I have borderline personality disorder and bipolar. I don’t hide it. It’s part of who I am but by no means all of who I am. I feel that being open about having mental illness will help destigmatize it.
Just think, if you’re a super awesome person, people like you, you do good things…AND you have a mental illness, people will start to realize that maybe it’s not all “one flew over the cuckoos nest”.
Any way, I didn’t always know I was sick. Most people get diagnosed between 25-30 but with more knowledge being out there, diagnosis is coming earlier and earlier.
Before diagnosis, I knew something was wrong with me but I didn’t know what. I was angry all the time. I mean, rage out angry. I did things I couldn’t explain which hurt myself and others. I didn’t like this person but I didn’t know how to stop.
Diagnosis wasn’t a magical turning point either. Things got worse before they got better.
My family bore the brunt of it all. They were where I felt most comfortable to be myself and myself wasn’t pleasant.
I yelled all the time. It was my manner of communication. My poor children could do no right and were constantly afraid of me.
When I wasn’t yelling, I was sleeping. God, I could sleep like I was training for the Olympics.
The poor babies got used to mommy being absent in one way or another.
I started looking for help around the age of 18 but I didn’t get diagnosed till I was 27.
Ten years of not knowing what was wrong and another four years of trying to figure all of this out.
It was rough to say the least.
I’ve started to get my feet underneath me in the last 2-3 years. I’m starting to understand my triggers much better. I’m balancing my need for social with my families need for me, much better.
My kids are better behaved. I don’t know if it’s because I’m more understanding or because they know they can actually do right now so…lets do right. Either way, I’m yelling much less (if at all) for so many reasons.
Today my youngest did something which would have made me blow my top for sure.
I had a headache and I resisted the urge to sleep it off in my bed. Instead I went downstairs where my son was playing video games and chatted with him till I nodded off.
When I woke, he was gone. Not from the basement, from the house.
I tore off and went looking for him.
He was at a friends house where my eldest had a sleepover last night.
He was still in his pjs and he had invited himself over.
So far he’s committed three household infractions
1) Tell people where you’re going
2) Get dressed before you go out
3) Don’t invite yourself over to somebodies house
When we got home I sat him down and talked to him. I didn’t yell, I just broke it down calmly.
This might not seem like a big thing to some people but it’s huge in this house and it’s been a regular thing for about a year now.
When we were done talking my son said to me “I’m glad you’re not mean mommy anymore”
I hugged him tight and explained that I was sick for a very long time and being sick made my temper hard to control, but I’ve gotten better for them. For my boys. I got better so that I could be a better mommy.
He hugged me tighter and started to cry. I went to comfort him and he told me “These are happy tears, mommy”
I kissed his head and cried with him.
After that moment, he proceeded to get excited about chocolate milk and guacamole.
He is now downstairs playing with his brother innocently oblivious to what kind of mark he made on my heart and my recovery today.
What seems like a little moment to him is huge to me. I will never forget this.
If you’re struggling with mental health issues, please read this and know you can get better, you can be the person you want to be. This is NOT who you are. You are wonderful, loving, fun, and unique.