Mental Illness and Motherhood….


I had quite a bit of tragedy and trauma in childhood.  My mother, bless her heart, did the best she could.  As well as my Step-father.There were parts of my upbringing that I had to reflect on today, as I sat in the office with my ARNP talking about my insecurities and fears. Whether it was known to my parents or not, I developed an inability to speak my mind, or feel emotions at the appropriate times because I learned it was not okay to be angry or upset with them or with what I was experiencing. I was not permitted to be angry or to talk about the feelings I was having, if those issues were to sensitive for my parents or they were not able to deal with said emotions very well at that time. I had no outlet to discuss all my confusion and feelings occurring from abuse, abandonment, and trying to gain attention and praise by living up to my brother’s astounding accomplishments. (This could never be done, but that is another post for another time).

On top of that, I questioned everything I did: Why or why not people liked me? If I had the ability to learn or do new things without my parents approval.  I wanted, no-  NEEDED, to earn their approval and attention. Now, granted, a lot of these issues brought up (possibly stills bring up) guilt, resentment, and fears of their own to my mother.  (If you are reading this mom, truly… you did the best you could under the circumstances and I no longer blame you or dad. I need to be free to talk about these things, even if you are not ready). I just want to make sure the pattern is not repeated with Sunshine.

I noticed, after all the wonderful comments sent back to me regarding my post this past Sunday, that I portrayed my “insecurities” as being affected by the people I was with.  Truly… these are MY insecurities and no one else now has caused them but myself. It is not one person that may bring them up more or less than another. I have realized that I am truly over-sensitized to what others may think and do around me, that I take their meanings totally wrong. Doesn’t mean there aren’t some mommies out there whose advice I really just don’t need. Just means I have to work on ME. So, here is a better understanding of what mental illness is like and why I may get my wires crossed a bit:
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You have two houses.  They look the same on the outside.  On the inside, however, house A has great insulation, wonderful layout, clean and clear wiring and electrical. House B, however, has NO insulation, and the wiring and electrical shorts out a bit and sends energy to different parts of the house. It turns lights on when you wanted the dishwasher to work, or the refrigerator to run, when you really wanted the fan on.  What is it about the two houses that is so different…. the insulation.

Some people, are like House A. They can generally take hard hits, take lots of information and not have it effect them emotionally at all.  I, however, am your House B. Whether it is rain, sleet, hail, wind…. I feel it deep in the core of my house, and have difficulties interpreting their meaning. Here is another point.  The 50mph wind that hits house A, doesn’t phase it.  The same wind that hits House B… can knock the house off its foundation.
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I’d like to think that with all the issues I have faced growing up that my house has held up pretty well. But add in new mommyhood, lack of sleep, and no medications… My walls are not fairing so well and I take things a bit personally.  Possibly too personally.  Because I am unable to let go of these emotions effectively, have an effective outlet, loved ones close to me (Sorry, honey) get the brunt.  Mike doesn’t deserve that, unless of course he is part of the reason I am all worked up. (;-p

There are times when I have needed to speak up and ask people to back off, but I have never done so because I learned to not question authority. This includes running away from jobs because I am too intimidated to speak up to my very authoritative bosses, or running away from conversations where I have a valid opinion. I have the right to question others who give unsolicited advice, right?  Or at least tell them to lay off a bit?  Like, tell my mother-in-law if she really has a problem with my not cooking for her son and having a dinner prepared for him when he gets home everyday, that she should talk to HIM about it, and not me?  I can’t even do this. I just sit and take the “you should’s” over and over again.

What kind of message does this send to my brain? Well at first I tell myself, “This is just his mother being protective.” However, after hearing these comments repetitively, or the fact when she calls and is on speaker phone and only asks how her granddaughter is doing or if Mike is eating alright…. I get the sense that her “you should’s” is her affirmation that I am not doing what she believes I should and a boundary has been crossed. Why can’t she trust her son to make his own decisions?  This does not help my relationship with her at all, nor the sense that I am doing things right. For me, it is hard to disconnect from those comments and just have it fly off my back. My insecurities grow, and I get more disgruntled. I am just waiting for a day when my buttons will be pushed and I will really tell her how I feel. I don’t want this to happen, as this hurts both her and Mike.

What worries me is this: How does my insecurities, intimidation, and my mental illness, affect my daughter? How will she learn to have healthy relationships with people if her mother is not able to model and teach her how to effectively communicate to others… even if those people are family and even if she may disagree with what they say or do?  I do not want her to be tongue tied, or taught that speaking her displeasure or disagreement is wrong. I want her to know her opinion matters, even if those she shares it with do not agree with her.

I guess I have a lot of work to do with myself, first. Learn how to accept myself the way I am, and give myself some slack for my foibles. Good thing I have awesome friends, a counselor, and ARNP to help with this. Eventually, with time, all wounds will heal though they may leave scars. With time, I will figure myself out and be an even better mother than I am now!

So, yeah.  These are my musings for the day. Thanks to all of you for your support!
May your day be beautiful, bright, and filled with giggles.

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One thought on “Mental Illness and Motherhood….

  1. Wonderfully written. I am thankful that I found this post and your blog. Your words really hit home for me, you said things that I myself have been trying to say for years and years. It seems when I make an attempt, I start to sound like an emotional train wreck. I will be checking back often..Have a great day!

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