How does a mother with a mood disorder gather herself to be the person she needs to be? When the counselling that is affordable is cheap, and feels like a chore, another burden to add to the list. When the medication that takes away the fight also steals away sensation, the will to stay awake, the will to move, to cook, to clean. And it’s a thousand dollars a pop, and who can afford that kind of green?
How does a mother with a mood disorder quiet her daughters daily screams? About her hair, about that wall that has too many stickers, about the way her shirt has seams? When everything is a battle, even those tiny nothings? We tell her, “You’re super power is your smarts. You can be smarter than your mood. You can choose to do good.” How can she believe that when she has seen me lose it all? Have no power left, no room for normal thought? Our wills are strong, but they’re not always enough.
And everyone says how nice it must be to have a mother who understands how she feels. Do you not know what a war it is to just control me? Without the pricey meds, without the sleep I need, without help most days to take bad thoughts away? I am in a war in my brain and you tell me it’s lucky that I get to fight mine and hers, too. You must think more of my abilities than I do. But I do. I fight for us both, then I have no energy left rational thought, for deep calming breaths.
It is not right that help is both near and far. Most days I sit in my bed, covers over my head and pray that my moods will be stable enough to get us both through the day, and to not effect the calm of my son, who looks at our highs and lows as foreign. She’s screaming now. About the way the light hits her eyes. Not complaining. Screaming. Waking the house, rousing herself, not fighting at all, and asking me, the me who rarely sleeps, mania seeping through my veins, to be the woman I need to be, and I just want to do…nothing. I want to break down. Give up. I know what I am. Today I’m not enough. But she is mine. And despite the fact that I will fail, I have to try.
I love her. I love her. I love her. I love her. I love her. My mantra to get us both through.