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Today’s story is written by my younger sister, Tiffany, who has a diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder, bipolar type. Tiffany has shared regular stories on my site since February 2015. The purpose of her writing is to raise awareness of what it’s like to live with mental illness, and serves as a gentle reminder for all of us to continually press forward towards mental health and wholeness. If you’d like to read the stories I’ve written about Tiffany’s journey and all the stories she’s shared on this site, check out Tiffany’s Story. Without further ado, here’s Tiffany.

A lot of changes have occurred over the past few months. At first, I was hesitant about some of the changes, but they are necessary for our family to move forward. I have realized that my everyday routines and habits, and changes I need and want to make, all start with me. I need to implement the changes and follow through with them.

Sometimes I feel like I’m looked down upon by people for spending so much time with my mom and dad. Sometimes I hear that they wish they had more time with their parents. Life is short! I spend time with my parents because the kids and I love them. My parents have been there for me and my kids through darkness and into the light. I like to think that we’re taking care of each other since they are getting older.

I never imagined life being this way. A single mom with many mental health diagnoses. My parents trying to help out any way they can. I live just houses away from them, so we are neighbors. My dad wanting to live his definition of the retired lifestyle. My parents holding my hand when I am down, especially my mom. They help with my children when I need time away. If I need help watching the kids when I have appointments, they help make that happen. When we have nothing to make for meals at our house, they help with food. When my house is a completely-disorganized mess, my mom comes over to help organize and clean. Overall, they support me, even when they’d probably rather be doing something else.

For years, I lived in a very dark place. I was scared that because of my decisions in life, people were going to hurt my family. I spent days alone in my mind, thinking the darkest thoughts possible, not wanting to feel completely alone. My parents brought me out of that dark place, even when I hated them for doing so. For many years, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be alive. Having kids saved my life, along with the help of my parents. My parents have accepted me for me, most of the time.

Initially my parents did not want to help discipline the kids, but that has changed over time. I am also learning discipline techniques from professionals. I utilize my parents techniques combined with the professionals’ ideas. I’d have to say that I am finally catching on to the whole discipline idea, without having to scream. That took work. When we are lonely at home, we often visit grandpa and grandma. They are our neighbors after all. I have made the decision to never get married and to stay single. My kids’ dad has no desire to be with me, so I do what I can do as a single mom. My point is that I don’t have a partner to share life with, so my parents help out with the loneliness factor. My mom usually buys my kids a couple outfits to wear every season. The clothing she selects matches. My clothing selections for the kids, not so much. When I feel defeated, they are there to help me crawl out of my hole. My parents are wonderful, and I would not exchange them, even if I had the choice!

I was told that because of my suicide attempts and overdoses, part of my brain was injured. I don’t think I’ve caught on to math concepts?! My daughter’s second grade homework can be very difficult for me to understand at times. My mom, being the teacher she is, usually helps out every weekday with my daughter’s math. I help with spelling and reading. Xander, my preschooler, enjoys doing “homework” with grandma too. They are two very smart kids who are blessed to have grandparents like they do.

My daughter, son and I spend a lot of time with my mom and dad, but they need their time alone too! My dad would like more time with my mom, which I feel he is starting to get now. That’s why we’ve been limiting our time with my mom and dad a lot over the past couple months. Ideally, I’d like for my parents to trust the decisions I make and live in some kind of peace. I do not want to be a burden to them at all. I’d like to make a number of changes moving forward with our family of three in order to become more independent from my mom and dad.

The various appointments I have to take care of my mental health concerns are separate from my relationship with my mom and dad. I see a psychiatrist, psychologist, a mental health practitioner, and I’m currently doing PTSD therapy. Those along with mental health appointments for my kids keep me busy! The people that the kids and I work with make me very happy.

As I stated earlier, I am getting better at disciplining the kids. I use techniques from both the professionals we work with and my parents. I used to scream a lot, but not anymore. Calmness at all times seems to work, along with the kids realizing that I am the parent and I have authority over them.

I had very little to no routine before I had children. I now realize that both children thrive off of routines, but I have to work on that. My discipline before was very lax because I was treating my children, especially Raegan, as a friend. With the help of professionals, I can confidentially say that my discipline with the kids is a lot better now. Sometimes my son, Xander, tells me that I’m mean and that he hates me. I have learned to just ignore that behavior. I must be doing something right? For the past year, Xander has been attending a group with children who could possibly have mental health and behavioral issues. He graduated from that group because he is doing so well. He also has an IEP in preschool, which helps get him services for being, what they say, developmentally delayed in some areas. I just had a conference with his teachers, and he is doing extremely well in most areas that he lacked in before. My daughter, Raegan, was just put on medication for ADD/ADHD. The process of getting her on a medication was thorough, but so worth it. I was hesitant about putting her on meds, but we tried everything else. The results from the medication have been wonderful so far!

