Bipolar moms, need help - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 12 Old 07-15-2013, 01:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm still new here, but I am reaching out because I'm struggling greatly and because I have no support in real life. I am hoping that other moms who has dealt with similar situations will be able to understand my erratic behavior, won't pass judgement because you know what it's like to be where I am now, and can maybe give me some tips for coping.
A little back story: I was a pretty wild adolescent, and my mom got me into counseling around age 12. I didnt have the best childhood, which was unstable at best, and at times, traumatic. I was diagnosed first with depression, then with an anxiety disorder and bipolar disorder. Eventually I was admitted into a children's hospital for dangerous behavior, and high suicide risk. I was 13 at the time, and after being there for less than a week, the temporary nurse filing in for the night nurse gave me an accidental overdose, which no one figured out for almost 24 hours because I was unconscious for most of that time. After they wouldn't let me see or talk to my mom for almost 3 days, they discharged me suddenly. I was so happy to be out, I didn't tell my mom for a while after. I spent the next few years self medicating with drugs and alcohol, and alternating between severe suicidal depression and very dangerous manic episodes. I experienced many traumatic things like an unexpected pregnancy, sexual assault, and an abusive relationship. Eventually, I met my current partner and we had our son. Upon becoming pregant, I changed my life entirely. I stopped using drugs and alcohol, and focused on my relationship and becoming a parent. I was a surprisingly awesome parent, and truly enjoyed it. I had mild hypomanic and mild depressive episodes, but was able to cope and hide it. I never actually believed I had a mental illness until recently. Shortly before our son turned 2, we moved across the state do my husband could begin attending college. I started classes online when ds was 3 months. We ended up in a tiny town in the middle of nowhere entirely on our own. Since then, everything has gotten increasingly worse, and I can no longer cope. I have been having near constant depressive episodes with short hypomanic episodes dispersed randomly. My hypomanic episodes are very short but are becoming increasingly dangerous for or family. The just recent ones include me getting a spontaneous tattoo at 11 weeks pregnant, and spending over $500 in 2 days, which right now, is a lot of money for us. My depressed state is interfering with my ability to function, and I feel like I have missed the last few months of my son's life. It's like I checked out, and am never here for him. In my most recent mixed episode, I lost control and spanked him, pretty harshly, which is against everything I believe in as a person and parent. The guilt is getting unbearable. I consider myself an intelligent person, (please excuse any typos, this is being written on my phone while ds naps because with the extreme nursing agitation I am experiencing with this pregnancy, I couldnt bear to nurse him down) and it scares me that I could act so selfishly, without care, and not understand what's going on. When I started feeling something was wrong, I started keeping a record of some of my behavior, which is what finally led me to the conclusion that I might actually be bipolar, or have been all along. I started researching it a few weeks ago and I feel like everything fits. I have been trying for months to get help for the depression, and finally have a counseling appointment in a couple days. I am terrified. I have finally started to disclose, little by little, what's been going on with dh, and he simply doesn't understand and thinks I should just be able to work it out myself. I think it scares him to think I might truly have a mental illness, and even more because there is nothing he can do. He is in school full time, and works so he is rarely home. it feels like all of the pieces are finally starting to fit together in my head, and I know I can't continue like this and need help, but I am so terrified that something bad will happen if I admit everything to a professional. I have had occasional suicidal thoughts, but never acted on them, and my fear is that if I admit this, I will lose my son. I have never tried alternative treatment, and would consider it, but things are truly to the point that I'm considering medication. I know there aren't many options since I'm pregnant and nursing, but I am barely able to function, and don't function at all some days. Medication terrifies me as well, but I can't keep doing this to my family. I'm sorry this is so long, but I really needed to share with someone who will understand, and may have insight. Thanks for listening. What have other moms done and would recommend?
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#2 of 12 Old 07-15-2013, 01:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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*oops, meant ds was napping in the truck because I couldn't nurse him down
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#3 of 12 Old 07-15-2013, 01:51 PM
 
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I couldn't read this and not comment. Just wanted to give you a hug even though I have very little to give in a way of advice. You seem to have a tremendous amount of self awareness, which I believe will help you in your journey towards healing.

