Friday, September 23, 2011

Love Has Its Ups and Downs by Bonnie Rice

Bonnie Rice is writing from the heart about being married to a husband with Bipolar disorder and what it takes to stay married and raise a family in the chaos of the illness. She deserves much credit for putting this together in such an honest, concise and practical way. This is one of those books that I had to stop myself from underlining the whole thing; there is just so much good advice for living with someone with Bipolar illness, and I should know because my mother had it and I became her emotional caretaker until the day she passed away. I wish someone would have written this book earlier; it would have made my childhood and adulthood a little less stressful. In the very least it would have given me some perspective. I didn’t learn some these things until later in life. Saying that, still Bonnie gave me a few “Ah Ha” moments: for example, when the person with Bipolar illness says something mean and hurtful: to remember that it’s not about you—it’s about them. Another one was that “Bipolar affects memory.” There is nothing more frustrating then to be the one still reeling from a manic episode while the Bipolar acts like nothing happened.

Love Has Its Ups and Downs is a great reference book for anyone who has a relationship with someone with mental health issues, and those who want to understand Bipolar illness. Bonnie uses humor in some places to illustrate facts, and her end of chapter questions and worksheets are very helpful. In one of the questions she asks you to remember a funny thing your Bipolar family member said: here’s a classic thing my mom said the first time I talked to her about boundaries, she said, “Boundaries are meant to be broken that’s how new countries are made.” In hindsight it’s funny, at the time not so much. This isn’t a one size fits all manual for marriages surviving Bipolar illness, but it is a starting place to help understand the necessity of boundaries, team support and putting together a workable plan for the health of yourself and your family. 5 stars. I read this on Kindle.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Dragonfly Summer

I spent this summer trying to reclaim some of the feeling of my childhood summers. I placed a pool in the yard and floated, looking up at clear blue skies feeling the sun heating my skin, smelling the fragrance the earth gives off in mid-day. Yes I had sunblock on and a hat on my head that covered my face--an nod to old age and too many early years in the sun--but those quiet moments rejuvenated my body and mind.

Visitors were few, John painted his canvas's and Pretzel, not wanting to swim with me, sniffed the blue rubber sides of the pool and skittered away when I splashed him.  Only one stayed to languish in the noon day sun, an orange dragonfly, who fed my spirit with the glory of God's creation.

"Nature is the living, visible garment of God."  Johann Wolfgang von Goethe