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Whinesday Wins this Week

Welcome to Whinesday! If you don’t hear enough whining and want to hear mine, stay tuned. I had much different plans, but ya know life. It throws the punches and I get to ducking, dodging, bobbing and weaving. Then I fight back. I would much rather be celebrating a Winsday. Unfortunately, Whinesday wins this week. In conclusion, I need wine and to do my own whining.

I’m NOT Limitless

I’ve heard every whine and been given enough snarky attitude my teenage daughters and preteen could muster. Normally, I’d find some solace in a moment of silence. You know the one. The bargaining with God to just cut you some slack before you make those spoiled kids see that light. This is my personal “come to Jesus” attitude. It consists of the snarky remarks and quick wit aimed indirectly at their every pity party moment.

I’ll spare the aches and pains of teenage girl trauma, drama land that I have the pleasure of residing in on a day to day basis. My patience, and I believe my husband would agree, falls either at near saintlike or ‘b*tch I wish you would I’ll burn your mf’ing clothes…real talk’ Honestly I don’t have that middle ground. Once its all used up, it’s DONE and momma has no qualms about being that mom either.

Share the Love with a Mother!

This one is for my other mommas in current battle, in post victory <or defeat> and for the other mothers. I desperately need some judgment, encouragement, skills, classes or keep your sanity strategies to get my life out of fight or flight and back on the winning Wednesday side of this war against the whine!

Self Assessed Hot Mess

I’ve carved out my strengths and my weaknesses as a mom, woman, human. I’m not scared of self criticism. Honestly, I know I’m a hot mess riding the my threefold bipolar express. The ride ain’t easy, nor is this mom life we live. Help a mother out!

Strong as a Mother

  • Understanding and empathetic.
  • Sees the best in <most> people
  • Giving of myself…love, body, mind, spirit, money, blood, sweat, tears, peace of mind and sanity. Not to mention my socks, my hoodies, snacks, caffeine, mascara and other life sustaining mom necessities.
  • The fixer. The chaos coordinator extraordinaire. The ultimate unconditional love and support of a mom.
  • I work my a double the s off for the money to meet their needs AND their wants as often as I can.
  • I’m not asking for perfection just the R-E-S-P-E-C-T I deserve as the giver of life, love, financial support, Nike shoes and fancy salad lunches. Not to mention the very comforts these children have access to these days.
  • I’m ALWAYS there. Every game, concert, award, meeting, conference and appointment. They can rely on me to be there and if I’m not, there is someone I have assigned to my role for that day.
  • I talk, openly, about our past, the good bad and the ugly, whenever they need me to. I give them space and listen. I give advice.
  • I’m honest. There is no sugar and no pretend. I’m real. Authentic. Weird.
  • My home is open to their friends. If they are all at my house I know where they are and *mostly* what they are doing.
  • I value presence and time with my kids.
  • I am open to their thoughts, opinions, and views. I’m accepting of their personal views. I respect their feedback.
  • I am a mom who will fight for them, with them and sacrifice to make sure they don’t have more trauma to unravel later in life.

Fixer Upper

  • I am intolerant of lying. It’s a guarantee that I will second guess.
  • I overthink, overanalyze and overall am a bit dramatic.
  • My mood swings have moodswings.
  • I feed off the energy of others…good and bad.
  • I’m quick to get defensive if attacked.
  • I tend to see the worst case before seeing the silver lining.
  • I’m overly money conscious. You may get Nike shoes, but I’m thrifty. Coupons, hand me downs, thrift shops, and outlets are my options.
  • I procrastinate.
  • I hyperfocus on work.
  • I run myself down to the point I need to check out to check back in at times.
  • I cuss like woman who has worked with men and in construction her entire life. <I have and still do>
  • I’m easy on my kids. I hate long punishments. I back down or slack after a bit of time.
  • I do put them first, above anyone else…even myself.
  • I have the guilt of all of our pasts weighing on me always.
  • I have a hard time drawing boundaries.

