I Can Finally Forgive Myself: The Truth about Motherhood & Bipolar

Brittany

Brittany

Brittany is a 29 year old mother who has southern roots but lives in New Jersey. She loves all things geeky, The X-Files being her main squeeze. She suffers from Bipolar, PTSD, and extreme anxiety. Every day life can be a struggle for her. This is about her journey to wellness.
Brittany
I have struggled for the last 9 years on whether or not I am a good mother. At some points I really felt like I was not meant to even have children. I had her when I was young so I was naive in that I was not ready for a child. While I have respect for young mothers, I feel like many of them have no idea what is about to come MENTALLY.
I know I didn’t.
I have struggled with mental disorders my entire life, anxiety and depression being the main monsters. I was a child that was scared of everything and only cared about what others thought of me. I built up who I was based on what other people thought I was. Never truly creating my own personality.
When I had Lily I was in an abusive relationship and honestly felt like things would change after I had her. They didn’t. In fact they got worse. But the worst part was that I developed Postpartum Depression and my partner could have cared less. All my emotions where swept under the rug and I was told that I brought on all these feelings myself for attention.
Thinking I did all of it for attention struck a big cord with me because as a child I was called dramatic and cried for attention. This was not the truth. This is gas lighting. My feels are valid and those that love you will validate them.
Becoming a mother meant taking care of someone else while balancing my own happiness. I didn’t even know where to begin and lost myself several times. Feeling as though I was only a mother and a partner. There was no actual Brittany.
I thought I was surrounded by perfect mothers and that I could never ever truly be one because I was selfish. I cared too much about my own feelings and emotions to really be a great mother to my child. At one point I felt like I would be doing my future children a favor by not having them.
This is depressing for someone like me because I love to nurture. I love to take care of my daughter and my partner. I feel validated as someone that truly appreciates her family by helping them.
But some days I couldn’t help.
Some MONTHS I couldn’t help.
I have even spent years of my life in my bed surrounded by thoughts of impending doom and utter worthlessness. To hide any of this from you would be a misrepresentation of who I am and how I got here.
I was diagnosed with bipolar after a stint in a behavioral hospital. It was there that I learned what I was struggling with a demon that I had no control over most of the time. The only control I had was to try as many coping skills as possible to keep it at bay. Medications only seemed to increase my desire to not be a person anymore.
I am 29 now and my daughter is about to be 9 years old this year (I’ll be 30…ahhhhh). I have finally broke the cycle of abusive relationships after becoming the Ross Geller of my friends (2 divorces before I am 30). I was stuck in the thought that I deserved nothing and what they said about me was the truth to who I was.
Lazy, selfish, mean and wouldn’t become anything. 
While my PTSD still makes these thoughts pop up, I feel like I have more control over them. I have good people in my life now that are able to help me see past the lies my brain tells me. The lies that toxic people embedded into my system.
And the biggest change of them all is that I can finally forgive myself. Forgive myself for the years of having a happy mom taken from my daughter. For the moments I missed out on. For the moments never created. Forgiveness for my meltdowns. For crying in front of my daughter.
I can do this because I know life is not perfect. I know Mom’s are not perfect, and anyone that acts like it is only contributing to stigma of “hot mess moms.” We are hot, we are a mess and we are REAL.
My life, my experience, my growth will only instill into my daughter that life is about moving forward. It will bring things that you do not welcome and you will fight fights that you never dreamed you’d fight when you thought of your perfect adult life as a child.
I hope that she grows up to accept herself, love herself and help herself. Knowing that her mother has struggled her entire life but has done everything possible to be better and provide better. Her love for me does not stem from my mistakes but from the fight I fight to give her the best. The love I give her and the truth I tell her.
I will never hide from her. I will be as honest as I can when it comes to my life and what I have learned. I cannot control her life to be what I want. She will probably inherit my disorders, she is already showing signs of anxiety. To combat this I have introduced her to yoga.
She needs to know that even though she may have ADHD, anxiety, depression or even bipolar disorder that she is beautiful inside and out. That her experience is important and it matters.
I never want her to feel as awful as I have felt about myself and the honesty I will provide will hopefully combat those ugly lies.
Be honest, don’t be perfect!

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