Bipolar Disorder, Uncategorized

Where I’m Supposed to Be

field-meadow-flower-pink.jpgToday I was driving into work and there was a very bad four car pile up.  I selfishly was thinking, “wow, I am happy that I am safe.  Good thing I decided to change up my hair for the fourth time this am causing me to leave the house late as that saved me from being in that accident.”…  In the same light, when I am stuck in a line at the grocery store, it crosses through my mind that I am being protected from a horrible accident due to being held up in line.  The reality is that the person in front of me has bought 25 cans of cat food for her 8 cats, but none the less, that cat lady kept me safe from something horrible.  So, I think, everything happens for a reason.

I was on the phone with one of my friends after yet another trying day.  It had been a while since we spoke and we were catching up.  She too is a step mom and has a blossoming career, and between that and the fact we live on opposite sides of the country means we don’t chat as much as we have in the past.  At the end of the call, we settled on talking about our families, like we always do.  We both shared the same acknowledgement that we are where we are supposed to be.

See, neither one of us has ever conceived a child.  Just was not in the cards for us, I suppose.  But, we both have teenage step children who we consider to be our kids.  We were sharing about how we both have made decisions in our lives and it brought us to where we are now.  That we have been through some shit and we were brought to exactly where we need to be.  We love being step moms, the kids and their fathers.

After a horrid divorce, following an abusive marriage, I packed up my belongings, my cat, and I drove across the country.  I did not do this on a total whim, I was given an opportunity to transfer to our Southwest office and keep the job that I loved.  It all made sense.  But, I did leave all that I knew, my family and my friends, to go on an adventure.

Within a few months, I was in a committed relationship with the man that I now consider to be my soulmate and I met the children that would, in time, be one of the main reasons I make it through every day of my life.  This was all unexpected and not part of the plan I put together.  I ended up being where I was supposed to be exactly when I was supposed to be there.

Life was nothing close to candy coated living in my new landscape.  Numerous health conditions weaseled their way into my life and wrecked havoc.  I went through the worst of what life had to offer for me.  I was forced to be stronger than I had ever been because that’s what life was requiring from me at the time.

All of the trials and tribulations, from all the years ago, up until today, have brought me to who I am and where I am today.  I am not living the life that I thought I would be living.  I thought that I would have a corner office with a view, and travel on business every week, own nothing but pencil skirts and stiletto heels, but that is not what was intended for me.

I have a family.  I am a mom (something I was certain would never happen for me).  I am loved for me, the all over the place, chronically ill, mentally unstable, filled with anxiety, caring, loving, sensitive, me.

We are all on journeys.  Every day brings us closer to where we are supposed to be.  Each time something happens, it happens for a reason.  In the end, we are living exactly what we are supposed to and it’s up to us to take a moment and look at what our journey has taught us, how it has made us a stronger person and how if we just keep taking one small step at a time, we do get to where we are supposed to be, even if it is not exactly what we thought it would be or where we thought we would end up.

Press on.  Embrace what you have.  Love yourself.  Accept the past.  Live in the present.  Look forward to the future.





Miss Michelle’s Beauty Salon

hair stachWhen I was young, my mom would relax in the blue floral recliner and I would brush and style her hair.  My mom had amazing, full, lush and long, very curly hair and I loved to get my fingers tangled in it.  I also loved the time I got to spend with my mom, just me and her.  I referred to this time as “Miss Michelle’s Beauty Salon” and used to say it in a very bad French accent.  As a child, I did not know how amazing it felt to have someone run their fingers through your hair.

It wasn’t until I had a little one in my life that I realized how spectacular it is to have someone play with your hair.  Having a child play with your hair, with their small and very soft hands, is one of the most relaxing things within this galaxy.  Minus the times that they get a comb twisted and stuck in your hair, that’s not so relaxing.

Last night, out of the blue, my daughter asked to play with my hair.  I immediately said yes.  One of the ways she shows love, is through the love language of acts of service.  She left the dining room and went into my bathroom and grabbed an array of hair accessories and combs.  Within a short amount of time she returned, and she proudly proclaimed, “Welcome to My Beauty Salon” in a bad French accent.  I nearly cried remembering the joy I had as a child when I was with my mom and I was overwhelmed with emotion.  It was now my turn to the mom and have my daughter play with my hair.  Regardless of the time difference, I sent my mom a text with a picture and let her know that I missed her.

The beauty salon time lasted for an hour or more.  She would do my hair and then I’d have to pose for a picture.  Once she ran out of ideas for my hair, it was my turn.  I did hair styles from every generation and I too took pictures.  We were blaring Taylor Swift and singing along (it’s what we do when we are together, always).  It was such a tremendous evening.  A wonderous, simple night where an immense amount of quality time was spent with those that I love the most.  When 8:30 PM finally rolled around, I announced that it was time to get ready for bed.  However, we did agree that we would have beauty shop time again tonight, starting at 7 PM.

I love my life.  There are aspects of it that are incredibly less than ideal, but when I take the wide-angle lens perspective, I can undoubtedly state that I really do love my life.  I have received so many blessings.  I can see why I needed to move across the country nearly nine years ago with my meager belongings and at that time, my one cat.  It was time for me to meet the people that would become my family in the very near future.  When I am having a difficult day, or I am going through a phase of instability, I recall all the wonderful, positive things that fill my life every day.  And I don’t have to look far, just focus on the people that live with me.

I was told that I would probably not be able to conceive a child eleven years ago.  But, I was never told that I would not be a mom.