So…I’m the mom who grounds you for a week and let’s up after a few days. I’m the mom who will give you all the rope I have then free you when tangled it. I let it slide, but then get overly upset when that slide gets too slippery. I love them enough, but feel like it’s not enough to make up for their pain. I’m the safe place, but I am worried that makes me more of a friend. I’m the good cop, the bad cop, the judge and the jury. With three girls I’m constantly told this one is not held to the same standard as the others.

It’s a never-ending back and forth power dynamic. I want what all moms want, right? Take care of your own stuff, take care of our stuff, clean up your messes, do your best in school, help out for the money you want to spend, and treat the people in your life with respect. That and peace on earth, the usual, no biggie.

That’s my long whine this Whinesday. However, I’m hoping to have a Winsday soon. I need a win for the home team, and this momma is tired. Mommin’ ain’t easy! Real talk. However, there is no give up or surrender for my threefold and I. We’ve got this! Withe some mom tribe tips of the trade I’m sure I’ll be back to Winsday in no time! Comment below your motherly words of wisdom! Message me on Facebook or send me email. Until next time! ☮️💙😊~M

PS: Happy FALL y’all! 🍁🍂🍁

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Summer Break? Part 1

I’m only a week overdue for posting the update I promised! Summer has come and nearly gone, but the moms out there trying to mom mental illness, mom it solo or even semi-solo, mom through it all, no matter what. We’ll ALL moms know breaks are for everyone else, but you rarely catch one. For me breaks are few and far between. Sometimes, you would consider a psychotic break comforting. After all, it means disassociation, detachment from reality, some sleep, and three meals per day where YOU didn’t have to think about it. Then there is that whole meds, people wondering when the next episode is, and everything that would be left undone. Nope, not worth it!

Summer Breakdown?

I am proud to say that, no, my threefold and I, nor ‘E’ or my bonus kid have suffered from any major breakdown nor has there been setbacks. That’s right! It’s been a rough summer for my threefold. More difficult than I had hoped for, however they have progressed in ways I never thought I would see. I couldn’t be more proud and relieved to know that we hit a very bad time, but we were able to see it through to a path that didn’t involve inpatient or injury to self, property or some major crisis. However, that hard time was the closure of a chapter for all.

Summer Bucketlist

I wanted a Disney movie wonderful summer of family fun and kids enjoying marking items off of bucket lists. I wanted us to enjoy our lives after I had watched my aunt bury 2 of her sons at 33 and 29, my cousins, 2/3 brothers, the kids I grew up with and people who hadn’t even had the chance to have their own family yet. We needed to remember that while we still have life. We needed to live it.

I wanted my threefold and I to spend some quality time together without the stress of the previous school year. I needed to have those memories and I thought that’s what they needed too. I had hoped for vacation time and for all of my family to reconnect on a level that said “this is the good life.” As a response, life said my plans were not the same as life’s. Apparently we needed something else to overcome. {eye roll}

Summer Broke

This summer was hell and I don’t mean just the heat, these demon bugs we call mosquitoes, or the fires that were sparked by my anger, anxiety or my agitated mood. I had too much going on and my focus was not in the home. It was definitely not on me. It was not on ‘E’. BOTH of our vehicles broke down. Financially we were still trying to recover from February and March’s medical bills of the over 10 weeks of inpatient and partial hospitalization we have already had between #2 and #3 of my threefold this year. Not to mention the 17 weeks we were still working on from the previous. As it always seemed to be we were struggling.

I was stressed to the point I wanted to snap. I was impatient with my threefold, sitting and scheduling my life away from them while home, and so out of my depths. My focus was frazzled, fried, and finally furious at the circumstances I was in. I felt I was being oblivious to an obvious problem, overworked, overwhelmed, overlooked and finally I was OVER IT!

Summer Burn

I was ready to say “I’m done!” As my workload increased to that of a person expected to wear every hat of each position like a seasoned executive who wrote the rule book. I was trying to do the job of my superior, my support staff, be my own assistant, trainer, lead designer, sales superstar, the best, and I suddenly hit a wall. I decided to resign.

I had a staff who was overworked and overwhelmed. I had great people. In addition, they were trying to help . I asked myself why was this becoming such a nightmare. and it hit me. I was trying to save a boat that was sinking and everyone was about to jump ship. Why?

