Saturday, March 6, 2010

There's a Crack in Everything

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in
(Leonard Cohen, Anthem)

This post is dedicated to every single young person diagnosed with a mental health condition. I love the video that some kids created just "walking around in the muddy springtime filming dirt and generally looking goofy". I just love the creativeness and wisdom and general "goofiness" of youth. Please take a minute and listen to the words of Cohen's Anthem and watch the video produced by "Mahiwi".

The light came in with thunder and lightening and all things scary when my daughter was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I have written about diagnosis before with suggestions for families and friends. One step removed from my personal experiences. Diagnosis is always tricky with any illness. The frightening part of it is the "wait and see". With bipolar disorder it is unnerving in many ways. Wait for a mania that can spin you out of control. Then wait for another one. Wait for a deep dark depression that can send you into a suicidal loop from which you cannot return on your own. Wait and see, wait and see. Try these meds, no these, no these. Whoops, these didn't work so well. Must not be just depression. And then there are all the feelings a parent goes through with the stages of grief from denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Like the "poles" of bipolar these can come on top of one another or in completely unpredictable sequences. My own story coupled with Linea's provided me with first hand experience of these steps.

Denial. Hell, no, this is not bipolar! (whoops, was that anger?) No, we had seen nothing of mania. Yes, a severe, severe, depresson. No mania. Let it not be bipolar. That is a horrible "label". Read the papers. Crazy people have this diagnosis. This CANNOT be.

Anger. For me this took on the, "It's not fair" persona. This daughter didn't deserve this. She had done nothing to deserve this. Her life was going forward as she had planned and she had worked so very hard to get there. NOT FAIR. I know this is a western way of thinking. More than half of the world thinks the opposite. When something good happens they wonder, "Why me?" But still. Not on my watch. Oh yes, and there was that one time I yelled at my husband, Linea's dad. "I am doing the best I can!!!"

Bargaining. I really got into this one. I actually said, many, many times: PLEASE God or whomever, PLEASE give this to me. I can deal with it. She is only 19 years old. I can just go away somewhere and fight the good fight and win or lose but not her. PLEASE give it to me.

Depression. I will go see a therapist with you, daughter. I personally do not need this because I am a professional. I know this stuff. Whoops. Inside of me was a sad, broken little girl who was so very frightened and so unsure of what to do. I was supposed to be the mom. I knew things yet I couldn't fix it.

Acceptance. The crack let the light in. This illness has cracked open a deeper love and honesty in our family that we could have ever expected. We were a close family before but things have changed. Deepened. Strengthened. We are stronger. Broken pipes? Unexpected bills? Disappointments? Sorry, we have stood toe to toe with much worse. We almost lost our daughter. More than once. We are grateful. We are appreciative. We love deeper and stronger and although we certainly forget at times, we appreciate every minute of health and happiness.

I was going to write a blog on the diagnosis of bipolar disorder in adolescents and young adults. My thoughts took me in a different direction. I hope that you are not disappointed and that somehow this touches you. Thank you for reading. I love you Linea! Thank you for letting the light in. (You, too, Jordan of my heart!)


Elizabeth said...

This is wonderful -- and universal, as you must know. Thank you for posting it and tying it to your own poignant feelings. May peace reign for your and yours onward...

Carrie Wilson Link said...

I love the image of the light getting in through the cracks. Thank you!

Corrie Howe said...

Great post! I can totally relate to starting out writing about something and going in a different direction. How is the publishing going?

Tanya @ TeenAutism said...

It's always good to be reminded of the stages. I often forget them and get stuck!

Megan said...

Yes, I have often heard that God uses cracked pots, not perfect ones, so He can shine His light through us!

suelmayer said...

Wonderful post, our experiences may be different but our understanding is the same!

Accidental Expert said...

Yet another wonderful post. I think I've gone through all of those, many times over.

We see little glimpses of light creeping in now.

Meg said...

BP has definitely added a depth to our lives that I didn't know we were missing before.

Cinda said...

Thank you all for your comments. I guess we should relish the "little glimpses of light" whenever we find them, huh? I think that sometimes one (or at least me) takes steps backwards and forwards as an illness continues its own ups and downs. When Linea is doing very well we are all aware of the "depth" (thanks, Meg) added to our lives but when she falls back into a depression or an anxiety spiraling the other direction or her meds are adjusted with all the kickbacks that come with that...well, sometimes I am sad and angry all over again and I know she is as well. Life...not a journey for the weak, that's for sure. Thank you for reading and commenting!

Stephen Tremp said...

Nice post. We've either gone through this or been close to someone who has. Its not easy but somehow we reach down deep and find the strength to move forward. Have a great weekend.

Stephen Tremp