I had an amazing talk with a Stanford researcher the other day. I'm looking into getting Lily involved in a study with a pediatric bipolar group. All during our phone interview, the researcher would ask a question that made it seem like she was a fly on the wall during our last few months.
"Does your daughter want things when you're out shopping and have a hard time taking 'no' for an answer?"
"All the time!"
Keep in mind, we're not talking about a 3 year old, or a spoiled little kid. This is an adolescent who's heard the word 'no' plenty. We're a single parent household with limited resources.
"Does your child make things a lot?"
"Oh yeah. Just before she was hospitalized the first time, she'd been making hand formed soaps day and night. The mess was tremendous, and she couldn't seem to stop."
I just wanted to cry. Here was a person asking questions that confirmed our experience as abnormal. I was so grateful! When you feel crazy, and I do, and I don't have bipolar, you are incredibly grateful for the affirmation of a knowledgeable professional in regard to the little things that make a whole of the puzzle in your world.
This affirmation is something I'd been missing. Nearly four months into a frightening, heartbreaking experience, and someone finally knew what the hell I felt but couldn't articulate. Yes, yes, yes! No one else had thus far fit the key into the lock. We have a diagnosis, but the meds aren't working. Someone help us please!
Help my daughter who suffers daily. Her mania is predictably unpredictable. And miserable for her. Not euphoric, not joyful. An awful surge of energy, adrenaline pushing through her lithe body, causing anger, frustration, akathisia (uncontrollable foot movements, like a constant twitch). Her fear is a constant.
Help for her brother who weathers the sea changes in his sister, his closest sibling, and has, for much of the time, lost his partner in silly childhood antics. Has lost the companion who wants to hang out and do nutty stuff together. Has lost so much of his mother who is strung out trying to treat the symptoms of an everchanging dynamic in a fog of fear and anger.
Help for me, to deal with the loss of my dreams for my beautiful daughter. Yes, we can have different dreams, and it WILL BE OK, but they are different dreams. Help for me to deal with the loss of dreams for myself. My life has irrevocably changed too. Work, college degree, even an occasional quiet evening. Gone for now. I go to sleep worrying about the fact that I really need to get a safe for the arsenal of meds in my kitchen, so that I don't have to worry about the unthinkable, a suicide attempt, an overdose, by my dear child.