Thursday, July 21, 2011


   It's Thursday evening and mommy is having her weekly mental breakdown. My therapist pointed out that every Friday morning when I see her, I have a tale to tell about my breakdown the night before. She wondered if it might have something to do with me needing to have something to talk about in therapy. But that's not it. The reason I break down every Thursday evening around dinner time is because this is when I realize that I am a failure.

   At least this is what I tell myself, over and over again, like clockwork.

   At the end of every day, I feel like a failure as a mother. I never feel like I've done enough. I haven't paid enough attention; I haven't played enough, read enough, taught her enough. I've let her be alone too much; let her watch too much television. Way too much television. I've yelled too much, gotten too angry too often. I have failed her in every way.

   I don't feel like this in the beginning of the week. Every Monday I start off thinking this new week is going to be different. That I'm going to be better, that I'm going to be the best mom I can be. By three o'clock I start to feel that slipping through my fingers and reality starts to set in.

   The reality is that I don't know what the hell I'm doing. I know how to feed her, care for here when she's sick, make sure she's safe, the basics of care. But I don't know how to play with her. I don't know how to entertain her, educate her. It's just the two of us, all day long, and I don't know what to do. We can't go anywhere since we don't have a car. We have no yard. And I've essentially isolated us from any friends she might have.

   So she plays alone. A lot. She reads. She watches too much television. I try to do things with her, but she has the attention span of a flea and apparently I have forgotten how to just play. We read, we splash in the kiddie pool. But by three o'clock I have run out of ideas for both of us. And then the clock starts ticking, counting down until her dad gets home. Because he'll know what to do. He knows how to play, how to be silly, how to be and do all the things she needs. And I've got three hours to kill until then.

   By the time Thursday comes around, I am done. Used up. And this is when the voice starts telling me that I am not enough. That I am a failure. And I become frantic, panicky, trying to tell the voice it's wrong, trying to prove it's wrong. All this leads to is frustration, irritation, anxiety and usually lots of yelling. And then the voice sits back and quietly laughs, because I have just proven it right.

   I know I need something just for me, and school is starting soon, so I'll have that. But I feel like that's just going to be more time that I'm not giving her. And it doesn't do anything for her. And it still won't teach me how to be a good mom. I don't know that I have that in me. I love her to pieces, but most of the time I feel  like she deserves more than I have to give. She deserves a better mom, not a failure. And I don't know how to fix it.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Isolation and Fear

   For me, isolation is both a symptom and cause of depression. And I've noticed that I've started isolating myself again lately. I haven't written a new post in awhile, I haven't really tried to get out of the house as much as I should. A lot of that has to do with having no transportation. But some has to do with the comfortableness of isolation.

A Warm Blanket

   When you do something long enough, it becomes a habit, a comfort. When you change that habit, you feel unsure, a little afraid and not at all comfortable. That's how it is with isolation.

   After awhile isolation becomes a comfortable habit to me, like a warm blanket I can hide in. It's easy to isolate - just stop calling people, stop leaving the house, stop posting on Facebook. You don't really have to work that hard to isolate yourself.

An Itchy Blanket

   But being isolated does take it's toll. You become stagnant, with no new ideas or input from the outside world. You begin to see your friends making plans without you and you get angry because you're bored at home, with an equally bored toddler. The blanket starts to chafe. And you take it out on those around you.


   When I start to feel that way, I get myself all psyched up to reach out, to try to contact friends I haven't seen in awhile, to get back out into the world. But the blanket has me trapped. The longer I've been wrapped in my blanket, the tighter it gets and the scarier it is to try to break free. I don't know what to say to these friends who have kept going while I've hidden away. I feel guilty for asking for help when I haven't made any other attempts at contact.

   And it's not that I don't care about others while I'm isolated. I read all the posts on Facebook and my mommy's group's forums. I laugh at their kids antics and commiserate with them when they've had a bad day. But I do it all from the comfort of my own world. Because I've been gone so long from the rest of the world that I don't know if I'm welcome anymore.

Pushing Through

   I know it's all in my head. No one has done anything to make me feel unwelcome. It's no one's fault but my own that I'm not included - I haven't made myself available to be included. I've done everything to be ignored, because that is easier and there's less chance of rejection.

   But I'm not the only one involved in this isolation. I have Punkin' Butt to think about, so I have to push through my discomfort. She needs socialization and friends. And I know I do, too. And the funny thing is, when I put myself out there, I receive help and friendship in return. My friends are still there; I'm the one that hid away from them.

   So tomorrow PB and I have a full day of fun and friends planned. I'm nervous as hell, worrying that I won't fit in anymore. Worried that I'll have nothing to talk about.  Worried that I've done irreparable damage to my friendships and that it will all come to a head. I'm pretty sure these are needless worries, but they are there nonetheless. But I will push through, for Punkin' Butt's and my sake. And our sanity.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Just Checking In

   It's been a rough few days here for this mommy's mind. Rage; guilt; crushing depression; isolation; anxiety. It's been a regular smorgasbord of psychological delights. To top it all off, I'm pretty convinced that there's more going on besides the bipolar. I've got symptoms and issues that I can't attribute to the way bipolar makes me feel. It's like they're leftovers that my current meds and therapy aren't addressing. I've got a list (several lists, in fact) in hand that I'll be bringing up to my therapist and new psychiatrist. I sense a new/additional diagnosis on the horizon. Which is fine, if it means getting the help I need to feel normal. Gods, I just want to feel normal.

