Recently we celebrated our boys birthdays.
They are a week apart.
Birthdays are definitely special for the child. Cake, balloons, presents, maybe a party. Definitely very exciting.
But for me, it is sort of about me.
But not in a selfish way. At least I don`t believe it is selfish.
On each of my childrens` birthdays, my mind replays that day of when they were born. It just happens naturally. I don`t mean to do it. It walks me through minute by minute of that day when I gave birth to my most precious gifts.
And on that day.. their birthday, I really do remember every single detail. Every single moment leading up to meeting them.
It is just permanently in my brain I think.
Sometimes I feel it so deeply it brings tears to my eyes. It gives me goosebumps and sends shivers down my back.
While their birthdays are most definitely their days, I have always viewed them as mine too. For me, it is a day to reflect. Reflect on their growth for sure, their maturity, their development, everything about them.
But also I reflect on myself. I reflect on how much I have changed and how much I have grown.
As the years go by, year after year, I notice one thing. I only get stronger and stronger. Although obstacles seem so large when I am faced with them, and it feels like there is no way to overcome them, and mental illness beats me up so much, I still keep going. I keep moving forward, though many times it feels like I am going backwards. But I am not. I truly am moving forward, and birthdays are proof. Cold, hard proof, that whatever is trying to get me, didn`t. I was stronger.
I look at my children`s birthdays like a trophy to me. Like as if I made it through another year. Another year of parenting, and another year fighting mental illness. Another year.
I find it a struggle so often balancing motherhood, and mental illness. And mental illness does not exactly allow for balancing, it just owns the whole show, so really it is just balancing motherhood. I strive to be the very best for my children every day. Some days are better than others, but I am sure that is fairly normal.
Birthdays are like proof that I have done something right. Like I am succeeding at something. Like I am not the failure that my illness tells me I am.
Birthdays to me are like proof that I can overcome my illness rather than letting it own me.
It means that everything it put me through for that entire year, I beat.
Or if I didn`t beat it, I found a way to cope, or get through it.
Every year that goes by I learn so much about myself. Myself as a young woman, and then myself as a mother. And then on their birthdays I reflect on that. It`s the one day of the year that I feel proud of myself. I have made it through yet another year.
Since becoming a mother, I have made it through 8 years. Some of those years felt unbearably hard. Sometimes it felt like I couldn`t make it. I remember a handful of times that I contemplated suicide, and thoughts of self-harm were always on my mind.
But, in those 8 years I have grown so much. I have gone from needing someone to show me how to be a mom, to being strong enough to just figure it out.
I have gone from being dependent on people, to moving out on my own with my 15 month old baby and making a go at adult life.
I have gone from being so invested in others, and beating myself up over everyone else`s issues with the thought that I had to fix it, to understanding that is their issues, and I can`t control it.
I have grown to understand that I can`t control others, just myself.
I have also grown to be comfortable saying no.
I have grown to no longer feel obligated to do things that I don`t want to do.
I also have grown to not be explaining myself or my mental health. If something doesn`t feel good to me, I want no part in it, regardless of what it is.
I have grown to understand that I am also a good person, just the way I am.
I have grown to understand that we shouldn`t be constantly trying to be something different, thinking that it is `better`, but to search inside ourselves and love what is there.
I personally believe that we are always growing, in some way, shape, or form. We are always growing. If you think back to where you were 5 years ago, it is probably not where you are now. Life changes, and throws crap at you, and we learn how to get through it. We learn whatever skills we need to get through it. And these skills are different for everyone.
So, birthday`s are a gift to me. It is like the universe saying to me that I am succeeding. That I am still here, and I am still making a go at it.
Bipolar and Anxiety beats me senseless sometimes, and it feels so unfair. Why should anyone have to live like that? Why should anyone be given that sentence of spending their life like that? Why should anyone have to feel such emptiness?
The truth is, that no one should. No one should ever feel the way one does when living/struggling with mental illness. So when milestones come around throughout the year, like Birthdays or any other holidays, take that as an opportunity to be immensely proud of yourself. You are still here, and you are still fighting.
p.s. If you enjoyed this post, don`t forget to click subscribe over here : Subscribe