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Destination Unknown

I’m unsure where I’m headed. I’m on the path I’ve been going down for a while, but suddenly there is this huge fork is in the road. A decision is there waiting for me to make up my mind. Which way? Both paths have darkness, obstacles, warnings and mysterious circumstances that look daunting. Both look scary as hell from here, but whether or not one will lead me to where I want to end up, I’m unsure. I can’t see what is beyond where I am in this moment. I just know my decision is one I not only have to make for myself, but for my threefold too. I’m the only person that can make this choice.

I am tired of asking for directions from people who have never been where I am now or don’t understand the struggles we face trying to find a better way. Everyone seems to think they know best, but no one has walked in these shoes or been inside my mind. It’s not as easy as ‘choosing to be happy’ mental illness isn’t a choice and it’s not an excuse. I apologize when I do wrong, I don’t blame my illness for my every move.

If I get angry I apologize and I recognize that I’m at fault. If I’m stressed I may be irritated but I can reset and refocus. I don’t let every single life stress melt me down into a puddle of pity. I do buck up and get back on the horse and jump the damn hurdle. I give myself pep talks and positive affirmations. I meditate, I journal, and I work in my therapy. I do try. It’s not always the quick or easy response people expect, but I get back on track. It’s not without effort.

Right now, I’m not in a good place. I know that is a fact. My thoughts betray me faster than I can counteract them. I can be laughing and ignoring all of my problems one minute and the next be in emotional distress holding back the tears. I’m trying. I fall apart more often. I’ve isolated myself a lot more than I know is healthy, but it’s not because I want to be alone. It’s because I don’t want to be told I’m moping or sulking or enjoying a pity party. I’m m not trying to be negative. I just am not seeing the silver linings of my current situation. I don’t need toxic positivity. I need the validation that this is a shitty time and that I am allowed to not be ok. I need that support. Not some grass is greener and rainbows come after bad storms bullshit. I know it gets better. But damn it, right now it’s not even close to that better.

I know I’m a badass and I’m tough. I know I’ll get through this and get to my desired destination eventually. I know my threefold is going to be ok. I know that I’ll ride the struggle bus until I can make my way back to the fuck yea freight train. I know.

Right now, I also know this is not fair. I know that this is not what I wanted, needed or even expected to be happening in our lives. I need a little less heartache, hard time, and headache. I need more help to understand why this is happening and how I can avoid it again. Who can honestly say they have admitted and discharged a child from a hospital, admitted another child back into the hospital all while dealing with a narcissistic, drug addicted ex, still worked 70 hours, signed settlement papers and managed to keep a fairly level head all in the same week? If I can’t have some rough days and a hard time smiling after that week, then damn, I’m sorry. Im exhausted. I am completely drained emotionally, physically and mentally. If I knew I would not lose everything I’d worked for I’d probably say I’m entitled to have my breakdown now. I won’t let myself have that breakdown. However, my depressed and anxious mood shouldn’t be just understandable but acceptable after all of that.

I’m not going to curl up in a ball and rock back and forth. I am going to have my feelings. I can’t always mask them and I won’t shove them inside so I change into someone else’s version of me. I’m aware I am a fighter, but I won’t pretend everything is ok and that I am just up against an obstacle. I may not be entitled to a breakdown, but damn it, I AM entitled to be upset, stressed out, and straight up mad that this all is occurring. I’m not going to let it be all consuming, but I will let the emotions out in the safety of my home or my car or in a public bathroom if necessary. I won’t apologize for that.

The depression will lift and I will figure out which road to take. Whether I take the right or the left, face more challenges or find myself lost in the big unknowns I ALWAYS find a way to head back in the right direction. I’m not walking on crutches, I’m not making excuses for my darkness. Not today. I have a reason to have my feelings right now and if anyone wants to tell me to suck it up and keep going because it’s bothering them to see me ‘give up’. Then my response will now be that my life is not a spectator sport. I’m not currently accepting any applications for life coaches. Opinions aren’t needed and the facts are I’m allowed to feel like this or to have any other feelings. You have no clue the amount of strength it takes to deal with what I do inside my head let alone my threefold and all of the trauma, lack of sleep, anxiety, work and constant pressure. When you get your hell week participation award I will then be more open to listen to how you would feel, do, behave and react to my current situation. If you can’t support that then I suggest you shut up with your buck it up bullshit. Today is not the day, and my dear, I am definitely not the one you need to preach the ‘live, laugh, love’ or ‘fake it til you make it’ bullshit to. You can peddle that toxic positivity to people crying over their kid not making honor roll and getting caught smoking pot. Those are high class problems. Mine are life altering issues that have longer lasting effects than those things. I’m trying to stay positive. I’ve still got this. ☮️❤️😊~M