I hope you find a mental healthcare professional that sees that you are trying your best to understand your illness and partners with you to find the best way to deal with it. In the mean time, thinking about you.
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#4 of 12 Old 07-15-2013, 02:08 PM
 
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Therapy and medications can be an amazing combination . My son does both.

 

Please, go see a psychiatrist right away to  dicusss your options.

 

Sometime we all need a little bit of help.

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#5 of 12 Old 07-15-2013, 03:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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sorry, to add a little more, as I said, the little town in the middle of nowhere, where we live, only has one psychiatrist, and he doesnt accept my insurance. we have chosen to start therapy with a counselor in our town who does accept our insurance, because it's the only feasible way for my husband to watch our son. the next closest option would mean traveling almost an hour away, which I wouldn't mind, but there is no way I could arrange childcare. we are currently very low income ( both college students) and cannot afford to pay someone to watch our son during my appointments. since my husband is in college and working, his schedule is very hectic, and there is only one morning per week that he can watch our son. traveling to go to an appointment with make this. and he can't cut back his school hours because it would reduce the amount of financial aid he receives. if he cut back on the hours he works, it would mean not being able to pay a bill. I just get so frustrated because it seems getting help is so important but almost impossible. I know a counselor cannot prescribe medication, but this is the best option we have at thistime.
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#6 of 12 Old 07-15-2013, 03:30 PM
 
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Psychiatrist can prescribe meds if needed. You see a therapist once a week and MD (Psychiatrist) once a month for medicaiton adjustment.

 

Yous husband needs to do it for you. Missing 1-2 classes once a month will not cut back on his FA. You are allowed to miss classes.

 

If you are a college students, there mus be other student moms who would barter day care with you.

 

I hope it works out for you

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#7 of 12 Old 07-15-2013, 03:43 PM
 
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Take your son with you, it's not ideal but it's better than not going. You come across in your posts as very intelligent and self aware. I think you are going to be just fine. smile.gif

Bring back the old MDC
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#8 of 12 Old 07-15-2013, 05:12 PM
 
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I'm sorry you're going through all this hug.gif. I dont have bipolar disorder but i do know what its like to experience a lot of trauma and the effects that can have on the mind. I have dealt with anorexia, severe depression, agoraphobia, and severe anxiety. These days its mostly some depression with a good dose of anxiety. I've dealt with most of the issues, thankfully, but it took a lot of years and hard work. Just know that you are not alone and when you're in the thick of mental illness you shouldn't beat yourself up. Recognizing that you have a problem and taking steps to help yourself is all that's needed. You know, a lot of people live in denial and they will never get help. A brother of an old friend of mine is schizophrenic, has done and said some pretty frightening things like stalking people, imagining his housemate is out to get him and there are times when pretty much all he lives on is coffee and cigarettes. He needs help but he doesnt recognize it. It is a shame but unless he recognizes it theres not much anyone can do to help him. So be glad that you are self-aware enough to see that you need help. Also, plenty of intelligent people have mental problems, that doesnt make them any less intelligent. In fact, its intelligent people like you that end up getting better because your strong mind sees where you need help.

Here is a helpful link with info about treatment, medications plus alternative treatments: http://m.nativeremedies.com/ailment/bipolar-disorder-symptoms-info.html
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#9 of 12 Old 07-22-2013, 02:33 AM
 
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Its ok. They are not going to take away your son for mental illness that you are seeking treatment for. The only thing that would jeopardize that is not treating it and breaking down to the point that you were a danger to him or yourself. So seeking treatment as you are is protecting your rights to him, not jeopardizing them. Don't forget that! 

 

I hear you on meds. I am currently pg too and though I am only diagnosed with ADD and anxiety, I am off meds and it is nigh unbearable right now. Its so hard to know what to do! I do know that most psychiatric meds can be prescribed during pregnancy if the benefits outweigh the risks. Its not that any of these meds are known to be unsafe, just that it is difficult to test them since no woman is going to volunteer to do a drug study while pregnant. IMO the benefits outweigh the risks when there is significant daily impairment in your ability to function as a mom and behavior that might be dangerous (emotionally or physically) to the child or yourself. Don't forget you are important to take care of too! I frequently put off taking meds because I am doing ok with the kids even though I am dying on the inside. That is not right either! I have to stop doing that...

