Yesterday, I blew it. First of all, I had vertigo in the morning. The night before my son had complained of getting dizzy walking up the stairs and collapsed into bed. Monday morning I had to hold onto walls to keep my balance.
Using the vertigo as an excuse (probably a good reason to avoid driving, though I did take my kid to and from school), I bailed attending an Orange County Community Action Advisory Committee meeting. Why I even went to the previous month’s meeting, I do not know. I don’t even use any county services. I suppose I could. I am on disability. There are services available, as well as nonprofit peer support groups nearby. But, I don’t.
Eventually I bail on every group (but I am still married, and no matter how much of a failure I feel as a mother, I haven’t run away). Honestly, I just do not feel comfortable with the whole group membership thing, and so I shirk any and all expectations. I’ve trained to be a NAMI volunteer, but I’ve done minimal, absolutely minimal volunteering. I’m a farce. A joke. An illusion. I feel like a total fucking failure.
I even bailed on going out for our anniversary dinner, which suited my husband. He’d just as soon put his jammies on after work. But, I was isolating myself and neglecting putting myself together, making myself look and feel pretty, or at least presentable. I want to be waited on hand and foot, I wanted to eat delicious food, I just wasn’t up for going out to a restaurant. I wasn’t up for going OUT, period. I failed once again as a mother, losing it when my son threw a fit. I responded with a fit of my own. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. I JUST CANNOT HOLD IT TOGETHER ANYMORE. I’m undone. I’m completely undone.
Now, I’m debating bailing on meeting an acquaintance for lunch. She’s a lovely woman writer, a mother (no doubt a better mother), who is a member of OC Writers, a local writers’ group which I have not gone to in quite some time. Shit.
Without doubt. Thank you.
Always easier to say than to do, but the problems are hard enough without all the added self-judgments. Sending love and support.
Excellent advice. That post was very uncharacteristic of me and got a lot of concerned feedback. In fact, I went to my psychiatrist to get back on antidepressants. I was in a hole and just decided to express what those thoughts were. Of course, stopping and rewriting those negative thoughts is far healthier.
Will you forgive a bit of advice? Ban all the harsh descriptions of yourself: a failure, a farce, etc. They only make the hole deeper. You had a bad day. Maybe you did what you needed to do and maybe not. Either way, you didn’t meet your expectations of yourself. That’s all. It makes it easier to pick up and go on.
Glad to hear! 🙂
I understand. It’s a devastating disease. So sorry.
I’m sorry to hear about the funerals. We lost my husband’s oldest brother in March. He died of lung cancer and was still in his 50s. Far too many family members have or have had cancer.
We, too, have settled into that comfort zone a bit too much. It seems we get the most dressed up lately for family events; sadly, more funerals than happy occasions. Life. 💕
I am going out to dinner with a friend tonight, though. She has bipolar, too, and a son the same age as mine, so we can commiserate.
Thank you, Annie. You are right.
Thank you. Now I have to discuss it with my family, especially my husband. Honestly, I need to tell him exactly what I need from him on those special occasions. He’s great at breakfast in bed on a normal Saturday. But, we haven’t gone out on a romantic date in a while. I like the excuse to get dressed up and look pretty every now and again. I know that he appreciates it, too.
Yes. You are right. There is this person who I always imagined myself being or becoming. I had been such a high achiever in my youth. But, as I age, maintaining my stability and my mental health takes precedence, especially because I am parenting a son who needs more time and attention than your average teen. He gets sick often and has migraines. Taking care of him is hard. I so wish he was more resilient, but he is a sensitive child. I suppose the same could be said of me.
I am sorry you are having hard days. When things are like this, then volunteer work has to fall to a lesser priority.
Even lunches with friends has to take a second seat also.
Your health and mental health are first.
Be proud that you already understand this. That’s a huge step. Once they become aware, family can help you move forward; even towards joy. ☺ Van
I know these days. I had one Tuesday. This is probably the hardest thing about bipolar disorder for me—being inconsistent and ditching anything having to do with people when I’m brain-sick. I hope by now, you’ve come back to understanding this is just the illness. There is no failure. There is only what we are able to do each day—and that is always changing.
If you’re like me, Kitt, you keep trying to volunteer and join groups because that’s the kind of person you want to be. I wanted so much to be useful as a Peer Support Specialist, but when it came right down to it, I couldn’t tolerate it.
We have to let go of this yardstick. There are a million other ways we succeed. We just have to remember and give ourselves credit for them.
You are right. Groups overwhelm and overstimulate me. In fact, I do not feel safe in a support group setting without a skilled mental health professional and clearly defined boundaries. My personal boundaries are too permeable, and I’m too sensitive. The social demands of loving my husband and son can overwhelm me. Being emotionally present and grounded to meet those demands adequately is of primary importance to me.
