I’m always thinking about the mamas who are in the crazy pot with me. Over the last two years, I have met many women (online and in real life) who have followed the same path as me from a seemingly good childhood (peppered with trauma) ⇒ youth depression/anxiety that persists (often untreated) ⇒ postpartum depression ⇒ bipolar 2. Needless to say, it’s not a path to anywhere good. (and oddly, many of us were born in September…just saying)
The problem with this crazy pot is that even though we are all boiling in similar stinky broth, part of the illness is that we are each stuck in our own pot. We are fighting similar enemies but in the never-ending final battle, we are each completely on our own.
There’s a Broadway play called Next to Normal that I’m recently obsessed with (like actually obsessed, certifiably). It’s about: “a mother who struggles with worsening bipolar disorder and the effect that her illness and the attempts to alleviate it have on her family.” ahhem…
It’s a musical (because, why not?). One of the key songs that the mother sings really captures some of the horror of living with bipolar (as much as one can in a rock musical).
I have a vision of making a video of my fellow mamas and I performing this on a theater stage.
Think 5 women staggered across a huge black stage standing on individual black risers under separate spotlights. But then towards the end, maybe we start walking closer and end up back to back united. I think that there would be power in all of us singing together against a common enemy.
But truly, it wouldn’t be very accurate. In real life, we would continue singing on our own separated boxes. Just like we do right now. We trade war-stories, we share strategies that seem to work, we learn that we are “not the only freaks in town“. But in the end, we face our demons alone. Time will tell if the sisterhood can save us and our children. I am oddly optimistic.
I’ve divied up the parts as I see them:
Rehersals start Thursday. Start learning your lines ladies.
#1: Do you wake up in the morning and need help to lift your head?
#2: Do you read obituaries and feel jealous of the dead?
#3: It’s like living on a cliffside not knowing when you’ll dive.
#1,2,3: Do you know? Do you know what it’s like to die alive?
#4: When a world that once had colour fades to white and grey and black
#5: When tomorrow terrifies you but you’ll die if you look back
#1,3,4: You don’t know the things you don’t know
#2,5: You say that you’re hurting – it sure doesn’t show
#2,4,5: You don’t know it lays me so low
#1,3: When you say let go and I say
#1,2,3,4,5: You don’t know!
#4: The sensation that you’re screaming but you never make a sound.
#5: Or the feeling that you’re falling but you never hit the ground.
#1: It just keeps on coming at you day by day
#1,4,5: by day by day
#2,3: You don’t know, You don’t know what it’s like to live that way!
#2: Like a refugee, a fugitive, forever on the run
#3: If it gets me it will kill me
#2,3: But I don’t know what I’ve done!
Here is the original Broadway cast in a Tony performance of this song:
This song from the play hits home too (and makes me laugh):