Tag Archives: parenting

Kryptonite and Inevitable Triggers

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My Kryptonite

“Which of my feelings are real? Which of the me’s is me? The wild, impulsive, chaotic, energetic, and crazy one? Or the shy, withdrawn, desperate, suicidal, doomed, and tired one? Probably a bit of both, hopefully much that is neither.”
Kay Redfield Jamison, An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness

Consistently trying to mimic emotions of others everyday in itself is hard, trying to be happy when you are sad and and stop the acceleration of happiness is exhausting.  I cherish the moments when I can completely be myself, drown in the things I love with joy. I wish I could be consistent and a “trigger” is just a word for a simple release mechanism.

I have to pause before the hamster falls off the wheel and rewind a bit. Lately, I can’t figure out if I’m okay, about to be manic, or about to face the black dog (depression). It’s a typical meme you’ll find on the Internet. Basically, if you don’t like my mood now, wait a few minutes. I haven’t written as much on my blog in the last few weeks, mostly just unable to focus. I have emails I desperately need and want to reply too regarding how I handle having bipolar and mental illnesses or blog in general. Many praising how I am shifting such a horrible illnesses into a superpower. It’s hard to tell someone with bipolar, PTSD, depression or anxiety what works for me, because I am constantly trying to pinpoint the answer myself. Ithe is ever changing. I never post trigger warnings on my blog because no single person has the same triggers. Yes, we probably all share many of the same. But mine can be anything from hearing a baby cry in a bathroom echoing off the walls to someone asking me, “Do I know you?” to trigger a response.

So today, I was completely fine, enjoying a day with the family. We had chosen to go see a movie and walk around the mall prior. Today is Memorial day, for our family everyday is memorial day like many of our friends. We never forget those who gave all, so today was like no other except it reminds the rest of the world to pause for the day. It’s a trigger, I am reminded of my husband’s deployments, nearly losing him in the Pentagon on September 11th and those who did not come home on those days or those deployments. So for my family they are remembered everyday. So today a movie and the mall sounded perfect.

While shopping, I get a call from my credit card telling me of possible fraudulent charges. Instantly a trigger, “Did I do something and spend thousands online? Did I charge away to ASPCA  (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) late at night watching those emotional commercials involving animal cruelty? Or to an organization for wounded warriors that pulled at my heartstrings?” These things ran instantly through my head. I knew it was none of those things, but what if? What if it happened and I didn’t remember. The thoughts of other things ran through my head. As I listened, I learned that it was simply we hadn’t used our credit card and when my husband bought the kids a snack with the card just minutes before, it triggered the alert from the card company (Bravo to Chase Bank for diligently). This in turn triggered me.

It was obvious to everyone, the day was over. I was rigid, emotionless, angry, irritated, and every muscle remained tense. It was no one’s fault. I just hated myself, reminded of who I was like Kryptonite to Superman. I was wounded. I saw the disappointment on everyone’s face as we left the mall for the car. Everyone knew the day with Mom was over.

Once home it took hours to stop my muscles from being so tense. Release myself from the fear and tension that had occurred in my head. I sat on the couch and didn’t move. Shortly, I fell asleep from exhaustion. Once I woke, my body ached, I was tired, not sleepy but drained. Dinner was prepared for me, the kids and Dad went to a neighborhood cookout. The day was savaged for them, but I felt like I’d spent the day in the gym. In a fog, reflecting how real it all felt.

I wanted to share that regardless of how awesome and healthy I look or appear I’m not immune to triggers. I am not perfectly super bipolar all the time. What makes me great is also what makes me horrible. A trigger to me is what I imagine and compare to the weaknesses of superheroes.

As I sat down to write tonight I was reminded of, Kay Redfield Jamison, An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness. I flipped to the highlighted quote you see at the beginning of this post. It perfectly described me. It is me yesterday, today and tomorrow. The battle never ends, but like all superheroes I will survive to fight another day.

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Oh the horror!

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Screams radiated from one bedroom, while a maniacal laugher rang out from another room.

