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Archive for July, 2010

Today’s post is a re-post of a message from Diane Chosinski.  She left it on the yahoo group, BiPolarParentsT.  This group is a place for parents of bipolar teens to share their stories, ask for advice and just seek a little support. If you haven’t explored the online groups available, I encourage you to do so.  They can be so helpful in finding that you are not alone in this struggle.

The message really hit home for me.  We have all been there.  I want to thank Diane for so eloquently describing our darker moments.

Today Shelly turned 16, when she was a baby no one told me told me about the roller coaster life that we call bi polar.

No one told me that I would be up for days at a time worrying about Shelly if she was ok making sure that she wasn’t going to hurt someone or herself.

No one told me that instead of planning a sweet 16 birthday party I would be having a supervised visit with her in Denny’s.

No one told me that instead of cake and ice cream i would be serving her lamatical and Risperidone with a side of melatonin.

No one told me that instead of going out and getting her driver license that instead we have to go to a bench trail for her behaviors this past yr.(breaking my nose, breaking her sisters foot, breaking all the kitchen chairs, and on and on)

No one told me that instead of having all her family and friends over that we would have to make sure that no more than 2 people were with her at a time and they were court approved.

No one told me that the beautiful baby that they handed me was going to have to live in a daily hell. No one told me that I wouldn’t be able to fix whatever was bothering her.

She should be getting ready to go out on her first date tonight instead she will be in lock down at 9. I used to joke and laugh with her about if i was rich she would go off to a rich boarding school in Europe never meant a RTC some were here in IL.

Never thought I would be one of THOSE parents were DCFS knows you on a first name basis.

I am angry today.  I am angry at this illness for stealing my daughter’s life away from as I had hoped and dreamed for her. I am angry at the mental health system for not doing more research on the meds and finding out what we can do to help these kids. I am angry that the only most parents only get the help after their child has done something so bad that the police and courts have had to be called. I want to through a feet stomping hands waving temper tantrum if i thought that it would help my Shelly I would do it in a heartbeat.

Sorry to rant but its been a hard year Shelly hasn’t been at home since Jan 6th when she was arrested for breaking her sisters foot. Her DCFS worker thinks she has found a RTC for her,. Her pdoc has told me to be prepared that Shelly will be there for about a yr.

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There were parent support groups available to us for Amy but we were just too exhausted emotionally and physically to take advantage of them.  It’s sad because I imagine that they could have been very helpful.  Unfortunately, when we were going through the toughest times during the first two years, we just couldn’t manage to make them.

We had way too much on our plates – dealing with her unpredictable emotions, driving every night to visit her when she was hospitalized, doctor and therapy appointments and just trying to deal with the rest of our lives made it impossible for us to even remember to put the meetings on our calendars, let alone get ourselves to them!

However, if you can at all arrange it, I would recommend checking them out.  Here’s a link to some national groups and you can search for meetings in your city:

National Alliance on Mental Health

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

I’ve discovered groups on yahoo as well but unfortunately I didn’t think to look for this until after Amy was well on her way to recovery.  You’ll find supportive parents going through the same problems whom you can commiserate, vent or question about your situation. The two groups I have found are Parents of Depressed Teens and BiPolar Parents.

If anyone knows of any other groups, please send me a comment and I’ll include them on the list.

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In the following article, MSN reports of a man who has saved at least 160 people from committing suicide at a tragically popular jumping spot in Australia.  As a result, Don Ritchie and his wife Mora have earned the 2010 Citizens of the Year award.

It’s interesting that Don merely starts his conversations with the potential jumpers with a simple, seven letter sentence: “would you like a cup of tea”?  This non-threatening, simple question has been effective 160 times!  The man is genius.

It got me thinking about how much easier it is for those not personally invested to approach our suicidal family members.  As Amy’s mood would drop, my fear increased.  I know she could hear it in my voice.  Maybe this is why her therapist can talk her down from the edge (figuratively) when I cannot.  Who knows?

One other random thought on this tea offer thing.  When my daughters were small, I would have them drink a glass of water to calm down after some trauma.  Skinned knee and crying uncontrollably always called for a glass of water from Dr Mom.  My kids joke that a glass of water will cure anything, including an amputation!  But really, I found that the act of drinking always got them to calm down, breathe more slowly and relax a little.  Maybe tea has the same effect…

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