I would like to make easier meals at our place so we are not interfering so much with my mom and dad’s schedule. I’d also like to have my kids make healthier choices when it comes to food and drink. Healthier choices come from me offering those options. Sometimes a cereal and toast dinner is alright with us, or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. More physical time outdoors and in the fresh air is always a healthy decision. Raegan, Xander and I love being outdoors, so I can guarantee that summer is going to allow that to happen.

Overall, our family is moving forward with positive energy. My parents have done a lot for our family of three and we still have a lot of work to do, but I’m confident about us. I’m confident that the kids enjoy my easy meals just as much as grandma’s?! I feel good when we don’t have to rely on food from my mom and dad. I just have to prioritize food when I get paid each month. I could probably completely take care of my needs and the kids’ needs alone, but I have realized over the years that I am never alone. I always have someone to help. Nobody is really ever alone. I used to worry about everything, but I am beginning to feel and experience the reality of real love. Why worry when we are doing the best job we can? All I like to do is take one day at a time. We’re all really just trying to survive in the happiest way possible!


This is a guest post written by my younger sister, Tiffany, who has a diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder, bipolar type. Once a month, Tiffany documents a single day in her life. 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 woke up feeling like I didn’t want to get out of bed. My five-year-old daughter, Raegan, asked me why we cry sometimes, but tears don’t come out. I told her those were silent tears. I was feeling the silent tears that day.

I told myself, happiness is your choice. Just choose to be happy.

My kids were still sleeping. My mom stopped over with my ADHD medication; she is in charge of giving me my ADHD medication at this time because I had issues taking that medication in the past. That morning, I didn’t feel very beautiful, inside or out. She told me that I certainly was beautiful, and I began to feel a bit better. I felt sad because I don’t get to see my mom very much when she substitute teaches, which she is doing now. We said I love you a few times before my mom left for school. I always tell her to have safe travels.

I continued to tell myself to make a choice to be happy!

My kids woke up a few minutes after my mom left. Raegan had unity day at school. She was supposed to wear orange, but I didn’t look through her backpack the night before to know that. I happened to throw on an orange and blue flannel. Raegan and I argued about what she was going to wear for a while. Nothing I selected for her was what she wanted to wear. Finally, she told me she needed to wear orange for unity day. We found an outfit that had orange in it. The day was definitely getting better.

Off to school we went. We took a picture for unity day in our orange outfits before Raegan went into school.

I kept telling myself, I am happy! The kids are happy, I hope?!


Next, I stopped over at a friend’s place and life started to feel a bit more unified. My friend had just gotten engaged and she asked me to be a bridesmaid in her wedding. I am honored and excited. More happiness to add to the wonderful day!

I can’t remember much about the rest of that day except the lesson I learned:

I must keep telling myself to be happy when I’m feeling not-so happy. Telling myself to be happy every day has helped me ever since.

I remember being happy as a child, but at some point, mental illness attacked my mind. I am living and loving as much as I can, even with my mental illness. My support system is amazing and needed for the mental health issues I deal with on a daily basis.

My psychologist always asks me how life is going on a scale from 1-10. I used to say a consistent 7, sometimes 8. That’s pretty good, right? Along with making the decision to be happy, I also made the decision to reach some kind of 10 each day. That is pure happiness in life. I try to live one day at a time, and realize that positive self-talk is essential for living life to the fullest.

So is the glass half full or half empty? My psychologist and I talk about that sometimes. I told him last time that I already know the answer, so I don’t want to answer. If the glass is half full, then I’m an optimist. If the glass is half empty, then I’m a pessimist. I don’t really know what I am. I just try to turn those pessimistic moments into optimistic ones.

Happiness is your choice. Just choose to be happy.

Thanks for reading, everyone!


This is a guest post written by my younger sister, Tiffany, who has a diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder, bipolar type. Once a month, Tiffany documents a single day in her life. 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.

testingTwo weeks ago, I traveled to a bigger city to have intense neuropsychological testing done. I had the same testing done nine years ago when I spent seven weeks in the state hospital after a prescription drug overdose. Doctors are going to compare past and present test results to see how my brain is functioning. This testing helps nail down my mental illness diagnosis and to get additional help in other areas if needed.

A neuropsychological evaluation is a comprehensive assessment of cognitive and behavioral functions using a set of standardized tests and procedures. A variety of mental functions are systematically tested. A neuropsychological evaluation is critical for understanding which brain functions are impaired and which remain intact.

