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Monday, May 20, 2013

Mental illness is not a crime.

Mental illness is not a crime...

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by Andrew Turman (Notes) on Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 3:03am
I usually avoid the long form. I am Zen Daddy T, master of the Zen Insight, brief but raw and to the point. Maybe I am reading too much Tara Birch or Arne Torneck. Anyway, I do not know how to come at this topic in any other manner.

For the third time since our separation, my ex-wife has decided to suspend contact between my disabled son and I. The first time, I will admit, was probably a good idea. I was pretty unhinged at the time, but days turned into weeks turned into months. Eighteen, in fact. Once I had passed the danger zone, however, my ex- continued the suspension of my parental rights, and I spiraled out of control. To avoid thinking about the situation, I tried heroin. When that didn't work, I tried cutting myself. If you don't understand the need for pain, the need for blood, I cannot explain it to you. Suffice it to say, it sucks. I was also big into binging and purging.

Eighteen months, the first time. I missed two Christmases, two birthdays. I went so far out there, that even I wasn't sure I could make it back. I got messed up with a nymphomaniac psychopath. I went to prison. It was not pretty. I am not doing a very good job at making the reader sympathetic. But wait. If you are still reading, there is a chance for redemption.

I only mentioned the bad things because I understood why my ex-wife was withholding my son from me. I did get to see him graduate, at least. It was under the condition that I could not talk to him, but that was a small price to pay in order to see my son with autism walk the stage with his "normal" peers. But that was a different time.

The second time my parental rights were suspended, it was an arbitrary decision on my ex-wife's part again. We had planned on him coming down and seeing his grandparents. My ex- is big into women's rights and disability issues and there was a march she was planning on attending while I was to visit with our son. Somehow, she got it into her head that I was manic, so she cancelled the visit.

Then, she got into a pissing contest with my father. A pissing contest is never a good idea, because no one wins, and everybody's shoes get wet. Finally, after almost a year had passed, I was able to see my son. At least during that time I was allowed to talk to him on the telephone.

Now, she has done it again. For the third time. This time, no phone calls or visits until further notice. I really do not understand why. I am doing better than I ever, addressing those scabs in therapy, practicing my Buddhism. I am so stable, I recently got married to a really wonderful woman. And perhaps therein lies my problem.

My ex-wife no longer has control over me the way she used to have. I mean, it was a toxic relationship from the start. I was attending a psychosocial rehabilitation program, and she, a recent graduate of Social Work, was part of my treatment team. Nevermind the ethical dilemma, we fought like cats and dogs, even on the day we were married. We got married because she became pregnant (the IUD works only 99% of the time).

I received my Master's degree in the Education of the Exceptional Child because I wanted to be a better parent to my son with autism. I was the disabilities coordinator at Head Start while my son was an attendee. I wanted to make the program better for him, and other children like him. I stayed in a broken marriage for his sake, which was a mistake.

The point is, the only way my ex-wife can hurt me is through my son. I am not alone in this. There is even a name for it: Parental Alienation Syndrome. It is real, and it is awful. Okay, so I have a mental illness. Big deal. Convicts who have abused their own children have more visitation rights than I do.

So, I have to hire a lawyer to see my own son again. I am tired of jumping through hoops and going over hurdles my ex-wife puts in my way. I have a special relationship with my son. When he was young, I took care of him while my wife worked. When I had my major breakdown, and went on disability, I spent lots of time with my son. The marriage was essentially over, so I slept with him in case I was needed during the night. I bathed him, fed him breakfast, got him dressed. After school we went for walks and bike rides. We were very close.

But then I did the unthinkable: I left my wife. I could not stand the emotional abuse any longer, so I left her. I did not leave him. While my faith has gotten stronger, and my emotional health better, there is less my ex- can do to hurt me. Except through him.

I am enjoying a lot of success in life right now. I am taking care of my elderly parents. Zen Daddy T Productions is about to take a giant leap forward. As I mentioned, I just got married to the woman of my dreams. Only a huge part of my life is missing.

If you are a parent, imagine not being able to speak with or see your child, being subject to the whims of a scorned former spouse.

I love my son, and he loves me. This is not his idea. My ex-wife is an excellent advocate, but a terrible mother. In order to get back at me, she is also hurting him. She knows the systems in the state where they reside, and has powerful friends. So. We will see what kind of justice the legal system will offer to a "wounded" parent. Mental illness is not a crime. So why do I have less rights than most criminals?

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Empty Pockets

Empty Pockets

~~~for Alfred George

I turn down
Riverwood Avenue
I shake off the mold and mildew in my brain.

I am in
A dream
A night terror.

My heart is beating
Out of my chest
It is heavy, weighted.

I wake up scared
I wake up strange
I feel like nothing in my life is ever going to change.

What was it
About me
You found yourself attracted to?

Was it my blond hair?
My blue eyes?
My laugh?

I used to laugh
A lot.
Now? Not so much!

All I have
Is empty pockets

I used to carry
Rocks and coins
Nails and pens.

All is gone.
My life is gone.
My city is gone.

You took
But never gave
More than you got.

I hope you are
Happy now.
Where you are.

I know
I am not.
My life changed.

I cannot hold someone in my arms.
I cannot love someone with my heart.
I cannot listen to someone without fear.

You did this to me.
Why? Was the taboo
Worth years in jail?

All I have is empty pockets.
Who I am is
All I have left.