27 September 2012

Testing the theory - More parenting

So last week was a tough parenting week for me. I got pissed off because someone called me a weak parent, and I through some toys out of my Parenting cot.

Then I realised, yes I am weak in certain areas, but that doesn't mean I have absolutely no boundaries. When it comes to parenting I am always pushing myself to be the best, so I know I am not a shitty parent, but I also had to admit there are some areas which defeat me.

Forcing my child to go to school being one, and forcing her to wipe her own behind being another.

So since last week I have had her wiping the first wipe by herself. She wasn't really happy about it, but did it. And then over the weekend I guess her dad and I let slip a bit, so yesterday when I told her first wipe is hers she freaked out. Ended up having a 30 min cry fest on the loo, in hysterics because she refuses to do it.

I stuck to my guns but eventually lost my cool and just took her hand in mine and made her wipe herself.
Not sure if it was the right thing, but there's just so much I can take.

Afterwards she was emotionally drained and had to lie on top of me for 30 min, while I comfort and clam her down before being okay enough to sit next to me.

This morning she just made a wee so I didn't think it would be a big deal, but the moment I reminded her first wipe is hers she absolutely freaked out again.

To make a long story short, I ended up dressing her for school and doing her hair while she was on the loo. Eventually I had to wipe her (she was getting late for school) And then she refused to go to school. It was snot and tears, and hiccups, and hysteria, and I knew I could not give in, but it was horrible to experience.

My heart broke for her on one hand, but on the other I had to stop being such a softy and stick to my guns.

So I stuck to them, she didn't want to brush her teeth, so I said, Fine, then we go without brushing teeth. Not putting on shoes? Fine then we go without shoes. Then I carried my 40kg child down the stairs to the car. We had to wait for her dad to pull the car closer, and while we waited she was begging me to please not have to go to school. I stuck to it then, and when she realised she wasn't going to get away with it she suddenly reminded me that we had "forgotten" to brush teeth and put on shoes.

So we quickly got that done. I still had to carry her to the car though. Luckily when she was in there, she started to calm down. Asked for her toy that she could take to school today, and tearfully said "Good bye I will miss you so much Mommy."

Broke my heart but it was done. I'll not kid myself that this will be the last time. I just hope that my resolve will stay strong every time.

I also have to still find out from her dad how it went on school side, but if I take a guess there was probably no issues with getting her into class. Mommy's the sucker it seems, but I guess sticking to your guns has its benefits

I'm just slightly worried that forcing her to wpe together with our old toilet training issues is not the best way to go about it. I don't want to do more harm, and it seems like it's going to be months until i manage to get to a professional about her just because I can't afford it now.

25 September 2012

We Finally Got there

This is a flashback post. Something I wrote in January and never got around to posting here:

Caitlin was probably still a baby when I started researching how to answer the difficult questions. I've been practicing for a long long time. Did my research, but no questions came. She's almost 6 now.

I mean we've done the "you came out of mommy's tummy when the doctor cut you out (TG for A Ceasarean) I'd avoided the Vaginal Birth thing up to now, seeing as she was very upset a while ago after a boy at school told her she came out of my bum. Poor child, she already had such a huge poo phobia.

Lucky for me I had the photo's to prove she was cut out. She'd been quite curious and asked if it hurt and so on, and I just answered her quite honestly. Tried to explain how epidural worked, told her about her birth and how amazing it was.

The Questions I have been waiting for though are the slightly bigger ones, but It's never come up. Death, Where life originated etc.

Last night she asked me
"Mommy where is the people factory?"
"The What Factory"
"The factory where they make people"

So there it was, My big moment, and it was so good. We talked about the fact that people aren't made, people grow. We touched on Vaginal Birth ( I came clean at last) She was quite cool with it. I showed her some cool pictures.

We chatted about evolution and what it is, how it works ( in the most basic terms) She practiced saying the words E-vo-lu-tion, and Homo Sapiens Sapiens. She was quite excited to tell her teacher about it this morning, but seems she forgot the words again so didn't say anything.

So a whole new exciting world has opened up to us both. Hopefully the questions will continue.

21 September 2012

More thoughts on Parenting

I came to some conclusions after sharing this post in a closed FB group and on here. I asked the question If I am a weak parent.

The great thing about thinking things through by writing it down and making yourself accountable to people who are hoenst and gives you good feedback is it gives you the chance to be excruciatingly honest with yourself.

I came to a few conclusions.

