Vacation is supposed to be the time to relax and rejuvenate and get ready for what comes next. For me though, vacation can be a time of challenge.
Often during vacation we are with 3 to 4 generations of family under one roof. While there is generally no direct mal-behavior toward me from family, I can get overwhelmed with this many people sleeping and eating and playing under one roof. I am often unable to keep my same routine or best perhaps I can modify it – I am definitely a creature of habit.
During this summer’s vacation with 4 generations of family I had a bit of a meltdown. I was being extra-sensitive to the comments of my seventeen-year-old daughter when I should have known better. My Mom chatted with me about it for a while. My sister chatted with me about it for a while. My sister even let me know that when her boys were 17, she went through her husband to communicate to them. She could not get answers to direct questions or to requested behavior change. That made me feel better that my daughter’s shortness of temper with me was more a product of her age rather than that I am not measuring up due to the bipolar.
All in all we had very nice vacation times this summer with my husband’s family in June and with my family in July. I am working on letting teen-age behavior just roll off my back. Of note is that now we are back home, my daughter’s behavior is nicer and more respectful than any time since the beginning of the pandemic. I think we all forget how the pandemic has made us live on top of each other and each other’s emotions while in quarantine.
Anybody else have a vacation hiccup this summer to share? Anyone have a vacation where you might have experienced an unexpected meltdown? Were you able to work through the bulk of the meltdown by talking to others and getting more perspective? Is there anything you could name to prevent a similar hiccup in the future?
The risk of having a child with or without bipolar illness was something I contemplated a great deal but did not necessarily pray about. With my first fiancé I was bound to the idea of adoption – that a diagnosis of bipolar and a diagnosis of clinical depression were too much to hand down to the next generation. My fiancé at the time did not agree with me and wanted to have a biological child(ren) rather than adopt.
When I met my soon-to-be husband some seven years later, he also was adamant about having a biological child. Instead of two clinical diagnoses of depression and/or mania, we each brought to the table a pre-existing condition; I brought the bipolar illness and he brought an alcohol dependency under remission at that time for about 15 years. Somehow in our first year together, my soon to be husband and I settled on the idea of a natural conception. We were blessed with early success in pregnancy within a couple of months of trying which at 39 (when we conceived without any assistance) is somewhat of a miracle in itself. My position at the time of carrying my child is that Nurture is a strong proponent in the Nature versus Nurture battle. If we can avoid a divorce event or something similar such as the abuse I suffered at an early age, perhaps my daughter’s child within will be upright and healthy and right in her relationship with God. Since my daughter’s birth, we have sought continually to provide for her spiritual development and her spiritual journey.
James and I are open with our daughter who is 16 about Dad’s alcoholism and about my bipolar illness. We talk about responsible behavior for our family as avoiding alcohol and for engaging in and not avoiding emotionally challenging events. We accept that to have a meltdown and cry is an important process for growing up and challenges Mom and Dad to listen. We also talk about the importance of mood recovery. Once we have cried and released the source of our anxiety or concern, we then try to move on and recover the mood and move onto the next event or challenge.
I am hoping to teach my daughter how to be more fluent in her emotions not just successful in her studies as I have been learning to be in the last several years. She already is exhibiting signs of emotional maturity that I did not have at that age. She is not obsessed with being the top student in her class. When she feels upset about something like a misunderstanding with a friend, she is largely able to talk about it and express her feelings. When she is emotionally or physically tired and ready for bed, she says so.
I feel that with God’s blessing we will move through whatever illness may come our way – this including the current testing for breast cancer. With God’s help we will manage through any abuse incidents that may have presented in my life so as to avoid the repetition in my daughter’s life as she continues to blossom and to bloom into a beautiful young woman.