We have had high turnover for a minute now. My people didn’t quit. They grinder it out. They liked me…right? Well, I am likable, funny, driven, and have the memory of a person that will never forget about things that are really important. I’m just trying to hard or doing something wrong. I was trying to make people happy. It wasn’t the job. It wasn’t even me. It was the chaos that had come over the castle. I was merely coordinating chaos, and not correcting the issues causing it. Maybe, if I resigned it would be the white flag of surender saying I can’t manage the mess.

Summer School

My fairytale summer was shattered with my DIY crash course that I called “combat training”. I was battling the war at work and not only just promoted to a role as assistant manager in March, but I hadn’t been trained on how the processes to correctly handle the job. I had no idea that I was making things worse by constantly covering for my missing commander and chief. My loyalty and love for him and my livelihood depended on me finding the fix to any problem and showing my people I was the company woman who could handle anything. Even if I was I second guessing my every move. I knew my confidence would see us to calmer coexistence we all needed. I lied.

Summer Cold

My stress was making me sick. I had lost another ten pounds. I was not eating, not sleeping well as my mind raced at night wondering what did you forget. In addition, my usual routines all halted. Self care was non existent and my tolerance for other people’s problems went to the bottom of the list. However, I kept pushing. Something was going to have to give.

I decided to part ways. I was ready to resign. It was obvious that I was allowing yet another person take advantage of me. I wanted to give back what I was given, but I was becoming someone I didn’t like. I was becoming an angry person who hated coming to work because I was going to have another day of covering for someone else I cared for, covering for the man lying to everyone, and someone refusing to admit there was a problem. I was watching my past repeat in a work environment. I couldn’t allow myself to be broken and to become cold living in a hell I could escape from. I needed to stop the insanity. I was at peace with that.

Summer Escape

I had come to terms with my decision and turned in my resignation letter with a final lie. My lie said I had found employment that would allow me to be home more and present for my threefold. It is the only lie I felt believable enough that they wouldn’t put up the fight for me to stay. My tears had poured out of me writing that letter. I was devastated that it was a chapter that I never thought would end. At least until I funded my life as a freelance writer, designer, marketing guru, Facebook money mogul in the blogosphere of moms or whatever other dream that will one day create independence from a standard 8-5 job.

I loved this job. It was my break from my personal issues outside of there. I am awesome at this job. I am too good, actually. I am overqualified and I’m beyond grateful for that. I loved everything about my job. That was until I took the place of the man who walked out of this position before me. Red flag, maybe, but I saw my opportunity to step up. In that opportunity I sacrificed the thing I said I would not overlook again with a promise of more and a hope for the future we deserve. My threefold.

Summer Stolen

I had worked my butt off, literally, for this company. I felt I owed them after they moved mountains for me last summer to make it where I could be a mom and also have the place I could put that part away just for a bit and do something I loved. I was ashamed of my behavior. I was saying we needed more money than my own family needed me. A struggle any single mom knows.

Instead of staying with #2 at the hospital and going to the inpatient facility where I was needing to admit her again, I left her room in tears as she said “mom, it’s ok, you can go. You have to.” Did I? Well I needed to be in two places actually three, but I needed to not lose a promotion due to my personal life, because money had to become a larger factor.

We all need this to happen. I convinced myself I was doing the right thing. I know now she will always tell me what she thinks I need to hear in moments she thinks could be a burden. I was just blinded by a loyalty to a person who would use me and then replace me to save themself but I had no idea. As I was leaving I thought if I don’t get this promotion this will be enough to make me leave. I’m sacrificing more than I ever would, but hoped it would be better if I could have more control of the chaos. I could calm it as I could change the climate and bring the commander of my crew back.

Summer Storms

I got the promotion. The promises of change once our mid year inventory was over and the crisis at work calming down were as empty as any promise before. After deciding not to get blindsided by the brother who was thriving at this company, the man I fell in love with at this company and a few coworkers who had weathered this long hard season with me I was ready to make the move. My boss put up no fight or said any words of why I should stay. Instead, I was left thinking maybe he wanted me to leave. It was easy and unemotional. I was a mess about this, but me maybe I was just “replaceable”. I promised to help the next person as much as I could before the end of my notice in two weeks and was relieved. July would be the month that made our family reconnect and we could have some real quality time as a family. Again another storm brewed and I wouldn’t allow us to chase it anymore.

