I hate to begin this under the pretence of a whiney sob story. It’s truly not. As a reference note though, it’s important for me to mention a couple of things. My mother( who this is about) was diagnosed with Type 1 bipolar,with severe mania and frequent periods of complete psychosis. I myself from my early teen years(earlier in retrospect) was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. I always knew there was something else,something I or my doctors couldn’t put their finger on. I knew I had bipolar symptoms. Never mania, I’ve never lost touch with reality or had a “manic episode”. At times I’d make reckless choices that I’d think back on like,”what the hell did I just do?” I’d self-medicate, my lows were the darkest pit imaginable, I would have periods of great creativity, at work I’d go non-stop..until I’d question everything.To someone looking in it looked as though I didn’t care. That I was selfish, rebellious, or basically on a mission to fuck up my life. After an exhausting amount of time,For ten fucking years I felt like I was fighting a battle with no end in sight. I told my doctor one day. “None of this is going to work,it’s making it worse I’m type 2 bipolar.if I’m wrong I’m wrong” when it was actually confirmed I was a mix of relieved and livid. I felt like my biggest fear came true. I was like my mother. Key word,felt. Logic soon set in that they are two completely different illnesses, and that I’m the same person who walked in the door as I was when I came out. All my medications were stopped,just a mood stabilizer and a sleeping aid. I hate to sound like a chicken soup for the soul book,but it was like night and day. I’ve never felt better. It’s not black or white, now there is a grey. My bad days are situational and not overwhelming. I actually sleep at night,I haven’t had a single panic attack. It’s the best thing that’s ever happened and I genuinely believe saved my life. This is a journal entry from yesterday. My mother upon discharge from the hospital is moving,she asked if I wanted to go over to her apartment and see if there was anything I’d like to take home.
“I’m looking at all her trinkets and collected treasures. Some I remember,some are as unknown to me as she is. I haven’t lived with her since I was nine,so I’ve never lived here. It’s odd walking around someone’s home. Who is she? Why did she buy this,what does it mean to her? What was she thinking at the time?. The placement of some objects and order scream of mania,others of a secret. Which is the most accurate description of her. The woman I know anyway. No one is just one thing. Like facets of a diamond,we all have many sides. This woman is a daughter,a sister,a friend,an aunt,an individual.
It’s a beautiful summer day. A warm breeze rich with the smell of freshly cut grass floats in through the windows. I walk into her bedroom. Sit down on her bed and look around. That’s when it hits me. Like a punch in the stomach I want to puke and cry at the same time. Patchouli oil,a perfume she wore from the moment I can remember her. A smell that always caused me sheer panic. To anyone else that may sound crazy,to me it was the sent of dread. An allergic reaction to a bee sting,my throat felt as if it was closing over and I couldn’t breath. Any time I’d smell it it meant she was either coming near me,or leaving. Both meant that it was only a matter of time before the bottom of the barrel fell out,and it always did.
I stand up and walk towards her dresser,with the same instinct a bird has to fly south in the winter. I open it,within seconds move shirts and sweaters and there it is. Still in the package. I stood in shock. Not to find it,but to find myself standing there sobbing. I’am a twenty-five year old woman,but in this moment I flashback to little Lacey. Just a little girl, scared and wondering why I don’t feel anything for this person and if that makes me a bad kid. Why don’t I love her like I do my dad? Why if she’s in a room do I not recognize her voice? Why every time she hugs me do I feel like I’m suffocating? I tried to remember anything good,any memory to grasp on to. I can count five. Five I’m twenty-five years.
I find a journal from 2012-2013. I open in up with the careful precision of a surgeon. The beginning was a bunch of uplifting and positive quotes. Fuck. It reminded me of an obnoxiously sugar coated church pamphlet. Progressively as I read along it becomes less entries and more random blurbs. Then the rise to mania. Choppy,riddled with rambles about god taking care of her. Then psychosis unrecognizable drawings and shit that was honestly disturbing. The next were from the hospital and a slow decline to somewhat balanced. Two things jumped off the pages and slapped me in the face 1.) For the first time she spoke about her mother honestly, and her tiredness of trying to basically have a relationship with her. That she was disappointed and that she has to work on letting that go. 2.)” Jimmy’s mother was Lacey’s mom. I may have had her,but she was her real mother. She learned everything from her and Jimmy.”
Then something I never expected to happen did. The strongest sense of empathy and understanding. Forgiveness came from my toes to my nose. I was still crying,but happy tears. It felt like there were two selfs in the room. My adult self, and my childhood self. My child self was validated, and finally had my voice heard. I wasn’t scared anymore. There was an answer to “where is mommy?”, “did I make mom sick?”. My adult self felt like I finally learned the answer to a secret that bugged me, that the scar I’d sometimes notice in the mirror and remember before quickly turning away had vanished.
Everything came full circle. I finally fucking got it. She had a lot of friends..but how many were close?.involved in something new all the time..why did nothing stick? If you stabbed her she would apologize for getting blood on your hand. Everything was so beautifully sugarcoated to be the most loveable version of herself. All to feel a love she never felt. We all do what we need to do to survive. In that survival,she became so many fragments how could she commit to any? Except wanting me.
I found her year book, her future plans were child care. Tucked away in a desk I found her early childhood development diploma. Until she was eight months pregnant she was a day care teacher.I was literally what she wanted her whole life. I think she thought I would fill a voile she felt,that she would finally be content and complete. The saddest irony is that the hormone changes,lack of sleep and everything that goes with giving birth and having a new born is what triggered her first episode causing her to spend the first three months of my life I a mental institution.
There is a thin line between healthy and unhealthy, of maddenss and calm. That could have been me. I’ve been on both sides, not to sound like a text book but early intervention and awareness is huge. Someone told me,”you will never love yourself until you forgive her.” It’s true. How can I love my self when half of the reason I’m here I hate? The fear…everything. All of me, the good,bad,dark,light,flaws,positives. All of it is me. It made me,a work in progress,a person. Any fragments? They will be made whole. The past,it feels like I packed it up in a box and sent it off to sea.
What happens between us now? Not a fucking clue. The fact that I can say “us” though is enough for now”