Dear Mom,

Today is your birthday. I tried to call but you didn’t answer – I’m not surprised, but still a little sad. It’s been two weeks since we’ve spoken. The last time we FaceTimed, my sister took over the conversation because you were too busy to talk to me and your granddaughter. You didn’t ask how my first week back to work went. You don’t ask how my marriage is going; you only ask if my husband is looking for a real job yet. You never check to see how I’m managing life, working 3 jobs and taking care of my daughter 6 days a week by myself. You definitely don’t ask how my mood is; if I’m struggling with depression or anxiety. I’m starting to wonder if you even care about me at all. You’ve never really been there for me. I’m not sure why I hold onto this glimmer of hope that things will change. 

I remember being little and wanting nothing more than to please you. I remember wanting your attention, your hugs, your praise. I remember wanting to feel like you cared. Then as I got older, I realized you would never understand what it is like to be me. I realized that you would never be able to empathize with my feelings of loneliness or self-hatred. Do you remember that first suicide attempt? Grounded. Grounded for 6 months. Remember when the school called you and told you I was cutting myself? You said I had made it up for attention, remember? Grounded again. But when it came to drinking, that was ok. It’s socially acceptable for teenagers to go behind their parents’ backs and drink. It is not socially acceptable to have mental health issues. You are not Pro-Therapy. 

“No one will hire you if you have depression. Your life will be awful.” Remember telling me that? Since that first suicide attempt, I’ve had a slew of therapists and diagnoses and medications. But in that 15 years, I’ve also managed to get 2 degrees and an advanced certification. I’ve been offered every job I’ve ever interviewed for. I’ve never been fired. I’ve overcome drug addictions and alcoholism without rehab. I bought a house before my 23rd birthday…all on my own. I raise my daughter without any family close by, and she’s turning into an amazing little girl. And every single day, I fight to overcome the hell that’s inside of my mind.

Happy birthday, Mom. I know that you won’t read this, but I hope you realize how much you’re missing out on. I’m sorry I wasn’t the easiest teenager to deal with, but I’ve grown up to accomplish quite a lot, even though I have mental health issues. I hope you’re proud of who I have become. I see your posts and pictures on Facebook about how much you love my sisters and how proud of them you are. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t hurt. I’m not jealous of my sisters; they are AMAZING and I love them so very much. But I don’t understand why you don’t try to have a relationship with me like you do with them. It’s taken me 15 years of therapy to accept that it’s not me, it’s you. I hope one day you get the help that you need.

Love,

Your Oldest Daughter

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