So Permanent

I regularly choose to share things about myself and my life in this space that others might choose to keep private.

This is a place for me to say the things I want to.

To bring awareness to the issues that I think are important.

To speak up and speak out.

And to help others do the same.

But there are many things that I do not share.

For no other reason than because I don’t want to. These are things that I hold close and want to keep personal; parts of me that I don’t want all over the internet.

The division of private and public is east for me.

So a couple of weeks ago when I found myself faced with something I wanted to blog about, something I needed to blog about, something I wrote draft after draft about, I couldn’t because I felt it was too private.

And I was embarrassed.

I was angry, confused, irritated, and annoyed.

I had been to an appointment with my doctor and received a new diagnosis.

I’m having a hard time with it.

I don’t want to write the words and that’s why it’s taken me awhile to write about it.

I’m feeling like I’m a walking headcase.

One mental illness after the other….

But at least when it was PPD or depression I always believed there was an end in sight.

I am feeling a little hopeless right now.

Bi-polar Disorder?

Feels so permanent.


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36 Responses to So Permanent
  1. Alison@Mama Wants This
    April 20, 2012 | 6:09 am

    Oh honey. I’m so sorry. Now that you have this diagnosis, you can begin to tackle it. To deal with it with strength and grace as you did PPD. You have us now. Be strong. Or not. We’re here. I’m here.

  2. Nannie
    April 20, 2012 | 6:38 am

    I know this is a hard one for you to accept. Never forget you have the love and support from all your family, and your blogging support group (thank you all for being here for each other, you amaze me!) You are taking the right steps. xoxox

  3. imperfectmomma
    April 20, 2012 | 6:58 am

    Oh so hugging you for the hard. I am so sorry hun. I…am just so sorry. Here for you

  4. NPRMommy
    April 20, 2012 | 7:11 am

    I’m sure you’re scared and confused. But hopefully in the long run it will be better to have the right diagnosis. That gives you the best chance at the most effective treatment. Keep fighting and keep writing. You will get through this.

  5. Kathy Morelli, LPC (@KathyAMorelli)
    April 20, 2012 | 7:28 am

    Hi there – I dont know much abt your journey – but I wanted to comment….there is hope and people live fine lives with bipolar disorder all the time. No shame!! What if it was diabetes? You’d deal with that! No shame! Also, as an LPC, I can tell you that diagnoses change all the time…read up on it!

  6. Lady Estrogen
    April 20, 2012 | 9:16 am

    Big, giant hugs, darling.
    I’m always here πŸ˜‰

  7. Julie
    April 20, 2012 | 9:17 am

    It’s just a name that says “Your brain is wired THIS way.” Any connotation or stigma associated with it is based up the anecdotes of others, and you don’t have to accept it.

    I’m glad you are diagnosed. I’m glad you can be treated. I’m glad it’s not terminal.

    I’m glad you can speak out.

    • Rach (DonutsMama)
      April 20, 2012 | 3:11 pm

      Oh Julie, you sure said it! This is a wise woman, Leighann! You can get better, there is always hope. xo

  8. Jenn@Fox in the City
    April 20, 2012 | 9:39 am

    I a agree with Julie, this diagnosis gives you something to treat and it is not who you are.

    Giant virtual hugs today and big huge squishy in real life ones on Sunday!

  9. Kimberly
    April 20, 2012 | 11:05 am

    Just like diabeetus my friend…
    We can be stable. It’s just finding the correct meds dosages bleh blah blue.
    You’ll get there.
    We’ll get there.
    We will always have Dance Moms.

  10. Lainey
    April 20, 2012 | 11:40 am

    How awesome that you have an answer! It’s true, Bi-Polar is not what you would have wanted or hoped for, but it is an answer and it is treatable! In my experiences, it was so awful to know there was something wrong with me and have doctor after doctor dismiss me until one finally took the time to really figure things out. The day I got a diagnosis and could start working toward fixing how it made me feel and act was the day I became whole again. It feels like a sentance, it is really a release from the unknown.

