The in-between there is a Truth about families like mine, families like those of people coping with Mental Illness that I’m not sure anybody talks about.
And so hell, here I go: The families like mine exist only in the in between. Those few moments or hours or days where grace comes to visit. Where the meds are working, where the therapy triumphs, where the ECT was worth it. Our families are there (hopefully) during those damning days. When there is nothing but the shade of purple signifying endless suffering. When we cannot get out of bed. During our most reckless and embarrassing moments. During hospital stays and returns to day treatment. Our families are there, too, when we feel like we could climb Everest or compose a concerto or write a novel- making our dreams True. But that’s not where most of our families exist for Real. Not my family, anyway. My family lives in the in -between. They grasp for the few moments where they know I’m safe. Maybe even at peace. Perhaps…happy. Those are the in- between minutes. Rare. Fleeting. My parents savor them like fine chocolate. To know. That for an instant their child is alright. Is ok. That for one minute they are free to get off this Dante’s roller coaster. Attend to their own needs, desires, feelings.
My family are the unsung heroes of my journey. Easily, they could have written me off. Left me. Abandoned me. Sometimes …we, with our illnesses, put our families through hell. I sure have. Our families go through this with us. Carrying us at times. But they, they are not free to shriek and scream and cry out in pain. And people don’t know what they endure. And they should. Because it matters. It has kept me alive. So, there’s that. My family lives in the in-between and I believe other families do as well. Just those few, sacred moments.