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Manic Marge Is Here!

By March 16, 2016 May 15th, 2020 No Comments

It’s been awhile since Manic Marge has been at our house. We’re so used to seeing Anxious Annie and Depressed Debbie that when Manic Marge pops into the picture, we forget how colorful our life can become in a hurry!

As is typical when we see a large swing one way or another, there is usually a trigger that sets it off. Our recent visit from Manic Marge was prompted by my husband’s trip to Las Vegas. So, really, Sophia and I were the ones that got to experience Manic Marge in all her glory.

Manic Marge made her presence known Tuesday, one day before Jeff was to leave for Vegas. I’m at work and get a call from a police officer saying that Chloe (Marge’s “real” name) had posted some fairly violent comments on Facebook. In fact, the officer notified me, a month earlier, the police had handcuffed and arrested a student from a local high school for making similar comments. Only in his case, he directed the comments toward the school. Marge was smart enough to make sweeping generalizations about how she’d target half the town.

“What were you thinking?” I asked Marge. “It was a joke. I thought it was funny,” she said “Well, it’s not funny at all and we have a meeting with the officer this afternoon.”

Within minutes of hanging up the phone with her, she texted me and said that we’d need to meet the officer another day. She had to go help a friend with her injured horse. I called her immediately, enraged. “What is wrong with you? This is serious! You could go to jail for something like this! We will meet with the police officer this afternoon. You may not go off and help your friend with her horse.”

I met Marge and the officer at a school to talk. She immediately burst into tears. “What’s wrong?” I asked. “I was supposed to go to Salem (four hours away) with my friend and now I can’t go because they couldn’t wait for me!” she sobbed. “Salem?!” I said. “I thought you said you were going to help your friend with her horse?” “Well I knew you’d say no but we were going to be back by eight tonight.” Exasperated, I said, “Chloe, Salem is four hours away and if they just left, they’ll be getting there at eight. You wouldn’t have been home until one o’clock in the morning!” Not concerned at all by having to talk with the police officer or by what she had done on Facebook, she said, “Well now it’s all ruined because of this!”

Later that night I calmly explained to Marge why I wouldn’t have let her go to Salem with some stranger that I didn’t know, to a location I didn’t know, to meet up with some other stranger that I didn’t know. I know, right!? It gets better.

Jeff was off to Vegas the next morning and I went to work as usual. I get a call around noon from Marge asking if her friend could come spend the night (it’s spring break, you know; even though she hasn’t been to school in more than two months). Fine, I agreed. I told her I would be going to exercise class after work and then needed to pick Sophia up from an event, take her to soccer practice, attend a parent meeting, and then I’d be home.

My class was from 5:30-6:30 pm and when it was done, I had eight missed calls from Marge on my phone plus a text, “Jenny and I are ordering Olive Garden online and you need to go pick it up and pay for it.” I call, “What did you order and what time will it be ready?” “We ordered fettucine, salad and bread sticks and it will be ready in an hour,” she said. Okay, I thought, the timing will actually work out fine. I went and picked up Soph from her event and dropped her off at soccer practice. I jumped on the freeway and got to Olive Garden in plenty of time to pay the bill and drop it off with Marge at home. I proceed to pay the dinner bill and it’s over $60 for two teenage girls! “What the heck did they order,” I ask the cashier. “Two fettucine plates, salad and 48 bread sticks,” she said. “48 bread sticks!?”

Sending back most of the bread sticks and fixing the order added another 10 minutes to my trip. I hustled home to drop the order to Marge only to find the house empty. “Where are you!?” I called her, frustrated. “We went with my friend to give her horse medicine and to Walmart,” says Marge. Irritated, I reply, “Well your hot food is here and waiting. I’ll see you after I get home with Sophia.”

More than two hours after her initial call for food, Soph and I return home from soccer practice. Again, no Marge in sight. “Where the hell are you?!” I call her cell. “We’ll be home in 10 minutes,” says Marge. 10 minutes pass, no Marge. I’m doing laundry when a half hour later I hear her come through the door. Marge comes sauntering to the laundry room with a box and small bag from Walmart. “What’s in the box, Chloe?” I ask. “I couldn’t leave them on the side of the road,” says Marge. “You didn’t find them on the side of the road. Don’t lie. What’s in the box?” “Baby bunnies,” she says. “Oh, Chloe! Where did you get them?” I sigh. “In Grants Pass. Look at them. They’re so cute.” “How many are there?” I say. “Three,” says Marge. “Your dad is going to kill you.”

Thankfully, the next day without dad passes with no harm, no foul and Marge plays happily with her bunnies. Friday rolls around and her friend comes over for the night again. This time, they want to go out with some other friends. Asking the standard questions, “Where are you going? With who?” I agree, stating that she needs to be home by 10 pm. About an hour after she leaves, she texts me and says that she and her friend are going to stay the night with another friend, who I trust. However, I was a little suspicious because of all the lying, so I messaged the mom to check it out. I didn’t hear from the mom but I was pretty sure Marge was up to something. I told her that the friend’s mom said that there were no plans for a sleepover and that she needed to come home immediately. “No!” she curtly replied and then sent a long paragraph about how we never let her have fun and we always say no. I called and told her she needed to talk to me next time and that I would let her stay out a little later. “Be home by 11 pm,” I said.

1:15 am rolls around and in comes Marge and her friend. Needless-to-say, the next day I took the baby bunnies to the local animal control center and firmly said, “No!” when she asked to go out again the next night.

I could go on and on about the mental health reasons she did what she did but quite frankly, I’m exhausted. And, if you know anyone who’s ever been manic, your’re smiling and shaking your head. Off to take a nap!

Andrea Berryman Childreth

Author Andrea Berryman Childreth

Andrea Berryman Childreth is an award-winning author of the book, ON THE EDGE: Help and hope for parenting children with mental illness, founder of The Lemonade Project, advocate and parent coach. She has first-hand experience with parenting a mentally ill daughter and has struggled with mental illness, herself. Her goal is to help empower people to openly share their stories and improve access to equitable mental health services.

More posts by Andrea Berryman Childreth

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