It was the beginning of the perfect conclusion to awesome spring break day. Both my kids were playing quietly upstairs in their rooms. They had played all day, either with me or friends. I listen as my daughter asked my son, “Come on bud, let’s go play Minecraft.” Peter, “Really?” And off they went to play together. I say to myself, “You have parented well, now go reward yourself. You are winning!” It is spring break so Cork popped the cork on a meaty red wine! “Breathe beautiful wine, breathe”



They silence was beautiful. I was rather proud of my kids. They rarely need to be disciplined and are both amazingly intelligent. They were playing together in this virtual Minecraft world. Apparently, my daughter invited Peter to play in her world. They separated, he in his room and she in hers on separate devices. Suddenly screams of terror, cries from my daughter’s room. Sobbing hiccups crying, a barely audible, “He Godzilla’ed my world, he put lava everywhere!” Obviously, I’m not too informed on the Minecraft lingo or the complexity. I had read it was good for three dimensional thinking and brain development so I became a fan. In the other room, we hear laughter, maniacal laughter. Peter is obviously pleased with himself, he had finally won something against his older wiser sister. Peter saw himself as Peter the Minecraft dominator, Peter the destructor. 

My daughter’s sadness quickly grew into anger and then acceptance. Rowan would surely rise like a Phoenix from the Minecraft world ashes. My son, well… we all learned why he’s blocked so much on Minecraft. He was apparently known to Godzilla worlds with lava, he was indeed Peter the destructor. My husband and I often talk, she is a genius with the morality of a saint. Peter has a bit more creative genius with flexible morality. He’ll either go to prison or find the cure for cancer. Both are incredibly smart. I think about the possibility of one or both inheriting my genetics. Tonight I saw myself in them both, I laughed silently with Peter and cried internally for my daughter. Her forgiveness was humbling and his apology priceless, “It’s just a game, I’d never hurt you in real life row.” 
My hope is my children see my struggles and learn from my mistakes. They recognize the symptoms, they watch out for each other as adults. They learn from my openness of my own mental illnesses. They adapt and overcome, they are kind, they grow up knowing how to handle their superpower. Something I only learned as an adult.
I parented tonight and the wine was wonderful.

“Passive aggressive” *insert maniacal laugh

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  Some people have writers block, but I always have another problem…..touchscreen keyboards. Yes, other than my evil nemesis the black cat, it’s touchscreen keyboard. My hands have a tendency to sweat all the time. To me it’s gross, discussing, and has caused me social anxiety my whole life. I alway think, “My god, they are reaching for a handshake” and I roll in for the inappropriately timed hug. Sometimes it’s normal and sometimes with anxiety they drip with water. I’ve learned to control it a bit over the years, but it drives me bonkers using an iPad or touchscreen device. I toss them in frustration, and you’ll hear a snicker and laughter from one of my kids, “Mom must be trying to write with wet hands again.” My kids are hilariously times and know how to make me laugh. Sometimes, my oldest who likes to be a bit sassy, will see me getting upset and walk by ever so causally and say, “E—-eeeeeeyore” in her best Eeyore voice and we both laugh. Her best is when I’m talking and anytime I am passive aggressive and she hears it she will say loud enough for me to hear,”Passive aggressive!” It humorous and she knows her boundaries. She usually snaps me out of my aggressive or depressive behavior. 

So as I was trying to type and tossed my iPad and went in search of my laptop this morning. I heard a little voice in my head and smiled. Then in the search for my laptop I asked passive aggressive questions in my head and heard that little voice in a sigh say, “passive aggressive.” There on her bed my laptop, battery dead. This time I don’t ask, “Who took my laptop and forgot to replace it?” This time I leave a note that reads in bold, “Passive Aggressive!, I heard your voice. Love you so much for keeping me cool.”

So next time you find yourself asking passive aggressive questions, hear a voice like that of a maniacal muppet like that of my conspirator Uncle deadly saying, “passive aggressive” and smile remembering the honesty of child who lives with parents who just isn’t right sometimes. 

P.S. The Lego image and why Legos? All parents can relate it a huge source of passive aggressive behavior at night in the dark when barefoot.