Yes, I have been a bit weak in a few things. Wiping your butt and getting dressed is a skill a 6 year old should be able to acomplish by now. I guess I still babied her here, so I will definately need to pay attention to those areas, and I have already started to do it.

She might also be picking up on my uncertainty about some things, or my weaknesses and manipulating me for it.

She picked up on me being sick and not in the mood for fighting, and being unsure if she is sick or not, and it made for a soft stance on going to school from my perspective.

I'll also have to be stronger when it comes to supporting the school rules. I'm very permissive when it comes to things like, playtime, learning time, etc. I find I don't need to set rules about that at home as she easily does things she should by herself. She spends time playing with educational toys, prefers educational TV shows,

We also use a brand of discipline I learnt in Have a New Kid by Friday, byt Kevin Leman.. It is structured and the basics are A doesn't happen if B doesn't happen. If you don't do what is expected of you then you can not have XYZ, rewards.

I prefer a positive approach to discipline. I'm good at sticking to my guns, unless I don't see the import, and I guess the butt wiping and dressing didn't really come onto my radar up to recently.

As for the school issue. I think my Daughter is struggling with being one of many in a classroom situation. She is an only child and used to individual attention. She thrives on it. So with 26 children in a class with one teacher, she must feel a bit neglected. She's also a chatty Cathy and the poor teacher struggles to be able to listen to all the made up stories while having to dish out work and help all the kids. Unfortunately this is a reality of our schooling system.

I would love to home school, but with my issues, and our current situation, financially and physically it just won't work. I'm going to try to spend some time in the holidays to do a bit of unschooling/ homeschooling and see how it goes, but I need to work, she needs to interact with other kids socially, and she needs some adult roll models that are not family.

I'm way too much of a hermit to have confidence in my ability to provide that on my own.

So I have decided to go to the child psychiatrist. Discuss everything with him, see where it leads. I will be very resistant of any kind of diagnosis, and especially drug treatment. I would rather we did some occupational therapy and work on the few areas we have trouble with, for me and her.

Thank you for everyone's feedback

Twitter @Capetown

I'm going to interrupt the whining for a moment to chat about Twitter.
@Capetown on Twitter is turning 5 years old this Saturday 22 September. They are having a tweet fest under the tag of #capeTwitterDay. You can find more info here.

Why am I posting about that? Well they've been one of the very few avenues I use to spread this blog. I'm not big into sharing this with the world. It stays my own musings and I do it more for my own peace of mind and as a way to figure out my own tough questions. But I did decide to start sharing as I feel there is such a huge stigma involved in not only Bipolar, but also in sharing our real honest feelings.
Being imperfect is not a crime, and we all suffer from it.

Anycase. Twitter...hmmm. I tried it. I joined up, I occasionally tweet a bit, but to be honest I am more of a Facebook Girl. I guess the whole feel of FB is just easier for me to navigate.

I see the value in Twitter, and maybe I should try to get on there more, but I just don't have the time, and there is so much one misses if you're not there constantly.

Maybe I just need to try a bit harder, but for now FB is where I stick around.

I do think social media is a great thing. It is breaking down the walls between us all so we start to realise just how similar we are. Everyone has pain, happiness, suffering, love, need. We're all the same inside, just different on top.

Social media has taught me a lot about myself and how I interact with others, both online and in real life. It has also taught me a bit about boundaries. ( Yes we've established mine are a bit soft)

So I say go and use it. Don't abuse, but be part of the world through it.

20 September 2012

Am I a Weak parent?

I'm Quite upset, and this is the only place I could think to write about it. My 6 year old daughter has some issues. She doesn't like school, she refuses to wipe her own butt, and she doesn't want to dress herself. We're also continuously late for school because she doesn't really focus on any given task, and is resistent to getting ready.

Now I brought this up with my psychologist, because the morning of my session she refused to go to school, ( not a first, but a first time I gave in like this) She was crying so heartrendingly, and the only way I was going to get her to go was to actually physically pick her up and force her into the car.

Now she's 1.4m and 40kg's so physically almost impossible to do this, and other than that I put my foot down at physical violence. It seems cruel to me, and as she had been going at it for almost 45 minutes I did give in.

My husband was already late for work.

So my psychologist said I should have physically forced her to go to school. That I allowed her to manipulate me, that it seems to him I am a soft parent because I don't believe in spanking, and because I think it is cruel to manhandle my child.