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Learning to Let Go

Yes, I know, hard to believe. Nonetheless, here I am at a loss for words. I’ve been quiet this week. I’ve been trying to figure out how to let go. I’ve been trying to find a way to teach my threefold to let go. Yet, I’m finding the actual process of letting go is hard, however it’s critical to find healing and to move forward. I’m writing this still unsure how to proceed. It’s imperative that we find a way to let go of the past so we can move forward into the future.

It’s been a long and emotionally exhausting week, yet again. I was excited for things to get better as I was discharging #3 from the hospital and signed my final marital dissolution agreement after two long years. I just knew that was going to take so much of the weight of worry off of my life and off of my threefold. I was right, it did. I however wasn’t expecting that weight to be thrown back on me mere hours later. I was speechless.

I was sitting in the therapist’s office for my threefold and waiting for the discussion about #2’s relapse. I could see the anxiety in my daughter’s face as the therapist and I looked at her wondering why we had been called to meet. I was sick. My stomach was in my throat as my body tensed. #2 had been having increased intense thoughts of suicide, with a plan, and the means to complete the plan. I couldn’t breathe. It was only a couple of hours before that I had picked up #3 after her 2 week hospitalization. #2 hadn’t said anything to me. Why didn’t she tell me? Sooner?! I was unsure of what to do. I knew that her being suicidal and with a recent self harm relapse, I was most likely going to have to seek a higher level of care for her. That’s not anything like how I thought this day would go. I was stunned.

I’m not sure why we didn’t follow the safety plan. I did my part, I thought I was doing everything right. I locked up the meds, I gave her support, we talked and checked in often, I was doing skin checks, she was never without supervision for longer than a few hours, but never left alone. I couldn’t figure it out. We were doing good. She was doing so good. Why. Why?! I got angry and I was scared. I was scared for her, for my threefold and also for myself. Why wouldn’t she have talked to me.

My anger met fear, and my hurt saw her pain. I couldn’t understand in that moment, but I understand much more than I care to admit now. It’s not weakness, it’s not attention, or a pity party for ourselves. It’s the past scaring us out of our future. Over the next few days, my own thoughts would betray me. I too am vulnerable to my own darkness. I wanted to quit. I wanted to stop fighting my own battle. I hate to say that I thought about it, I thought about it too much. What if it was all my fault. I needed to blame someone and that person needed to be me, because I couldn’t blame her. She is only a child with an illness and more pain than is fair. She was my responsibility therefore I was to blame.

It’s hard enough managing mental illness in yourself as an adult. I can’t fathom what it’s like to have the trauma, stress, and all of your darkness swirling at the same time and during such a pivotal time in their lives. I truly wish I could take their pain and destroy it or give it back to myself. They don’t deserve to have life be this hard, this young.

I’ve found we all are still allowing our past lives to hold so much power over us. We’ve suffered from that pain. When will we let it go and move into a future that isn’t controlled by our past experiences? I know that’s the only way we find our way forward. It’s so much easier said than done. I’ve been trying to let go of the past, but I know it’s so much more difficult when the other people in your life are working on healing too. We can trigger and influence each other. We validate the past, but when can it stop taking our future?

This is my journey, this is our journey. I’m not perfect and some days I’m barely holding on. Some weeks I question everything. I am just as damaged as my threefold or anyone else in the world. We’ve all been damaged, but some of us can’t find our way to fix it. I want to fix it. I want to fix it for my threefold. Now I must figure out how. This process may take time, but it’s time to move on.

