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!)