For me growing up was knowing that there was SOMEthing different about me. But never knowing what it was. It was having odd ideas (that I was going to get a little 4 inch high human being to take care of if I just believed enough for example). It was doing just off the edge strange things. (drinking so much water to prove that I was one of the big kids that I had to be carried home in great pain, eating a turkey leg bigger than my arm because no one thought I could do it)
Then 13 hit, and everything went right down the tubes for years. I had "school phobia", my stomach hurt horribly. I missed the end of 8th grade, all my freshman year and all of my senior year.
All the while knowing that something was wrong, being tested for everything, wondering why my parents still loved me & how long would that last if I couldn't "shape up" better.
It was being told to "snap out of it" - but I COULDN'T. No one understood that I COULDN'T do a mind over matter thing and act better - or get out of bed - or be normal.
Believe it or not I was not properly diagnosed with Type I Bipolar until I was 30 years old. You can imagine the havoc my life was until then (makes for alot of stories that I can't tell just everyone!). I was in hospitals numerous times, had ECT, many different meds, went to a psychiatrist for years... But because no one saw the manias (hell, I felt great so why see a doctor, huh?) I was diagnosed as schizophenic early on, and then as a depressive.. but after much escalating embarressing incidents while manic (only once or twice a year for me) I finally showed up at a doctors office with full-blown psychotic mania. Talking a mile a minute, racing thoughts, grandiose ideas.
That was 20+ years ago. With just Lithium I now have a job, a marriage, a stable life.
But, I live with the fact that under the surface I am still Type I Bipolar. Still different.
Still having to keep an eye on what I say, how I say things, if my moods are starting to get off track.
Looking back, being bipolar was the easy part - being my Mom had to have been sheer hell. Her unconditional love and a stable homelife probably aided in my stability today.
She's 79 now and STILL wonders what she could have done differently when I was little. Bless her heart, she still doesn't understand that Bipolar only responds to medication and still wants to blame herself for some of it.
You sound like a WONderful mom - and I hope you have support within your family with some "timeouts" for yourself when the chemical imbalance is creating behaviiors that are just driving you up the wall...
Not to mention that you've come to a great spot for support here!!
Hang in there, remember that the moods/behaviors are symptoms of a brain disorder just like high blood sugar is a symptom of diabetes. (hard to live with too)