I’ll figure it out. We’ll find a way. We always do. For now, I wait for the #2’s discharge. I distract myself from my guilt and fear. I keep running away from my own darkness. I keep fighting. For all of us. Even when they stop, I won’t. As scared as I am that my threefold and I will let the past steal our future, I know we have the strength to overcome the fear and move forward. I will be hopeful and lead us to a future that frees us from that past. We can do this. I’m positive. We’ve got this! ☮️❤️😊~M

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Movement

It’s been a hell of a week. I don’t want to say ‘Hell Week 2022’ because that’s like a challenge to the universe and it’s only February! I’ve been through the ringer this week, between hiding the hospitalization of #3, fighting through those feelings and dealing with the domino effect this trauma talk triggers in all of my threefold and I, my vehicle breaking down, working to distract myself, and my court chaos with the ex, I felt like I wasn’t going to make it through this week.

I felt on the verge of a mental breakdown last week when I admitted my daughter, #3, the youngest of my threefold. I am hiding that from my workplace not because I don’t feel like they would be supportive or understanding, but because I am up for this promotion and I don’t want to get the label of ‘single mom who has too much on her plate to be as committed as this position requires.’ I know I would get that label for sure. I’m more qualified and capable than even the last manager was, I know that I can excel and don’t need more stigma standing in my way. I am ready to move up, and I know my worth. Time to add the tax to that and take my place. I earned it.

I love my day job. Don’t confuse that with the fact that I would not leave in a heartbeat if I could support my family on writing and content creation, but right now that’s not feasible. The starving artist isn’t a good path when the ones starving would be my threefold. They’re growing girls and they have a grocery bill that’s higher than a car payment each week! I’ve used work as a distraction. I’m good at my job and it’s busy so I can easily get lost in it. I love that I leave it all at the door at work and escape to a place where I shine just being me. That’s true for writing and for my day job.

I got my truck out of the shop {1k later and a new fuel pump later} I realized a few years ago not having my own ride would have not bothered me at all. Now I’m so much more independent and I love it. I drive everywhere. Ruby and I are going to stick it out longer. She is bipolar too so it’s important she take her meds and I need to be more mindful of her needs so she doesn’t have a breakdown again soon.

I’ve been really hard on myself this past week in more ways than one. My self talk has been negative. I haven’t been meditating or manifesting much. My goal getter book has been empty when usually I would’ve had my goals laid out for the week. My sleep has been sporadic. My mood has shifted more often. My self care went to nonexistent. I’ve been isolating and not really in the mood to do much of anything. I tried to keep it together. It’s been really freaking rough though. This depressive episode is not near as intense as the last one but when you’ve been in a good place for a while the down feels deeper. You just want to snap out of it. Unfortunately bipolar doesn’t work like that. Instead it means med adjustments and pushing yourself to keep going. I can’t give up or give into the darkness of it. My threefold needs me to be their strength and their rock. Not a mom in bed or hiding away so they don’t see it. They know what’s going on, because unfortunately it’s like a domino effect. They can mirror my mood as I mirror theirs and those of others. I need to move myself out of this darkness.

This domino effect as I call it has resulted in depression symptoms and anxiety for everyone else. It’s also not good because no one wants to be the cause of any additional chaos. Especially when it’s obvious I’m in stressed out anxiety mode right now. This makes my threefold feel like they can’t ask for support or talk about their own feelings because they don’t want to worry or upset me more. One thing I had hoped we learned was that shoving it down and hoping the feelings subside on their own rarely works. Especially when the feelings and thoughts are intense. This led to issues across the board this week. we’ve got to move away from triggering these episodes in one another. It’s gonna start with my personal movement.

#1 of my threefold {the oldest} expressed she felt like I was too busy with everything going on with #2 and #3 that I wasn’t giving her the proper attention or focus that I should. She expressed her feelings and I was grateful she did. It is difficult to split focus when you have three and give them each what they need. Especially when they each have varying needs and those needs can change in a matter of minutes it seems like. I want to give her that security, but I also know that she will be making her own big moves soon. With her 18th birthday fast approaching I know that her independence is also going to be tested and she needs to show she can make some moves solo.

