Awhile back I was asked by “Dallas News” reporter Nancy Churnin to guest blog on “Dallas Moms,” (part of “The Dallas Morning News”). They wanted me to write about motherhood and mental illness, and of course I have no trouble coming up with material there. Click here to get the original post. I have excerpted below.
“What was it like?”
I have about 45 responses to those two questions that I’ve written out ever since I attended a media coaching seminar in November. The presenters encouraged us to map out our stories for our listeners, taking them to the places of action that form our plot.
I have three primary stories. Unfortunately, they all involve my kids.
Here is one:
My three-year-old son and I were sitting on his bed playing with toy cars. He was pushing his toy police car down the seams of the quilt, pretending they were roads.
“You’re in the back,” he said to me.
“Why am I in the back?” I asked.
“Because you’re bad.”
“Why am I bad?”
“Because you cry so much.”
I guess that’s what it was like.
I was always crying.
To be a competent mom.
When I was the least thing from it.
If you think about it, the early months of motherhood are the perfect storm for mood disorders to develop. You take a woman whose hormones have been rearranged and sold at a garage sale. You give her a kid who doesn’t sleep (in my case) for more than three hours for five years in a row. And you lock her in the house alone with this crying thing, so that she sits there in isolation most of her day.
Sleep deprivation and isolation alone, with perfectly balanced hormones, is enough to ship someone off to the psych ward. Dump unto that the Irish-dancing hormones, and you’re guaranteed a mess.
My mess fit into a neat diagnosis of Bipolar II, which I like to call the smoother, softer kind of manic depression.
Could I have prevented the mess?