Parenting is really, unbelievably hard.
Parenting with mental illness makes it so much harder to be a good parent. I am grateful my illness has not been hospital worthy so far. I am grateful that my meds for the most part, for now keep my illness at bay.
Trying to process mental illness feels very selfish when you are a parent. Having any illness as a parent makes you feel like a failure to taking time away from your family to work on making yourself better.
Do your children know you have mental illness? How much have you told them?
My children know I have bipolar, but I don't think either of them really understand what it means and how it applies to them and they are both in their late teens. They are wrapped up in discovering themselves and "they are nothing like me!"
I don't want to mention that they could inherit this from me. I will just let that be for now. It isn't a given and odds are they could go throughout life never having an episode. I am sure they will have questions for me later down the road as they try to understand the nuances of their childhood.
I have friends who don't understand my need to write all of my thoughts. Writing helps me process my thoughts and feelings. It helps me empty those thoughts and feelings out of me so I don't have to think about them all night. Nothing I write is profound or truly original, but it is my story. Things have happened to me and this is my way of documenting them. Some day way down the road, I want to be able to help my great, great grandchildren to make sense of this if they are diagnose with this disease. Maybe it will help them to see that I am okay, and they will be okay as well.
I post my thoughts publicly for the same reason. Again, nothing I write is earth shattering news, however I hope it puts a real person's experience to this illness. I hope that my silliness makes one person with bipolar feel less alone.
If not, this is purely my amusement and my sanity.
Happy Father's Day to all of the Mental Dad's and Caregiver Dad's out there. I hope you all are surrounded by your families and the day is filled with laughs and love.
That is not the way it is for many of us. Some of our families are so toxic that is has become best for us to not attend family functions. Some of our dad's have passed away.
My dad passed away a couple of years ago. I miss him terribly. For the first time in years, I dreamed about him. It wasn't a dream full of message and spiritual vision, it was a dream of him comforting me, in the dream. He kept checking in to make sure I was comfortable, where I was sitting and where I was laying down relaxing in a living room that was neither his, nor mine. I was talking to a former coworker and telling them to stay with the company or they would regret it. My dad kept checking in with me. It was sad that I was telling this guy to stay when I couldn't tell myself that a year ago. But I was aware of my dad checking my comfort in the dream. I thought it was very sweet.
Weird ass dream, but I am grateful for it this Father's Day!
I received an email that my local grocery store was having a hiring fair yesterday. I had applied online, but as we all know if you aren't standing in front of them, you are just a name and number. So I gussied myself up and walked in. I was so nervous it was physical shaking and I couldn't relax my shoulders. He interviewed us standing in line. OMG it was nerve racking.
He had several Customer Clerk positions available, aka grocery baggers and buggie corralers. I said sure and he said he would call me at the end of the fair to come back up to complete the paperwork. Sure enough I got the job. This was the moment the panic began. What the fuck have I done? Like I need anymore stress and anxiety in my life. What had I done.
I was trying to let go and let God. Breathing in, breathing out. I don't know when I start, but it is after a background check. Then the training begins and then I will be on the floor.
It is a blessing, I know this. 20 hours in the evening and weekend. I haven't stayed up until 9 pm in years. Not sure how I am going to manage this. The grocery store is very close to home so I cannot complain about that. It is all perfect.
The problem is, I am not perfect. I am a big mess of nerves and fears. Why am I so afraid to go bag groceries for a couple of hours, a couple nights a week. The mental game is the part of anxiety that is the worst. I probably have a week or more before anything starts and that is a long time to be lost in my head.
However, I can say, I got the job!
I saw this on Facebook and had to share it. After the long dreary day I am having, this made me laugh and smile happy to know that I have been sexually redeemed!
I have been having some real moments of jealousy of those who have come before me to share their stories. Lately I have been filled with doubt that I have anything new to offer. I am nervous to interview because my resume reads like a travel journal. She went here. Then she went there. Now she is trying to go somewhere new. I have a lot of negative self talk happening in my head. Today I feel defeated and limited in what I have to offer. I know it will pass, but today feels heavy.
Do you feel this?
I sure as hell do. Is this why we can't sleep with out some sort of pill?
Have you ever known peace that would allow you to sleep at night and stay asleep? I can't remember a time I haven't struggled with sleep. As far back as middle school I remember tossing and turning for far too long each night. I started self medicating with drugs and alcohol around 12 years old. That is how I found sleep through most of my teens and twenties. By my thirties, I was being prescribed Ambien to sleep. I long for peace that would allow my soul to rest. What would it feel like to lay down in bed and fall asleep naturally instead of the medicated wave that smashes against my skull knocking me under.
"Someone said " A lot of people struggle with sleep because sleep requires peace."
I feel this down to my toes. I want peace but I don't think those of us with bipolar ever really get peace. We get meds. Sleep requires meds, even when I am level, sleep requires meds. Does that mean I am severely screwed up? Probably, but I would like peace. I think on it often and cling to The Serenity Prayer as my only road map to being at peace and being present. Some days I am able to accept the things I cannot change and some days I get really hung up trying to change others and trying to change the outcome of things outside of my power.