#2 of my threefold relapsed. I cried until I could no longer feel it. I’ve been so watchful and mindful ever since the beginning of her journey. She had eight months free of self harm. She was in an amazing place in her recovery for so long. She worked so hard for those eight months. Then within moments it was gone and that made both her and I feel like we were f’ing it all up. She was triggered by the increased trauma talk, the self harm discussions, mentions of suicide, and being on this side of the hospitalization equation. The guilt she felt for being hospitalized for 17 weeks last year was overwhelming. She saw me at my low, and when you’re inpatient you don’t see what is happening to your family. You don’t see the stress, the tears, the anxiety and the hurt. She saw me and realized how awful it must’ve been for me. Instead of that fueling her motivation, she allowed that guilt and remorse to eat away at her. That same guilt that my behaviors and my inability to keep it all together for my threefold is heavy on me right now. I’m trying. Everyday. This trauma drama bipolar momma bear life is hard on me too! I’m not cured of mental illness, therefore I can’t expect them to be either. we will move past this hiccup. It doesn’t negate her work over the past eight months. Im still proud of her and this time I was able to better handle my reaction and response.

I’m crossing my fingers and my toes, {and my legs because I’m a damn lady,} that Tuesday #3 of my three will be discharged. I miss her with everything in me. It’s too quiet. I’m used to her loud ass tv, the TikTok dances, jump roping, karate practice and the echoes of her laughter {or arguing} from the kitchen. I miss her fighting me to go to bed and to wake up. I miss her silly stories about school and seeing her light up as she tells me about her positives for the day. I am ready to see her face and hug her. 10 days inpatient for a 10 year old. She has never been away from me this long. Having five minutes each night to recap the day is not near enough for a mother with her child. I want her home so I can have every minute I want. Im ready for her and I to move into a direction where she knows that she is loved, supported and that she is an important part of the lives around her.

Court is finally over. I hope. A settlement is on the horizon. I refused to backdown and allow him to make decisions for my threefold. That’s a decision I will stand behind. Supposedly he has accepted that and I have agreed that settlement is going to be a much better route if possible. Now I wait for the final signatures and the freedom that those papers will give me. A chapter my threefold and I have been unable to move on from for two years. It’s well overdue. This is our chance to move on from the past and move into the future…stronger…together…in hope.

Thank you for reading my current state of the union address for my threefold and I. I’ve received many messages requesting an update with shows of support and love. Thank you so much! You will never know how much those little messages make my day.

I’m glad to be starting off a new week. I’m hoping this one has more ups than downs and more happy than sad. I’m hoping we have less trauma drama and more trauma talk. I’m hopeful, which is something I couldn’t say this time last week. I’m hoping that some relief from the stress and the strain will mean that I am able to lift some of this heaviness off me and focus on the future for my threefold and I. Move on, move up, and move into the next chapter of our lives. Stay positive! We’ve got this! ☮️❤️😊~M

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Be Mine…Everyday

It’s Valentine’s Day. For others it’s just a Monday. The chocolate and the flowers are no where to be found. Men are dashing through stores trying to find the last of the cheesy cards that weren’t picked over on the shelves. Ladies are holding onto hope for their guy to buy them shitty chocolate and the flowers that will die after only few days. Some will get sparkly jewelry, fancy restaurants, or a planned event. Everyone who is on the ‘just another day on the calendar’ train will be busying themselves with whatever anti-Valentine’s day plans they have. It’s that commercialized bullshit holiday where couples are supposed to show their admiration for one another. Well I’m not buying a damn thing.

I made my gift last year and did the same this year. I don’t even know why this holiday exists. The kids have parties at school and trade candy, cards, or dollar store trinkets. The teenagers gush about what their boyfriends will do for them. As an adult though, I’m just going to do what I normally would do. Unlike most people my normal involves sweet notes, cringeworthy crafts, back rubs, snuggleupits, and even some after hours entertainment *wink*.

I really don’t get the obligatory day of celebration. I don’t know why we wait for birthdays, anniversaries, Valentine’s Day, and other days to show love and appreciation. It’s the ordinary that is made amazing when you’re in love. It’s the little things everyday that make you feel loved. If I receive flowers on a random Tuesday it means more than the obligatory flowers given on this day. Acts of love and showing appreciation shouldn’t be reserved for a particular occasion. It should be done regularly, if not daily.

