Mama Meltdown

You guys, I’m going to get real here in this post – who am I kidding, this is a very real blog. But seriously, I want to warn you, if you’re triggered by talk of self-harm, please skip the rest of this post.

My daughter is 5. She is my reason for living. I don’t know of anything outside of her. She’s sweet and thoughtful and smart and creative. She takes dance lessons a few nights a week, following in mama’s footsteps. And she is the love of my life.

Today was her first competition at a highland games. She was up super early and was nervous because this was her first time dancing on stage with people she didn’t know. But she did it! She got up there and did her thing, and I was so proud of her!

When it came time for the awards it was long after she had danced. She was hot and tired and wanted to go home. I told her that she had to go on stage one more time to get her ribbon and gift and then we could leave. We got over to the stage area and she dug in her heels and refused to go on the stage with the rest of her group. She was crying and hugging me and pleading to be taken away from the stage.

What happened next was not my finest moment.

I wanted her to be up there so bad, I was doing whatever I could to get her up there, gently pushing her, pulling her by her hand. I raised my voice with her, which I never have to do. I let my emotions get in the way.

I was so angry that she wasn’t listening to me and getting up on that stage.

She didn’t win any medals and I was angry about that too. She deserved to win something but the judges didn’t agree. So she got her participation ribbon and we left the stage area.

We packed up our stuff and got in the car. She left with her father and I told her I loved her and was proud of her. And then I started crying in the car. All. The. Way. Home. 2 hours of driving. And then I cried more once I got home and was alone. This wasn’t just tears running down my cheeks, it was full-on ugly sobbing.

Why was I crying? I felt like the worst mom in the world. How could I get angry with a tired, hot, scared little 5 year old who is my whole world? Who was that person that got so angry? Then, as they typically do in my brain, the thoughts multiplied.

How could I have been so angry? What if she grows up with issues around being loved and supported because I didn’t support her? What if she doesn’t love dance like I do and I have to give up on having a dancer? Why am I being so selfish? Why am I failing her? We should have practiced more, but I’m too caught up in my own mental illness that I have been a less than stellar parent. Which then led me to thinking about how we barely read books at night anymore like we used to. She wants to be a doctor, how is she going to get through all of that schooling if I’m not supporting her? What if she turns out like me? (that one really scares me)

You get the idea. And this all made me feel so depressed and worthless. All I could think about was punishing myself. I knew that I had a shiny knife that I had previously used to cut myself, it was hiding up in my closet. I wanted nothing more than to hurt myself. I thought of death and what would happen if I died. Who would even miss me? The negative thoughts were swirling around in my brain faster than I could keep up with them.

But the light at the end of the tunnel is this. I reached out. This is something that is very difficult for me, especially at times like this. I always isolate myself and push down the negative feelings. But instead, I bit down on my lip and reached out to a friend on my “team” of awesome people who are helping me to get better.

They told me to make sure that I was safe, number 1 priority. And then to let these emotions sit, feel them, and let them go. This is a skill that is also taught in Dialectical Behaviour Therapy for those with Borderline Personality Disorder.

I cried some more, but I didn’t reach for that knife, and that’s a huge accomplishment for me. I thought about how to talk to my daughter about the situation so that she knows that I love and support her. I worked on distracting myself. I used some visualization techniques to imagine the negative emotions washing away like waves in the ocean. I also did a chakra meditation (I’m currently working on a post about this). And you know what? I started to feel better.

I know that I’m not perfect, no parent is, but I’m making a serious effort to better myself and crawl out of the dark hole that I find myself in and I think that counts for something. I apologize for my mistakes and learn from them. Self-acceptance and love is going to take time to develop but I don’t hate myself quite as much as I did earlier, so it’s a start.

So if anyone out there reading this has had similar moments, know that you are not alone and there are healthy ways for us to cope and then improve upon ourselves so that we don’t make the same mistakes again. Send yourself some love, no matter how impossible that may seem.

xo Krysten

About me

I thought that I would start this off with a post about me so that you know who you’re hearing from. I’m going to try and keep this part as short as I can and add details through later posts.

