As this blog title suggests, this particular post may be a little more personal than maybe it should be. But I’m posting it anyway…
This morning if i had to grade my anxiety from 0-10 I would have probably said it was about a 3 (except when i made myself a coffee and after taking a massive mouthful realised i hadn’t actually switched the sodding kettle on.!) but this afternoon it rapidly jumped from a 3 to an all out 10…. Why? Because of my poor mum. My mum suffers with bipolar disorder, she has had it all my life and since she herself was just 17 (she is now 59 and it was known as manic depression for a long time.) I spoke to my mum today, the first time in about 5 days, which is longer than normal, only to find that her mood has dropped dramatically. She told me that she just feels really sad and tired.
The thing with Bipolar Disorder is that, even though you know the mood change will come, it can still be unexpectedly quick. Last week mum was fine, my baby niece was born and we were all excited, mum was getting annoyed that we were all begging her to stay at home…. Today she feels sad and depressed. I know a lot of people will be wondering why my mums mood change has affected me so much if it happens a lot, there is a specific reason. My anxiety stems from my mums illness or it stems from the fact that due to her illness, she tried to take her own life. It was a few years ago now, but that was my trigger and still is now. Whenever i hear those dreaded words “I’m down again. It feels worse this time.” my anxiety spikes as i remember what happened then. I know over the next few weeks i will be calling and dropping in more than normal, not just out of love for my mum, but out of fear of what could happen if i don’t. My anxiety will reach it’s peak and hold steady for a while until mums mood starts to lift… I’m well aware of what affect it will have on me by now, but I still have zero control over it. Weird right?
My mum has had ‘depressed episodes’ since she tried to take her life and, thankfully, she hasn’t hit that type of darkness for a while now, but that doesn’t stop us from dreading it. I have two younger sisters and a little brother, I am the eldest, and when we are going through these things with mum we are always there for her, but also for each other. Mums ‘depressed episodes are really hard and often scary, but then so are her ‘manic episodes’. Mum isn’t nasty or aggressive like some people can be with bipolar disorder, she’s either really depressed or super ecstatic all the time. She will go out randomly at any time for whatever reason and she will spend money she hasn’t got without any regards for her bills, she will drink more because she feels like it helps her mood. Sometimes the happier moods can be just as scary as the low moods. A long time ago mum would go missing for days at a time on some weird adventure that we didn’t know about. She doesn’t do that anymore, thankfully, but they were some of the scariest times of our lives. When we are going through all of this i feel super protective of my brother who is just a teen but also my sisters who are 31 and 25. I know that my sisters are both fully fledged adults, but to me they are still the little girls crying because daddy is shouting and mummy doesn’t want to get out of bed. They are amazing women and my elder younger sister (yup) is now a mother herself to two kids and yet i still look at her as my little sister. My 25 year old sister is still a scared 13 year old to me and sometimes i think i act more like her mum than her sister….. I can’t help myself! We get through everything together, even now, just like we always have and i love them for that.
I know i’m blabbering now but I can’t seem to help myself. It actually feels good to share it, even out there in the massive void that is the internet. I find it hard to talk about my mum usually, not because i’m ashamed or embarrassed, but because i used to be afraid of what people would say about my mum. Then i realised that talking about it might mean that I can help someone or maybe even educate someone! I might be grasping at straws here but I can hope…
So now you know… The first trigger for my anxiety was my mums attempt to take her life. My mums mental illness still plays a part in my anxiety triggers, but now other things are affecting it more. Covid-19….. I cannot set foot in a supermarket without feeling the beginnings of a panic attack, the thought of sending my kids back to school and even the thought of attending doctors or nurses appointments are among the many, MANY, triggers that i now seem to have. But hey…I’m still functioning, I’m dragging my sizeable butt out of bed in the morning and I’m dealing with it, in my own way, the best I can. And you know what? I make NO apologies for that…..
Happy Sunday. Love V xxx