From the best way to support a spoonie to great ways to manage anxiety to the true story of postpartum depression with and without medication this episode is absolutely full of great spoonie life hacks and some real information about bipolar, anxiety, and migraines from high school to college to being a new mom. Make sure to share this episode with anyone who has or anyone you would like to know more about postpartum depression, migraines, or bipolar. Thank you and until next week Be kind. Be gentle, and be a bad ass.
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What is your disorder? *
At what age did your disorder become a daily issue? *
Who were you before your illness became debilitating? *
An energetic teen that loved singing and acting.
What would you do if you were not dealing with your invisible illness? *
I once had dreams of being a Broadway star.
What would you like people to know about your daily life? *
Some days are harder than others but every day with my family is worth living for.
What would make living and moving in the world easier for you? *
Eliminate the stigma surrounding mental illness!
Do you have any life hacks? *
Just common sense ones. Always be prepared, order your medication, use a pill box, find your best coping mechanisms and stick to a routine.
What kind of support do you get from family or friends? *
My husband is my rock, and my sister in law is great too. Friends are helpful at times but only so much.
Would you care to relate the details of what happened when someone didn't believe you were disabled?
I went years without treatment.
How has your invisible illness affected your relationships? *
Yes. I have lost lots of friendships over time, and it can be difficult being part of a family where your every move effects someone else.
Does the fact that your disease is invisible change how healthcare professionals treat you? *
Sometimes doctors don't believe me.
What is your best coping mechanism? *
I love writing. It helps me to work through my emotions and put everything objectively.
What are you the most concerned about and the hopeful for in the future? *
I am most concerned that I might one day stop coping so well. I hope that better meds without side effects will be created.
What is your favorite swear word?
Is there anything you want to make sure we talk about during the interview? Like an organization you want to promote or something specific that you deal with.
My two picture book manuscripts I'm attempting to get published: Mommy's Little Monkeys- mom with bipolar and Tia's Tiny Turtle-aunt with PTSD. I'm trying to create books that will help families discuss mental illness and that will helpfully reduce the stigma.
What is the hardest and/or best lesson your condition has taught you?
It's okay to fall apart and depend on someone else. I always hated asking for help.
What is the best purchase under $100 that helped your life
Pen and paper. Zoloft. Stress candles and bath bombs.
Melissa Guida-Richards has a Bachelors of Arts in Psychology and Criminal Justice. Awards include The 2014 Rosa Parks scholarship and Michael A Garcia Award for her poem “Lo Siento, No Hablo Espanol” as a junior at Fredonia State University.
She has been published on several blog sites including The Mighty, Spoonie Author’s Network, and Adoptees Stories Connect. Her blog, Spoonie-Mama.com is a safe place for mothers to read about honest experiences with motherhood, adoption, and chronic illness. It is a small community so far, but she has had people reach out to her for advice with their adopted children. She will also appear on the podcast, Invisible Not Broken, in an interview discussing her battle with bipolar disorder, postpartum depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Melissa is a stay at home mom, married to a stubborn redhead, and has two sons (2 years old and 9 months old.) Her family also includes two dogs, two cats, and two axolotls due to her husband’s avid love for animals. Chronic pain has been a big part of her life since the age of five-years-old but she has not let it stop her from being a frequent member of a mom group in Monroe County as well as an avid member of several online mom groups with over. When Melissa has some free time, she loves to write children’s picture books.
She is currently in the process of seeking an agent for the following picture books:
MOMMY’S LITTLE MONKEYS: Mommy has two mischievous monkeys, named Mania and Misery. Little CJ must work through his emotions and brave telling his parents how he really feels about his mother’s bipolar.
TIA’S TINY TURTLE: Tia has a snapping turtle named Shelly. She doesn’t think she needs help...until her nephew, Mateo, almost gets bitten. Now, Mateo must convince his Tia to get help for her PTSD and see a special zookeeper who is also a therapist.
THE GUARDIAN ANGEL: Sandra, feels like she doesn’t belong in her family-she is latina and her moms are white. She wants nothing more than to fit in with her family but keeps getting angry and breaking her toys. Can an unexpected visitor help guide her to her superpower and help her avoid timeout?
THE ODYSSEY OF A MILLENNIAL MAMA: After discovering a deep dark family secret, the author realizes she wants to become a mother, but there is one minor problem she needs to face first- infertility. At fifteen-years-old, she was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and decided she never wanted any of her own children anyway-thanks to her dysfunctional immigrant family. Now... things were different, she knew in her heart that she needed that biological connection. Baby fever took hold and so she and her fiance decided to try now, while her chronic pain was somewhat under control.