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Bipolar Mom: You Are a Superhero

May 11, 2016 Taylor Arthur

Bipolar moms are superheroes. I know we don't look like it, usually. We're dressed as ordinary moms, wearing our yoga pants at pick up and our baseball caps at little league games. That's what you see on the outside. That's how we blend in. But if you could see the battle we're fighting each and every day to stay healthy and to love our families, you'd see our superpowers at work. Every bipolar mom is a superhero, whether you can see her superpowers or not.

Bipolar Moms are Superheroes, Even Though We Might Not Appear to Possess Superhero Abilities

At first glance, Wikipedia's definition of a superhero doesn't seem to apply to the bipolar mom:

A superhero . . . is a type of heroic character who possesses extraordinary talents, supernatural phenomena, or superhuman powers and who is dedicated to a moral goal or protecting the public.

Last time I checked, I didn't possess supernatural phenomena or superhuman power. But, then again, maybe being a superhero is more than just outright super abilities.

Wikipedia makes this note:

Merriam-Webster dictionary gives the definition as "a fictional hero having extraordinary or superhuman powers; also: an exceptionally skillful or successful person."

Superheroes may or may not have actual, superhuman strength. They may just be ordinary people with exceptional skills or success who dedicate themselves to a moral goal or the common good. They may just be moms fighting a mental illness, struggling every day to be the best they can be for their families.

Bipolar Moms Are Superheroes Who Fight Super Battles Every Day

Bipolar moms accomplish all of the normal mom-tasks while fighting a death match, daily struggle with our own brains. While Superwoman fights her foes in hand-to-hand combat, bipolar moms fight the supervillain within. We must constantly be on the lookout for ways our brain may be tricking us into believing that we are not capable of this mothering job (Parenting with Mental Illness: Trade 'Normal' for Happy). We fight back symptoms of depression or mania, balancing our work loads as mothers with the pills we take to maintain stability.

We bipolar moms fight our battles, swallow our pride, swallow our pills, and check in with our doctors regularly because we know a secret: being a mom is worth all of our superhero-sized struggles (Mothering with an Invisible Mental Illness). We know that one mama doing all she can to love one family may not look like superhero work from the outside. But behind closed doors, our families know that our love and tenacity are, absolutely, the work of a plain-clothes superhero.

Bipolar Moms Are Superheroes, Displaying Super Courage and Humility Every Day

When a bipolar mom keeps trying, keeps reaching, keeps giving of herself and to herself in the epic struggle to balance family care and self-care, she's showing her children how to live a brave life. Is it a perfect life? Absolutely not. Will she make many mistakes, miscalculations, and flat-out failures along the way? Yes -- at least, this bipolar mom has.

But the thing that makes bipolar moms so heroic is our ability to own up to our failings. We have to see our flaws, plainly and honestly, in order to keep waging this epic battle within (Seven Biggest Myths About Bipolar Disorder).

So we, superhero, bipolar moms, confess our failings to our families. We talk to our kids about our mistakes. We say we're sorry. And we sit in the quiet of our bedroom, cry our tears, and wonder if we're enough. Then, when we are ready, we pick up our superhero selves, and endeavor again to fight the darkness. We keep fighting.

Every bipolar mom is a superhero, although her superpowers hide under the appearance of normal. To her children, she is the role model they crave. Read this.

C.S. Lewis wrote,

Since it is so likely that children will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage. On Stories: And Other Essays on Literature

To every bipolar mom out there who feels like you're failing at this motherhood endeavor, remember that you are the story of heroic courage your children bear witness to daily. You are the valiant hero they are looking to for an example of how to boldly fight their own battles.

The next time you're in the bathroom brushing your teeth, take a moment to look at yourself in the mirror. Go on: look deep into the eyes of the woman staring back at you. You are looking at a genuine, amazing, brilliant superhero. Tell that beautiful face in the mirror:

"You are still here. You are still breathing, still loving, still trying. You still fight this super battle to live and to love yourself and your family. That makes you a superhero."

Now give that superhero, bipolar mom in the mirror a wink, and get on with your day. There are mouths to feed, loads of laundry to fold, and supervillains to fight. And you, my dear friend, possess all the strength and ability to accomplish it all, one day at a time. Because that's what bipolar supermoms do.

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APA Reference
Arthur, T. (2016, May 11). Bipolar Mom: You Are a Superhero, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, September 19 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/mentalillnessinthefamily/2016/05/bipolar-mom-you-are-a-superhero



Author: Taylor Arthur

Tonya
February, 16 2019 at 1:45 am

Thank you. This article made me feel better about my parenting. Very insightful and informative.

Brittt
October, 3 2018 at 5:39 am

Made my day

Dionne
July, 23 2018 at 2:03 am

Thank you for writing this. Its been a full on day with a todder and a newborn. I'm 32 and I'm struggling :(

Shawnee
May, 12 2018 at 1:55 am

I'm crying. I'm 26 and this was the first year I accepted my bipolar and the first year ever trying out cope. I took the wrong medside that caused mania for 4 years thinking I had anxiety. I struggle for confidence and have no friends or peers to learn from my age that have a toddler as well. My family is semi helpful and may be bringing me down more than. Helping. I cry daily. I miss out on park days and let my family help with that. Music helps me cope. But barely because I'm half deaf. There's no popping in headphones if you need to be alert for your toddler. I am a recluse too. Thank you. Needed to read this and will continue to read it.

Courtney Ludwig
May, 14 2016 at 1:58 pm

I really needed this today. I have been hiding in bed since yesterday evening. I have been sleeping, watching Hulu and playing on social media. I am exhausted both physically and mentally. I am a single mom to twin 6 yr old boys; I have bipolar, anxiety, depression, and some mild OCD. Earlier this year my boys lost their father (my ex-husband) to suicide. I just finished a semester at the community college and they are wrapping up Kindergarten. To say that life has been difficult is an understatement. Someone called me a superhero a week ago and I blew it off and denied the compliment. Thank you for reminding me that what I do each day is heroic.
Http://cocoandtwins.com is where I share my story. You can also find me on all social media platforms as CoCoAndTwins

wendy larsen
May, 11 2016 at 8:02 pm

Thank you so much for the insight and support that you provide
I am a 48 year old Mum Bipolar ADHD Anxiety and Depression and I am Blessed with a loving supportive Husband and a beautiful daughter of ten Life can be very tough at times and spouses do not always understand I thank our dear Lord for carrying me during the bad times Have a Blessed day one and all Love and Hugs Wends

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