yesterday i found out that my stepmother had a stroke last week. my dear old dad decided to wait a week to tell me. she’s more like a mother to me than my biological mother. they’ve been married for over 20 years, so she really is close family, unlike some step family relationships.
it was a fairly minor stroke, or so my dad says. she’s in her early 70s and both she and my dad eat carefully, exercise, travel a lot, are still mentally sharp, really doing very well for their age, better than me, actually! that’s all true except “eat carefully” means not eating at all for her. the main thing the doctors said she needs to do to get healthy is to gain weight.
she’s anorexic, painfully thin and obsessed with things like, did i eat too much celery today. this all started when her first husband died. it was her way of taking control of the family and their lives. in my eyes, this is mental illness, right? of course it is! but no one mentions it. ever.
it took them many many years and near misses for them to acknowledge and make efforts to understand my bipolar disorder. she collapsed last year and had to go to the hospital for a week or so. her weight was much too low. i tried to convince my dad that she needed to see a therapist and that he face the fact that she has a mental illness. he tried to be very reassuring, but i knew, and know even more now, that nothing changed.
i wonder to myself, is it too late? is she too old to try and tackle a huge problem and hope to recover? most of the family says no. but what else would they say if they weren’t trying to put it as far back in their minds as they can? all i know is that she’s going to die earlier than she should.
i guess i’ll keep my mouth shut, but i tell ya, it’s not easy.