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Freedom Feels F’ing Fantastic!

I’m free! Quarantine is officially over! What a week! I can go back to work Monday, but I’m not sure where my week at home went! I’m not a good sick person. I do not comply well with doctors’ orders to rest. Rest and being idle isn’t my wheelhouse {anymore.} Maybe it’s the literal years I spent wasting and wasted isolating myself away from everyone inside and outside my home watching Grey’s Anatomy repeatedly and sleeping to escape my reality that makes me hate the idea of staying in bed. It reminds me of that pathetic cage I confined myself to for years on end, wallowing in depression and only venturing into the common areas of my home for food or alcohol or to appease my family for a bit of time face to face. Always with a drink in hand and a fake smile for the pictures. I was in the deepest depths of my depression in those days and the thought of being back in that self-inflicted hell is terrifying for me now. I never want to go back to being that person again.

I recall the days where my anxiety was so bad that I couldn’t function without a pill to numb it all away or a drink to make it blurry. That’s the rock bottom I hit. The not caring the method {within reason} as long as it numbed the feelings of desperation. I’m not fond of the label addict and it’s not one I use to describe myself. Not that I have an issue with people who identify as addocts or those in recovery. I know addicts and I know the lengths they go to in order to secure their drug of choice. I’ve watched friends and family fall prey to that relentless disease. I did struggle with substance abuse from adolescence to adulthood, but because I’ve never been not able to stop it’s been more of an unhealthy coping mechanism than true addiction. Ive functioned with jobs, never had withdrawals that kept me from doing what needed to be done. I’ve never put my kids in harms way or had them go without what they needed to acquire something for myself. I’ve always had no issue quitting when I wanted to. My truth isn’t that I was an addict but that I self medicated my undiagnosed mental illness. I wasn’t diagnosed with Bipolar disorder until this year at 37.

I received the official diagnosis that finally made my past make sense. It took my daughter being suicidal and cleaning her bloodied body at 12 years old {Read more about #2’s journey here} for me to seek mental health treatment for myself on a higher level of care than just bitching to my therapist once every couple of weeks about the plethora of issues I had amassed over the years. I finally sought out help from a psychiatrist {who I now adore} that changed my life and showed me a new side of myself. Prior to this I was getting the standard antidepressant medication and anxiety medication from my PCP who never actually explored my symptoms or history in depth. Treating my actual illnesses has been a total game changer for me.

Finding out that Bipolar II was my primary diagnosis that was severely complicated by Anxiety, ADHD, and C-PTSD was eye opening. I had a legitimate reason I was a hot mess and hadn’t pulled my life together even as I approached 40, not an excuse but a answer for myself {not others} of why my life was in the shit hole it was in. After finding the right combination of medications and stopping the ones that ironically enough were actually triggering my bipolar episodes made a night and day difference in my whole life. I stopped drinking besides the rare occasion, no more prescription for Xanax which was a crutch I used to numb the pain, and no more narcotics. I was liberated from a life of trying to only find a way to make it easier to merely exist. I can still have the occasional drink without going on a binder or getting totally wasted and in the event of severe pain I can take a pain pill and use as directed without seeking more. I don’t smoke weed and I never was into the hard stuff that’s found on street corners {as an adult}.

My life before consisted of working and watching TV was our main family time or time spent as a married couple. It was what we did other than play a drunken game of cards that often ended in tears for my threefold after they would have to deal with the verbal lashing they received from my ex about whatever pissed him off and a huge drunken fight that involved him leaving and me left wondering how I could prevent repeating whatever thing I had done to trigger the backlash I received. It was next level, no fun and one of my main culprits for why I isolated alone in my room instead of hanging in the common area with my ex. Unfortunately this is where my threefold learned this unhealthy coping skill of isolation and walking on eggshells themselves. We had the occasional group shopping trip to Walmart where you got one box of snacks that had better lasted you all week, no soda, a few meals on rotation for dinner and not much else. We might’ve gone out to a friend’s house or on the occasional trip, but only if it was scheduled around an appointment where there would be a steady supply available of pharmaceuticals to stave off the pain my ex was in -from his neck, back or foot or knee or headache.- Otherwise it would be no fun and a lot of heavy drinking which went back to the fighting and crying. It was toxic negativity and enabling that I was complicit in and more criticism and abuse then I care to divulge. It was the worst kind of relationship to be in and an even worse environment to raise my threefold in. It was a pattern and it never ended. Honestly it still exists in my relationship with my ex and my threefold’s relationship with their dad. I still find myself anxious with every face to face interaction I am forced to participate in. I will be processing that cycle during those final years of my marriage for years to come, no doubt.