My dad drove me to my appointment. He asked me if I was nervous about the testing, and I told him that I was more nervous about leaving the kids behind for the day. My dad and I talked about music and his time in the service. We seemed to have a very relaxing drive.

We arrived to the testing early. There was a Perkins nearby, so I decided to eat breakfast and drink some needed coffee. After that, my dad dropped me off at the testing site. I was early, so I went for a walk outside and enjoyed the beautiful weather. I felt free in that moment. I was in a bigger and new city. I went back in to prepare for the testing. I skimmed through a bit of a gossip magazine and waited for the doctor to call me back. My dad was eating at Red Lobster during this time.

The doctor called me back to his office and told me to make myself comfortable. I sat in a chair directly across from him. He asked me a series of questions. I was being analyzed. I asked him in the middle of the session if I could take a couple pictures for the blog post I was going to write. He told me no, these tests are confidential. If people were to see pictures, they may try to duplicate the testing or figure out answers prior to taking the test. He asked me a few questions and sent me out to the waiting area. I asked him how I did, with a smile, before leaving his office. I don’t remember his response? Being questioned made me kinda nervous.

A few minutes later, I was called back for more testing. I know that I excelled in certain areas because I felt as though I was playing a fun game. Other parts of the testing were very difficult. I felt frustrated and kind of sad.

After over an hour of testing, I needed a break. I told the lady who was testing me that I needed a five minute break. I may have taken longer? I went into the waiting area and was happy to see my dad sitting there. I told him how difficult the testing was. I was thinking of posting a status update on Facebook, but I did not feel the time was right. Why would people care anyways? So I proceeded to step outside, took a few deep breaths, closed my eyes and lifted my hands to the sky. I probably said a little prayer too. I raced back in because I told her five minutes, not fifteen. I was kinda excited to return to the testing because every new test was a surprise.


When I went back inside, testing continued for a couple hours. I am going to tell you vaguely about the testing without giving away details. The tester started by asking me general questions. Then I had to say words backwards and subtract backwards. She told me a list of words, and I was haunted by the list throughout the procedure. She kept telling me to say the words I remembered; I just heard a list of monotone sounds that I was not interested in, names of people who had no faces. Maybe if she would have let me look at the list, I would have done better remembering? I realized my short term memory lacks. We played a fun game where small keys fit into holes on a pegboard. I felt I mastered that, along with repeating visual images. Then came math. Even if I had a calculator, I would not have done well with that part. Sometimes I would just say, “Sorry, I’m done. I give up on that. I just cannot complete that part.” We ended the session with computer testing, which was around 350 questions.

The results from the testing should be back soon. I look forward to seeing the results. I am having the report sent to my psychiatrist who recommended the testing. I am also having a copy sent to me. My sister, who is a speech pathologist, is going to help me analyze the results. No matter what the results say about me, I am going to continue to live life and take care of business. Having a mental illness and possible cognitive impairments are just a part of me. They do not define who I am as a person.


This is a guest post written by my younger sister, Tiffany, who has a diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder, bipolar type. Once a month, Tiffany documents a single day in her life. The purpose of these posts is to raise awareness of what it’s like to live with a 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 all 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.


My life is not all glorious and sucks sometimes! The night before, I told my mom I was going to write about this day. Little did I know, chances to grow were in the making. Here goes a day.

Positive attitude.


Coffee. Pills. Smoke.

Brush teeth.

Kids awake. Feed them.

Psychologist appointment in an hour.

Get kids ready. Drop kids off at mom and dad’s place.

Off to appointment.

My psychologist asked me what emotions I was experiencing. We are working on emotion. I feel lonely, sad and get kind of angry at times. My psychologist recommended a book on loneliness for me to read. I am also in the grieving process. The stages of grief can last for years. Reality is that my dad is probably going to die in the next couple years. He included us in helping plan his funeral. The process has caused growth, and I’d almost say it has been beautiful. I selected a blue urn with butterflies on it for his ashes. When he dies, I am going to sprinkle them at special places. I also selected a pendant for his ashes. I am having a hemp necklace made to go with it. My dad is still around, and we enjoy each moment we can. We cannot always control the situation or outcome. Only God can. One day at a time. I am also grieving the loss of a boyfriend I was with for a year and a half. We are both addicts, and are attempting to live one day at a time. We realize that we cannot plan the future. I wish him the best, whatever direction his life goes.

Leave psychologist.


Pick-up kids from mom and dad’s place.

