Frustrated, Defeated and Hypomanic
The weekend before last, I was frustrated, overwhelmed, feeling defeated, and mildly hypomanic.
I felt like a failure as a mother, for I hadn’t been able to get my son to take his high school equivalency exams. Told that I make it too easy for him to stay in his bedroom compounded my feeling of guilt.
How could I balance compassion for my son’s severe migraine pain and social anxiety with consequences that forced him to take more responsibility?
Repeated what I’ve told him before (without a hard date): He had to move forward – with school, with helping around the house, with addressing his anxiety, or with work – or he would have to move out.
Now that he’s a legal adult, we’re no longer legally obligated to house and feed him. We don’t intend to kick him out. But, he must move forward and take responsibility as an adult member of the household.
Provider Education, Take Two
The National Alliance on Mental Illness Orange County (NAMI OC) chapter asked me to retrain for the new two-day Provider Education curriculum.
I had served on the Provider Education team that first structured the five-week course content into a two-day format, and we had done it in two days numerous times.
Turns out the “new” curriculum varied very little from what we were teaching. By lunch on that Saturday, I lost my temper. I was insulted.
Explaining that I had a lot going on in my life (mother’s stroke, dad’s death, son’s anxiety), I left with the “new” two-day curriculum binder in hand.
After losing my temper at NAMI OC, I knew I needed a break to pull myself together and bring myself down from irritable hypomania before the International Bipolar Foundation (IBPF) Women’s Mental Health panel discussion on the following Tuesday.
How did I recover? I left. Booked myself into a hotel in La Jolla Sunday through Wednesday and relaxed. Not everyone can do this. I realize that. But, it’s cheaper than psychiatric hospitalization.
Women in Mental Health
On the International Bipolar Foundation’s Women’s Mental Health Panel, I represented the mature woman living with bipolar. Mental health activist and actor, Claire Griffiths, represented the perspective of a teenager. Aubrey Good, the Social Media and Program Coordinator of IBPF, represented the young adult perspective.
I had a wonderful time meeting IBPF staff and volunteers and loved being a part of their panel discussion. I hope to do more public speaking events in the future.
When I returned home Wednesday, my son had showered, dressed, fed himself, and was ready to take his first high school equivalency test. He passed. I never doubted his ability to pass the test.
BIG DEAL: He overcame his anxiety and didn’t get a migraine. Two days later, he took the next test despite migraine symptoms. He took migraine and nausea medications and faced his fear. Again, he passed.
Two down. Two to go. Moving Forward.
Connecting with Online Friends in Real Life
This weekend, Sarah Fader came into town. She managed to connect with several mental health advocates and writers over the weekend.
Sunday, we met with:
- Corey Greathouse Sloan, founder of Life Uncommon, strengths based program addressing both substance abuse and mental health disorders
- Public speaker Kevin Hines whose suicide survival story is told in the movie Suicide: The Ripple Effect
- Rudy Caseres, mental health speaker, host of No Restraints with Rudy Caseres and director of upcoming This is My Brave The Show — Los Angeles
- Blogger, author and poetess Ra Avis
- Poet and artist Bill Friday
I never would have tried to visit so many people in such a short time!
Sunday night had the pleasure of meeting my uncle, two of my cousins, their spouses and kids in Anaheim. Family. Love. Great food. Fireworks in the sky. Thank you!
I CAN Do It
Lesson Learned: If I take care of myself, I can achieve more AND so can my son.