Tag Archive | mental illness

Toddler Lessons

IMG_4355

My darling baby Jace is turning 3 on Sunday, March 3, and I find myself getting sentimental at how grown up he has become. It seems just like yesterdy that I gave birth to him and now he’s running all over the place and talking up a storm.

Now that he is a toddler, I can’t help but look in awe at all the milestones he has gone through. From walking to speaking to doing things on his own such as putting away his toys. He now understands us more than he ever did when we talk to him. And he is now more aware of the world around him.

Toddlers, in all their awesomeness and naughtiness mixed with lots of charm and adorableness can be a handful but if you look close enough, there are life lessons that our toddlers can teach us. Some things we already know but have lost along the way in the process of growing up.

It can take us by surprise, these lessons they impart on us but they are all worth it to be able to share this journey with them. Jace, in all his tantrums and playfulness have thought me a lot of valuable lessons about life that I know I should already know but I really don’t or really don’t fully understood until I saw it through the eyes of a 2 years old.

1. Be in the moment

Anytime Jace eats or plays, I notice that he is focused on doing these things alone. His playtime or his eating time. He doesn’t get distracted by anything, even if it’s his favorite person calling for him. He is just there, enjoying wht he is doing until he is done with it. Looking at him, I have realized that in the chaotic world of adulthood, I often get distracted by a number of thimgs that I usually leave what I’m doing half-baked. As a result, I never get to enjoy the task at hand as there is another thing I seem to need to do. Looking at Jace, I realized that I just have to pace myself and focus on what I am currently doing. I realized that I should not let distractions take me away from what I am doing so I will finish it quicker.

2. Express yourself

Jace, as a 2 year old, has epic tantrums. I swear, the whole neighborhood can hear his cries and sobs. I don’t know exactly what sets hims off but sometime it can be as silly as not being able to catch a bubble with his toy claw. He is not shy about it, he will let out a humongous sob and cry his dear little heart out. Yeah, I know it can be annoying, maybe even irritating but upon relfection, Jace is just letting out his feelings. His feelings of annoyance, frustration, anger, or joy as when he jumps up and down and claps his little chubby hands when he gets somehting he likes. He is not shy at all to express his emotions. And I have learned that I shouldn’t too. Growing up, I have slowly been indoctrinated to keep my feelings in check. That is, shouldn’t let it show that much or people will think your strange or weird. However, bottling your feelings inside you isn’t good at all too. It can lead to many mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety. So from now on, I think I’m going to be more like my son. Of course I won’t go as much as throw a tantrum when I don’t get what I want but I will surely, but politely, let my feelings be known.

3. Determination

Many times have I been thwarted by my enemy – resignation – when I do something and after a couple of times of doing it I keep failing. I just fling my arms into the air and give up. I mean, I did try it a lot of times already, right? If it’s gonna fail, it’s gonna fail. Or so I thought. My son, who is a box full of determination never gives up. He tries to attach his tiny toy car to his tow track and it keeps falling but he keeps doing the same thing over and over again, without fail. I, already getting frustrated for him, wish that he’d just give up but no, he keeps pusing through. Finally, on the nth try, the tiny car attaches to the tow track. My son was determined to do it and he did. That really hit home with me. It made me think that maybe instead of throwing in the towel, I should just keep pushing through because maybe I’m going to faill 99 times but succeed on the 100 time.

4. Unconditional Love

There are times when it is so hard to love my partner, parent, or even my child but Jace has taught me the beauty of unconditional love. Jace’s love for all of us shines through him and makes him glow. He always has his arms wide for a hug, his mouth is always turned into a smile, and his opennes to just accept anyone of us astounds me. I mean, there are times when we scold him, berate him, and sometimes yell at him because we are at our wit’s end because he is being too much but he doesn’t take it to heart. I think he know we are not perfect, we get irritated at times but he still loves us no matter what. With this, Jace has taught me to look beyond imperfections and just concentrate on the love I share with my partner, my parents, and my child. Without even trying to, my son has taught me the beauty of understanding where people are coming from so I won’t be that irritated anymore and to just accept them for who they are and love them.

5. Patience

I’ve lost my patience a number of times but looking at Jace, he has reminded me how it is to be patient. Jace, in his littleness, has learned how to patiently wait while his drink is being made, or while his favorite motorcycle is being recharged, or while his food is cooling down. He doesn’t frown or pout but silently sits in one corner and waits until everything is done. He even patiently waits for his Papa or his Daddy even when he’s itching to go already and they’re being slow. Something that have always annoyed me to no end. But Jace has taught me stop and slow down. He has taught me that not all things should be rushed. I should enjoy the slowness of things sometimes for it is in this slowness that we become connected to ourselves.

