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The Ups and Downs of Parenting With Bipolar Disorder

God. Finally. These children are asleep. I’ve been waiting all day for this. Time for some personal space. We all know there is no such thing as even using the restroom alone when they’re awake. Time for some peace. Time for some quiet….. but now it’s too quiet. Too many thoughts. Regrets. All the regrets.

I told you I couldn’t cuddle tonight, because I had a lot of cleaning to do. I really do. Most of it won’t get done tonight, but I’m gonna do some of it. Trust me baby girl, I really would love to cuddle with you. Your sweet little smile on your sleepy, little face is what gets me through each and every day. I know sometimes I seem mean, super tired, super busy or like I have so much less patience for you and your sister some days. I don’t mean to. I’m not trying to be a mean mommy. And the days that are good… they are so good. Lots of laughs, smiles, jokes and cuddles. You, my little sour patch, cannot even begin to fathom how much those days lift me in my darkest moments.

Then there are those days. The days when you want to go outside to ride your bike, but I can’t seem to find the energy to do more than I need to. The days where you want to do crafts, because you know I love to dig into that big, bright craft bag in the hall closet with you, but I can’t deal with it simply because it’s too much. I know you love cuddles and big squeeze hugs, but I just couldn’t deal with the physical contact today. I don’t mean to snap at you when your sister won’t stop crying and you have a question. You are just so curious, and how will you learn if I don’t show you? Mommy is overwhelmed; mommy is battling with things you don’t understand now, and hopefully, won’t ever have to experience.

Everyone has input to give you in every aspect of your life, whether it’s during your pregnancy, different phases of personal style, political preference, love preference or even your career of choice. They all think they know best, and that their answer is the only answer.

When I was diagnosed as depressed, it was: “eat healthier, sleep normal hours, exercise and be positive.” As if I hadn’t tried that. When I was told I had anxiety: “just breathe, there’s no reason to freak out.” Because that’s so helpful. When I was diagnosed as an insomniac: “it’s because you have too much caffeine.” Even though I had almost completely eliminated it from my life then. When it came to light that I was bipolar: “it’s because you let them put you on all those medications.”

All of these oh so unhelpful critics in my life have consistently put in their unwelcome two cents. When I found out I was pregnant and couldn’t be on my medications anymore, when I really needed any type of input, I got none.

Nobody tells you how hard it is to be in a constant battle with yourself, much less how hard it can be doing it with no help. No means of coping. No outlet. Just you, your fetus and your mind. In my experience, it was the hardest thing I’ve done. Continuing when I really didn’t want to. Fast forward five years and one additional kid later, unmedicated again because I can’t afford it now, and I find myself smack dab in the newest, extremely challenging chapter of my life. I’m a wife now, and with that comes new responsibilities.

I’m a mother to an infant now, not just a preschooler. It’s too much in the down parts of my cycle. It’s when I hate myself the most. I’m tired, so no sweetie, I can’t bring myself to play hide-and-seek right now. Can she tell that I’m not OK again? Oh yes, I did see the baby make that silly face. No, I didn’t, I was closing my eyes for a second. I’m overwhelmed.

Of course my love, I don’t mind if your friends stop by for a drink. Great. I must fake it. It’s exhausting and I don’t have any more to give right now. I have enough going on in my life, in my mind without the constant judgment from others. Do they really think I don’t know there are better things to do rather than to stay home and watch TV and color? I’m doing the absolute best I can without putting myself in jeopardy of a complete breakdown.

Guess who’s manic again!? Do you know what that means? You bet we’re going to get this house spotless. We have errands to run. Oh wait! Baby girl has been wanting to paint. Let’s get the paints. The baby is growing, time to take out all the smaller clothes, get the bigger clothes and rearrange. But first, I need to get all the stuff for a gourmet dinner and homemade dessert. Of course I can make lunches for my husband to take to work and my daughter to take to school even if they have other options. Obviously, this is after I try these new baby stretches I read about with the tiny human. The day went by so fast with so much to do, and now I have to wash the bottles and bathe the girls. I’m exhausted.

I overdid it again. I was too busy to even enjoy any of it.

I’m sorry baby, mommy really tries.

If you can relate, let Veronica know in the comments below.

Getty image by Choreograph