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A Bad Day With Bipolar – Through My Son's Eyes

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I never stopped to wonder what the people in my life went through while I was living in a roller coaster state of mania and depression.

It never occurred to me that my excessive spending, writing bad checks, allowing our house to go into foreclosure, staying up days on end writing books that were going to be New York Times best sellers, affected others.

• What is Bipolar disorder?

Then, I would fall so deep into a depression all I wanted to do was sleep. Nights of binge cleaning replaced by binge eating. No more 3 a.m. wake ups to make cookies, because that’s logical, right? No more shoveling at 1 a.m. because I had to take the kids to school in the morning. All that stolen by endless sleep and tears. Only to eventually start the cycle all over again. Until one day, the worst depression of my life took over and all I could do was cry and sleep. I lost my job, isolated, talked to no one, slept and cried. Yet, I somehow managed to get up and get the kids to school, made sure they were fed and had clean clothes.

The plans for suicide were already in play; I began giving away stuff, doing research on how to tell people to best care for my children. How they should be allowed to grieve, allowed to hate me (but not for too long), and how they should be in therapy. I had a way and the means, a location, all but a date. I figured when the time was right, I’d just wake up and know.

The story below is described by my son. The day he talks about I didn’t wake up and know that was the day, but I think maybe my subconscious did. You can call it a suicide attempt, an accidental overdose, a nervous breakdown — whatever works for you. I’ve been told it was all three by different people. But this, well this is that day from my son’s eye and his perspective.  All my children have since told me they knew I wasn’t right, but none knew how to ask. I’ve left the paper as is, I didn’t change grammar, spelling or punctuation; these are his word, and he told me I could share it here. I did however, delete out names.

“There is nothing like a mother’s touch. Like a mother’s voice, like a mother’s hair, like a mother’s love. There is truly nothing like a mother. We all have one, they can be our greatest ally and our greatest friend. But the thing is we all take them for granted. We don’t realize how much we need them until they are gone.

March 26 2016, Easter Sunday. “Wake up honey, Benny wake up.” I slowly come out of my deep slumber and I see my mother’s face. I groan of exhaustion. My Mother walks out of my room to go downstairs. I look around my room and then I turn my head to the side of my bed and grab my iPad, I check the date. Then I realized that it’s Easter, my fourth favorite holiday. I jump out out of my bed and run downstair to see what the Easter Bunny got me. I was super happy with what I got, I got a $15 iTunes gift card, Chocolate, more chocolate, and a ginormous Chocolate Bunny. My mom came into the room to greet me. “Happy Easter, Mom!”

“Happy Easter, sweetie” she replied. Then my mom goes to the kitchen to grab a drink. I run upstairs to wake up my brother. I open his door softly and quietly. I tipped toe to his bed. I was quite like a mice with small footsteps. I grabbed the sides of his bed and took a breath, the I started to shake the bed until my brother awoke. “Stooaooop” He groaned. “‘Wake up, It’s Easter.”

I got out of his room as quickly as I can so he doesn’t yell or throw something at me. I go to the bathroom so I can take a quick shower and then I went to my room to pick out the nicest clothes I can find. I wore a Black button up shirt, black tie and black pants. I have some time to wait because my brother still needs to shower and he takes forever so I have time to reflect on what has happened this past year. I think about how my Mom and Dad have separated and how my sister has moved to Boston and how I get two of everything now. I start getting anxiety because of these thoughts so I get on my iPad to watch my favorite YouTubers’ Easter Specials.

Forty-five minutes goes by and my brother is finally ready, so we get in my Mom’s car to head to my Nana’s and Papa’s so I can spend the first half of easter with my dad and his side of the family. My mom drops us off and heads to my Grandma and Grandpa’s where we will meet her at 1:00 p.m. so we can spend Easter with my mom and her side of the family. I kiss my mom and say goodbye and go inside for the fun activities at my Nana’s.

Everything was normal at my Nana’s house. We ate breakfast, watched movies, opened up some more Easter bunny presents and went on an Easter egg hunt, where my brother kicked my butt. Then my Dad drove me and brother to my Grandma’s and Grandpa’s where my Mom was so we can spend a little bit of Easter with her. I kiss my dad and I said goodbye. Me and my brother walk through the door and were met with hi’s and hugs from everyone who is there. The day was looking like it would be a perfect day, but little did I know that this day wouldn’t be a perfect day, but the worst day of my life.