My son may still be all of 2 years old but the life lessons he has taught me has already reverberated into my being. He is growing up fast and I am getting heartsick about it but looking forward, I know he will remind me of the many things I have forgotten as I grew up, as much as I will teach him the beauty of life. Through his eyes, everything will be more colorful and through his love, everything will be fun. Yes, he is turning 3 on Sunday and yes, he is fast becoming a big boy but that big boy will forever be my baby and have my heart.

 

Advertisements

Of Bipolar and baby

a9f36e9ad636c54fcf4733ece30f04d1

My son, Jace Gabriel, will be two months on May 3 and I still can not get enough of him; I doubt I ever will.

I remember when I had an inkling that I was pregnant, unlike a number of women wanting a baby, I was nervous. The day I confirmed my pregnancy, I was scared, nervous, and a little bit happy. I was at the mall and I immediately called my husband to tell him. I almost cried. I don’t know about other women with Bipolar who became pregnant but I was overwhelmed with a mixture of emotions and none of them was pure joy or elation.

Saying that the whole nine months was difficult is an understatement. Yes, I did not have any problems such as pre-eclampsia or gestational diabetes but my mind was and is not stable. I had Bipolar and not being able to take any medicines for it while I was pregnant aggravated my condition. I had major attacks at times – hitting myself (luckily not on the stomach), stomping my feet, hurting my arms and face, screaming until my throat hurt – and it scared and worried my husband as well as my mother. Me? I kept promising myself to do better next time, that I will control myself next time. But “next time” never came. When I wasn’t having my attacks, I saw my pregnancy as something so weird that I even likened it to the movie Alien where the main star got pregnant with an alien. I hardly felt overjoyed when I felt my baby’s kicks, I usually got goosebumps. All in all, being pregnant felt very surreal for me.

Fast forward to March 3, 2016. My psychiatrist recommended a C-section for me, fearing that I would have an attack in the middle of labor pains and the actual labor itself. As I was being wheeled towards the surgery room with my husband by my side all I can feel was trepidation. I was agitated and it was because I knew I was going to be injected with anaesthesia and they will inject it in the spine. I was actually crying because of that. I don’t really remember it but according to my husband I was on the verge of an attack.

When my son finally arrived at 8:59 am, I didn’t cry tears of joy. I didn’t feel any happiness when I saw him. I wasn’t gleeful. Truth be told, I wasn’t anything – I did not feel anything. For days and weeks, I struggled with my feelings towards my son. Why didn’t I feel loving towards him? Why do I keep looking at him strangely? Where’s the feeling of love every new mothers rave about? And the ultimate question every moms ask – Am I a bad mom???

Along with his birth came the Bipolar medications that prevented me from breastfeeding my son as well as taking care of him since the medication came with a sedating effect and I  was asleep for 15 hours and sometimes more.

It took two weeks, almost three, and not taking my medication just so I can take care and bond with him for me to feel the first stirrings of motherly love. It was like a dam slowly getting cracks until it burst. And now I know without an ounce of doubt, I love my son more than my life. Oh, my medications still keeps me from fully taking care of him and my attacks are still there that I sometimes actually felt hate towards my innocent baby boy twice but that’s how it is – for now. I can fight my attacks but everyone with Bipolar knows how futile it is. During the good days, I feel like I can do anything, I make plans just like everyone and bond with my baby but on bad days I am a wreck, non-stop crying, screaming, and hurting myself. One thing I am grateful though is that after twice feelings hate towards my boy, I now look at him with a gentleness I didn’t know I can muster during my severest of attacks. No matter how bad my attacks get, whenever I see Jace or hear him crying I am slowly brought back to my senses. Before him, only my husband can do that to me.

Bipolar and babies don’t mix, I found that out the hard way, but it is and will always be worth it just to see my precious son’s toothless smiles and grins, his happy gurgles, and his milestones. The nine months of hell was easily replaced with a lifetime of heaven with my son’s love.

 

 

The Plea

feeling-hopeful

Please

remember me now

exactly

the way

I am;

calm,

collected,

sweet;

one who

plans,

someone

who

loves life.

Please

remember me now

just

the way

I am;

optimistic,

understanding,

laughing;

one

who

truly cares,

someone

who values

life.