Summer Breakthrough

Little did I realize it was only the end of June and the chaos was fixing to get uncovered and everything was about blow up. I couldn’t have a summer break, I couldn’t afford a summer breakdown, we weren’t going to get a summer vacation that involved connecting and making the good memories of a life we were building and we had sacrificed for. This wouldn’t be the summer we deserved. It would be the summer that I found a way to breakthrough our barriers. It was the beginning of the new life. First we just needed to commit to weathering this summer storm and that was hitting us right at home.

TO BE CONTINUED….

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Trauma Talk: Healing Past Trauma

Healing past trauma takes time, patience, and hard work. The affects of trauma on the brain affects it’s ability to function. In turn, we begin to think, behave, and react in ways that are reflections of that trauma. Yesterday, I gave a list of 21 questions to work through when processing trauma. Today, I will dive into those first three questions. In the end, I hope to understand my trauma better. I aim to further my healing and personal growth.

healing traums

Questions for Healing Past Trauma

  1. How do I feel responsible for the pain and trauma inflicted on me in the past?
  2. In what ways do I allow the past to negatively impact my present and my feelings about the future?
  3. Who do I need to forgive and why?

How Do I Feel Responsible?

I hold myself responsible for my trauma because I allowed it to happen. My responsibility is that I didn’t leave sooner. As a result, I allowed the abuse of myself and my girls to occur. Consequently, I now hold a great deal of guilt knowing I am complicit in the abuse of myself and my threefold. Although, I was not an active participant I am guilty by staying silent. I enabled my abuser.

How Does the Past Affect Me?

This one could go on for days. I feel trauma has affected every part of my me. I am less trusting, both of myself and others. Foremost, I would say it changed my perception of myself. One upon a time I was an outgoing, fun and flirty girl with no cares. Afterwards, I am more self deprecating and watered down. I am slowly finding my identity again, but it has taken time.

For a long time, I felt like I didn’t have a voice. Anytime I spoke up it was wrong. Furthermore, I was told that what I felt was not valid. If I thought differently then it was my perception that needed adjustment. As a result, I doubt my every feeling. Now that my voice is back, I feel I am too quick to speak up. It’s like I’m scared if I don’t speak my mind as the feeling arises that I may lose that voice again.

I apologize constantly. I am always saying I’m sorry even if it wasn’t my fault or completely out of my control. It sounds disingenuous now. Honestly, I’m a fraud. I’m not sorry. Sorry, not sorry. The worst part is that I know it’s not my fault but I make it my own fault in my head. I believe it is because I always was told I was to blame.

I over analyze EVERYTHING. Im the most anxious person. I have racing thoughts and they are so loud they keep me up at night. As a result, I am constantly thinking about what I need to do. Where I am supposed to go. Who needs what and how the hell I’m going to get it all done. As a result, I don’t make decisions quickly. I am unable to focus fully on conversations or mindless tasks. Consequently, I am messy, disorganized and scatter brained.

Who do I Need to Forgive to Begin Healing My Past Trauma?

First, I need to forgive myself. To promote my healing, I need to forgive myself for allowing the abuse of my girls and I. I need to find patience and understanding with myself. I need to remember that I am not the abuser. Afterall, I am a survivor of that abuse too. Next, I need to forgive myself for not escaping sooner. Lastly, I need to forgive myself for checking out those last couple of years and hiding from the abuse.

Next, I know that I need to forgive my abuser. I need to remember that the forgiveness is for me and not for him. Furthermore, just because I forgive what he did to us doesn’t mean that I’m going to forget. It was unacceptable. Abuse in any form is unacceptable. Forgiving him doesn’t mean that I am declaring the abuse ok. However, it shows that I am able to not allow that past abuse to claim my future.

