time to simplify

I’ve been reading a lot about ADHD lately, because my daughter’s case is so severe it is causing her much distress. We think if we can help her with the ADHD symptoms she will have a lot less depression and get back some kind of quality of life. We are trying to get her a diagnosis and medication so she can feel better, but it takes so long to see specialists. In the meantime we are rearranging work schedules and cutting back on the amount of time she spends alone, because it is increasingly bad for her to be alone.

The process of getting Nicole to feel better consumes every spare moment of my time and affects my mental health. My bipolar is still under control, but I also have ADHD symptoms which make it difficult to concentrate on work, especially when I am working from home and Nicole is being especially needy. When she comes upstairs and says “I’m bored”, I know that the next 1-2 hours of work have just flown out the window.

Right now I’m just trying to simplify things and concentrate on the immediate problems that need to be solved, and Nicole’s mental health is first on the list. My in-laws are also putting additional demands on our time as they get older and need more assistance. Other things like my own ADHD, mortgage refinancing, a proposed kitchen remodel, vacations, hobbies, and free time will need to wait.

home again

Nicole returned home from the psych hospital on Thursday. She feels a lot better, but I worry that it may be temporary, so we’re closely watching her mood and behavior for signs the meds aren’t working again. After being in poor condition for so long, I came to accept that as normal, but now I have to adjust how I relate to her and her illness. She still has a lot of room for improvement, but maybe she is more capable of taking a little more responsibility for her own care rather than relying on us for everything. Let’s hope, at least.

The hospital didn’t bill her Medicaid, they billed our private insurance instead, so now the insurance company is complaining. Another fine mess, requiring me to make phone calls at a time when I don’t want to talk to people.

I’m not doing great. I want to isolate, I don’t want to go to work, and I don’t want to interact with people in general. I have no energy, no motivation, and no interest in doing things to take care of myself. I thought the new med would improve that, but maybe I need a higher dosage. I guess this is something to tell my psych tomorrow.

losing hope

My heart hurts for Nicole (my daughter) right now. Her life is so incredibly difficult. Her bipolar is severe enough that the medications aren’t working. She has been mostly manic but sometimes in a mixed mood for weeks now. She wants to be better, but she is powerless in the face of the monster. She knows it, and she is losing hope.

I love her so much, and I would take a bullet for her, but I can’t help her against what hurts her the most. I wish I could take it away from her, absorb her craziness and keep it for myself, to give her a little peace. But miracles don’t exist. I don’t want to say this out loud, but I don’t think she will ever be well.

My fear is that she will get worse and finally have enough of her tortured life. I would be sad beyond words, but I wouldn’t be angry with her if she did end her life. She is never well, she’s not a resilient person, and she struggles with life. She tries to find pleasure but it is ripped away from her by her illness. I don’t know if I could live like that. She says she has thought about it, but she has no plans right now. I hope we can help her before it comes to that point.

After months, she made it to a psychiatrist who tried some new meds, but Nicole realized that the new drug had a side effect of weight gain, so she refused to take it. At her next appointment two days ago, she was bad enough that the p-doc told her she could go to a treatment center, or she would be pink-slipped and sent to the psych ward of one of the local hospitals. We chose the treatment center, and she was admitted yesterday. I hope she can find some relief there. If they can’t help her, I don’t know where to turn.

I’m crying as I write this, and I never cry.

disorders on order

Old friends of this site will recall that my daughter has schizoaffective disorder and  generalized anxiety disorder. If you didn’t know already, schizoaffective disorder combines all the fun of bipolar with the psychosis and disorganized thinking of schizophrenia. 

She is medicated, and thanks to us she has been taking her pills, but I don’t think they are working very well. She has tried several combinations without much success.

Yesterday my wife and I were out on an errand for a few hours. When we got home, Nicole was crying and said she had just called 911. Apparently she was hallucinating; she thought she had self-harmed, then she didn’t think she had, and I think she was scared by that time. When police and paramedics arrived she thought she was back to reality, but she willingly went to the ER for a psych evaluation. They admitted her to the hospital soon after she arrived.

There may have been warning signs for her. She said two days ago that she was having the sense of derealization again (where she feels detached from our world and that none of what we see or feel is real). I should have recognized that and made her call her doctor. 

Another factor is that she had been drinking. She knows alcohol and psychotropic drugs are not a good mix, but this reaction was different than a previous time. [And obviously, we can never have alcohol in the house again.]

For the millionth time, I am cursing myself for passing on my defective genes. 

the cost of bipolar

I’ve had bipolar disorder since I was a pre-teen. It has cost me several important relationships, educational and job opportunities, and tens of thousands of dollars over the years. It has nearly cost me my life on a few occasions. Besides the monetary cost of the medicine I take, there is the weight gain associated with the Abilify, which causes me problems such as high blood pressure, the potential for heart disease, lack of mobility, and embarrassment. Bipolar medication may one day cost me my intellect, if the potential for early dementia becomes a reality.

My bipolar has also inflicted a toll on the family. My wife has stayed with me despite nearly 30 years of instability and unpredictability, and it has cost her happiness and many sleepless nights ridden with fear and anxiety. She constantly feels like she has to work harder to make more money to pay for the medical bills, so she works at a physical job and always has sometimes debilitating aches and pains.

My son and daughter grew up in an unstable home where I wasn’t mentally present for long periods, which in my opinion caused psychological issues which remain today. My defective genes surfaced in my daughter, who had first been diagnosed with bipolar, then schizoaffective disorder and anxiety disorder. Her illness has cost her most of her friends, dreams of a normal life, two potential career paths, and many thousands of dollars in medical bills for us to pay.