I mess up

I wish I could say that I am the ever-patient, textbook-perfect parent. Always understanding, emotionally healthy, non-flaky, cool as the wind up a spring skirt kind o' mamma.

That would be a lie.

See, the thing about this mood disorder is it demands…no, that’s wrong, that vilifies it. It requires a large portion of my life, of our lives. Because, Lizz isn't the only person with bipolar in our household. I also have the disorder and cycle rapidly and am juggling my symptoms daily. Going to an outpatient group program allows me the intensive learning and exploring time to manage the characteristics of my own bipolar disorder.

The disorder doesn't see taxes, money problems, siblings, holidays, illness, crisis, marriage and other relationships or personal history...you get the picture...it only does what it does; cycle.

Sometimes it feels as if all I do is live, breathe, sleep and eat "living with bipolar disorder", whether my own or hers. Fleeing into social networks to write, cuss and post jokes, blogging and focusing on some of my other issues are reprieves that I sometimes have to be coaxed out of, like leaving a warm bath. Feeling resentment over it isn't unheard of with me. Letting everyone know about the resentment isn't uncommon, either.

There is no playbook with these sorts of challenges. The owner's manual didn't mention this stuff when I became a parent. There are some noted similarities and probabilities to certain treatments and therapies, but there really isn't a road map. Second guessing ourselves is par for the course, but painful. I can worry a wound until is scars and many times, I do. These are the times I snap verbally or flake off.

I don't freak a little every day. However, on a day when out of state for a funeral, just as I'm drawing near the funeral parlor, and my cell rings, bringing me a crisis, I sure do.

Missing the viewing, standing outside in the rain untangling a meltdown 120 miles away and pulling together last minute plan changes to make the crisis safer and get her home from school tends to make me short-tempered and neurotic. These are the days talking with others with the disorder or loving someone living with it, is invaluable. Some days, other parents and people dealing with this save me from running down the street kicking vulnerable small animals while pulling my hair out and eating it.

OK, maybe that's an exaggeration, but you catch my drift.

The days when I'm not Super Mood Challenged Parent, I hope my intentions and successes outweigh the not so stellar actions and reactions. If that doesn't work, maybe I can deflect with one of my silly jokes.

So, a man walks into a bar …

Hey, where ya' going?? Come back!

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Estela

17 years old daughter - bipolar spectrum - BPD characteristics - depression- anxiety- psychosis
300 mg Lamictal, 60 mg latuda, 20 mg Tenex

Hospitalized for 12 days at Dominion Hospital VA (summer 2013) due to cutting, suicidal ideation and psychosis. Then spent 4 months Sept 2013 at Dominion for the day program. She was self-medicating with alcohol and drugs. She is presently in RTC in Utah. Her psychosis is fine with Latuda. The depression and other symptoms are part of her. She is making small but at least positive progress. She is expected to be home in October. We are excited but nervous about her future. Hoping and praying that what she learned at RTC plus the medication will help her manage her mental illness so she can have a life worth living.

Previous Medications
She tried Abilify which did not work. She was too agitated and could not sit still or concentrate.
Before the hospitalization and the bipolar diagnosis she tried Zoloft and Prozac for depression and Elevil for severe migraines.

We live in MD (husband, daughter, cat). I work full time. Most of the time I feel sad, confused & often dismayed at the harsh reality of my daughter's condition. Some days I feel very hopeful.

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I don't think I have bipolar but I sure have a difficult time holding it together when my 7-year old attacks me and calls me terrible names! I am only human and have a breaking point. I don't know what to do to help him keep his temper in check and he is too young to understand what is going on with him. Any suggestions would be helpful.

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Shana

Mom to Brandon, 7-years old. Not yet diagnosed but mom feels it is bipolar even though the psychologist is only suggesting Asbergers...very frustrating!!

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Im going to suggest things you've probably already heard, like get time away, even if it's only an hour, to decompress. Ellie (Lizz) was a mouth and a half. She could be being disciplined and there would be "I don't care" 's to the end of the earth. "I don't care" with every lost electronic, every new punishment, every new idea.

Sometimes I just sat out back on the step and cried from being at the end of my wits. There were times I snapped, yelling and probably in need of a time out myself. I didn't take that time and Im sorry for it. I do know that when Ellie had sensory overload she went into meltdown mode and could be vicious....but it wasn't HER. It was her only defense or reaction to a world bombarding her with too much everything. We mail ordered seemless socks, we removed tags from skirts, shirts etc, no itchy sweaters, no layers of clothing, no loud parties, no long drives....She is sixteen and still to this day I can almost predict a southward change in attitude at parties or gatherings. It's just too much for her.

I tell you all this because I want you to know I get it.

Time. You need time for your own overwhelming stimuli. You need moments of being cared for, this is a tough situation even for veterans.

And remember, I firmly believe that my child has some areas that are weaker than others, some uniquenesses but that does NOT give her permission to behave in a damaging way. It is not ok for her to say terrible things to me, or hurt me or others physically or our things and there are consequences, she loses electronics for periods of time, etc. I care and understand her dilemma, and I also know she has to live in this world somehow. We are their guides, not their punching bags.

I am thinking of you and remember, these are only my opinions, no one elses. What worked or works for me may not be the right fit for your life. Just know we care.
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Chrissy

Mother to Ellie, 15 years old, diagnosed with Bipolar NOS, Aspergers, and PTSD. She was a severe bullying case resulting in home schooling for four years for intense in home and out patient therapy. She is now in a charter public high school and released from therapy for now.

Medicines: Zoloft and Trileptal

I also blog at two sites, one is about Ellies stuff as well as my own Bipolar, OCD, and PTSD with dissociation.

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I completely understand. There is no such thing as a break from bipolar, in our house only one person has the diagnosis, but it effects everyone in the family. At times it seems to suck the oxygen from the house. I can only imagine how it must be in your home.
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RachaelT

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What have you found to diffuse an incoming melt down? I use chocolate but that's for MY impending melt down.
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Chrissy

Mother to Ellie, 15 years old, diagnosed with Bipolar NOS, Aspergers, and PTSD. She was a severe bullying case resulting in home schooling for four years for intense in home and out patient therapy. She is now in a charter public high school and released from therapy for now.

Medicines: Zoloft and Trileptal

I also blog at two sites, one is about Ellies stuff as well as my own Bipolar, OCD, and PTSD with dissociation.

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