Exposing the Darkness..
I hated my mother. Or did I hate the disease? Growing up I never realized what this demon was who took over my mother’s emotional and mental state. I thought she was just eccentric, colorful, she was a writer. The rage, the false suicides, the lapses in judgement, alcohol abuse, sexual escapades. Why couldn’t I have had a normal mother?
But I’m glad I didn’t. I loved her for who she was despite the disease, but it took me years to be grateful for her and years for her to seek help. After three failed marriages, she was left to raise four children on her own and support herself with her writing while being un-diagnosed for years with her illness. But she fought through it all. She published 25 books in her lifetime. Writing was her medicine and her sanity. Yeah, there were times that were pretty damn rough and not knowing she had manic depression made it worse. She never really found the help she needed. Psychiatrists pacified her, the only meds given were Lithium. (Lithium only treats the ‘manic’ and not so much the depression) We knew she needed additional care, but we were also afraid of dealing with ‘the problem’ because she could be so explosive. I will always wish I could have done more for her.
My point is, people with mental illness are often so debilitated by the disease that they don’t know how to seek help. Sometimes they don’t even know something is wrong. We need to be brave and be there for them to get them the help they need at all cost.
Before I lost her last year, when melanoma took her life, I told her what a fookin’ genius she was. She fired back that I was the fookin’ genius. I thanked her for making me, me, and for being the crazy, fun, yeah colorful person she was. I loved her for who she was. I was grateful I didn’t have a ‘normal’ mother. But I still carry the guilt and pain of not helping her more.
To all who suffer, reach out for the hand that wants to help you-they love you and want the best for you. Peace.