Recently, I wrote a short story titled, “The Shower Screams” and then I translated it into Spanish, “Los Gritos de la Ducha.” Initially, I translated the story for my friend’s mother who lives with bipolar disorder. My good friend confides in me about his mother’s behavior that she has presented him throughout his life. Some of it hilarious because his stories are told with such love and animation. Other stories are not so funny because well…. they are about her struggles and his struggles with it. Their struggles and love for each other tugged at my heart.
I felt at ease telling him about my disorder in order to give him insight, and how I somewhat understood his mother. Bipolar is the same spectrum yet different for each of us. Differing in time and space, name and face. His mom only speaks and understands Spanish, so I offered him a Spanish translation of my feelings, sometimes, when I have to take a shower. I want her to know that those of us with this disorder share these moods and energies that make us hilarious or make us despair and never forget those around us who care for us and their struggle. But we can all agree that major depression, mixed state, and mania can make us forget all too real.
I wanted her to know that she wasn’t alone with this disorder. There is me along with my Rattlesnake, Dreamer, Child and King, the we, and all of us. In some respects, when we not in the throes of the disorder, we are not that different at all. We share our ideas, dreams, and feelings that are universal. Of course, there are the parts with the disorder that we all know, too well, that sets us apart. In some cases, WAY apart.
Just two months ago, my neighbor’s (also a friend) mother was taken from his apartment in the middle of her paranoid delusional mania. She was rolled away on an ambulance stretcher out of his apartment and into the ambulance. I heard her defiance and without thinking sort of hunched over and covered my ears. She didn’t see me. Noone did.
Through it all, we want to live, love, and laugh like everyone else. Keep your chin up.