August is coming to a beautiful end and Fall is just around the corner (can you say pumpkin spice season). The Fall is usually the time when our moods begin to change as we prepare for cabin fever. I think mental health is the appropriate topic for the coming months and I’ve even written a few post myself…
I have read a plethora of post by parents who suffer from depression and anxiety. I honestly think that they are brave for sharing intimate details from their account. I know that it can be really hard to gather the courage to put yourself out there and that’s mostly due to judgement.
I also know that people may not share their stories or get help because they feel it makes them a crappy parent. There are some parents out there that do not deserve to be parents but most of us try with all our might. We are mighty child warriors battling through all of our sadness and anxiety to make sure our babies are at their best.
Laura from the blog “The Butterfly Mother” wrote a post that inspired me to write this post. She has a blog dedicated to mental health for parents. She is a postnatal depression and anxiety survivor so she talks about her own experiences.
Mental health is such an important thing that should be spoken about often. It’s even more important for parents to know their mental illnesses do not have to determine whether or not they are good parents. There is no parent that exist that has perfected raising children because it’s always been about what works with you and your child.
I don’t talk about my diagnoses often but I am willing to be brave in order to help someone else. I’ve been diagnosed with Bipolar II, Anxiety, and PTSD.
My physical and mental health has a way of altering one another. A lot of the time I feel inadequate because I have so many triggers for so many different ailments. Although it’s tough, I’ve learned to use my high energy to my advantage and use coping skills when I am feeling low.
Here are some ways that my mental illnesses have made me a better parent..
My High Energy (Mania)
I am bipolar but I suffer more from the depression than I do the mania. I’ve had times in my life when I was out of control but I chalk that up to me being unaware of what was taking place. The high energy just makes me feel like I need to go and escape to break free from everything.
This wasn’t a good way to feel knowing I had kids but I learned to use that energy to get things done. I will go and go until I short myself but it’s a way for me to get on top of those things that get piled up. The kids enjoy this high energy of course and they really like when I am able to do those things I couldn’t when I was depressed.
On the low days, I just lay around and the kids really love that because they have access to me. They usually cuddle up around me when I cry and take cat naps. They’ll ask me why I am upset and I do my best to explain so they don’t feel shut out.
I am a human with real feelings and to hide those from them I think is a betrayal. As they get older I see that they are very empathic and are open to understanding other people’s feelings. This also helps them to be very verbal about their own feelings.
I hope that they grow up understanding the seriousness of mental health; have the confidence to share; and listen to others when they need it the most. I never want them to just know me as the mom who’s sad all the time and never know why. I know having these talks with my children will help them to find peace in the future and make our relationship strong.
Let me know what you think. How does your mental illnesses make you a better parent? Do you talk to your kids about your depression or anxiety?