He is also concerned about the issues I mentioned at first and is sending her for a psych evaluation and thinks she will probably get given an ADHD or Bipolar diagnosis, which he thinks might not be accurate.

I don't feel she's old enough to be labeled, even if something is wrong. I still struggle with my own Bipolar diagnosis some days, because it is a soft diagnosis, and if they come back with one for her I won't allow her to be medicated.

She's bored in school and she has attachment issues with me. I know that. It is most probably my fault because I have so many crappy issues that my boundaries have probably been a bit soft and I am too over protective.

I just feel horrid about this, and decided I'm just gonna have to pull myself together and try to improve my parenting but I WILL NOT manhandle her or spank her. I think discipline is not about pain and suffering. Am I wrong here? Am I so deluded that I am harming my child because I have childhood issues? I know I'm probably overcompensating, but I seriously don't know how not to do that.

In Any case when I got home she was sleeping, which she never does, which is either from being a bit under the weather, and I didn't notice or the emotional exhaustion of a difficult morning, which shows how intensely it affected her as well doesn't it?

I have done an update here

13 September 2012


I don't have very strong ones.

For a long time I had no idea of what boundaries really are. I think if you know me, especially online and have read here, you know my boundaries are very soft.

Wikipedia explains them as follows:

Personal boundaries are guidelines, rules or limits that a person creates to identify for him- or herself what are reasonable, safe and permissible ways for other people to behave around him or her and how he or she will respond when someone steps outside those limits.[1] They are built out of a mix of beliefs, opinions, attitudes, past experiences and social learning.[2]Personal boundaries define you as an individual, outlining your likes and dislikes, and setting the distances you allow others to approach.[3] They include physical, mental, psychological and spiritual boundaries, involving beliefs, emotions, intuitions and self-esteem.[4] Jacques Lacan considered them to be layered in a hierarchy, reflecting “all the successive envelopes of the biological and social status of the person”[5] from the most primitive to the most advanced.
 After my little breakdown this week and a chat with my psychologist yesterday it once again came to my attention that my boundaries need some enforcing.

I had to deal with a difficult client, who refused to pay me, even though I did absolutely nothing wrong, followed every letter of the law, and tried my best to prepare them for a large bill.

I took it extremely badly and ended up feeling worthless, desolate, and hopeless. For the first time in a very long while I had suicidal thoughts, I felt absolutely useless. I only realised yesterday in therapy that there is absolutely no correlation between a client projecting their own crap onto me, and my abilities.

That's very blurry to me. I take any kind of rejection extremely personally, and half my emotional blocks have been because of that. I hurt so easily.

So now to figure out where it comes from and how to repair my crappy sense of self. No self esteem is so unattractive, and yet I can recognise and discuss it intellectually and still fail to apply it.

I don't have many psych visits left that the medical aid will pay for, and there is no way I can afford any more visits on my own, so I am very scared that I'm going to just revert to old behaviour and thoughts when I don't get my weekly dose of reason. My psychologist is very honest and I have learnt to trust him, even though that's hard for me, and I still hold back sometimes. It feels like we are making progress.

I don't like to see the hurt and pathetic little lost child part of me, but recognising and fixing that is what will bring the healing in all aspects of my life.

10 September 2012

Emotional Blocks

I'm a wreck today. I can't stop crying. It's 10 September and not sure if I'll post this today.

All the scratching in my psyche, by me and my psychologist seems to have loosened my emotional blocks, even though I don't want them loosened.

I used to cry a lot as a child, teenager and young adult. Then life's crap taught me to be tough, so I lost the ability. I guess I built a pretty nifty emotional wall.

Sometimes that's the only way to deal with those hard knocks.

But now. Alas it is coming tumbling down. And even though I know intellectually it's a good thing, I feel very uncomfortable with it.

At the moment I'm a bit sick as well so it is making things worse. All I want is some reassurance from someone that everything will be okay, but it doesn't feel like it ever will.

My life sucks quite a bit, and I struggle to see the good parts. I've had the same problems with finances and being unable to provide for my family for a long long time now, and it feels like I have come to the end of my tether where that is concerned. This is sounding a bit like depression to me, but I feel sad more than depressed. I do feel helpless, and adrift, and I don't like this cracking of the wall.

I feel desperate and alone, and I'm not sure what tomorrow will bring, and it scares the shit out of me to not be in control of anything. Not even my emotions. Especially my emotions.

