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-Only child- Married- Mom- Navy vet- Perpetual college student- Bipolar- Music lover- Storyteller- Word user- Human-

Aug 30, 2013

My Bipolar Experience

I wrote this for someone on Facebook that asked for personal experiences with Bipolar II, which I've lived with since at least 2006. I have had symptoms of unipolar depression on and off since I was about 10. While in the Navy I became depressed again, and entered therapy, though I was never diagnosed with anything (not even an official diagnosis of depression), probably because it could've affected my Navy career. However, after the Kid was born, the depression I experienced was different from the unipolar depression I'd had before. It turns out bipolar depression is a very different animal from unipolar (typical) depression. What we all hear about in the media are the symptoms of unipolar depression, while bipolar depression has it's own symptoms, which at times can be opposite of the symptoms of unipolar depression. Anyway, I put this here for anyone who wants to read about my experience and so I have this available to copy and paste whenever I'm asked to share.
 
So, after my son was born in June, 2006 I started to get depressed, so my family practitioner started me on Lexapro because we thought it was PPD. I then switched to Zoloft because the Lexapro zoned me out, and I started to feel better. By my son's 1st birthday I felt so good that I stopped taking the Zoloft cold turkey thinking the PPD was gone. HUGE mistake. By August I was in a deep, deep depression, the deepest I'd ever experienced. I would have a day or so where I had an insane amount of energy, but mostly I was depressed with moments of being highly irritable. By October I was at my end, and was ready to kill myself. But the night I said goodbye to my baby and was about to do it, that rational voice in my head was able to shout out at me to talk to my husband (who had withdrawn from me) which I did. The next day he helped me find a therapist.

Feb 1, 2013

A Step in a New Direction

Some of my online buddies and real life buddies already now about this, but the Husband and I decided a couple of weeks ago to send the Kid to regular school next school year. For the last two years I've been homeschooling the Kid (through Kindergarten and now in 1st grade), and academically it seems to be successful. Socially, not so much. And since the Kid is currently an only child, that and the hard time we've had getting to know other homeschooling families in this city led to us thinking that going to school full time will give the Kid a chance to meet a bunch of different kids and make friends on his own.

Why has it been hard for us to make homeschooling friends? It's simple and actually quite ridiculous: We are not believers. We do not follow any religion or even any real spirituality. To be more specific we're not Christians, and even then we're not a part of conservative Evangelical majority in the city. The majority of homeschoolers here are Christian, and as such there are a lot of Christian homeschooling groups that are really active, and only two secular homeschooling groups, one of which is pretty inactive and the other is a small group of the same people (plus they only gather on Tuesdays, the one day every week when the Kid attends the Homeschool Academy, a place for homeschoolers to go and do activities like music, PE, etc.). The local library system has worked hard to offer homeschoolers activities to attend where there are other families, yet the kids are there doing a set activity with instructions, so the chance to get to know someone isn't there. The parents are either working with their kids or amongst friends, and for a shy introvert trying to talk to groups like that are tough. Yet when I do talk to them, what church I go to or the church they go to always comes up.

There was a family whose kids really liked the Kid that we met simply hanging out at the library, and the mom and I traded information. We met up at the library one time so the kids could hang out, and we moms could get to know one another. It quickly came up what church they go to, how active they are there, the Christian groups they're a part of, etc. I didn't even broach the subject of us not going to a church, let alone being non-believers, but it seems like since I didn't talk about going to church or anything we didn't click. I haven't heard from her since. (Of course something could've happened and that's why I haven't heard from her, which I hope is not the case. But at the same time it's hard not to make the connection.)

At the Homeschool Academy it's been the same situation as the library activities. The other parents have friends already, or have bonded through their church or belief.. The Kid has made some friends in his class (they're grouped by two grades, so K/1st, 2nd/3rd, etc.), which is great! But without getting to know the parents he doesn't see those friends more than once a week. And his friends since babyhood are all in school themselves, so seeing them is tough during the school year (and they live all over the city).

And did I mention the Judo classes? Almost all the kids are homeschooled, but again most of the parents know each other through church or at least have bonded over their shared beliefs. Sometimes it's been so hard to listen to them talk and hold my tongue. I mean, I try to socialize with them and am nice to them, but there isn't a chance of our kids socializing outside of Judo.

Sigh.

The Kid is the opposite of me - outgoing and extroverted. We've never had any trouble leaving him with babysitters, or him acting shy when he first meets people. He'll talk to anyone to the point he's told cashiers at the store what my PIN number was! And he'll play with any kid who will play with him, even younger kids who can't really talk yet. Which is what led to the turning point for me, when I realized that homeschooling in this city will not work for us.

