It has been over three months, since I last mailed my mom a letter and 1 year and 1 month since I last spoke to her. Her uphill battle with bipolar depression continues to affect me and the rest of my family. Her decision to shut us out of her life “so we won’t have to see her like this” is heart breaking. Does she not see that her actions still affect our family this way?
Since my mom’s phone has long been shut off, I have no way of even attempting to contact her and she never returns my letters. However, there has been a small update on the unknown. My wonderful step mom, Marcy, went over to my mom’s apartment and spent a few hours with her. I had mixed feelings when Marcy delivered the news to me a few weeks ago. I’m hoping that writing this letter will help me sort out some of my feelings about her struggle with bipolar depression, before I explode out of frustration and sadness.
My mom and dad on their wedding day. They look sooo young!
You have missed another milestone. Noah is walking now. He toddles around like a little zombie monster. Xander falls behind him, exclaiming “Noah is walking!”. It is pretty adorable. Do you realize how many milestones you have missed? So many that I’ve lost count. Xander is fully potty trained (finally) and talking in complex sentences. He has opinions and is forever asking me questions. I dread the day when he asks the question, “How come we never see grandma?” or “Why don’t we ever talk to grandma on the phone?”. I’m sure the hardest to answer will be “Didn’t she love us?’
I have no idea how I will answer his questions. It hurts my heart. I wish you were here. I wish I could call you. I wish you could just set your illness aside or even see through your fogginess. I wish you for once would give a shit, because right now I feel like you don’t. It is frustrating to me and it hurts. Your hurting these little boys. That is what hurts the most.
When Marcy called me a couple of weeks ago to tell me she spent time with you I felt relieved and then confused and then angry. The list of feelings goes on and on. I am glad to hear that you are “ok” meaning not dead, because before then I had no idea. I assumed you weren’t, but then again you just never know. Her recount of her visit with you confirms to me that your bipolar depression continues to rear it’s ugly head. Guess what? It is not going away by itself.
Marcy told me you were crying a lot and didn’t want us to see you like that. You didn’t want us to worry about you and blah, blah, blah. I’m tired of the same excuse. It has been over a year. Isn’t it time to crawl out of this deep dark hole? We are here no matter what. Family sticks together, no matter what. In case you haven’t realized that after having me as your daughter for 33 years, it’s time to figure it out.
It is also time you start doing something about your feelings and illness, before it further destroys your life. Do you want to walk around like a zombie? Not talking to your family, pushing them away. Watching them grow through scattered letters and photographs you receive. Or do you want to live your life? Don’t you want to experience the joys of watching your grandchildren grow up? Hear their voice on the phone. Receive artwork from them in the mail. Visit them during the holidays. Hug them. Kiss them. Tell them you love them.
The choice is yours, weather you think so or not. You have the courage to battle this illness. Hell, you suffered through third degree burns on a large portion of your body and fought hard to bounce back from that. I know you are a lot stronger than you think. Take that first step. Make that first appointment. I’m still here waiting. I’m not going anywhere. You know how to get in touch with me.
I love you and miss you. I hope that someday soon you will pick up the phone to dial a number for help. Then dial my number to hear your grandchildren’s voices on the phone, because they will love you unconditionally. They don’t care what state you are in. That is one of the gifts of loving a child, they just don’t care. If they know of your presence, they will know you love them. Their smiles will help you fight through this. I will help you fight through this, but I can’t do it alone. I need you to call your doctors. I am here.
As I continue to struggle with my mom’s mental illness, I am trying to learn more about it. In case you or someone you know struggles with it, here are some helpful articles:
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance- A wonderful resource about finding local support systems, wellness options and education on bipolar and depression.