All my life I witnessed two women wear their hearts on
their sleeves unconditionally. As a child I sat back in
amazement how both my grandmother and my mother
could so unselfishly sacrifice so much for other people.
Literally putting anyone and everyone before themselves.
As I grew older I realized that I was seemingly the exact
way for whatever reason. I was drawn to others and concerned
for others no matter the circumstances. My importance never
came into play, similar to both of them. I called them
“protectors” and I never really thought of myself in the same
term, but I guess that is what I had become as well.
They never stopped. It was like it was a life mission. There was
never any deterrent. My grandmother lived till she was 98 years
old and continued this until the very late years of her life
unremittingly. Now turning 70 years old my mother appears
to be continuing this legacy. It’s strange to see it shape and watch
it last for so long withstanding tragedy and heartbreak but without
end of the compassion and sincere heart.
For a while I began to believe that it was going to end with me?
I felt like the black sheep. So much depression, mania, untold
hurt and pain brought unto others. It took me many years of soul
searching, researching into my family history and then
conversations with my mother to come up with the knowledge
to bring me back to where I needed to be again. I suppose I never
left this place, nothing really changed, just had to find that inner
My struggles with mental illness were not my own, they were
theirs as well. What I had gone through they had gone through
many of the same battles themselves. They grappled with their own
spots of indifference before finding their own clarity just as I
have. Now I know that yes I am sick, I will always suffer, but
like them I am now confident that I will also be able to show
the empathy and true nurturing to anyone and everyone. Three
generations and going strong.
And now is it time for a 4th generation to continue this legacy?
I used to stand back looking up in awe at what laid out before
me. Now I have two children. And what amazes me is I am
looking at the future and I see my grandmother, my mother and
myself. My children both wear their hearts on their sleeves
doing whatever they can for all in any way they unselfishly and
The thing that amazes me the most is that aren’t we the ones
that are always supposed to be needing all the help? What I
have seen is three generations and now four sufferers of bipolar
disorder who have hearts of gold and regardless of mental
illness, are still willing to put aside personal issues regardless
of ourselves to take care of others because that is just what we do.
Don’t ever let anyone tell you that individuals with mental illness
are not capable of doing anything. Whatever you put your mind, heart
and soul is achievable.