Thursday, October 10, 2013

on being bipolar

This post will be brutally honest. It will be a look inside me, my brain, my soul.. It's a scary place, well only scary because it's different. So if you don't like different, if you are going to be judgmental, discriminating, critical, cynical, or condescending, just go ahead and close out this tab and head on back to Facebook.

In my last personal post I came out of the bipolar closet.... well, kind of. I guess if you're around me, you know I'm up and down a lot. It's a struggle.

"I want to sit with you right now... Cause some days you're nice. And some days you're mean." -Isabella, age 3.

I've been watching [when I say watching, it means that I let it play on my laptop or the iPad while I do dishes, cook, clean, crochet.. fold laundry.] Say Yes to the Dress. The other day there was a girl on there who just couldn't find a dress, she had OCD. Like bad. She'd wash her hands til she bled bad. So "saying yes to the dress" and actually making that decision was so hard for her. It made me sad. You could tell that she just wanted to scream, she just wanted to be normal for a bit. Just enjoy the experience without over thinking it. Though I don't have OCD I can understand her struggle. The wishing you could just get over it and be normal, but feeling this wall that just shuts you out of that "normalcy" that you can see in others. I see moms that have a full day, that get to paint chairs, work out, take their kids to activities, keep their house tidy, make 3 meals most days. and still have time to hang out with their friends once or twice a week.. That blows my mind. I don't even get it. How?! HOW do you do that?! I have my good times, when I'm on a roll and I'm all, "Check me out! I'm an adult!" and then there's those slumps. The house is a wreck, the kids are dirty and we're eating cereal from the last 2 clean bowls. During a craft show, after just having a baby, or just during a stressful time, that would be acceptable to me. But every couple of weeks?! Ugh. It kills me. Then I feel busy, full of energy ready to take on every project and the world. But it takes all that energy for me to get things caught back up. I understand that you should just keep up with the dishes girl. Just suck it up and do it. Duh. Easy peasy right? It should be. Then why is it so daunting to me?! Why is keeping a balance so hard. I've struggled with this for as long as I can remember. A lot of people don't get it. They just don't. And that's ok. Just be nice. Don't judge. On my good days, I bet I'd run circles around you.

I am not a morning person, ever. Even on my good days. I mean, I think that the whole world agrees that waking up is hard. On those really, really bad days for me, it's even harder. I wake up feeling like I haven't slept at all. Like I could just go right on sleeping. For days. I've been trying to head that off by waking up extra early and going to the gym at least 2-3 times a week. On the days that I do, I love it. Waking up is still hard, but when I come home I have to shower, get breakfast, wake the kids up, and get D to school. Then I come home, feed the dogs and water the plants.. [I've kepts a few plants + herbs alive y'all!! woo hoo!] That sets the tone for the day and I have a plan and take care of business. I'd like to thank my darling friend Shannon for getting me hooked on the early morning work out thing. Shannon is a stud... She teaches cardio kickboxing at the YMCA and totally kicks people's egos to the curb. The best part about early morning work outs is that no matter what the rest of the day throws at you, you've already worked out and can just go to bed when the kids do. Like 8pm. I think appreciation for an early bed times just comes with growing older..

My psychiatrist and I have decided that this little routine and having a game plan for the day is my best way of coping with my moods. I thrive with order. But then.. I'm also an all or nothing type of girl.. when that morning routine is broken, I feel like I should just give up and start again the next day. That sucks. It takes a lot for me to snap out of it.

Another thing that I have found helpful are friends. Cutting a lot of crappy friends out. Not where you thought I was going with this huh? Well, I made a list. One of my best friends, I think she's my best friend actually.. though we don't go around doing the whole "besties!" thing because.. well, that's stupid. She once said, "friendships are supposed to be easy. No making excuses, just honest and easy. Relationships with family and your partner, those are the ones that require so much work." And she's right. So I decided to evaluate my friendships. I didn't have any bad friends really, but I did let people use me. I did get overwhelmed taking care of my friends and not myself or my family. I did let friends influence me going to Sonic for lunch and letting the kids play, then going to the park even though I know I should get home and work on orders or whatever. I didn't want to miss out. I'd stay up late to get things done, then was a zombie during the day.

Those friends didn't get it. So we don't hang out as much anymore. I've made 3 sections on my "friends list": 1. friends I'll see at holiday parties and birthday parties (most people) 2. friends that are definitely keepers (4 people I think) and 3. "friends" that I don't want as friends at all, that if I never saw or heard from them again I couldn't care less.. (only 2 on this one!) That may be harsh. But that's how my mind works best, with lists, compartments, and boundaries. I've never had boundaries before. People would talk to me about anything and I'd over share and get overly attached and try to mother everyone. People don't want you to be their mother Emma!

Learning boundaries, having a routine... er.. a FLEXIBLE routine, and being true to myself no matter what, that's what I need. That's what will help me. But besides all that.. because all that really just goes to the crapper more often than I'd like and then what?! Besides all that I know in my heart, my soul what I need. "The only one that can satisfy the human heart is the one who created it" -C.S. Lewis. I need God. I need to surrender, walk with, remember, even notice God. That's the hardest for me. I have a control issue, it's all or nothing like I've said before, so allowing someone else to guide me and let me lean on them is SO hard for me. It's a daily struggle. Surrender, just be. Just go with it. Be present, live your life, don't just exist. As a mom, as a friend, as a very conscious person I've realized that the best way to love, the biggest gift you could give to your spouse, your children, your family, your friends is to just let them be. Let them be themselves, let them grow and learn, and be there for them. No judgement, no meanness, just love. Douglas and Isabella behave well [for the most part], I have high standards and we have rules.. but they can choose to love ballet, and hip hop, and candy. And I'll encourage them to love those things that THEY want.. but I'll also make them brush their teeth, and practice their dance, and do good in school. Just like I know Mathew loves the gym and being fit, and pricey running shoes... But I also know when I should get him a bowl of ice cream because he's had a bad day.. and then tell him no to seconds.

That's how God works. Look around, he gave us this. It's up to us to choose what we do with it, he lets us be. Why not be great?!


  1. AKA...God made you great. And I've always admired how much you seem to get done. I'm glad you have figured out a way to thrive (with schedules).

    1. you're such a lovely friend! Thank you! I'm hoping I can get my act together and do everything I want.

  2. Emma I just think you have such a heart of gold. I really appreciate your honesty, encouragement, and willingness to just say what many of us are too scared to say sometimes. This is by far one of my favorite reads in a long time. Needed to hear someone else goes through some of the same trials and tribulations.
    I think your an amazing person and so happy to know you.

    1. You're so sweet! thank you! It's always nice to know that you're not alone with daily struggles. Specially the mom kind.

  3. wow-o love yah girl! I relate to these feelings more than you know! btw, my house is a wreck and i don't remember the last time I made dinner. ps i totally can't get out of bed either.

    1. ha ha! I know it sucks, but that's great! knowing other mommas struggle too is kind of nice. Like you're not just jacked up.


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