An essay by Brian McLaughlin, Advocate

Little Green Apples

Presently I find my self in transition from mania to depression. Mania is wonderful as it makes me fearless and removes all limits. Mania is also terrible as it makes me fearless and removes all limits. Mania is like listening to the Rolling Stones on 10, and is bright like a sun flower painted by Van Gogh. Depression is silent like a grave and just as dark.

I am blessed with parents who love me to a degree that surpasses my comprehension. My father is 81. My Mother is 29. I find this curious as I know she was 33 when she had me, and I am now fast approaching my 45th birthday.

My parents have been with me though all the suffering. However, I sense that their pain exceeds anything I have encountered.

Recently something happened that at first I found troubling and later I came to understand.

Depressed I called home. My Dad answered and I shared once again I was cycling down into a depressed state. My Dad paused silently for a moment and then handed the phone to my Mother. I repeated what I had told my Dad seconds earlier. My mother also paused for a moment and said: "there is a sale of Granny Smith Apples would you like me to get you some?" Confused I said yes thank you, and we politely said goodbye.

What happened to my loving supportive parents? For a time I remained confused and frustrated. Didn’t they hear that I was hurting?

Then I came to understand. My parents still loved me but they simple had no more to give. They could no longer share my pain. My Dad had to hand me off. My Mom had to talk of little green apples as they could bare no more pain.

I think many parents of persons with mental illness come to this point. I thought someone should tell them it is OK. There may come a time when they have no more to give. And once one gives all they have, what more can be asked or expected of them.

I did get my little green apples. I put them in a bowl on my kitchen table. These apples are not for eating however. They are for looking at. They remind me I am loved and even the worst depression will pass in time.

So for all you loving, long suffering parents out there, this author for one is giving you permission to step back and let go when the time comes. Trust that your children will find their way. Trust that they to will one day find their own bowl of little green apples.

Respectfully submitted for your consideration,

Brian Patrick McLaughlin MS/CPS
MH Consumer Advocate
Erie County, PA.

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