I am going to let my mind continue to simmer on this idea of being at peace and how that relates to those of us with mental illness.
I hope you find peace tonight!
These signs I am looking at to tell me what to do, are leading me to start a new chapter of my life.
A new chapter is what I want. A new chapter is what I need. The chapter I have been on for so long is the "poor me" chapter. I am ready to close that door and walk into the "great job Melissa" chapter.
I am ready to find out how all of the experiences I have been through the past few years will aide me in living my best life.
I could see several short fun adventure chapters before settling into the next long chapter of stability and happiness!
Each sign or message I get is telling me something good is finding its way to me and I need to keep taking my baby steps and keep my eyes open.
You can listen to this podcast on Itunes or Spotify or on anchor: https://anchor.fm/mentalmelissa/episodes/Mental-Illness-and-Aging-e164mg
The previous blog post has the links to some of the articles I reference in the podcast. I won't lie, this freaks me out. Knowing that because I have bipolar that I will die earlier than someone who doesn't have bipolar really makes me sad. It is hard enough to navigate this life every damn day with so many set backs with this illness but to learn that it will cheat me out of years of life breaks my heart.
Links to articles about late onset bipoal and aging with bipolar:
Can you see the repetition in options and opportunities that walk into your life? I sure can. Things are going smooth and pretty damn well and then boom, I pounce through my stable life like Godzilla. I burn down everything as I walk away. It is not pretty, but it is one part of my story I keep repeating.
I can see the repetition in my life. I have not been able to figure out how to make the changes needed to break the cycle. This applies to friends, bosses, significant others and with my parents.
This lesson of learning is one I am tired of receiving lessons on. I am ready to break this cycle, but it is happening one part of my life at a time. I can see if with my children who are pushing me so hard. More importantly I have learned to pick my battles. To weigh if what I will say will make a difference or even be understood. I am letting them be an adult and that is hard to do for me. I want to guide and lead my children to the safest possible place. They seem to want to choose the most difficult path with little reward, or short term reward. I am working on not taking what they say or does personally. They are their choices and they will provide their own consequences. I find myself ready to open my mouth and then having to shut it and relax my face. A small step forward for me. From time to time I mess up and voice my concern and am treated to a swift lesson of my children telling me how stupid I am to worry. They have it all under control.
The serenity prayer is said in my head when things get heated.
New Podcast: on the negative thoughts that are always in your head yapping at you!!! Let me know about yours after listening to mine! You can hear this podcast on Itunes or Spotify, just search Mental Melissa. Or you can follow the link below to listen to it.
Podcast Link: https://anchor.fm/mentalmelissa/episodes/Bipolar-and-negative-thoughts-e2nct4
#manicmonday #mentalhealth #mentalillness#mentalillnessawareness #healing #thejourney#mentalmelissa #bipolar #depression#mentalillnesscaregiver #bipolarmom#bipolarparenting
You can listen to this podcast on Itunes or Spotify search Mental Melissa. Or you can listen to the podcast following the link below.
Podcast Link: https://anchor.fm/mentalmelissa/episodes/Depression-creeping-in-e2shjc
Who has some coping skills for how they manage through their depression. I am considering a massive hair cut so I don’t have to shampoo as much. My hygiene is slipping. It has begun.
More on depression and why taking those small, baby steps is so damn hard.
Story Link: https://www.bphope.com/blog/why-is-it-so-hard-for-me-to-get-out-of-bed-when-im-depressed/?fbclid=IwAR1FhzMdh1P1BItA_IH7Af1H3WGBJ4EhiLOY55LgmLUflcGrqNTV-7hs8FY
Catch my podcast on my 10 Worst Things about Bipolar. You can listen to it on Itunes or Spotify. You can also catch the episode on Anchor Podcast: https://anchor.fm/mentalmelissa/episodes/10-worst-things-about-having-bipolar-e37a7v
#manicmonday #mentalhealth #mentalillness#mentalillnessawareness #healing #thejourney#mentalmelissa #bipolar #depression#mentalillnesscaregiver #bipolarmom#bipolarparenting #mania #maniac #igotthis #tired#tiredmama #podcast #anchorpodcast #psychology#10worstthings
Great read about what so many of us adult children of alcoholics feel and go through. I am the adult child of two alcoholics. There are studies that link childhood trauma to mental illness. The trauma also affects my anxiety. I am always waiting for the worst case scenario or the other shoe to drop.
Story Link: https://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcthree/article/9802fa99-14a4-46d4-b568-6eb4ad8d8b2a?fbclid=IwAR3uhj-fa2hp8rLTXE-PEoqRdP86ebV9of0Mtmdawdy9u0gkYVc57YeaKxI
Happy Friday! This just made me laugh. For some of us, this is about as much effort as we can make to get outside.
I have a chair outside that I just go sit in for 15 minutes or so. As I get better and come out of the fog, I have started walking in the evening. Not much, just under 2 miles most nights, but it feels good.
All I can recommend is that you start by sitting outside. The vitamin D is so good for your mood. And it helps to regulate your sleep. It is an easy way to take a little control of your illness. If you have a mattress to lay on, all the better!
