My 23 year old daughter was “officially” diagnosed with Bipolar II disorder about 6 months ago, that is to say that yet another psychiatrist completed an assessment and confirmed what I have known, with certainty, for the last ten years.
Ten years ago “normal” teenage mood swings became violent, almost nightly rages that inevitably would end with everyone in the house screaming, yelling, sobbing, and apologizing with promises not to lose control again. Ten years ago was the first time I suspected, that my first born was binge drinking, abusing drugs; having sex and lying.
Ten years ago was the first of many, ongoing encounters with the police; the first hospitalization, the first time she said she wanted to die. Ten years ago the diagnosis was severe ADHD with significant language based learning disabilities.
Ten years of advocating, sometimes pleading and begging for someone who could help us. Ten years and countless appointments with 10+ “mental health” doctors, programs, social workers and agencies . . .ten years of switching medications, finding the medication in the garbage. Ten years of chronic, almost constant gnawing, gut-wrenching fear; fear for her safety, fear for her health, fear for her happiness, fear for her seeming inability to manage her life and make good decisions.
Ten years of doing our best as parents to keep her happy and safe; ten years of feeling guilty, responsible, helpless and often hopeless. Ten years of walking on egg shells, terrified that we might set her off; ten years . . . I cannot begin to imagine what hell it must be for her. The euphoric ups the crashing down into the depths of despair and back again; the frustration, the risk taking, the reckless behavior, the user ‘friends’, the fear, the broken relationships, the lost or stolen cell phones and computers, the sadness . . . too much for anyone to have to bear; as her mother, living with and trying to manage her mental illness quite literally drove me to the brink of insanity.
Ten years and still drinking, doing drugs, getting into trouble with the police, hanging with lowlifes and engaging in sexual promiscuity. Not exactly what a mother wants for her child. My love is and always will be undying. I do what I can to support her and we continue to look for the help she needs to become a healthy, happy, responsible adult. At this point, she needs to make some difficult choices about how she wants to live her life. I pray for her and hope that God will keep her in his care.