Sunday, June 10, 2007

A Letter to God

(Some people pray aloud; some pray silently. I do both but I also write as a method of prayer. And because I'm a bit quirky, I frequently write letters to God.)

Dear God,
I've gotta tell you how grateful I am (Monday is my son's 18th birthday.) I'm hypomanic and having a little trouble sleeping so I figured I'd write to you now. You and I have had our moments these past 14 years. I thought the difficulties with this illness would never end. And I wondered how you could smote me when I had such a wonderful child and was actually such a good person.

But, it finally seems like everything is under control. It's not like I still don't suffer from occasional depressive episodes but they're far less severe and aren't as frequent. Most importantly, I seem to have figured out a lot about this illness. And I've started blogging about bipolar wellness and hopefully I am helping others.

However, that's not what I'm writing about in this letter. No, this time I just want to say, "Thank you." Despite all that's happened to me, my son is truly a wonder. I recently accepted an assignment where I'm writing about "new motherhood" and I've been reliving what it felt like almost 18 years ago--to give birth and become a mom for the first time at 39.

It truly was a peak life experience and remains so. I realize now how grateful I am that my illness wasn't diagnosed earlier. Had it been, and had I had such a difficult time years earlier, I might have felt that I shouldn't have a child. I undoubtedly would have worried about the impact of the illness on him. I would have known the statistics and would have been concerned that he could inherit the illness from me.

Worst of all, I might have questioned my suitability for motherhood!

But, the good news is that since it wasn't diagnosed until my son was four years old, I just "went for it." And I've got to say that my son has been my saving grace. In the darkest hours, I believe it was my love for him that saved me. I waited so long to have him that I never would have considered abandoning him.

It's a long story and one that I'll discuss more with you at a later date. I'm feeling a bit tired now and need to get some rest. But I just wanted to thank you for allowing me to be a mother at 39 and for having given birth to someone who's such an intelligent, kind, empathic, and wonderful person.

My love for him has saved me time and time again. For that, I am deeply grateful!



Cindy said...

My two girls (now 10 and 13) have been life-savers--literally--during at least one deadly serious suicide consideration and have cut short other less intense moments of suicidal thought. Not because of anything they did, but by the simple fact of their existence. I cannot, I will not leave them with that legacy, especially since, as mood disorders tend to run in families, I feel it would be leaving them especially vulnerable. Another thing for which I'm grateful to them and God for, is that raising children has required more consistency of daily schedule from me than I likely would have ever required of myself...and routine is one of the very helpful things in dealing with my moods.

Sometimes it seems to me that the things we do in happy ignorance in the face of what logic would have dictated had we been better informed, are the very things that turn out to have been best and brightest in our lives.

Beautiful post, Susan! It made me stop and appreciate the life that surrounds me.

marja said...

Reading of another person's thankfulness is almost as uplifting as expressing my own. Thank you for this, Susan. And I'm so glad you ended up being a mother. Most women really need to have that opportunity. And I'm sure you had a lot to do with producing such a kind and empathic person.

Bipolar Wellness Writer said...

To Cindy and Marja:

Cindy, I couldn't agree more. It's not that a child really needs to "do" anything. It's just that we've given birth to them and love them so much.

When I took medication that produced suicidal ideation, I kept on saying to myself, "I will never leave my son. I will get well because I will never abandon my son."

During the worse periods, it was my mantra. And you're right, even when I've felt absolutely miserable, the responsibility of having a child has forced me to move forward.

Also, I have always tried to "put on a happy face" so that my mood didn't permeate the house. It's not that I was always successful but I sure always tried my hardest.

I believe my legacy to my son is that he knows I believe in striving to overcome adversity. In this household, we don't give up. We use laughter to overcome tears. We're in it for the long haul--for better or worse.

Marja, as always, thanks for your kind words.


Syd said...

Beautiful post, Susan. I agree with Marja that your son is equally blessed to have you and your husband as his parents.

And I loved Cindy's comment about the things we do in "happy ignorance". That comment is so appropriate to this thread.

My daughter says that I saved her from an unknown future (I adopted her when she was 8 months old), but in fact, it's she who saved me in so many respects. Through many years of struggling against this faceless enemy, she was my anchor, she was my motivation, she was the reason that I kept going - the reason that I refused to quit even though there were many days that I wanted to.

Thank you for reminding me that God's greatest gifts some in all shapes and sizes! :)