There was a long time when I couldn’t get over feeling angry with my mother (like she had some choice in this). I was angry that she wasn’t like everyone else’s mom. I was angry that she made all of us different by association. I was angry that middle and high school were really hard – in part – because she was so different (and because I wasn’t strong enough to stand up for myself, or her). I was angry because the last year (or so) of hospitalizations, psychiatrists, and pharmaceutical shots in the dark have been a living hell for my father.
I was angry with myself for being so selfish.
I’ve read stories about other families dealing with mental illness, and they make me angry too. Some of them are able to make light of the illness at some point. There’s some touching memory or funny story to warm the heart.
I don’t have one for you.
I suppose it’s possible that one’s in there somewhere, if I’d just think on it hard enough, or if I had it in me to blow a little sunshine. But you know what? It feels pretty fucking overcast right now. It’s hard to recall a time when she was happy, and I want to cry. To think that someone could be so unhappy, could be at war with themselves in their mind, could live without hope, for so long… I don’t know what to think anymore. I’ve just about run out of words.
I could tell you how lucky we were (me and my sisters), how there are so many people who grow up with less opportunity than we did – no matter what problems my mother had. All things considered, you could probably say her efforts raising us kids weren’t just pretty good, but damn near heroic. You know what? I don’t get the sense that it makes her feel any better right now, so why should it make me feel any better? Thankful, grateful, and a pinch ashamed, but not better.
I wonder if mental illnesses aren’t the cruelest of all diseases. It doesn’t always kill (directly), but it can torture someone for a lifetime.
No, today I’m not angry. I’m numb.
What I really need to do is get off my ass and drive up there with my dad (to the hospital). It’s been way too long.