We had gone to the library, one of the biggest in the city, and it had a new play area in the Children's Section. When we got there a bunch of kids were there with their parents. I thought, "This is great! He'll get to play!" Yet every single kid he asked to play with him said no. The look on the Kid's face broke my heart. He wanted so much to have some fun with other kids instead of being stuck with me, but despite so many kids being around and the toys being there he had no one who could or who was interested. It really hit me that he needs to be with other kids a lot more than the few interactions I can find him. He needs the chance to meet new kids, develop relationships with them in his own way, and hopefully develop one or two best friendships. He needs to be able to have fun with them at least during the work week, even if we don't get to see them much on weekends, and a chance to mature through his anger explosions (an issue where he has a hard time controlling his actions when mad, though he's matured a lot in that regard in the last two years).

The Kid did end up getting to play that day when a new group of kids came in, but it stuck with me what had happened earlier. I needed to speak to the Husband about it.

Oy.

That was a turbulent discussion.

At first I intended to only speak to the Husband about ideas of what we could try to give the Kid more interactions. But he immediately started talking about putting the Kid into school. He had been having worries about the Kid's education and how we would make sure he was actually progressing, along with what we would do when he got past the Elementary grades. The Husband has also been talking to a local school psychologist who's married to a co-worker, and from what I understand she brought up the socialization aspect. I immediately went on the defensive. Homeschooling was going well in terms of academics, and though some days were tough, I was enjoying it. The Kid seemed to be okay. And homeschooling has been something we planned on since I was pregnant with him. But in the back of my mind was my worry about the Kid and his chance to meet and interact with kids, though I really didn't want to admit it to the Husband.

Why?

Well, because I felt like I had somehow failed the Kid in that aspect. That if I admitted to my doubts, if I said that we should look into a school, that I had failed completely in homeschooling while I knew plenty of families that made it work. On top of it, I read so many homeschooling books that talked about how easy it is to socialize and meet other homeschoolers. I spent so much time searching over and over again for activities and groups locally. I had so many ideas and hopes for homeschooling. So it was tough for me to admit that it wasn't going to work with the Kid, at least not now. We finally came to an understanding and an agreement that we had to do what was best for the Kid, and it looks as if sending him to school would be the best.

I know it may seem silly, but I was really upset for a few days. Something I was prepared to do for years, that I had spent so much time and effort in learning about and doing, and that I had bought supplies for, was going to end.

It took a several days for me to fully adjust.

I confided in my online friends since so many of them have kids in school, and I wanted some advice on what to look for in schools, plus it was a place I could vent about everything. I did get some great advice, plus the reminder that I can still be an active part of the Kid's education. I started looking at the local schools, especially in a certain district (this town has several school districts, not just one like most cities of this size do - it originally had to do with the richer areas not wanting to fund the other areas). We've focused on two, both of which aren't in the district we live in (don't get me started on how bad our local district is), so it's a little bit of a drive, but they are both part of the International Baccalaureate program. (http://www.ibo.org/), something that interests us.

We took a tour of the first school this morning, and were impressed. The Assistant Principle took us around, and seems like a nice guy. The school has daily French instruction for all students and a full French immersion program that students can be put into. Plus two recesses, gym, music, art, and a few clubs. It's the further of the two, but it's all main roads to get there, so it's about 20 minutes away. The program seems to be challenging, and they say that they keep a close eye to a student's progress. There's a speech pathologist there, so the Kid can get some speech therapy if they think he still needs it. (Have I mentioned his mild speech delay? It's something that we've been working on since he was 2.) And since we're watching him for any signs of ADD/ADHD (a strong family trait from the Husband's paternal side), they have ways of working with that too.

The second school we're touring on Monday.

I've been working on overcoming my deep disappointment and anger at this situation (something that was really tested last week when the homeschooling moms at Judo were saying how "easy" it is to homeschool in this city - HA!), and have come to accept it.  I also came to realize that I didn't fail in this. When there's very little resources to give a homeschooled kid the chance socialize with other kids, what else can you do? Denver, being so much bigger and much more diverse, has a lot of homeschooling groups for all types of families, but driving there any time we wanted to do an activity isn't feasible or smart (when it comes to gas). It also doesn't help friendships grow when we live over an hour away. But seeing the school this morning helped me a lot. I'm starting to get excited for the Kid. He's kind of "meh" about it, but I think he'll be excited when he's actually there.

My job now is to finish up his 1st grade studies, and work with him to make sure he'll be ready for 2nd grade at school. I'm planning on working with him through the summer so he won't be behind his classmates academically. After we look at the other school on Monday, we'll put in the application to the school district for the schools, then will have to wait to find out where he'll be going until April 1st. (We have to do all of this because we don't live in the district the schools are in.)

I'm also going to enjoy this time with the Kid, and look forward to the time I'll finally have to myself once he's in school. It'll be weird to have all of that free time alone. I don't know yet what I'll do. Maybe I'll try to find a hobby or even a job. But in the end, the Kid going to school will be a new adventure, and I hope a good one.


