I’m a mom and I have a mental illness

I read somewhere that women with mental illnesses should not have children. And it was a doctor who wrote that. Don’t get me started on doctors…..

When I was diagnosed with bipolar, I was 37. I already had a child. It never crossed my mind that I wouldn’t be a good mom because of my illness. I’ve always taken my illness seriously. Therapy. Meds. I’ve never missed an appointment with my psychiatrist. I take care of my health. I meditate and journal. I get lots of sleep.

I suppose there may be moms with mental illnesses who do not get treatment. And perhaps those women might not make the best moms.

Even with all I do to improve my mental health, I am still moody. I can have a short fuse, which comes out of nowhere. I can be overly sensitive. But I try very hard to carefully guard my son from my occasional erratic behavior.

I know from my own experience, an untreated parent can rub off on a child. My father had (undiagnosed) depression. He committed suicide when I was 11. I felt guilt and shame about him for years.

Finding a good doctor and therapist can be very very hard. Getting on meds is hard too. They have to figure out which meds, at which doses, in the right combination and with the least side effects. It takes a long time to find your perfect cocktail.

And therapy….talk about hard. A good therapist is going to challenge you. She’s going to make you cry. It will be awkward. Some even give you homework! But you’ve got to do it. You owe it to your kids to get better.

What’s it like to be a moody mom