Beautiful Chaos

Susan Mary Gratwick is an Artist featured on Mental Spaghetti . This piece is titled, Bird Pecking My Heart Out.

This is all my doing.

This part of the story can only be brought to life by me. I can’t even say that my parents share the same viewpoint. Every time I begin to write this part of the story I stop. Describing the chaotic part of mental illness in my family is like taking a walk into a haunted forest. Oh I love a good scare, until it’s real and not going away anytime soon. Then the reality sets in and I find out how equipped I really am with horror. These are the jagged edges that my family goes through.


One week things are going smooth and the next the air is filled with dread. Some days I would walk into my parents house and just know that my parents hadn’t slept in days. When my sister is in a manic stage with bi polar, she doesn’t sleep. What do you feel like when you can’t sleep? You are pissed, right?? Well she was, she would get bored and just wake my parents up because she couldn’t stand to be awake and alone. So they would get up too. This would go on for days until the psychosis took over and my sister only felt safe in the hospital.


I know how I am when I’m sick. I just tell myself I’m not sick. That’s it and I go on about my way. Then the reality sets in and I find myself in worse condition then I originally was in because I denied the message my body was trying to tell me.

Self care is crucial with maintaining stability. Fighting is the stage before the house of cards collapses. Maintenance with meds is the hardest battle of mental illness. Body chemistry is missing some key ingredients, this is what creates the disturbance in the first place. Unfortunately when a schedule is created and the body is used to the medication, if a dose is missed or disrupted there is risk of relapse. It is a tight rope that requires so much patience and precision that I honestly know that I could never survive that life path.

But living with someone that does not feel they are sick to begin with often feels like I am fighting a losing battle.


I expect the unexpected with my sister. She isn’t the same as she was 13 years ago. She has slowly drained of all that once was. It is the hardest thing to watch, as the facets of her kaleidoscope begin to blend into one blank slide. The change has allowed me to admire simplicity. I used to love chaos, unpredictability, and disruption. Now it’s all a distant memory and I long for one stage to stay the same for a little while.

Decay is a part of life. Accelerated decay makes me wish there was a pause button. It makes me want to change the channel. No one wants to watch someone slip away one blink at a time. But it’s nature and there are few that can stop it’s destination.


One thing is for certain. I have adopted an odd sense of humor through this experience. My family enjoys, no we thrive with the fact that we can laugh in the face of discomfort. When we are together and we are laughing it’s really like nothing has changed. Our strength is that we are all odd in our own sort of way. So my little sister is just a piece of a Picasso puzzle and without her our uniqueness wouldn’t have the meaning it has because of her.

I’m going to go off road in this article and close with some advice. I am unqualified to give advice, but ask me if I care about that. Nope.

This movie gave me inspiration to get this piece off my chest. It is brutally honest about the lengths family will go to care for loved ones. I sobbed. It is so far my favorite theatrical experience regarding this subject. When you are ready to experience it, I hope it leaves it’s beautiful mark.

I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to recount the personal details my family has gone through or if it’s necessary. I’m not writing for sympathy or to make a difference. I write about this because it pours out of me with it’s own agenda.

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