I’ve been, acted, had Bipolar Disorder as long as I can remember. I always knew something terrible was just… off with myself. You remember the classic symptoms everyone takes on the on-line tests to see if they’re bipolar? Let me share a few:
There are dozens and dozens more but I’d rather share this with you…(I’ll get back to the kids in a minute)
Jessica, who is 22 and is in the Air Force, Kyle who is 19 and attends UW at T (or UWT), and Sydney who is 17 and is a senior in an advanced high school, runs much of the internship program for the high schools in her district and works part-time all grew up with me. All of me. All of me GREW to be very over weight for my height, very lonely and very much in the grip of my disorder. Even so I chose the email address “supermomforever….” That’s what I think, what I thought when they were young, about myself. I would protect and grow up my babies the best that I could and they would grow up to be amazing and individual people regardless of what happened to me. I knew If I was hospitalized once my chances for going back increased and it didn’t seem to me that people really got better after hospital stays, they stabilized. Our disorder is a disorder. It doesn’t ever “go away”. In my “semi-controlled full on manic” state that lasted for what seemed like years (I think it was) I founded a company, learned from the ground up how to run all the complicated software that was necessary, blah, blah…. I was an ultra over achiever. Let’s leave it at that okay? Then I blew the whole thing up and had my Explorer repossessed. Then we were evicted. (This is where I’m supposed to say “things couldn’t get worse” right? Forget about it.) The last 7 years or so have been very depressing. I’ve had my right knee replaced twice… yes the same knee… because the first one didn’t work. Figure that out. Now that will help you lose weight. I have chronic pain to the extent that I now go to a pain management clinic. Yesterday I submitted an application to UWT. I’m very excited to go back to school. I hope I’m accepted. It will be good for my brain and get me out of this bloody house. I’ll meet real people! Today I took major steps to reinvent parts of my old company (the one I imploded) with the help of my son’s desk top computer (from a school grant), some art work I was missing (a lot) and tonight – the software I needed!!!! Not to put a damper on things, but I haven’t eaten all week accept for today. I’m depressed. My father is dying and that could happen soon. And yet… …. I’m still being that supermomforever…. I’m making sure the kids spend time with him as we can and that Jessica stays in the loop so she can fly home when the time comes. We’re a pretty tight-nit family. We stay in contact throughout each of our own days and the hours we keep are definitely not the same. I talked about the bipolar tests. I just wanted to remind you of some of our symptoms and introduce you to WebMD. They’ve gotten it righter recently than wrong. Supermomforever…. my kids will always remember losing the truck and being evicted. It changed us all. They will always remember my physical difficulties and my disorders many that they may be. The one single thing I want them to remember is this: family will always be there for you. At the end of the day when the dust settles you call home and talk. When I have a bad few hours I call a kid or text one of them. We are family. My ex-mother-in-law always said I’m good at creating and making good memories. We couldn’t afford to go places or buy things so instead I got creative and made memories and I hope drew us together for all of our lives. This was way longer than I intended. “Shh…” I tell myself, “It’s ok”. My kids are all nearly post-teens. Somedays I worry I’ve wrecked them for life. Left marks on their souls that will never fade. But no, they have grown to be this age and do these things because I somehow did it right. Through all my pain and insanity I got enough of parenting right to have great adult children. Now, I’m afraid to be alone. But that’s for another day. Good night friends.
What does a doctor need to know to diagnose bipolar disorder?
A bipolar disorder diagnosis is made only by taking careful note of symptoms, including their severity, length, and frequency. “Mood swings” from day to day or moment to moment do not necessarily indicate a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. Rather, the diagnosis hinges on having periods of unusual elevation or irritability in mood that are coupled with increases in energy, sleeplessness, and fast thinking or speech. The patient’s symptoms are fully assessed using specific criteria from the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or DSM-IV.
In making the diagnosis of bipolar disorder, the psychiatrist or other mental health expert will ask you questions about your personal and family history of mental illness and bipolar disorder. Because bipolar disorder sometimes has a genetic component, family history can be helpful in making a diagnosis. Most people with bipolar disorder, though, do not have a family history of bipolar disorder.Also, the doctor will ask detailed questions about your bipolar symptoms. Other questions may focus on reasoning, memory, ability to express yourself, and ability to maintain relationships.