Here are a Few Things I Love to Give and Receive All Year Long:

  • Date night- make a plan and go do something. Whether it’s dinner or just a walk. The point is to spend time together, alone.
  • Good morning notes-whether a text or a handwritten note. Start your love’s day off with some sweet inspiration.
  • Buy a treat- Do they have a favorite drink or guilty pleasure? Grab it! Ben & Jerry’s Strawberry Cheesecake ice cream will get you far with me!
  • Massage- Who doesn’t love a good rub down after a long day at work?
  • Break out the dirty talk- send a message about what you want. It’ll be fun to see their reaction and you may just explore some new bedroom adventures!
  • Snuggle up- Just relax and snuggle while watching some tv or reading. Just be together.
  • Go to breakfast- wake up early and grab some breakfast before work. It’s an awesome way to start the day.
  • Plan a Trip
  • Make a video montage of your favorite memories.
  • Write down the reasons you love your person. {I used paint samples from Lowe’s & gave him the stack}

I did receive my sweet little gifts today. I received my card, chocolate, and my stuffed animal ‘Sunshine’ the good vibes squishmallow. I am grateful to have someone who makes me feel special on bullshit commercial holidays like this one. I am shown that love every day and that’s what is meaningful. It’s in the everyday little things that show love and consideration. That’s why I am ready to go snuggleupit and enjoy this Monday with my man. Stay positive! We’ve got this! ☮️❤️😊~M

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Don’t Shame Me for Seeking Help

🚩⚠️ Trigger Warning⚠️🚩

This is my Threefold. This is my threefold. That’s the resounding thought in my head as I sit scared out of my mind because # 3 of my threefold {my youngest daughter age 10} is currently alone in a strange bed. She was admitted early yesterday morning to the psychiatric children’s wing. I am beside myself with anxiety. She is only 10. I can’t be with my baby. This is too surreal. This can’t be happening…again. I’m not ready and she is too little. She’s just a child. She is my baby.

If you have been following for a while you’ll recall my post regarding #2 🚩⚠️ My Child is NOT Attention Seeking. My Child is Seeking Help 🚩⚠️ trigger warning ⚠️🚩 {please do not click this link if you are triggered by self harm or content pertaining to suicide.} this post described my experience with admitting #2 of my threefold {my middle daughter, 13} to a crisis intervention center. Here I am again speaking about the same content and a different kid. I am dealing with the same situation. I guess this is just another day in the life of the trauma drama bipolar momma bear. I am Mommin’ mental illness. I’m here to tell you, this job is hard. I’m not prepared or I’m overly prepared. Either way, this is the really hard part about being a mom. Getting help when you start realizing that you are not able to give your own child the help they need. The worst part is watching them suffer through the pain of their mental illness. They are too young to understand what is happening.

#3 has had a really rough time trying to adapt to my divorce. She is the youngest of my girls and was only 8 when I left her dad. She had begun acting out more prior to the separation. She was running away, displaying anger and struggling dealing with the pandemic. Virtual schooling, lack of interaction with peers and isolation only compounded the underlying issues that were left untreated. I’m sure this is true for a lot of children. I attributed many of her symptoms to the ‘Covid Crazy’ diagnosis. {My personal term for what we were all experiencing during the shutdown}

I was wrong. Her grades fell dramatically with virtual school. I left my husband. I couldn’t continue watching my threefold and I suffer from the actions and inactions of my ex. I needed to get out of that toxic cycle and show my threefold another way. Pro tip: don’t marry a narcissist and if you’re already in that relationship…LEAVE.

#3 had no help with school and with untreated ADHD it was nearly impossible to keep her in her room or in the living room with a laptop listening to some teacher talk about things that were of no interest to her. It was torture for all of my threefold, but she was in 2nd grade and lacked any self-discipline. It was obvious she was missing fundamental learning. It wasn’t until later I would realize that her education had been hijacked and her foundation building years of reading, comprehension, writing and math were stolen from her when her education went virtual during 2nd and 3rd grade.

