Manic Depressive Mommy

***Yes,I know,it hasn’t been called manic depression in years. It is now bipolar disorder and NOT a mood disorder. Frankly,the DSM would rewrite traffic laws every year so that green lights mean slow down, red means go, and yellow means stop. They confuse and muddle everything. Proof is how borderline pretty much mimics bipolar in their diagnostic manual. Pfff. Manic depressive is a better description.
*****And no,this post is not just for bipolar moms.I can’t speak as a dad because ya know, I’m not one and won’t be arrogant enough to encompass their experience as a replica of my own. The gist is the same. Parenting with mental illness presents a whole new set of challenges.

Perhaps the MOST infuriating thing I’ve read all week is “mentally ill people should not have kids.”
It’s an ignorant statement.
Look at Dahmer and Bundy. They had normal upbringings and still…prolific serial killers no one even suspected. Could their parents have predicted they’d be psycho/sociopaths and avoided reproduction? Hardly.
Is it difficult to be a parent with a mental illness?
Hells yeah.
But probably not for the reasons most would think.
Is it possible a mentally ill person could fall victim to a dangerous aspect of their disorder thus rendering them an ineffective or dangerous parent?
Same goes for people without mental illness. Some people are shit parents. And some, try as they might, just can’t handle it. It’s not exclusive to mental illness.

My biggest thorn in the paw is that my illness does affect my daughter. She’s missed birthday parties, school events, and a lot of other normal rites of childhood because Mommy was in bad shape.
She’s also experienced manic episodes with mommy in which I let 12 kids play at our house and we had water gun fights and silly string wars and every kid in the neighborhood thought I was amazing.
She’s seen both ends of the spectrum and in between.
I don’t feel good when she asks, “Why are you sad,Mommy?”
I mean, I don’t cry in front of her short of a pet’s death. I guess even kids can sense when someone’s smiles are fake.
What can you do to explain depression to anyone? I don’t know why I am sad. Wish I did.
And the shifts between happy funball mommy and paranoid pajama mom are confusing for her, I am sure. It’s like I’m two different people.
The wonderful thing about kids is…As long as you’re not abusive…They accept you and forgive. They don’t judge you for being less than perfect.

I think perhaps the absolute WORST part of my multi diagnosis that affects my mothering most is…Anxiety disorder.
Incessant noise. I have always been sensitive to it, it puts me on edge, makes me irritable, and I literally cover my ears at times because it’s excrutiating.
It’s annoying enough to non mentally ill parents when a kid insists on yapping constantly or bouncing a ball off a wall ten thousand times.
Amplify that by a trillion.
THAT is where my parenting is affected most.
I am already on edge with traffic sounds, people yelling, children terrorizing the streets, lawnmowers, et al.
I can always find a place or way to dull that.
But a child…Especially a strong willed needy one like mine with no concept of indoor voice so your eardrums are in a perpetual state of cringing…
Yeah, that’s the hardest part. Grueling at times.
And I am starting to think it’s that strain that’s got me so exhausted by the end of the day. I only have so much to give and this child…Only child syndrome. All attention must be on her at all times. And if you dare to ask for five minutes of peace, she will go out of her way to have a fit, create a scene, and get that five minutes of attention one way or another.
DO NOT get me wrong. I love my daughter. She is why I keep fighting these disorders so hard. She is smart and funny and rubs my tummy and sings “Soft Kitty” to me when I have cramps. She’s an awesome kid.
She is also high spirited. My friend raised three daughters as a single dad and he even finds my child overbearing and hard to handle in large doses. So while my disorder may multiply things for me, it isn’t just me.
They’re so much easier as newborns and early toddlers.
Once they get that personality of their own and start indulging their sociopathic natures because they haven’t been socially conditioned otherwise…That’s the tough part.
I am supposed to teach this child what is acceptable.
She fights me at every turn.
I am getting better at consistent parenting.
But an ever changing mind frame and the anxiety that rarely dies down….
It’s a challenge times a thousand.

I don’t see how this makes me a less adequate parent than any other. Parenting is a tough gig.
My kid gets to school everyday. She has food, clean clothes, shelter, toys. She gets playdates, goes to Sunday School (provided they come get her and bring her back, cos ya know mommy’s panic disorder doesn’t do crowds.) We read. She’s already learning to write in cursive because she saw me do it and got curious. She knows she is lived and is pretty much (to my chagrin) glued to my elbow every minute she is awake.
So if I can churn out a healthy happy kid who adores me..
Remind me again why mentally ill people shouldn’t have kids?

She’s made me a better person. Taught me what real love is. No strings attached. Total devotion.
Sometimes she makes me want to go hide in the closet with noise canceling headphones.
I know non mentally ill parents who feel the same way.

Parenting, like life, is a mixed bad of the good, bad, ugly, and beautiful.
I don’t think mentally ill people are any less worthy of having kids than people who are just…well, shitty.
My kid’s sperm donor walked out almost four years ago, hasn’t contributed to her existence at all, hasn’t asked to see her. Yet he’s got a job in management and everyone thinks he’s this saint while I am the bad guy. (Yeah, he sells it that good.)
Personally, I think he’s the one who shouldn’t have had kids. This is his third he’s basically stopped supporting or seeing. He’s not mentally ill.
I’ve been here the last six years, meeting my child’s needs however I can, to the best of my ability. In spite of my illnesses.

Personally, I think we should all be born sterile, then have to go get a shot to have kids when we are ready.
Any asshole can make a baby.
It takes a good person to be a real parent.


5 Responses to “Manic Depressive Mommy”

  1. Wow! So right on so much.. DSM is, well… Good luck 😉

  2. People who say that kind of crap need to be slapped with a fish.

    • That mental image alone is going to have me smiling for at least ninety seconds. Stupid bipolar and all.

      On Sat, Mar 28, 2015 at 1:07 PM, Take a Ride on My Mood Swing wrote:


  3. I am childless by circumstance, in that I choose not to have kdis because in part of my mental illness. It causes me to lose control of my emotions really quickly and also I can’t handle the noise kids naturally make. Then agian, I won’t say that people with mental illness shouldn’t have kids. It’s a personal choice that no prospective parent should take lightly, whether they have mental illness or not.

    • I waited until I was 36 to have my daughter. Always waiting for that miracle cure for bipolar, that one day when all would be right with the world and I could take a chance at being happy and normal with the whole family thing. The biological clock always knew it would run out before that could ever happen. Fortunately unseen circumstances took the choice out of my hands. I regret nothing (except that her sperm donor is, well, a donor instead of a father.)

      Kids or no kids is always a personal choice and it irks me when people pry about it either way.

      On Sat, Mar 28, 2015 at 1:56 PM, Take a Ride on My Mood Swing wrote:


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