tell you how much I love what you do in the world, but that none of it matters if you don’t believe you’re enough just as you are, a human being, without any of the “doing.”

    That 10-year-old girl deserves all the love and care that you lavish on your family.

    I’ve suffered from depression on and off all my life, but to my great good fortune, I’m currently properly medicated, have gotten much better with the self-care, and am doing pretty well. How I wish the same for you.

  • OrangeLily

    So many people wrote how they too felt like they were responsible for their parents’ divorce. I never thought or felt that. For me, it was, why don’t they care enough about us to stay together? And why do the mothers-in-law meddle and make it worse? What’s wrong with people anyway?

    I told my husband that if he married me, divorce would not be an option, because I did not ever want my children to go through it.

    My parents didn’t have huge fights or yelling matches, infidelities or other big drama. There were money issues, definite lousy communication issues, selfishness, possible mental issues, and not knowing what to do with these things.

    This is just not coming out right…. In the end, I don’t think I had the words for it, I just felt it and didn’t know how to identify it. I felt that I wasn’t worth enough for my parents to fight for their marriage. That I wasn’t worth enough for them to fix themselves. (Sidebar: self-awareness? ha. denial? oh ya. and so it was taught to me.) I was 15 I think, so that was when what you hold sacrosanct, what you can depend on in this world, no matter the problem… the family unit, it is after all, destructible. And you are left, your emotional house, missing some walls, and the house has lost its stability, and so you are left unprotected from the elements. So the emotional elements hereforth are felt more harshly, and the support of that emotional house for you to build your growth and wisdom on, well that foundation is just not there.

    Looking back, there are some things that I regretted doing, that I do not believe I would have done had my parents stayed together. Or possibly …. had they not turned out so bitter and broken as a result.

    Good lord I’ve used your comments section as my personal place for getting things out.

    Let me finally say then, that you’ve started something with this post, that for admittedly selfish reasons, I really hope you’ll continue. Therapy by proxy, perhaps.

  • dolphy36

    You are an amazing woman. Thank you for sharing all that you do. I feel the way so many other commenters do here…and I hope you feel that love and support…Though it may be in the “cyber world,” it is real!

  • the sooz

    I love your honesty. It’s really hard to know where to point a finger when things get overwhelming. I’ve not tried therapy, though I probably should, since I’m prone to bursts of raging because of feelings of insecurity when I think things demand too much of me. It was especially hard when I had to support my family on top of everything else. I just feel better when I can let it out somewhere. I’m a private sort (and too cheap (read: poor)to pay a therapist, so I just rage it out on paper with a pen, then when I’ve depleted my angst, I tear it up without ever reading what I wrote.
    I admire you for publishing your struggle and letting people help you make sense of it so you can deal. It’s helped me feel not any whackier than anyone else with what I struggle over. So, add that to your list. You’re my therapist! Well, maybe not, but you do help me formulate how I write out my feelings. All caps do help me rage on paper and it’s easier on my vocal chords, not mention everyones ears!

  • TheSkyIsOverrated

    Everything you have been through in your life Heather has made you the person you are today. You are beautiful, talented, blessed, strong, admired, and loved beyond words.

    Thank god for that ten year old girl.

  • pinklotus26

    I share that feeling of nearly being swallowed up by the darkness…the constant feeling of struggling to try and stay just ahead of it…the exhaustion…It becomes so tiring and wanting to just give up and be engulfed…and the mental push that it takes to talk yourself out of it…I hear you sister…the last year has resulted in a hospitalization, new diagnosis, medication cocktails, therapy, loss of a job, a new start at a new job…and just a shit ton of self exploration….all with the weight of wife, mom, and provider…I hear you sister…I’ve found support and comfort in reading your blog for the past three years…the reason I sought treatment in the first place was because of your blog…your honesty…you’ve helped me and others and I hope that our words of encouragement help you too…but I can get with the struggle that just won’t stop coming even in the face of being blessed with a wonderful life…I hear ya sister. Keep it up…fight on…find the Heather time that allows for reprieve sometimes and just keep on keeping on…and I will too.

  • lili1974

    It is totally OK if you fail. Even in worst case scenario nobody will be physically hurt, nobody will die. So you dont have to do it right. Nothing really bad will happen if you fail.

    And your blog helps. I am also rather on the depressive side. And I dont tell it nobody in my social circle. Not sure why. But in my darkest hours I did read your blog. And it helps. It gives me a feeling that i am not alone.

  • Balkan Girl Down Under

    It’s hard not to offer platitudes or things that sound like them, but be strong and know that you’re doing everything within your power to battle those horrid, insidious demons. I mean, you’re working on yourself through therapy, for one, while so many people still tend to be so backwards and proud where therapy is concerned, thinking, “Therapy…no way!” even when it’s beyond necessary. And no doubt one day you’ll be able to look at that ten-year-old girl within without feeling pain, hurt or anger. We’re all behind you in your journey!

  • thedogcomeswith

    My inner 10-year-old who was always responsible for making a family full of hot messes (for whom life just was never fun, fair or nice enough) happy thinks that we should all start a summer camp where we can go be the kids we didn’t get to be. We could yell, and be selfish, and make T-shirts that say things like “I’m sorry, but I don’t remember adopting you, mom and dad,” and make dioramas of all the things that aren’t our fault – like our parents’ problems, our spouses’ problems, hunger in Africa,….we’d need a lot of supplies for the dioramas.

  • notcrazyunwell

    the hardest part is facing the “demon”. you’re doing it = you rock. thanks so much for sharing.

  • artmeetslife

    Heather + Therapist + Connection = The Brand. Keep reaching for your wholehearted life. It’s like having a great body – it’ll never be perfect, but if you really work at it, it will be DAMN fine.