I was raised by a mother with bi-polar illness. She was unmedicated until she was about 50 years old, when I was part way through high school. So, during the formative years of my young life, I lived with a mother who was mentally unstable. That can do a number on a young person. Perhaps that’s part of why I have so few memories of my childhood.
I have memories of sitting in the family car, that had a habit of not wanting to start, with Mom telling us kids to “Think positive thoughts and the car will start.” Even at 6 or 7 years old, I knew that there was something mechanically wrong with the car, and it needed to be fixed.
There were several other times that Mom would say or do something that I knew was not right, or was wrong. But because she was my mother, I doubted myself. I learned to doubt my intuition, to not trust what I knew was true.
When Mom was manic (high), her perceptions about the world around her would skew, and she would often take out her ________ on me, verbally. Her tongue was a razor, slicing and dicing me from time to time. She would often feel that the world was out to get her, and things like that. For some reason, it was me that got the brunt of it all.
The first time she was hospitalized, she had reached a state of total delusion. The year before that was no picnic at home.
Since last mid-June, Mom was in a deep depression, due largely to my father’s poor health. He had lived with cancer for more than 20 years, with his health taking a real nosedive after falling and breaking a hip last spring. Mom had become the caretaker for her sick husband, having to curtail her always active social life. With Dad’s condition deteriorating, Mom’s depression became more firmly entrenched. No antidepressant medications seemed to be able to lift her up.
Two weeks ago, Dad died. Overnight, my Mom went from deeply depressed, into mania. Welcome back out of control, skewed perception, uber-bitch.
So, now my challenge is figuring out the buttons and triggers that are in me, that react to this mania. I need to ferret these things out and release them, for my own mental health. I am learning to honor and trust my intuition once again. And I must continue along the path of learning the lesson I chose to learn by entering into an agreement to be raised by a mentally ill mother.