Me and my brother right away said hi to everyone and then me and him went to the dining table so we can open up some more Easter bunny gifts. Nothing much was happening. My Mom was in the kitchen with my aunties and uncles, as my brother, grandpa, cousins and my uncle were in the living room watching sports. I was just sitting at the table with my cousin  listening to what my brother and uncle were talking about since I love listening to my brother talk about sports since he knows so much. I love how he outsmarts my uncle. It was quite boring, if have to say, when my cousin  says that we should play a game of rummy. I automatically said yes because I love that game. My brother, uncle  and cousin said yes.

We all started to play the game and like always I was losing. My cousin  was winning like always. We were all having fun when I looked into the kitchen where I noticed something weird. My auntie’s were crowding my mother. I got up from the table to check to see what was going on, when I notice my mom was crying. I didn’t know what was happening I was confused. I walked up to my mom and asked, “What going on?” “Nothing sweetie,” she replied and then I gave her a hug and a kissed then went back to the table to finish the game.

I wished I stayed in the kitchen to help my mom but sadly I was “stupid” and left my mom because I didn’t know what to do. I was at the table trying to finish the game but now me and my brother can hear it. My mother crying, the more we tried to focus on the game the more her cries would get louder, louder, louder, then louder, until it was the only thing I could hear.

Soon no one could focus on the game so my uncle went into the kitchen and my cousin started telling me stuff that I didn’t understand. She said, “My mother went through the same thing. But then she got helped and now she is happy.” I couldn’t find my brother so I started to get up to get a glass of water so I can calm down because I couldn’t understand what was happening. Then it happened, I heard my mom say the words that made everything make sense, that made me realize what was happening. The words that would change everything. She said, “Sister, please take care, take care of my children for me.” At that moment everything stopped and I couldn’t speak, I couldn’t move. I couldn’t do anything but watch my mom fall to her knees holding on to my auntie. Then my other auntie pushed me, my brother and my cousin upstairs. I was walking upstairs but I couldn’t focus. I fell going up the stairs and when it happened all I could do is cry. I cried their for 10 minutes, but it felt like a hour just on those stairs crying. My brother and cousin were trying to calm me down but I didn’t want to calm down all I wanted to do is cry.

Then my uncle grabbed me my brother and my cousin and took us to the park. My brother and uncle threw a football around so he can distract my brother as I just sat on the curb crying and just thinking. I couldn’t stop thinking about her words, I couldn’t get her words out of my head, I didn’t blame my brother, my dad, my sister, I didn’t blame my family. the truth is I blamed myself. We were there for what felt like a hour and my brother was dealing with it in his own way and my cousin  was just walking by herself. Then my uncle got a text and we walked backed to my grandma’s house, but when we got there there was an ambulance in the driveway and I walked inside but my mother wasn’t there. The rest of the day I rarely spoke. My dad picked me and my brother up so we can spend the night at my Nana’s. The next day, I woke up and got ready for school. I wore all white since it was the easiest, then my father drove me and my brother and he went in with us to tell the office what happened. I couldn’t focus that day it didn’t help that we had park that day. I was in and out of the consular office the whole day. I didn’t tell my friends anything since I just wanted to be by myself. Then I got picked up by my dad and in the car none of us talked. But then I realized that he wasn’t taking us to Nana’s he took us to my house. When I walked inside I saw her, it saw my mom. I didn’t know what to do, I couldn’t speak or move so I went to the couch. I didn’t give her a hug, because I just couldn’t look her in the eye because I blamed myself. A little bit went by and we had to talk about what happen I didn’t listen because all I could think about was how this was my fault.

It took a while until we had another talk but when we did have another talk she said, “I am tired of being sad so I am going to get help and I want you boys to know that this isn’t your fault.” When she said that I still didn’t believe her because I convinced myself that it was my fault. It took three months for me to come to terms with it. I haven’t learn much in my life but I do know one thing and that is that there is nothing like a mother, we all have one, and we all need to love them for as long as we can because one day they will be gone.”

It took me five more months to seek help. I told my therapist I knew I needed help, but I didn’t want to leave my kids for weeks and weeks. She said to me, “Six weeks is better than forever, I think they will forgive you.”

That was all I needed to hear.

Photo by Paul Hanaoka on Unsplash

Originally published: October 8, 2018
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