According to bpchildren.org, “Because bipolar disorder is a chronic illness, it continually effects family life and taxes your parenting abilities. Parents sometimes experience caregiver burnout, compassion fatigue, or secondary trauma as a result of their child’s illness. This can happen especially after a child has been unstable for an extended period of time. Parents who begin to feel numb, or very negative toward their child with bipolar disorder, may be at this stage. In order to take care of your child with bipolar disorder, you must also take care of yourself. Make your own appointment with the doctor.”
So this is a post about learning to take care of ourselves. Enjoy!
I like to tease our two year old granddaughter and say, “Remember…you are only two!” because she often does things that simply amaze me as all grandchildren do. Last week she taught me the power of 2! What do I mean by power of 2? I’ll try to explain. Last Wednesday night Bill and I decided to visit Rissa and her daddy at their home. Usually they come to our house, but because of the frigid cold weather Paul decided to whisk her home after picking her up from daycare.
So in 34 degree weather Bill and I made the chilly trek to Rissa’s house. Once at our destination, with freezing wind whipping around us, we hurried to Paul’s front door. We rang the doorbell. We could hear giggling coming from the other side of the door. Slowly…the door opened. No one was there! We saw movement and looked down, and there was our bubbly, smiling, adorable granddaughter.
Once inside, and warm from a humming furnace running overtime, Rissa decided she wanted to show us her toys so we headed to her room. As Bill and I casually walked she ran towards her room yelling, “Come on Grandma! Come on Grandpa!” Bill and I quickly picked up our pace. Ah…the power of 2! Rissa showed us everything from her Disney Castle to her cuddly teddy bear that sings and plays Patty Cake. Bill, Paul and I found a place to sit amongst her toys. After all, watching a two year old can be exhausting for a grandma and grandpa! Experiencing jet lag from his trip to China, Bill fell asleep in a rocking chair. With his eyes closed his head bobbed up and down as he fought the sleep that overcame him. He started to quietly snore. I sat on a nearby couch visiting with Paul and watching Rissa play.
She tried to wake Grandpa up but to no avail so she climbed up on the couch and sat next to me playing with a ruby red teddy bear. I noticed a leftover plastic tag hiding in the fur of the bear’s ear so I asked Paul to help me remove it. Rissa intently watched as Paul cut the milky white tag off. “There! Your bear is all better Rissa!” I said. Paul left the room to put the scissors away. And then…she climbed onto my lap. She leaned in and stared into my eyes…she continued looking at me…she held her gaze and then said, “You okay Grandma?” Then she softly patted my arm. I was floored. Here she is a mere two years old asking me if I am okay?! And…she did it again. She leaned in as if to say, “Hey! I’m serious!” and she asked, “You okay Grandma?” She was very gentle and talked very soft. She patted my arm again. I told her, “Grandma is okay.” She hugged me and then scurried off to play. I was astonished. My eyes filled with happy tears. Sometimes I get so focused on the challenges of life and my loved ones that I don’t think about me! My precious granddaughter, who is all of two, brought that to my attention. Rissa got Grandma thinking…”Am I okay?”
The power of 2!
Parent’s corner: Frequently asked questions. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.bpchildren.org/BPChildrenParent.html