Blog

Mom Bun? Coffee? Yesterday’s Makeup? Rock It.

Wow, I havn’t blogged for wayy too long now! With my husband laid off work, well it’s been busy. When he is home, it’s like I have two kids instead of one, wait, make that two infants instead of one! I know other wives and mothers can relate, right? Men are needy! It’s as though they can’t do anything for themselves! “Will you make me a salad? Will you put in a movie? Will you find my coat for me? Will you run to the store for fruit snacks?” Fruit snacks!? Seriously, are you five?!  Don’t get me wrong, I love him so dearly, but right about the third time he is on the toilet taking a dump while I am burning dinner, calming the fussy baby, answering the phone, and letting the dog out to pee, he asks me to bring him some toilet paper? Well, sometimes mom loses her shit. Thankfully they invented this awesome thing called wine and nap time; saving mother’s lives since…. a long time ago!

Life can get hectic, there is no doubt about that. There is a lot of pressure on the mothers to keep everything perfect, and look good at the same time. I just want to send a real clear message to all the mommies out there, rocking the mom bun and yesterday’s makeup is actually just fine. Truly, people don’t care quite as much as you think, and more importanly does it matter if they do? The only person who’s opinion matters when it comes to your looks is your own. Embrace the tired mom look, those few extra pounds we might never lose, and that wild hair. Your kids are stilll gonna love you, and your man should too. One day those chitlens will be off to college and you will have that time to sleep in, drink more water than coffee, and actually ‘get ready’ in the mornings. Until then, rock it momma!

Now, drinking a pot of cofffee for a pick me up after pulling, yet another, all-nighter, that’s cool too. News flash, we ALL do it. If I don’t get my coffee in the morning, I can be one grumpy woman and my entire household knows it. It’s pretty much a gurantee that I get at least 10 quiet minutes to myself in the morning with my cup of coffee, and the whole day, family, and house is better off for it. Point in case, demand a bit of time for yourself, everyone needs it, and just because you are a mom, wife, or whatever, that does not mean your right to this privilege is null and void. I gurantee once you start taking a ‘time out’ for yourself, everyone will benefit.

Give yourself some love moms! Without you how would the world go ’round? Men might say otherwise, but we women know better, if we didn’t do our part… what a sorry mess this place would be. Hug your kids, drink your coffee, throw that mess called hair in a bun, and go get ’em. Make today your day and embrace the ‘not so hot and beautiful’ side of momming! 🙂

Happy Tuesday guys! Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

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Losing Identity

The eyes are the window to the soul. -(English Proverb)

Sometimes I look in the mirror and stare into my own eyes. They say the eyes are the window to the soul. You can tell a lot about a person by their eyes. For there, the deepest emotions are held.

At a first glance, my eyes seem happy. They are pretty, sure. They look content.

But under the makeup, past the superficial surface, there is a story. A story I get lost in. I see the hurt, the broken, the tired. It leaves me questioning my identity, my soul.

Have I ran from my past for so long that I left my self behind?

Have I lost my identity?

Who am I?

If I stare long enough, I feel as though I am a different person looking at me. Maybe, if I stare long enough, I’ll find myself through another person’s eyes.

 

 

 

On Raising a Bipolar Child

(words from the child)

Family gather ’round. I’d like tell you a few things about me. It’s different raising me than other children, I know. The very first thing I want you to hear? I love you. No matter what I may ever say or do, I love you.

I don’t imagine that any parent is happy to hear their child has Bipolar. Even if they can put societies stigmas on mental health aside, it’s still a lot to accept. If they know much about BP than they know there is going to be a rough journey ahead. If they know nothing of BP, it may be even more intimidating because it’s an ‘unknown’.

Having been the child with BP, and having been raised by parents who didn’t know much about it, I would like to offer some insight.