I drove home and found a book on the table outside my door. The book is called Women Who Love Too Much. Yes, I have always loved too much. This book calls for change, which is in process for me. My mental health worker arrived at my house. I was looking through the book and thinking. My mental health worker asked, “What’s that book telling you?” I told her I need to think about it and read it through. The rest of the time, we talked about what else was happening in life.


WIC shopping. I think WIC stands for Women, Infants and Children? Those are coupons for food that qualifying families get. The food really helps us. We also get help with food from my mom.

That same day I decided to give away my pregnancy clothing to my adorable neighbor who is having a baby. I am done having children. This decision was hard for me, but I realize I have enough work with two children.


My mom wanted to bring all of us out for dinner. I just wanted to feed the kids at home. We came to a consensus for my mom to bring my daughter, Raegan, out for dinner. They also went shopping. This day, just live.

When Raegan and my mom got home, we went outside and played.


Night time.

Kids asleep.

Planned time for myself, but I fell asleep because I was so tired.


This is a guest post written by my younger sister, Tiffany, who has a diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder, bipolar type. I recently invited Tiffany to be a regular contributor on this blog. Once a month, she’ll document a single day in her life. The purpose of these posts is to raise awareness of what it’s like to live with a 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. Without further ado, here’s Tiffany.

“Beautiful music is the art of the prophets that can calm the agitations of the soul; it is one of the most magnificent and delightful presents God has given us.” – Martin Luther

I feel that in order to connect to our true self, we must connect in mind, body and soul. This particular day, I wanted to connect on all levels, but I was not sure how to achieve that goal. The day seemed to play out on its own.

I was having intense cravings. What is this feeling I am experiencing? I have not felt this for a while. I needed something, but I was not sure what it was. I thought about the possibility of attending an AA/NA meeting. I should be talking about these feelings so I don’t have a major relapse. I needed to relieve the cravings, so I took a drive around town with the kids. We take drives often. We stopped a few places before returning home.

Relief was in sight. My friend Emily called. She was headed my way from a nearby town. She came over, and I explained to her the feelings I was experiencing. We discussed how great it would be to go out for a few hours, just the two of us. After all, as Emily says, social time is important.

How to make an outing happen?

I called two neighbor teenagers who had previously told me they enjoyed babysitting. They were available for the night, so they came over for babysitting duty. I gave them each a ten dollar bill and a five to split. I bought them some snacks and told them I’d be gone no longer than three hours.

Now, what are Emily and I going to do?

I looked online and noticed that my friend, Seth Doud, was performing in town. Seth feels that his soul is exposed when he is performing. I have always felt a great connection to Seth’s music. What a great opportunity to go hear him play!

Seth was standing by an outdoor fire pit when Emily and I arrived at the venue. “Yay, I thought. I get to talk to Seth.” I introduced him to Emily, and they talked about the extravagant outdoor furniture. Seth went inside to set up. Emily and I proceeded to stand by the fire. I was messing around on my phone when a guy approached us. We were both getting anxious, so we started a completely fake conversation. The guy proceeded to raise his voice and said, “I’m sorry for interrupting your secret talk. I’m just out here for a smoke.” Emily attempted to mend the awkwardness by talking to him. I laughed to myself about the moment because I’d never had something like that happen before.

We went inside to get a Red Bull and soda. Loud noises and people make me extremely anxious. Emily and some casual conversations seemed to ease my mind. Then Seth, my musician friend, walked by and smiled. His smile made me feel good, as it always does. When is the music going to start, I thought to myself?

I found a place at an empty table behind a wall. Perfect!!! I wanted to hear the music, but not watch. I felt as though the girl across the way was analyzing me. Seth started to play. His music spoke to me. My soul felt better at that moment.

Seth’s first set was done. He walked outside. I followed to say goodbye. He informed us that he had broken his G-string and needed to fix it. He invited us to hang with him for a few minutes. I asked him for directions home, and he invited us back in.

As he played his second set, many emotions filtered through my body. Silent tears started to flow out of my eyes. I adjusted appropriately. We left as Seth was playing Purple Rain. I often leave at that point. I named my daughter, Raegan Rain, after that song. What a great way to say goodbye.

Sometimes we need a little something to fill our mind, body and soul cravings. What a great outing. It helped me to find a comfort zone. Thanks, Seth!

Thanks for reading. I look forward to highlighting another day in June!


  1. Denise Korman says:

    Tiff, I loved your blog . Everything you’d written was so right on. I know the struggle is unbearable at times, but remember you are loved by so many special people in your life. You are strong and courageous to write intimate details about yourself ! As time passes you’ll become stronger….writing is one of the best outlets while you’re walking the path to heal !!….and you will ! I love you so very much !! God bless you and keep you safe during this tough journey !! keep writing !!!

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