When I left my ex, I sought therapy for my children and I. I was aware that my divorce would have a massive impact on their mental health {no diagnoses for my threefold yet other than #2, who was diagnosed with ODD and ADHD at the time which was untreated} I knew I would also need a sounding board myself to vent my frustrations and work through my personal feelings on leaving that relationship and the implications that decision would have on my threefold. We have maintained that therapy throughout these past couple of years. This led to psychiatric evaluations and medication therapies to help my threefold and I balance out our brain chemistry.

My threefold did deteriorate more post separation, but for reasons that I didn’t expect. I was right. They had needed treatment and therapy earlier, but due to my own untreated mental illness and the psychological abuse we endured, we swept our issues under the rug. They had needed help for years, but we all were too scared to ask for it. We knew how that conversation would end. A dad-diagnosis and more hell to deal with. It wasn’t until I got them help and they were safe to express how they always had felt that the trauma begun to unravel and the symptoms became more prevalent. They had been forcing themselves to cover the mental illness as a way to keep the peace in our unstable lives. I will forever have guilt over not seeking help and leaving sooner.

Currently, #3 is diagnosed as having depression, ADHD and Oppositional Defiance Disorder. I am familiar with the nuances of these diagnoses. I’m sure ODD will change into disruptive mood dysregulation disorder {DMDD} but what I don’t know for sure is if she will be saddled with the diagnosis of bipolar disorder that her sisters and I have been told we suffer from. At her age, that is unlikely even if she is presenting at this age just as #2 did. Same diagnoses and same behaviors. I should’ve known this would happen. I was in denial that all of my threefold would be cursed with my genetics. what I hadn’t prepared for was how difficult it would be to see my threefold spiral into periods of depression that make them feel like they need to hurt or even delete themselves to fix their problems. Life isn’t supposed to be this hard at ten, thirteen or seventeen.

#3 is a spunky girl who loves riding her bike, playing outside, jumping rope, TikTok, martial arts, doing crafts and stitch {from the Disney movie.} She has a hard time with making friends, because she is extremely bossy and territorial. She isn’t scared of a fight. She is pretty aggressive when she is upset and angry. Punching, hitting, kicking, throwing and screaming are her go to behavior when she gets upset. She is destructive when she is angry. These reactions and outbursts are mostly disproportionate to the situation. A simple request for her to go to bed, take medication, clean a mess or her room, and going to school can spiral into a knock down drag out fight from #3. Then after the aggression is the comedown. Tears, guilt, shame and regret mark the feelings from the fallout. It’s hard to parent, but I can only imagine it’s harder for her to understand what is happening inside her brain. She ends up feeling like she is just a bad kid, that this is just how she will always feel, she can’t be helped, and that she would be better off if she was no longer here.

These past couple of years have been quite the ride on the bipolar express. From #2’s struggles for nearly a year to help her get back on recovery road. A lot of issues with #1. More therapy hours than I can count and a million other issues that have come up 2021 was a hell of a ride. I was looking forward to a bit of peace and to be swimming in calmer waters. Instead I’m back to drowning.

I guess because I knew what to expect after the inpatient treatments that #2 underwent that I would be better equipped to handle #3’s admission. It’s strange, but this time it’s worse than before. Before I didn’t know how difficult that road to recovery would be. I didn’t know what I was up against. I was forced to take the uncertainty and roll with it. Sometimes it rolled over me, but I made it. More importantly #2 made it. This time is different.

I am more anxious now knowing what happens when your child goes to inpatient care. I know now that it’s a long and hard process. I know now that quick fixes don’t exist. I know this next week or two will not be the only time we need a higher level of care. I am uniquely familiar with the amount of time and energy that will be needed to make sure we are getting help. More than anything else, I know the toll it will take on my threefold and I as we walk this path again. I know that we could have the domino effect that results in relapse. This all makes me even more scared.

Before you go to judging my child and I let me tell you some facts. ADHD and ODD are marked by impulsive behavior and an inability to regulate emotions properly. My daughter doesn’t need to have ‘her ass beat’ or ‘taught a lesson’. She doesn’t need to be told, nor I that she is ‘a brat’, ‘a terrorist’, ‘spoiled’, or that she is ‘attention seeking’. She is not going to get better by being told how bad she is. I’m not going to parent better because I’m told that I’m screwing it up or how this is my fault. I am perfectly capable of beating myself up, I definitely don’t need the outside help with that.