Lastly, I hold resentment towards my support system. Although, the signs were there and the lies were transparent no one spoke up. I lied for him and that is on my shoulders. However, I would think that if there were signs someone would step in, but I was wrong. Then again, only now do I see those signs looking back. Even so, I am finding it is difficult not to want point blame on others. After all, this a lot of hurt, shame, guilt and anger that I hold. If I didn’t let it bleed onto others, deserving or not, I would probably be still struggling to use my voice.

Healing Past trauma

Healing Past Trauma Takes Time

Phew. All done for today. I don’t want to trauma talk anymore today. Unfortunately my life revolves around trauma drama, so if no one says the word ‘trauma‘ tonight then I may feel like I’m in the twilight zone. I am just going to say that I am done processing MY trauma for the day.

In conclusion, I hope that this will help others explore their own mental health and/or trauma. Even if you haven’t experienced trauma these questions are self reflective. Therefore, they can be used to aid a personal growth journey. After all, healing the past is the only way to move forward into the future. As a result, I will be less likely to repeat that cycle. Stay positive! We’ve got this! ☮️❤️😊~M pssst…follow My Threefold on Facebook!

Forgive

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Being at Odds with a Child with O.D.D.

Oppositional defiance disorder is an often misunderstood mental disorder. it is perceived to be a child being a brat because they didn’t get their way. I get that, but there is always more to these fits and it’s all about a child’s inability to regulate, filter through and communicate their feelings. YES! O.D.D. Is selfish just like most mental disorders and illnesses are. These kids do act like brats and as parents we are pulling our hair out to figure out the fix to the problem.

If you have ever dealt with a child having an outburst and sat as they screamed at you ‘I wish you weren’t my mom!’ Then you might understand this illness more than you think. If you’ve ever been cussed out by a ten year old as they slam their fists into the wall then I feel your frustration. If you’ve ever sat and cried wondering what you did wrong to end up with a child acting this way then I know your pain. I too have sat silently biting my tongue as I wanted to throw a fit that matched the ferocity of my child. I also have looked in her eyes as she stared blankly at me as she told me that she wished I was dead. I’ve cried the tears of hurt from those words and fought against my feelings of anger towards my child for being so spiteful and disrespectful. I’ve also held the child as she cried after and loved her through the crash of the comedown. It’s not fair.

As a mom to my threefold who all suffer from mental disorders and illnesses, I know the pain, fear, challenge, and chaos that comes from Mommin’ mental illness. It ain’t easy! You are THAT mom. Being THAT mom means you deal with the judgment, scrutiny, and guilt that results from your child’s illness. You are also THAT mom who is willing to try just about whatever to take away the pain your child experiences and find a path to peace for all of you. Being THAT mom means going above and beyond for your child, advocating for them, seeking help, and learning about the issues they are experiencing and how to mom mental illness better.

Oppositional defiance disorder is just one disorder that two of my threefold suffer from. It also may be one of the most difficult that I manage. Due to its aggressive and volatile nature and the violent behaviors that come with the uncontrollable anger it is often difficult to find the right way to parent this problem. At the end of the day I always try to find solutions that will help us shorten the outbursts and maintain safety during these situations. If I can pass along advice to other parents who are trying to find a way to manage mental illness by telling our story I will. The following will hopefully shed a little light on what oppositional defiance disorder is and how you can manage the meltdowns.

Understanding & Parenting Tips for Oppositional Defiance Disorder

What is O.D.D.?

Oppositional Defiance Disorder is a mental health disorder in which children are unable to regulate their emotions properly and display those behaviors through outbursts. These outbursts are often aggressive, violent, destructive and are marked by angry and vindictive actions. The behavior displayed is usually seemingly disproportionate to the situation that triggered the reaction and their age.

Oppositional Defiance Disorder is a disorder that affects roughly 16% of school aged children according to NAMI. Oppositional Defiance Disorder ranges in severity from mild to severe and the severity is dependent upon how many areas of life are affected. These different areas are family, social, and school environments. The severity is also determined by the frequency and intensity of the outbursts.

Diagnosis

Determining if your child has O.D.D. requires a diagnosis from a mental health professional after an assessment of their behavior and a thorough history of the behavior from parents, teachers, and if possible the child exhibiting the behaviors. Usually a history of one or more outbursts per week that are not age or situation appropriate is the largest determining factor in a O.D.D. diagnosis.

