Sad and Angry

I am really tired, and so I likely will not proofread this – I apologize in advance. I am just typing what is on my heart with no filter.



Olivia has been sick for two weeks. She had a cold, then pink eye and a high fever on top of it, then strep throat, and now a lingering low grade fever. She has been miserable, and cranky, not sleeping well, and mean. I get it, I don’t blame her. I would be too if I were sick for that long. And on top of that she had another allergic reaction to the antibiotic for her strep throat. We know she breaks out in hives with amoxicillin, so trying a cephalosporin medication does create the same allergic reaction in a small percentage of people. Apparently she is in that group. We are on day 5 of random hives popping up on her body. They are much, much less now and there is no point in continuing Benadryl. But it definitely adds to her discomfort and distress. We now have another new antibiotic to try since she is continuing with a fever, cough, and lethargy. I feel so badly for her. I don’t know how to make it better. And on the opposite end, I feel selfish for struggling so much that I need a good night’s sleep. I am not a very good Mom when I don’t rest. The intrusive thoughts and suicidality have gotten louder as these past two weeks of little to to no sleep have progressed. I am doing everything I can and know how to do to fight them off, but I am struggling. I’ve been crying quite easily the last couple days, and having episodes where I am unable to fight the tears off. And some of my worst fears felt confirmed when Olivia was upset the other night. I am terrified that I am ruining her in this battle for my mental health. I am so afraid that this is tainting her childhood. So when I told her “no” about something the other night, she got really mad at me. She told me that I am “sad and angry, all the time; sad and angry, sad and angry, sad and angry…”. It crushed me. Gabe and my brother were sitting in the room with us also, so I tried to put on a front that I could just brush it off and she was just saying whatever because she didn’t like my answer. And maybe that is the case. But the truth is that it cut deeply because there is truth to it. Prior to going back inpatient, I was having bouts of anger. I was yelling and easily upset. She told me at one time that I was scaring her. It was devastating to see the hurt and fear on her face. And I cried so much. But since coming home, I have been doing much better. So the realization that she has had to endure some adverse behaviors in our home because of me was really hard. Of course I don’t do anything on purpose to hurt or upset her. I would never want to be the angry or sad Mom. But I did wait too long to seek help this time around and it has created impactful memories for her. I hate it. It crushes me. Especially when I am doing better and don’t think I still react in those ways.



Little minds remember. Our actions have consequences. And for our children, those consequences can include shaping their neurological framework and setting them on a path one way or another. As parents, we will make mistakes, obviously. And even things I am not in control of necessarily will cause missteps. But we still have a huge responsibility to take note of our mistakes, missteps, unintended actions, etc and to work on fixing them. “This is just how I am” is not an excuse I will ever say, especially when it comes to my parenting Olivia. Is there truth to it? Absolutely. Can I be doing things to work on being better? Again, absolutely. Our children don’t deserve the fallout of our refusal to address problems in ourselves.



So what do I do? Well, when I know I have messed up, I start by recognizing that. I apologize without blaming… you know, the “I’m sorry, but you blah blah blah”. None of that. I’m sorry. Period. I messed up. Period. I will keep trying to do better. Period. Our children deserve the same respect we hold for adults. Perhaps they deserve even more because their little developing brains are incapable of understanding many things still. They see or feel an emotion seemingly directed at them and their brain tells them it is because of them.



Olivia is quite good with naming her emotions. We often hear if she is sad, mad, angry, upset, nervous, and/or frustrated. But it was definitely hard to hear that flipped and have her give her interpretation of my moods. I have been doing all the things I knew to do to not have her be so impacted. But obviously, she is fairly intuitive and picks up on it anyway. And although it really pierced my heart to hear, I am really glad she said it. I am also proud that she felt safe enough to say it. It has given me different perspective and shined a light on other things I can be trying to make her childhood memories not full of my mental illness.