flower mom heroBeing Beautifully Bipolar isn’t easy. Yes, I’ve accepted my illness. Yes, I know my signs that things are not going smoothly. Yes, I am far better today than I was at the beginning of this crazy roller coaster ride.

Someone recently asked me who my mental illness hero was and, without hesitation, I said my mom. We weren’t as close as bipolar disorder made us. Now we talk nearly every day – about what’s for dinner and what we thought of last night’s episode of Nashville. Nothing and everything. She can tell, by the sound of my voice, when I am unwell. She, like me, has learned the nuances of this illness.

After my suicide attempt I flew from California back to my parents house in Oklahoma with my mom while my dad drove my blue Scion 1,600 miles. I was so heavily medicated I had a hard time walking so my mom made sure there was a wheelchair at the airport for me. Back in Oklahoma I was so depressed. I camped out on the love seat in the living room and sometimes I made it to my bed at night, sometimes I stayed put. It was a hard time, one of the hardest I’ve endured.

My mom took me to every appointment – therapist, psychiatrist, support group. She always bought me a cup of coffee from the local coffee shop so I would have something to do with my hands during those appointments. It was a little thing, just a cup of coffee, but it helped me during those excruciatingly long appointments where time seemed to stop and hold me there before moving a second faster only to stop again.

My mom is not bipolar but she knows all about it. She read books about loving someone with bipolar disorder. She went to NAMI meetings. She wanted, more than anything, to make me well.

I asked my mom what she worries about today and she said, “What do I worry about? I worry every waking moment about you. I worry you are sick today. I worry you are cutting. I worry that you are feeling so down and depressed that you want to try to end it all again, or that you are on such a HIGH that you could easily slip and fall and kill yourself.”

You know what heroes do? They save people and my mother saved me. Along with my father, she took care of me when I couldn’t take care of myself. They fed me, put a roof over my head, made sure I took my medication, got enough sleep, went to my appointments.

Some days I am not well and those days stretch to weeks and it is during those times that I pack up that blue Scion with a suitcase, my ipod, and my dog and head “home” to my parents’ house, four hours away, because I cannot be home alone all day while my boyfriend is at work.

Because alone is dangerous.

My mom will cook for me, make sure there are chips and salsa, and distract me with talks and romantic comedies. And then I won’t think about dying so much. Then the emptiness will be filled. Then she will save me again.