no one said that life with a toddler was going to be easy. B is now 22 months old. not a baby, but not yet a big girl. she goes to school everyday when i go to work. after 3 months she is finally at the place where she’s stopped crying when i leave her and she’s happy to see her teacher and classmates. B is even happy to see me when i pick her up; she runs to me with a big smile on her face. it’s the best feeling in the world.
however, once we get in the car all hell breaks loose. there are tears. there is screaming. sometimes there is throwing things or kicking the chair. it’s hard for B too.
last night was no exception.
i picked B up and she was just off. totally cranky when she got in the car. she wanted milk. she wanted a binky. when we finished the 3 minute drive to the house she wouldn’t get out of her car seat. she wouldn’t walk to the house.
inside was no easier. she started by hitting the dog. then she ran screaming to her room, knocking all the books and toys off her shelf. she wouldn’t let me change her. she wouldn’t take off her shoes. she wouldn’t let me leave her to take the dog out. she wouldn’t come with me to take the dog out. she wanted to be held and when i did she screamed and wanted to go down.
this back and forth continued all night – 3 hours full of a manic episode by the 22 month old. I’m sure this kind of behavior would shred the strongest of nerves. but i don’t know what that’s like. I’m bipolar.
i try to remain as calm as possible with B. i try to have a neutral or warm voice. i try not to yell. i try to comfort her or help her find ways to self comfort. nothing seemed to work last night. it took its toll of me. i felt my hands shaking. my face and neck got flushed. my heart raced. my head hurt. i could feel my breathing rise. i was going into an anxiety attack.
i don’t like taking anything when i get an anxiety attack. i don’t like how it makes me feel. i don’t like when I’m loopy or sleep too hard and don’t hear B in the middle of the night. but as the screams and cries continued and the eventual throwing of the dog’s food all over the living room i knew needed some help. when i give in to a medicine to get me out of that state i feel like I’ve failed.
do all moms feel like this when their kids go off the deep end? i only know how i feel and i always make it more about my bipolar disorder. i don’t know another normal than what i experience and even then i don’t know if this is normal for a bipolar mom.
i know it’s a phase. B has lots of good days. yesterday she was off. normally i would be in a funk and starting a depression after a day like yesterday. this would have been a trigger for me. i feel better that i recognized what was happening and after B went to bed i sat down and relaxed. i did some deep breathing exercises and turned off my phone and ipad. i just sat in silence. i needed that relief.
I am glad you and B made it though the night. This post did not come across as being about your bipolar but about the hardships that our toddlers put upon us. You did great. You made it through. AND, more than that, your trigger didn’t go off! This is an accomplishment and you should feel very proud. I hope you are on your meds. You made a statement about giving into your medication and that you define that as failure.
Perhaps you were not speaking of your bipolar medication, it wasn’t clear. Here’s what I do know (I am bipolar 2 and raised a son on my own to adulthood). There will be more days and nights like that then you can count. That is normal. Your child is normal. Bipolar disorder is serious. And as a parent it is your responsibility to stay on your medication. This is not a disease of insanity, it is in your brain chemistry and now they’re finding it’s even in the DNA. Your brain requires that medication to function properly. It is not a failure on your part at all. It is part of who you are. You have as much control over being bipolar as you do your eye color. However, you do have the ability to lesson the impact of its symptoms by taking the medication. Stay safe, be well. I know you love your daughter so do it for her if you cannot do it for yourself.
I want to invite you to check out our brand new community blog Letters to the Mind where creatives and family members living with the impact of mental illness can write to their illness and post in an attempt to further our own personal growth as well as teach the world around us that we are not as different as they think. Education is the key to ending stigma!
We are always looking for contributors to submit written or artistic expressions of what living with their disease looks like. Sufferers or family members, bloggers or non-bloggers. Every story matters in the fight to end stigma. Please help me to spread the word about this opportunity, and I invite you and your readers to join in our efforts to create a world with #NoMoreStigma.
Link to Contribution page.
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Thanks so much for your kind words. I take my meds religiously everyday. I try not to give into my emergency stash of Xanax unless I have to…I’ll check out your blog too. I appreciate your encouragement!
Ah, yes. That is quite different. I am so glad to hear you understand the difference. Being a mom is the hardest thing in the world. But there will be so many rewards along the way that will get you through. 🙂
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