Also

If you’ve been reading this for any length of time, you are well aware that my daughter has ADHD and a sensory issue. Something I DON’T talk about very often though, are her physical issues. She has a very weird and difficult to diagnose gastrointestinal disorder. I’m not going to go into details for the sake of her privacy and my sanity, however, I will tell you what it’s like to be bipolar and have a kid who’s plumbing isn’t hooked up quite right.

The emotion I feel the most often is guilt. I feel a crushing sense of guilt and defeat because I feel as though somehow, I am the one who did this to her. As though there was something I did, some great rage or lull I had when she was in utero that made her tiny parts come together incorrectly. Was it that time I had sushi? Or that time I fell into a depression and slept for three days? Maybe I laid on my left side too much and she got squished? What exactly did I do to hurt her?

Even parents who aren’t Bipolar suffer from these feelings of guilt. I think from the very first second you see that positive test, your guilt levels rise. For the rest of your life, your actions really have consequences that could ruin a life OTHER than your own. Scary.

Besides the guilt there is often a serious anger. Why my kid? With all the other things that happen in our lives, why MY KID? This feeling is always followed by that familiar weight of guilt the second we walk through the children’s hospital doors and I realize I have no idea what it is to truly suffer. At the end of the visit, I will walk my daughter right out of those doors again, get back in the car, and she will sleep, unencumbered by tubes and wires and beeping machinery, in her very own bed. The selfishness of my feelings is often overwhelming. How dare I be upset that there is this hiccup in her health? But don’t I have a right to be angry? There is no “winning” in this situation, just getting by.

Today, she is missing school because of her problem. This is the fourth time this year so far. And today, we are getting by. One hour at a time, but we’re getting by.

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Mini BPD

Sometimes I can’t help but wonder if my darling daughter has the same issue as I do. It’s difficult for me to tell the difference between what’s normal for an almost six year old, and what constitutes a problem. These past few days should go down in the “problem” category. 

There have been countless meltdowns and tears shed over ridiculous, fixable, things. I wonder though, is it only because I am seeing myself in her? Or is she feeding off of me? One of our biggest concerns as parents is how to keep our children safe. How can I keep her safe from herself if she, too, is bipolar? How do I keep her from this diagnosis? 

I know there is a slight possibility that she will have issues as she ages; after all, mental illness runs in families. Hell, you should meet my family. We’d take up an entire ward in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. There are more and more options for children who may have problems, but where does one start? I almost feel as though even looking into it condemns her to a life with a broken brain; just like me. 

I’d love for her to love words, art, science; for her to be talented in music and with sewing; for her to be funny and loving… but never in my life did I think she might take after my in this way.