A thorough family history of mental health disorders and illnesses along with any other behaviors or symptoms the child may display can help the evaluation to find the proper diagnosis for your child. O.D.D. is often linked to others disorders and illnesses that need treatment and to be addressed in addition to the anger. Childhood trauma, parenting, stress, bullying and lack of control of environmental factors can also be found to be root issues that have your child unable to express or comprehend the complex emotions they are having. Mental illnesses such as mood disorders, ADHD, anxiety, and PTSD are also linked to oppositional defiance disorder. Therefore an evaluation would bring more understanding as a parent to what factors are playing into your child’s behavior.

What is an Outburst?

If you don’t know what an anger outburst is then you probably don’t have a child with O.D.D. A child with O.D.D. can get irrationally angry and aggressive when a parent denies the child’s request for candy before dinner. They could react in a violent manner when asked to complete simple tasks. Disrespectful and vindictive behavior can be shown when a teacher redirects the child from continuing talking out of turn. A rage fueled argument could arise with a friend of when the child feels that the friend is not following their interpretation of the rules. This emotional ineptitude is expected in children younger than five, but beyond that age they should have began to filter their emotions and communicate them in a healthier way.

If you think of a toddler who throws a tantrum when you remove a toy from their hand or say no that would be similar to how a child reacts who has O.D.D. ‘Don’t take candy from a baby’ comes to mind as the type of fit a small child has. While it’s understandable that a two year old throws themselves on the floor, hits, screams or cries in response, it is not acceptable for a ten year old to throw a fit like that in response to a similar undesirable outcome. ‘Don’t cry over spilled milk’ would be a good example of the triggered response of a child with O.D.D. has to unwanted outcomes and minor inconveniences.

Outbursts consistent with those seen in oppositional defiance disorder often involve the following characteristics:

  • Extreme anger out of proportion to the situation.
  • Yelling, screaming, and crying.
  • Destruction of property
  • Cursing or other obscene language
  • Hitting and kicking objects or others in their space.
  • Throwing objects at others or in the vicinity.
  • Berating the person who has redirected, reprimanded or refused the child.
  • Manipulative, spiteful, and vindictive behavoids exhibited.
  • Self harm or threats of suicide.
  • Lack of care of consequences given or stated.

Parenting the Problem and Seeking Support

I know how challenging parenting any child can be at times, but it’s a completely different ballgame when you have a child who suffers from any form of mental health disorder or illness. An explosive and potentially violent or aggressive child is anxiety inducing for everyone involved and can feel hopeless for a parent who is trying to handle this behavior. It’s important that you are aware of the possible triggers, the surroundings for safety and how you can help to deescalate the outburst quickly and effectively.

As a mom to two children who were diagnosed with oppositional defiance disorder at the age of eight and nine, I am going to give you my do’s and don’ts for managing the meltdowns that come with oppositional defiance disorder. These are merely my experiences, my understanding, and the suggestions I was given from articles, books, therapists, and parenting coaches.

What DIDN’T Work

I would’ve tried just about anything to stop the spiral that consumed my daughters and I multiple times each week. I didn’t want to feel like the failing mom who couldn’t control her kids. I would’ve paid anyone to step in and just ‘fix’ the issue. I was tired and nothing seemed to be working. I tried to find the fix, but everything I was doing seemed to trigger my child. I would beg for a quiet day and walk on eggshells in my own home to keep the peace at home. Many of the things I tried didn’t help but instead only intensified or lengthened the outburst. I felt like I had a tiny tyrant in my home who was holding my family and I hostage. She expected us to all bend to her will. I don’t recommend the following actions when trying to overcome the outbursts of O.D.D. :

