Well, guys, I think it’s safe to say that…wait for it…I’m coming down with the black plague.
My cough is nothing like Cheyenne’s is, yet, but I don’t doubt that it will be by the end of the week. As of now, I’m tired, and achey, and just basically beside myself with a general feeling of un-goodness. I wanted Caleb to stay home so badly today; I didn’t tell him…but I was fighting back tears while he showered and got everything ready to leave. Why this was a big deal to me today, I don’t know; he’ll be back tonight so it’s not like he’s going on one of his usual week-long business excursions. I just have this overwhelming desire to cuddle up under a big warm blankie, next to my husband, while he pets my hair and rubs my tummy.
You know, kind of like the way he treats the dogs on a regular basis.
But I’m a big girl. I didn’t ask him to stay, which he couldn’t have anyhow, and I didn’t cry. I got most of my chores out of the way, I played with all of Mia’s toys (with her, of course) and I even finished a book that Cheyenne insisted I read: "Define Normal" by Julie Anne Peters. It’s about a good girl that becomes friends with a bad girl, who’s really not that bad, and who helps the good girl when her mother is clinically depressed and can’t take care of the family anymore.
This must’ve been the book that sparked a small discussion about depression and bipolar disorder Cheyenne and I had last week–she surprisingly brought it up on our way to the store so I answered her questions as honestly as I could without saying "You know, Cheyenne, I’m a total nut job myself," but I know she’s not stupid. I think she suspects…why else would she have suggested I read that book? I was pretty obviously "not bringing my A-game" for a while there the summer before last. I found it hard to talk about mental illness with her; how could she possibly understand? Will she be afraid of me? Will she worry that I won’t be able to take care of her one day? Or will she think it’s cool and tell all her friends that her mom is truly psycho?
So when she asked me point blank "Are you bipolar, Mom?" I quickly veered the conversation in the direction of my own (crazy) (biological) mother, and I told her that there are ways to handle any disease, and signs to watch out for…and measures–and medications–you can take. I told her that if I felt like I wasn’t myself and I thought depression or bipolar disorder might be the problem, I wouldn’t think twice about seeing a doctor to get better. And she seemed satisfied with that answer.
…For the time being. One day I’ll tell her how it feels to toss and turn every night for weeks, to have your thoughts race and your head spin, to talk so fast that you can’t even keep up with what you’re saying…to want to spend money like a drunken sailor, or, to want to just drink like a sailor–at 1:00 on a Tuesday afternoon. She’ll hear what it’s like to rage like a maniac for days on end over nothing in particular, to unknowingly grit your teeth so hard that at the end of the day your jaw aches, to be pissed off at yourself for being pissed off at everybody else…to be so inspired to do something one day, and yet completely lose interest the next, to sort of watch yourself do or say all these things and wonder what the hell is wrong with you. And I hope she never gets to where she can’t bear to be around people–even family…or physically can’t get out of bed, or starts bawling without reason on any given day because she’s so inexplicably sad. No, I don’t think she’s ready to hear any of that right now…but I know eventually the conversation will have to be had. Maybe by that point I’ll understand it a little better myself…though hopefully I won’t have had any more hardcore experience as a teaching tool.