First Breakdown


I don’t remember all the details of that night or what inspired the events that were about to take place. I imagine my father and mother had gotten into some kind of tug of war match over me and it was the last straw that broke the camel’s back so to speak. I can remember I had locked myself in my room. I wanted to be alone, but I was so full of rage over everything that was going on I couldn’t contain it any longer. I had my door locked, but my mom wasn’t going away so I blocked my bedroom door with the dressers I had in my room so I was sure she couldn’t get in. Where I had that strength come from I’ll never know. I was 13 years old and maybe 85 pounds.

I remember the screaming, I was screaming so loud, no coherent words, just screams of absolute rage. I thought about busting everything in my room and began throwing things. When things wouldn’t break, I began hitting the walls. I just kept hitting this one spot over and over and over again until finally my hand went through it.

As fast as it all started, it stopped and I flopped on my bed in exhaustion. Somehow my bed was away from the wall and right in the middle of the floor. Another thing I don’t remember doing in my fit of rage. I could hear my mom on the phone with someone and I thought maybe it was the cops, but she had called a family member for help to try to break into my room.

In hindsight, looking back on how I acted and how I would act in the future when stress got to be too much, that call should have been for an ambulance. My mom had known from the time I was about 6 or 7 years old I had a terrible time sleeping. I would go days without sleep and I was always hearing and seeing things that no one else saw. I was always filled with paranoia and anxiety. Although my mom may not have known what bipolar was, she absolutely had to know something was not right with me and she should have sought the kind of help for me that I am now seeking for two of my own children. I believe had she sought that help for me, living a life as a bipolar adult wouldn’t be so hard sometimes.

But my mom didn’t believe in mental illness, much like the rest of my family and for those that do believe, they believe it should be hidden. I can say this because not only when I was breaking down in rage at the age of 13 was my cry for help ignored, so was my success for writing a book and having an article written about me in the newspaper. My mom is long gone now, but not another single family member has called to wish me congrats on any of the accomplishments that have come from this book. It hurts and it hits hard sometimes, but I know I have my husband and my children’s support and that’s what truly matters!

Until next time…..

Becca♥

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Parent’s Seperation


Things really weren’t that much better when I went back home either. I had a father who worked all the time and when he wasn’t working he was hunting or fishing or spending time with my brother. My mother was fighting her own battles with her mental health, so I was left most of the time to myself. It wasn’t too bad….for the first time I wasn’t being abused, it was an okay feeling. I spent a lot of time reading and it was during this time I developed my love of writing. I began writing poetry and journaling a lot. I studied hard because I wanted to be good in school.

Right before report cards were to come out, my Mom told me that if I made honor roll she’d pick me up from school. She knew how much I hated to ride the bus home. That afternoon when I got my report card, sure enough, not only did I make honors, but I made high honors. I called my mom right away, but she told me I’d have to ride the bus, something had come up and she wasn’t able to pick me up. I spent the entire 45 minutes on the bus fuming in my head about her. I figured she was just too tired and lazy to get in the car and come get me. It was too much work for her and like most promises her and my father made to me, she was breaking another one. But when I got home I found out I had been wrong about all those thing. It was worse than I had even thought.

My mom and dad had me and my brother follow them to their bedroom. I don’t know why they chose this room of the house. It was pretty stupid if you ask me. A conversation like this should have taken place in the kitchen, but that’s neither here nor there. They sat us down on the floor and then my dad went on to tell us that he was already packed and he was leaving. This time (as it had not been the first time) it was for good and he wasn’t coming back. I ran out of the room and hide in my bedroom. I wanted to be left alone. I was disappointed and maybe feeling extremely selfish. But here, I had just gotten high honors and it wasn’t even important to anyone anymore because my parent’s marriage was ending.

Their ending marriage really didn’t affect me emotionally. I could have cared less one way or another. I didn’t really “know” my parents’ as I had spent extended periods of time away from them and when I was home I spent it away from them in my room. My issue was the fact that they were taking my thunder away from me. I know how terribly selfish that sounds, but at the time that’s what ticked me off the most. They didn’t even care that I had gotten high honors and my name was going to be in the newspaper. They didn’t care that I had worked my ass off to get where I was.

