Well, we are back from our week long vacation at the beach, and all in all it was a very good trip, even though we had seven kids (my nephews and one friend in addition to our four) and only two adults to manage them all. Now I have piles of laundry and unpacking to do. This is what I would normally call the vacation blues, the let down after the vacation when you come home from a beautiful place to a house that is a wreck from the crazy days of preparation and then you walk in and dump all of your stuff everywhere and the mail is piled up, and the last the you want to do is cook another meal!
I definitely have all of those emotions post-trip, but I must also confess that this was not a great vacation for me. The kids had a great time kayaking, boogie boarding, skim boarding, digging sand castles, and bike riding, but I made the huge mistake of trying to decrease my anti-depressant a few weeks ago because I was so tired of the stubborn 20 pounds I have gained since starting them about 10 years ago. Big mistake! I was anxious, angry, and felt so detached for no reason at all. I spent most of the vacation brooding instead of enjoying. I know the SSRIs have caused my weight gain, because anytime I have gone off of them or really reduced them, I loose weight really fast, but inevitably, every time I decrease the meds, I become depressed really fast too. I am stupid to think I don't need these drugs, but I am mad that I need them. I am too vain, I know, and I should care far more about being all there for my husband and my kids then being two sizes bigger than I should be. I have struggled to be slender my whole life and I have this alarm that goes off in my head when I go above a certain weight, and recently those alarms have been ringing loudly. I HATE this struggle, of wanting to be thin and being unable to get there through diet and exercise because of the chemicals my brain needs. I know that my bp daughter has struggled so much with this issue since starting the atypical anti psychotics, which are notorious for causing fast weight gain, and she is remarkably normal-sized because she works out for hours each day in lacrosse. But the alternative of doing without the AAPs isn't acceptable either: instability leading to social and academic failure or even self-harm. These meds are a necessary evil it seems. I wish I didn't need antidepressants but I know I do, and I have increased my dosage again, sheepishly. I was totally crabby, moody, and unreasonable during the whole vacation and I regret putting my kids through this, and my poor husband too!! Lesson learned. So I will just have to accept the fact that a few extra pounds is the price I pay for functionality. My kids need me, my husband needs me, and I need me too.
About our Daughter
I am mother to four wonderful daughters, ages 13, 15, 17 and 19, and wife to the greatest husband on earth. God has given us a special child to raise one who was diagnosed with early-onset bipolar disorder at the age of seven, though she showed signs of it from the age of fifteen months. She also has ADHD, Sensory Integration Disorder (sensory seeking), Dyslexia, and Non-Verbal Learning Disorder-NOS, all typical comorbidities for a bipolar child. She is in the very challenging teen years, and she is attempting a big public high school for the first time. In spite of the trials, she enjoys lacrosse, running, and reading and writing her own books. I will share with you the many joys and sorrows we have faced and will face in the future with the hope that you may find better understanding about this mental illness caused by both chemical and structural abnormalities in the brain. I desire that you will be encouraged by this blog if you are also dealing with a bipolar child. Thank you for reading and sharing in our journey.
How Did You Know She Was Bipolar So Young?
I wrote a long explanation of how we came to this bipolar diagnosis in a child so young under my post of March 19th of 2009. If your child or a child you know bears similarities, please seek out a good psychiatrist and don't wait for "things to get better." Often they will simply get worse, and the longer a child is unmedicated, the more damage their brain can accrue. Early diagnoses and treatment are key to providing these children with a chance at a successful life later as a teen and an adult.