When I began to write this blog entry, I did not realize how HUGE it would become – chapter in a book huge, maybe two; cutting it down was a difficult task. Because I know without a shadow of a doubt that if it had not been for my daughter, I would have been dead the last 23 years. Her very existence has been so integral to my life that it requires much more discourse than any other topic.
The first time that my beautiful daughter saved my life was in the year after she was born. The postpartum depression on top of the Bipolar (at this point still undiagnosed) along with the realization that my marriage was a toxic sham, got me to a doctor, who got me to my first psychologist, who got me on the Prozac (the “wonder drug” of the early 90s), which got me thinking more rationally and realizing that I could NOT leave my daughter. She was and is the most precious of lives, and leaving her without a momma and eventually knowing that her momma had killed herself was just not an option.
The Prozac worked, I ended up in a hypo-manic state that actually turned out positively – it got me to University. I wanted my girl to be proud of Momma, I wanted her to have more than I could offer her up until that point. I was on welfare, then was kicked off of welfare, ended up “shacking up” with a boyfriend because I had no where else to go…I moved us hundreds of kilometers away so that I could become the most inspirational and talented teacher there ever was (I was just a bit delusional)! I took on a full course load, was on two committees, had a part-time job and still made a point of being with her, teaching her and loving her as much as possible. Then, the sharp left bank, the stall, engine failure and severe, out of control, stick won’t respond, spiraling drop in altitude with no glide time to a shattering nose-in impact came.
It was either gas myself in some abandoned or rented garage, or get help again. The thought of not being with my incredible little girl was enough to get me to a new psychologist, more Prozac, and back to what I considered normal: doing great things and being a “super mom,” no longer taking “the happy pill.” This scenario repeated a few more times with the hypo-mania-turned-hyper-mania at least once, which resulted in more downward spirals, coming off the rails, drowning in a whirlpool, falling into the abyss – choose your analogy. My daughter’s precious face, her smile, her hugs and the incredible unfathomable and indescribable bond I felt with her saved me time after time, after time, from ending the pain that filled the rest of my mind.
Even after she moved out, she was always that last, infinitesimal spark of HOPE that kept me from becoming something more valuable like fertilizer, a few particles of dust to help form a glorious sunset, a few charged atoms in a lightning storm – instead of a waste of space, time and oxygen. She was three provinces away, but I still could not leave her. Although I often believed that she would be better off without me, she might think it was her fault or something and I could not imagine doing that to her. I had already hurt her enough just through the associated behaviour.
(This is getting very long again, please bear with me)
I would do anything to help her become a strong and happy individual, even if that means letting her make her own mistakes and facing the consequences. Even if it means her getting frustrated and so angry at me that she won’t talk to me for a while. I love to hear about and share in her dreams and her accomplishments. Now, when I start sliding into despair, (I at least know what’s going on), my love for her is the one thing that will make ME more mindful, get more help if I need it, carry on.
My daughter saved my life – frequently. She still does, just by being here, just by being her.
About L. Song
L. Song is a middle aged professional who has been struggling with Bipolar Disorder II since her teens. After finally being properly diagnosed and prescribed the correct medication at forty-four, she has dedicated herself to helping others who suffer from the stigma of mental illness through her work. To try to make a difference, L. Song supports organizations such as Mood Disorders Society of Canada, CAMH, as well as HMC. As an avid “horse person,” she also follows and contributes to a Facebook page, Riders Against Mental Illness Stigma. She plans to someday work with people and horses in a therapeutic capacity and publish a book about her experiences living and recovering from the disorder. You can follow her story on HMC's Supportive Minds blog.