She's Still My Mom
Updated: Jan 12
She has taken care of me when I've been sick, stood by my bedside as I gave birth to both of my boys, and has given me endless life advice whether I wanted it or not. This same woman who has done all of these motherly things has also cussed me out, called me every name in the book, and tried to physically fight me on more than one occasion.
So now you're probably thinking WTF right? Well. She suffers from bipolar depression disorder. All of the hell she's put me through hasn't been because she wanted to. It's because her mind isn't wired to function "normally".
Loving somebody with this disorder can be extremely exhausting. Now, of course it can be managed with medication but what happens when this person doesn't use their medication like they're supposed to? Or throw drug abuse in the mix and you've got a huge recipe for disaster.
My mom has one of the most giving hearts. But catch her on a day when she's been without her meds, or she's coming down from a high...she's a completely different person. I have moments where I don't look forward to answering the phone when she calls because I don't know who I'm going to get.
Trae always does a good job at reminding me "But mom... she's still your mom..." Kids know exactly what to say and when to say it just to tug on your heart strings a little bit.
He's right. She's still my mom. At the end of all the fights with her, or avoiding conversations, she's still the woman who gave me life. When you're a child you're so naive to everything around you. You may look at things and question it but you let it go because you're not a grown up yet. You're taught that you can't question your parents because you are the child.
Once I became a mom I made the decision that I would do anything and everything in my power to not put my kids through some of the things I have been through myself. I wanted different for them. As we all do right?
I have days where I get so mad that my grandparents aren't here to help take care of her. They left me and they left me here to clean up after her messes.
I can look at my mom now and she's almost unrecognizable. The wear and tear that her mental health and drug abuse has done to her mind, body, and soul has made her into a woman that most people would avoid. I love and miss who she used to be.
There was never a day that went by that she wouldn't get up and clean house, put on makeup, do her hair. She used to go shopping every weekend with friends, pamper herself, and really did things to just enjoy life.
It was after my Nana died that all of that changed. Her mental health declined and she started leaning more towards drugs to deal with the pain of feeling alone. She would go days or weeks without taking her bipolar meds. The only thing that was important to her was chasing the next fix.
But she's still my mom. Her bipolar has tricked her into thinking that she's not worthy of love or that she's a constant burden on those around her. One of the hard parts of loving somebody with bipolar is there is no convincing them that they are in fact worthy of every ounce of love and respect that any other human being would be.
After all the fights, screaming, destroying sentimental items, I still know at the end of the day my mom means well. She would give me her last dime if I needed it. She's always trying to make sure me and the boys are okay and that we don't go without.
Her relationship with my brother has been destroyed over the years due to her life choices and his lack of desire to look past her mental health. It's his right as an adult to keep his distance and I hate hearing the pain in my mom's voice when she asks about him. Nobody wins in that situation.
So, how do you love somebody who suffers from bipolar disorder? Patiently and with your whole heart. You will always have days that they make you question your own worth. At some point in your relationship with that person you may want to cut it off all together and that's okay too. But before you do, really sit back and ask yourself if it does more damage than good to the person you're having the battle with.
Because in those moments you want to end it, I promise they are fighting demons in a battle that most of us will never have to see. I love my mom. And I cringe at the thought that I'll get that phone call that she's done something to herself. Her mental health has consumed her on most days and on the days that it hasn't she's barely getting by.
We all go through things in life that make us look at things a little differently. We will always come across people who live, love, and sin differently than we do. At the end of it all it's all about how you handle your own demons when you're up against theirs.
"Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most." - Mark Twain