I’ve spent most of my adult life waiting for that other shoe to drop. Similarly, I’d imagine, somewhat to relatives of patients afflicted by Huntington’s Chorea. Whether it is a blessing or curse, a genetic test is available to determine their fate. What horrid knowledge that must be. What a terrible burden to be able to ascertain whether or not they will someday cease to control simple bodily movements, slowly losing their physical identity, and ultimately become an invalid. I wonder if I would be brave enough to undergo that testing.
There is no known test for mental illness, only a bit of evidence that the disease may have a genetic link, much like alcoholism. So those of us with a close genetic relative afflicted (especially with both) must simply watch and wait, fearful that each and every irrational emotion, every outburst, each tear may be the start of something far more terrible and ominous. The end of every bad day is met with relief, a feeling of dodging a nasty bullet once again.
The downside of up here, is that I tend never to overreact or let myself be overcome with any kind of emotion without examining it explicitly and exhaustively. This is something that my husband claims to appreciate, while assuring me that it is a rarity. I’d never thought of it like that.
I look back at pictures from my childhood, and it’s interesting to note that one can actually determine when my mother began her decent into madness. Her youngest child, her only daughter, began to transform in front of my adult eyes from an obviously well-groomed and loved child into someone who it appears is suddenly expected to care for herself and has no earthly idea how to do so.
This visual reminder of her illness has bothered me so tremendously that I had to stop sorting and organizing the pictures. So now they sit in my bedroom in a large Tupperware container waiting patiently for me to face my own demons.
Tickity-tock, tick-tock. Time will tell, it always does.