#stepparenting #stepmom #bonusmom #beautysalon #daughtertime #lovemylife #grateful #blessed #makingmemories #stepdaughter

Bipolar Disorder, Uncategorized

A Very Merry Unbirthday to You

tumblr_mivyfjktIR1rqycfoo1_500Today is my birthday, or as my mom calls it my burst forth day.  She states that I burst forth into this world babbling thirty-three years ago and have yet to cease.  And there we have it, Bella’s Babbles.

Birthdays are known to be days of celebration and fun.  It is always presumed that the person who is having a birthday will have a fantabulous day basking in the glow of their amazing birthdayness.  We wish upon people, “Happy Birthday!” “Hope your day is fabulous…”  and such, but what if the day isn’t just that?  What if you get in a funk every year around your birthday and you just don’t know why?

For those that have a history of depression, they may be able to relate.  Although, it is a day of jubilation, they may feel blah, somber, and maybe even sad.  I mean there is that song by Lesley Gore, “It’s my party, I’ll cry if I want to” so obviously someone other than me, has cried on their birthdays.

I did not cry today.  But at one point sitting in my car, if a sad song had come on the radio, or if I saw a lost baby kitten, I would have broken down in tears.  I wasn’t having a bad day per se, just was sad.  I had a great hike in the morning with friends and a fantastic breakfast with my mentor.  But, I was feeling gloomy.

I forced myself to think on things that were true, right and pure (Philippians 4:8).  To meditate on all the wonderful and glorious things that are happening in my life.  I willed myself to flip the switch, so to speak, to get me out of my funk, to power through feeling like Eeyore, but alas, only spurts of sunshine peaked through.  This afternoon I took a shower and told myself that I was washing away the negativity, the gloom and sadness.  That when I re-emerged from the shower that it would be a new, fresh start and I would be happy and filled with joy.

After my shower, my son was home from school and this brightened my spirits.  He has a way of doing that.  I brewed myself a cup of coffee and we talked about each of our days.  Before long, my daughter was home and she shared some exciting news about her acceptance into a special program at her school.  A quick facetime call to my mom to share this excitement, brought light and laughter into my afternoon.  Reading a message my son wrote on Instagram made me nearly cry, but in a good way, like happy, I am so very blessed tears.

Today will not go down as the most amazing, most fantastic, most glorious day ever, but it will be remembered as a day when I experienced a ray of emotions, but did not let any one emotion dominate my day.  When co-existing with a mental illness, there’s challenges in each day, and our expectations for specific days may fail to meet our expectations.  But it’s so very important that we identify our feelings, work through them and then past them, while maintaining control.

#todayismybirthday #birthday #itsmypartyillcryifiwantto #sadness #celebration #exuberence #gloomy #eeyore #depression #anxiety #bipolardisorder #stepparenting #bonusmom #stepmom #lovemylife #thirtythree #inmythirties #anotheryearolder #happyunbirthdaytome

Bipolar Disorder

Operation: StepMom

hero_wide_640When I moved across the country, I met this guy.  There was just something about him.  Could not put my finger on it, but he captured my heart.  From the very beginning I knew that he had children, a boy and a girl, and they were the most important part of his life.  I met them a few weeks after we started dating.

Over the last 8.5 years we have been through a lot of adjusting, learning and testing things out.  I was not entirely sure what to expect and how I should act.  What was my role in their lives?  What was my responsibility?  How was I supposed to help?  Was I a co-parent or just an extra adult in their lives?  Where do I fit?

The first few years we were together, I went through the motions of needing more than your normal amount of attention.  Which is hard when you are dating a person with children.  It is a challenge because they have limited time and energy, and their kids are bound to come first.  It was hard only seeing him a day or two during the week, and then every other weekend being together all four of us, and me not knowing where I fit into the equation.  I felt like an outsider, and it was incredibly uncomfortable.

I had always wanted to be a mom.  Struggling with infertility was a hard pill to swallow, but I had resided myself to accepting that I would most likely never have a child of my own.  No one who would run to the door yelling “Mommy, Mommy, Mommy” and I would not have that unexplainable, unbreakable bond with a child.

Before my mental breakdown and diagnosis of Bipolar in January 2016, I was strict and stern.  I was always stressed out and not that much fun.  I expected the kids to act like little robots.  I was so wound tight that I didn’t let them be the kind of kids that they really needed to be.  I am certain they were not my biggest fan, for a good portion of time.

However, after my breakdown, my time out on medical leave and going into treatment (along with finally being on the correct types of medication) I was able to be me.  I am a fun loving, silly person.  When I was in a stable place, I was able to control my thoughts, process the anxiety, and mind my tongue.  I was able to be consistent, yet loving, structured, yet understanding.  Although now basically teenagers, I could let the kids be kids.

I still struggle at times with the attention aspect of things, I am a bit high maintenance.  But now I can vocalize my needs and ask for what I want.  I still, at times, feel left out and like an outsider.  Because, you know what, I am.  But, I have a very special relationship with my kids.  I am not their mom, nor their dad.  I am their Michelle.  It’s hard to put into words what we have, it’s just what it is.  The role of a Michelle, is better formulated now.  I have a clearer idea of what I am supposed to be to the family.

I am a step parent.  My world changed when the kids and their father entered my life.  I have chosen to give up things and make sacrifices because of the love that I have for this family, just like I would have had I had my own children.  My life has been made better since having this trio in my life.  But, on the flip side, step parenting has been one of the hardest things I have ever done.  But anything worth having is worth fighting for.  And the fight is worth it.  I have the more happiness and contentment in my life, a new purpose, I’m playing the part I feel I was always intended to play.


#stepparenting #stepparent #bonusmom #michelle #blendedfamily #adjusting #infertility #endometriosis #thenewnormal #highmaintenance #motherhood #mentalillness #mentalbreakdown #bipolardisorder #anxiety #depression #balance #silliness #sacrifices