  11. Cindy
    April 20, 2012 | 11:48 am

    But doable. You can do this. Look how you turned having PPD into a positive thing by writing about it and becoming a role model for other moms going through it. Use your diagnosis positively and it won’t win over you. Besides, there are lots of fans out there in the interwebs who are pulling for you and supporting you. For my part, you have lots of love and prayers coming from Upstate New York. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  12. Jenny
    April 20, 2012 | 12:28 pm

    Sending you huge hugs.

  13. katery
    April 20, 2012 | 12:50 pm

    stay strong mama, you can and will get through this.

  14. Robin @ Farewell, Stranger
    April 20, 2012 | 12:54 pm

    I know. I can imagine. It seems so unfair and yet I know the peace you’ll bring to others who struggle.

  15. Jessica
    April 20, 2012 | 1:04 pm

    My heart aches for how I imagine you to be feeling right now with this news. I think, however, that knowing what it is can help you better move forward with treatment. You are not your illness. It’s a part of you, but it’s not you. With or without it, you are still you. And we love you. Hugs.

  16. greta
    April 20, 2012 | 3:35 pm

    Just like Julie said, this doesn’t define you. The permanence is hard, I know. But it can be treated and you can be you. Right?

  17. Jennifer
    April 20, 2012 | 8:25 pm

    You are Leighann, you are not a diagnosis. Smart, kind, funny, beloved by many (me!). This is a fairly common diagnosis these days. There is a lot of support out there. And if you have any doubt or it doesn’t seem to fit, get a second opinion. Sending you lots of love!

  18. Amber
    April 21, 2012 | 9:36 am

    *hugs* I think if we are all honest with ourselves we would admit to writing post, feeling the same feelings and then never pushing publish. I know that I have more then one time. I’m enjoying getting to know you better offline through our chit chatting. You are an amazing person. Please never forget that. Your friendship has meant a lot to me and your support. I’m here for you. Just a text away.

  19. Tracy
    April 22, 2012 | 3:26 pm

    Oh, is that all?! I was worried you were going to say something more scary, like a brain-eating bacteria. Bi-polar disorder? You can do this! There is not a doubt in my mind that you will now find your stable, happy place: it will take some work and some trial and error, but it won’t dare define you.

    NO shame, mama. Your sharing the news is like your first, massive step in kicking its butt. Proud of you, and you should be too! xo

  20. Alexandra
    April 22, 2012 | 11:11 pm

    We are so much more than the name they give to us.

    But I know what you mean: hearing a diagnosis for hte first time just confirms it all: and that help is needed.

    I remember thinking, “shit, I was hoping they’d just say “a bit of a rough patch for you, but you’ll be all right.”

    It’s a bitchslap for sure, but this way, they can decide on better meds and more appropriate therapy.

    Hear for you, cutie pie.


  21. Katherine @ Postpartum Progress
    April 23, 2012 | 8:56 am

    I know it’s scary to hear this. But at the same time I’m happy for you because a correct diagnosis hopefully means getting the most effective treatment for you. You’re going to be okay. You will find what works for you and you will be healthy and strong, like many other women with bipolar disorder that I know. Bipolar is just one small part of who you are. Don’t forget that.

  22. Galit Breen
    April 23, 2012 | 11:29 pm

    Oh you, I’m here and I’ll read whatever words you decide to share.


  23. Carri
    April 24, 2012 | 8:46 pm

    You now KNOW what you’re up against. How can you heal if you don’t know what ails you?
    Keep on fighting, momma. You’re worth it!

  24. Sarcasm Goddess
    April 25, 2012 | 12:34 pm

    Oh hon. I’m so sorry. I don’t know much about Bipolar Disorder so I don’t know if it’s permanent or one of those things that can be “fixed.” But I do know it does not define you. It may be a part of who you are but it is not ALL of who you are. YOU ARE smart, hilariously funny, witty, a beautiful writer, a kickass award show commentator, a great bloggy friend, and courageous (among many other amazing things). I know it wasn’t easy to put those words on the internets for the world to see; it took a lot of courage and I thank you for it. Your courage to talk openly gives me courage to do the same, even when my brain tells me I am weak and there is something broken within me.

