I’ve been away. As a result I’ve not had too much contact with my parents. While i was away i was asked a few times “how’s your mum doing?”. I generally gave some brush off comment of “oh you know”… (no, most of the time they don’t)… “she’s been well and as a result is happy and busy at the moment (i see the relief in the questioners face, they are now OK to move on to something else, something easier). And in my head I’m transported to the (rather large) box in my mind labelled “mum” and i can quickly work out that she’s been well for 4 weeks and so i should expect that right about now she’s probably on the spiral of downwards change, all of course while continuing the chit chat that I’m currently involved in.
Now, i think it goes without saying, that while I’m making such calculations in my mind i am of course simultaneously hoping, always, that Mum is well and will remain that way, that this time its different.
I make mid week contact with the parents and discover, right on cue that mum is at the beginning of a low. I speak to her briefly, though i can hear her protesting in the background to this suggestion of my dad’s. She is still in the transition from one state to the other, it means that while the sadness has arrived, its in company with some clarity. Mum can re-call a few days ago feeling great, she can, for now, still acknowledge what she’s capable of doing, she can generally listen and understand another persons thoughts. But, there is a hopelessness beginning to creep in I think. I listen to my mum describe her change in mood, i acknowledge this and offer an “I’m sorry that your feeling sad mum” and then i talk to her about what she can still do. I’m attempting to encourage her control of this situation. We discuss the importance of her mediation and yoga at the beginning and end of the day and look at how she is able to do this and i talk about her mind and bodies ability to recognize these familiar routines even if she doesn’t feel the benefit. I hear my mum agreeing and can sense her nodding but i can also depict the small seed of doubt in her voice, the doubt that comes from a place of dark repetition. And i don’t blame her. How is she meant to have belief in anything when this illness takes hold of her every 4 weeks. And surely that’s one of the traits of the illness that is Bipolar; that one looses any logic or perspective, one can’t see that there is any point?