Friday, 2 December 2005

You be the Judge

I was putting the garbage out late last evening after a lovely evening out with a friend when I noticed the neighbourhood "crazy" person pacing the street, vehemently arguing with someone invisible to me. I realize that it is not politically correct or particularily kind to call some one nuts now a days when they are suffering from a mental illness. I'm not actually sure what the "mot du jour" is for mentally ill people today, but I feel some allowances can be made for me in this case since I suffer from a mental illness myself. Motherhood.

I stood and watched him for a while, while he stood and watched me. I started wondering if we were all that different from each other. We were both about the same age. We each could be found out wandering the streets at all hours. I, usually with a dog or child attached to me somewhere. Him, with his ever present plastic grocery bag. We both could be found talking to ourselves out in public, although I usually don't get into too many heated debates with myself such as he least not out loud.

I started to look at how he was dressed. He wears the same clothes always. He is always clean and tidy, but in the same outfit day in and day out. I am pretty much always in grubby jeans splattered with craft materials and little handprints made with whatever was on the menu from a couple of hours before. My sweatshirts and t-shirts usually have cartoon characters on them with cute little sayings. I am definately the messier of the two of us.

He can be found frequenting the street corner in front of a house that he had one time lived in. In it now resides the new tennant. There have been many since he had last lived there. I have lived in our home now for 13 years. He stands and observes the passing of cars and people on the street. Calmly. Softly speaking to himself. I can be found chasing school buses with strawberry blonde hair flying wildly out of an untidy ponytail dressed in odd combinations of clothing. (If I remember to get dressed at all!) I often can be found sporting penguin, duckie or piggy socks and sandals even though,'s winter in Canada.

I don't talk softly when outside in this wild state. I am yelling. Shouting as if my life depended on it. Chasing a dog out of the street and harrassing children about their choice of clothing and about their non-existent mittens.

I have a bad memory. I can be seen driving to school with forgotten forms, books, lunches after having chased my children onto the bus.

I don't recall ever being this way before I had children. I got married and still I seemed normal then. I took a first step on the road to responsibility and bought a dog. A really big dog. Still, I remained "normal." I had four children within 7 years. BINGO. I am no longer the normal person I once was. That's what leads me to believe that indeed motherhood is a mental illness. A wonderful one at that, but one just the same.

I'll leave you to draw your own conclusions about who is the crazier of the two of us. I've brought this insanity willingly upon myself. He didn't. 1 in 5 people suffer from some kind of mental illness. Of the ones that don't, many of them are parents. You see, I'm not worried about this because you know what? I'm in good company.


Karen said...

I found you through fourth_fret. I really like the insight in your latest post.

The socks and sandals in winter made me laugh. I just put my sandals away for that very reason.

Mr. Incredulous said...

1 in 5 suffer from mental illness... Depending on one's definition of mental illness and who is determining who those 20% are. Personally, I think it's more like 19 out of every 20 have some sort of mental illness, and I alone account for about 3.7 people! I'm a father, a Toronto Blue Jays fan, an eccentric musician and an employee for a major uniform distribution company. Yep, that adds up to 3.7 alright!

anonymous said...

Motherhood absolutely brings on mental illness. I have once heard it said that you lose a quarter of your brain with each child. I have 3 that makes me pretty darn crazy! With four - you have no mind left whatsoever which excuses every irrational, questionable decision you have ever made.

I think the only cure is LOT of chocolate!

C -

fourth_fret said...

if i weren't mentally ill, i couldn't talk to napoleon on weekends, or ask Jesus if I could borrow his lighter. there are perks to mental illness... which means their must be perks to mommy illness. heh.

Perpetual Chocoholic said...

Hi Karen! I used to worry about fashion. Now I'm happy if I don't have my clothes on the right way around and matching socks. Nice to meet you!

Mr. I...are there any other type of muscicians? And, do you get a discount on uniforms? The fact that you are 3.7 mentally ill people all rolled into one just makes you that much more special.

Carole, I had less than a complete brain to start with before I had kids. Does that leave me in the negative numbers where brains are concerned? It sure does feel that way much of the time. lol. I think that chocolate is starting to pickle my body somehow.

Fourth_Fret....I used to talk to a tree at our cottage named George. No one thought twice about it since it was me. Between you and me, mentally ill or not, one tends to get away with alot more if people think you're a little off your rocker. I know I have lately. It's alot of fun too!

Deb said...

I don't feel so alone now (LOL). I've ran after buses in furry bear house slippers.

Adventurer said...

Hey, I'm trying for a fourth, I think I'm ready to loose that last quarter.

Perpetual Chocoholic said...

Hey Deb, I can picture it, but I wish that I had a picture of it. Would have loved to see you in your fuzzy bear slippers chasing a bus! LOL.

Perpetual Chocoholic said...

Hey adventurure, you lost that last quarter ages ago when you started hangin' with me. I tend to have that effect on people. Would you have even considered dressing up strangers lawn gnomes before we hooked up? I rest my case.