    *hugs* I’m here if you want to talk.

  25. Jenn Sprung
    April 26, 2012 | 10:49 am

    I am glad that you decided to share this, and also extremely grateful for your insights on this and the other posts on bipolar. Do you know why? My father was diagnosed with bipolar when I was 13. For a very long time I had understood that my father was not like every other father on the block, but I didn’t understand why. He wasn’t engaged with us, he wasn’t happy, he was quick to anger and frustration. Thankfully, after many many years of feeling very confused, he received the proper care, the best medications (well, the best they had at the time) and support to help himself get on top of things. Sadly, for us, it was almost too late. Because we still didn’t understand, and he kept it all so guarded we weren’t able to mend the relationship. Now, after 20 years I am slowly trying to put it back together. I am thrilled that you are willing to walk this path, and share your journey. Speaking as a daughter- I think that this is one of the most important things you can do! Your daughter is so blessed to have you! And thank you, for giving at least one other daughter an opportunity to see things that her own father could never speak of. The path may look long and winding, but there is joy to be found in every moment. Blessings!

    • multitaskingmumma
      April 26, 2012 | 4:30 pm

      I have re-read this a million times today. I have no words that can express to you how much your comment means to me. You have made me feel like everything I poured out has been worth it. I agonized over whether or not I should speak out about my diagnosis and I lost sleep about putting it out to the world but your words here have made every single thing worth it.
      Thank you for sharing a piece of your story with me.
      Thank you for coming and reading.
      And thank you so so so much for sharing your beautiful comment.
      I will never, ever forget it.

      • Jenn Sprung
        April 26, 2012 | 5:17 pm

        If you would ever like to meet up and chat, I would be more than happy to. I’m not sure if it would be helpful or not, but I can tell you a bit of what it was like growing up with an undiagnosed bipolar. I truly believe, that even in our darkest moments, there is always a bit of light that we can find if we look hard enough. I am so happy that you are talking about it, because it gives me an opportunity to understand what it is like from the other side of things. To this day my father will not speak of it, which bothers me a bit because it feels like that part of my life and my feelings are, well, irrelevant. Even as an adult I struggle with this thought. If my father was able to make the journey, I have no doubt that you can too! Never forget that there IS hope, and that while it is something that you live with and are aware of, it is NOT who you are. You are not defined by this diagnosis. Nor are you powerless against it. And in those moments where the world seems really dark, look for the light shining in your daughter’s smile and know that in the end, if you do the work, she’ll be right there beside you. And you both will be stronger because of it!

  26. Kindred Adventures
    April 26, 2012 | 12:10 pm

    I have no words for this. My heart hurts to read your words. I do not know what to say to make you smile or even make you feel better…I do not know if there are even words. I do know that you are loved. I know that this is a space you have built and that people come here because they adore you and want to support you. I also know that the people that come to visit you here are amazing and wise. I also know that you are sensitive, strong, passionate and an incredible person. xoxoxo I’m here. I am listening….-LV

    • multitaskingmumma
      April 26, 2012 | 4:27 pm

      Laverne I love when you come here. You make my heart feel so full. Thank you for your sweet words and thank you for always being so supportive!

