Three times this week my rhythm has been ruined by sleep. Harriet, my 14 month old, is doing that awful thing that children do where they grow suddenly, violently in the night. This involves a great deal of thrashing and sideways nursing and sitting on my head at 4:10am. It does not involve my eyes opening magically at 5:21, the way they always do, eager to inch their way over to my desk and adjust to the blue-white glare of the book light on my notebook while she happily sleeps for another hour.
Instead, I have stumbled, red eyed and kind of angry, with her, bright eyed and bigger than yesterday, into the already bright morning around 6:30 with my 4 and 7 year olds, in full princess regalia, primping loudly (why is primping so loud?) in the full length mirror in my bedroom.As someone with bipolar disorder, particularly seasonally affected, rapid cycling bipolar disorder, I find that I am especially sensitive to routine, rhythm, order, and prone to rigid habit formation, system building, and addiction. I grab hold of the things that I perceive to be good and I do not let go without significant force. Most of the time, I use this power for good — a steady schedule, taking into account the needs of my whole family, keeps me healthy and blesses us all. When I get momentum going, I have iron clad will power, conviction, and determination. But when I cannot get the ball rolling, when it meets one too many turns, all those good things turn sharp. I become intractable, controlling, and harsh.
Why God saw fit to allow me a personality like this and three daughters, I will ever understand this side of Glory. The volume and depth of their drama will only grow louder and more complicated in time. What I do understand is that I have to spend 90% of my therapy hours figuring out how to soften the sharpest edges of my mind and tongue before that redhead meets puberty.