I eventually got over feeling slighted and soon I was being used as a pawn in a chess game. Pushed back and forth between my parents’ as they both tried to use me and my feelings as a way to push the other one away or win the other one back. I was being used and made to feel that if I ran away and stayed away my Dad would come back. In truth, my mom had said those exact words to me. So, I packed up my bags and off I went to a family friend’s house where I stayed for over 2 weeks. Again, my mother didn’t want to be a mother, she wanted someone else to care for me so she could nurture her own emotional well-being.

This is one of the main reasons I think it’s so important for parent’s to seek help when they have a mental health issues. In order to be effective parents’ who are present in their children’s lives, you have to be well and my mother was far from well. She was an undiagnosed bipolar who went unmedicated her entire life and as a result it almost destroyed the relationship her and I had. I fight every day to keep myself on my medication. Sure, it becomes a pain in the butt to take meds twice a day, every day. I get frustrated sometimes when my phone alarm goes off and everyone yells, “MEDS!” It’s a pain to get in the car and go to therapy all the time and make it to my drs. appts. But it’s those things that keep me healthy and healthy is what I need to be for my children!

Until next time…..

Becca♥

Depression – A Clinical View


On the Threshold of Eternity

On the Threshold of Eternity (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

I think we all know we can google depression and come up with tons of articles about it. I gave my own personal account of what it’s like for me here at Sneaky Devil. But I don’t think it hurts to go over the basics a little bit and touch on them. You never know when someone may stumble upon my site and this is what they are looking for.

Depression is often described as feeling sad, unhappy, down in the dumps or miserable, but it’s more than that. It’s like you are stuck at the bottom of the ocean with cinder blocks strapped to your feet and no one is coming to save you. Yes, it truly is that bad. It’s like someone has ripped your heart out of your chest and stomped on it right in front of your face! Some of us only feel like this for short periods in our lives and for others’ it’s a life long, chronic condition. No one knows the exact cause as to why Depression happens. Research suggests it has to do with changes in the chemicals in our brains.

Some types of depression can run in families, but it can also occur with no family history being involved. Anyone can have it, even children. (I intend on doing a post on depression in adolescents. It’s more common than you think).

There are certain things that can contribute to depressions. These are:

  • Alcohol
  • Drug Abuse
  • Medical Conditions – under active thyroid, cancer, long-term pain
  • steroids
  • Sleep Problems


There are also certain life events that can contribute or trigger a depressive episode. These are:

  • A breakup – This doesn’t have to be just with a boyfriend or girlfriend. It could be a breakup of any relationship. Possibly a friendship lost or a break in contact with other family members.
  • Divorce
  • Failing a class or getting fired from your job
  • Death or illness of someone close to you
  • Childhood Abuse or neglect
  • Social Isolation (especially in the elderly)

These are just a few examples of some of the things that can trigger depression.

Symptoms of Depression

  • Agitations, Restlessness, irritability
  • Drastic change in appetite – dramatic weight gain or loss
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Fatigue – no energy
  • Feeling helpless or hopeless
  • Feeling worthless, self-hatred, guilt
  • Isolation (you really want to avoid this)
  • Loss of interest in things you once enjoyed
  • Sleep issues
  • Talking about or thoughts about death or suicide

*If severe depression is left untreated it can lead to psychosis in the patient* 

There are many treatment options available to those suffering with depression. Medications, called antidepressants are a place to start. There are several kinds that you can try. Many people do not respond to the first medication they are prescribed. It’s important to note that it can take 4 to 6 weeks after starting a new medication or a dosage increase for you to feel the full effect. Some people feel better within a few weeks, other’s even after treatment don’t feel better for 6 months or more. That’s why it is important to also go to therapy and work on some of your depression issues there. Therapists are trained to give you the coping skills you need to get through depression. It is up to you if you want to use those skills or not.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, please do not hesitate to call 911, your local crisis hotline or go to the nearest Emergency Room. Suicide may seem like the only way out, but that is your depression lying to you. There is help and it will get better! 

 

For Both Spouses or Partners


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Initially I was going to write a post about how my own BP has affected my marriage, but I think I’ll save that for a later date. Hearing about me can get rather boring, so I thought I’d offer something a little different.