Happy sunshiny Friday!
If your life continues on the path you are on, what will it be like in five years?
Honestly, it would be very boring and painful to watch unfold. I don't feel very exciting now. To go meet new people would be unbearable. I wouldn't have a great deal to speak about. I would feel very jealous of the people who were glittery and witty and who were living a life of experiences. I would feel jealous in general.
If my life stayed the same, I would still be overweight and not look like I remember myself looking a mere 5 years ago.
I would still be broke and living paycheck to paycheck. Which wouldn't be awful except I wouldn't be broke and happy, creating and being of service. I would just be broke and bored.
If my life stayed the same, would be so bored I would fall into a long, dreadful depression.
If my life stayed the same, would be lonely. I worry sometimes I might die of loneliness.
What do I need to change to stop this terrible future from happening?
I need to find my creativity again and start making something, anything. I need to read more and see more movies to fill my mind with interesting concepts and ideas. I need to go out with my girlfriends to stay in touch with my feminine side. I need to go out on more adventures and people watch with my boyfriend. I need to taste so many different things to fill my soul. I need to keep up my workouts and know that each day, each rep is leading me to a stronger body. I need to find a new job to humor my need for people interaction every day and to earn more money.
It is so easy to isolate yourself when you are feeling depressed. I need conversation and connection or I have little reason to get out of bed, regardless of the consequences.
It is so easy to get buried by the weight of this question. Daily, I wonder if anything I am doing matters, really matters.
I love the question of do I want to take the small changes that keeps me from reliving this year, over and over again. Until my next depression cycle, I am choosing to take the baby steps towards change. How about you? What do you need to do to alter your current path?
My body image is totally shot right now. Up until two weeks ago, I felt I looked 80 years old with zero muscle tone.
My muscles atrophied while I was laying in bed depressed. My muscles actually turned to jello while they were unused for well over nine months. The tone I used to have from my old job of hauling heavy furniture too and fro for events disappeared as I sat here physically doing nothing. I chose not to do any workout at all once I left that job.
I woke up one day and looked in the mirror and not only have I put on 30 extra pounds, but I have also lost all tone to my body. My arms are loose and flabby and my legs look empty and bad. Forget that all 30 of the pounds I have put on sit in my stomach, this just all feels bad. I don't want to see it. I don't want to touch it when I bathe. And I certainly don't want to bear it in summer clothes. Problem is summer is here and I can't hide in yoga pants and loose sweaters for much longer.
Last month as the clouds lifted in my head, I began going through the motions of squats and lunges. Then I started recreating the postures and steps to do bicep curls with no weight. Then I added triceps with my chair. I love doing shoulders and could use actual weights to do my reps. For my back I have been visualizing the motion to the machine workouts I would do in the gym, such as wide lat pull downs. No weight, just imagination and concentration on form.
No miracles have happened yet, but each day I pick one leg work out and one upper body workout and take my 20 minutes to crank it out. Now, my belly is still here as that is all diet, but I am feeling so much better about my arms and legs. I am also feeling better. Now none of this could be done when I am depressed. I couldn't get out of bed. I feel like I need to put the muscle back on, so I have something to atrophy again next time. Maybe the next depression will be shorter and I won't lose so much. I am always future tripping like I can control tomorrow.
Small steps. Nothing fancy. No gym membership and new leggings. Just going through the motions and taking tiny steps daily to make me feel better.
It is so easy to ask for help and then ignore the signs I don't want to see. I struggle with taking those first steps for fear I will fail. It is very easy to stand at the line and be paralyzed with fear. I am trying to keep moving forward, looking for the guidance from the Universe. Right now my guidance is mostly in the form of meme's on Instagram!
I feel like I have fucked up so much that it is reasonable to assume I will fuck up what is meant to be and all of the good things I should be receiving. I carry a lot of guilt for the good things I have screwed up and lost.
I am so scared of being rejected because I have special needs to work.
I am on year 7 of this need to work around my kids school drop off and pick up schedule, but my last employer hated the schedule I needed. They allowed my to work the part-time schedule, but not without showing irritation that someone else had to take up my slack. Since I am looking for work, I am having weird dream often. Last night I dreamed I was hire back and I was inundated with negative talk that they were having to deal with my hours again. This dream was complete with nasty scowls. I don't know why they hired me back knowing they were going to be disappointed. It seemed no one remembered all of the good work I did or that I did work a great deal of overtime, I just had to pick up my kids at 3 pm when school got out.
Now I am again looking for work and I have a running commentary in my head telling me no one is going to hire me because I am too difficult and don't carry my weight and that it is too hard to remember my stupid scheduling needs. I feel that I don't deserve a good job. I feel like I don't have anything to offer an employer, that because of my schedule I am worthless. I don't feel like I am worth asking them to make this exception of my hours, even though I know I could be the best thing for their business. I forget that in the moment when I have to tell them my hours conflict.
I am trying to shut down the negative bipolar self talk but it is very ingrained and ever present in who I am. What are some ways you shut down the negative talk in your head?
Yet another sign. This time from my Doreen Virtue Angel Cards.
"Stay on your present path, as it will take you far indeed."