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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Bottle of Pills

 Last year, in the middle of the Texas desert, I drove my family towards Arizona.  It was the middle of the night and I was the only one awake.  I’d turned up the music as loud as I could without waking anyone, and I was completely entrenched in this particular song.  I played it over and over, and listening to the lyrics made me weep.

I looked down and noticed that we had no gas.  I was so into the song, that I didn’t realize how low we’d gotten.  I used my phone to search for the nearest gas station – 20 miles away!  I slowed down to conserve what we had and tried to stretch it out as much a possible.  Eventually the car slowed and stopped, and there we were.  Stuck on the side of the freeway with no gas and no close gas station.  I had 2 kids in the car, my hubby and my 18 year-old niece.

I thought about just walking, or even hitch-hiking, to get the gas but I was too scared to do it alone.  And I didn’t want to leave my family venerable on the side of the road.  I had to do the one thing I didn’t want to do: wake up my husband and admit that I ran out of gas.

$225 dollars later (yes, the ‘tow’ guy charged that much for 5 gallons of gas!!) I was standing outside the car with my husband.  We were waiting for the guy to bring us the gas, resigned to our expensive lesson, and staring at the stars.
Since we were in the middle of nowhere, it was a sight to see.  It was beautiful and amazing.  And it was almost impossible not to think about the broader things in life.  My thoughts drifted back to the song and my all consuming distraction.
The song was, The Great Escape, by Pink.  I’d heard that song many times but had never paid attention to the words until I sat, the only one awake in the car, with no other distractions.

I can understand how the edges are rough
And they cut you like the tiny slivers of glass
And you feel too much
And you don't know how long you're gonna last,
But everyone you know, is tryna smooth it over,
Find a way to make the hurt go away…

And the lyrics that really touched me: 

But, I won't let you make the great escape,
I'm never gonna watch you checkin' out of this place
I'm not gonna lose you

Many of us have that person in our lives.   The one that we love so incredibly much but that we can’t stand to watch them ruin their life.  Right before I left on my trip, my sister tried to kill herself by swallowing a whole bottle of aspirin.  Her husband found her choking on her blood.  That night, the shock of this information wore off and I wanted to cry, to scream at her and to hold her close all at once.  
Since then, she’s been diagnosed with bi-polar disorder.  
There is no quick fix to this.  No sure medicine to take, no surgery to cut out the disease. 

Mental disorders and so hard to understand because we can’t see inside their heads.  No matter how hard we try, we can’t wear their shoes, talk their talk and understand why they do the things they do.  Because it just doesn’t make sense. We can’t see where the self- control ends and where the disease begins.  It’s not rational.  It’s the opposite.  It’s emotional and messy and painful and hurts everyone.

I wish I could hold her tight and just infuse into her the love that I have for her, force her to believe me and to believe in herself.  And I wish I could understand her.  Why she acts the way she does.  Feel her highs and lows and her inability to control herself just for even just one minute, so that I could emphasize with her. But life can be muddled and we can’t force our minds to believe or understand things, no matter how much we want to. 
And part of this is feeling so helpless.  I can’t make her take her pills or go to her counseling sessions.  I can’t make her take a step back and think rationally before she lashes out.
So what can I do?  What can I do that might make a difference?

I can accept her.  

I can accept that sometimes she will act irrationally.  Sometimes she will be angry, and will yell and scream and break things. 
And sometimes, she will be incredibly sweet and kind and loving. 
And maybe one day, she will feel that acceptance and know that I care and maybe, maybe, it might make a difference.  And when she has a whole bottle of pills in her hand and she’s thinking about swallowing it, she will know that someone cares if she lives or dies.
Any of you have any thoughts?

My name is Fleur.  And this is my blog.

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