Bipolar and Divorce:

In marriages where one spouse is diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, about 90% of the time, those marriages end in divorce. Both partners are to blame for this, as no marriage ends because of just one person. Both partners must do their part in order for a marriage to succeed. It’s hard work, no one tells you that when you get married. What happens when Bipolar is thrown into the mix, or any MI for that matter, the job becomes almost impossible.

So what is a couple to do when they find themselves in this unique situation. First off, hold on to hope. Without hope, all else will fail. When you have nothing to hang on to…..there is truly nothing left and that even applies to marriage. Sure, you may be able to start over, but will you be able to do that without wondering if you could have helped the one you loved, much more than you had. Or if you are the BP spouse, will may always wonder what you had done wrong, or how you could have changed in order to save your marriage.

BP diagnoses aren’t just for the individual spouse, but for the couple as a whole. For there is no pebble thrown into a pond that doesn’t cause a ripple effect. There is no doubt that your spouse’s diagnosis will affect you and it is your responsibility as a couple to learn how to manage this disorder together. Therefore, I suggest individual and couples’ therapy. This will provide you a safe haven to get off your chest what you need to about each other and will also give you both a oppurtunity to learn how to manage this illness together. There are many reasons Bipolar marriages end in divorce.

Just to name a few:

  1. Reckless Behavior – spending sprees, infidelity, driving while intoxicated or on drugs, partying
  2. Substance Abuse
  3. Financial Burden
  4. Inability to remain gainfully employed

But all of those things can be managed with the proper treatment from his/her pdoc or treatment team. Along with the willingness of the BP spouse to do everything in his or her power to get better. And especially from the help of his/or spouse or partner.

So how does a partner help with BP spouse……it’s not simple, it’s not easy and it’s not for the cowardly.

Understanding is a key component. Someone suffering with MI can not just snap out of it and telling one to do so is both ignorant and condescending. BP’s have a very hard time controlling their emotions and during episodes, their actions. They need to know that they can count on you when things have gone funky in their brains. A casual comment or joke that when under stable circumstances would seem okay, can cause a very much undesired reaction from your BP spouse. You may find them elated, depressed or agitated because of something that appeared to you as innocent.

Mild criticisms can bring on thoughts of suicide. If there is something your BP spouse has done to bother you or upset you, you need to choose your words carefully and approach the situation with sensitivity and compassion.

A BP marriage is stressful to say the least, full of misunderstandings and conflicts. That’s why I stress couples therapy so much. Having an objective point of view from an experienced counselor can help both partners learn how to team together instead of raging a war against one another.

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The healthy spouse plays the ultimate role in the BP marriage. This is because if treatment and management of your spouse is not under control, it’s going to be up to you to make sure things are running smoothly, especially if you have children. During an episode, the last thing you want to do is add-on stress by criticizing your spouse for not getting out of bed and sleeping all day or for going on a manic spending spree and depleting the savings you had to move into a new home. Those things are fixable. Guilt and shame are the last things a depressed or manic person should have to feel as we sometimes tend to act impulsive. It may be up to you to reach out to others’ to find the help your spouse needs so you can go to work and continue bringing home an income. Knowing the house is clean and your children are being cared for can take a lot of stress off each other during episodes.

The most important thing a spouse can do for their BP partner is to offer them understanding and support. One must be the patient with their BP spouse and not expect them to recover quickly from any episode, whether it be depression, manic or mixed. Recovery takes a long time and sometimes it can stretch into months or possibly years if treatment isn’t quite right yet. It may be a long time before your spouse is able to function at a level you are used to or one you think of as normal.

A spouse can help their BP partner by making sure they are seeking out proper treatment and are taking their medications like they should be. They can watch for signs indicating that an episode may be on the horizon and can take appropriate steps to try to curb or at the very least lessen the impact for both parties involved. Being prepared is an invaluable tool. The couple should sit down together and discuss possible triggers that can send one either manic or depressed, or both.

Any suicidal thoughts, remarks or actions should be taken seriously and reported to your BP’s spouse immediately. This is not something to take as an idle threat. It is a call for help and it is your job to insure your spouse gets the help she or he needs.

Emotional support, encouragement, reminders of how much your BP spouse is loved and cared for can be tremendously helpful.

What both partners need to understand, is there isn’t just a marriage you are trying to save here, but a person. The person you fell in love with, the person you vowed you could never live without.