Hi JennyT and other moms reading,

I'm new here, 31 years old, with a 3-year-old daughter. I'm miserable. I have horrible mood swings and was just diagnosed with bipolar II disorder three months ago, after being diagnosed with depression for years. Most of my life I've struggled with things like eating disorders, OCD, alcoholism, etc. Life's been tough.

I got married at age 23, quit drinking, eventually earned my master's degree. I wrote a memoir that I was proud of. My husband and I worked as teachers together and lived very close to our family. Everything was WONDERFUL until we had a child five years after getting married.

I was very excited throughout my pregnancy, but went into postpartum depression immediately after giving birth. We had just moved an hour drive from family and friends to a new, not so nice neighborhood, to save money. My daughter had reflux which made me so anxious I could never sleep. I stayed at home with her and never wanted to go anywhere, and my husband did little to help. Then we started moving all over, from eastern USA to Sydney, back to US, then to the West Coast (California, where we live now).

I just wanted to say that I relate to the feelings of HATING motherhood. But it's hard to "see" clearly most of the time, I think because of my bipolar disorder. I feel like I should never have had a child and that she'd be so much better off without me. Some moments are beautiful and fun and I can be so calm and find respect from her. But the littlest thing sets me off (my triggers) and I flip out! Just today, I took her shopping for some new nightgowns. We had a great time shopping and she behaved so well. But when we got home, she went to the potty and then wiped her bottom with her hands, getting pee on her hands, and then tried to leave the bathroom. I told her forcefully to get back in there and wash her hands. She kept trying to escape and thought it was funny. She tugged on my sweater with her "pee hands" as I kept calling them. I continued to yell, even tried to push her back in the bathroom.

It was awful. I kept yelling, "JUST WASH YOUR HANDS!!!!!" I'm sure the neighbors heard. It was time for her nap (it was actually OVERDUE). Naturally this ended up in a crying fit for her. I locked myself in my bedroom and blasted Enya, trying to recover.

It takes me about two hours to recover from such an event. Then I am depressed and want to escape. I have fantasies of escaping. My husband and I have talked of divorce because he's sick and tired of me making him miserable. He thinks I'm ungrateful for all his hard work to earn money for our family. He sometimes threatens me that he'll get custody because of my illness.

The truth is, I KNOW he would be a better parent even if she's in childcare all day instead of with me. I say TERRIBLE THINGS that a mother should not say to her child, like saying I will leave if she doesn't behave. I know how WRONG it is to scare a child like that, that she will be abandoned. Yet I keep saying things like that. And when I leave the room and I THINK and HOPE she can't hear me, I can't stop myself from saying "[censored] you [censored] you shut the [censored] up" and other bad words. I get so angry SO EASILY. And she'll even tell me, "I want my daddy. Daddy is better. You're not good." And I know this is true.

Eventually we "make up" and she says, "Are you happy, Mommy?" I am afraid, mostly, that I'm messing up her brain forever, that she'll need therapy forever to get over the fact of having a bipolar mother (I am on medication but can't seem to get on the right type or dosage for it to keep me from having these manic rages, then dark depressions!). My father was bipolar. My daughter has a 50% chance of being bipolar, too.

I know I'm really rambling here, but just needed to get these thoughts out. I have contemplated suicide, too, but can't stand the thought of her thinking it was her fault. I don't understand how I can be so loving and affectionate one minute, then wanting to push her away from me the next. She's actually a VERY GOOD CHILD most of the time! So when something little goes wrong I lose my temper and lose all control and become MEAN and wish I'd never had her. Then the guilt follows.

What is the point of all this? I keep asking God what I'm supposed to learn from this, what I'm supposed to do. I threaten her that I'll leave and go to work all day and put her in school all day! AGain, a horrible thing to say to a child! My mouth is like the devil sometimes and I have little self-control. I get so desperate for a quick fix because I've always been a control-freak.

So last night I saw a light at the end of the tunnel. My husband suggested I go back to school to get an MFA or PhD in writing or English. And so I'm trying to research it, and I was so uplifted, and thought I could choose a school with childcare and with enough loans and working on our budget we MIGHT be able to make it work, if I get a part-time job. So then I thought I'd be a better mom if I'm not with her most of the time. IS that bad to just escape like that? And I'm afraid she won't adjust, afraid I've already ruined our relationship as mother and daughter, afraid the school thing won't lead to better things for me and I'll fail (even though I earned all A's while getting my master's degree).

I just feel lost. If I was so happy and hopeful, after feeling so miserable and hopeless for so long, WHY DID I FREAK OUT ON MY CHILD TODAY? I feel like I'm never going to find happiness again. Some days, exercise makes me a better person by giving my brain enough serotonin to stimulate happiness. Other days I'm just a loose cannon, waiting to go off.

Any connection with anyone here would be extremely appreciated. I pray for all of you who cannot find happiness as a mother, and am thankful for this forum where we can be honest. Thank you for letting me share my story. And feel free to email me personally at morafinnerty@hotmail.com.