Stigma Fighters: Carrie B.

Especially Love

I sat in my favorite chair.   The sun warmed me as I sipped my morning coffee. Tears began to stream down my cheeks.  Suddenly my breath became more rapid. What was wrong with me I sobbed.

I thought I was am past this…

The years before my mother’s death were filled with incredible stress. Taking her to doctors appointments.  Making sure she was okay by checking in on her and making sure she was caring for herself.  An emergency room visit and several hospitalizations weighed heavily on me.

I had learned to be silent.  I had learned to bury it all.  I had learned to take it all on, to try and spare others from the burden.  I had learned to numb myself on the inside appear strong on the outside.  I had learned to quietly be responsible for things no thirty something should have to do.

The years after my mom’s passing filled with anger.  Innocent moments of being told “You look like your mom.” “You remind me of your mother. “You’re so much like your mom.”  Would quickly fill me with burning anger and words of I am not like my mother!  I am nothing like her!

I had learned to only remember needing me.  I had learned to remember only her confused.  I had learned to only remember the darkness consuming her.  I had learned to only remember her unable to be my mother.  I had learned to be certain I was nothing like her and I never would be.

Today memories of my mother fill me with warmth.  I share with my daughter’s stories of how my mother loved me.  I smile when I remember her and share stories with my sisters about her.  I am warmed by the reminders of her that are in me when I look at my hands, my long face and arms that never seem to find a sweater long enough for them.

I learned to share my story.  I learned to trust others with my story. I learned to ask for help.   I learned to let others support me, to tell me it is ok to feel this way.  I learned to remember my mom’s amazing creative talent.  I learned to cherish the loving mother she was.  I learned to love the parts of her that are me.  I learned to remember her and not her illness.

Mental illness took from me the amazing mother that raised me.  The woman who made me the woman I am today.  It tricked me and stole from me my recognition of how incredible she was.  It gave me, instead, these experiences so I could learn about myself.  It connected to me words, it moved me to find a voice and the pain it gave me allowed me to find an amazingness in myself I never knew I had.  It connected me with a community of incredible woman who prove everyday that mental illness can be lived with and conquered.  It showed me the power we have within ourselves when we reach out, connect with others, stop hiding, stop staying quiet and join forces.  It taught me that when we stop giving the darkness power, stop letting the weaknesses own us, stop giving the illness have power, stop hating the illness and  start loving the people…the mothers, the fathers, the sisters, the brothers… as people anything is possible.  Especially love!

CarrieBaughcumPIC

Bio…
I am Carrie Baughcum. I am the proud momma to two incredible girls, the wife to one unconditionally loving husband, completely indecisive, mismatch sock wearing, word slinging, doodler, who loves to be inspired, is enthusiastic about learning, passionate about being a Special Education teacher and is the daughter of a mother who courageously fought mental illness.
Blog: http://carriebaughcum.com
Twitter: @heckawesome
  • http://RachelintheOC.com/ Rachel Thompson

    Your story is incredibly moving, Carrie. Mothers are so important in our lives — when we become the caretaker for our caretaker, it’s as if the world is tilting. I applaud your bravery in discussing your situation and the difficulties in processing it all. and giving you hugs!

    • Carrie Baughcum

      Thank to so much Rachel. I knew I had to write it, to share it. I just never could have imagined the support and love I would get here and in social media. It is sooo hard when we have to care for our parents. It does tilt our world! Thank you so much for your kind words. They mean so much to me!!! HUGS to you too!!!

  • http://thefeveredpen.wordpress.com/ jess.⚓

    I can relate to this post, I truly can. Your story gives me hope that forgiveness is possible…thank you.

    • Carrie Baughcum

      Jess- it is so amazing how many people can relate to our stories when we share them. It has been a long long long journey. It has not always been an easy one and it hurt a lot of the time. The thing that made all the difference for me was sharing my story through writing (and for a very long time I wrote anonymously) to a trusted community who supported me, who loved me unconditionally, saw my beauty and when I tried really hard to remember all the good things about my mom and own those instead of the bad memories.

  • gabe

    I love your message of not allowing “weakness” to own us. Thank you for sharing. 🙂

    • Carrie Baughcum

      Gabe- thank you for visiting and let me share my story with you. It means so much that my words connected with you. It is hard not to let weakness own us but there are just so many beautiful, strong and great things about who each of us are then to let our weaknesses define us or weigh us down.

  • Nicole Biel-z

    Really insightful. And how wonderful that you can carry parts of our Momma with you!! <3

    • Carrie Baughcum

      Thank you so much Nicole. It has been a very long and emotional journey. It is a journey I have not always wanted or liked. I am so happy with where I am now and that I can really really love my mother for the beautiful and amazing mom she was. Thank to so much for taking the time to come here, read my story and leave your words. Thank you!

  • TLanceB

    This is so relatable, something I wonder if my daughters will write about me. Thanks for letting me read this.

    • Carrie Baughcum

      Oh Lance it is just so wonderful to see you here, too know you read this warms my heart. I admire you so as a writer. The difference I suspect between you and my mother is you also talk about it with your children. Do they understand you, your struggles, the why and how you work at it. Are you open with them? Those are things that just did not happen with my mother. You have so very much for your daughters to be proud of you for and if you really wonder and worry…talk to them and talk to them and talk to them about it. It will make all the difference!!!

  • http://www.shakeuplearning.com/blog.html Kasey Bell

    Wow, Carrie! I had no idea. Your story touched my heart, and your writing was poignant and beautiful–as always. It takes courage to not only deal with your loss, but to share it with the world. Your my hero!

    • Carrie Baughcum

      Kasey Bell you are a warm and shining bright spot in my day. I am forever happy these spaces bring us together. Looking back I would say I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way for the lessons it has taught me and the path it has taken me in life is something I never want to give back. Thank you so much for your incredibly kind words and for taking the time and letting me share this little part of who I am with you XOXOXO