With a diagnosis of bipolar and borderline personality disorder, I have managed my mental health pretty well over the years, even if I do say so myself. I have stayed employed, volunteered for charity and even found someone to marry me! And the one person who has been there every step of the way is, of course, my mum. Supportive, often humorous and always on my side, my mum Chris is an inspiring woman in so many ways, however one instance springs to mind when I think of how much I still need her, even though I am a grown woman with a home and life of my own now.
In September 2010, I experienced a severe psychotic episode. My mind fractured from reality long enough for me to become lost and disorientated. Experiencing hallucinations, I drove to a church in the town of my childhood. I then proceeded to buy some lilies, and knock repeatedly on the door of the church. When I was found, I was soaking wet, had quite obviously hit my head, and had no awareness of what was happening around me. I was convinced I was meeting my dear Nan, who has been dead for over ten years, and had nothing on me except my car keys and a bible (which luckily had my phone number on the inside cover). I had, quite literally, lost ten years of memories in an instant, and was extremely confused and upset. To say I was in a bit of a state is an understatement!
As I write this, I cannot help smiling. As silly as it sounds, thinking back on this episode is not as painful as it might have been. Because like all the other times in my life when I have fallen, my mum was there to pick me up. Finding my telephone number, the church phoned my home and spoke to my partner. I did not know who she was, and I was referring to myself with my maiden name. So, my partner called my mum, and she rescued me. My mum left work in London and travelled all the way to pick me up. She didn’t even bat an eyelid, she just did it. And when she found me, she smiled. She didn’t make me feel stupid or guilty or show just how worried she was. She kept calm and took me home, slowly telling me about my own life and my partner. She was, quite simply, amazing.
However, as all mums out there must surely know, a mother’s job is never done. After taking me home, she took time off work until I recovered, she made sure I was not left alone and supported my partner as my memory slowly returned. She also joked, cooked, cuddled and just sat with me as I asked her questions like ‘what is my dog’s name?’ In short, she was my mum. I’m sure any mother would support their daughter through a traumatic time such as this but, when I think of all that my mum does on a daily basis to support me, I can’t help feeling especially lucky. Chris works full time in (dare I say it) the boring field of Law. She has supported me, my brother and my sister as a single mum all of our lives – including sending me to university and on lots of nice holidays. She wins an award every year for her pro bono work and she helps young children learn to read as well in her spare time.
But for me, she does a little more. She emails me every day to make sure I’m OK, she meets me for lunch when I need a good natter, she liaises with my employer when I become unwell, and she supports me in all the silly ideas I have to fundraise for charity. She is, as she would say herself, a ‘good egg’.
Now, I don’t have any children of my own yet, but one day, I hope to. If I can be there for them, without judging them, no matter what, I will be following in some pretty amazing footsteps. So happy mother’s day mum. You may only get another spider plant on Sunday, but forever, you will get my respect and love.
Or find out how talking tackles discrimination.