Everywhere I go I hear people say things about people who suffer with mental illness. Things like, "You know, She's Bipolar. Seriously Crazy! She's like slash your tires insane. She only has a Hot or a Cold."
Eventually I worked up the courage to reply, "you know, I too am Bi Polar."
The response, "NO... but I've see you... you're not like that."
My response, "You've just never see me when I'm at my low."
So what does is feel like, this Ugly DISEASE? HOT and COLD it's like having 2 people trapped within me. One who loves, serves and cares for others unselfishly. She would literally offer to strip naked if another shivered around her. For this SUPERWOMAN there is nothing too challenging. No number of children that can't be watched (all at the same time) nor is there a limit on the size of project or number of projects that can tackle. She barely needs sleep, yet somehow is passionately ready to defend the rights of all who suffer ANY injustice along her path.
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However, in the wake of her heroism, she often leaves laundry unwashed, forgets to put away milk or any other small insignificant item in her path. Laundry is left unfolded, bathrooms frighteningly filthy. But seriously, who can you blame her, she is a real SUPER HERO. Who can trifle with such small and insignificant things.
Do those things even matter? Who wouldn't want her fabulous powers and gifts? Well, to her precious sons and husband these things matter a lot. They are left feeling neglected unloved or unimportant.
Out of survival, her 5 year old son learns to grab her face and say, "Mom, look at me, I want you to see me."
Needless to Say, when I am the SUPER HERO I'm not the Mom, wife or person that I need to be.
|Photo taken from here|
Soon enough the other "person" will surface. The broken down, depressed useless SLUG of a person. A being with little or no thought of personal hygiene. This woman, if you can even call her that... is suicidal. She possesses a complete incapacity to make even the simplest decision, like what to eat for lunch.
The reality was that I was incapable of handling the challenge of waking up and functioning as a mother. I literally could not get out of bed often incapable of getting my kids off to school. In fact, in 2012 my kids missed several days of school. We received multiple phone calls and even a letter regarding attendance.
The SLUG's Solution: new mother and wife for her family. A woman who deserves them, someone normal, stable and perhaps even painfully boring.
Seeing the shattered body, the wounds and battle scars left by the Super Hero. She obsesses over the past, the relationships destroyed, and the victims previously overlooked. All casualties and damages of the SUPERHERO are now hers to try repair.
Completely over whelmed paralyzed by fear feeling utterly worthless and helpless. She looks at her emotionally bleeding husband moments away from a physical and emotional breakdown due to the weight of his overwhelming responsibilities. Caring for the HERO, the SLUG, and the children he is the cook, the cleaner, the sole provider and often the sole responsible adult in the relationship (If you can even call it that.)
Where is the beautiful woman he married? His friend, fun partner and wife. He didn't marry THIS!!! This is not what he signed up for. Yet he stays, hoping that someday he will see the women the fell in love with. Knowing if he doesn't care for the family no one else will.
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Some ask, "Why didn't you take medications?"
My response, "I did and I do."
It TAKEN 9 YEARS working with various Doctors, Psychologists, and Psychiatrists to get to the diagnosis and medications to reach the level of stability I have today.
There have been times where the mask on my face was beautifully painted, months her and there where medications have been partially effective. But the medication management is no easy feat.
The Behavioral Component
Even with the blessing of modern medicine, the desire to "do more" is a challenge. Unavoidable stress, moving, and taking on too many responsibilities can send me spiraling once again into this miserable cycle with very little warning.
I am learning to listen to my husband, family and close friends when they say, "Sarah, do you think you're starting to take on too much."
I have a new motto WWMT "What Would Matthew Think?"
It helps me filter with greater wisdom the complexity of tasks what projects and activities are realistic and often when to let go.
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While many people still see me as either the The SUPER HERO or the SLUG, God loves me. He has allowed me to suffer so that I can learn, grow and be molded into to the beautiful instrument tuned in the hand of our Savior Jesus Christ.
It is my prayer that this helps someone. Don't give up!!! There is joy to be found. Our Heavenly Father wants us to be happy here on this earth. Our willingness to apply the atonement will determine the joy, peace and prosperity we experience in this life. This is my story, my testimony and my knowledge, our Savior Jesus Christ loves us he wants to take away our pain. He will heal us, perhaps not temporally, or in the way we have in mind, but he will easy our heavy hearts and encircle us in the arms of his love and make us whole.
I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ Amen.