YHVH Rapha

He said, “If you listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, who heals you.” ex 15.26

Sometimes My Mommy Gets Angry

I picked this book up off the library shelf, thinking it would be a nice way to help me get my own anger under control.

Guess what? It’s not about controling one’s anger.  But it was helpful to me, nonetheless.

It’s about a little girl whose mother has bipolar disorder.  This used to be called “manic depression” because there are two different, severe moods: the depression, where a person can barely get out of bed, and the manic phase, where a person seems to have boundless energy. . . and is easily angered and even sometimes subject to psychotic delusions.

It wouldn’t be a fun thing, I’d imagine, to deal with your own bipolar disorder.  I can’t imagine it would be fun for a child to deal with his or her parent’s.

The main point of this book is that the children should not think that they cause their parents’ actions.  And that parents who deal with mental illnesses should have the support of their community–family, neighbors, etc.

The author notes that bipolar disorder can be treated and parents should have treatment, although they often may resist their treatment. (I imagine that during the “psychotic delusion” part of the bipolar disorder, one may think the medicine he or she has been given is harmful. Or that the neighbor or relative who is truly, truly trying to help is “spying” or “out to get them.”)

I can SO relate to the girl in this book.  Her mom is in a good mood when she leaves for school, but is angry when she gets home.  It leaves her to wonder “What did I do wrong?”  She calls her grandma, who tells her she’s done nothing wrong.  “You know that your mother has problems, and she hasn’t gotten the help she needs.  I hope that one day she will.  But your mother loves you even when she’s yelling.”

I can relate to this girl because it was like that with MY mom.  One minute, she was fine (at least she wasn’t screaming and yelling!) and the next I wondered what I did wrong.

I cried while reading this book because I did not have a grandmother to call, to comfort me and remind me that mommy still loves me and is not mad at me.  A few days ago, my younger sister and I talked about this.  She doesn’t believe that mom loves her.  It took me a long time (almost 30 years) to realize that yes, mom does, but because of something in her head mom can’t be the “mommy” that I wanted her to be.  Still happens today. I’m 36 years old.  I have to keep reminding myself that “this isn’t mom talking, it’s the mental illness.”  It is so hard to keep that straight!

I did not have a “secret snack” or people I could call.  I truly believed that I was the problem, and that mom was mad at me, and why would a neighbor help me, after all I was a problem child and caused my mom such grief.

I cried reading the book also because I wonder, had mom had the medications or therapy or social support that she needed. . . where would I be today?  Another sense of grief, loss.

And yet if she had, then I would not be the person I am today.  Hmm.

Sometimes My Mommy Gets Angry, by Bebe Moore Campbell (illustrated by E. B. Lewis)


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