Bipolar Thoughts


My daughter has seven teeth now, and soon it will be eight, all of her front teeth.

We never had any real issues with her teething. She seemed to deal with it really well, for all seven. The story might change when the big boys in the back come in, but for now she is good. But there are still some strange things that happen when a baby is teething. They become sick, they might get diarrhea or vomit, they want to be held a lot, they get a bad diaper rash, and obviously their gums swell up, change color and eventually bleed while a tooth pops through.

The whole process is amazing to me. Why would an entire body need to react so harshly to a tooth cutting through some gums? It doesn’t happen when adult teeth come in, not that I remember anyway. I have yet to find something that thoroughly explains why all this occurs, but it does, so if you have a child that has not yet teethed, watch out.

It makes me think about how the body reacts in seemingly inexplicable ways to other forms of stress.

It makes me wonder specifically about the physical struggles I sometimes go through. I know that depression can bring on physical illness. I have experienced headaches and migraines, gastronomical distress, insomnia, lack of appetite, and even full body aches like the flu.

I wonder what the connection is that links the mind to the body, how a state of one can change the well-being of the other.

It makes me feel like maybe I’ve popped out quite a few teeth in my life, seeing how much time I’ve spent in bed over the years. I wonder how they have altered my life. Is it possible that my body has done something good with all the pain it has churned out? If it has, where do I find it?

We are taught in counseling that thoughts can take us anywhere, good or bad. And I think that if I’m going to turn all of this pain into a tooth I might have to think of the good it is serving me. Is it making me more creative? More compassionate? More me?

It is easy to have thoughts follow pain down a dark hole. We have all done it. Maybe success is really just avoiding those holes or finding quick passage out once you’ve found yourself inside one. Maybe that is the tooth, your passage from darkness into light.