First off, you need to know that your child didn’t choose this. BP is an illness that needs to be reacted to the same way you would react to any chronic illness. Your child didn’t give themselves this; they didn’t ‘contract’ it. Acknowledge that this is just as hard for your child to accept as you, if not harder.

You won’t be able to help your child very well if you are not in a good place yourself. It is crucial for a parent of a BP child to take care of themselves. If you don’t, it is very easy for you to become burnt out, making things even harder. Your child will need a lot from you, but you can’t forget yourself.

It would be extremely beneficial to you to reach out to other parents who are rasing a BP child. Not, take note, someone to bash your child with. Talking negatively about your child to another parent is never something to be encouraged. You never know when or how your words might come full circle back to your child creating an even bigger separation between you and them.

Reaching out for support is important for several reasons. Another parent may be able to help you understand the illness. They may be able to offer you tips and advice on handling your child’s episodes, among many other things. They may even offer you much needed emotional support in times of need. They may be someone you can entrust your child to when you need to get away for a break. They will be better able to understand your child than most, leaving you with peace of mind.

Research. I cannot stress this enough. The more you know and understand your child’s illness the better suited you will be to help them. Knowledge is power. Read up on BP, there is plenty of information available on the topic. Don’t only read the ‘medical’ sites on it though. Read personal BP stories from people who live with it. These stories may help you learn more specific things to look for in your child to gauge episodes, as well as explain coping skills that other BP’s have had success with.

Medication and counseling can be very effective tools in coping with BP. However, again, I cannot stress enough the research these things need! Medication in particular is something to be approached with much caution. Side effects from medication can be devastating to your child. Some medications may make your child’s symptoms much worse. However some medications may help drastically. One thing about medication is certain: it will take many attempts of trial and error to find a correct combination and amount of medicine. Don’t lose hope if it seems that medicine doesn’t seem to be working. It takes time and patience. Remember, there is no ‘magic pill’. No pill is going to take away this illness; no pill is going to give you a perfect child. But medication may drastically help your child and ease or minimize episodes.

Counseling is an extremely effective tool. However, odds are that your child will be more than resistant to it. It is crucial to learn about the counselor you will be using before sending your child to meet with them. They need to be supportive, sensitive, and trustworthy. It is very helpful for you and your child to attend some counseling sessions together. Counselors can be great mediators and sources of information for both of you.

Listen to your child’s reports of their meetings with their counselor. They will likely be angry and resist sessions at first, but things should improve over time. If your child is consistently angry and upset with their counsolor and their sessions, perhaps a change in consoler should be considered.

Remember, a counselor does not have to be a paid professional, especially if you don’t have insurance, professional counselors can be very expensive. If you can’t find or afford a professional consoler, a mentor may be a better option for you. A mentor can be any adult individual that both you and your child trust and have relationship with. They should have similar values and beliefs as your family. They should be someone who you trust completely to be influencing your child. They also need to be someone your child can relate to and open up too. If they have a basic knowledge, or at least a willingness to learn,  about BP that is terrific. But if they don’t, they can still serve as a stable emotional support for your child. It is very helpful to have an extra set of ears for your child. They may be more willing to open up to a person other than their parent, but it is better for them to do this with a trusted adult as opposed to say a close, younger friend.

Handling your child’s episodes will be very trying to say the least. Help them to understand their episodes, the differences, and characteristics of them. When they are depressed, remind them of coping skills such as: exercise, artwork, journaling, or taking a shower or bath. When they are manic: try to channel their energy and excentrics into affordable, realistic, and productive projects. Having a bake sale, cleaning out and rearranging their room, decorating their room or the yard, gardening, joining a group or club, or taking on small short odd jobs can be effective ways at helping your child through mania. If it’s possible, do these things with your child when they are episodic. Your support and encouragement will be beyond helpful to them, and it will help you to connect.