These days, my bed is for sleeping and resting after a long day at work and used for Sunday Noneday which is my recharge day. I watch some tv at bedtime but I don’t binge watch season upon season of Grey’s Anatomy {or any other show} anymore. TV is no longer how I spend time with my threefold or with ‘E’. Card games now look like positive affirmations and happiness challenges. Goal setting, meditation and manifestation are my self care routine. Family therapy and long talks about teenage girl drama, boys, friends, school, inappropriate and crude jokes, and crafts are more of the family time we share. Outings now include shopping and hair dye. They look like trips to the store for all the favorite indulgences with variety and more than a $3.00 per kid budget. They are pictures and artwork, and a lot more time just spent actually engaged instead of staring at a picture on a screen for hours on end. There aren’t fake smiles plastered on haunting my pictures anymore.

Every aspect of my life has changed from that absent parent who was selfishly looking out for herself and my own interests instead of looking at how I was doing more harm than good continuing to live that lie. I’m not the same person and that change was inspired by my threefold. It was inspired by my own girls’ willingness to be brave enough at over half my age to say ‘Enough!’ and speak their truth. This year of life in a house that is now truly a home has been the best and worst year of my life. I say that with gratitude for both of those aspects and all of the experiences that came with the good and the bad.

The worst was the watching my threefold grow through the pain and desperation that hit them as soon as they felt safe enough to finally feel it all. That rush of realization that life could’ve always been this way and that they were robbed of a childhood that could’ve been so much better than what they were handed made for a rocky road on our journey to say the least. Watching their mom struggle through finding my own footing in this new foreign world of mental illness was difficult for them to watch. Watching my trauma untangle was as rough on them to watch as theirs was for me. We deserved more. We deserve more.

The best part of this year though is the new relationships we’ve established with each other. The strength we found buried inside of our souls and the fierce fight we battled to face forward. We could’ve let this year rip what was left of our family apart but instead we allowed it bond us together. We’ve still got a long way to go before we are fixed and healed or bright and shiny. However, I look back at where we were last year and again where we were six months ago and I have this intense feeling of pride in my threefold and in myself. We’ve put in a lot of work to get to the place we are today. Beautifully broken, but amazingly brave and incredibly grateful for this new path we’ve cleared together towards healing and recovery.

When I’m asked how I do it all, why I don’t get mad at my kids easily, how I am so patient and understanding with them, or how I haven’t gone batshit crazy with the chaos our life is covered in – it isn’t because I’m this super hero mom, it’s because I’m no longer weighed down by that past I’ve lived. I’ve forgiven myself for the mess I created. I’m doing so I found the me in me again. I’ve found the mom I wanted to be, that I set out to be long ago. I’ve learned to be the parent they need me to be and adapt to those ever changing needs. I’ve learned to see life through a lense most people don’t see life through. I’ve found my own healing. If you ask why I don’t take the time for relaxation, how I can work full time and parent three kids with mental illness and balance a personal relationship and still eat dinner as a family while creating a blog and creating my own content and manage my own mental illnesses I will tell you the truth. I spent too many years not being the mom I should’ve been and I spent more days than I can count being idle. I’m no longer just an extra in the movie of my life-I’m the center of the story. My job is to hold it all together and balance it even on the days where it gets too heavy. I won’t let life break me again. I’m going to stay right here, in the present, living my life, on my terms and loving my threefold with the unconditional love of the mom I am. Stay positive! You’ve got this! ☮️❤️😊~M

Side Note: I am extremely lucky and grateful that I have a person in my life who chose to build me up and make me realize my inner bad ass. I fought him endlessly on my self image and my self worth. I pushed. I poked. I taunted and I made his life a living hell. {I still do this.} He picked me up off the floor a million times. He made me see myself in a different way. He has been my knight in shining armor riding the unicorn {a masculine one} on countless occasions. He believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself anymore. I’m lucky to have my hero. ‘E’ if you read this one, thanks for being the man you are for my threefold and I. I might’ve survived this year without you, but it wouldn’t have had all the good parts that you gave me through the hardest parts. YOU, my love, are one of my biggest inspirations and motivators. I’ll never know why I got you or how in this world full of drawer bases, but I am forever grateful I did. Thank you for all you do and for being the perfect person to be on board this crazy train of ours! Life with you is just better in every way. ❤️😘

One response to “Freedom Feels F’ing Fantastic!”

  1. Well done.

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