Sunday, October 10, 2010


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.


  1. Wow, you are such a terrific writer. I can FEEL what you are going through. When we were at the doctors office (interviewing to participate in a clinical study as well) plodding through the mountain of emotional baggage surrounding the questions she asked, I found myself feeling a sence of tremendous relief at the release of fear with the fact that this professional might be able to help us; she actually believed me. Validation. Breathe. Breathe. The ludicris things that have occured in my home and the behaviors I've seen are just not something people seem to want to empathise with and so when I share my stories they sometimes look at me with... I don't even know what.

  2. You said it sister! And I kind of hate how weepy I feel when I am validated. I like being the mom who has it together, and these days I feel like such a frigging mess! But I so need that validation.

    I think this is something we can do for each other. You're right, trying to tell someone who hasn't seen it is so uncomfortable. I am told ridiculous things, "just punish her, she's a manipulative liar"! By folks who just have no idea.

    My fond hope for you is that you get some answers, that you find some relief and treatment for your sweet kid.

    Thanks for your lovely support.