Boundaries are even more important with BP children. Don’t, please don’t, lock your child away from the world. Encourage them to have friendships, to do things, to participate in life. A secluded BP becomes an anxious and depressed BP. You need to acknowledge your child’s emotions and illness and do your best to be understanding and forgiving. However, you need to set very clear, distinct boundaries. Sit down with your child and discuss boundaries when necessary. Try your best to compromise with them and meet in the middle on disagreeable subjects. This will make boundaries clear and easier for them to respect.

A conversation about boundaries can look like this:

 Screaming into your pillow, taking a break from the world in your room or playhouse, or writing angry letters and then destroying them are very acceptable ways to express angry emotions. Screaming at parents or siblings, causing physical pain like hitting or punching, destroying others’ property, or insulting others are unacceptable behaviors. Doing things with friends is ok, as long as you are checking in and respecting family rules. Running away, partying, or breaking family values is not ok.

Try to keep open communication with your child. Try to relate to them. Don’t make their illness scary. Talk openly about it with them, and be genuine. Give them opportunity to talk to you, make time for them. Unless it is absolutely necessary, never punish your child for being honest. If punishment must happen, be as gentle as is reasonable.

Be patient, reach out for support, take care of yourself, research your options, learn about BP, be involved with your child and their episodes, communicate as much as possible with your child, and love them unconditionally.

BP doesn’t have to rule your life, your family, or your child’s life. Be a team! Together you can raise your BP child to become a successful, respectable, wonderful adult! You are not alone, and you can succeed!

Stigma

I didn’t want to be ridiculed for my illness.

It makes me smile a bit when I see the look on people’s faces after telling them I’m Bipolar, clinically depressed, or have anxiety. They appear to be shocked that I would so blatantly offer this information. It is as if they expect me to be ashamed of my diagnosis and hide them away from the world. At one point in my life I was ashamed of these things. I did hide them. I didn’t want anyone to know that I was ‘different’. I didn’t want to be ridiculed for my illness.

That all changed for me once I stopped taking my medication and started to embrace who I was. It become simple for me to explain to people, this is something I deal with every day, this makes me a little unique, but it doesn’t rule my life.

It’s sad, truly, that there is such a stigma around mental illness. Believe me, it’s not ‘all in your head’.

I watch all these kid cartoons with my younger sister and my daughter, where the whole point of the story is loving people who are different. I guess the majority of Americans have yet to grasp that concept. And the funny thing is, we aren’t ‘different’. No different from the man with cancer, the girl with asthma, the woman with high cholesterol. We have a chronic medical condition. A disease, an imbalance in hormones, that we fight, put up with, and embrace each day. We aren’t crazy. We aren’t lunatics. We aren’t faking it. We are humans just like the rest of you, fighting to make a way in this world. Fighting for happiness and love. We want to be accepted.

Maybe there is a stigma because people don’t understand the illness. all they know is what they may have seen or heard from a variety of (likely unreliable) sources.

A lot of different ideas have come my way regarding my mental illness.

  • It’s not real
  • You’re just doing this for attention
  • Just take a happy pill
  • You will get better soon
  • If you are ‘sick’ why are you still at work
  • If you are that miserable why don’t you just give up
  • You are making yourself miserable
  • Can’t you just get over it
  • What is wrong with you

To these people all I can say is, I have a real, chronic, medical condition. It is a part of my world, always has been always will be. No I am not a psychopath. Rather I am a very understanding and forgiving person. I refuse to let you put me down because of our differences. You are fighting a battle of your own in some way, and I do not put you down because of it. I require equal respect; that I give so I shall receive.

I hope, that one voice at a time, we can put an end to this stigma around mental illness. We are people, who want the same things as you, forgive us, we have to work a little harder to get there.

 

Closet Eater

I shouldn’t be ashamed of the fact that I am hungry.

