Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Break Your Little Heart

Before I post what I wrote the other day, I wanted to say that I debated putting this post up at all. I have a lot of blog readers who ask how Alexis is doing and I get a lot of questions about what it’s like to parent a child with a mental illness. Things have been rough here for the past few days. Really rough. In fact, that doesn’t even come close to describing it. Two nights ago when I couldn’t sleep because I was so heart broken over everything, I wrote the following as a potential post for the blog. I decided to put it here because it’s important to me, and if one person gets something out of it… it was meant to be shared.

She hates me. At least that’s what she screams at the top of her lungs almost every day. I alternate between pretending it doesn’t bother me by brushing it off and explaining to her why I love her. Frankly I’m not sure that either approach is working.

It’s gotten to the point where I feel like I walk on eggshells. I second guess everything I say and do. (If I tell her she can’t go outside will she throw things and scream? Hurt herself? Hit the other kids?) There are days when nothing I do is right. She gets out of bed and from the moment her feet hit the floor she’s angry, combative, and deeply unhappy. Attempts to do anything other than what she wants to do are met with explosive screaming tantrums so loud that they make my ears physically hurt.

Coming from the childhood I had, I feel emotionally abused sometimes. I want to curl up in a little ball and cover my ears until it all goes away. It’s not possible for me to do that. I am the “grown up”. I have to help her even when she fights against me every single step of the way.

I know she’s ill. I am aware of the diagnosis’, symptoms, and the side effects of the medications. Being aware doesn’t mean I have the answers. I am powerless and clueless, but not hopeless. Some days all we have left is hope.

I try so hard to do the next right thing with her all the time. Yes, I lose my temper and yell back sometimes. It’s superhumanly hard not to. I’m not perfect. I’m human, and I make mistakes.

I wake up every morning thinking positive thoughts. (Today is going to be a good day.) Sometimes it is, but there are days so dark I wonder…  Am I doing the right thing? Does she think I don’t love her enough? Is there anything else I could do? Anything!?

She has bipolar disorder and I have a crack in my heart that widens each time she screams at me. It hurts so much to love her, but I do more than words could ever say.

Alexis is such a beautiful child. Please don’t think in any way that I’m saying she’s bad or wrong. This is a peek into our day to day struggle with mental illness. It’s not something she can help. I don’t get angry at her for being sick because can’t help it anymore than Jordan can help having cerebral palsy.

If you ever come into contact with a child that struggles with a mental illness please keep this post in mind and be considerate. Sometimes the parent is really doing as much as they possibly can to help, and the child is trying as hard as he/she can to cope.

Thanks!

12 comments:

Michelle said...

I think Lexie is a wonderful little girl!!! I think it is even more heartbreaking because it is harder to help her than Jordan with her CP. My heart breaks so much for little Lexie. i wish there was something that could be done to help her. I wish she knew and hope someday she realizes what a special little girl she really is. It is not that I favor Lexie over Jordan. Jordan is a tough little one, much more confident and sure of herself it seems. I really like both the girls' equally. I just feel so bad because it is so much harder to help her. Hang in there... I am here if you need to talk. Hugs.

JadeCook said...

so sad that such a little girl has bipolor. I have similar breakdowns just with day to day stress and I only have 1 child! I cannot even imagine how hard it is for you. There are no right answers and that is what is so hard. But loving her is def the right thing!

Nancy aka Homesclscrapper said...

Hugs and prayers girlie. Lexie is such a wonderful child and I know that you are doing everything you can for her. I wish I was there and can could hold your hand and help. Someday, she may understand all you have done for her...and yes, sometimes being the grown up sux. All you can do is push through and hold on to your hope. If you need anything.....

AMKrogsgaard said...

Thanks for sharing. You're in my thoughts!

Sand and Sunshine said...

Oh honey, hugs for you!

kim said...

hugs to you!

I know it must be so hard. My 3 sons are all difficult to deal with. I have always thought my oldest son has bipolar but he was never diagnosed. i think this because my dh does have bipolar and is on medication for it. He is usually ok with the medication but obviously we have issues because of it. My 2nd son has aspergers and add/hd and there are some days exactly like that. I struggle with a lot of things but I guess I try to just focus on the positive (if I can).

hopefully some good days are coming your way. Its not easy.

I admire your love and determination for all your children. You are doing a great job.

sarah said...

i admire you.

hugs,
sarah.

Sara Zenger said...

You are to be commended for what you do do. Dont dwell on what you dont do right or what is not perfect. I often find the things I dwell on only get bigger. You have done an amazing thing with Lexie and everyday you continue to! I am thinking of you!

Joy said...

Oh Heather, my heart breaks for you.
I think I recommended this website to you when she was first diagnosed but I am not sure, it is bpkids.org. I'm not sure how much help it will be for you but I found it comforting when my daughter was diagnosed bp2 after her first hospitalization. Her diagnosis was incorrect and was changed to severe chronic depression, which very closely mimics BP. I think she may also suffer from OCD which is often misdiagnosed as ADD.
Remember that it has absolutely nothing to do with what you say or do to/for her and it is not your fault when she flies into a rage. Just do your best to protect her and the other children (and yourself as she gets stronger), do you have support for when you need the other kids to be out of harms way?
Lady, I think you are absolutely amazing!

Kelly Massman said...

So sorry! Difficult situation for all of you I am sure! Hugs and best wishes...

Leah. said...

Goodness gracious chicky this is just heartbreaking to read! I wish I could offer you some words of wisdom but I'm not in that position and I know nothing of what you are going through. I do know that you are an amazing Mom and we all make the mistakes you are describing even if we don't have to deal with this particular issue. I have always admired your strength and courage and your amazing ability to love all around you. Stay strong and hold your head up high! You should be proud :)

Amanda Sevall said...

:( Poor kid. Big hug for you Heather. You are a great mom!!