Sunday, July 3, 2011


   William Shakespeare once said, "Men in rage strike those that wish them best." The same can be said of a certain stressed out, bipolar mommy. 

   Now I've never, ever laid a hand on Punkin' Butt. I'll admit there have been times when it was close and I had to just walk away, regardless of what she was doing "wrong." I say "wrong" because usually when I get that angry with her, it has nothing to do with her. Sure, she may not have been listening (again), but the real reason lies in me. 

   Rage strikes me when I least expect it, although I really should be expecting it. It's usually been building - irritability; rapid heart beat; feeling flushed; a headache in my right temple - and I've just ignored or not noticed the signs. When I'm starting to feel manic like that, rage doesn't need much of a reason to show itself. 

   There are several things that trigger me. Hunger is always a biggie. Boredom tends to make me manic and irritable. But I think my biggest trigger is noise. We can only run one major appliance in our house at a time. I can't run the dishwasher, washing machine and dryer all at the same time. My brain can not handle that much noise. It's just something I've come to accept and learned to deal with. 

   But there are times when I push it. I wait too long to eat; I don't plan out my day well enough; the house gets too loud. I start to feel manic. Then something goes "wrong." And the person usually doing "wrong" is Punkin' Butt. Throwing a temper tantrum, pulling the cat's tail (again), even just getting in my way as I'm stomping through the house. This is when I lose it. 

   When I lose it, I yell. A lot, and very loudly. And I find it hard to stop. No one is excused - PB, The Bearded One, our poor old cat. I'm mean. I tell people (and animals) to shut up. Yes, even my 2 1/2 year old little girl. I've told her to go away, to get out of my face, to leave me the hell alone. All in a very loud, very angry way. 

   It scares the shit out of me every time.

   It's scary to lose control that fast, that violently. And it's scary to tell you that it even happens. I'm always instantly apologetic and ashamed at my behavior. What kind of monster screams at their baby? Because, yes, this started years ago. And I don't ever let myself forget a single time it's happened.

   Punkin' Butt doesn't seem to have suffered any long term effects, thank the lords. And half the time she laughs at me when I yell at her. But it's the times when she looks at me with fear in her eyes that trouble me the most. I wonder if I've scarred her for life. 

   Thankfully, those time are becoming fewer and farther between. I'm learning to control my anger and how to read the signs long before things come to a head. There's a lot more laughter in our house than there used to be. And I'm learning to forgive myself for past transgressions. 

   But a part of me will always carry guilt for the way I've treated her. My therapist says that's not healthy. I think it's the way it has to be. If I didn't feel the guilt, how would I remember to behave better? And how could I not feel guilty? My daughter deserves to be treated better than that,  and the guilt I will always feel is a daily reminder of how not to treat this precious person. 


Thursday, June 30, 2011

Sleep, or the Lack Thereof

   I'm sitting here listening to Punkin' Butt scream at the top of her lungs to be let out of her crib. It's like nails on a chalkboard to my already fragile mood. Just a short while ago she was begging for nap time. This is how it goes at our house. Sleep time has become a power struggle.

Once Upon a Time

   Sleep hasn't always been an issue for us. We used to put her down, she'd play or fuss for a few minutes and then fall asleep. Didn't matter if it was nap time or bed time. She'd sleep until 7:30 in the morning and take a two hour nap. Now we're lucky when she sleeps past 5am and even goes to her room for nap time.

The Transition

   About a month ago, The Bearded One and I decided that it was time for Punkin Butt' to be in a big girl bed, so we took the side off of her crib. Then all hell broke loose. As soon as she knew she could get out of bed, it was all over. We finally gave up on trying to keep her in bed. If she wanted to fall asleep on the floor, that was fine. Eventually she started putting herself back in bed.

   Then she learned how to open doors.

The Fight

   Now every night is a fight to keep PB in her room. We've tried turning the doorknob so the lock is on the outside, but it's a cheap knob and a couple shakes unlocks the stupid thing. We tried a baby gate, but the doors are so narrow (and again, cheap) and the gate won't stay up. For 5 minutes we tried a latch on the outside of the door, but I felt so horrible that it quickly came off.

   Now we just turn the crib around so she can't get out. We give her a chance to stay in her room before we turn it. She gets one warning; the second time the crib gets turned and she can't get out of bed at all. After that she's usually asleep in under 5 minutes. So we know she's tired. It's just that the whole thing has become a big game with her.

My Sleep

   I know this is not going to solve anything. She's not learning to stay in her room; she's being kept there. But I don't really know any alternatives. I have to get my sleep. When you're bipolar, sleep is critical. Too much and I'm depressed (that doesn't usually happen with a 2 1/2 year old). Too little and I'm manic and aggressive (this tends to happen a lot).

   So we have to figure out PB's sleep situation. TBO can't always be the one to deal with it just so I can get my sleep. He does have a job to get to bright and early. We're sort of at a standoff right now, trying to figure out how to beat a 2 1/2 year old at her own game.