We had a very tough end of last week. One of our cars broke down (permanently), I lost my cell phone (likely stolen, which leaves an aweful feeling) and our 17 year old son didn’t yet pass his driving test (I won’t mention how many attempts, so far). To be fair, none of this compares to the terrible terrorist attack in Paris the week before. Although this ‘things could be worse’ approach does provide some perspective, it is not a magical panacea for our troubles. We are still struggling with an unstable mood and difficult social anxiety thoughts, albeit much less intrusive and obsessive than 6 weeks ago. We feel drained and uncertain as to where to find strength and clarity in our recovery. So reflecting on serious world tragedies, like in Paris, while feeling personally bad with our own challenges, can make someone feel guilty for feeling their own personal pain. This is a common problem with depression. I guess a healthy balance is probably most helpful.
A couple weeks ago, we tried to get some light/humor relief by seeing the comedy film, The Intern (2015 – De Niro/Hathaway), since De Niro has always been a favorite actor for me. My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed the movie – finding it a nice temporary escape. Midway through the movie, there was an unexpected, unfunny, awkward joke about bipolar disorder, by inaccurately labelling a child who’s on/off friendship with the lead character’s daughter, as possible ‘bipolar’. I have seen a number of reviews / comments online criticizing the writers, that their stereotypical portrayal of bipolar disorder only strengthens the stigma of mental illness. This also surprised me somewhat, given Robert De Niro’s emotional reaction to discussing the depiction of bipolar disorder, in the movie Silver Linings Playbook (2012), in which he co-starred. Ironically, this unexpected reference to ‘bipolar’ in The Intern, was mostly interpreted by my wife in the light-hearted way that it was intended, AND it actually helped to keep this diagnostic possibility in my wife’s consciousness, as she continues to struggle with insight.
While my wife remains ambivalent and uncertain about her struggles really being a mental health condition, she continues to surprise me with verbal and written comments indicating her battle with acceptance is active & ongoing. For example, a couple days after seeing the movie, my wife wrote the following smses:
“I’m really sorry for being a b – – – – – – – ”
“Can you guess what that says?”
“Let’s play hang man”
So I started guessing and innocently asked whether she’s sure it’s eight ‘letters’. (Note: I originally thought she was meaning “Bitch”)
“Yes and Vic would appreciate it! 😉 ”
“Come on! Think of Ol Vic!”
“Think laterally! Literally laterally!!”
(Now, a little background might be needed to understand her hints. I generally don’t use bipolar in this form, I prefer rather suffering from bipolar [disorder], and I certainly don’t spell it with a hyphen “-“, but my wife knew that our new blogosphere friend Vic does… and his blog was rejected because of it!)
This reminds me… the style of the rejection of my blog still bothers me somewhat, but it has spurred me on to look elsewhere for support and encouraged me to explore some big ideas for new bloggers; a work-in-progress… stay tuned.