Parenting is a stressful gig for anyone. It comes filled with sleepless nights, tears, sweat, vomit, and so much more. Throw in the mix living and parenting with mental illness and stress levels soar to new heights.
I am writing this guest article for Simply Real Moms as a single mom. But I am not just your typical single mom–I am an awesome single mom! I work a full time job in the field I went to college for and have a small business I started with some friends. My children do exceptionally well academically and are happy and healthy. But even more than all that–I do all this while living with and managing my own madness in addition to the typical parenting madness. You see, I am bipolar. I also live with PTSD and even ADHD.
Learning to manage the madness has taken time and had bumps along the way. It isn’t perfect, but neither is anyone’s parenting! Just like any other parent, I’ve had to find balance in things–but they are different things than a parent without mental illness might have to. Parenting with mental illness comes with judgment, hiding your diagnosis, medication, doctor’s appointments, therapist appointments, fear your children have inherited your genes and more.
I am a mom parenting with mental illness.
I am a mom parenting with mental illness. Saying that provokes stereotypes to so many people and will cast down judgment on myself (and thousands of others parenting with mental illness), that this post is written anonymously. The last thing you want anyone in your life–be it personal or professional–to do, is to judge you based on your mental illness.
I am a mom parenting with mental illness. And no, that does not mean I sit at home and collect social security for my “disability”. I work, help with homework, carpool, volunteer, etc… I see being bipolar as a gift that makes me who I am and the mother I am.
I am a mom parenting with mental illness. I am active and involved in my children’s lives. In fact, I am their primary care giver. They excel in school and love extra curricular activities. I volunteer in some of their activities. To see me at a community event with my family, I would never stand out as any different from the mom next to me because I’m parenting with mental illness.
I am a mom parenting with mental illness. I have good days and I have bad days–just like everyone else. I also know what my support system is and who to turn to when I’m reaching a low. Where you might have a friend you call on a bad day, I have a psychiatrist and a psychologist.
I am a mom parenting with mental illness. I worry every day about my children growing up; whether they’ve inherited the genes that could cause them to live a life with mental illness. I over analyze and watch for signs of bipolar disorder and ADHD in my children.
I am a mom parenting with mental illness. Sometimes I wish the world was free of mental illness. I wish I didn’t have to mask being bipolar for fear of being judged by other parents, coworkers or friends.
I am a mom parenting with mental illness. No matter how much my family and I are thriving, there is always that notion in the back of my head that it could all go wrong one day and I could end up in a very different state. Who would take care of my children? What would happen to them without me?
I am a mom parenting with mental illness. Look at me and treat me as you would any other parent.
I am a mom.
If you or someone you know is struggling, please reach out to your local primary care physician as a starting point. If you need immediate help, contact the: