Love, Marriage & Mental Illness

Happy Anniversary to My Beloved! Love, Marriage & Mental Illness. KittOMalley.com
There’s hope. You can find and nurture love when living with mental illness.

Been married 22 years today. Started dating 25 years ago. Some of us living with mental illness can and do have stable relationships. Some of us need someone else in our lives. My husband and I support each other, help each other, complement each other. Plus, we made a kid, now a young adult.

Not easy. Not by any means. Stressful to love someone with mental illness or another chronic illness. Caretaking is not easy. But, it’s worth it. At least for us it has been.

Important that you express gratitude. I’m thankful for all my husband does for me and our son. Thank you, sweetheart.

My Eulogy to Grandma

Sitting on bed holding up end of small bow tie quilt
Here I am back in February 1993 with the quilt I made.

This afternoon I came across the memorial announcement for my grandmother’s death (which brought tears to my eyes) and the eulogy I wrote for her memorial (which I share with you, for I still believe that God calls us to carry on).

My Eulogy to Grandma

February 1993

I brought this quilt here today because, for me, it symbolizes what I believe God calls us to do when an ancestor, when someone we love, dies. I made this quilt the past two weeks out of scraps from a quilt Grandma and my mother made eight years ago, as they mourned my grandfather’s death. Making this quilt helped me to mourn the loss of a wonderful, loving and generous woman, to have hope for the future, and to carry on Grandma’s work.

As I sat in bed with the flu these past couple of weeks, thinking I’d be too ill to join you in mourning Grandma’s death, I was struck by her endless creativity, by the gifts she bestowed on us, and the traditions she passed down.

Looking at the quilt and afghan Grandma had made filled me with respect for her creative talents and hope for our future. Hope, for in marrying Grandpa and loving him devotedly, and in giving birth to and raising her daughter and son, she laid the groundwork for future generations. We – her children, grandchildren, and those who dearly loved her – have been blessed as the recipients of her many gifts.

Margaret Mary Hebner taught us all a great deal. I remember her teaching me how to sew, knit, crochet, needlepoint and embroider, bake bread, make ice cream and granola from scratch. She taught us how to love devotedly and generously, as well.

I will remember her always as the perfect grandmother – generous, creative, and loving. We were truly blessed to have been created and loved by Mary Hebner. She nourished us well with her many gifts.

Small Steps

Small Steps. Me & My Dad.
Never too early to learn good oral hygiene (I was probably teething)

Progress sometimes comes in small steps. This weekend I walked the dog with my husband, which meant I stepped away from my computer and actually went outside.

Beautiful outside. Weather warm. Sky clear. Saddleback Mountain gorgeous, every nook and cranny visible as if I could reach out and touch it.

Honestly, I find it hard to overcome inertia, to get up and get out. But when I do so, when I go outside, I benefit. My mood improves. My spirit lightens. Both my physical and mental health reap gains.

Sunday I even ran a car-load of stuff to Goodwill, including my father’s old clothes. My father died a year ago next week, and I’ve been holding onto his old clothes since then.

To remember him, I’ve kept his flannel shirts. Wearing his flannel shirts, I feel enveloped in the warmth of his love, like I’m getting a big hug from him.

When we were little, he’d call us over for big bear hugs, but there was nothing rough in his hugs. Just love. Protective love. The big loving protective hugs of a father for his daughters.

My eyes are tearing up now. Good tears. I was loved. I loved my dad. He loved us dearly and deeply.

Who, Me, Dating?

DatingNews.com
interviewed me about dating and marriage while living with bipolar disorder.
Here’s how the article starts:
Kitt O'Malley: Love, Learn & Live with Bipolar Disorder. Blogger Kitt O'Malley Opens Up About Her Experiences Living, Loving & Laughing with Bipolar Disorder

At age 30, Kitt O’Malley moved in with her parents after treatment for debilitating depression resulted in psychotic mania which left her unable to do her work as a licensed marriage and family therapist. She left her career aspirations behind, and she started seeing a psychiatrist and a therapist who treated her for what was still thought to be chronic depression.

So when the guy she was dating said “You’re the most independent woman I’ve ever met,” Kitt couldn’t help but laugh. She had never been more dependent in her life, but he didn’t see those circumstances or her mental illness. He saw her, and that in itself was a small miracle…

Read the rest of the interview here. Thanks!