Posted by: Heather Coleman | April 9, 2013

#HAWMC Day 9: My Thoughts on Caregiving and Parenting

Parent holding child's hands

As a parent with bipolar disorder, what do you hope you’re doing right? Everything. I constantly worry whether I am doing things the “right” way with my two children. I question everything. But, that has nothing to do with having bipolar disorder, that’s simply being a conscientious parent. You want what is best for your child at all times.

However, I know there are things that I want to be different for my children growing up than what I experienced growing up. I think every generation should try and make incremental improvements over the one before them. And as a parent with bipolar disorder, I know that I will be hypersensitive about my children’s mental health and well-being, in case they have inherited this condition from me. I want to be sure that we always have open lines of communication about anything, health or otherwise. I want to instill a strong sense of self-confidence in both of my children, but especially in my daughter. I want my children to respect others and command their own respect. I know it’s cliche, but I especially want them to be happy, to truly understand what makes them happy, and to take charge of making their own happiness (not depending on others for happiness). These are lessons that I’m still learning at age 36, but I hope I’ve learned enough to give my children a strong headstart in life.

What advice or tips do you have for caregivers out there? Listen and be as supportive as possible. I don’t know where I would be without the support and love of my husband. Sometimes I think he knows me better than I know myself. He questions my moods and my actions when needed in order for me to realize that I need to pay more attention to something or make a change for my health.

Love is the best care we can give to anyone.

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Responses

  1. I don’t know if you follow the blog prideinmadness? She’s currently looking for parents to describe what it’s like to be a parent with a mental health condition.

    I was drawn to your blog, firstly by the photo but then by the sentiments expressed. I have Borderline Personality Disorder and am a parent to my two daughters (aged 5 and 7). I wasn’t there for them for 2.5 years (long stay in the nuthouse while I got diagnosed and finally sorted with the right treatment), and I lost my marriage at the same time. BUT, I try to be the best mum possible to them now. I don’t see them as often as I’d like, but I make the most of the time I do have with them. And top of my agenda is developing them into well-adjusted, mentally stable adults. I want them to know how their minds work; how their emotions get triggered; the best way to respond to situations. I want them to avoid every pitfall I had in my own life. And, even though they’re still young and everything might change once they’re teenagers, I think we’re all headed in the right direction. Over the past six months, when I’ve been actively trying to show them stuff I’ve learnt in therapy, they’ve moved onwards in their maturity. My eldest no longer concerns herself with the petty playground arguments. My youngest doesn’t throw as many terrible tantrums as she used to. She still tantrums when she doesn’t get her own way, but nowhere near as much as she used to and she snaps out of it quickly too.

    Long story – but all I wanted to really say was this. You’re not alone. And your children will be very proud of you. Today, and when they have children of their own.

  2. Love is indeed the best care that we can give to anyone. You are very blessed to have someone who loves and cares for you a lot and your kids are very blessed as well to have someone like you–a loving and caring mother who only want what’s best for her kids. I know that you are an amazing mother. Stay strong and do your best. 🙂


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