Friday, May 23, 2008

Disorder a Disadvantage?

My appointment in Boise today... where to begin? For the past several months I have been plagued by abrupt mood changes: several days of depression for no reason, all of a sudden super hyper, feeling normal and happy, extremely irratable and aggressive. All popcorning back and forth with seemingly no reason, made worse by stress. Which I have a lot of right now. This has been going on for quite some time, usually pretty mildly and I handled it just fine, barely even noticed it and thought it was more of a PMS kind of thing. Or stress. But my close friends and dear husband have noticed that the last couple of months it has taken very little for me to plunge way down, or completely flip out, or become very hyper and can't slow down. Several times I have had thoughts, unbidden but there none the less, that scared me. So I finally got up the courage to admit that maybe I need help, and called a psychiatrist in Boise that several LDS friends of mine recommended. They were able to fit me in rather quickly and I went there today.

There was lots of paperwork, self-assesments, medical and family history. Life story, anything and everything and they wanted to know it all. Then they sat down with me and went over every bit of it. We compared me with "normal". How do I usually react to things, how am I sleeping, what's been going on... It took over an hour, but at the end, apparently I was a by-the-book case, and she was able to guess how I would answer a question about my personality and habits. Kind of reassuring. I walked out with a diagnosis.

I am bi-polar. (deep breath) There, I said it. I kind of had a feeling I was, but sometimes people give it a bad image, like you are crazy or something. Like there is something you are doing wrong, stressing out too much... There isn't. It is just a common disorder. In a way it is a relief to have put a name to why I am this way. It is a little scary, and not something I will be telling total strangers, but I needed to say it today. To complicate it a little bit, I am also very ADHD. I kind of figured that as well, because I was very much like Oren is now. He had to get it from somewhere. And the bi-polarism (a word?) getting worse hasn't helped the ADHD symptoms I already had but was dealing just fine with. Having this diagnosis is like taking a deep breath, makes you feel a little better, because it explains why lately I have been "crazy mommy, mean mommy, sad mommy".

They are going to start me on a very low dose of medication, and gradually bring it up. It is a mood stabilizer, to kind of level me out. Then, when my moods are under control, they will determine if it is necessary to treat the ADHD. Nowhere actually has it in stock, they have to order it in, I will get it on Tuesday. Oren is excited because "Mommy and he can take their pills together every morning, and Mommy's pill will help her make good decisions just like Oren's pill!" And Mark is glad he will have his loving, sweet, somewhat-better-at-housekeeping wife back.

As for the rest of my day, it was a very long day in Boise. Amanda went with me to run errands, we hit lots of places. We went to a party store, and got some pirate-themed stuff for Oren's birthday. A pirate hat and sword for the birthday boy, plates and invites, loot bag stuffers. Lots of fun! There is a small "world market" store that carries Indian curries we used to get in Enland, so I got a couple today as a treat for Mark. A new cake pan, an animal face one. Too cute! And Mark and the kids were all alive when I got home, which is amazing because I was gone from 8:30 am to 6:30 pm. Like I said, a long day...


McD Fam said...

If there are people out there who understand and love you anyway, it's your family. And it isn't a crime to need help, it's a step forward. We love you! (lots and lots of hugs)

Stephanie said...

Your diagnosis brought to me a range of reactions. I'm sorry that you have to go through this; happy that, now that you know what it is, you can do something about it; and nervous because I exhibit the same symptoms.

I too have those uncontrollable extreme mood changes. I have that other part of me that says and does things that don't make sense, things that I can't control (like that one day when I wouldn't talk to you on the phone). I've even looked up on the Internet those little quizzes that say "Are you bipolar" and found that I fit pretty closely with bipolar II. It's like normal bipolar, only the manic phases are less pronounced.

And just maybe, the knowledge of your diagnosis can give me the courage to get myself taken care of too.

I'll probably call you tomorrow (Saturday).

Kathy & Dave Whittle said...

I'm sorry you have been going through such tough times, but am glad that you are finally getting some answers. It takes a lot of courage to talk about some of our medical issues (I have anxiety), but it's so helpful for you to have love and extra support when you need it most. All your family (including extended) love you!

Calista said...

Sometimes it makes things just a little easier when you know what it is that's causing upsets in your days, even if it's not truly happy thing to know. I'm glad that you went to the doctor and had things checked out so that you can take care of yourself and your family. So very important!

Melinda said...

Wow, how difficult! Like LaNita said, we love you anyway and are totally happy to help in any way we can.

I loved your kitty cake, by the way!

CissaLynn said...

That is good news, girl!!! Knowing is the bigger part of the battle, I think! And, now, you know!!! I think you will notice a huge difference w/the medication!!! I took medicine after both my babies were born due to post-pardum (sp?) type feelings. You will never know all the people you help by telling your story!!! I bet you have already (by blogging it) helped many others! It helps to know we are not alone and that we have a support system!!! :))
Hang in there!!! I will be praying! Thank goodness, tho, for a quick diagnosis and that treatment is available!!! :))