Thank you, Lisa.
Hope it works for you, Kitt! But easy on yourself. I admire your drive but meditation and quiet states are good, too. You help people a lot through your blog. You don’t HAVE to do groupy things, too unless you find that fulfilling. You’re good the way you are and have enough on your plate. But what do I know?
Van, you did got that right. I always expect failure on my birthday, anniversary, etc. I always expect to be disappointed. I set myself up for it. I set my family up to disappoint me.
Thank you so much, Amy. That means a great deal to me.
Thank you. Have to write update today about what steps I am taking to move into a better place with my own bout of depression and depressive ideation and with parenting my son.
Thank you! Just saw my psychiatrist and am going back on my antidepressant which should help. Also, scheduled a session with a psychologist to work with me and my son (and my husband for the first session).
Thank you, Vic.
Thank you, Ellen. Today I saw my psychiatrist. Going back on Lexapro (in addition to my mood stabilizer). I have a history of depression that predated diagnosed hypomanic symptoms, so I’m pretty vulnerable to depression and depressive ideation.
I know well that feeling of just coming apart! I feel it more often than I like to admit. Thanks for sharing and I hope that feeling gets better soon! For both of us.
Glad you made that step.
Hormones and depressive issues are not just toxic, they are a full-on assault. I want to say be kind to yourself and know that you’ll get through it.
But there might be something else there that I noticed. I don’t know if you can relate, Kitt,
but I thought I’d share anyway.
I hate holidays/celebrations of all sort. My anniversary, birthday, Thanksgiving and Christmas all happen within a month’s time. It is the worst time of my year, and it took me a lifetime to discover why.
There is a mantra in my depressive mind that says “You don’t deserve happiness”.
Of course, that’s not true, but when you feel so bad for so long, it’s a hard belief to shake. The stress and conflict this creates in my mind, my life, my family can be overwhelming. It has me praying for January’s welcome relief.
I am new to your blog, and I certainly would never presume to know your story. I’ve just found that we are all so much more alike than different. From what I can see, you are so far from being a failure; you are dealing with an illness. Wishing you wellness. Van
Just because you are struggling does not make you a failure. All we can do is the best we got in that moment. You are living with a tough illness, so try and give yourself a break. I am so impressed with all that you do inspite of the challenges you face. I have had those days too where I had to cancel all of my commitments. I just learned that it needs to be okay for me to have bad days. They won’t last forever. You hang in there and know I am sending you positive thoughts!
Hi, Hoping you are feeling a bit better today 🙂 you know, you just put into written words what 99% of the rest of think or say to ourselves at some point. we wonder what we did wrong with our child; what we did wrong with our health; what we did wrong with xyz, and how to fix it.
I do want to say – you are not a failure. Things in your life …. well, they are just “not yet” resolved. yes, I do have to say that to myself 🙂 again, hoping you’re feeling better.
I can so relate! I know what it is to need to withdraw from the world. I’m a bit that way all the time and even more so when my depression is bad. But I am working hard on not berating myself for it. It doesn’t always work, but I am sometimes able to tell myself that when I’m feeling that way, it’s ok to give myself a break and rest.
It’s definitely clear to me, as an outsider reading your blog, that you are not in any way a failure! Parenting is hard work, and who hasn’t lost their temper with a teenage child?
I hope you feel better soon!
Ah Kitt, I can only imagine how tough it is. All I can emphasize is that you are NOT a failure but a wonderful and complex person. You are also NOT undone, you are simply having a rough patch. As with many things in life, I have faith in you that you will make it through this and realize that you are loved by your family and respected by the WordPress community.
It is all so familiar!! I make all these plans and social dates when I am manic and then I get depressed and panicked (and have had vertigo for the past 3 days) and I bail. I sign up to follow all these blogs and am now in a depression and can’t read or write at all. I keep up with you and a couple of others pretty much no matter what but the rest I just can’t. This is what mania and depression do to us. It is all cycles. I am not properly medicated and it was a major achievement to go to a new gyn and he was horrid and I am pissed. Our anniversary was last week and I bought some deli food and we sat home and watched Modern Family. We did go out eventually but mostly we never do. We still have not celebrated my 65th b-day in Dec. for example. It’s fine. What we do is fine. We are not failures. We are mentally ill and we need to know that and know our limits. I am lecturing myself here, too. I have lost many friends to cancellations because of migraines caused by depression panic. Tomorrow I start a 7 day retreat online (I would never go). Will see if I can do it. It means getting up at 4AM every day for 7 days. It means listening to 6 hours of Satsang a day. It is all okay. The failures are okay. The failures are okay. I am trying still to tell myself that. I am older than you are and have lived with this longer and it gets to a point where you ask yourself why am I doing _____________? Take it easy on yourself!!!!!!
