Photocollage by my talented bipolar child.
It's like having this beautiful puppy. And sometimes it's great being with the puppy. It climbs up into your lap, and you stroke its soft fur. It looks at you, and you can see it loves you. It even says, "I love you." And you love it back, and it feels like everything is going to be all right.
But sometimes when you put the puppy's dish down, it growls, "I despise you. Get away from my dish." And you try to explain, you don't need to growl at me, I'm just trying to feed you, but the puppy has a certain look in its eyes that makes you feel afraid, so you back out of the room, slowly, and leave it alone to eat.
If you're honest, you'll admit that the puppy has actually bitten you, and drawn blood. Sometimes you get out the bandages and bind up the wound yourself, without telling anyone. You feel ashamed. Sometimes you wish you had never gotten the puppy to begin with. Sometimes you think it would be best to knock the puppy into next week, and then you can't believe what a horrible person you are to think such things, because you still feel love for this puppy. You know that no one else will understand it or take care of it the way you do, and there are still times when it's good, and you want so much for the puppy to be happy and to have a good life.
So today, the puppy comes running up to you and wants to play. The puppy is all "Throw me the stick! Throw me the stick!" and wagging its tail. So you put aside your doubts and take it to the park, and you throw the stick. The puppy--really a young dog now--runs full out, and it is truly lovely to see it so free. It catches the stick in its mouth, effortlessly, and brings it back to you.
Its eyes bright, it drops the stick at your feet and says, "Here's your fucking stick, bitch."
There is much more to this story, which I hope to tell.