Failing as a Parent: Getting Back on My Self Healing Journey
Healing has been a long journey. I embarked on this journey after watching The Secret back in 2007 in the middle of a mental crisis. Going through postpartum depression was one of the hardest things I went through and I was struggling with many traumas that weren’t being treated. I began smoking cigarettes and using alcohol as a way to cope with my issues.
Parenting isn’t something I expected to be approachable, even though I felt it would only get easier if I could get through the toddler stages. Girl, was I wrong! Raising 4 kids under 4 was a challenge, but teens are a whole different universe. You know those first few months with a newborn where you get no sleep, worry about them constantly about their breathing, being fed properly, you barely showered, got a decent meal in, and feel like someone hit you with a dump truck.
Well, parenting teens is the same way. You are constantly worrying about where you are if you are lucky, how your mental state is, puberty, who they are with, and hoping they are making the right choices. If they do get in trouble. You have to be firm on discipline, regardless of how you would instead hug them tight and learn the lesson for them.
On my YouTube channel, I shared about my teenager running away. This is from a parent’s perspective who is struggling to parent with mental illness and childhood trauma. I am working towards healing and breaking generational curses. I showed how my child reacts in situations that showcase her struggling with mental illness. Did you know? That if you have a parent with bipolar, you are 1 in 100 of having a mental illness? And if you have extended family like a grandparent, uncle, or cousin. You are 3 in 100 to get a mental illness. It’s not definitely, but there’s a possibility.
My mother was diagnosed with bipolar manic depression, as was I. My teen is currently in a psychiatric hospital with similar symptoms, with an absent father struggling with addiction. It’s not easy for a teenager to manage their emotions and deal with such a heavy burden. In my experience, it was traumatic, on top of dealing with sexual abuse and domestic violence in the home.
Deep down, I knew there was something wrong. I could see the signs, and I reached out for help in hopes of catching the problem before it escalated. Unfortunately, 14-year-olds in my state have legal rights and can deny mental health treatment. Assuming I couldn’t have her admitted, even though she was suicidal and harming others in the home. Defeated and alone, especially when the world shut down and we were all quarantined and forced to stay home. Now I am aware of the risk factors that require immediate attention and assistance.
My own childhood traumas dictate how I was parenting my kids. I was a laid-back, easy-going, give-in parent. Rarely did I follow through with discipline, and I wasn’t as open about my childhood and life experience. I was honest and communicative about some things because I wanted my children to know why I reacted the way I did in some situations. So they understood that my reaction wasn’t directed towards them. If something was a trigger, and I responded unconsciously, but instantly in the next moment, I would see my faults and apologize. However, instead of following through with the discipline, I would feel guilty for my response. I thought it was a learning experience for both of us. This thinking wasn’t healthy and didn’t constitute boundaries beneficial for my kids.
There are so many things that I thought I had let go of and many things that I am still dealing with today. After my miscarriage two years ago, I knew I needed to go back to therapy. I was experiencing manic episodes to where I was going days without sleeping. Meditation, working out, and all the other techniques I’ve learned over the years to help calm my brain weren’t working.
I have supplemented all my simple habits in the two years and put it all on therapy as if that was enough.
Therapy shouldn’t have been a replacement. It should’ve been in addition to what I needed to continue my journey towards healing and personal growth.
I lost sight of my purpose because I was in survivor mode. I was afraid and scared. Yes, I may have achieved something like obtaining my degrees, but I did it out of fear. Living in fear is one of the worst feelings to live in a while pursuing your goals.
When you limit your mind for growth, you limit your ability to achieve greatness.
In addition to not mediating and doing the inner work, I also retreated into habits I hadn’t had in over 10 years. We were using a microwave again, eating processed and junk food due to a lack of cooking abilities living in a hotel room.
I promised myself to wake up every day at 5:30 AM to exercise, meditate and write. It worked for a week by setting my alarm and reciting affirmations while I brush my teeth. I will continue to add healthy habits until I live the life I want to live. I’m not against medication; I haven’t felt I needed it. Unpacking at therapy sessions is also part of what is required to heal. Healing will take a lot of time. The daily habits I desire to adopt are:
- Meditation – Meditation used to be a technique I used to stay grounded and clear my mouth. Since going to therapy, I stopped unconsciously assuming I didn’t need meditation since I was spilling everything.
- Exercise – Exercising is an incredible stress-reliever, but lately, exercising hasn’t been very easy for me. Stress is my number one struggle as I eat my emotions. This creates an imbalance of hormones so I can lose weight.
- Journaling – Writing has always helped clear my mind. It helped me escape from reality without feeling so lost. I started writing poetry when I was nine years old. Writing stories and getting into journalism. It used to be a passion, and I lost the desire for it during my miscarriage. Writing can help you heal yourself, manifest your desires, and be creative.
- Supplements – Supplements are simply that. I would like to get a gut test to determine what I’m missing, what could be more beneficial. I know there is something I lack in my body that causes my skin to react the way it does.
- Juicing – Juicing for many health benefits. It speaks for itself.
- Clean Eating – This goes along with supplements. I want to heal my gut and improve my health. Healing my gut can help with healing other aliments I may have including my skin, hair, and breathing.
- Open Chakras – I started the process and completely stopped. Starting from the bottom reading Anatomy of the Spirit: The Seven Stages of Power and Healing by Caroline Myss, which goes into how you can heal yourself through your chakras. The self-examination questions for you dig deeper into what’s blocking your chakras. I have ordered some more books that you can view here.
- Shadow Work – This goes into many factors, specifically writing. Depending on what I am experiencing through life. I will be more self-aware of my thoughts, feelings, and actions. What I see, hear, or read can guide me with shadow work by asking questions that pertain to that specific experience.
- Therapy – Continue my therapy sessions and adjust my treatment plan as needed. It has been around for years as a form of healing.
- Quit Smoking – Find alternative options to manage anxiety. I’ll know that my healing journey is working when I am able to quit smoking.
- Awareness – Being in the moment and aware of myself will help me stay at the moment and enjoy life.
- Boundaries – Creating healthy boundaries will allow me to create healthy relationships.
- Read more books – Reading is another favorite hobby I love, and it has become difficult for me to get back into it. I think diving into books geared towards personal development and spirituality will help me enjoy reading again. I will be reading numerous books on various topics to help me learn new habits.
- Self-Care – Self-care is something I struggle with. The joy of doing makeup and dressing up was lost once I lost my baby. Self-care allows me to keep my identity separate from being a mother. Pampering myself consistently by getting my nails and lashes done gives me time. Getting facials and spending time on care for my skin is self-love. Taking myself out to eat and shop is part of self-care. Putting aside time for dates with my husband is vital for my mental health and healthy relationships with those I genuinely care about.
For the rest of 2021, I will focus on the most realistic goals that will create habits. It’s impossible to achieve everything in less than 2 months. It took over 2 years to build these habits. Being gentle with myself during the process of getting back my journey of healing will be the top priority.