Month: February 2014

Skip to the End

Here’s a confession: I read books back to front. I sneak peeks. I look ahead.

When the final Harry Potter book came out I ran to Wal Mart to snag a copy and stood there in the aisle, reading the last few pages. I had a very specific list of things that needed to happen, and not happen, in order for me to invest the time and energy in reading the whole blasted thing.*

Perhaps I overvalue my time. Perhaps I am a control freak. Mostly, I think I just don’t like surprises, even when they might be pleasant ones. Uncertainty stresses me out.

Unfortunately, there are no guarantees in life. You don’t know what tomorrow will bring. No one can ensure that those you love will not suddenly be taken from you, or that you, yourself, might not cease to exist on this plane in another moment. Every breath is a gift. Death is the only certainty, yet it always takes us by surprise.

I know that, as a Christian, I can claim the pat promise that God is working all things together for my good, and that His plan, ultimately, is what I can trust in wholeheartedly. There is a vast gulf between believing this, I have found, and being okay with it.

I have felt at times that my life is like a pinball machine, with all my children and my loved ones careening about the board, sometimes with disastrous results. I imagine God pulling the plunger again and again, laughing maniacally. In other words, He causes the action, but the results are random. I’m not sure what sort of philosophy that lends itself to, but it’s not terribly encouraging.

Other peoples’ lives seemed much, much more orderly and predictable. Mine, with thirteen children in play, tends to resemble anarchy and chaos more often than not. I used to feel that I had to control everything around me, to reach out and grab the pinwheeling metal balls and force them to go where I wanted them to go. I thought it was all up to me. I was wrong.

Some people believe that all control is an illusion; that we control nothing at all, ultimately, and that the universe carries us along and everything is just as it needs to be in the moment. There is a lot of comfort in that idea, but I don’t know why it’s easier to trust “the universe” than it is to trust in “God”. Perhaps they are the same thing, ultimately.

I don’t know what I believe. All I do know is that thinking I needed to control everything, by my thoughts, words, and prayers, was destroying me quite literally. The idea that I was moving God’s hand to do what was best is one I embraced and now eschew.

God will do what is right, and the only things I can control are my own thoughts and actions. If I trust in a higher power, I must give myself up to it completely, and not constantly be in a tug of war over what is mine and what is its. It’s all going to be all right, in the end. If it is not all right, it is not the end. Or so the saying goes.

For now, it works.

*I read the final book, and loved it. Mostly because I knew that things worked out according to my specifications.

A Not So Gentle Request

Here’s a little piece of advice for psychiatrists: don’t insult your patients.

I mean, okay, so we’re crazy and all, but that’s really no excuse for being demeaning. Just because we’re on meds and need your help to quiet the voices doesn’t mean you have free reign to tell us we’re stupid.

Let’s just say, for example, that a woman comes in who has 13 children. Here are some things that are not acceptable to say:

“No wonder you’re depressed!”

“No wonder you’re crazy!”

“Were you crazy first, or are they why you’re crazy?”

“What on earth possessed you?”

I’m sure this all seems endlessly amusing to you. I wonder what you might say if I told you I had thirteen children because I thought a voice told me to do it. Because that’s kind of what happened. I mean, I wouldn’t put it that way, but that’s probably how you would hear it.

But don’t blame my children for my mental illness.

I am a person apart from them, and I have struggled with these feelings since long before they came along. They are not the cause of my crazy. Making snide comments to that effect is oversimplification at best and harmful at worst.

I wish you could see my fabulous children. I wish you could see them in all their noisy, chaotic glory before you decided they were nothing but burdens on my already-burdened psyche. I wish you could step outside your little PhD-educated box and allow for diversity in your thinking. I wish you could spend a day in my shoes.

Just because you don’t understand my decisions doesn’t give you the right to belittle them. Even if I do need medication to keep my feet on terra firma. What happened to professional courtesy? What happened to professionalism at all? I am not an idiot. I’m just nuts. Learn the difference.

My Definitely Not First Post

This is not my first blog post. Contrary to appearances, this is probably somewhere in the five-hundreds of blog posts that I have made. I don’t remember when I first began blogging but it was a long time ago, when nobody knew what a blog was and skinny jeans did not exist.

That was a long, long time ago.

However, for novelty’s sake, let’s say that this is my first blog post. I would probably be trying to dazzle you with my wit and my originality, to coax you to subscribe and not miss a single moment of my unique take on life.

Yeah. Not gonna do that.

I have started this blog because I cannot seem to NOT blog. I have a desire, and a will, and a strange need to blog, so here I am. If you want to read, I welcome you. If you want to spread the news that a wacky woman with thirteen children and a bipolar diagnosis is writing about her life, then go for it. If you want to inundate me with questions about how I do it all, refrain.

I don’t do it all.

Whatever “it all” is. I don’t do it. I categorically avoid it.

My life is strange. That is the truth. I deal with sticky substances and sticky issues all day long. If you’re looking for advice, move along. I don’t give much. I can’t remember how I survived having six children all under the age of ten. I can’t remember what I did with the little ones while I was trying to homeschool the older ones. I seem to remember quite a bit of yelling. And crying.

Yelling and crying are not what most people would categorize as excellent parenting tactics, but here we are. I have thirteen children and I think they are all eternally fascinating, abundantly creative and fantastically gifted people. They are interesting, and constantly evolving. I like them a lot.

My diagnosis of bipolar worked like a lightning bolt of revelation in the middle of my life; I had known for decades that something was desperately wrong but didn’t know what to call it. Dealing with the aftershocks of untreated mental illness after years of ignoring it and burying it will be talked about here. It might get raw.

So there you go. This is me. Thanks for reading. If you stick around I will be grateful, although I will try to act cool about it.

 

 

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