For when

the beast

shows itself

all of this

will

be lost,

I

will be

pushed

to the

back

forced

to watch

my very self

destroyed.

A Bipolar’s Manic Life

sunset-silhouette-young-woman-sad-alone-47516476

Have you ever been to hell while alive? It’s like waking up from a deep slumber but instead of feeling well-rested, your head is swimming in constant emotional and mental turmoil. It’s being born again with all the misery and hollowness in the world put inside you and you feel like bursting any moment. Your mind is a jumble of mismatched wires and your heart is beating but you feel lifeless.

I have Bipolar II which means I have more manic depressive episodes than high or elevated moods. More often, I sleep the whole day because I feel like my energy has been drained but there are also times when I am restless and can not sit still or stay in one place. There are times when I am overly excited or happy and have grandiose plans regarding my life, and life in general. Other times, I shop compulsively. I am sometimes the most pleasant, enjoyable company you will have, and at others I am the most obnoxious, sarcastic bitch in the room. I am prone to suicidal tendencies and hurting myself. More so to feel something than to deliberately inflict pain on my being. I have Bipolar, not insanity.

Many an article both here in the Philippines and abroad have featured suicides due to depression and others wonder how these people could do it. What on earth possessed them to end their life, to give up just like that? As someone who have thought of killing herself on more than one occasion, I may not be able to speak for everyone but this I know to be true: the misery within, the silent plea for help when we don’t even know if we want it or not, and the conflict between losing & finding ourself  are all too great a burden that all we want to do is end it. End the chaos plaguing us, for it is a plague, a never-ending plague that only settles but never leaves.

Sad to say, only a few people with Bipolar get the much needed support and unconditional love from their family and friends. On my end, I am not criticizing any friends – nor family – I have but they do tend to ignore me when I am in my manic depressive mood. Others even have the gall to ask how I am doing when it is obvious how exactly I feel. I guess it’s because they do not know. They do not have the slightest clue of the conflict I am battling every single moment of my life. They have their depressive episodes but that will be gone in a few days or week while mine stays. It is a constant in my life. Except for my husband, I am almost always left alone where the feelings of guilt and worthlessness magnify into a thousandfold.

In a way I am guilty of my Bipolar blossoming. I nurtured it you see. From the throes of slight depressive episodes until the depths of a dark bottomless pit, I have watered it until it thrived. You ask what made me do it? Not because I wanted to be in the lowest hierarchy of humanity where pity is constantly on its feet but because I am a writer.

As much as I have Bipolar, I am self-aware and it did not take me long to realize that I write a whole hell of a lot better when I am in my manic depressive mood. It is in my darkest, most primeval, and volatile state when I become in charge of all my faculties – literary at least. In these moments, nothing can stand between me and my thoughts. I am then compelled – summoned more like it – to put pen to paper where all my thoughts gush out, like a faucet opened on full power. It is when I write to my full satisfaction where my brain and heart literally race and tumble over words. I do not know how many people with Bipolar experience this but it is during these moments that I am in bliss. I feel like I am me again – no, I AM me again. My pathos is also my salvation.

Some people might think it but no one ever wants to be mentally ill. No one. But it is something I, and a hundred or maybe thousands of people, have to deal with everyday. I have it not because I am weak. I have it not because I have a flair for the dramatics. I have it not because I am pessimistic. I have it simply because I do. It is a fact and nothing can ever change that. The agony, the tiring ups and downs of my emotions, and the constant feeling of drowning and emptiness is mine and mine alone. Understanding Bipolar will take time but if people put in a lot of patience coupled with dedication then one day, the stigma that is Bipolar will be broken. Then, people with Bipolar like me will be seen as caring, strong, and thriving members of our community – not as weak, cry babies with whom others always have to be on edge with.

I can see the light. It is not that I, and the others, choose to be in the shadows. It is because I need my family and friends to make that light reachable for me, especially in moments of anguish. Yes I need help, but sometimes, I still wonder if I really do. I need patience and understanding, not scrutiny and judgments. One day, I know it will happen.

 

 

More About UNMASKED

IMG_1152

UNMASKED is not just about someone dealing with Bipolar Disorder, it’s also a story of hope. Of how a person can spiral so low but still manage to fight against the turmoil and find one’s self. It is everyone’s story of trial and tribulation, how going through the hottest of fire can make us stronger and wiser if we hold on long enough and refuse to give up.

UNMASKED now available at central.com.ph, sulitbooks.com, blink.com.ph,and facebook.com/genevievelvwisen.com (please send me a PM) ^_^