Thursday, October 16, 2008

Short days, short fuses...

We seem to all be a little on edge these days. Less patient with each other. It wasn't until I heard Alex talking to Izzy yesterday that I realized he was using the exact same tone I had been all day. It was a bit deflating. As much as I try to catch myself sometimes I can't see what is going on until the kids reflect it right back at me.

This time of year, while extremely pleasant for me in many ways, is tiring too. I do too much and lack of sunlight affects me. It forces me confront something that most people know about me but that I talk little of, being bipolar. I don't avoid the topic, it just doesn't seem to be a big part of what I put out into the world. Truthfully, I just don't think about it that often anymore. Nearly everyone who knows me knows I have it. I have never hidden it. I've never felt shame over it. It is my illness and I cope with it.

Having a mental illness was, of course, a big consideration when we decided to homeschool. Most of my concerns were exactly the same ones I had before the kids even came along in the first place. I knew that I had a lot in my favour and we were determined not to let fear dissuade us from something we are very passionate about. To begin with, I am very well versed in my illness. I know all about bipolar and I know, more specifically, about my bipolar tendencies. I have a healthy support network. I try to keep as much chaos at bay as I can control. While I still have mild ups and downs, I have been in remission for 4 years and medication-free for nearly 3 years. I was the luckiest person around to have had some of the best health care available to me and doctors who not only treated the illess but taught me about it too.

What I am not good at, though, is remembering that I do have limitations. Like right now, I have a lot on my plate. I have the children to contend with. I have a hectic schedule to maintain. I am committed to some community work. All of which is usually not too big a deal until the fatigue sets in. Not a deep, dark, can't cope kind of tired, just a blech, don't really want to get out of bed kind of tired. I know that this is something that a lot of busy parents can relate to and that the feeling is not an exception for me or bipolar people in general. My real challenge is the fine line I try to walk to make sure these little swerves onto the shoulder don't completely veer off the road into a deep ditch.

Of course, Rob would just say I am too hypersensitive to my own problems. That my concern for the welfare of the family has me putting all the successes and failures squarely on my shoulders. I am sure he's right. I will have to defer to his perspective on this matter, I suppose. He swears he'll tell me if I become too unbearable to live with, lol.

Actually, just getting this off my chest helps. I forget that admitting it is okay to feel a bit crummy stops me from feeling even worse. I debated whether or not to put this on my blog. It is a hard subject to avoid, though, because it is just such a part of me. I'd rather have an honest account of what I am up to and not sugar coat the more difficult aspects of my life. While I like reading about peoples lives, those who omit the rough patches do a disservice to the rest of us. Perfect people living perfect lives do not exist.

To bring this around full circle, I'll get back to me and the grumpy family. I am in some bizarre way happy for the reflection the kids give me. It helps me temper my moods around them and it tells me when I need to fine tune some new coping skills. If my kids only take one thing away from having me as their mom, I hope it is something that can be summed up in one of my favorite adages, when we know better, we do better. Words to live by, I think.

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