Friday, May 18, 2012

The Infamous Pickle Incident

It's not that I've run out of things to write about - no!  I have an amazing supply of historical comedy if I could just remember what filing cabinet my brain has tucked it away in.  I'm serving the middle slice on my birthday cake.  45 can be such a stifling age and yet it's lovely in some ways.  For instance, when someone screams an obscenity at me I have more impressive words and I'm brazen enough to toss them without hesitation; however, my memory tends to get a little hazy requiring some assistance from time to time.

With this said, I asked my kiddos what I should write about today.  They shouted in unison (which, might I add, is extremely unusual for my boys), the "Infamous Pickle Incident". Well, that settled it.

No one initially knows they're crazy.  Perhaps the word, "crazy" is a little harsh.  Insane?  No.  That's not good either.  Ok, let me try this again, mentally unstable.  I didn't realize I had a mental health problem until I moved to Colorado.  I knew I had issues with anxiety attacks and depression; however, I thought they were random. 

I do recall having a very dark side growing up.  It was at its worst when I was alone.  I could drop my "happy" mask and just be me.  I would sit for hours in my mother's formal sitting room and listen to the Grandfather Clock tick away.  I wrote poems of how I couldn't escape my feelings of emptiness and despair.  I can't recall how many times I poured my father's blood pressure medication into my hand and thought about taking it.  The only thing that stopped me was my concern that it wouldn't be enough and I would end up a vegetable on life support.  My only other option was a gun which we didn't have in the house.

I wanted a stable environment.  I wanted everyone happy, everything quiet.  I hated fighting and I could not stand the screaming.  When there was laughter, wonderful.  FANTASTIC!  But when the Bryant house erupted into chaos, I wanted to make everyone happy; everyone calm.  Impossible.  I tried to hide but like a storm, the rages blew into every room and touched everyone.

As I got older, friends and food comforted me.  In public, I was a clown.  In private, I retreated behind my bedroom door.  I didn't want to be seen or heard.  I ate my food quietly; bags upon bags of fast food.  I consumed enough fried crap - every night - to feed a family of four.  By the time I finished the first two combination meals, I wasn't aware I'd even tasted them.  When I shoved the last bag of onion rings into my mouth, I wanted to vomit but didn't because I might stir up a storm.  I couldn't have that.  No one must know I was home.

Fast forward to Eric, myself, and our two adopted boys years later in the suburbs of north Denver, Colorado.  By this point, I had become a stay at home mom.  Our kiddos' diagnosis' had made it fairly clear that it would be difficult with their myriad of needs and appointments to ever work outside our home again.  With this said, I was alone with my thoughts again.  Those ugly demons from my youth suddenly started to rear their heads with the ticking of my own clock in my own sitting room.

Eric and I had two very behaviorally challenged, adopted boys who suddenly created choas in our once calm and orderly world.  Something went terribly wrong with me and I couldn't explain what it was.  I was angry one moment and laughing the next.  I was throwing things violenty around the house.  I was completely unpredictable.

One night, William was sneaking food out of the refrigerator.  In my silliness, I thought I'd sneak up and scare him a little bit.  Well, I scared him a BIG bit.  He began choking on whatever it was he'd shoved into his mouth.  Instead of doing what any natural mother would do to keep her son from turning blue, I watched in disgust as I determined there were several pickles in his mouth.  As he choked them up - and I will say in all honesty that this is one of my saddest maternal moments ever -  I was so enraged that not only had he been sneaking food, but he had the unmitigated audacity to be a piggy and shove more than three pickles in his mouth, that I threw the regurgitated food in his face. 

Yes!  HORRIBLE MOTHER!!!  The nasty, chewed pickles found their mark.  William, in his shock that one, he almost choked to death, two, that his mama just threw nasty, recycled pickles at him, and three, that they were oozing slowly down the side of his face...well, he - for the first time in his ADHD life - was entirely speechless.  I actually considered having him sit down in case he became light headed.  Then I started giggling.  Then laughing.  Then my laughter became so outrageous that I starting snorting and crying simultaneously.  I couldn't stop.  The pickle juice continued dripping.

It was this particular incident and the fact that the boys started checking in with me in the morning, "Mom, how are you feeling today?", which caused me to seek mental health assistance.  I used to ask my mother this same question growing up.  It was a shock to my system.

My boys have been through enough pain in their short lives.  They need consistency and a loving, safe environment not a mother losing her marbles over a pair of socks being left on the bathroom floor.  I was diagnosed with having Bi-Polar II Mood Disorder in August of 2007.  I'm so glad I finally took the leap of faith for myself and my children.