Unexpected outcomes

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Sometimes I just get this crazy obsession for a certain foods or spices. Today it was for Thai food, it’d been at least two weeks since I had had a meal from my favorite local spot. It was a hidden gem I’d run to and was always amazing. So excitingly, I load up the kids and we are on our way for the most delicious Thai food. I didn’t care if the kids were arguing or my 11 year old feels she is the enforcer and boss of my 6 year old.  Today, I was not going to scream “Stop” a million times. Today was my treat! Today would include delicious food porn on my blog, it will not be crazy!

As we arrived and parked, I made sure the rules were clear, “BE good, NO fighting, mommy needs to be fed!” Walking towards the door something was off and they appeared closed. From my side, my little man Peter says, “Mom, I’m pretty sure they are closed for good” And sure enough, a real estate sign, It was closed forever.  Then the kids had a brilliant idea, “Mom, let’s go to your favorite Korean restaurant.”

“Yes!” That will do, so on the interstate we go, if you’re not familiar with Northern Virginia traffic consider yourself blessed. I-95 is hell going south or north on any given day, but I’m determined to eat out and now it’s just painful listening to the kids argue. “MOM!, make her give me to poop emoji pillow back.” “MOM! I didn’t touch him” and so on until we reach the exit.  As we pull into the parking lot to my favorite Korean restaurant something isn’t right and this time I spot the sign immediately, closed and another real estate sign. I lay me head on the wheel, quietly I say “Dammit, dammit, dammit!”

Apparently, not quite enough. Out of my Peter 6 year old mouth, “Mom, Chuck E Cheese now serves beer and wine” Did my kid just tell me the germ factory served alcohol? How did I not know they served alcohol? Heck, I know where I’ll have my next birthday, maybe even my 40th in many, many years to come, I’ve been 29-35 for several years. I could only laugh that my kids thought that I would get them pizza or the fact they knew Chucky Cheese was near the Korean restaurant. My kids had manipulated me into going to Chucky E Cheese with the suggestion they now serve alcohol.

Yes, I’m that mom drinking a beer at Chuck E Cheese getting her Chuck E Cheese photo ID’s made, playing games with no mercy before noon. Before you judge me, I drank one beer and kicked little kid ass for over an hour. I may have cheated and swiped some tickets from the little people. Just the ones who didn’t pay attention, life lesson kids, pay attention to the crazy lady. But overall, I got a squirt gun, sticky slappy hand thing, some silly puddy, and woopie cushion. All these these things are part of the plan for manic black cat of darkness revenge. You can use you imagination, but two can at play “sniper” cat, the game of surprise attack cat! It only cost me a little over $100 to eat and play games…..totally worth it for the entire family!

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I just want to f*cking color

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 “I just want to fucking color”

At age 3 the world is an amazing place. Full of the unexpected, every minute is filled with hundreds of new sights, sounds, and smells. Imagine if you could turn it off for a few minutes. Peter did just that on this day. I learned probably one of the applicable statement for living from a disobedient child who genuinely just wanted to finish a task.

It’s a short story, at the height of one of my manic episodes so he spent the day in daycare so I could get that amazing tattoo I needed (story for later). My husband arrived to pick up our 3 year old and was pulled aside by his teacher. She questioned him a bit about whom he spends time around because of his vocabulary. She preceded to explain he had used the “F” word. Of course, embarrassed my husband took responsibility and assured her it would never happen again. See, my husband and I are Marines and honestly fuck is second nature. But it was honestly my inability to censor myself. She proceeded to tell the story. It was nap time and all the kids were instructed to clean up their stations. Everyone followed the routine, except Peter. Peter continued to color in complete silence and zen. Nothing in the world was better than just coloring at that moment. When told he had to nap Peter responded, “I just want to fucking color”. He was calm, but stern. All he wanted was to finish his task, do what he enjoyed.

I think about that on many occasions. I just want to fucking color. I think we all just want to color. We strive to find that on thing we love and without someone telling us how to do it or that we should stop. We all are really trying to achieve that peace and balance.

We all just want to fucking color.