Category Archives: guest blogging

Filled to Overflowing

My heart is filled to overflowing.  So full.

There was so much amazing stuffed into Friday, it is hard to catch my breath.  Talk about living life full throttle.

Thursday I sat down and wrote a couple pieces to be published as guest posts on other blogs.  One, my Stigma Fighters, submission was published yesterday!!!!  I would be so happy if you headed over to Old School/New School Mom to check it out.  (FYI, I proofed it yesterday, but of course found a glaring error today–totally my fault–but I want to clarify, I have 3 girls in 4 years, not 4 girls in 4 years).

I also wrote a piece for the Semi Colon Project.  I originally learned about it in early April when I heard about a blogging round up.  The Semi Colon Project is an International undertaking to encourage those dealing with self harm, suicidal ideations, and other mental health challenges.  It’s goal is to remind us that we do not have to choose a period (ending our life), we as the authors of our lives can choose use a semi colon where we as the authors could have chose to stop our lives (a period) or just a pause (a semi colon).  We were invited to draw a semi colon on our wrists to signify our support and share our stores.  I posted mine here.  I proudly showed off my crayola marker semi colon.

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And went about my day.

Yet slowly, I was drawn back to that post as my depression deepened and the struggle got harder.  I would read the post again, start at my wrist imagining the semi colon there.

It became a lifeline of sorts.

I took a few moments to let the leaders of the Semi Colon Project know.  They responded very kindly and asked me to share more of my story to share on the project blog.  I finally wrote that Thursday as well.

I woke up to an e-mail telling me how much she loved my writing, asking if she could share it on their blog and asking me to join the project as a weekly contributor to the project blog.

I was speechless.  I have been looking for  my voice…

As I read, I found myself hyperventilating.  Caitlyn, said, “what did you win a trip to Paris or something?”  I told her about the e-mail.  She said, “you like writing that much??”  “Yes sweetie, writing makes the world make sense to me.”

I did ask to wait to make my decision until Monday.  I want to make sure I can give the project the attention and dedication it deserves.  But I am pretty confident I know my answer…

Then, if that weren’t enough, Sue read her book, yes, THAT book, Fancy Nancy and the Dazzling Book Report to daddy.

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But more on that later…

My heart is so full.  So much wonderful going on.  I can’t express my excitement and joy at the last few days.  Just amazing.

Running Away–My Fight With Mental Illness

I look at my girls.  I look at my hubby.  My heart swells with love.  My heart burns with desperation.

I must escape.  I must get away.  I must leave them.

The need to Leave my amazing family that I love beyond words pulsates in my brain when the depression or mania engulfs me.

My guilt at this desire to disappear is epic.  I think, what kind of mother and wife knows she needs to disappear?  What kind of mother and wife has to be convinced by others that her family will not suffer if she goes home to live with them, has to be convinced to drive the car home after a trip to the grocery store?

This mama.  I live with this struggle when the bipolar disorder rages with depression or mania…

See the roots of this war over at Stigma Fighters today as I am share my story so others will know they are not alone.

When Mommy Is Scared Of Monsters Under Her Bed

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.

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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.  

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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.

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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.

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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.

I’ve Visiting Mrs. Weber’s Neighborhood–Won’t You Be My Neighbor

I have been lurking around Mrs. Weber’s Neighborhood reading about Michigan events and happenings, and fun posts about her growing family.

I love her blog.  I love her writing, her giveaways are great and her space on the blogosphere is really cute!

And today I am there sharing!!!  Little old me.  I am talking about my journey with postpartum mood disorders and the local Climb Out of the Darkness event I am hosting June 21 from 1-3 at Independence Oaks in Clarkston.

Won’t you come join me in Mrs. Weber’s Neighborhood?

 

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What Courage Looks Like

Please welcome Susan today as she guest posts here at Giggles and Grimaces.  Susan is a wonderful mother to two little girls, she is a piano teacher (even via twitter) and blogs at www.learnedhappiness.wordpress.com.  She is a calming, comforting and encouraging voice to me amidst the chaos that is depression.

 

Every time I post something about my PPD, my antenatal depression, or my anxiety, I get at least one comment from someone thanking me for being so brave. It’s appreciated, really. But honestly? It also makes me cringe. It’s a damn shame that a person has to be brave to tell the truth. That I have anything to fear by opening up and sharing my experiences with others, experiences for which I carry no blame. Experiences that might help others. When I first started blogging, I took a chance. Though I was afraid of how others would see me, I needed to stop Shame in its tracks. Now that I air my dirty laundry on a weekly basis, I don’t need courage. In exchange for being vulnerable and real, I’ve been rewarded with love and understanding. These days, I don’t fear the hard posts.

