My first “memories” are not actually my own but those of my family, especially my mother who related these things to me. My mother told me that the nurses from the nursery came in and asked her if she had experienced any emotional or mental trauma during her pregnancy, to which she replied, “No, nothing out of the ordinary.” And, she wasn’t lying. Then, she tells me, the nurses gave her a puzzled look and told her, “Well, that’s the most nervous newborn baby we’ve ever seen in our whole lives! She screams and cries in fear at every noise or sound. Constantly needs to be held and calmed. She’s a nervous Nelly, for sure!”
My second “Bipolar” childhood moment came months later as I began to walk. One Sunday evening after I had been put to bed, my parents and grand parents gathers to watch a movie on television about David and King Saul of the Bible. At some point during the movie, David calls out to King Saul, “Saul! Saul! Saul! Saul!” and, within a few minutes after that part of the film, I toddled down the hallway with my monkey saying, “Saul! Saul! Saul! Saul!”
I have had problems throughout my life with extremely lucid nightmares, dreams and night terrors. This caused problems as a child, as I would fall out of bed on more nights than any from fighting my way through these odd, bizarre and very frightening dreams and nightmares. That was a third red flag that something was happening to me that wasn’t like anyone else. It was such a prominent plague in my life that I even immortalized it in crayon drawings and penciled words on large lines in kindergarten.
I became very sensitive to the fact that I was not like other children at an early age and employed myself in playing with projects I would invent or that would opportune into my day. I loved to play music and my older sister was gracious enough to allow me to play with her stereo and vinyl records. I was a raving, lunatic Beatles fan by age three and fell in love with Paul McCartney’s eyes. I learned to read age at 3 years old because, I wanted to know who that man was behind those beautiful eyes. So, I read everything I could about him and the Beatles. Eventually, I moved up to the newspaper with the comics, fashion, cooking and girly things. By age six, I had fallen for Omar Sharif after seeing Doctor Zhivago at the theater with my mother and our friend Clara. So, I had to read Boris Pasternak’s Doctor Zhivago, as well. Then, I found Shakespeare and was lost forever in literature. When they handed me “reading books” in first grade I went into shock for a kid. This was it? This is all I have to do? So, I spent a lot of class time day dreaming, of which I have a deep penchant to fall into quickly. I get bored easily and my thoughts drift off and words become a strange, empty rumbling in my ears. But, my eyes will stare out windows and see things that are not even there; I just wish they were there. That was when I was young and still believed things that happened that were weird were just magic for my eyes only.
Thus, began my life and walk and war with mental illnesses. Thus, began my training to learn myself how to heal myself and to teach that skill to others who suffer. My journey to end society’s stigma and bias carried by us all. I don’t understand why they don’t “get it”; or should I say, I don’t understand what they don’t understand?