Hello fabulous readers!
Quick update: I’m working with a new doctor at refining my supplements now and I’m following a strict adrenal regime that is really working. I’ve had energy for 2 solid weeks now and am feeling optimistic about my recovery.
Many of you have asked me about the plan I’m on, so here’s a link to the site with the book that is giving me back my life. Of course, I started making changes to my diet and life last November that are finally beginning to pay off as well. And yes, I will be writing a book about this entire journey.
I love each of you madly and thank you for my life.
A year ago, I wrote my most popular post to date, “Bipolar Motherhood: What it Means to be ‘Mom Enough.’ I think it resonated for many reasons, but mostly because it was tackling in a brutally honest way the myth of motherhood.
So much has changed since then. My son is now 20 months old, walking and talking. I have finally found the multifaceted solution to heal my endocrine system and nutritional deficiencies that were causing my mental illness – and I’ve gone so far to question the diagnosis of bipolar in the first place.
I’m off 3 of the 4 psychiatric medications I was taking for years. I eat clean. I still don’t exercise enough. I take a lot of supplements. I pray and meditate and continue my 12-step program.
Today, I am Mom enough, but a few weeks ago, I wasn’t even close.
April was horrific. Just as the Lamictal withdrawals were quickly becoming well beyond anything I could’ve imagined, my stepfather got really sick and had to have open heart surgery. I traveled 2,500 miles to be by his side with energy that came from only God. I reconciled with a family member who disowned me when I was pregnant. The stress was high.
Once I got back home, my son got the stomach flu all over me (and I am an emetophobic so massive panic attacks followed close behind).
I was suicidal most of the month.
It was a Tuesday. I was having a particularly bad run of “I’m a piece of sh*t mother I should just die why did I bother with all those years of therapy since I’m ruining my child’s life anyway” when I called a very safe friend of mine and told her the evil lies my head was telling me.
The next morning, I got this email:
Subject: To Morgans #1 Mom
When you start you morning today, I want you to know that you are good enough as a mom. Morgan is healthy and as happy and a little person can be. You gave birth to him and are the perfect mother for him. While there are things you do not do perfectly, you are perfect for him.
He is easily entertained. He is the size of a football player. He has had all his shots. He has hit all his milestones. He has never had juice or candy. He can self soothe. He sleeps through the night. He can sleep in the stroller and can stay sleeping when you transfer him. You take him to the park and the dog park! These are only a few things I can think off the top of my head first thing in the morning.
It’s really easy to start comparing us to “other” moms. But we don’t know the struggle they go through or don’t go through. You are smart, creative, resourceful. If anything you are more inspiring then the moms that do a million things. You have survived deep addiction and family abuse, you have made it through 14 years of recovery, you made it through a 6 year long misdiagnosis, you are getting your autoimmune disease in check slowly. I think I would have abandoned my kid by then. Seriously. You carry the message of recovery like no one else. You are truly gifted in more ways than you know.
YOU ARE ENOUGH as a mother. Morgan is so lucky to have you and your husband. The 2 of you together make a great team in making Morgan well rounded. And for things you dont know, you have friends and the internet.
That email makes me happy every time I read it because I’m so lucky to have people in my life who care about me so much – and because it’s true.
The next day, my stepfather died. The rest of the month was very dark. More traveling. More baby sickness upon return. Grief – the grief of losing the best dad I ever had – and all the other stuff that comes along with a death in the family.
But then May came and, like a miracle, I’ve had energy and felt like me again. Maybe my stepfather is doing some magic from above
Last summer, we took my son to meet my stepfather. The trip was so hard. Traveling with a toddler is hard enough, but adding illness to that mix makes it impossible.
My stepfather was so happy that we traveled all that way. That he got to meet his youngest grandchild. And when he passed, I knew that I was daughter enough. The sadness was huge, but there was no regret.
And that’s the measuring stick of enough, I realize now. Regret. I was in therapy for years before I even had the courage to think about becoming a mother because the last thing I ever wanted to do was what was done to me as a child. I would’ve rather robbed myself of becoming a mom than hurt a child.
I did all the work, but no amount of Jungian analysis could’ve prepared me for duct-taping my windows shut in the middle of the night because I had postpartum OCD so bad that I was scared to death that I would somehow – in a horrible moment of knee-jerk reaction madness – accidentally murder my own child.
And the next morning, I’m a Starbucks and some random stranger is telling me to love every second because it’s over before you know it. And all I heard was “you’re not enough, you’re messing it up, you’re doing it wrong, you’re a horrible mother” because I was out of my mind.
And no one understands it unless they’ve been there. Unless they’ve lost their minds.
And the voices of not enough were so loud that when Time Magazine printed my worst fears on their cover, I knew I was a failure and therefore let it completely ruin my first Mother’s Day. I was so insecure about the job I was doing as a mother that I made the day impossible for my husband. There was nothing he could do to prove to me that I wasn’t a horrible mother and damaging our child for life. It was a crappy day full of fighting and tears.
It was so bad, I made him redo it the following Sunday. We went to Polo Lounge, the restaurant in the Beverly Hills Hotel where we had our first date and lunch the day we found out we were having a boy, determined to have a special moment. Or should I say, to force a special moment.
It was even worse than the week before in many ways. We fought more and I was furious. And it was no one’s fault.
And the stupid part is that even with a brain that wasn’t working right, I was and have always been mom enough. I pushed myself harder through the fatigue. I didn’t kill myself when all I wanted to do is die. I hung in when it got impossible and kept going – for my son – so he could have a mother. So he wouldn’t have to live with the stain of suicide and knowing that he was a part of the demise of his own mother.
Today, I am mom enough.
I am wife enough. Friend enough. Daughter enough.
I am enough.
I have enough. Of everything. In every way.
I love my son. I am his mother and I do my best. I take care of myself and him and our home and our doggies to the best of my ability on any given day.
And I know, deep in my heart, that I am the only mother for this little man.
This year, I asked my husband to schedule me a chakra balancing at this little place on Ventura Boulevard super close to our house. It could be a crock-of-crap, but I’ve been curious about it for a while and have had magnificent results with chakra alignments in the past. So magnificent that it made me a believer.
No fancy brunches. No make-up. No fuss.
Because today, I’m enough and I have no regrets.