Spinning Wheel, Got to go Round…

Not to get all Blood, Sweat and Tears on ya with the title, but we all know that what goes up must come down, yeah?  Maybe I should go Harry Chapin instead- “all my life’s a circle, sun up and sundown.  The moon rolls through the nighttime ’til the daybreak comes around…”

When I was in middle school or so, we all passed around this book about a girl with bipolar disorder (or “manic depressive” or whatever they were calling it in the early 80s) called “Lisa, Bright and Dark.”  If memory serves me correctly, the chapters had black or white circles as headings, to indicate whether Lisa’s mood was going to be up or down.

Hoss doesn’t come with easy-to-spot headings.  Truth be told, I can’t say for sure he’s bipolar (the latest documentation said “mood disorder NOS”) but he’s certainly got some pretty clear up times and down times.   He’s not nearly so extreme at either end as he used to be (thank you, risperidone!) but his moods do swing a bit more broadly than most people’s do.  All of Hoss’ trusted adults (and he has a myriad- Hubby and myself and grandparents and his aunt and uncles on the home front, teachers and administrators and school psychologists and counselors and special educators and before/aftercare staff in the school building, a panel of mental health professionals…) have learned to recognize the subtle indications.  He gets a bit of a wrinkly forehead when darker moments start to emerge, and a tendency toward cocooning into his hoodie sweatshirt.   We give him his space then, and watch carefully from a comfortable distance.   The corner of his mouth hints at a smirk and starts most of his sentences with “hey, guess what…” when he’s about at risk of getting too hyped up.  Most days fall somewhere in the middle.  More days fall in the middle than they did a year ago, and certainly more than those scary weeks last spring, and for that I am more thankful than I know how to say.

Nights are harder to judge or react to.  Some nights (and mornings), he sleeps so soundly, so deeply, that no amount of the dog barking or bright lights or tickling him causes much of a twitch.  Other times, the dreams that he can’t articulate shake him to the core.  Sometimes I check on him before I turn in, and the bedsheets are twisted tighter than a pretzel from his tossing and turning.  I fix them as best I can, and tuck him back in as comfortably as I can manage.  I was watching the late news one night last week, when I heard a breathy, high pitched moan.  Before I could even move to investigate, Hoss had scurried down the hall and launched himself into my lap, face buried in my shoulder.  Talking made his tearless sobs and breathing more agitated, so I just held on.   He doesn’t always remember the dreams later on, and if he’s anything like his Mama, sometimes he won’t remember the dreams even in the moment.  

 I guess that’s all I can do when the nights get rough- hold on to Hoss and try to smooth things out.  Come to think of it, that’s pretty much what we have to do every day, too.

Posted by MamaKaren on October 22nd, 2009
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