It’s me, Therese (not Margaret). I hate to be a white, whiny, ungrateful pest (I’ve been called that before). Really, I do. But I’m feeling a bit like Job (you know, from your instruction book, the Bible).
First I’ve got this bipolar thing that almost killed me last year and is apparently mine to deal with for the rest of my life. On my bad days, depression shrinks and kills brain cells in the prefrontal cortex of my brain (of course you already know this)–which could mean that I’ll be getting more and more stupid with every year. And these volatile moods don’t exactly foster intimacy between a husband and wife, or facilitate mothering two needy preschoolers (one borderline special-needs with explosive outbursts at the top of every hour).
Then I’ve got this growth in my pituitary gland (a.k.a. brain tumor), which messed up my hormones enough to make me lactate like the overzealous cow on the Horizon dairy trucks. (I considered becoming a wet nurse if the writing thing didn’t happen.) The meds I take to shrink the growth bloat me so badly that David keeps asking me when his baby brother is due. And at my last visit to the endocrinologist, she told me that my Arnold-Schwarzenegger testosterone levels (and my chest hair) suggest that I might have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), a cyst-manufacturing operation right there in my ovaries.
But God, the real killer was this afternoon, when a chiropractor told me that it’s no wonder my right hip is sore because my entire right side is shorter than my left. He recommended that I not run for a long while, until the right and left sides of my body reconcile and shake hands–like a bipartisan Congress.
For a quarter of a century I have, in “Forrest Gump” style, run off all my frustrations and anger and sadness and loneliness and despair and confusion. The year of the Great Depression I ran over 1,600 miles (the distance from Boston to Tampa)–talking to you, your mother, and St. Therese to keep me company. Running is my “go to,” my salvation now that I gave up booze, smoking, caffeine (okay, not really), sugar (I try to anyway), and all my negative vices.
You must have mistaken me for another woman, an even-tempered chick with far more patience. I am what you call a mentally ill addict with issues as tall as your pearly gates. I depend on things here on earth until I see (at least I hope to) your face in heaven. And in trying to avoid all mood-altering substances, I choose constructive habits like running, which make my brain very happy.
I’m curious, God. Did I do something bad in a past life? Are you angry with me about something? Can we talk about it?
I know that I am far more blessed than 99.9 percent of the world. Don’t even get me started on everything I have to be grateful for. Oprah and friends remind me every day. I know, I know, I know, and that only makes me feel worse. Like I suck at one more thing: gratitude.
I was just wondering if you could maybe take it a bit slower with all these “character building” exercises. I need a little time to recover before you pop out the next surprise.
Thanks so much,
The bipolar lady with brain tumor, chest hair, and short right side