Tuesday, April 27, 2010

What's In a Name?

This may seem odd, but I haven't been able to write because I haven't landed upon a code name for my son that I want to use.

Crazy, huh?

I'm one of those people...the perfect codependent...who always needs to have the most unimportant things be perfect.  I can't write about life with a son who struggles with a potential mental illness (in other words, undiagnosed) and addiction because I can't think of a name for him yet?

That's right.  That's how my mind works.  If I can't come up with a good name now, I figure, I'll think of one later and that will confuse readers, and that would make me a bad blogger -- and then it follows that I must also be a bad person.

These are the mind demons I wrestle with.  Was I always like this?  Or did being married to an alcoholic do me in?  I wrestle with those questions too.  In fact, I do a lot of mental wrestling with my own mind.  It's exhausting, and like the alcoholic who wishes he/she could drink without it being a problem, I wish I could be in my own head without having to wrestle with it.

I'll be back...soon.  Just as soon as I figure out a name.

Friday, April 16, 2010

The First Whisper

This blog is a prayer. This blog is my prayer, my desperate prayer that to reach out and talk out loud about the briar patch of parenting a child with mental illness will somehow help. Maybe it will help to just talk about it and be heard. Maybe it will help someone else who feels alone and without hope. Maybe it will help to hear from others traveling across the same stormy oceans in their own patched up vessels.

I don't know. What I do know is that as a writer, and simply as a person, I have struggled for many years about what to share, how much to share, and with whom. As with all stories, they never belong to any one person. I wrestled with that. How to tell the story without hurting or betraying others? How to be true to my own experience while being true to the other "characters" in the story?

I still don't have those answers, but there comes a time when all hope is lost. For many years I thought things would get better somehow. The right doctor, the right medication, the right diagnosis, some magic that would fix it all and I and my family would ride off into the sunset shaking our heads and laughing at the tragedies behind us.

But it wasn't just the hope of a fix that kept me from writing. Fear, shame, and the desire to "know" normal. Each tragic event was a blow, but I wanted to forget them and move on. I was always aiming and stretching for something in the future. I clutched to the idea that if I could just get us past those things, one by one, that they wouldn't add up to anything. They would be like photos in an album that had no connecting story-line.

Life isn't like that. Those events do have a connecting story-line, and it is my life as it is. It is my son's life as it is. It is my daughter's life as it is. It is our life as it is. Now I'm going to tell it like it is.

Image Credit: Radio Wonder