In Sascha Altman DuBrul’s latest reflection on parenting twins, he writes:
“I want to own the part of me that is mad, the part of me that has repeatedly earned myself the label of ‘Bipolar I with Psychotic Features.’ I want to hold it next to the part of me that is so in love with my children, because in my line of work I am constantly reminded of how much shame people with my kind of diagnosis carry. And I suppose I just want less shame in the world, starting with myself.”
He goes on to tell a story, vivid and intimate, of his month spent in the Los Angeles County Jail Psych Unit. Believing he was one of only two people in the universe, he sang all the time, he writes. “I would sing any song I knew,” among them “The Lovecats” by the Cure.
“Tonight, spontaneously, 22 years later, while I was putting the kids to bed I started singing The Lovecats to them. The melody just poured out of my mouth and I just felt this incredible joy. Our kids are so beautiful. Their big eyes and wild hair and strong little bodies. I get to slip into their little fantasy worlds all the time, I get to be a character in their story. I put them in their cribs and and gave them bottles and they stared at me, this big giant dad creature singing a goofy love song to them before I turned out the lights.
“Just for a minute while you’re reading these words I want you to reflect with me on these two parallel realities: in one I’m considered a dangerous psychiatric patient who is being forced to take injections of medicine and held in a cage. In the other I get to be a therapist during the day, I’m in a loving relationship with a woman, and we have two beautiful children together. I hold these realities together and there is great power in the unity.”
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