I have to say “Drive safe” when my husband leaves. If I don’t, he might get into an accident.
I have to say “I love you” at the end of every phone call. If I don’t, and my mom or dad die, they might die thinking that I didn’t love them.
I have to text “I love you” to all of them before I turn off my phone on the plane. If I don’t, they might think that I died mad at them.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition, is the go-to reference for diagnosing mental illnesses. It contains approximately 297 diagnoses of mental illnesses, under a bevy of codes. They include codes for:
adult psychological abuse by nonspouse or nonpartner, suspected
adjustment disorder, with disturbance of conduct
mild neurocognitive disorder due to multiple etiologies.
I’m still looking for the applicable code for a two-year old girl who thinks she killed her mom with her thoughts. The code for a little girl whose mother disappeared a week after she wished her dead. The code for a little girl who doesn’t understand what spinal meningitis is or what a hospital quarantine means. Because everyone knows that little girls can’t hurt people with their thoughts.
Except . . .
When I say “Drive safe,” my husband looks at me and sighs.
“I will,” he says, his eyes tired.
When I say, “I love you,” my mother pauses a little through the phone before saying, “I love you, too.”
When I text “I love you,” they know what I really mean.