She’s flying high. After months of deep depression, Mom is quite manic. At first, it was good to see her being able to get up in the morning and feel good again. But soon, the little signs were showing up. She’d be upstairs going through things, weeding out, throwing out; with little regard to whether this might be something she might want to keep for memory’s sake, or for any other reason. She’d be up there for hours in her nightgown, finally coming down for breakfast close to 11am.
There have been more signs. Tone of voice. Urgency of language. And more recently, not being able to answer simple questions, but rather being obsessed with recounting a story about herself, over and over and over and over, ad nauseam.
And the most recent red flag: thinking that her medication does nothing good for her. It only clouds her head. She’s been to this place a few times before. Two of them ended up with her residing in a mental hospital for several weeks.
For me, it’s a feeling of helplessness- especially being 3000 miles away from her. It’s no accident that her children all grew up and moved AWAY. But then I have to remind myself that the feelings that are coming up, were instilled in a young, helpless girl. A young girl whose mother had been mentally ill for the girl’s entire life. A girl who had never experienced a balanced, healthy mother; at least, not balanced for long. A girl who experienced crazy, up close and personal. Too close and too personal. Crazy almost took me with it for a ride when I was in high school.
Ultimately, this woman is not my responsibility. I can support her, but I can’t fix her. She has to walk through her own fire. All I can do is that which I can, and no more. I have lived enough years, and learned enough to recognize when my mother is in trouble. She’s getting closer to the danger zone. And all I can do is sound the alarm to her doctors when she’s getting too close to, or has stepped over the line.
And unfortunately, at times like this, I need to protect myself. I need to make sure the little girl who was me, is ok. And that the big girl who is me now, is ok. It’s a whole new game to play, now that Dad is gone.