Bipolar Parenting: from the perspective of the parent

Seeing as I've had it both ways I decided to share my personal thoughts and feelings about this subject. I started with Bipolar Parenting: From the perspective of the child

The way I was parented made me super sensitive to the way that I parent my own child. It still doesn't make it easy.

Any parent will know you don't always know what is the right, healthiest and less damaging course of action, and when you add uncontrollable mood swings to the mix it can becomes super volatile.

I've tried loads of different parenting techniques, discipline techniques, and read a multitude of studies ( mostly contradictory), opinion pieces, personal perspectives, and the like. I still felt completely at a loss of how to raise my daughter to be a great, responsible, honest and loving person.

At the moment I'm focusing more on consistency trying to take the road of more attention and love, while setting guidelines for behaviour. I'm completely anti-spanking, because I believe with my issues that is one of the most harmful things that was done to me as a child.

My daughter could possibly be bipolar herself, although I really don't want to label her this early. She's quite emotionally sensitive and moody herself, and has an extremely strong will. I like her individualism though so I will not break her will. I don't need to always be right as a parent. I want us both to grow and learn from each other.

I also don't want to raise a spoiled brat, but I do think life has ways of sorting those out eventually.

At times when I am emotionally distant I have to be aware and not be unnecessarily cruel in my dealings with both my daughter and husband. It's easier then for me to be dismissive of their feelings and desires, as I am of my own when I am in those moods. I know to watch for this, but it is hard.

At times when I am irritable and frustrated and angry for no good reason I need to have extreme control of my actions, if not my emotions in order for it to not bleed through in my interactions. This is one thing I struggle with greatly.

At times when I'm depressed, and tired and I only want to sleep I really feel sorry for them because they have to try and cope without me. This is hard on me and my daughter. Because negative self talk is a huge part of my extreme depressions, I beat myself up about what a terrible parent I am at these times. There's not much I can do when I'm in it though, so I try my best to prevent the depression by sticking to my drug regiment and routine.

It's challenging to be a parent at the best of times, and even more so when one has to deal with ones own recurring issues. Knowing this now I understand why a lot of people don't think one should have children if one is bipolar. At the same time there is so much I have learnt from being a parent. So much I have grown and loved, that I wouldn't want to exchange that for anything.

Parenting has also brought up a lot of hurt and damage from my own childhood and I struggle to deal with it. This is why I got help, why I'm doing the drugs and getting the therapy. Not all of it is strictly because of bipolar disorder. A lot of it is other issues, and all of it goes way back, and most of it I'd prefer stayed buried. I don't want to be stuck in the past, I don't want to live a life where I keep blaming my parents or my childhood. I want to move forward, and live and be happy. It seems I need to get through the crappy past before I can do that though.

All of this inspires me even more to be the best parent that I can be. To read, put in the effort, research, figure out what is best for my child and do everything I can to not be a crappy messed up parent, despite the Bipolar Disorder.

03 September 2012

All is Choice Part2 :Time is running out

Do you often get the idea time is running out? I get a fright every time I realise how old I am (36) I get a fright because I don't own a house, I'm not financially independent, and I've not saved up for my old age.

I feel guilty because I have obviously wasted time somewhere. It's not like I've partied away my life either, it's just that for most of it I have been frozen in fear.

I guess it;s the fear of failure. The fear of making the wrong choice. So I try to rather make no choice which leads to stuckness.

I started touching on the issue of choice in a pretty superficial dissection of my thoughts about it back in September last year in "All Is Choice part 1" 

At that time my thought processes were much different that they are now. My beliefs were different. I was convinced of some kind of supernatural aspect to life, which I'm not at the moment.

Back then I still believed that "everything happens for a reason"
I find no universal reason, truth or meaning anymore. I've been disillusioned. Which just means my illusions have dissipated.

So the issue of choice, in this only one life, in this usually cruel and senseless world, where things don't always happen for a reason, becomes even more important. We sometimes forget we do have a choice. We unconsciously make a choice to not choose. It feels safer in our comfort zones, no matter how unhappy we are in there.

I fear making the wrong choice. Shortly after I started this blog I gave myself permission to change my mind. I seemed to have forgotten about that. It was such a relief at the time. Now I need to give myself permission to be wrong.

Mistakes happen. We can make the wrong choice, and sometimes we can fix it, and sometimes we can't. It's time for me to try and keep that in perspective and save what I can of this life. What a waste of a perfectly good existence to watch it pass away stuck in fear, and too scared to live it.