had a very shiny nose

My daughter asked me a question about how come I have to take so many pills.  I take eleven prescription drugs, 10 fish oil capsules, B-12, B-6 and a multi-vitamin.  Sorting my pills is a huge ordeal and I get in a cranky mood every time I fill my pill boxes.  There are 28 squares.

I tried to explain to her why I took the drugs.  Llemme tell you:  The sex talk was far easier.  I’d been answering her questions as they came up so I wanted her to be able to put it in perspective. All that to say everyone winds up knowing about sex whether their parents tell them or not.  Sure, there are lots of jokes and some weird-butt stuff in the sexual arena, but you can also make it squeaky clean – the stories you hear can be bizarre or beautiful.

But who tells their children about mental illness?  How do people learn about it?  The movies?  Hannibal Lector, anyone?  Misery?  Even Forrest Gump.  Who tells their kids jokes about ‘crazy’ people?  I know the punch line of so many jokes is the psychiatric hospital down the street.  That’s how it works.

To be fair, you can’t really tell a lot of people with behavior health issues are sick.  There is no pin we wear (what would it say?  “Hi, I’m bi(polar)” )  Unless you’re doped nearly out of your mind, as I have been, or your body is covered in obviously self-inflicted scars, you’re probably walking around unnoticed.  Even the uncontrollable sobbing that comes with depression doesn’t necessarily mean there is something different about you.

Anyway, I’ve gotten off subject.  My subject is my five year old.

I told her, “You know how everyone of us is special?  Where there are some people who are different than other people.  I am one of those people.  That’s why I have to take drugs, they help me.”

She was going about her business, I didn’t know if she was listening to me or not.  Then she turns and says, “Like Rudolph”.

The more I thought about her answer, the more I liked it.  Proverbs says, “The father of a righteous man has great joy; he who has a wise son delights in him.” And what a delight it was to hear this answer.  Rudolph was different than everyone else, when he tried to blend in it just made him sound like he had a cold. There were times I tried very hard not to be like me and it was exhausting.  I was trying to be boring, and I felt really lifeless.  All that energy expended just to feel lifeless.  Eventually I gave up and said, “I’ll just try to be me.”  It was so much easier.

I’ve yet to really find a reason for my red, glowing nose, save for the time in the Behavioral Health Centers.  Not only in the hospital where everyone is so depressed, but in the outpatient programs where people are off the precipice.  I felt like those places were level ground.  No matter how rich (one class had a man who, thanks to the Catholic church, was a multi-millionaire.) or poor (there was a woman who was treated and received all her medication for free, thanks to a kindly psychiatrist.)  Something had happened to each of us, whatever it was, whether brain damage, or chemical imbalances or a horrible, triggering act.  We all have to learn coping skills, medication management, and relaxation.  No one was better than the other.

“We’re a couple of misfits
We’re a couple of misfits
What’s the matter with misfits
That’s where we fit in!

We’re not daffy and dilly
Don’t go ’round willy nilly
Seems to us kinda silly
That we don’t fit in.

We may be different from the rest
Who decides the test
Of what is really best?

We’re a couple of misfits
We’re a couple of misfits
What’s the matter with misfits
That’s where we fit in!

–(this part sung by Rudolph)–
Why am I such a misfit?
I am not just a nit wit!
I’m an adorable reindeer
Why don’t I fit in?

–(this part sung by Hermey)–
Why am I such a misfit?
I am not just a nit wit!
They can’t fire me.
I QUIT!

We may be different from the rest
Who decides the test
Of what is really best?

We’re a couple of misfits
We’re a couple of misfits
What’s the matter with misfits
That’s where we fit in!


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