When J was a little girl the thought of monsters under her bed and in her closet frightened her. Night after night, I would check for monsters and reassure her that her room was clear. We sprayed “anti-monster” spray and sang a special “anti-monster” song. Eventually, she outgrew her fear of monsters under the bed and moved on to other worries.
Not once did I tell her there were no such things as monsters. When I was a little girl, the thought of monsters also frightened me. My mother laughed, told me that I was silly, and put me in the bed. I still remember the crippling fear of laying there, waiting, knowing that at any minute I would be gobbled up. My mother had no patience for silliness and lost the ability to see through a child’s eyes long ago.
The monster from under the bed now lives inside J’s head. The monster we call Bipolar Betty rages inside, sometimes crippling her. This monster has almost taken J from me; she has attempted suicide at least 5 times. This monster, when manic, spends enough money to turn this economy around single-handedly. This monster, when not controlled by the proper medicine, is slowly dimming the sparkle in my daughter’s eyes.
I write about J on here a lot, but usually just the bipolar side of her. I really wish you could all meet her because she is such a special young lady. She has a biting, quick wit and often has everyone around her laughing uncontrollably. She is a defender of the hurt, the young, and the underdog. J has a very special gift of working with troubled children. These children, ages 5-7, have been badly damaged by life and physically act out in rage by throwing desks, biting, kicking and punching. Somehow, my daughter calms them and actually gets them to sit in a seat and learn! She amazes me with her gifts.
I write about her bipolar as ‘Bipolar Betty’ because it is, to me, separate from who my daughter really is. I am angry at Bipolar Betty but not angry at J. It helps me to distinguish between the reckless, stupid things she does when her medicine is not working and the normal stupid choices a 25-year-old makes.
J and her boyfriend broke up yesterday, during the same week her doctor changed her medication. Bipolar Betty’s depressed side has taken over my daughter again. She hasn’t been this low in a long time and it scares me. There is a fine line with depression in a bipolar person. Anyone who has broken up with someone you care about knows how low it can make you feel. That is normal. But with bipolar, this normal low can quickly become life-threatening. It can also last for weeks or months. The last time she was really low her doctor gave her medicine to knock her up into a manic state. I understand this was to keep her from harming herself, but all this chemically induced up and down crap CANNOT be good for her!
So, here I am today, holding on. Bipolar Betty is back, and it’s going to be a long, rough ride.