Sorry if this story jumps a bit.
Life for me has mostly been a struggle. I swore when I became a parent one day that I wouldn’t put my kids through the craziness I went through. Oh, how that wasn’t necessarily so.
You by know a little about me, my bipolar diagnosis, my childhood and being raised by my single mom who has borderline personality disorder.
You well know my life has not been a picnic.
Though, I can proudly say I’ve grown to be a strong woman with healthy morals, and an all around good person.
Though, being bipolar posed its struggle’s along the way. I was a bit of a free spirit as a teen. I also had major depression, and battled wanting to live. Hence, my suicide attempt when I was 15 years old.
Around 16 years of age, I had just left my religion, and found what I thought was the man of my dreams. When we met I was manic, and a bit vicarious. I unfortunately was also promiscuous. By 16 1/2 I got pregnant with my first child.
My pregnancy was fairly normal until the end. I suffered major depression. I recall crying a lot, thinking it was due to hormones. Not knowing I was bipolar. Well, my child was born. Healthy, happy, and with all fingers and toes.
I couldn’t at 17 be more over the moon!
Being a teen mom posed its difficulties, but being a bipolar mom was a whole new ballpark!
Early on I suffered depression. I often drank to cope. My relationship with my child’s dad was always rocky at best. He also became a drug and alcohol addict. We separated and got back together more times than Elizabeth Taylor got married. That was the bipolar.
I eventually got over the depression, and quit drinking. As I told myself I needed to be better for my child.
When my child was 10 months old. His dad and I got married. I was 18, he was 20.
It would turn out to be a violent, abusive, and emotionally damaging relationship. We eventually divorced. But not before my 2nd child was born.
My pregnancy was a breeze, my labor was a breeze, and no postpartum depression. I couldn’t have been so lucky!
Now, I had two children to raise. A single mom, struggling without any support from my ex. As toddlers it became difficult to manage my kids alone. Thank god for my mom. The kids and I moved in with her, and she helped out tremendously.
I unfortunately wasn’t always stable. I moved my kids and I around a lot. From apartment to house, and so forth. I always made sure the rent was paid, and there was always food on the table.
I did however have a spending habit during mania. Cutting our bills close. Even a few times, missing my timely rent.
I didn’t go out much as I felt my responsibility was to my kids. So I didn’t date either at the time.
Raising my kids I always did openly. I never held anything back from them. I was always honest, and shared life experiences as they were applicable.
By the time my kids were teenagers, things got a little harry. As I said, I didn’t get much help from my ex. He was always in and out of our kids lives. This posed a problem for our youngest. She would go through extensive therapy for separation anxiety because of her dad. To this day she is better but holds resentment for feeling abandoned by her dad.
My eldest was a handful to say the least. He put me and my now husband through the gauntlet. As it turns out, he maybe bipolar too!
This explained his antics, but made me feel horrible knowing I may have passed this along to him.
Today, he is an upstanding young man. I’m quite proud of how far he’s come!
I met my now husband when my kids were 5 and 7 years old. My kids at the time lived with their dad. I had asked him to help me out as I was trying to get stable. He lived with his mom at the time, figuring she would help out (and she did), so he agreed.
I moved in with my cousin to the city. This was the first time in my young adult life I didn’t have my children everyday. Again, they were 5 and 7 at this time.
I got a job working fulltime. I was making decent money, and had hardly anything to pay for rent. I would pay my ex about $800 per paycheck to help support our kids. I got paid bi-weekly, that’s $1,600 a month towards their food, rent, and extras.
During this time I went a little manic. Ok, really manic. I had a taste of a freedom I had never experienced before. I started going out with my cousin at night to clubs and bars. Something I had no experience doing but enjoyed. It was a fun time!
I would visit my kids religiously on the weekends to see how they were doing, and make sure their dad was caring for them adequately.
I had made a lot of friends at work. We would often all go to the bar down the street after work. One of my friends introduced me to his long time friend, a guy he knew since he was a child. He thought we would hit it off. His friend also had a child and thought we had a lot in common.
Well, we did hit it off! He’s now my husband of 8 years, though we’ve been together 13 years!
We would later have a child of our own. But I’m getting a little ahead of myself.
My now husband and I had such great fun together! We went out to bars, clubs, and fancy restaurants. We eventually moved in together only after a few months of dating. I was always the life of the party, and in good spirits. Well, as I know now it was due to mania.
A year of dating and he welcomed the idea of us putting our family together. With his help I got stable enough financially to get my kids.
My eldest was in kindergarten at the time. I discussed the matter with my ex. He was reluctant as he was accustomed to me giving him $1,600 a month. And forgot to mention he didn’t work.
But, I got my kids back after a little over a year of them being with their dad. I was so happy! We had all moved into a friend’s house, and she agreed to babysit my kids too! It was a win, win!
Unfortunately, this would turn disastrous and we would move out on our own.
I was working at my job until I was about 2 months pregnant with my last child.
We had moved about an hour from my job, and it was hard and expensive to commute. I eventually got another job closer to home. But would quit later on in my pregnancy.
My pregnancy went well, until the end I started going through depression. I delivered another happy, healthy baby.
But, went through mania after I delivered. Before, I couldn’t leave home after having my first child with postpartum. This time I couldn’t stay home. I found myself going to bars, and leaving my family. I just couldn’t take the pressure of a new baby. My now husband spent most of the first six weeks with our child. At six weeks postpartum I found a job.
When I should have been home taking care of my child, I went to work instead. I had crazy not consistent hours at my new job and would work nights. Leaving my husband alone to take care of the kids.
On my day shift it would be my responsibility to pick the kids up from school and daycare. On occasion I would forget in my manic state. Staying at work late.
I would eventually get out of mania and switch off to depression. This was bad. I remember hitting depression and a mixed state. Telling my husband we needed to move our family into a house (we currently lived in a duplex). Even though we couldn’t afford it, we would figure it out some how. Well we did.
By this time together as a family we had moved three times. In the future we would move a total of nine times before settling on where were at now in a 5 year span. I’m happy to say we’ve been in our home for three years now, the longest we’ve ever lived in one place!
My youngest child has been my easiest child to raise. He is creative, smart, and just an all around great loving and caring person. I’m proud to be his mommy! He had endured a little of my craziness. But so far he is the child that doesn’t remember moving around a lot, moms mania, or my instability.
Luckily, by the time he was cognizant of me, I had finally been diagnosed. Put on medication and going to therapy regularly. Life for him has been fairly normal compared to my eldest kids.
Mind you, I’m not proud of my history but am proud to have gotten help! I’ve made amends with my eldest children on the past. Though they are understanding that mom was ill, and not always herself.
It’s been a rough ride to say the least. From growing up to having a family, but I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world!
Like I’ve said, I’m proud of my children, and who they have become! I’m fortunate that they aren’t as scarred as I was growing up. I did manage to keep my promise to myself to some degree, and raised my kids differently then I was, and there living proof of a loving family!
If you would like to share your story of being a bipolar mom, feel free to post in the comments, or DM me personal via twitter.