I grew up in a small-ish town in Ontario, Canada. I had two loving parents and two younger brothers. My parents weren’t perfect and there was some dysfunction in the family (including mental illness) but they tried. My immediate family was also close with my uncles/aunts, cousins, and grandparents.

I was fortunate enough to take competitive dance lessons and spent the majority of my childhood and teenage years at the dance studio. I took my dancing very seriously. I can remember being in classes where all of the girls were laughing and having a good time while I focused on the steps we were learning and I was annoyed by their behaviour. While I didn’t have a diagnosis at this time, looking back, I can notice the start of symptoms from an early age.

I was bullied in elementary school and hated going to school. I had a few friends during this time but they never lasted.

High school was a miserable time in my life. I was trying to find myself, and through that process I made some bad choices that I still agonize over to this day. I knew for sure that I had anxiety and depression, but that was all that I knew at the time. Looking back, I can see that my symptoms of bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder started getting worse during these years. This is also when my paranoid delusions began. When I was 14 I officially started seeing doctors to deal with depression and anorexia. The anorexia didn’t last long – it was just a coping strategy for me. My mom found out what I was doing and got extremely angry with me so I moved to other coping strategies that were less noticeable to her. But the depression persisted.

I started University in 2006. I kept to myself and just worried about my studies. School was difficult with progressing mental illnesses. I ended up having to take time off from school and withdraw from classes because my symptoms worsened significantly and I just couldn’t deal with that along with school. I lost the honours part of my degree because of this so I cannot get my masters in Psychology unless I start a new BA. This is something that I really struggle with.

I got married in 2010. I was pretty happy during this time. I was on only one medication but it seemed to be helping.

In 2012, on our 2 year wedding anniversary I had a miscarriage. This was one of the most horrific things I’ve ever experienced. It put me into a deep depression and I was angry at the world for a long time afterwards.

I got pregnant again in 2013 and gave birth to my beautiful daughter Evelyn in January of 2014. There was some birth trauma that I still think about, but baby was healthy and that was my main concern. I also went back to school just before giving birth and finished my BA in October of 2014.

I was content with my new little family, but the anxiety and depression slowly started creeping back in. I didn’t have a regular psychiatrist at this time, so I went to my GP and got prescribed Cipralex. I had been off of all psychiatric medications while pregnant and breastfeeding. It took months, but it finally did start to help with my anxiety.

When my daughter was 2 years old, I experienced my first real manic episode. It lasted for weeks. I have a hard time admitting it, but in the end, this is what finished my marriage.

Over the following 3 years, I dated a bunch of losers trying to not be alone with myself. I experienced worsening symptoms of all of my illnesses. I got official psychiatrist diagnoses of Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, and Borderline Personality Disorder. I was hospitalized 3 times in 18 months. And I had constant changes made to my multiple psychiatric medications.

This brings us to today. I just got out of a 10 day inpatient hospital stay. I’m on several psychiatric medications. I have poor coping strategies that include self-harm. But the most important thing here is that I am trying to get better. I’m not letting these diagnoses get me down. I am working with a team that consists of doctors, a naturopathic doctor, psychiatrists, a life plan specialist, a peer mentor, outpatient groups at local hospitals, and I’m reading as much as I can to try and dig my way out of this hole.

Why am I sharing all of this with you? This is my purpose. My life design states that I am on this earth to experience trauma because I am strong and I can get through it, and then help others to do the same. I’m not all of the way there yet myself, but my ultimate goal is to help people. If I can help one person, my purpose will be fulfilled. How exactly I am going to help people is still to be determined, but I’m hoping that writing is a start.

Welcome!

Welcome to The Path to Purpose! This blog will take you on my journey from mental illness to wellness while discovering my life’s purpose along the way. While I’m not a mental health expert (although I do have a BA in Psychology), I am a person with real world experience of living with mental illnesses. Please feel free to comment and add any questions I might be able to answer, or share your own personal stories if you are comfortable. My hope is to share my story and inspire others to work towards living their best lives. I’ll be posting personal stories, suggestions to help those who love someone with a mental illness, and any research or new ideas that I come across. Thank you for taking the time to be with me and I hope you get something from this blog. Have a wonderful day 🙂