My Experience Only. YMMV.

Posts tagged ‘motherhood’

Yes, I Am Crazy. Thanks for Asking.

I’ve been called a lot of things in my time, from schoolyard taunts (loony tunes, weirdo) to psychiatric labels (clinically depressed, bipolar 2). This used to bother me, but anymore, I don’t mind.

It’s not because of the old saying, “Sticks and sones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me. We all know that’s a damn filthy lie. I think it’s because I’ve developed a sense of humor about the “crazy” thing. If Al Yankovic can embrace “Weird,” I can embrace “squirrel-bait” or “wacko.” Even “bat-shit” or “bug-fuck” crazy don’t get me riled, though many find them offensive – and I can’t fault them for that. Everyone has a different level of tolerance and sense of what’s funny.

Take, for example, the time when my sister Kathy gave me a t-shirt that said, “Leave Me Alone. I’m Having a Crisis.” Her husband was dubious about the gift, thinking that I would be offended. I wasn’t. Kathy thought it was a hoot and so did I. (I just bought a t-short that says, “You Won’t Believe the Crazy Shit That Happens Next…” I’m going to wear it to my next psychotherapist appointment.)

I admit to being disconcerted when publicly confronted by a person who asks “Are you the one there’s something wrong with?” or “Do you have mental problems?” (In the first case, the elderly gentleman was thinking of my sister-in-law, who had MS, and in the second, the person recognized me from the psychiatrist’s waiting room.) But I’m not offended. Mostly I regret that I didn’t have snappy come-backs. (I thought of some great ones later.)

There are still some assumptions that do offend or at least irritate me. Here’s a link to an article that enumerates a few of the touchy subjects and unwelcome phrases.

http://everydayfeminism.com/2015/02/bipolar-disorder-myths/

That sums it up pretty well. I’m not going to walk into a fast food outlet and start shooting up the place. Mania is not fun. I’ve decided not to reproduce, but nobody can tell me that I shouldn’t.

Oh, and there’s one other thing. In the past, when I’ve mentioned my mood disorder to acquaintances or co-workers, they feel obliged to take my emotional temperature five times a day. “Are you okay? How are you feeling?” So I would add to the list: Not all people with bipolar disorder are rapid cycling.

So, am I crazy? Yes. But I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. Most people use the word “crazy” to describe how they feel when they’re in love. And I’m good with that.

A Mother? Me?

Ah, the shrieks of laughter and squeals of delight from playful children! They cut through me like a light saber through Jell-O. I’m hyper-sensitive to loud or high-pitched noises.

A while back, one of my blogging buddies was speculating on whether she wanted to or ought to have a child, despite her disorder. I have no answer or even advice for her, but but here is what I think about motherhood and Bipolar Me.

When we got married, my husband really wanted to be a father some day. To tell the truth, I never gave it much thought really, since I had never expected to be married.

At that time in my life I was barely medicated and had a lot of meltdowns and breakdowns and up-and-down cycles (mostly down) ahead of me.

Looking back, I am glad that I never became a mother. The thought alone overwhelms me.

First of all, I would have been a really bad mother. It would have been unfair to a child to have a mother who would disappear into her room for days at a time, not communicate for weeks at a time, be depressed for months – or years – at a time. Not to mention not being able to enjoy anything. Put that person in charge of a live human child for 18+ years?

I know there must be people who do it, but I don’t even really understand how non-biploar people manage it.

Second – and this is the part that is going to sound selfish to those people she feel that childless-by-choice women are all selfish – but I needed all the resources I had to construct and reconstruct myself. As Gloria Steinem reportedly said, I didn’t give birth to a child because I was giving birth to myself. I still am, after my most recent and most monumental breakdown, still trying to salvage what I can of my psyche, seeing what pieces still fit, and learning to live with the things that are no longer present – or maybe never were.

And I had all kinds of irrational thoughts on the subject of motherhood. The one time I thought about motherhood, it was because my father was dying, and I wanted him to see his grandchild if there was going to be one.

Also, I was terrified of losing myself. My husband had some issues of his own and was, let’s say, way too close to his inner child. I thought he and a child would outnumber me and I would be the mean one, the killjoy, the Other.

As time went on, I grew less and less inclined to even be around babies or small children. And my husband would go into a funk if one of our friends had a baby. Eventually, he decided that if he wasn’t going to be a father, he could be a mentor, a helper, a healer, to other children and former children. Maybe even his inner child.

Now having a child is no longer even a possibility. And I’m good with that.

 

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