"Don't you want to get well?"
That was the question up for grabs, the one that had my son practically throwing his phone across the room.
When he told me about it this morning, ten hours after an old girlfriend had shoved it down his throat and strangled him with it, he was still shaking angry with her.
It isn't the first time my bi-polar I (rapid-cycling) son has been asked such a thing, but he never knows how to answer it. He can't answer no to such a question--that two-letter word spells sheer hopelessnesss. He'd die from it, he says. He knows he would. But to say yes, is an exercise in futility. What does well mean? he asks me. Healed? Cured? "It takes someone with this to understand what it's like to live with it." He told me.
But I told him that that sentence is a wall between him and others, that he needs to find a way to help people understand who DON'T already know, even just a little, so they don't ask questions that have him throwing phones across the room, or bouncing off the walls.
"It's like cancer," he said. "You have to keep fighting it or you'll die."
"Ah," I said. "Actually, I think it's like diabetes."
"Yes!" he said. "That's it. That's exactly what it's like. You have to take your meds, learn to watch how you live, but you can live--and live well enough--being bi-polar."
He stopped pacing. "Like a diabetic watches carbs, I have to watch my triggers."
(We have lots of practice with diabetes, because Beve's sister had it, as does her son)
He went off to call his old girlfriend. Calm enough to explain what 'well' might mean. Not cured, but healthy with what he has to live with.
It's a balancing act, living with this son.
But we're getting somewhere.