Hazel Lancaster (The Fault in Our Stars) and Her View on Memory Loss in Psychiatric Patients

Posted: May 19, 2013 in Uncategorized
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A Fantastically Brilliant Read

Okay. I lied.

Hazel Lancaster from The Fault in Our Stars did not say these words in relation to mental illness related memory loss. In my opinion though, she summed up my feelings more succinctly than I ever did in my last post.

“The pleasure of remembering had been taken away from me, because there was no longer anyone to remember with. It felt like losing your co-rememberer meant losing the memory itself, as if the things we’d done were less real and important than they had been hours before.” – John Greene in his novel The Fault in Our Stars

Today, my bipolar mother bawled when she asked why I had glass in my foot during my senior prom last year. I gave her the honest answer: her irrational anger resulted in a broken mirror and there was no time to remove it while taking care of her.

I wonder though, was this the right thing to do? In my hand, I often have the power to give my mother a better ‘truth’, to instill a pleasant memory where she wont agonize over pain she has caused me and the monster she often becomes. She has a clean slate and I have to fill it. Somehow, though, I always give her the honest, non-embellished breakdown as it happened (in a softened and vague manner). I don’t like lies. I don’t like manipulation.

But is this the RIGHT thing to do? Under the assumption that lying is wrong, we have to define the truth. Is it still the truth if her side of the story and her experiences don’t exist? Is it the truth if all she gets to know is how we saw the events? She does not have the chance to know her own pain and torment in that moment. For, even when she is aggressively turning us into victims, her very being is constantly at war with itself. So is it fair to hand her newfound guilt and pain in my blunt and plain chronology of events?

I can’t give her her truth. I cannot tell her the full truth of those times. They don’t exist. So is it a form of lying to omit all that and give her my half of the truth?

These memories only exist in my head. The other person who I shared them with doesn’t remember. It’s as if they didn’t happen. No matter what I cannot give her a real memory, so isn’t it better to give her a more pleasant memory no matter how lonely it is for me?

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