Thank you, Susan. You are ever supportive. I thank God for your support. I thank God for the support and company of the woman I had lunch with. I left a message with Saddleback Church to look into what support they have to offer. I live within a mile of the church’s mega-campus. Though my beliefs are more liberal, I appreciate all the support and services they offer.
Oh, Kitt, I so identify with those feelings. (And I get vertigo, too! I wonder if vertigo and bp go hand-in-hand. Hmmmm. Aneeway…)
As an introvert (extreme maybe) I have finally given myself permission to NOT do things. I used to cancel plans and risk horrible anger and disappointment from friends. Now, I simply say, “no” a lot. I prefer to hang out with my cat. I still do say, “yes,” and then cancel from time to time because the plans sound like a good idea at the time – but frankly, as the event approaches, I simply don’t want to go. The energy it takes to “put on a happy face” or just to socialize isn’t worth the recoup time. I’m sure it’s half introversion and half bp, but I know myself enough to know I truly enjoy the solitude.
As for feeling like a failure – okay, give yourself a couple of hours to mope. We all deserve a good pity party now and then. When the half gallon of ice cream is gone, let it go. Resolve to take at least one positive step to get you out of it. Sounds like you did by calling your psych. And you DID take the kids to school. 😉 Good job.
Thank you, Zoe. I will say this: I DID go out to lunch with my fellow writer. Honestly, that’s a major achievement. Maybe I’ll actually show up for this week’s writers’ group meetup. Then again, maybe not. You describe perfectly the conundrum we face. I’m reminded of “The Hokey Pokey” lyrics – put your whole self in, take your whole self out…
Glad you were able to get out an visit. I’ll be visiting with a friend tonight. She’s going through a very hard time, all the more reason for us to go out, get a yummy meal, and be nice to ourselves. Now I’m craving a latte 😉
I went out to lunch with a woman from the writers’ group I haven’t been attending. I do have some dark chocolate I can sample. Enjoyed the view on my way home from lunch. Had a decaf latte. Music is a good idea. Thank you.
Thank you, Jennifer.
I know much about this. The non-ill me wants to do things, signs up for things, but sick-me bails and cancels. And then the guilt over disappointing others and myself makes me feel worse. It’s a vicious, toxic cycle.
I don’t want to belittle your feelings by saying you’re not this or that. Frankly because I would feel hypocritical since I’m in a similar pinch — not because I agree you are (a failure.) What I can say is that no one is perfect, we all fall short sometimes too. That doesn’t lessen the good things you do.
Your feelings are valid. Whether they are real or justified doesn’t change the fact that you feel them anyways.
What I can do is remind you that you’re doing a good work here. I take courage from the days you succeed and the days you don’t. You are real. I relate to you. And you are making a difference even on days when you feel like this.
Thank you for sharing the good and the bad (and the funny.)
I’m glad to see you are taking care of yourself! I’m a big fan of doing little nice things for myself when I need to do a lot of big things (umm, family life comes to mind) so, just curious, what are your favorite little nice things you like to do for yourself? I like some dark chocolate (salted)…a little coffee (black)…talking to my daughter…listening to new music…
Peace to you.
Maybe I’ll count pulling myself together for lunch out as my one nice thing.
Thanks. Must hold it together for lunch date with wonderful woman who doesn’t need me falling apart on her. After that, I may just let myself cry. Tomorrow have appt with pdoc. Perimenopause + bipolar + parenting a teen = recipe for feeling out of control.
Not sure if I can get thru to cancel lunch. Made plans thru FB. Do not have her phone #!
Rough . . . Hang in there. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Do one nice thing for yourself today. Just one. 🙂
Thinking of you and sending some virtual support. I understand the feelings of failure ; I get those myself. Remember how many people you have touched by sharing your writing and by supporting ours. You haven’t bailed on that. Thank you for being honest and open. Here for you!
Oh honey…I know EXACTLY how you feel! (Well, almost!)
I love you.
I’m glad you’re going to cancel lunch & call the pdoc – that’s exactly what will help.
BPNurse gave great advice so I’m not going to add on anything.
I’ll be thinking of you tomorrow @ 10:00 a.m. and I’ll touch base with you later on this week and see how you’re doing. You’ll be in my thoughts daily no matter what – you always are.
10 am tomorrow seeing my psychiatrist.
I will cancel my lunch and call my pdoc or psychologist.
You are NOT a failure. You’re conflating a bad week with the idea that you’re irredeemably flawed and suck at life, which isn’t true. It’s the illness lying to you! Please get some help—call your pdoc and see if an uptick in meds can straighten out your thought processes, or see your T (if you have one). I’m glad you can write about these things but really think you need more help than your readers can give you. Praying for you.