Monday, April 20, 2009


It has been almost three years since my youngest daughter was first diagnosed with bipolar disorder. It may have been stealthily moving closer over the previous few years but none of us recognized it as bipolar, that crazy-making illness with phases of depression and mania and symptoms of which I was not yet aware. The mind boggling severity of the depression was a major piece of the puzzle in the diagnosis. The mania took a little more time before it became
something mean enough to also cause hospitalizations. As Linea and I have shared her story and mine, we have been moved to tears by the people that have told us that they, too, have similar struggles and fears, tragedies and hopefulness. I am particularly touched by the mothers. We are a club of sisters that know the bone-shaking, middle of the night terror, constant alertness and worry of having a child on the edge of an unknown precipice. As my mom says, "Sometimes all you can do is make it through one more minute, not just one more hour or one more day."

Sometimes the movement forward is a single minute at a time. Three years past the terror of an unknown illness taking over my daughter's life and changing all that we thought we is better. Life is stable as Linea stays within the parameters of a healthy life, sometimes up, sometimes down and sometimes bobbing on the edges but she is managing and in control of her own life. It would be easier to try and forget those years of anguish and worry and pain. But I think it is important to never forget. Never forget the closeness and the love of family as we held on to each other, we five (Linea, Linea's mom, dad, sister and brother-in-law), her grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins and friends. Things were clearly in perspective from most important to least important when life was falling apart. Little things mattered. A sunny day on the lawn of Harborview Medical Center. The quiet sanctuary at St. James Cathedral. The song Blackbird played to me in a psych unit on Mother's Day. And finally, a day on the beach in Mazatlan. I don't want to forget. I am thankful.


Anonymous said...

I am thankful as well. I keep thinking of all the dad's that just want to take the pain away and make it better. You can't, but you can be with them through the pain, hold them when they will let you and give unconditional love always - the father

Cinda said...

Thank you, the father, for your thoughtful comments. In my experience Dads want to fix (take the pain away) and their strength is in staying unconditionally present and with love. C.