Lately, I have felt extremely convicted to share a little more of my reality. Between the selfies, re-touched lookbooks, and fashion week posts - I fear that my everyday truths are lost. The kind of realities that most of us don't talk about. The kind that knock you off your heels. The kind, that in my opinion, should be shared, so that we can help and support one another through this journey of motherhood and womanhood.
One of my favorite life mottos is, "go big or go home". With that in mind, I decided to start my "Real MOM Mondays" with a douzy. So here it is: I have bipolar disorder. I will most likely have it forever and learning to manage it has (and continues to be) one of the greatest challenges of my life. I can't say that it affects everyday of my life in a grand way, but it is a constant presence in one way or another.
To me, this illness is a prankster. Perhaps, I could go bolder and call it a liar. It takes my mind and spirit to a place that doesn't match my realities. A manic phase tells me I am invincible - a life without consequence. It gives me an unnatural ability to function on tiny amounts of sleep. A depressed phase tells me life is hopeless. It strips me of my energy. To be frank, it's a total joy suck.
Before becoming a mother, being bipolar was scary. Now as a mommy to sweet Olive Bee, it is completely terrifying. Will I break down in front of her? Will I scare her? Will I be strong enough to tell her in a way that doesn't frighten her when the time comes? Will she think I am a failure? But perhaps my scariest thought is: will she have it too?
My bipolar journey has been very intense at times. Luckily, I have the most incredible support system. My husband (who fell in love with me during one of the craziest episodes of my life), my mother (who lovingly checks in without being overbearing - though I can only imagine how overwhelming it must be on that side of this), my father (who shows great compassion and understanding), my stepfather (who loves me as his own), my stepmother (who consistently shows that she would do anything she can to help us) and my fabulous friends (who love me just as I am). Bridgette Jones and Mr. Darcy are not lost on me here.
I can't promise that every "Real MOM Monday" will be this bold, but I will do my best to speak honestly and frankly. In other words, I will be real as real as real can be (the opposite of my hair color in girl terms).
Becoming a mom has been one of the greatest joys of my life. It has also heightened my fears and my shortcomings. As mothers, we rise to the occasion though, right? We put them first. We love bigger than we thought possible. We give more than we have. And, we stretch ourselves to a level that is sometimes unhealthy. I suppose my purpose of this post (and perhaps this series) is to remind you to take care of yourself. We hear it all the time, but do we actually listen? Everyday I try to remember that the healthier I am, the better mother and wife I can be. That might mean I need to take care of myself a little more than I would like to - but in the end, it is most likely better for my family.
What are you not taking care of? Stop it. Do it. Love yourself. Your daughters will appreciate it. Your sons will be proud.
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