“Mom, why do you take so many pills?” ~Lock
“Mom, are you gonna go to the hospital again?” ~Shock
“Mommy, stop smoking or you are going to get cancer and die.” ~Barrel
Kids are the most observant creatures on this planet – especially of the people they admire most – Mom & Dad. Their minds are like lint rollers, picking up everything – whether you want them to or not. I remember when Lock was maybe 3, and some guy was going insanely slow in front of me, and I sighed and said “Come on!” and Lock chimed in, “Move, asshole!” with perfect inflection. Whoops! (Though I agreed wholeheartedly…) Parents are the examples and teachers of life. How many things do you do the same as your Mom or Dad?
I remember my parents always said that they wanted me to have a better life than they had. When I had my gang, I said the same. I shifted their everything ahead of me. I see so many posts on social media celebrating and commending women who dedicate their lives to their children. “They come first.” “When you are a mom, your kids are your first priority.” “That woman is so selfish…” “I’ve never even put my child in daycare or with a babysitter, it’s my job to be with them!!!”
Well, I guess I don’t make the grade as usual, because if nothing else, they’ve had to be watched by others while I was in the mental hospital, or working to afford being broke. I remember the group sessions in the hospital opened my eyes to the beauty of, “You cannot pour from an empty pitcher.” and “Your first priority is yourself. Hmm! What a novel idea. Previously, I did not stop until I slept. Between kids, work, kids, dinner, house cleaning, and laundry, there was no “Me time”. I began realizing how unhealthy I was. I always tried to be and stay positive, and be how Facebook/parenting magazines/society says. When I veered off that course into a rage of “WHY IS THE HOUSE NEVER FUCKING CLEAN!?!!!” or “I JUST DID LAUNDRY FOR FIVE HOURS!!!!!!!!!” or “HE SMEARED POOP EVERYWHERE AAAAAAAAAH” etc. I’d HATE myself for not “enjoying my blessings”.
Every time I yelled at the kids, or did not patiently and lovingly place them in time out, I felt terrible. Every time I had a human urge to get away from my kids, see a friend, lie in bed and turn my brain off, I felt guilty. In reality, what I was doing was sliding my mind along a grater of unrealistic expectations and turning myself into hash browns of repression. Eventually, my therapist had told me about being a Highly Sensitive Person. I learned that my urge to be alone, quiet, in my bedroom, etc. weren’t “selfish”, it was actually self preservation. I was overwhelmed and my mind and body weren’t tolerating the cacophony of being a mom all the time.
After Jack and I separated, I became insistent that I needed help, because it was a lot for me. When I’d express feeling overwhelmed or depressed, I was told by so many to just grin and bear it. If you want to piss me off quickly and easily, tell me what to do. If you really want to piss me off, attempt to talk psychology/psychiatry or parenting with me. I am an educated woman in both myself, motherhood, and my mental health, because, funny, it’s important to me. As my anxiety and depression started spiking and I started noticing clear, almost calendar-like cycles in my moods, I knew that I wasn’t handling it well. I started focusing on self care a lot. I began opening up more about everything, and got more infusions of THINK HAPPY THOUGHTS! I’m not fucking Tinkerbell, okay?
No one has the right to tell another person how they “should” feel. It’s disgusting that so many people do. I felt compelled to minimize my feelings. For two years, I was told how my feelings were “just a phase” and “it will get better, just keep focusing on the good things”. Every time I’d go down the “rabbit hole” of my emotions – particularly sadness and loss, I was told to “cheer up!” It was like being an angsty teenager all over again. Except, now I have to be careful because:
“Don’t let the kids see you like this, smile for them…”
Yeah, I should completely mask my emotions and teach my kids to repress their feelings. Emotions are so unsightly and messy – like dog shit on the carpet. No one wants to deal with this nonsense! No, we are all supposed to be happy! If you aren’t happy, you aren’t doing it right. I want my kids to know their emotions are completely acceptable, because I want them to have a better life than me. In a sense, having everyone and their mother know that I am “crazy” leaves me free to absolutely not give a fuck, because people write me off as nuts, if they disagree. Have at it.
In my speck of the universe, my kids see an authentic mother. They see me as I am, as I struggle, and as I thrive. They see me do yoga, meditate, journal, and all of my other coping skills. They get honest answers to their questions, appropriate to their understanding. They know I love them no matter what. If we hide ourselves from our kids, hide our negative emotions, and teach them this piss poor example of positive only, are we not actually lying to them and teaching them a bullshit version of love? They go into the real world and realize “hmm! where did all these assholes come from?”
To me, bipolar is not just chemical – it is all encompassing. It is the very manifestation of this society’s inability to see through the illness of duality. I get the…gift? of living duality in my mind, but there is the blessing of knowing truly the bliss of quiet. The bliss of being centered, quiet, calm and peaceful. That is neither happy nor sad. I know the bliss of speaking my mind without fear of ramification. I know the bliss of wandering around in pajama pants without a single fuck to give. I know the bliss of being free of shame. I would rather give an authentic, genuine smile when I am happy, shed tears if I am sad, and release all of me into the world, as I am, without filter. I have 6 eyes watching me, and I do not want 3 robots going into this world.
I am Enough. I Am Bliss. I Am Grateful for it. Namaste!