Burden Or Blessing? Why One Mom Isn’t Worried About Passing On Her Anxiety

Mother 4

Keep Calm and Mom On

By: Rachel E. Bledsoe

Momma used to say “your grandfather didn’t sleep well either.” A long night’s rest has never been an easy place for me to find. At 13, they called it severe anxiety combined with severe depression. Then at 17, they changed the diagnosis to bipolar disorder. At 23, they reverted back to severe anxiety and gave me little blue pills called Xanax. I was given a lot of little blue pills, four hundred at a time, and told to take 3 a day.

After a few months of three a day, I found myself wanting more. The ‘more’ turned into over 20 a day. A drug addict was my final diagnosis. After living with the disease of addiction for three years, I woke up one day not wanting to be anything other than who I was. I have not taken any medication for my diagnosed mental illnesses in over 6 years.

Now I have a son, he has my eyes. He laughs exactly like me. Every day I tell him how much I love his laugh. “Don’t hide it. Don’t be shy to laugh. Be you.” No one ever really told me these things. It took me a little over three decades on this earth to discover what I love about myself.

If I am asked today “do you have a mental disorder?” I will tell you what they told me. I will also tell you those labels are not my soul definition. They are just labels. And I pray to protect my child from such labels. I walked around in my 20’s saying “I’m crazy. I’m bipolar. I hate people. They make me nervous.”

People should make us nervous. I teach my son to be wary of strangers. Is there any difference in the rational thought, that just perhaps, not all people are kind and nice? People are strangers and the anxiety I feel from strangers is justified. I am not crazy. As for bipolar, I am probably that too. As I write this, I am on a bender of probably only 6 hours of sleep in two nights. The boy with my eyes has been sick. So I thank the bipolar mania for the ability to survive, thrive, and create with very little sleep.

A little boy with my eyes will grow into a man. And I carry no fears about him inheriting the unique chemistry his own mother has. I hope he too will learn that within these diseases are little blessings.

One of my favorite memories so far with my son is a morning breakfast. My son will not eat meat. It has taken me months to figure this out. First, I had to try every possible meat available which he still mainly refuses. I was astounded at his reaction to bacon. He took a bite, spit it out and threw it in the floor. He then proceeded to throw every piece of bacon off his plate.

I asked him “what’s wrong with you? Everyone loves bacon. You are not normal.”

His deadpan expression said nothing. Maybe he was waiting to get in trouble.

“On second thought, don’t be normal. There is already too much normal in this world,” I replied to his silence.

And I hope to always remember to teach him being different is okay. Mental illness makes me different, and there is nothing wrong with different. And for the record, I ate his bacon off the floor that day because it was bacon. And a family should never waste bacon.

Rachel E. Bledsoe is the Magnificent Mommy to the Terrific Toddler. When she is not writing, she can be found at her local newspaper where she is writing advertorials. After bedtime, she stays up late and has Misfits of a Mountain Mama while binging on Green Tea and Cheetos. When she is recovering from postpartum depression, she tends to dye her hair bright pink and shock her husband.

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11 responses to “Burden Or Blessing? Why One Mom Isn’t Worried About Passing On Her Anxiety

  1. Thank you for your honest and brave portrayal of your struggles with a diagnosis of mental illness. I agree that normal can be overrated. Although you are wise to be wary of strangers and smart to teach your child likewise, I hope you have many encounters with many kind strangers over the years.

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    • Mary, thank you so much for reading! Opening up about this aspect of my life has always been hard, but if it reaches one person then the struggle was worthwhile. And thank you for the hope to meet nice kind strangers. I know those people exist. Thank you again for reading & taking the time to respond.

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  2. Mary, thank you so much for reading! Opening up about this aspect of my life has always been hard, but if it reaches one person then the struggle was worthwhile. And thank you for the hope to meet nice kind strangers. I know those people exist. Thank you again for reading & taking the time to respond.

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  3. I agree, they’re just labels, and we’re so much more than a label. I really love the detail about your pink hair in your bio! Thank you for sharing your story!

    On another note – you might check into using brainwave generator meditations. I’ve had several nights of not being able to fall asleep or back to sleep and I started using one of those… it helps tremendously. There are several different ones out there, so if you don’t like the music or the set of frequencies that they use – try another one!

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    • Dakota, thank you so much for reading! I am so happy you agree about the labels. And thank you for the helpful tip about sleeping. I have used a similar technique in the past (can’t remember if it’s called delta sleep system??) but it did work. I love finding natural ways to deal with sleeping issues & depression. Mainly, I try to rely on good old fashioned exercise to wear me out or I channel the energy through creative outlets. Anything to quiet my mind. Thank you so much for reading & commenting!

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  4. What a beautiful and inspiring story! It’s so sad because your ‘drug addiction’ seemed out of your control.. if that makes. It’s not like you chose to take those little blue pills but they were given to you by a dr. I’m so glad you’ve battled that awful disease and can be so honest about it.

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    • Aimee, thank you so much for reading. I would have liked to blamed the psychiatric industry, but I always come back to the reasoning that I made the choice to take more. I wished I had been monitored a little better & not left on them for three years. I’m grateful to have come out on the other side & learned so much from this ordeal. Thank you again for reading & commenting!! Means so much to me!

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  5. What an amazing post–as a new-ish parent (to a toddler) I want to her to grow up into whoever she is without worrying about the anxieties that I might have about life or health or whatever. You are a great mom, and a wonderful example to your son! 🙂

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    • Thank you so much! I hope my baby will grow the same, without the fear & anxiety. I hate that as a society if we are different, we are diagnosed. And thank you so much for calling me a good Mama, it is the only role in life I hope to never fail. Thank you again for reading, and the kind words!! Made my morning!

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