Believing in something can be as simple as an idea like Santa Claus or the Easter bunny. One of my beliefs started as a child when I used to think I was the cause of my mother’s bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition which causes extreme changes in moods like manic highs to depressive lows. It can cause extreme behavior where they cannot function at work, in family or social situations and can become suicidal. One cause of the disorder is a chemical imbalance of the brain, which was the case with my mother. Through my life I have accumulated many memories of her episodes.
One episode in particular I can remember all too well. Unable to read the blackboard my parents were taking me to get my first pair of glasses. I was watching cartoons waiting for my parents and putting my ballet flats on. I could hear my parents arguing. From what I could make out, it was about Mom spending money. She stormed past the living room where I was, and went up stairs. Papa came round the corner and asked if I had my shoes on. I asked what happen “Oh, honey it was nothing,” Papa said. Ten minutes later we went on to the eye doctor to get my glasses, a pair of thick framed cat glasses, which were newest style in all the magazines.
I was craving a burger and mint ice cream I asked Papa if we could go to Friendly’s. I sat next to Papa and ordered a burger with cheese, while Mom got the same with bacon, and Papa got a fish sandwich. Finally, the food came and as I dove into my burger I notice my mother’s right sleeve. It was covered in blood. I asked Mom “Why is your arm like that?” She got up from the table to go to the bathroom to get out the blood. While she was in the bathroom I would ask my father what happen. All he could say was Mom cut herself. That image of my mother’s sleeve was imbedded into my mind.
Most don’t understand the sacrifices that a child can go through with a mother not mentally there. Accepting that your mother is not going to be the same as other mothers can be hard, when girl scouts, prom, or picking out wedding dress are difficult, and seem impossible. Not knowing who you are coming home to, the loving mother or the depressed mother is tough. I believe I can make it through life with accepting that in the end she is still my mother. I learned day by day that it was not my fault for her disorder. With every episode past, they are all just a collection of lessons learned. When even wishing on a star with the hope that one day she might be normal is not enough. Coming to learn that you are what you are, and she is what she is, is enough.