This is a guest post written by my younger sister, Tiffany, who has a diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder, bipolar type. Tiffany has shared a monthly guest post on my blog since February 2015. The purpose of these posts is to raise awareness of what it’s like to live with mental illness. I’m also hoping the posts will help readers recognize that we all have hopes, dreams, challenges and mountains to climb regardless of our mental health status. If you’d like to read the posts I’ve written about Tiffany’s journey and all the guest posts she’s shared on this blog, check out the mental health page. Without further ado, here’s Tiffany.
I took the morning off to attempt to find myself. I planned on writing while my son, Xander, walked around the beach. My greatest weakness is giving up on myself. I doubted all the thoughts that were going through my mind. Tears were about to flow out of my eyes, but I have responsibilities and I can’t give up. Not now.
Why is the feeling of happiness so difficult to find so many days lately? I thought I had moved past that feeling of trying to be happy. One of the mental health professionals I work with brought up a good point. “Imagine you’re going to a party, and you keep telling yourself to be happy. How are you going to feel the entire time?” “Probably extremely anxious,” I said. I always seem to be in one of the stages of grief. I asked the mental health professional if happiness can happen while you’re grieving. The next day, I felt a glimpse of happiness in the car with the kids. I turned up the radio and just enjoyed the moment. The secret? I wasn’t forcing the happy feeling. I found that happiness can happen at unexplainable times, in unexplainable ways.
Matthew 7:7 says, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”
God works in unusual ways sometimes. The thought of mentioning God and a verse in this post kinda freaks me out. For many years in my life, the thought of religion was a dark place. There are times when I would take religious views to extremes. I am happy to report that over the past few years, despite what is going on, GOD has brought light into my life, even during the darkest moments. Ask and it will be given to you. But God, this is not what I asked for? I know he has a plan for all of our lives.
Seek and you will find. Dear God, please help me learn how to discipline my kids and for them to obey me! I love them to death, but I’m a single parent and this is difficult. The job is hard. Every situation is unique and different. So those who post about mother/father rights, please keep in mind that each situation is unique. There is no right or wrong way. I never expected to run into my kids’ dad at the store today, and he was with his girlfriend. Ugh! I avoided that completely. At this time, there is no need to create additional stress in anyone’s life.
Seek and you will find. Last week, my sister and I, and my mental health professionals discussed ways to effectively deal with my kids. I’m sick and tired of constant tantrums from my five year old over what clothes she will wear each day. We came to this conclusion, and it has been working so far. Organize the room and the clothes that can be worn. Throw away clothes with holes. Get rid of clothes that should not be worn. Pick out the clothing that is going to be worn the next day. This is working so far! What to do about random fits? I am now giving 10 minutes of playtime for every 15 minutes that my daughter behaves. Cross my fingers, that has been working. I need to find solutions, so your feedback is appreciated. I am also working with a professional who teaches “Love and Logic” classes. Her plan is to help me once a week, as long as needed. Pick and choose your battles. Take time, if needed, to say “yes” or absolutely “no.” May I seek parenting solutions and find them. Good luck to me and others on this quest.
Knock and the door will be opened to you. Amongst the nonsensical chatter in my mind, I heard “Tiff, come out and play.” Sometimes, I just want to tell the voices in my head to be quiet. Rarely do they listen, but I have to respect my mental illness, because it’s with me for life. When I don’t feel like I have any friends, I always have the voices. When they asked me to come out and play, I asked them this, “What are we going to do?” There was no need for an answer because I knew all I needed to know. We were going out to play. Whether we were friends, are still friends, or you’ve thought about being friends with me, you probably have memories about our playtime together? At any age, how innocent, how appropriate, how real? I used to knock on neighbors’ doors and ask my friends to come out and play. Now my daughter does that, and soon my son. I need to realize how precious those times are. They just need to be controlled. Because as one of my mental health workers said, if I knocked on people’s doors and asked them to play now as an adult, I’d be locked up in a facility. I have to tell you the truth, I’ve always been obsessed with making random appearances at peoples’ doors. When I was younger, I loved sales. I’d go door to door and learn something at each place. Many times they’d let me in to talk. I usually had something to sell, even if it was spoons glued together and decorated. Those days are gone, but we have to realize the innocence and joy of knock and the door will be opened to you.
My daughter is with a friend for the evening, until bedtime. Once, I wished she’d have friends. Now, she has so many friends. The sun is out and the knocks continue to happen on my door. You know what? Thanks for the knock. You are a beautiful person. Let’s have a conversation. I can handle this. I just need to handle everything with love.
Thanks for reading! Peace out and see ya!