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Posts Tagged ‘spring’

I just finished Jacki Lyden’s, “Daughter of the Queen of Sheba“. I’m now going to read vegan cookbooks and positive psychology, with whatever new books I can find from Filipino writers.

In “Daughter…” Ms. Lyden manages to set the reader right in the midst of her mother’s ongoing manic episodes that finally, at book’s end, culminate in her mother taking her medicine (lithium) and coming back to earth. It is an honest and loving memoir, terrible at times for the mistakes the mother makes when on a manic upswing.

For anyone, like me, who grew up around the manic episodes of a bipolar father, the book is sometimes hard to read, and sometimes all too familiar. I think, by now, I am completely immersed in the experience of a child of a bipolar person. It finally all clicks, and feel I can put it away.

When I look back on living in it, it’s sad. It’s sad because we were so wound up in the shame of it, in the unpleasantness of it, and the daily encounter with it. No one knew what was going on, and all the bipolar antics were reacted to as though a sane person had suddenly decided to act in that manic way.

The biggest lesson to learn perhaps when being in a relationship with a bipolar person, is forgiveness. They really know not what they do. It’s a chemical imbalance that impacts human emotions immensely. No, they really didn’t mean that thing they said or that they did.

Being a child of a bipolar father is a challenge, because bipolar people cannot be depended upon, nor are they good role models when in a bipolar upswing or depression. Yet, when they are well, they feel keenly all they did wrong, and they cannot understand it. You have to get under all that to forgive them. I’m glad that I got to love my father as much as I did. I hope I have taken from him all the good, of which there was a lot, and hopefully none of the bad.

The second lesson is the appreciation for mental health. Even though we may not be bipolar, or clinically diagnosed with an anxiety disorder we can contribute to our own damage. Even if we are boringly sane, we all can dabble in the dark arts of the mind without being aware of it. In my positive psych class I learned that rumination was very bad for the brain. We should strive to look on the bright side of things, to be thankful for our blessings, to appreciate the people who bring blessings to our lives, to live in the present moment, to trust in God.

Now, from 52, I can see that it was all textbook mania. Unfortunately, there wasn’t anyone who knew enough to do what was needed, because what was needed was not invented yet. Now it has been invented, and it is readily available. No one has to suffer from this anymore. Families where bipolar disorder runs, could possible empower themselves with knowledge, instead of feeling ashamed. They would be forewarned and forearmed when the symptoms begin to manifest. People with latent bipolar disorder could be prepared in advance, so that their loved ones could act with confidence and nip it before it destroys a life.

But now it is well known in the medical/psychiatric field. People can get help. I wish they all would.

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Today we were in the back yard. Bud was trimming trees and Rosie was raking leaves because she was intent on doing so. I untangled a wind chime.

I would love to have bell chimes on our front porch. When we walk to the park, there is a house whose wind chimed sound like church bells. It’s a beautiful full sound.

I am waiting for the lilies of the valley to pop through the dirt out back. Up and down the street, the lilies are starting to push through. They are as abundant as weeds here.

This year, we are going to find the secret grove of daffodils in Dartmouth, and see the stone farm walls that are crowded with daffodils and lilies.

The sun came out today and the air reminds me of Baguio. Bright and crisp and cool and it smells like moss. Oh springtime. There is nothing quite at optimistic as you. Springtime opens up a weather feeling of happiness that comes from bearing the winter and being at peace with it, then knowing that it is also over.

There were two cardinals in the hedge outside our kitchen window. Two of our cats were in the window making a clicking sound. The red birds were so beautiful.

Yesterday my daughter and son heard Rigoberta Menchu, the 1992 Nobel Laureate, speak. It was quite the full circle moment because I had to read her book while taking my undergrad degree at Harvard Extension twenty years ago. My kids’ school, University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, it such a great place.

Tonight there will be pea soup and homemade bread. I am really enjoying vegan eating. Last night I made a pudding of sorts. My challenge was to sweeten it entirely with fruit. It was easy.

To three cups oatmeal I added applesauce, ripe bananas, raisin and blueberries. Then I added a pinch of salt and of baking powder. The consistency was that of wet granola. The top was dusted with cinnamon. Into the oven for 40 minutes or so at 350 degrees.

It made a great breakfast, and is diminishing by the hour as a counter top snack.

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