Yesterday I watched Landon chase a butterfly across the yard. I kneeled down, the cool grass tracing my toes, and just stared at him in awe of his determination to hold something that moved so fast.
He bounced this way and that, in the direction of the flying creature, following the tiny bright yellow wings with an orange burst of color in the middle, fluttering desperately to get away. While it rested here and there, he crept just close enough to touch it. But in an instant the butterfly would release and fly away again.
“Come back here, buh-fly!” he would yell with a smile on his face. “I won’t hurt you!”
And the chase would begin again as he bounced and pounced with the joy only an innocent child can project into this world. He would follow only for a little while longer until his mind wandered to the next activity.
It occured to me that I am chasing butterflies too. I am 32-years-old and still trying to figure out how to capture it. Only the butterfly I chase is happiness. Always within my grasp. Sometimes cupped between my two hands. But never easy to hold onto.
This particular depressive episode came on fast. Scary fast. I have continued to take my medicine but something is still not right. The knowing is both a comfortable and uncomfortable feeling at the same time. I can think of three things that might have caused this downspiral. I took a break from regular therapy during the stress of our move and I also began birth control. But also, May has historically been a tough month for me. I have theories as to why this is. Innocence lost in a back alley so long ago. Dirty water memories that flood my brain. But placing blame doesn’t stop from catapulting me into the depths of another hellish battle.
There is only one thing I am sure of at this point. My brain isn’t working properly. Neurons are firing terrifying messages. My anxiety is high and my mood is oh so low. I want to sleep. I want to give up because I am so tired of never feeling good enough. I am so tired of disappointing everyone.
I called my therapist two weeks ago when I noticed a big enough change. I will talk to her today and hopefully we can change the course of this painful path. I know she’ll tell me to see my psychiatrist. So I’ve already made an appointment with him as well. But he is on vacation and I cannot get in for another two weeks. I try to rationalize how short a period two weeks is. Fourteen days. But a lot can change in fourteen days. Especially when you’re dealing with bipolar disorder.
I wish I could explain to you how much I hate this feeling. The feeling that I don’t belong here even though I know I do. That’s the message my brain sends. And when it does I think, what.the.hell.brain? Why are you doing this to me again? I want to call bullshit on these messages. But bipolar disorder is convincing. Very very convincing.
It says to me . . . you’re not worthy of this life. You’re not worthy of your family. You’re not worthy of your boys.
As I hear these things, the butterfly flutters further away. I reach my hands up just like my son did, begging it to come back. The illness continues to remind me until I am forced to believe them. But I don’t want to believe them. I will do everything in my power to believe what I know is true. I am worthy of catching a butterfly. I am worthy. I am worthy. I am worthy.
After suffering from the age of 15, I have experienced enough depressive episodes to know that I can get through this. With the right therapy. With the right medicines. But it’s never happened this quickly. I am worried and scared.
Even after nearly eighteen years of highs and lows I still wonder why. Why can’t I be the girl who has butterflies land on her. No effort. No chase. No pain.
I am forced to accept my illness all over again. Accept the fact that, for me, the butterflies will never just land on my hand. This is my life. Chasing butterflies. For my family. For me.