Sunday, June 7, 2015

This Old Blog

It's been so long, I almost forgot how to log in to my original mommy blog. This space was where I first learned how to post, where I started my online writing practice. The early photos I took of my babies are all archived here, not in a traditional baby book. I remember how sad I was when I made the decision to stop posting regularly here.

Five years, four months of my life is documented here in my first blog. My blogging training wheels. When Vivian turned eight months old, I made a decision to tell my story. From the beginning I wanted to write openly, with my real name attached to my writing. But time and again I was advised to stay anonymous. Think of the children, they said. What if a mother of a child in their school finds your blog and won't let their kids play with yours because you're bipolar?

I knew I'd eventually do what I knew in my heart was right: write honestly and openly about living with bipolar disorder. I wanted to educate and inform people out there who didn't understand mental illness. To show them that those of us who have differences in our brain chemistry are regular people who deserve to be treated exactly the same way as any other person. When someone battles cancer, we don't shun them or discriminate against them. The more people can understand mental illness, the better off we'll be as a society. When one in four people is affected by mental health disorders, we're ALL affected because we all know more than four people in our lives.

But because of stigma, I started out as just a voice. I wrote out bits and pieces of my story, along the way meeting other bloggers who were testing the mental health blogging waters, too.

After a year and a half, I started writing openly on The more I wrote there, the less I wrote here. It became overwhelming to maintain them both. I also decided to start emailing my kids about the special and ordinary moments of their young lives. I opened email accounts for each of them and have been sending them little notes and pictures since I quit this blog. I can't wait to give them the logins when they're teens.

Then in 2013, This Is My Brave was conceived on Kickstarter and began to grow. My idea took flight with the help of Anne Marie Ames, my awesome co-Founder, and our vision was validated over and over again as stories began pouring in from our community. We had hit a nerve, and in selling out the theater, our cast made a tremendous impact on the future of how we as a society talk about mental illness.

2015 has been a year of exceptional growth for This Is My Brave and we are so proud of everyone who has been with us on this journey. We held five unique performances this year - Harrisburg, Boston, Iowa City, Washington DC and a presentation at the Mental Health America annual conference. This summer will be spent strategizing and implementing our next phase of expansion nationally.

I truly believe none of this would have been possible if I hadn't taken the leap into blogging back when I became pregnant with my first child. My bipolar disorder was in remission, but not for long. When my son was four weeks old, I experienced postpartum psychosis. With the support of my husband, family, and close friends, I was able to recover and over the next year focused on my health. When Owen turned 1, we had made the decision to try for another baby. I would again be reminded of the wretched grip of the mania and psychosis of bipolar disorder type 1 when at five weeks pregnant with our second child, I had to be hospitalized for the fourth time.

The last time I was hospitalized was April 2010. Since then I've made serious changes to my lifestyle including diet, exercise and sleep, which have all contributed to my long-term mental health stability. This Is My Brave has given me purpose. I've found my life's vocation and I couldn't be more grateful to everyone who has supported me in this endeavor. We have exciting adventures ahead. I hope you'll follow along and join us in our mission of ending the stigma surrounding mental illness through storytelling.

This Is My Brave
Periscope: @ThisIsMyBrave

Bipolar Mom Life
Periscope: @BipolarMomLife

Thursday, June 20, 2013

A change from blogging to emailing...

A friend of mine recently suggested opening an email account for each of the kids. She said she was emailing hers whenever they did something funny or cute or interesting, instead of blogging about it. Given that I'm focusing my blogging efforts right now on my other blog, I thought this would be a good route to go. Trying to maintain two blogs was stressing me out and this was a great solution to take some of the pressure off myself, while still being able to capture the kids' childhood memories in a fun and unique way.

Someday, when they ask for their own email account, I'll hand over the username and password and will reminisce with them and we'll take a trip down memory lane.

I'm sad to let go of this blog. But fear not, you can still find tons of photos of our little munchins on my Instagram feed {with videos, too! as of today.}

And this doesn't mean I won't be checking up on my friends. ;)

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Consignment sale fun

I love kids' consignment sales. Since I'm not able to attend my favorite local sale this year due to a retreat weekend in Seattle on the weekend it's scheduled, I headed out this morning to another one to see what deals I could find.

I got my number and went back to my car to read a book until 8am when the doors would open. The boys 5T section was completely picked over by the time I got there, but I did score a couple of great items. This was my favorite, by far:

My little fishy will look so cute at the pool this summer, won't she? :)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

My observer

Climbing out of the car this afternoon, Vivian went straight over to the rain spout to check out the water dripping out from the melting snow on our roof.

 My little observer. 

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Finally feeling better

Before bathtime snuggles are the BEST!

So are nights when Mommy lets us take baths in the big tub!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Not so lucky

Well, we weren't all so lucky after all. I caught Vivi's mystery bug on Wednesday night at 2am and was up puking until 4:30am. It SUCKED. Thank heavens for my incredible mother-in-law who dropped everything when I called at 7am saying I could barely get out of bed, let alone take the kids to Mom's Morning Out.

Grandma came over and played with the kids all day while I slept and tried to recover. I was only able to drink small amounts of apple juice and couldn't even try to eat until late that afternoon. I managed a piece of toast before Tish left for the day, and soon after, Ben came home early from work to take over kid-duty.

I was down for the count for two days and didn't start feeling better until Saturday. It amazed me how quickly Vivian was able to fight off whatever the heck virus we had contracted. Praying Ben, Owen & Tish don't get it.

Thank you Tish for being so wonderful!!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Gymnastics field trip

The Mom's Morning Out program that I have the kids enrolled in does awesome field trips once a month. This month was a local gymnastics center and both Owen & Vivian LOVED it.

Luckily, we've all escaped Vivian's mystery illness from Monday. Thank goodness!