  27. Sarah @ The Fence
    April 30, 2012 | 4:05 pm

    I’m several months behind in catching up on all my favorite bloggers… you being one of them. I’ve been WAY off the grid and I’ve only just caught up with you just now.
    First of all, everyone who said that your diagnosis does not define you is right. SO right!
    Second, Carri had a point when she said that you can’t treat it if you don’t know what’s ailing you. Labels can be sucky… but they can also be helpful when it comes to game plans and meds.
    Third, I also grew up in a house with a Mom who refused to acknowledge her bipolar diagnosis. She lied to docs. She would “forget” to take her medication. She ultimately refused to believe that other people were hurt by her choices. I don’t even have words to tell you how badly that damaged our whole family. My parents divorced after 30 years of painful marriage. And I don’t speak to my mother because of the ringer she puts my heart through (she made my brother think she jumped off a building while he was on the phone with her.)
    YOU?! Are NOT that woman! You’re making choices to care for you… and that IS caring for your family… even if it’s hard. Even if you don’t like it… and it totally sucks. It takes a while for the meds to do their thing. It takes some time to get everyone (doc, hubs, you) on the same page about treatment and options. But… it’s SO worth it. You can absolutely go through life being aware of bipolar while NOT letting it rob you of your life and relationships. You care about those who care for you Leighann. You’re remarkable.
    I’m sorry that it’s so freakin’ hard. I hope that having about a week or so between you and this post has brought your heart some relief and comfort. Holy crap… look how many people really CARE about you!!!! Know that I’m totally in your corner. Tweet if you need me. πŸ™‚ oxo

    • multitaskingmumma
      May 3, 2012 | 9:21 pm

      I can’t begin to tell you what this means to me.
      Thank you for telling me this. Your comment has made my heart swell!

    • multitaskingmumma
      May 6, 2012 | 8:45 pm

      thank you so much for this awesome comment.
      I don’t know if I commented back yet because I am terribly behind but thank you.
      I kept it in my inbox because reading it makes me feel stronger.
      You are wonderful xo

      • Sarah @ The Fence
        May 7, 2012 | 12:20 am

        Oh sweet girl… know that it’s the truth. The diagnosis doesn’t have to be a dark cloud over you… it can be the target for serious ass kicking on your part! That “thing” that seems to sneak up… won’t seem so much like a ninja. Those emotions that seem so contradictory sometimes… won’t have to seem to opposing and wrong OR be a source for guilt either.
        You can totally learn to manage this LeighAnn. You really can. With your sweet man on your side… and a doc who CARES… and your precious little one making life and balance SO worth fighting for. And honestly, eventually it won’t seem like SUCH a battle. Eventually, it will just be a thing you keep tabs on and not something you fear will overtake you because you KNOW what’s true about you… regardless of how that “thing” makes you feel.
        Know that you are loved and cared for. And I’m back here in your corner, ready to root for you and boost you up when/ if you need it. xoxo

  28. Vanessa
    November 4, 2014 | 4:08 pm

    I feel your pain. When I first heard my diagnosis, “bi-polar II”, it did feel permanent but over the last 11 years it has brought me on a journey of self discovery. Discovering who I am now, not the moment you heard those words, but the moment the illness began. Discovering what works and what doesn’t. What my triggers are and what my coping strategies are. Who is in my support group and who I leave out. Sure there are many times you leave the Bi-polar term at home. I think of it as the bipolar doesn’t define me and I won’t let others define me by what they THINK bipolar is. But when I do talk about having bi-polar, I find it freeing and can and will help others find their way. Always listen inside you and never forget to ask for help. I was even told I could not have children by doctors. I believed it so much I tried to adopt. Then I finally went to a specialist who told me that I am perfectly fine to have children, even with my medication. I now have a perfectly healthy 5 month baby boy. Don’t put limits on yourself. Find out what works and and scrap the rest. Oh and the doctor that told me I could have a baby, saw me at the doctors when I was pregnant and asked my for advice on his son who was newly diagnosed with bipolar. So you never know who you can help by talking about having bi-polar. Again this a journey of ups and downs but it will put you on a path of self discovery. A few books that helped me were: An Unquiet mind by Kay Redfield Jamison, PhD and The Magic by Rhonda Byrne Thank you for posting about having Bi-polar, it made me happy to share. It was nice to read such encouraging and helpful posts. Keep the great dialogue going. πŸ™‚

    • multitaskingmumma
      November 5, 2014 | 9:08 am

      Thank you so much for this. It means so much to hear other people’s side and to hear how they are doing. You sound like you have a great grasp on your diagnosis and are doing great. This was a wonderful comment to read.

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