I am a native daughter. I know/don't totally know crazy.
Posted Nov 22 2011 6:05pm
I suppose I know a great deal about mental health. There are folks who know more than I do. I say that both with childishly (intonation) and authoritatively (though, that's semi-childish too).
I can't/don't diagnose. I'm too flexible, inflexible for that. Not that they are cousins, but I think most of us are crazy, as I think most of us are, well, other things too: inter-ethnic, gay, existing on some continuum for which there aren't clear cut distinctions. Sue me.
However, I get lots of folks sharing with me. I get friends who disclose. I sit hollow eyed, feeling willful as I hold my breath. I want to say: Hmmm, you sound a little like you are [insert diagnosis]. I want to ask about meds. I question my chosen field. And sometimes I don't.
I'm no doctor. I don't play one on TV. I'm a painfully terrible actor. I wouldn't be able remember lines. I balk at the DSM V, VI, IV whatever the hell it is now. I call it vee instead of five. That elicits laughter in true doctor circles, even the mental ones'd likely titter.
I am a native daughter. I know crazy. I like to think I ain't, but, I think we all are. I am displaying my own evidence of inconsistency.
I was thinking, recently, about what folks could consider a poignant moment; the day I disclosed my pregnancy to my mother. I was in my 7th month; a quirk of genetics (mostly height) that kept me barely showing. My soon to be daughter was a fit of movement beneath my ribs. It was raining. I was as usual, a ball of nerves: of anticipation, some would say anxiety as I approached their brownstone.
Ring of a doorbell, doors opened, shut. The news was told. Awaited/waited: an episode. A shriek. Anger. Perhaps she'd throw something. I received a warm once-over. A hug. My mother startled, as any grandmother-to-be at what was being revealed to her. A new line; a new place for her to be. A new person I was growing.
I nearly erupted from the brownstone. I carried enough love and acceptance from this once source of unknowingness, an experience the word pain is too trite/too separate to be lent to; I left feeling so accepted and connected, so part of a family, and I hadn't even labored yet.
I cried; filling a long narrow tube within me with individually lain tears; they fell with the a sense of precision, of exactness that tears can't typically pull off. It was unrealistic. I anticipated a logical outcome: this woman with reality issues, my news, how it required a level of organization her diagnosis likely wouldn't/couldn't accept. The reality: my mother hadn't come undone.
I supposed and was supposed to know a great deal about mental health, about my mother, about people with like diagnoses. But, thankfully there are folks who know more than I do.