  • DON’T give in! Don’t give your child what they want to avoid the outburst. Doing so will only cause them to use these outbursts to get their desired outcome quicker.
  • DON’T threaten without follow through! Do not threaten to ground them from electronics for a month knowing that’s a consequence you won’t uphold. Threats are empty and lead to lack of consideration of consequences.
  • DON’T scream or yell back. Do not engage in an argument. Do not match their behavior. Doing so will likely not only throw fuel on the fire but it will also demonstrate the behaviors you are trying to deter.
  • DON’T take it personally. Do not allow the spiteful words of your child become your truth. Your child doesn’t hate you or wish you weren’t their mom. They just want you to hurt as bad as they are in that moment.
  • DON’T leave your child unsupervised or with someone unprepared for the possibility of an outburst. Do not allow others who are uneducated about your child’s disorder to care for your child. Do not leave them unattended for lengthy amounts of time {more than 30 minutes} and not at all when experiencing an outburst.
  • DON’T react with aggression or physical punishment. I don’t disagree that you can protect your child from himself but don’t use corporal punishment to have the child comply with your commands during an outburst.
  • DON’T give them the attention for acting badly. Do not react or respond to their every distorted reaction, aggressive advance or their requests for you to do or stop doing whatever they are demanding of you in the moment. Giving attention to the negative behaviors will give them a sense of control over you. Attention whether positive or negative is still rewarding to a child with O.D.D.

What DID Work

Now that we have discussed what we shouldn’t do we can move on to the tips that may help you calm your child while having an outburst from O.D.D. I’ve tried these and although we haven’t completely eliminated the outbursts, I can say my ability to control myself and my reactions and understand the root cause has been extremely beneficial in managing the meltdown when it arises. I’m not going to pretend that O.D.D. is cured in my threefold, but it’s makes Mommin’ this mental illness a little more manageable than it was previously.

  • DO give your child consequences that you plan to uphold. When giving consequences make sure to speak to your child after the situation has calmed down. Ask your child ‘what consequences do you think you should get for acting this way?’ Take into consideration their age and the root cause and be firm that this is unacceptable behavior.
  • DO make sure to let them know that you love them. You don’t have to like their behavior, but you always love them.
  • DO let them know when they have hurt you. If they said something particularly nasty during the height of their anger then tell them later. You will most often hear them say they didn’t mean it. This will help them to see their behavior hurts you, but also their response can ease the sting of the words they said to hurt you.
  • DO attempt to keep the child away from other members of the family during the outburst. Safety is key for not only your child but anyone who could be impacted intentionally or unintentionally by the outburst. Keep other children in an area out of sight and earshot of the child having the outburst. One triggered child is enough, adding another could intensify the outburst making it even harder to manage.
  • DO cut yourself some slack. You’re there, trying to support them and help them through this. It takes a lot of patience and love to be the parent they feel safe to express the good, bad and ugly emotions to. It’s hard being the safe parent sometimes.
  • DO encourage open communication instead of acting out. Brainstorm ways you and your child can deescalate the situation together. Ask your child how you can help them best during their outbursts and if you can’t oblige offer an alternative.
  • DO promote healthy coping mechanisms for when these big feeling arise. What can your child do to calm down when they feel tgat they are becoming agitated?
  • DO hug your child and comfort them after they have calmed down. You don’t have to understand the behavior to offer compassion. They are still just a child who needs your comfort, because the guilt will be heavy for their behavior and they need to know you are going to love them through the hard parts.
  • DO tell your child what they did that was unacceptable and how you don’t reward bad behavior. Come up with ideas together of rewards for positive behaviors and talk about ways to earn those rewards.
  • DO set routines that your child can adhere to. Chores, homework, bedtime, and other obligations the child has should be scheduled along with the free time. Once the child becomes accustomed to a routine then they can mentally prepare for what they are supposed to do and when. This structure will allow your child to feel like they know what to expect as well as what is expected of them.
  • DO seek support from teachers and therapists, partners and siblings as you navigate. Communicate warning signs and solutions that work well for calming your child.
  • DO seek therapy as a way to help your child learn to better process and communicate their emotions. A therapist can help give you insight into the child’s behavior and also act as a safe place for your child to release troublesome emotions. The therapist can also help your child to develop coping mechanisms that they can use when they have intense emotions.

