Living in a family with mental illness, it can feel impossible to find peace. Even when I find a way to be stable and healthy while living with bipolar I disorder, mental illness and its effects still run rampant through my family. Countless times, I have looked at my doctors and asked them, "How do I find peace in a family with mental illness?" Their answer is always the same: "Give up trying to find peace in your family. Instead, find peace in yourself, in your own life, on your own terms." As I order my own world, I find a greater level of peace when dealing with my family, despite the havoc mental illness may cause.
Mental Illness in the Family
This year, I invite bipolar moms to join me in resolving to meet our own needs in 2017. Instead of focusing on our faults this January, we can instead look past those faults to see the needs they represent. And instead of berating ourselves over that need, discrepancy, or flaw, I want to make 2017 the year we find a way to meet our needs and live healthier lives (Taking Care of Myself is the Best Way to Care for My Family).
Nothing has challenged my journey with bipolar 1 disorder more than when my family has undermined my mental health plan. Not only must I continue my full-time battle of self-care and adjustment (Mothering with an Invisible Mental Illness), I must also work overtime to address the vicious words of family members that infect my mind and impede my wellness. After 15 years of living with bipolar 1 disorder, I have learned that when family members attack my mental health wellness plan, I must readjust my definition of family in order to stay well.
Before the new year begins, every mom needs to hear these simple words to preserve her sanity: good job. "Good job" may seem simple and a bit trite, but Christmas has a way of leaving mentally ill mamas strung out, exhausted, and defeated (Stressed Out! Stress, Mental Health, and Our Sense of Control). After all of the efforts spent making Christmas magical for everyone else, the house is a big old mess, the kids are exhausted, and daddy's gone back to work. Mama's left, again, to put it all back together, take down the decorations, and get the family ready for a brand spankin' new year. It all seems a bit impossible. So Mama, before you start undecorating, washing dishes, and folding another load of Christmas pajamas, hear me out. Let's talk about what every mom, mentally ill or not, needs to hear before the new year begins.
Sometimes it is best not to go home for the holidays and avoid mental illness relapse. If you have a mental illness, it can be hard to tell if your illness or good sense is winning out when you make your holiday plans (Mental Health Issues Over The Holidays). But if any of the following reasons are true for your family with mental illness this holiday, you may be better off finding a different place to spread your holiday cheer in order to avoid mental illness relapse.
Enjoying the holidays with your mentally ill loved one can seem like an enormous challenge. But even if you have to alter your expectations and change a few traditions, it is still possible to have a great holiday together. Here's how to enjoy the holidays with your mentally ill loved one.
Your health is something you need to consider before a bipolar pregnancy, along with your marriage. If you live with bipolar disorder, the decision of whether or not to have a baby is about more than just your psychiatric condition. Your overall health must be considered, also. Here are some health concerns to review before getting pregnant while living with bipolar disorder.
Your marriage is something to consider before a bipolar pregnancy. When you live with bipolar disorder, whether or not you should get pregnant is a difficult decision (Why I Chose to be a Mother Despite My Bipolar Disorder). There is a lot to consider before a bipolar pregnancy, and the stability of your marriage needs to be at the very top of this list.
Should women with serious mental illnesses have children? There are many respected, professional women living with bipolar disorder who have decided against having children (I Can't Get Pregnant--I Have Bipolar Disorder). I chose to have children, to take the risks associated with a bipolar pregnancy, postpartum dangers, and passing down my bipolar disorder. Here’s why.
Talk to your college student about mental illness, even if you do not believe your child is displaying any symptoms of a mental illness. Not only do college students often become symptomatic for the first time when they are away at college, but they are also much more likely to die of suicide (Discuss Mental Illness and Suicide with College Students). While we cannot prevent mental illness, we can equip our college students to recognize symptoms of mental illnesses and suicidality and get help for themselves or a friend if necessary.