Now, courage has been redefined for me by the everyday women in my life, some whom I’ve never met in person. Let me share with you what courage truly looks like in this community of Warrior Moms:

Courage is raising two children on your own, leaving an unhealthy relationship (despite it being the only familiar thing in your life), and beginning your bachelors degree when all the students around you are too young and immature to understand the demands of motherhood. It’s balancing homework, laundry, and dinners. It’s playing with your boys even though you’re exhausted beyond words, and still finding time for self-care. Courage is dancing your butt off each week just to bring a little joy to others. My friend A’Driane? Never knows what kind of day BPD may bring her way. But she rises in the morning, bringing brilliant color to her world, her boys’ worlds, and everyone else along the way.

Courage is living life with an organ determined to complicate your every meal. It’s struggling with a life-threatening condition but living the life YOU want to live anyway. It’s managing your illness with intelligence…and reaching out to others to share everything you know. It’s dedication and self-discipline – the kind it takes to get healthy enough to bring two beautiful babies into the world. Melissa is one of my oldest and most trusted friends. And though her diabetes does its best to define her, she gracefully rises above it to accomplish everything from a double major in English and Music Performance to being a breastfeeding, baby-wearing mother of two. Her writing is deep and honest and filled with integrity. And she does it all with humor and humility.

But the most courageous act a person can do? I believe it’s being honest with yourself. Digging deep to see the truth lying within. Often frightening, ugly, and easier to ignore than to face, the truth hides behind the story we wish we could tell. It takes a brave person to uncover those lies and reveal what’s really going on. To be able to say to yourself (and your loved ones), “I’m NOT okay. I need help.” Charity, my friend, you inspire me with your courage. I know this last week was torturous, but you fought back against the depression that was threatening your life. Admitting yourself to the hospital was an act of courage and self-love and I am so proud to call you my friend.

What Have You Learned this Week?

I am thrilled to have a guest blogger today. Part of my self-care this week was to ask for some help on my blog and I am so excited to share with you the first of those:

I am so honored to be a guest on Charity’s blog today. I have admired her writing. She is so honest as she chronicles the ups and downs of motherhood. Charity has inspired me to start a workout regimen to help me become more physically fit. She very generously shared me her training plan. She is a mom of three little girls, and she is an advocate for breast feeding. We met through #ppdchat on twitter. She has given me wonderful advice on nursing a toddler and transitioning from pumping at work to just nursing when I am with my littlest. Thank you again for having me in your space.

I am reflecting on what motherhood is to me. Charity’s blog title is a great example of how I feel on any given day from moment to moment. My sister-in-law summed motherhood up as this overwhelming love that makes you feel as if your heart will burst in one moment and in the next moment the overwhelming urge to pull your hair out in frustration and rage and hop in your car to drive away. This resonated with me.

Motherhood is a dichotomy for me. It is the most rewarding and the most challenging thing I have ever done. I marvel daily at the unconditional love and forgiveness that my daughters show me. I wonder aloud on a daily basis why bedtime and getting out the door in the morning is an exercise in patience and creativity, causing me to lose my patience and become frustrated. My girls have seen me at my best and my worst, and they love me just as I am. I love them just as they are. Day by day I am figuring out who I am as a mother and what my girls need from me. I am learning something new every day from my girls.

Here is what this week taught me I have learned that dancing in the kitchen and making goofy faces can turn my girls’ moods around. My oldest really is interested in my day. Our bedtime ritual now includes telling each other about our days. This gives us some much needed time together. I have learned that my youngest still needs affection even as she runs away from me to explore everything. I have learned that a cardboard box is more fun to play with than any of our toys. What did your children teach you this week?

Check out her blog at www.tranquilamama.wordpress.com

Hear my Heart at Butterfly Confessions

The lovely and talented A’Driane has invited me to guest post today at her blog.  A’Driane and I met via twitter and and #ppdchat where she is the always real and encouraging @addyeB. 

A’Driane does an amazing weekly post called Self Care Saturdays.  I was originally going to write for that, but as you’ll see, my post, well, moved a little out of that realm.

It was hard to write and I don’t anticipate it being easy to read.  It is where I am, broken, but trying to get whole.  Surviving til I’m thriving.

 

Please come see my guest post

I am guest posting today at NAMI Massachusetts, National Alliance on Mental Illness. Please come visit!

Let me know if you are interested in having me do a guest post or if you would like to write one here. My blog is Faith, Family, Mental Health.

Guest Posting for Mental Health Mondays

Please join me at

As I tell part of my journey with postpartum depression and where I am now…learning, growing, surviving til I’m thriving.

Let me know if you are looking for guests posts.  I am working on getting the message out there about depression, but also have cute kids to share, crafts, projects, and recipes.

 

Guest Blogging–Come Visit

Hello y’all.  I wanted to let you know I am over at Birthing Beautiful Ideas today sharing my story about postpartum depression and anxiety.  Come see how depression looked in my life and the many resources I have found as I seek to become whole for my girls!

birthingbeautifulideas