This shelf isn’t blue.

My mom kept a lot of her mental health issues from me. Probably to protect me for the most part. And in the interest of fairness, I doubt I was equipped for and open to it.

As far as I knew, she kept herself wound together tight so that she could take care of me and once I was out of the house she let go of her tight hold. And slowly she was unbound and unwound and eventually began to unravel.

Not completely. She was never someone who couldn’t pay her bills and keep her house and property up. She was fine in the practical ways. But she wasn’t fine inside the privacy of her mind. She had delusions and paranoia and other “fun” symptoms to deal with.

A few years ago I saw the documentary Running From Crazy about The Hemingway family from the perspective of Mariel Hemingway who is Earnest Hemingway’s granddaughter and famous in her own right as an actor. She talks about having plenty of people in the family who were alcoholics or depressed or both, some of whom succumbed to the depression and committed suicide. She said she spent her earlier years afraid that it was just a matter of time before she “went crazy” too.

Eventually she realized that she could live healthier and not drink and potentially treat any symptoms she might develop instead of drinking and wallowing and not treating them as much of her family had done. And that she couldn’t live in a fear state all her life.

I do relate to that feeling of wondering if it’s going to happen to you.

So I’ve had it in my head that my mom had a blue bookshelf in her living room. And I went over there the other day to continue (finally) and finish up getting mom’s things out. And the shelf I thought was blue is white.

And I can’t figure out why. I assume I’m just incorrect about the color of the shelf before. But my brain also gives me the helpful suggestion that somebody could have broken in and switched out the white shelf for the blue one. (And put everything back how it was, too.)

After I go round in circles for a bit trying to think of why the heck a person would ever want to do that, I stop. It occurs to me that that is very similar to the paranoid stories my mom was always telling me about someone, usually a neighbor but sometimes the government, listening in on her and/or messing with her tv channels.

I’m still sometimes nervous that things might get away from me like they did for her. But, if I have anything on my side, it’s that I don’t think I’m holding things together nearly as tightly. So I don’t think I’m as prone to uncoiling in quite the same way.

For now I just know there is a white shelf.

Not blue.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Catherine Jarmin Miller
    Jun 25, 2018 @ 09:49:21

    It is good to be aware of potential delusions and paranoia because then you can seek treatment if needed. As you know though, memory is extremely unreliable. Research shows that you can create memories for events that didn’t even happen. So you don’t need to make up stories as to why the blue shelf is white, unless you can’t help yourself…then that is an issue. Are you experiencing brain fog too?


    • B
      Jun 25, 2018 @ 10:16:41

      No more than I ever have. My add has its own set of symptoms. I honestly think it’s just an active imagination with a small coating of whatever mental issues I have. None of which appear to be the ones my mom had so far. It’s just a possibility that lurks to try to keep me on my toes.
      I realized the ninja shelf replacer was a “crazy” idea and it’s relegated to a weird story I get to tell.
      I tell people sometimes, “I’m a spaz, but I’m a pretty self aware spaz.” (That’s a technical term.)
      I think/hope if things were to progress in that direction I’d get treatment sooner than later. Although hopefully something like that waits until after I’ve moved away. Since I really don’t trust the behavioral health folks in the hospital system here. I’m grateful that my brain doesn’t code for suicidal thoughts. I don’t ever really feel like I’m depressed, though I do go through periods of …enhanced ennui, I guess it could be called. Which I know can be a symptom of depression. Everything just seems like too much effort or work.


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