So I am still coming down from the high of being at The MomCon. There really is no true way of explaining the feeling that you get from being in a room full of powerful female bloggers and entrepreneurs whom also happen to be mothers. It is truly inspiring to know that I am not alone in my style of parenting and my thought process. I was even bold enough to tweet my goal of one day having a TED talk about motherhood and bipolar disorder. Like I said, I was on a high. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to keep my anxieties at bay. I am honestly braver on paper.
On my 1 1/2hr drive down, I imagined all the connections and new friendships I would form. I was really going to put myself out there. This public function was going to be different this time. Something I tell myself pretty much every time. Yet, I could feel the anxiety creeping up on me before I had even pulled into the parking lot. It was triggered by the fact that I was almost 45minutes late getting there. Meet and Greet was at 8:30 am and I pulled into the parking lot at 9:05a. By the time I found a spot and made it to the conference room, it was 9:15am. I honestly hate, nothing in the world more than being late. I think it stems back from being in school. That overwhelming awkwardness of walking into class late. All of your peers staring at you waiting for you to take your seat. The teacher standing at the front of the class with the look of annoyance. I am starting to sweat just thinking about it.
While my being late wasn’t that truly dramatic. They had already started with introductions and everyone was seated at the tables. So I had to stand in the doorway waiting for the right moment to find a seat. I find it incredibly rude to move around when someone is speaking. So this led to even more unneeded anxiety. So I finally saw my chance and dashed my way over to a table that had an open spot. After listening to a few speakers, I started to feel better. I realized that I was in the right place. I thought to myself,” I can do this”. I can mingle and get to know people and the whole shebang.
Five minutes. Five minutes into the first break, I realized I had no idea what I was doing. It took five minutes for me to go from,” I can do this” to “What the hell was I thinking?!?!?”As I sit here typing this, I am angry with myself. I squandered so much opportunity. I can’t even give you a valid excuse to why, except I didn’t want to throw up. I remember sitting in the room thinking how natural it seems to come to other people. Then I would get frustrated with myself because I couldn’t understand why the body does this to me. I just wanted to scream. I know that it probably wasn’t easy for some people and it just looked that way. But I can’t even manage to fake it. I got the nerve to talk to a speaker. I waited in the line. Finally, when I got to her, I started to ramble and sputter. I honest to God told her that I was horrible at talking to people. It just blurted out because I couldn’t get any other words to come out. I may as well told her I like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. At the end of the day, I honestly wanted to just cry. I balled the whole was from Cranberry to home.
I was so embarrassed I didn’t want to talk about my anxiety mishaps. So when husband asked how it went I talked about the speakers. As I spoke about their words my feelings about the day started to change. I remembered that I shared my dream with my 144 twitter followers. My one tweet was then retweeted by another account which has 356 followers. Also I managed to speak with Rachel Martin of Finding Joy, who was one of the speakers that day, about my dream. She was the one who originally inspired me to make the tweet in the first place. She was thrilled and wanted to make a connection to help see that through. I also spoke with an aspiring blogger and gave her some advice. I think that was the highlight of my day. I had finally come to the point where I could give others advice.
You see that day wasn’t a complete loss. I just couldn’t see it. I couldn’t see past the monster of anxiety. I couldn’t see past the lie I tricked myself to believe. I convinced myself that I wasn’t the women I was on paper. She was merely the shadow the person I would hope to someday be. Yet how could she be on paper if she didn’t already exist. She is in there hiding begging to come out. As much I would love to have a Hulk transformation. Just imagine it. I am just sitting at my laptop when suddenly I am able to rip all my anxieties right off. Through them onto the floor and what stands before you is a manifestation of the voice behind this blog. Excuse me while I swoon at the idea. However, it doesn’t usually work that way for me. And you know what that is ok. Why?
Because I continue to make small steps. This blog was the first one. I have used this as a way to really develop that woman inside. Prior to this The Bipolar Mama was just a quiet squeak of my psyche. She has now developed into something that is going to do things.
The problem with having a mental illness isn’t always the illness itself. It is the frame of mind, we are often put in. There is a lot of negativity surrounding mental illness. Unfortunately, we tend to feed on it. So much we fight with every single day from stigma to being lost in the health care system. All the negativity tends to wear on a person and change their perspective. So I am going to take a minute and name 5 positives about my mental illness:
1) It is why I am a creative person.
2) It has taught me to not judge others based on their situation.
3) I have made connections with some amazing people
4) Being different isn’t a bad thing.
5) I have come to appreciate the preciousness of life.
Can you name 5 positive things?