Wednesday, April 13, 2011

HAWMC Day 13! For what could he say? What could anyone?

Open a book to any page. Today is a meditation on naming blog posts. Pick up a book, magazine, newspaper – anything with written prose in it – and choose a phrase or sentence at random. That’s the title of your blog post for today.

So often we get hung up on titling our posts. Are you someone who blogs first and titles it later? Or are you someone who knows what your title is the minute you come up with a topic? Today’s exercise will help you step back from the titling responsibility (or stress, as the case may be) and allow you to write, trying to tie your post to this random word, phrase, or line. Whatever you found in the book is your blog post diving-board – use it to stand up on, then dive in from. Take 15-20 minutes (or less) and write.

In order to fulfill this blog challenge (after having been absent for a few days) I picked the closest book to me which happened to be Martha Grimes' "Dust". The first sentence(s) I came across after opening the book were

For what could he say? What could anyone?

Fittingly enough that fits perfectly for L's and my situation. There are many times when one of us is at a loss for words. How do you explain L's illness to a 4 year old? How to you explain to others why you are staying in a marriage that others would have long given up on? How do you explain the mood swings, depression and rage?

Too often we all feel at a loss for words. To explain to ourselves and others what is going on. It is one of the reasons why I am writing this blog. It is an attempt to give a voice to myself and others in situations like this. Mental illness robs too many people of their voice because they do not understand it, because of the stigma, because they are afraid to speak out.

At the same time I know that oftentimes I am at a loss when it comes to reacting to L. When he is depressed, how can I, that has never dealt with depression to the level that L has, react? When he was suicidal, there were no words that could take the pain away that he was feeling. When he is manic and feels driven to spend money as if it were growing on a tree in our backyard, there are no words for me to stop it. He KNOWS that he can't/shouldn't do it but the drive is so strong at times that he feels helpless.

The most difficult time I have though is in explaining our kids what is going on. I am thankful that Miss K was so young when L was going through the worst of it. If I am unable to explain to her what is going on now, how would I have ever been able to explain to her what was going on 3 1/3 years ago when neither L nor I understand it.

There will be many more situations where one, a few or all of us will be speechless. But by writing this blog I am hoping to take the feeling of helplessness away from being lost, from being speechless. I know I am not alone and there are others who at times can be MY voice just like I am hoping that I am lending a voice to others that might feel lost. Together we have a voice.

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