I’m a bipolar single mom
I’m a bipolar single mom and I’m not crazy. I have two children ages 10 and seven. People have told me all sorts of things about myself. But I know who I am. I’m the CEO of two organizations, a nonprofit for mental illness and an independent publishing company. My kids are my life. I would do anything for them and when my son began showing symptoms of OCD and depression, I dedicated all of my energy to getting him the help that he needed.
But I’m crazy, unstable, and a bad mom.
No, I’m not. But society tells me that I am those things, and it needs to fucking stop.
It begins with you
It starts with you. You, who are reading this, have the power to change these dangerous ideas. I’m not afraid to stand up, sit down, do jumping jacks and say “I have bipolar disorder.” Will you hear me? Will you support me when I utter those words? I need you to stand with me. I want you to listen, but not just listen, talk to others. Tell them that me, and everyone else who has children and lives with mental illness isn’t crazy. We’re sensitive, emotional and we open about our struggles.
Stop assuming you know how it is to live with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, PTSD, anxiety, depression or BPD, because unless a mental health professional tells you that you have one of those conditions, stop telling other people what their experiences are.
Learn from others
You can learn. Assumptions are never good, however learning helps you understand other people better than you did every human being is different; each person has strengths and weaknesses. Fundamentally we all want to be loved and understood. I’m no different than anybody else. I want to be loved and I get extremely frustrated when people don’t understand me. However, I can’t control whether another person gets me, but if they’re open to understanding who I am, that makes me feel validated.
When I don’t know about someone’s experiences, I ask. We judge each other as human beings, but the more we can catch ourselves judging, the greater chance that we have to see that everyone is different. It’s not fair to assume something about you, and you don’t need to assume anything about me.
There’s an old expression you can’t judge a book by its cover. It’s true, just like books people have covers too. You need to find out who somebody is and that process takes patience and understanding and the ability to see things from the other person’s eyes. Not everyone is willing to do that. I want to know how you feel. I want to know how you see the world.
I care about you. Even if you despise me I still care and I want to understand why you don’t like me. Maybe there something I can learn from and become a better person. Perhaps there’s an opportunity for me to improve myself because I’m not perfect.
And I am owning those imperfections.
I am a single mom and I live with bipolar disorder. I manage my symptoms and I live a healthy life. Is there something you are struggling to manage? I’m sure there’s is.
We can solve our problems when we try. We can work on those issues, whether that’s in therapy, with our friends, romantic partners or family. I’m not unique; I have problems just like everybody else. The next remember that someone tells you they have mental illness, don’t judge them. Remember my words and internalize the message that we’re all human, and that you can count on.
This post was inspired by This is My Brave
The mission of This Is My Brave, Inc. is to end the stigma surrounding mental health issues by sharing personal stories of individuals living successfully, full lives despite mental illness through poetry, essay and original music, on stage in front of a live audience, through stories submitted and published to our blog, and via our YouTube channel.
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