Please welcome A’Driane for this week’s “Not a Bad Mom” post. Don’t know about my weekly Thursday series, check it out HERE. This beautifully written post about living through postpartum depression and now bipolar disorder really speaks to me. Please show A’Driane some love today.
We were going through our usual bath & bedtime routine when on a whim, after tucking in my 4 year old, I said, “May I have a kiss?” He paused, looking at me intently. Then with a look of purpose on his face, he stood up in his crib, walked over to me, and planted one right on my surprised mouth. It was probably the most surreal moment I’ve had since the doctor placed him on my chest in the delivery room and I heard him take his first full breath.
It was surreal, almost dream-like, but in that moment, as soon as he kissed me and laid down to sleep, I felt something breaking through me….through the fog of PPD and anxiety, through the hazy clouds of Bipolar Disorder…
Relief. Hope. Joy. Delight. Love.
In that tiny but significant instant all the pain, the confusion, the anger, the anguish…it all faded into the background of my mind, into the black, and when I think about my struggle with postpartum depression and anxiety, it almost seems as if it happened to another person, another mother.
But I know it happened to me. It happened to my kids. The roller coaster ride of depression, the fits of rage and irritability, the uncontrollable mood swings, the feelings of disconnect and the machete of mommie guilt that sliced me in half every time I wanted to bond with my son, but couldn’t because he felt foreign to me. It happened to me. It robbed me of the joy of the first 18 mos of his life.
But….his kiss……it made me realize that I’m not that person anymore. I’ve grown beyond that. All the worry, all the guilt, all the shame, the feelings of inadequacy and wanting to give up because parenting and living with mental illness was overwhelmingly difficult. His kiss removed the sting and it gave me a hope that’s been absent from my life.You see while my experience with postpartum depression and anxiety is behind me, I have a new battle to fight that’s been zapping me of strength, hope, and making me question my capabilities to be a good mother.
I have rapid cycling Bipolar Disorder type II.
Any given day of the week, I’m swinging back and forth between a volatile and intense set of emotions. Hypomania and lack of sleep one day, severe depression and immobilized by hopelessness the next. In this past year I’ve had suicidal ideations, I’ve had to go to the hospital, and I’ve been on at least 5 different medications since my diagnosis in July. There are days where taking care of my boys is something I’m barely able to do, let alone take care of myself.
But I do. I do what it takes. I have to live with this for the rest of my life, but I refuse to let it live my life for me. I refuse to let it bleed into the lives of my children, so yes…I have rapid cycling Bipolar Disorder. But I am compliant. I take my medications. I go to my therapy and psychiatrist appointments-even if I have to take my kids with me, even on the days that I can barely move and would rather give in to the voice that tell me I’m a horrible mother so trying to be something else is futile. I go. I push. I fight. With tears in my eyes and clenched teeth, I do. what. it. takes. Because my boys are worth it. Because I’m worth it.
So yes. I am a single mother of two boys struggling to manage my Bipolar Disorder. But I am not a bad mother. Alex’s loving kiss 3 weeks ago proved it to me.
And that? Gives me hope.