We all know and have heard that saying… Mommin’ ain’t easy. There has never been a greater truth. I’m not telling you anything that is new. We all know our own truths as mommas. Even though our stories may be different, we have similarities that make us sisters. This is my truth, my reality, and how I handle motherhood. I share my story to let others know that you are not alone.
I have Bipolar 1. I have anxiety issues which are part of my bipolar. I, also, have mild OCD, although, that is not officially diagnosed. I am on three medications that I take daily. They help to even out the chemical imbalance in my brain. This is something I was born with. It is real. I am not faking it and I most definitely did not ask for it. I was diagnosed 10 years ago. I have been under medicated, over medicated, had a nervous breakdown, and, now, have had years of stability. I have an excellent psychologist and am managed on the least amount of medications possible.
My anxiety comes out as either anger or panic attacks. I hate the anger side of my anxiety. I become a total asshole to my husband because he is the one that is always here with me. Apologies mean nothing if they come often. However in my house, I could not live with myself if I didn’t apologize for the times when I am, unfairly, mean to him because my anxiety is beyond my control. I feel awful after the fact and regret the mean girl words that fly out of my mouth.
Riding The Latest Struggle Bus
Which brings me to the bigger point. When my anxiety is up, I cannot soothe my teething baby. My anxiety radiates off of me and she can sense it. Once she senses it, even though I am trying my best to project calm on the outside, all bets are off. I feel horrible because I should be able to comfort her. I worry how my anxiety will affect her as she grows. I have had a full-blown panic attack while trying to soothe her during a particularly bad teething night. I am lucky to have a husband who is very understanding. He jumped right in to give me a minute to gather myself. Once she was in his arms, she calmed right down. At that moment, my heart broke a little. I was happy she was calming down, but sad that I wasn’t the one able to calm her.
As I am writing this, I am crying. I am upset because I should be able to calm her. I am her mother and I cannot always function in the way she needs me to. I am on a new learning curve. I have to find new avenues to help curb my anxiety. To either reel it in or find a way to let it go. Writing is a big help to me. Finding a creative outlet. My favorite is making my baby girl laugh. What works varies from day to day.
Since I gave birth, I know the my body chemistry has changed. Until recently, my meds have been working but slowly the anxiety has gotten worse. I had to have one of my medications increased recently. I am waiting to see how it works… if it works. If not, then, it is back to the drawing board. If I am not stable then I struggle to take care of me, let alone my family. I will always put them first, but this is something that I must take a step back on. I must remind myself that this is part of my self-care routine. I will not give up!
I know I am not alone in my challenges. Many are not vocal due to all the negativity and misunderstanding about mental illness. Just know you are not alone. If you can manage without medicine, wonderful. If you have to go on meds, great. Do what works for you. I share this story for no other reason than to fight stigma and let those in the shadows know that I will be a voice for you. Stay strong.