 

I agree with the PP that you are smart and self aware and that will go a long way to helping you recover your health. Also consider that you might be able to get meds from your OB, midwife, or a family physician. I have actually never even seen a psych doc for myself. My ADD was diagnosed and treated by a family doc and my anxiety by midwives or OBs. It wouldn't hurt to at least ask what they can do to help. Just be careful that you get the right meds for bipolar - some of the more common meds prescribed for anxiety and depression are not appropriate and could make things worse. If you do need to see the psych, I agree with the PP to make it priority and go. Have someone watch your boy or take him with you. Have your DH miss a class or two. Your mental health is really important. 

 

Oh, regarding your DH. I hear you on your worries. I am married for the second time and my DH is wonderful and I know he loves me, but I am afraid sometimes of what he thinks. I was so "together" when we met but having kids, staying home full time, dealing with my boys special needs has worn me quite thin. I feel so transparent now...like all my flaws are there to see. I am afraid of him thinking I'm "crazy". But I need to remember that its all just a social stigma and try not to buy into it. Mental illness is not different than any other illness. Would I be ashamed if I had diabetes or cancer? Probably not. Why should I be ashamed its my brain that is ill? I shouldn't, and neither should you. 

 

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#10 of 12 Old 09-01-2013, 03:46 PM
 
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Hi Mama! I'm new here too.  I have bipolar disorder and wanted to first give you lots of virtual hugs!!  I saw it's been a few weeks now since you posted, so I hope that you have maybe been able to find some help already, but if not, I would encourage you to see a doctor - your OB or just a regular general practitioner would be a good start.  Have you ever taken meds before? I know you mentioned being diagnosed with bipolar when you were younger.  I'm not a big meds person...before I was diagnosed, I was pretty anti-meds in fact.  (Previously, I have been diagnosed with just uni-polar depression and tried meds on and off before attempting to "go it alone" sans medication.)  

 

I received my diagnosis about two years ago and was started on Zoloft and Lamictal (those are the brand names, I take the generic forms.)  In the beginning I also took Trazodone to help me sleep as well.  All of the above were prescribed by my general doctor - though I did see a Psychiatrist a few times just to make sure we got the meds "right."  We are very financially unstable and money was a huge issue for us.  My general doc was able to find a Psychiatrist that only charged me $20 out of pocket.  As with your situation, the Psych was out of town...it was hard to manage with two kids, but DH took a few days off work to watch them so I could go.  Right now, we cannot afford for me to go to counseling at all, but I'm so thankful to have the meds...they were truly what made the difference in my life.  Recently, I was really stupid and decided to come off of them..."just to see."  It was a HUGE mistake and made me realize how much I HAVE to be on them.  Having Bipolar sucks and I know that I will always have times where I struggle, even on meds, but to try and have a life without the medication, there's just no way.  If you are in a situation where you are having to choose between counseling or medication, talk to your doc about meds.  Again, I'm not a meds pusher by nature, but with Bipolar Disorder, there are chemicals in your brain that need a little change in guidance.  

 

Please feel free to message me here anytime.  I completely understand where you are coming from and would love to chat with you anytime.

 

Take care, sweet mama!  

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#11 of 12 Old 09-02-2013, 02:35 PM
 
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Another bipolar mama here (Bipolar 2) wave.gif

I hope you have some good support to help you get through the rough times.

As a person who avoided meds for 31 years, things finally got bad enough for me that meds were necessary -- found a pdoc who was willing to work really slowly with me, starting with infant sized doses of meds and slowly titrating up so that side effects were manageable.

Of course, deciding whether or not to use meds is a really personal decision. Keep us posted on your journey mama.


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#12 of 12 Old 10-08-2013, 07:33 AM
 
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Couldn't read and not send hugs

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