Jan 8, 2013

Here's to a New Year

So it's a new year, and a chance to leave the last year behind. I know that things like new years are arbitrary, but like a lot of people I use it as a starting point for starting over, for a chance to leave behind things that hurt me, or embarrassed me, or that I dislike or regret.

2012, for me, was an interesting lesson in learning how to accept rejection and move beyond it. In facing one of the things I fear the most, and in how to handle it in a mature way.

Apr 13, 2012

Resurrection of the Blog

I've made several posts that I haven't actually published because in the end they didn't feel right. They were about a lot of different things, most of which I can't remember, but some were about my personal views about subjects such as abortion, marriage equality, and the like. I've felt the need to get my views down here so that I can just refer to the posts here instead of re-typing everything over and over again when I get myself into discussions about the subjects. (Which happens a lot, especially on Facebook, because I'm pretty passionate about these subjects. Plus I simply love debating and discussing things.)

I know my words will echo other people, and won't necessarily matter in the grand scheme of things, nor will they necessarily affect anyone, but I think it'll clear up some space in my brain plus save me some time to get them down. Plus I want to post on my blog more because writing is my thing that helps me handle stuff, like life, and I need to keep my writing skills up before I start devolving into someone who can't write the correct their/there/they're in a sentence, which has been happening recently. (Not to mention I need to exercise my vocabulary after being at home with a 5 year old day in and day out...)

I'm also getting bored playing video games on my crackPad, which I do to entertain myself, even when I'm feeling like being creative and stuff. Though it is hard to be creative with words when the Husband hogs the laptop and there's no way I'm going to try typing more than a sentence on the crackPad without a Bluetooth keyboard, which I've been patiently waiting for the last few months...HINTHINTHINT HUSBAND!

Plus maybe I'll avoid a head explosion and/or another ulcer if I get this crap out. The laptop keyboard is already falling apart (we no longer have an 'L' key, most likely thanks to the Kid, though the touch pad underneath where the key was still responds - though it's taken some getting used to...) so smacking it with my forehead wouldn't be a good idea. (It's not even a possibility with the crackPad - too much glass.)

Now if only I can fix this whole creative-juices-waiting-until-sunset-to-flow business, I'll be good...

Feb 11, 2012

What I Really Want

The other day I was driving the Kid home from his Judo class when I started thinking a lot about my life, and where I've been versus where I had planned to be. I started to feel overwhelmed and sad because I was feeling like I haven't done anything. I don't have a career, I've made a mess of trying to get a degree, I got sick, I gained weight, I can't get pregnant - just all kinds of thoughts about how I've messed up with my life, how it's not what I envisioned, how I've failed. The worst was thinking about the difficulty I've had getting pregnant again. Watching the Kid play with brothers after Judo, I started to think about what he's missing in his life since I haven't given him any siblings. I mean, since I'm an only child myself (as is the Husband) I know that the Kid will be fine if he's an only for his whole life. But I didn't want that for him. I don't want that. And our family doesn't feel complete yet.

Nov 2, 2011

Emotions on the Run

So.

The post before this one.

Yeah...

A perfect example of one of my bipolar mood cycles.

It's very slightly embarrassing, yet for the most part I'm okay with it. I do appreciate very much the comments I received, and for the most part, when my mood is level, I'm fine with not caring if people like me or not. Yet when my mood cycles, any small insecurities I have in the back of my mind get pushed to the forefront and intensified beyond what is reasonable.

It took me a few days to recognize that I was cycling again because fortunately the medication I'm on keeps me level most of the time. But there's been some pretty stressful things this past summer that I buried down to handle them, and when one more stressful event took place, it set my mood cycling off.

So that's that.

Sep 17, 2011

Feel Free to Share Your Thoughts

I welcome any comments to any of my posts, even if it's to tell me I'm wrong or am, in fact, being irrational. (Though if you're going to tell me to get over myself, don't bother. Why waste your time and mine?)

Sep 16, 2011

Delusional? Perhaps...but maybe not.

I don't know if I'm just finally having an emotional response to some really crappy news I got today (not life threatening, so not worth going into), or if it's reality smacking me upside the head again, but I'm pissed. And hurt. And confused. Mainly, I guess, at myself.


Sep 11, 2011

What This Day Means to Me on the 10th Anniversary

Ten years ago today, I was stationed in Naples, Italy. I was a new sailor in the United States Navy, on the last day of 72 hours of duty, in the last three and a half hours, and looking forward to a nice 72 hours off.

Jun 11, 2011

A boring pathetic fuddy duddy at 28

How pathetic is it that at 28 years of age I'm a boring old housewife with no topic of conversation other than my kid? Or sometimes not even that, so I bore everyone around me?

Yes, this is a mopey, feeling sorry for myself post.