lithuim, lamentations and love

English: An American Lady butterfly against a ...

English: An American Lady butterfly against a cloud-filled sky. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I wonder if all our minds are somehow interconnected
by some as yet undetected electromagnetic mental force
so I sit in my room for hours and try to think good thoughts
and hope that for all that is evil, I am not the source

my mom

my mom was called manic-depressive when I grew up
and I remember thinking Lithium was such a miracle
when she began taking that instead of all those tranquilizers
my life became a little bit less satirical

“remember to put the dog in the dishwasher”
she once drowsily mumbled to me after school
I knew she meant to feed the dog and to do the dishes
for my momma didn’t raise no silly fool

imagine a big black and white springer spaniel
with his whole body wagging with love
springing out of a little kitchen dishwasher
and shaking water off like you never dreamed of

my dad told me many years later that mom tried
to take infant me and run out the front door one day
yelling that I was the antichrist or the devil or something
I guess I’m lucky dad was there and didn’t let her have her way

I suppose since my mom said that I’m the antichrist
I’m coming off as something of a disappointment to you
sorry about that, maybe later I’ll figure out
just what evil it was that I was supposed to do

my wife

many years later, sometime after our second child was born
my wife was diagnosed as suffering from bipolar disorder
not sure if the new name for the same old thing helps or not
maybe it does, but that’s really a tall order

and I never saw this mental illness coming
but dad later told me he knew all along
perhaps I was blinded by bipolar love
and I should write that as my life’s theme song

or maybe reincarnation, that’s the ticket
in a past life, I must have been one hell of a heel
must have spent a cruel lifetime working overtime
stacking my future karmic deck with the cards that I must now deal

I got up one day and my wife was crying
she said someone was following her in a white van
wearing a white wig and trying to kill her
which isn’t the kind of thing for which I had any game plan

later they said she also suffered from schizophrenia
that knowledge didn’t really help me much
although they have so many new drugs besides lithium
all the dolls: haldol, risperdal and such

and each drug they tried created an alternative reality
a new woman in my wife’s body that I hadn’t met before
just a little different than the woman that I once knew
and a little scary standing there in my bedroom door

one day the county Sheriff knocked on my door
he found her out bowling in the middle of West Linne Road
he never told me if she struck out or not, he just pointed out
a bowling alley in the street was against the local building code

my daughter

now, my final heartbreak for my daughter also suffers
and the doctors sit and argue whether she is bipolar or schizophrenic
no one can explain why the medicine doesn’t seem to be working
so sometimes I wonder if the whole world is pathogenic

my sweet daughter used to be so close to me
she once gave me a card on a mother’s day
saying that I was both dad and mother to her
now when she sees me she often just runs away

at least she is taking her meds and sometimes is doing ok
but the doctors still don’t really seem to have a clue
so I now I am back where I started
wondering if perhaps I am the source of this sadness, too?


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  1. #1 by gladiuspoeticus on June 27, 2012 - 11:28 am

    you, my friend, are one hell of a writer. a real master piece. i laughed my but off in spite of all that missery. i hope you don’t mind.

    • #2 by RKHouse on June 28, 2012 - 7:02 am

      Thank you. I’m so glad you liked it. And we all have to laugh at the sweet ironies of life or we’d all go insane, I think.

  2. #3 by David Stewart on June 27, 2012 - 12:42 pm

    Excellent. Very well-written.

  3. #5 by bellesogni on June 27, 2012 - 3:33 pm

    I’m sure you must have educated yourself on bipolar and schizophrenia disorders, so you must know that they tend to run in families. I’m also sure you must know that men tend to pick women for wives that resemble their mothers.

    I worked with a woman once who was a diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic (her mother and brother were both schizophrenic as well). She was very fascinating to talk to, quite intelligent. The problem was being paranoid, she would flush her meds because she thought she was being poisoned. Eventually she had to be hospitalized. I miss her.

    I used to wonder if people with what we term a mental illness have a short circuit in their brain somewhere, or if they are just tuned into a different reality that is just as valid as the one we interpret as correct? After all, what is normal? What the majority are? Normal doesn’t always equate with right. It’s interesting.

