Bipolar

Allowing myself to feel my feelings lately instead of trying to make nice & pretty like I usually do, I'm finding myself really surprised by the things that I'm still angry about.  Things that I thought I had gotten over or forgiven years ago.

One of my favorite things to do is to flip the tv to on-demand and see what documentaries HBO has going.  I love documentaries just like I love non-fiction books.  I have always been fascinated by what goes on behind scenes in other people's lives and situations. 

Tonight there was one on the list about a teenage boy who committed suicide.  At first, I literally said out loud, "Oh nooooo..... I cannot go there.  Not tonight."  After seeing there was nothing else that really interested me, I decided to take a deep breath and see what this show was all about.  I figured it would be something tragic and sad, but something that had nothing to do with me.

Boy was I wrong.

It was about a boy who was diagnosed at a very young age with childhood bipolar and then goes on to kill himself at the age of 15 after experimentally taking him off of his meds to see how he'd do.  *sigh*  The kid wanted off the meds and the parents wondered if he was still bipolar because he was doing so well (*sigh* again).  The experiment failed miserably.

I don't even really know where to begin.  This movie resonated so strongly with me because I have lived through it and then some.  By the end of the film I realized two things in life I am still really angry about.

Bipolar and my ex-husband Randy. 

The first thing, I will never be able to make better.  The second thing...well, I don't think I'll be able to make that better either.  One of the problems is that he will never even talk to me about the problem.  If I try to force the conversation on him, he just shuts down on me, silently shaking his head no, because he thinks I'm wrong.  I'm not wrong.  And there may be no changing his mind, but maybe at this point I can find some peace within myself about it.  It's pretty much too late to change his mind anyways.  Time has all but run out for proactive parenting.

Bipolar.

That one single word is associated with so much trauma in my life.  I have seen if affect the lives of so many people.  Family, coworkers, friends, lovers.  Never for the better either. Relationships have been damaged and/or lost.  Marriages have failed.  Abuse and trauma have occurred.  Financial ruin has come.  All because of that one single word.


Darren was diagnosed around the age of three.  There were so many reasons that I began thinking that my little boy needed help, but the one that got me seriously moving was that he had already began talking about suicide.  Seeking help way back then began the long, emotional journey through counseling and medications.  That also began the long, emotional journey of battling my ex-husband to keep Darren in counseling and on medications. 

From the beginning all the way up to this day I would hear "there's nothing wrong with my boy."  I would hear about how I only wanted him medicated because I didn't want to be a mother and would rather have my kid doped up than have to be a parent.  I would also hear that the behavior problems were all my fault because I had been in an abusive marriage.  Well, yeah, that may play a part in some of the behavior issues he faced, but there is so much more to it than that.  Little boys do not do the things Darren did and cry how they want to have a gun and are going to see Jesus.  There is something wrong when they do that. 

And it only got worse as the years went on.  One day when Darren's psychiatrist threatened to stop seeing him because "In twenty years of doing this, I have never seen a child in as bad of shape and as hateful as Darren.  He needs his meds increased for sure."  I cried and asked him to please call Randy on the phone right that very minute and tell him the same thing because he didn't believe a word of it when it came from me.  Unfortunately, he didn't believe it when it came from the doctor either.  The doctor did eventually refuse to see Darren anymore and referred us to someone else, but not before warning me, "Don't be afraid to sleep with your doors locked."

Even with that reality in my face, I am the queen of second-guessing and I would often wonder if I was doing the right thing.  Was Randy right?  Was I making the right decision to put him on meds?  I can now fully and confidently say YES, I was doing the right thing.

Eventually, as Darren started to get older, the things his Dad told him started to take root in his brain.  He began to hide his pills after pretending to take them.  The levels in his blood became so inconsistent and "off" that the side effects were really bad and he was having trouble with things like nausea and with his balance.  Instead of helping to make sure our son took his medication properly so that he could get better, Randy had a screaming fit and said that over his dead body would he ever see his son take another pill. 

There aren't even words to describe how badly that devastated me.  That is one of the things that I am angriest about to this day.  I feel like I had to sit back and watch my son's life get flushed down the toilet because of a man who had so much pride that he didn't want to admit there was anything wrong with his boy.  At some part of his core, I think he was trying to do what he thought was best for Darren, but instead of educating himself on the situation and the disease that was facing him, he made ignorant and dangerous choices that affected everyone around him.  The time to create a strong foundation for what needs to happen in adult life is when they are children and you can still force it on them.  In the documentary, the boy's psychiatrist said,
"In psychiatry, bipolar is our cancer.  It kills people.  You do everything you can and some people can't be saved... we probably could have saved him... for a while.  But he would have gone off his meds... all these kids do."
Why has our story turned out differently than the one in the film?  Because we're lucky.  Period. 

Bipolar is what bipolar is.  Yes, there are people  all up and down the spectrum from mild to severe.  Unfortunately, my son tends to land somewhere between the middle and severe and when you're dealing with a person that is that depressed and/or defiant, you're playing russian roulette with their lives (or the lives of people around them) if you don't insist on them being medicated.   

This disease just pisses me off so bad!  If I never have to hear the word bipolar again that would be just fine with me.  I almost didn't write this post by the way.  I have people that I love dearly that are dealing with this or may take what I've written personally (they almost never do, but I'm always afraid someone will).  As a matter of fact, there's someone that I love that doesn't even know that I know they found out they are bipolar.  Doesn't matter how I found out, but I did, and I cried all night for them when I did find out.  Or was I crying for me?  Maybe both.

xoxo veronica

Comments

Anonymous said…
thank YOU for sharing... not to force this because it's up to you if you want to read it, but i want to share my blog link with you and ask you to check out my family's research RE: bipolar. best wishes to you/may you and your family find peace.

http://stephanieprechter.blogspot.com
http://www.prechterfund.org/
veronica said…
Thank you so much. I would love to check it out!