9 year old Happy Tears

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.

A quiet moment with my youngest

A quiet moment with my youngest

Doctor Who family (or how I learned to stop worrying and let Wil Wheaton save my con)

As mentioned in an earlier blog post, this year I attended my first ComiCon and brought my kids along for the ride.
Because I’m a cool mom (read: occasionally, completely irresponsible in the name of fun) I took them out of school on the Friday of the con and we just nerded out ALL DAY!!!

It was brilliant. We dressed as Doctors 9, 10 & 11… Complete with a fez for my eldest. Fantastic! Molto bene! Geronimo!

I had a VIP weekend pass which allowed us to get in early and get preferred line treatment. It was wonderful for just me and brilliant with the kids.

Now, I had explained to the kids that as a group costume, especially containing children, people would want to take our picture and boy did the ever. We couldn’t get from one booth to the next without being stopped at least once.
At one point we came across a Dalek and all sonic’d it to the delight of everybody around. It was great!
That was until my eldest started getting a little sullen and rude.
I turned to talk to him and he was crying. My youngest is a big ball of extroversion and I’m no stranger to a camera so it had never occurred to me that my eldest would get upset by all the people taking our picture (I will shout out right now…everybody was extremely polite and asked us first)

Immediately I shut things down and brought the boys to get something to eat. We sat down and I let them just chill.
I had some photo ops to juggle around, reschedule and what not so I decided that would be the next course of events. I could do that while they just hung out, sitting down, calming down.

As we got up I noticed the line up for Wil Wheaton autographs was starting.
I loved Wesley Crusher and anybody who says anything against him has me to deal with…and the boys adore Wil on The Big Bang Theory so we were all excited to meet him.

I got us into line and we waited for our turn.
As we approached I saw how much Wil seemed to genuinely enjoy meeting his fans. It was really nice to see since there were some people there whom you could tell were tired of Cons. Wil’s wife Anne was by his side, chatting people up and being a delight herself. It was just wonderful to see.

Soon enough it was our turn. We walked up, the boys chose the picture they wanted signed and we approached Wil Wheaton.
He looked up to ask us what we wanted on the picture and his eyes got wide “OH MY GOD!!! YOU GUYS ARE DRESSED LIKE THE DOCTORS!!! Can I take your picture and put it on the Twitters?”
I’m not sure how I said “Sure. Of course” because my brain was saying “AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!! OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD! WIL FRICKING WHEATON WANTS YOUR PICTURE!!!”
So, we arranged ourselves, posed and got our picture taken by one of my first celebrity crushes and the only person there my kids were super excited to meet.
Next order of business was getting our chosen picture signed and heading off for the next person. I’ll be honest, my kids did most of the talking at that point.
As we walked off I was shaking, people were congratulating me on hitting some geek pinacle but all I could do was tell my kids it was mom’s turn to sit down.

Something happened as we walked away though. Somebody asked to take our picture again and my eldest jumped at the opportunity. He posed like a champ, looked Eleveny and thanked them as they finished. Less than half an hour prior he’d been in tears at the prospect of another photo being taken.
I asked him what changed and he said “Um…Wil Wheaton wanted a picture we look so cool” as though I should know this already.

Through genuine interaction and interest in his fans, Wil Wheaton not only saved the day but now my kids are excited for next year and want to group costume again…knowing full well people will want our pictures.

It was an amazing moment for them and an amazing moment for me. For us to bond together, muddle through the tears and then have something super cool happen as a group was brilliant.

I’m a single mom and I haven’t always gotten “it” right but on that day, with a little help from somebody I’d never met, I think I did.

Photo Courtesy of Wil Wheaton

Photo Courtesy of Wil Wheaton