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Putting baby locks on the kitchen cabinets to protect my toddler was one thing, but locking away the steak knives from my 7-year-old was not something I ever imagined would be necessary. I also never imagined that I would need to use my skills as a psychiatric nurse on my own child.
There are three things that I have begun to incorporate into my way of thinking as a caregiver. It started when I was in my early 20’s and began to lightly step onto the caregiving path for my aging grandmother. My parents long ago started something, (now defunct), called ‘Caregiving Matters’ when my grandmother was ill, for the issue of creating an avenue of support and to feel less stressed in certain care-giving situations. For about the next eight years I learned a lot about what it means to give selflessly and love unconditionally, while guiltily wanting something else.
As a woman with bipolar I disorder I have experienced many major depressive episodes. During those times I’ve not only relied heavily on family, but also on friends and church leaders. As a recipient of the compassionate phrase: “I’m here if you need to talk”, I want to provide some perspective from the talking end to help those who may occasionally find themselves on the listening end. (Be aware that if you find yourself on the listening end too frequently, please appeal to someone else to help lift that load so you do not become the sole means of support).
Karen provides a unique perspective as a mother who, because of her biases and ignorance, was totally blindsided by her daughters’ mental illnesses. She shares what was needed to turn her feelings of isolation and helplessness into hope and recovery—for herself and for her entire family. She discusses the root of our biases, fear, and stigma. She offers insight on what is needed to let go of parental guilt and move into advocacy.
Experts coach parents to expect the worst during the teen years: defiance, acting out, drug experimentation, even minor criminal activity. With friends moaning about their children’s attitudes and outrageous stunts, it’s easy to assume your teenager’s behavior falls in line with the norm. It may and it may not.
It can be difficult to separate teenage moodiness from a more serious mood disorder like bipolar disorder or clinical depression.
Bipolar disorder wears many faces. There are as many experiences with bipolar disorder as there are people with bipolar. These experiences run the gamut from wonderful and exciting to confusing, disappointing and devastating. This article addresses some of the issues that can arise when dealing with a spouse with bipolar disorder.
As some of you may know, my 21 year old bipolar son was incarcerated last March during a manic episode where he did something that was, in his words “very stupid.” He was in the midst of denying his illness and he was running with the wrong crowd, and self-medicating with drugs and alcohol. I do not excuse his actions, nor does he. Thankfully, he is now facing his illness head on and, though he is in prison, he is in a better place psychologically and emotionally than he has been since his illness presented itself three years ago.
My daughter is 11 yrs old. We’ll call her Bug. Bug was diagnosed bipolar when she was 7. It has been a long, difficult road of ups and downs since then. We went through three schools before anyone would listen to me enough to give her an I.E.P. Finally at the end of her 3rd grade year (and after a hospital stay for a suicide attempt while at school – the 2nd one) the third school evaluated her and decided she “qualified”. Last year, around the end of November, (while in 5th grade) she started having hallucinations again, auditory and visual.