I am sure there are a million things that I could do differently, but the fact that my child will suffer from mental illness won’t change. Fun fact. My parenting didn’t cause my child to have a mental illness, my genetics did. I’m positive that my actions and reactions can exacerbate her symptoms if I don’t handle it properly. I will be the first to admit that I have mishandled and missed the mark on occasion while mommin’ mental illness. After all, my handbook on the rules of parenting was just as nonexistent as yours.

I have sat patiently and responded with calmness while being screamed at by my own child about how much she hates me and wished I was dead. I’ve been cursed at, kicked, hit at, and had things thrown at me. I’ve questioned my own parenting skills and abilities to manage my threefold’s mental illness. I’ve held my child after her outburst and told her it would be ok as she cried and apologized. I’ve taken tv’s, tablets, social outings, and the millions of other things she enjoys. She doesn’t care. She will tell you herself that those consequences don’t phase her or make her want to try to better. I get notes home from school about behavior and lack of effort. She doesn’t care. She has been in therapy for 18 months but I can’t make her participate or use the skills. It doesn’t work for her. Not when she is emotional and can’t regulate those emotions. She just does, without thoughts of how it will work out later. If you remind her of the consequences she will scream that she doesn’t care. So you can tell me I’m not hard enough on her. What do you do when hard doesn’t work, soft doesn’t work, and suddenly it’s like a ticking time bomb you know could go off at any time and you can’t change it?

I’ve tried everything from attention to ignoring, rewards and consequences, behavior charts, parenting coaches, family sessions and a million other things. I’m not sitting back just hoping this phase of life is just that, a phase. I need to find a solution but I need help. I can admit that. I can see this is beyond my own abilities. I don’t offer the help she needs. It’s time for drastic measures. Even if that wasn’t what I wanted to admit. Even if I tried amongst the recommended higher level of care. I just didn’t want this for her, not this young.

For those that are thinking I couldn’t handle my child and dropped her off at a facility to allow someone else to fix this problem for me. Think again. I was told she would need to be assessed before she could return to school after she had an outburst in class because she was frustrated with feelings of not doing an assignment correctly. It wasn’t by choice that I was in that same waiting room with #3 as I had been with #2 only 15 months prior shortly after this whole journey began. It was not my intention to to have my daughter admitted for defiant behaviors followed by suicidal ideation. Mental illness doesn’t discriminate based on age, it only presents differently. I knew she needed help, but I didn’t expect that they would be admitting her to the children’s unit of the psychiatric facility that my middle daughter had been a patient of during her first admission.

This battle of bedtime, cleaning up messes and reasons I couldn’t understand that seemed like nothing at all, resulted in these explosive outbursts. The behaviors have been increasing since she was 8. What once happened only a couple times per year has now been a couple of times per week for months. I didn’t throw my hands up and decide I couldn’t deal with her behavior anymore. Though believe me I’m not going to lie and say it hadn’t crossed my mind to do this or something else sooner.

I could write for hours and spit statistics at everyone and bore them with the details of the diagnoses from the clinical perspective. I don’t do that not because those facts don’t matter, but because it’s more personal and real than the statistics will give. Instead I share my personal story, the stories of my threefold. I don’t share for sympathy or for attention. I don’t share because I want people to feel sorry for us. I share our lives and our experiences because we have lived in the shadows for too long. I share because the stigma surrounding mental illnesses is that we are weak, lazy, attention seeking, and use our diagnoses as excuses. I share not to make myself or my threefold vulnerable to that type of scrutiny. I share this for the other parents caring for children suffering from mental illness who feel like they are alone in the fight. I share for the people who suffer. The isolation and the hiding our struggles doesn’t make this journey easier. I don’t want to feel like I’m not allowed to seek help for my threefold when they need it because people around me will judge me. There are too many parents who have the shame of this stigma surrounding their lives that their children are suffering silently. That shame will not make us more likely to seek help. I can only hope that sharing our story and struggles can help stomp out the stigma. We can’t keep silencing those that suffer. The stakes of that silence are too high.

Stay positive. We’ve got this ☮️❤️😊~M