I Feel the Need to Consult the Elders

Many years ago in my mother’s family tree there is Native American blood from the Mi’kmaq  Indian tribe. It has reached me in a distilled and diluted form mixed with my father’s Norwegian blood. Two seafaring and war-faring tribes mixed with farmers, revolutionaries, rebels, Tories, and other rebels…..I love the history of my blood. But somewhere along the way bipolar disorder found its way into the mix. The earliest mention I know of it, and this is only an educated guess, comes with my grandmother on my mother’s side. I believe this comes from my mother’s side of the family . My grandmother was hospitalized many times I have been told. When she would get out she would have another baby and then some time later be hospitalized again. Supposedly it was  a sanitarium for rest. Rest for what? No one would discuss those things back then in 1922 when my mother was born. She would have two more children until 1926 and then died in 1927 from tuberculosis . I believe she had been hospitalized for her mental illness and in the process did catch TB which caused her untimely death. So many answers lie with the dead. My mother, born in 1922, suffered from a mysterious illness that would cause her to scream on occasion and slam things down according to my father. I saw her do this on occasion when I was young….I just thought my mother was really pissed and I better run…lol. My mother was a hoarder, and very frustrated by life, but I never thought it was strange because she was always like that so it was just my mother. I never thought it was strange. My father and mother would have occasional arguments about the mess…I hated that and wondered if they would divorce but it’s not like the stuff you see on TV on shows like ‘Hoarders’. She could fill a room though and then have to climb over the piles of stuff…lol.  It wasn’t until she had Alzheimer’s when she was old and I was caring for her that I realized she had bipolar. I had to give her medication to help her…stuff  like Ativan to calm her down or Benadryl to help her sleep. It never worked , did just the opposite. The Benadryl jacked her up like she was on speed and the Ativan made her like she was going to kill me. . Every drug did the opposite…..I realized after she died that this was what these drugs did to me….and suddenly the puzzle pieces fell into place. My mother had been living with the disease too all of her life………….it explained all the weird little quirks that made my mother Ma. WOW…….What a fucked up world. And you know what….I passed it on to my oldest daughter too. Funny how the family tree keeps spreading it’s roots out like a parasite. I love my daughter and her and I live with bipolar. She is wonderful, creative, sometimes she suffers and life doesn’t get us at all. I wish the world would understand that most of the inventions and masterpieces and things that people find amazing were made by people with ‘mental illness’. This is a word that should be used for the ‘normal ‘ people. Look around, read the newspaper….who’s the crazy people? Just asking.


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