    In any case, my heart goes out to you. It is a hard thing to cope with day after day even with love.

    • #6 by RKHouse on June 28, 2012 - 7:16 am

      Thank you. I periodically research to see if there is progress on this area of mental health. But my first hand experiences with the laws and actual treatments has been very disappointing. My wife went through a virtual rotating door for several “lost” years and would be released to me in the same condition she started.

      And I remember the time the Doctors wouldn’t talk to me until my wife authorized it. She was being held because she was mentally ill, but they were waiting for her authorization before they could talk to me? But, you know when it came time to pay the bills, they called me up for that. One jerk Doctor of hers had the nerve to report my late payment to the credit agencies. He was sending the bill to her, in her name and she was throwing them away or something. I never saw the bills. Or she may have had a PO box at that time to hide her credit card bills from me. Oh those darn credit card companies. Every five or seven years or so these credit card companies send my wife cards which she runs all to the limits gambling. Totally destroying all our family finances and retirement savings but they don’t care.

      Here in US the situation can very from state to state, I suppose. Tennessee was pretty good, but the first time I had to call on the police for help with my wife in California, they came and told me “It’s not against the law to be crazy in California. We can’t do anything until she tries to hurt herself or someone else.” That’s very frustrating. Later our kids Elementary school got a restraining order against my wife so that she couldn’t be on the school grounds. She had some delusions that she was a teacher there and walked into the lounge one day wearing my daughters batgirl costume or something. She also thought one of the teachers was her dead mother. Sad, really. At least, when she walked down to the school, they would call and the police would come pick her up because of the restraining order.

      Normal is an interesting topic. I remember the time my daughter told me she was in communication with aliens and they were landing in two days. I was more than a little disappointed when they didn’t show up.

  4. #7 by bellesogni on June 29, 2012 - 10:48 am

    Oh my, please don’t get me started on healthcare or credit card companies! Those are the top two soapbox issues for me. All I’ll say here is that if those two alone were straightened out in this country, the economy would improve 100%,

    Yes, normal is an interesting topic for discussion because how do you define it? No one can really because their definition will always be prejudiced by their own experiences.

  5. #8 by lettersformike on July 10, 2012 - 5:28 pm

    Indeed a very nice post.
    =) I like it.
    Please follow me back at

  6. #9 by emmylgant on December 24, 2012 - 5:50 am

    You have a beautiful soul. None of this is your doing. You happen to be in the path of multiple, devastating electric storms. You have plenty to deal with, please don’t add to it with misplaced feelings of guilt.
    You are too good for that.
    Hang on.

    • #10 by Ronald Kirk House on December 24, 2012 - 11:38 am

      Thank you for those kind words. I know I’m not to blame, other than perhaps passing on some suspect genes to my daughter.

  7. #11 by 35andupcynicismonhold on February 27, 2014 - 3:07 am

    hello, sir RK… you wrote this very well. and it’s quite informative… glad to know a bit about you and the people close to you… šŸ™‚ ah, this partly explains the irony and the melancholy of your poems. šŸ™‚

    i had a family member who was diagnosed schizophrenic, too. had to undergo therapy and take medications. the doctor says it’s about overproduction of a certain chemical in the brain. the effect is similar to a faucet that cannot be turned off. thus, the person’s perception of reality is fluid, continuous and unable to filter information and stimuli. it was sad, even sadder than my mom’s cancer episode. the sibling’s affliction was financially and emotionally draining. but it became manageable after some time. only he had to go (pass away) two years after diagnosis. ^^

    i feel for you. it’s not easy… i wish you fortitude for all your trials and challenges. love and support, across the distance, sir. šŸ™‚

    • #12 by Ronald Kirk House on February 27, 2014 - 9:33 am

      Thank you so much San. It is a terrible disease, isn’t it? As a scientist, I can’t imagine anything worse than losing touch with reality. That is a very frightening thought to me.

      I try to focus on all the good things in my life. Perhaps, I lament too much and don’t love nearly enough. We all have joys and sadness in life to deal with, don’t we? That’s the human experience.

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