my mother called today. she wanted to check in, since the last time we talked my moodscope was at around 18% and she was concerned about my “emotional/mental state”. i had to go a roundabout way of getting her to understand that i am managing serious emotional issues because my mother has honed the ability of denial. it’s really quite impressive, actually. for instance, we only started talking again this past december after a TWO YEAR PERIOD where we didn’t talk. and it wasn’t for lack of trying either; i could not get this woman to work through a problem with me no matter how much i tried. she continued to ignore me and my messages the entire time. but that’s a story for a different post.
anyway, knowing this, i knew that she’d need a little help facing the reality. fortunately, i have a good relationship with her new boyfriend. i like him a lot and probably would have made vastly different mating decisions had he been around. shoot, i might even not be bipolar if he was my dad. in any case, he checks in on me periodically by email. he sent a message after he found out that my plans to move to california at the end of the summer may have been diverted, and i confessed that i was in a bad state and that i had missed work, and been written up already for missing work. it was nice confiding in someone who i knew would listen, and had the added benefit of his influence on my mother. see, my mother’s behavior is disproportionately influenced by the man in her life. it has always been this way and i knew this would be no different.
there are also trust issues at play here, but again we’ll save those for a different post too.
so when i called her today and i sounded giddy on the phone, she said ‘oh, you sound much better!’ optimistically. i responded, ‘yes, i’m kinda hypomanic right now’ and she sounded noticeably taken aback, doubtful even. big surprise.
my mother has exhibited the best doubting abilities of anyone i have ever met. she could doubt mother teresa even.
so she proceeded to counter my experiences and the various things i was feeling with, ‘well, couldn’t that just be __________?’ or ‘isn’t that just a sign of ___________’. whatever it was, one thing was for certain: it was NOT bipolar disorder.
i’m starting to get the sense that she too did not read the book i sent her. le sigh.
this is especially amazing because not just one but both of her daughters have just been diagnosed with bipolar. this clearly means something is wrong with someone else, NOT that there is something wrong with us. we can’t BOTH be bipolar. because you know what that means? it was the first comment she made when i told her the psychiatrist had decided on a bipolar diagnosis partly due to the family history (i.e., my sister). she said, ‘but, that would mean that i am bipolar too…’
lest she start going into all the reasons why she was most definitely NOT bipolar, i countered that it is also possible that both my biological dad AND my sister’s biological dad are bipolar. she sounded relieved.
she also sounded proud when she told me my sister is only taking an anti-depressant right now, and was somehow okay with the fact that my sister went to LAS. VEGAS. this weekend. holy balls! she most definitely did NOT read the book.
so is this what it comes to? you get to a place where you may finally come to terms with this diagnosis, and then you have spend the rest of your time convincing everyone else too? i know my mother has got a special skill but she is not the first nor the only one to straight deny the possibility of a bipolar diagnosis. she does share one characteristic with the others though: they all seem especially concerned by what the diagnosis means about them.