Thursday, November 21, 2013

# bipolar disorder # boys

Am I a Failure?

The holiday time are upon us again and I realize that it's been a long time since I wrote more than a book review for this site. It wasn't because I didn't want to but because I needed to focus on rebuilding my life. Finally receiving a diagnosis was merely the first steps in what will be a lifelong journey.

I'm on medication now and it helps. The ups and downs are still there but for the most part, I can ride them out and still be functional. Once I got used to taking the medication, I started building routines to help me get through the day and to get back on track. I've been thrown off a time or two, but the basic routine is still there and it's helping me get through. Every so often, I add back in a piece that has gotten lost.

I sat not only this website aside, but also which was a tough decision but one that was necessary. It's just now, nearly 6 months later that I'm slowly coming back to both of them. Instead, I focused on spending time with the boys and on slowly reclaiming my home. In that time, I've lost track of how many trash bags have gone out and how much we've donated. This past weekend, we helped load up 5 trash bags of stuffed toys, a full box of books, a fan, a vacuum and a small bookshelf to go to a family who lost everything in a fire. There will be a lot more to go as I slowly work my way through our home. So far, there are only three rooms that have been seriously worked on. Our laundry room has been redone, the bathroom is done and the boys' room is in progress. All of those I'm struggling to maintain but they're better than they have been in years. I'm hoping that by May..a year after my diagnosis, I'll have the entire interior of our home done and then I can focus on the van and the barn.

All of this sounds good, right? I've been making progress. I can't argue with that. There has been some really good progress around here. Except in one area...finances. Financially, we're barely hanging on. We're behind on some bills and there's never any extra money for anything and it kills me. Whenever I think about money, I feel like a complete and total failure.

I know there are those who know me who judge me because I don't work. They point to the trips that I've taken for the website and make comments about how they wish they had someone paying the way. They comment how I'm an abled body person who just lives off of their ex-husband and the generosity of others. They comment and I bleed inside. I want so badly to shake them and scream they wouldn't take my life if they had the chance..a life without a special needs child who *needs* his mother to do homework with him as much as she can because without that extra help, he doesn't succeed at school..a life with a mental illness that can be downright crippling at times. It's not a life that many would choose if they looked beyond the surface to what was happening inside.

I'm not making excuses. I'm telling you how it is. My oldest son is 13 and in the 8th grade. He's one of the joys of my life and I wouldn't trade those after school homework sessions for anything. My heart breaks on the days when I don't have the gas money to go help him and he calls me crying because he doesn't know how to do something. I would give anything to find a magic cure to help things not be such a struggle for him. There is no magic cure other than a lot of hard work, hard work that both he and I and his father and his father's wife put in. He'll be joining Special Olympics soon for bowling and I don't care if I have to beg on the street, I will find a way to get him the hour drive to practices.

As for me, I'm still rebuilding and it's going to take a while. One thing that I've learned in this process is that I have to go slow. I have to add pieces back in slowly. It's like a tower of cards. If you move too quickly, the whole thing collapses and you have to start over. I wouldn't give this to anyone. It's a challenge that nobody in life should have to face, but to many of us do every single day. Am I physically able to work? Yes. Am I emotionally and psychologically able? Unlikely. Adding in something that huge right now would cause my house of cards to collapse.

Would I trade my life for another? No. I love my children and I love the world that we're building together. I am who I am but sometimes being who I am makes me feel like a total failure. These past few years have been miserably hard for me and for the boys and it was my hope that this year I could provide them with an amazing Christmas..tree, decorations, wonderful Christmas Eve dinner with family movie time and then just for once, really spoil them on Christmas morning. That isn't going to happen this year. Both of the editing jobs that I had agreed to take on for this month fell through and
money just isn't coming through the door. I have bills that are piling up and we're struggling. I try really hard not to compare my life to others, but when I see people saying how broke they are and yet they're going to the movies or fancy places, it's hard. Then, I remind myself that I can't see behind closed doors to know their life more than they can know mine.

“In fact, if you're wondering if I expect miracles---the answer is yes. Even when they don't seem to happen, I keep believing in them. Even when I stop believing in them, I'll always start again. Because if you don't have hope, what's left? I believe. And maybe they'll happen in a way I never saw coming--they usually do. Or maybe I'll find the way to make them happen myself. But ether way--I expect miracles.” Jennifer DeLucy


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