I want to introduce you to a new friend of mine, Alycia. She is mama to 7, friend to many, storyteller, writer and fighter.
She knows what it is to struggle and uses that for many peoples, mine included, benefit. She was the inspiration behind this scavenger hunt.
It is with great pleasure that I welcome her here to Giggles and Grimaces.
We are finally. as a community, thanks to the anonymity that social media provides us, talking about the hard stuff. Our monsters hidden behind our mom faces that we’ve heard whispers about, but claimed it was never us. But it was us. Me. You.We struggled with thoughts that were scary, we worried we would hurt someone in a snap moment, we held it all in, but we were so scared of these monsters. What if someone found out? It is just not something we discussed, even with our doctors. Certainly never our children.
I mean, how could we convince our children that feelings are normal, when we have never had a normal thought? How do we assure them that the world is not frightening, when it is to us? So yeah, we are talking about it on blogs, chat rooms and even posting pictures of Xanax and joking about it. We are admitting that we were a crappy mom that day and then we are reassured it is normal and tomorrow will be better, or maybe next month will be better….heck….maybe years, but the sun will come out tomorrow and all that jazz. But we still aren’t talking about it (like we should) with our children. The very start of a new generation that could be the change is where we should be starting to talk about the monsters under mommy’s bed.
What is it that we fear will happen if we tell our children we are bipolar, dealing with PTSD, severe recurrent depression, or pull something else out of a bag? Will they shrink back in fear of the Jekyll & Hyde moments? No. This is not what happens. When done properly. We wait for a calm moment (and do keep to age appropriate wording), then we explain about organs in our body. Our heart is an organ, but Uncle So-So had to have surgery because it wasn’t working right. Aunt Bo-Bo had to have surgery for a clot in her leg. No biggie.
You get hurt or sick and you go get it fixed however often you have to. To stay alive. The brain is an organ too and not immune to malfunction. Because it is such a complex organ that controls so much of us, it takes complicated and multiple treatments.
When it gets wonky, that is when Mommy is tackling a monster under the bed. It might feel scary for you. It’s scary for Mommy too. But we use these moments, because when you have knowledge about something, then you start to realize that you can have a sense of control over your monsters. Your children will start seeing it as normal to acknowledge it and it will become a “no biggie” to seek help and to stay alive.
Your children. My children. Everyone’s children.
If we did this, do you realize that the next generation wouldn’t be scared of mental illness? If we did this do you know about how suicides would drop, because we weren’t afraid to seek help?
Will you commit today to not be afraid of talking to someone about mental illness? Your children? The lady that looks worn at the store? The world?
Let’s let our actual words and our actual stories of struggle be where we focus our change. We can do this. No Biggie.
Charity here again, this one is a toughie for me. I have not talked to my children about the bipolar disorder. They did visit me during two of my psychiatric hospitalizations, but we just told them mommy was sick and getting better. They were all 5 and under at the time. Now, they are growing up. Caitlyn is 7. A very wise 7. She reads my moods better than anyone in the world. She knows when I need extra help. She knows when I can roll with the punches. She knows when I will laugh at antics. She knows when to get her sisters to back off and give mama a minute. She knows all this, but not why it is all so important. I have been afraid to tell her, afraid to scare her. I have been afraid to tell Sue as well, but for different reasons. She likes to share information. ALL the information she knows. I’m not quite sure she’s the one I want “educating” people about my mental health.
I like my reasons for not telling the girls. They feel safe. But maybe Alycia is right. Maybe it is time to rethink my thinking.
Will you join me in taking her challenge? Will you join me in using your struggles and challenges to help others?
It just might be time. And maybe, No Biggie.