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Mommy Needs a Time Out – Mental Health Awareness Month

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Mental Health - Mommy Needs a Time Out

 

It’s Mental Health Awareness Month! “Mommy Needs a Time Out” was originally written May 2011? 2012?

Saturday I was convinced I was dying from a sinus infection. My oldest took pity on me and helped with the baby while we all cuddled on the sofa and watched a “Glee” marathon. I’d never seen it but knew she enjoyed it. I’m so glad we did that.

They had one episode about loving yourself, flaws and all. Each person had on a white t-shirt with something written in black that they had previously hated about themselves but now embraced. I wondered what my friends’ and family’s shirts would say. I wonder what my children would write on their shirts? I know without a doubt that my shirt would have said, “Bipolar Disorder.” Yes ma’am, you have it in writing. I am cuckoo for cocoa puffs and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

It has taken years for me to learn to love my quirks. It is all still a process. My medication needs constant tweaking. I am learning new lessons and coping tools constantly on my mental health journey. I am gauging my mental health status every thirty seconds. And that’s okay! I have learned a few lessons that I have decided should be mandatory for everyone.

1) Everyone deserves a manic day. Turn on LOUD, fun music and get something done without stopping. On manic days, I get all sorts of weird things accomplished. I scrub floors, the fridge, power wash the deck, sort every email I have ever received. It’s a chance to get the odd jobs done. But use that energy while it lasts. If you sit down, the moment will probably pass. 🙂

2) Everyone deserves a quiet day. I don’t call these depressed days. “Refresh” days are when you are quiet, introspective, and restful. The key is to not dwell on the bad, but sort out the things in your life you would like to change and how to change them. And if you cry, it’s okay as long as you don’t drown. Approach it as flushing your emotional system.

3) You can’t control how people act, only how you react to them. This is my favorite! I can’t change anything  about someone being rude or thoughtless or mean. That’s between them and God. I can, however, control how I react to them. Whether it’s carefully chosen words or choosing simply to not react, that’s all I can do.

4) Think VERY hard before you get into a deep discussion and every five seconds after. This goes back to gauging mental status every thirty seconds. If you know you are having an off day, you have to decide if it’s the right time to discuss something. You also have to choose your words carefully so you are reflecting the facts or your thoughts and not the funk you may be in or any feelings unrelated to the conversation.

5) Don’t be afraid to say, “Eh, I’m just having an off day.” One in four people deal with some sort of mental illness at some time in their lives. And the other three out of four are still allowed off days. You are completely entitled to a self mandated time out. And, I’ll bet people will admire your honesty.

6) Don’t be silent. (I’m adding this in 2016.) Ask for help. ACCEPT help. Take your meds. Take care of YOU. If you don’t take care of yourself, you’re not in your best shape to take care of the kids, husband, job, etc. Have a support system of a good therapist, a good doctor, good friends who get it. If you need help finding resources, www.nami.org is a good place to start. Be honest and open with your loved ones.

While I can’t say I would pass up the chance to have a “normal” brain chemistry if possible, I’ve learned to love and work with the way my brain handles things. And besides, I’ve been this way so long, I think “normal” would be boring.

Happy Mental Health Awareness Month!
I love getting all your e-mails of stories, support, and love 🙂 You guys ROCK!!

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