My manic-depressive cycles spread my moods all over like a strong wind blows sand in patterned deposits next to a turbulent sea. Except I haven’t figured out the pattern so that I can flow with it, embrace it, and control it.
These cycles, as I describe in the first post of this series, leave myself and others wounded. And tired. In the second post of this series, I describe the people I’m so horribly mean to – the hurt piled on top of hurt. I’m seeking recovery, but the journey is long, arduous, and leaves me parched, longing for stability in soft ever drifting sand.
I have not yet fully recovered, but I’m a long way from where I was a year ago. I still cycle, but it’s usually a more minor hypomania-to-depression and back again. My thoughts are more consistently slower and fewer, not rushing together like waves in the ocean. My spontaneity is less extreme. My depression doesn’t go quite as deep. I haven’t completely gotten my sea legs back again, but I’m no longer lost at sea in a major storm.
I still hurt people. My relationships have suffered. Friends and family are tired of carrying me back to Jesus after every up and every down. My husband has felt it the worst. He’s been through all the same crises, but he stays strong and focused. He picks me up screaming and crying and stands like a soldier amidst my abuse. Sometimes daily.
I need my husband’s strength, but he’s tired. We’re both tired. And we’re raising a three year old who has witnessed, not all, but a lot of this. I lay crying incessantly on the couch some days while Andrew is working.
Arthur asks, “Why are you crying Mom-Mom?”
“I’m just really sad today.”
“Why are you sad?
“Because my brain is sick.”
“Oh ok. I will go get your medicine. I’ll be right back!”
At not even three, my little son was trying to take care of me. When he was newly potty trained and still needed assistance.
“Mom-Mom, I have to go potty.”
I couldn’t move. I talked him through the steps drowning in tears and he did it. Not even three, just months into being toilet trained.
My little boy has had to be stronger than many of his peers. From day one, he’s been more resilient than one could have thought for a newborn. The first three weeks of his little life, he was passed back and forth between grandparents while I lay in the ICU recovering from Septicemia – a complication post child-birth. Just before he reached age 2, he was taken from my arms and put in school so that I could go back to work to fill a vacant spot left by our employee who took advantage of our family, then walked out. Then his Mom-Mom’s brain got sick. In one way this need for resilience will serve him well in life, but in another…at what point do I enroll him in therapy?
Mom-Mom is nice. She loves her son. She would do anything for her son. But some days, Mom-Mom is snippy, irritable, too easily frustrated, unfocused. My heart is broken from the ways I haven’t been able to mother him.
In a lot of ways, I’m healing, but in many others I’m still looking for solid ground.
What’s To Be Done?
Time heals all wounds. I’m working hard to overcome the pain I’ve caused and find a healthy balance in maintaining my mental health. In my hurt, I’ve hurt people. Repeatedly. And it will take them time to trust me again.
My goal is to regularly show up and do just one thing the right way. Have one conversation without pulling the whole thing out of context and having a breakdown. Have one day where I’m loving myself. Have one stresser come into my path without triggering my moods.
Just maybe, if I do this, my son won’t be so sad and clingy, my husband will be less tired, and my dear friends and family can get a rest from continually carrying me to the cross.
Just maybe, my hurt will heal and I will stop hurting the people I love and care about.