What I’ve Done Recently

Hypomania, Self-Care, Success!

Frustrated, Defeated and Hypomanic

The weekend before last, I was frustrated, overwhelmed, feeling defeated, and mildly hypomanic.

I felt like a failure as a mother, for I hadn’t been able to get my son to take his high school equivalency exams. Told that I make it too easy for him to stay in his bedroom compounded my feeling of guilt.

How could I balance compassion for my son’s severe migraine pain and social anxiety with consequences that forced him to take more responsibility?

Repeated what I’ve told him before (without a hard date): He had to move forward – with school, with helping around the house, with addressing his anxiety, or with work – or he would have to move out.

Now that he’s a legal adult, we’re no longer legally obligated to house and feed him. We don’t intend to kick him out. But, he must move forward and take responsibility as an adult member of the household.

Provider Education, Take Two

The National Alliance on Mental Illness Orange County (NAMI OC) chapter asked me to retrain for the new two-day Provider Education curriculum.

I had served on the Provider Education team that first structured the five-week course content into a two-day format, and we had done it in two days numerous times.

Turns out the “new” curriculum varied very little from what we were teaching. By lunch on that Saturday, I lost my temper. I was insulted.

Explaining that I had a lot going on in my life (mother’s stroke, dad’s death, son’s anxiety), I left with the “new” two-day curriculum binder in hand.

Self-Care

After losing my temper at NAMI OC, I knew I needed a break to pull myself together and bring myself down from irritable hypomania before the International Bipolar Foundation (IBPF) Women’s Mental Health panel discussion on the following Tuesday.

How did I recover? I left. Booked myself into a hotel in La Jolla Sunday through Wednesday and relaxed. Not everyone can do this. I realize that. But, it’s cheaper than psychiatric hospitalization.

Women in Mental Health

On the International Bipolar Foundation’s Women’s Mental Health Panel, I represented the mature women living with bipolar. Mental health activist and actor, Claire Griffiths, represented the perspective of a teenager. Aubrey Good, the Social Media and Program Coordinator of IBPF, represented the young adult perspective.

I had a wonderful time meeting IBPF staff and volunteers and loved being a part of their panel discussion. I hope to do more public speaking events in the future.

Success!

When I returned home Wednesday, my son had showered, dressed, fed himself, and was ready to take his first high school equivalency test. He passed. I never doubted his ability to pass the test.

BIG DEAL: He overcame his anxiety and didn’t get a migraine. Two days later, he took the next test despite migraine symptoms. He took migraine and nausea medications and faced his fear. Again, he passed.

Two down. Two to go. Moving Forward.

Connecting with Online Friends in Real Life

This weekend, Sarah Fader came into town. She managed to connect with several mental health advocates and writers over the weekend.

Sunday, we met with:

I never would have tried to visit so many people in such a short time!

Mini-Family Reunion

Sunday night had the pleasure of meeting my uncle, two of my cousins, their spouses and kids in Anaheim. Family. Love. Great food. Fireworks in the sky. Thank you!

I CAN Do It

Lesson Learned: If I take care of myself, I can achieve more AND so can my son.

9 thoughts on “What I’ve Done Recently

  1. Eliza August 16, 2018 / 12:27 pm

    Wow, good for you! Just as you’ve done this, you’ve got it…
    Love and light

    Like

  2. Cassandra Stout August 8, 2018 / 6:53 pm

    Congratulations to you and your son for passing those important tests! I’m so proud of you both. I’m happy you were able to find a way to relax and take care of yourself.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Looking for the Light August 7, 2018 / 10:29 am

    You care deeply for others, want to help all you can but you can not do it at the cost of your health. You are important to the Mental Health community is your area, you have to stay well to lead. I’m so glad you booked a room. I desperately need one but with depression the effect isn’t the same.
    Take care Kit. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Kitt O'Malley August 11, 2018 / 10:16 am

      Without a doubt depression and hypomania differ. Wish you the best recovering from depression.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Mark Lanesbury August 7, 2018 / 3:24 am

    They are big steps Kitt, for you and your son. Take a bow the both of you. Maybe that eclipse finally peeled away some things that are no longer needed in your life and set you free 😀 ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • Kitt O'Malley August 11, 2018 / 10:14 am

      Lovely image. Yes. Now, we are resting before our next flurry of activity.

      My son didn’t take his most recent test. Smoke and ash from the Holy Fire negatively affected us all — son, husband and me.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Dyane Harwood (@DyaneHarwood) August 6, 2018 / 4:55 pm

    Wow – so much has gone on for you, Kitt – I’m amazed. I’m most thrilled to read about your son’s progress. This is tremendous and inspiring. I’m also super-proud of you for participating at the IBPF Panel. I’d write more about the other exciting developments (and the upsetting NAM experienceI) but it’s 100 degrees here and I’m wilting. I love you and once again, I’m SO proud of you for being active, putting yourself out there as an advocate, and for taking care of yourself when life gets difficult and frustrating. XoXo

    Liked by 2 people

    • Kitt O'Malley August 6, 2018 / 8:28 pm

      Wednesday Matthew’s taking his Math GED test. He should pass that one, too. Big deal that he’s making progress.

      Plenty busy. Turns out I missed meeting my new therapist today. For some reason, the appointment wasn’t in my calendar. Will see her tomorrow.

      Like

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