Closet eating has been one of my worst habits since middle school! You know, you wait till nobody is home or everyone is asleep. You creep out to the kitchen and just devour anything and every thing that looks appealing? Yeah? I’m not the only one? But the worst part is that we hide the evidence. We stuff the wrappers to the bottom of the trash or into couch cushions. We eat straight out of dishes so there is no visible mess besides the fork laying in the sink. We drink right out of the juice or soda jugs. All of these things that we would yell at our kids for doing, but we do them! Yeah… I’m a closet eater too. And the funny thing is, I know that nobody in my house would give a damn if I ate all this crap in front of them. I mean they might ask me to make them some too please, but it’s not like they would judge! I shouldn’t be ashamed of the fact that I am hungry. I shouldn’t worry about people judging me for eating. But yet, I am, and I know I’m not alone. Isn’t it sad. I need to stop this foolishness. From now on, I will no longer care about other’s judgement. If I’m hungry, by God I’m gonna eat, and I’m gonna enjoy it no matter who may be watching!

My Big Decision

Making a change in your life is always intimidating. I mean, stuff can go wrong and by the time it does it may be too late to change your mind and then your stuck with a decision you hate yourself for making. My big decision was made nearly four years ago now, and it was a big decision, but one I never regretted! After years of counsoling, phyciatrists, and even hospitalization, I made the decision to go off of my antidepressants and mood stabilizers. Big Decision! None of my friends and family could understand why. “You are finally stable and moving forward in life. Why would you want to risk changing that?” They all asked me. Why? I hadn’t been ‘un-medicated’ for years. I hated it. I hated that my meds made me feel like a zombie, that they made me fat, and most of all I hated that I had to rely on a pill to be sane. I really felt like I had learned enough about myself through all my therapy that I could manage my emotions and mood swings without medication. I did a LOT of research on what might happen if I decided to wean off my meds. Really there were two possible outcomes.

1. I could go off the tracks. I could become the manic-depressive freight train that I had been all over again. All my years of hard work could be wasted, and worse, my meds might not work for me even if I resumed taking them!

2. I could be ok. I could become a medicine free person who used alternative ways to handle my episodes. I could rediscover who I was. I could embrace my ‘disease’ and go on to lead a wonderful life.

I promised myself I was going to have outcome numer two. I took that leap of faith. With the help of my family, friends, and phyciatrist I weaned off of my medicines. And guess what? Life became beautiful. I was a person again. I was able to regain my healthy weight, and to get up off the couch and love my job. I was able to connect with friends and co-workers like never before because my mind wasn’t in this cloud of… nothing. I learned to meditate, to take a deep breath, to go for a run, or take a bubble bath when things got me down. I learned it was just fine to splurge on chocolate or a new outfit and actually feel ok about it. But the most important thing I learned was to love and accept myself. To acknowledge that I might have more drastic emotions and mood swings than others but that that was ok because that’s just part of who I am. And I am beautiful.

I made my big decision, and it was one of the best decisions I could have made for myself. I know that it’s not the right decision for everyone who suffers from a mental illness. But that’s ok. That’s what makes us unique and gorgeous in our own way. Find courage and learn to love yourself for who you are no matter what you are fighting! It’s ok, go ahead. Make peace with yourself.

Introductions

This is the excerpt for your very first post.

Part of being Bipolar is having hundreds of insecurities. Introductions, for instance, are horrid! Lord help me I have to meet someone new!? What if they don’t like me, what if they judge me, what if I do something embarassing?! Thoughts just spiral around in your head, out of contro, like a group of piranahs shredding your mind and you can’t make them stop! Like your first day of school all over again! “Seriously!” I have to tell myself. “Take a deep breath, smile, just relax and be yourself. If they dont like you than screw them anyways!” And it’s all ok. Life goes on, we make it through the introduction, and heck sometimes I even wind up liking the person! It wasn’t always so easy to talk myself out of the imminent panic attack though. In this blog I want to share with you how I have journeyed from the depressed, rebelious, medicated teen I was to the young, beautiful, sane mother I am now. Take a deep breath and stick with me here, heck maybe you’ll even end up liking me! 😉