Hide and Seek

 

Tip: Always be the seeker in Hide & Seek. It’s gives you 30 seconds of peace.

 

Come, now. We’ve all done it. Or at least wanted to. We’ve all paused for a moment before seeking, enjoying that glorious moment of silence, relishing the fact that we are free to roam about the house with no shadow in our steps.

And then we hear the giggle, the irrepressible bubble that cannot be held by hands, cannot be stayed. The insistent pssst, or even the outright, “In here, Mama.” They cannot stand to stay hidden, cannot bear to be apart from us. After they give us a turn at hiding, they will crawl right back into the spot we just vacated, so dear is their desire to be like us, learn from us, stay close to us.

Other than the tempting tricks we can play during this child’s game, there are serious questions and consequences it can raise for adults. In our role as parents, will we choose to hide our mental illnesses? Will we seek to be completely open and honest with our families, including our children? At the very least, we must seek solutions to live a healthy, fulfilled life. But will we pop the pill in secret and stuff the rest of our struggle down our throats with it instead of voicing it, breathing it?

There is the great possibility of two sides to a person with mental illness. Stigma makes me not want to write that because I fear untrained minds will go straight to schizophrenia, but that’s not what I mean. Light and dark. Public and private. Hidden and sussed out. The very same reason I didn’t want to allude to two sides is what may keep sufferers suffering in silence. It may be to keep a modicum of positivity in their lives – rather than dwelling on the difficulties. This and a fierce sense of protection for their children, I think, drive the decisions that most mentally-ill parents make. While I don’t consider myself the best at looking on the bright side, I know I do not want my children to know I suffer from depression and anxiety.

Yet, I resent the times I must plaster on a smile. I regret that I must function in spite of my foul mood. I revile the perfect, perky person I must be at all times for my children when I’m hurting.

There must be a sweet spot, somewhere between ‘Ready or not, here I come’ and ‘A-ha’, in that glorious moment of silence, where mom can hear herself think and child is about to unleash a cascade of laughter. Where child and mother are happy and true to themselves. Where hiding is only temporary in certain situations. And seeking is rewarded with sharing love and validation.

 

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2 Comments

  1. Love your new photo Jennifer 🙂

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