You can see insanity. For those of you that have not had a close relationship with someone that suffers from a mental illness, I can verify that there is a visual difference between someone that is well and someone that is experiencing symptoms.
For my mother, it is in her eyes. Her bipolar disorder radiates from them. They are either electrified with mania or, if depressed, crafted from stone. Right now they are marble. They look out of the window seeing things that only sadness can see. They look at my sister and I and see adversaries. I am trying to keep her from falling off the cliff. I am trying to keep her alive.
It doesn’t help that I too am depressed. Not so badly as as she is, but enough to cripple me when it comes to caring for her. It makes an impossible situation even more impossible.
Right now my mother and I are engaged in a dance. She speaks and I have to hastily craft the right response. If I say something that might be misconstrued into something hurtful, it will be. Her marble eyes will search out the evil in everything I say and do and if there is enough of it present, she will no longer trust me. That cannot happen. Besides her therapist and her psychiatrist, I am the person she trusts when she is ill. I am the one that tells her what is real and what isn’t. If we lose that dynamic, if I make a mistake, I lose the ability to keep her safe and in doing so, risk losing her. It is a dangerous dance indeed.