Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

email: margalitc at yahoo dot com

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Sunday, March 11, 2007

When things go horribly terribly wrong

I've never been shy about my son's battle with bipolar disorder. I haven't even touched on the backstory because that's his business and not mine to share. But suffice it to say that things can turn on a dime and my boy can turn into a true monster. We haven't seen anything bad in a long time, almost 2 full years, but lately things have been getting dicier and dicier. I've talked to his therapist, to his psychopharm, to the school, and everyone has been watching and waiting for the dam to burst.

The dam burst tonight. It has been a terrible night, one filled with tears and screaming and ambulances and police and hospitals. I'm exhausted. It can get so bad so fast. And than it can get better just as fast. That's the nature of bipolar disorder. It is not a nice disorder. It has no rules. It can be hardly noticable for weeks and months and then one thing can set it off. It can tear a family apart so fast that you can't even see straight.

So now the countdown begins again. There will be good behavior for a while, and then slowly, barely noticable changes will occur. The pressure will build and like a volcano, an eruption is the end result.

Loving someone with bipolar disorder is difficult. Wanting to make the life of a bipolar teenager easier is almost an impossibility. You do what you can every day, hoping that this is the day you get through without incident. Most days are like that, with me picking my battles and putting things into 'baskets' (Dr. Ross Greene's The Explosive Child came up with this particular skill). Biting my tongue and trying to convince the Girl to bite hers as well. I know all the theories, I've read all the books. But none of them tell me how to live day after day after day with a volcano, knowing the eruption is getting closer and closer. I'm not a vulcanologist. I have no clue how to tell when the bad is going to be.

We got home from the hospital at 1:30 and I'm both exhaused and so keyed up that I feel compelled to write. I need to express my frustration and my anger that this disease has once again disrupted our life. I'm embarassed that my neighbors stand outside and watch up pile into an ambulance surrounded by police cars. I hate this. I hate it so much I just can't even express how furious I am.

It isn't his fault. Oh, the acting out and the craziness definately need to be contained, but this is a kid. He is still changing. He has hormones going wild in his body at the same time this horrendous disease skulks about. He can't control himself once he falls off the deep end. He's unable to even understand why there are rules and processes that we need to follow. He blames me for everything that isn't to his liking. He doesn't want to participate in anything that even remotely speaks of household chores. He fights tooth and nail and digs in like nothing you've ever seen. And then fights more. He is always always right. I am always stupid and a bitch and stubborn and unreasonable.

I am just so tired. I feel so defeated.

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Blogger Jenny said...


11/3/07 8:19 AM  
Blogger Melissa R. Garrett said...

Oh I am so sorry for this :-( I know this probably is no consolation, but my five-year-old son is much the same way. We are still going through evaluations of every sort, and yet the doctors don't know exactly what is wrong. He's been tentatively diagnosed as ADD/borderline autistic, but I don't know. We'll be starting him on medication soon. Like you said, we can go for awhile with having good days, but the bad days are really bad.

I hope you have at least one neighbor who has the mind to check in and offer help, even just a casserole for when you are too tired to cook?? I know I would . . .

11/3/07 9:34 AM  
Blogger mail said...

This sounds incredibly hard. As it happens, my sister (in her 40s) was just diagnosed with this! It started with a strange, scary mania. Here we go...

11/3/07 11:36 AM  
Blogger Mamma said...

I grew up with a sibling who was an addict and later diagnosed with bi-polar disease. I can completely empathize with your feelings. Some days you want to rage, some days you feel such sadness for your loved one and other days you just want to take a really long nap.

I'm so sorry!!

11/3/07 11:47 AM  
Blogger L. J. said...

It sucks. I have a dear friend with bipolar disorder and you described everything so perfectly, the volcano preparing to erupt, the acting out, the mellow stage, it cycles. I have known her for over 15 years and know that her parents are never used to it. There is this never-ending angst to deal with.

I am sorry. I didn't want to write that and have you think I pitied you. I am sorry because I understand some of what you are feeling and most everything you described. The part that is the hardest for me to fathom is if it were my own child.

I was surfing blogs today, not a regular reader...but your post touched me.

Gentle neighborly hugs...you are tired, but not defeated.

11/3/07 12:42 PM  
Blogger Dave2 said...

Wishing you better days ahead... :-)

11/3/07 8:56 PM  
Blogger Stefanie said...

I wish you support! That's what you need more than anything. You know this isn't your fault. I'm so sorry it's happening. I have a dear friend with a 16 year-old in a similar situation so I can empathize a little.

11/3/07 9:54 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

I am so sorry for your anguish right now. Only parents of kids with Bipolar Disorder can truly understand the volcano and the turning on a dime. Do not worry about the neighbors, they probably couldn't last a day in your life. Try and concentrate on the good days and remember to take care of yourself. You can't help your son if you are too stressed. Try and take this time while he is in the hospital and rest! Spend time with other kids around the hospital schedule.
My thoughts and prayers are with you. I have been there, my daughter was hospitalized for the first time last January.

12/3/07 7:11 AM  
Blogger Sechakecha said...

I've been lurking for a while, but I just wanted to give you

*Big Hugs*

I hope it all settles down soon.

12/3/07 8:09 AM  

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