Bipolar Betty left us alone for a while, but she suddenly reappeared last month. For those of you who don’t know, Bipolar Betty is the name I have given to the terrible and sometimes crippling disease that takes over my daughter’s mind and soul. J is now 24 years old, and her diagnoses came 5 years ago. (Wow, that seems like a lifetime ago…)
Life had rolled on, as it does, with the usual ups and downs. J has a full-time job, and most of the time, does well. About 3 months ago, however, I began to see the signs. I cannot even explain it, but I sense when she is beginning to lose it long before anyone else notices. It’s as though I can see the cracks that begin to appear in the veneer of her smile. Our connection somehow goes beyond mother and daughter; I think we have kindred tortured souls. I suffer from depression, and at times wonder if I have some other undiagnosed disorder.
We entered the crisis zone when she appeared at my bedside late one night. She had already packed; she knew she needed to be hospitalized because she was in the grips of the deep depression and despair that makes her want to end her life. The good news is, thanks to therapy, she now recognizes the signs before she gets too lost and she is able to reach out for help. I called into work (again) and off we went. There is a decent mental hospital about an hour away and they took her right in. She stayed about a week, they changed all of her medications, and sent her back home. The next two weeks were rocky, but we got through it. As of now, the medications seem to be doing the trick.
I love that she can bounce back from these Bipolar Betty attacks, but I can’t seem to overcome the dread and the despair that I experience. I feel like my life is in ruins; I even had a suicide plan myself not long ago. I cannot afford therapy because we are in financial ruins because of her bills. My husband and I used to be so close, but now we just seem to live in the same house. I feel like parts of me are suffocating, and I am dying piece by piece. None of the people around me have a clue to how I feel. I keep it all locked inside…I imagine little boxes of my emotions locked away in a deep, dark chamber. I do not dare to open any of these boxes because I fear the madness will grip me and I may not be able to escape. So I go on, waking up each day and doing just what I must to survive. One day soon, I hope I can wake up and live again.