Hello everyone. I am going on a trip across the country next week. It will be an 11-day journey for me and my son. We are visiting my mother. And, I have anxieties about this. My mom is not “open” to any illnesses or hardships and cannot – absolutely cannot – relate to my son’s and my troubles.
You all know a bit about me and those of you who are Bipolar can understand how our illness is “invisible” to some people. But my son, he has a physical ailment that has thrust him into mental illness as well. He has a skin ailment that is mildly contagious and it is on his face just under the lowerlip. He has become OCD to the max and this combination of mental health issues of mine and his will be a stout challenge for my mother to deal with.
To put things into perspective let me tell you a story: When I was around 15 I broke my finger playing basketball and was not given the opportunity to go to the doctor for days on end. Why? Because my mom could not believe that I had a broken finger. Her reasoning was that SHE has never broken a bone in her body, how then could I have a broken finger? For three or four days I went to school and did all the things that a boy does at school. But one day someone bumped into my hand and I lit off like a firecracker. I winced in pain and made my way to the school nurse. My finger was yellow and blue by this time and the nurse took one look at it and called my mom and demanded that she take me to the hospital. At the hospital they did what they do and then put my finger in a splint, but not before I passed out from the pain. I will never forget this experience as long as I live. And all my mom could say what that she never had a broken bone in her life.
So, my concerns for this trip rest on my mother’s reactions. I have an illness that I cannot control. I cannot control my body, I cannot control my mind, and I cannot control the cycle I will be in during our stay.
As for my son, well, his OCD puts a real damper on things. He is constantly changing his shirt “because I dribbled water from my mouth and it got on my shirt, so the shirt is contaminated and must be washed.” He takes two hour showers because he is prepping for 40 minutes before he gets in, showers for 30 minutes and then post-preps for another 40 minutes afterward. This routine is painful when one is on the outside and must wait to go to the bathroom. Fortunately my mother has two restrooms. But it doesn’t end there. My son goes through a bottle of rubbing alcohol every 3 to 4 days because he is constantly cleaning things: counters, sinks, shelves, tables, etc etc etc. He goes through a pack of latex gloves every week. This skin condition has warped his mind.
So I don’t know how this is going to work. I’m not the type to keep my mouth shut and I fear that my mom will be her old self and judge us for what we cannot control.
How would you handle this?