Life in the Slow Lane

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On Being a Mom with Bipolar, a Mental Health Disorder | Guest Post by Tara Meissner with Book Giveaway — October 3, 2014

On Being a Mom with Bipolar, a Mental Health Disorder | Guest Post by Tara Meissner with Book Giveaway

CONGRATULATIONS to DOLORES NICE-SIEGENTHALER who is the winner of a copy of Stress Fracture: A Memoir of Psychosis by Tara Meissner.

Author of Stress Fracture, Tara Meissner
Author of Stress Fracture, Tara Meissner

Today please welcome my guest, Tara Meissner, author of Stress Fracture: A Memoir of Psychosis. Tara shares with us a view of her life as a mom with bipolar disorder and three sons. Tara, thank you for being here today and sharing so openly. And thank you to WOW! Women on Writing for hosting Tara’s blog tour.

Welcome, Tara!

I have bipolar disorder and I have three sons. The boys are wonderful, academically successful, involved in sports and other activities, and generally happy. They are also kids who argue about brushing their teeth, leave dirty clothes on the floor, and get ear infections and sore throats. Basically, we are normal.

However, my pedestrian life was far more chaotic before I was properly treated for bipolar disorder. Throughout early adulthood, I would have bouts of depression. In early 2010, when the boys were 2, 4, and 11, I was hospitalized in the intensive care unit of a psychiatric hospital. I had suffered a psychotic break. This condition is commonly referred to as a nervous breakdown. However, that doesn’t begin to describe the horror.

The recovery took a year. I gradually regained the ability to be alone, to be alone with my children, to drive at low speeds, then to drive at high speeds, and finally to return to work. It was grim. I was an invalid. I was dependant on my husband who took a family medical leave to become my caregiver.

There are few memories of my children’s lives during that year. I know the oldest pitched for his baseball team in the summer and tried basketball in the winter. I know the middle one was in a children’s theater production, and I believe the youngest finally learned how to talk. I was in a fog for at least three months, and selfishly focused on my health for nearly an entire year.

Fast forward to today, and I have very infrequent break-through symptoms. I have good days and bad, but they are logical and related to what is happening. Prior to treatment, I could be sad or mad for no reason or happy or excited with no tangible connection to reality.

I decided to publish my memoir, “Stress Fracture: A Memoir of Psychosis,” to help people understand how psychosis affects a person and her family. It is a story about my journey to mental wellness by accepting bipolar disorder. Publishing was a decision I considered fully. I was tempted to remain among the silent. I remain worried about how my boys will react when they became old enough to understand what I revealed.

If you met me today at a PTA meeting or a soccer game, I would look just like any other mom. Some days frazzled with rushing, some days calm after a yoga class, or some thing in between. I won’t be wearing mismatched or dirty clothes. I won’t be jumping around or sulking. In short, I won’t look like any stereotypical image of “crazy” you can imagine. Largely because I am not crazy — I have a mental illness that is under good control.

We do the best we can to raise the boys well; we give love freely and spend time generously. The boys have always given me a reason to live and be well. After surviving psychosis, they inspire me to fight for health even more fiercely. They deserve a mom who is healthy, happy, and fully capable of putting their needs in front of my own. For their sake, I remain on the treatment program and hope to never again become temporarily disabled from bipolar disorder.

Meet Tara Meissner:

Tara Meissner is a former journalist and a lifelong creative writer. She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree and works part-time at her local library. Tara lives in Wisconsin with her husband, Mike, and their three sons. She writes longhand in composition notebooks. Stress Fracture: A Memoir of Psychosis is her first book.

Connect with Tara here:

Blog: Goodreads: Facebook: Twitter:

About the Book:

Book cover for Stress Fracture by Tara Meissner
Book cover for Stress Fracture by Tara Meissner

Stress Fracture: A Memoir of Psychosisis a moving and honest psychology memoir about the things that break us and how we heal. It offers a raw view a 33-year-old wife and mother swallowed by psychosis. The psychotic episode includes meeting Jesus Christ, dancing with Ellen DeGeneres, and narrowly escaping eternity in the underworld.

Casually called a nervous breakdown, psychosis is an entrapment outside of self where hallucinations and delusions anchor. Family, doctors, and fellow patients witnessed a nonverbal, confused, distraught shell of a woman. In the security of a psychiatric care center, the week-long psychosis broke and spit out a bipolar patient in the cushioned place of middle class medicine.

Outpatient recovery consumed the better part of a year with psychiatric treatment and spiritual contemplation. Left scarred and damaged, health returned allowing her to tentatively embrace a grace and peace earned through acceptance of bipolar disorder.

Paperback: 224 Pages
Genre: Memoir
Publisher: Tara Meissner (June 23, 2014)
ASIN: B00L8G6C66



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