I don’t think I’ve ever stayed so mad for this long in my life.
A week ago, I had a nasty knock-down drag-out fight with my monster-in-law. I explained that I had a problem with the way my oldest daughter had been treated. She then proceeded to tell me what a horrible mother I am, that my kids are unhappy because of it, and every other nasty thing you can think of that she might say in that situation. Throughout the course of the argument, she also informed me that I don’t have bipolar disorder, and that I just use that as an excuse because I don’t want to do things. That I’m depressed all the time, and that’s not fair to my kids because I used to be happier
Huh. I’m so glad she told me all of that. I never knew! Well, that’s not completely true. I know that it’s not fair to my kids. It’s not fair to any of us that I feel the way I do. I guess I should clarify that after she said that I don’t have bipolar, she said, and I quote, “I guess I shouldn’t say that, I’m not a doctor.” No, you’re right, you’re not. Despite what you may think, you DO NOT know everything, and when it comes to my situation, you actually know very little.
All of this, however, is not what has me so angry. It doesn’t help, but it’s not the main factor. What pisses me off the most is that she got to me. I laid awake for hours last night dwelling on the fact that she’s right, that I’m a horrible mother, that my best is not good enough to be considered even an okay mother. I cried as I thought of how my children would grow up to resent me because whether or not I tried my hardest, I couldn’t manage to hide my sadness, or my exhaustion, or just the fact that sometimes it’s more than I can do just to hold my head up, let alone accomplish anything else at the same time. I felt my stomach turn and my hands shake as I texted the crisis line, because I couldn’t stop my mind from going to a very dark place, a place that it doesn’t go very often but one that means I need help**. I contemplated her telling me that they’re children and shouldn’t have to suffer because of my issues. On that, she’s right. They SHOULDN’T have to suffer from my issues. But I can’t control that, and neither can anyone else. And as awful as it might sound at first, I don’t want to.
I want my kids to understand that mental illness is not something you have to suffer through alone.
I want them to know that if they ever, even for a second, question their thought process or why they can’t help but act a certain way, that it’s not shameful to tell me, to tell their dad or their friends, to tell anyone how they’re feeling. I don’t ever want them to hesitate in getting the help they need. I don’t want them to live with feelings of guilt, of worthlessness, of hopelessness, of fear or anger or desperation. I want them to grow up seeing that it’s not something that’s easy for anyone, and that that’s okay.
More than anything, I want them to grow up knowing that it was hard for me, harder than anything I’ve ever done, but that Mommy tried. She did her best, and she wasn’t the perfect mother, but she loved them more than anything on earth, and that while every day was a challenge, she FOUGHT.
Because really, that’s all any of us can do. Just keep fighting.
** If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/GetHelp/LifelineChat.aspx to use the Lifeline chat.