I took care of my mom the best I could while she was bed ridden with cancer and back injuries. I am grateful for that time. It brought me a closeness with her that I had never had. I could never get close to my mom as a child. I always believed there was something wrong. Mood swings, anger, and addiction to prescription drugs made me keep my distance. I saw my friends with their moms, and how happy they seemed. I suppose I grew up just thinking it must be me. Today I am a mother myself. I have two great sons and a daughter. My daughter is artistic and intelligent. She graduated from college with a bachelors in biology and a minor in art. The first in our family to graduate college. Our mother daughter relationship however seemed strained, she would get argumentative, overly excitable, high highs and low lows. She also was absolutely horrible with finances. In 2011 I buried my mom after a long illness. After the burial I walked into the bedroom without knocking only to find my beautiful daughter in the middle of undressing.The next few minutes changed my life forever.
As my daughter rushed to get dressed, I grabbed her arms. Arms that had been cut over and over. Scars from her wrists to her elbows. Fast forward to 2013. My daughter had moved back home after the funeral. She has had hospital stays and many therapy sessions. My daughter has been diagnosed with Bipolar one. She is on medication and fighting this disease. She is going back to school for nursing. She is working hard to have a “normal” life. I am so proud of her. Sadly it all brings me back to my mom. A whole lifetime went by with out any understanding of her issues. In my heart I believe she suffered from a similar disease as my daughter. Did the stigma of mental illness prevent her from seeking the help she so needed….That we all so needed?