I don’t get into a full blown manic episode very often anymore. Usually I get hypo manic, which is a mood disturbance marked by uncharacteristic behavior and lack of judgment among other things. I shop. Bills to pay. I shop. Hard on the family, selfish and wrong, I shop.
“Between two evils, I always pick the one I never tried before.” — Mae West
Mae West and I have a bit in common during these times. Otherwise, I am nothing like her. I don’t like the values she represents. She is funny though. When I say I’m nothing like her I don’t mean to sound too good to be true, but I’ve learned over the years to compensate for the negative behavior of shopping sprees. I’m really good at taking things back. When the hypo manic episode has dissipated in a few days, I try my best to right my world.
Unfortunately this is not always possible. I remember a lady I met in the hospital. She had taken her family’s money and flown to Nepal! Her husband and children didn’t know where she was and they were hurt severely financially and every way.
I have had bipolar disorder a long time. I can anticipate mania. Now I give my debit card to my husband when I feel it coming on and try to spare us the pain of it all. One thing I haven’t talked about yet is family and the effects of all this on them. It’s hard to do so. My husband is very patient and hates to see me struggle. Financial trials are also very stressful.
I have a daughter who was raised by two loving parents. She was lucky there. On mother’s day this year I was giving my husband Mike credit for all the typical mommy duties he assumed in raising her. An example: I was sleeping through the night on medication and Mike was bottle feeding her from the time she was two weeks old. She said to her dad, “Yeah, you raised me from a pup!” I teared up. But, I’m happy they are so close and shared so much when she was a baby and all through her childhood. I did not sleep for two weeks after her birth in the grips of a severe manic episode. Fortunately I was not hospitalized, or separated from her, but I did have to sleep through the night feedings from then on.
I don’t mean to sound sorry for myself. Many people with bipolar disorder do not get to have children because they cannot get off their medication to get pregnant. I had a psychiatrist back then who believed in lots of exercise. I ran and ran to increase the endorphins in my brain, got off all psyche meds and got pregnant. My little girl was medication free in utero, and healthy as anything! I feel so very fortunate to have her. We have a special bond. She still calls me “Momma” at 29 years old.
Is it worth the risk to have a baby when you are bipolar? I would answer a resounding yes! To that! To living! It is all worth it! Dealing with life becomes so much more tenable when you have good mental health care, take your medications, get your sleep and don’t encourage the trauma of mania or depression with bad care. Staying well and not going there is the best way to manage.
But when it happens, remember it is not forever. If you’re manic, prepare ahead of time. Have a plan. Do you have someone to take you to the hospital and a doctor to help you see you need to go. If you’re only hypo manic, how do you tell? What are your weaknesses? Can you go on a cash allowance and take yourself out of the family account until it passes?
I recommend psychcentral.com to you. It is an online service run by doctors with all the latest research. It has a Mania Quiz, Depression Quiz, a Sanity Test, things you can take online to take your Mental Health temperature. You create a user name so it remains anonymous. It is no substitute for Mental Health care, but it can give you some idea of where you are. Tell a loved one. Use it yourself. Find out if you are depressed and seek help. Please. Your life, quality of it and very existence could depend on it. Thank you! Here is the link. Now make a great big dent of happiness in your day!
@Copyright Libby Baker Sweiger