How Accurate Am I?
What if I’m wrong? What if it’s me, not her? Who is she really?
In one afternoon, our lives crescendoed into an emotional inferno I could no longer manage myself. Although, in all fairness, I’m not sure I was really “managing” it at all. With one sentence, five quickly spoken words, our world crashed down around us.
“I want to kill myself.”
These are hard words for anyone to hear. They are especially hard for a mother to hear. They are devastating for a mother to hear,when spoken by her 5-year-old daughter.
I immediately made an appointment with a child psychiatrist. Over the course of several heartbreaking sessions, I divulged all of my sweet angel’s irrational rage, sadness, fits of giddiness and silliness. These traits conflicted her “down personality.” Finally, we received a diagnosis.
I had already started doing my own research and was startled at how accurately this described my daughter’s condition. I didn’t want to be the one who brought it up but the pdoc confirmed my suspicions.
Next, I had a decision to make, one that went against my personal beliefs. To medicate her or not? I had always felt people were so quick to throw medicine at kids to “cure” them. Working in early childhood education I saw little ones placed on meds all the time to “calm them down” and “help them focus”.
The deciding factor came to me while doing my own research. I read (in more than one location) that 10 to 15% of untreated bipolar disorder patients commit suicide! Abstractly, that may not seem like a very big number, unless it’s your child. And so, the parade of medication began. It took numerous combinations of medication and a change of doctors to get her “stable”. She was doing well in comparison to herself, if that makes sense?
Then, there comes my self-doubts. What if her behavior is a result of my poor parenting? What if I misunderstood her needs, causing her to become frustrated? What if in my fearful reaction to that dreaded statement, I overreacted?
Then there is the biggest question that haunts me every day.
Who is my daughter really?
Is she the ray of sunshine I see when she is properly medicated and every need is met? (Not hungry, over tired, over stimulated). Is it the red faced, huffing puffing tornado zipping through my house at top speed? Is it the seemingly broken hearted child weeping uncontrollably in my lap? Is it terrible to hope that ray of sunshine is her? Even if it takes medication to bring her out? I want to see her happy, all day, every day. Is it worth the risks some of these medications carry? Would it be fair to leave her unmediated, come what may, and watch her live in misery , tormenting herself and every one around her?
I would love to hear how other mothers deal with these feelings. If you or someone you know is raising a child with bipolar disorder, please leave a comment!
Until next time, scribe happy and stay sassy,