It’s important to understand that Mommin mental illness isn’t a one size fits all parenting style. You are the person who knows your child best. I would love to hear your tips and tricks for taming down the tiny tyrant who is terrorizing your home too! Share in the comments or send me an email at mythreefold@gmail.com

Mommin’ mental illness ain’t easy! Finding the balance between permissive parenting and authoritative parenting while maintaining awareness of mental illness is difficult to fine tune. Trauma informed parenting teaches us to be mindful of our children’s mental health and their current stressors while maintaining an authoritative approach. As a trauma drama bipolar momma bear I am uniquely familiar with how mental disorders like O.D.D. can make home sweet home leave a bitter taste in your mouth. It’s not going away, but staying consistent with your child is key. Stay patient and stay positive. You’ve got this! ☮️❤️😊~M

Resources:

  • NAMI.org
  • AACAP.org
  • Childmind.org
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Smile through the Struggle

There comes a point though that we can’t just smile through the struggle. We need support and someone to sit with us while we cry the tears, express our fears, and not try to tell us how to fix all of our problems. I’m here to tell you, it’s ok to not be ok. Mommin’ ain’t easy. It takes a village and in our case a damn army because we are fighters over here! But damn it, this part is hard. There are no cheat codes for raising teenagers with mental illness! Believe me, up-down-up- down, left, right, or whatever it was in the original Nintendo game, doesn’t work. I need a reset, pause or some power ups to get through our ups and downs!

I’m struggling with life throwing punch after punch. They are landing blow after blow. I’m at the point that I almost wish I’d get knocked out so I could rest a bit easier. Unfortunately, I’m just getting my ass beat. Life yet again is the bully who is kicking my ass and stealing my lunch money. Instead of just giving in and handing it over, I just keep fighting back. I still have hope that there is something better around the corner. I want to believe that all the hard my threefold and I have faced over the last several years will have some reward in store for us when we get to the other side of this obstacle course. I have to believe enough for all of us, because if I give up, so do they.

If you’ve been following our journey for a while you know 2021 brought a lot more than our fair share of hard times. Going into 2022, I was hopeful that we could close that chapter and begin seeing our way forward to the future. I felt like we finally had overcome big hurdles and found a groove. I was wrong. So wrong. 3 months in to the new year and we’ve already had 2 hospitalizations each now for #2 and #3 of my threefold.

#2 just finished a week inpatient at the beginning of the month and stepped down to partial hospitalization or day patient {hospital during the day and home at night} after this last round of inpatient care. Today while at partial #2 got upgraded to an inpatient unit at the grippy sock hotel, extended stay addition. She needs medication adjustments again. Bipolar is difficult to manage, in case you weren’t aware, now add in the fact that #2 has Bipolar 1 and also happens to be a teenager…that’s more difficult to manage. .

I know I’ve spit the statistics before but bipolar is one of those super unpredictable mental illnesses. It’s also super difficult to diagnose. Most people seek help when they are in a deep depressive episode. Most often bipolar disorder has depressive episodes that stay for months and even years without relief. When you have a manic episode in between it can appear like you are ‘getting better’, but you’re not. Mania is the ‘polar’ opposite of depression. I like to explain it like this – if depression is the worst you will ever feel than mania is the best you can feel. If depression makes you believe you’re worthless then mania is the feeling of being worth your weight in gold. This can make it seem like you’re capable of anything. If depression makes you worry about everything then mania is the absence of worry. It’s not a good thing. This is when people ruin relationships, cheat, steal, experiment with drugs, spend every dollar they have and become invincible.

Usually a depressive episode on average has been found to last 50% longer than a manic or hypomanic episode. There is a 60% greater chance of substance abuse with bipolar disorder. The main statistic that scared me most and steals my sleep is that nearly 50% of those with bipolar will attempt suicide with an alarming 15% who complete suicide. That’s why I share our story. That’s why I won’t quit fighting for our future.

I fight hard for my threefold and I everyday to make sure that our names don’t become part of the scary statistics. I fight the stigma surrounding mental illness because the misinformation isolates us and tells us we should be ashamed to have a disorder. I laugh about our crazy life and how I am the trauma bipolar bear momma because it makes the bitterness and heaviness of these statistics a little easier to swallow. I smile through the struggle, but I guarantee tonight these statistics will steal my sleep and my peace. All I can do is continue to try and stay positive. We’ve got this! ☮️❤️😊~M