Single Moms Raising Autistic Sons

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Friday, October 19, 2012

Bipolar Quandary

Who knows what it is like to be so on edge that every little thing sets you off? To be so depressed that you can't even laugh when your child laughs? To not find joy in life but to just go through the motions day to day looking for something to satisfy that need to be "normal" but then not really knowing what "normal" is. Having had so many manic days for years and suppressing them with meds to stabilize myself so that I could function and sleep worked for awhile but then my body gets used to the drugs and builds up a tolerance to them and I have to move on to something else. I then become manic again or I become depressed or I cycle between the two even in one day.

My thoughts wander like wild horses on the range and I can't help but to think about how things might have been different had I been a sane individual and perhaps been a more nurturing mother. What if I had been more prepared but of course I was in the FBI and had just been assaulted so I guess that there was no real way that I could have been prepared. I often wonder if my mental illness played a part in me being in the FBI, I crazy does one have to be to work undercover doing drug sting operations? In hindsight, that was really stupid! And then there's Griffin's dad who I met back then. I should have known he was going to be a loser. But I think that by being bipolar my better judgement was NOT better. In fact, I had no good judgement at all. I was not medicated and I was manic making poor decisions. Sometimes I reflect and I blame myself, I beat myself up for those decisions even though I know that I shouldn't, I am no longer that woman and she didn't know what she was doing at the time.

This has been my journey folks of being bipolar for so many years, experimenting with so many different drugs with several different doctors until I finally have found the right one who has helped me become stable. All these years of trying to cope with Griffin's meltdowns while having my own at the same time....the screaming and inappropriate behavior on both our parts. I have self medicated with alcohol and thank goodness I stopped that 3 years ago and I stopped smoking too so I have made great strides to self improvement thanks to myself and to my doctor.

But I did it all for Griffin because he is my universe, he is who I live for! Griffin, I hope that one day you will read this and perhaps be proud of your mom just because I am your mom not for what I have done but for who I am. I hope that you can look across to me, not up to me, and see me as a fellow human who has loved you unconditionally through my mental illness and that I hope that you can forgive me for all the words that I have spoken in anger that I did not mean that I have apologized for because it came from my heart.

My mental illness has taken me on a journey that I did not ask for and it has rendered me not necessarily helpless but at its mercy on many occasions. I have fought it rigorously but without the right medications it is all in vain and when I try to stop my anger or mania or sadness it is out of control until my doctor finds the right combination of medication to counteract those strong emotions. Then it is a matter of experimenting with the new drugs and sometimes it can be very frustrating. In the meantime I have to cope with Griffin and his behaviors.

Griffin tends to pick up on it when I am having a hard time with my emotions and he is even worse with his behaviors. Or maybe it is that I am just slack on my parenting skills with him when I am having a hard time therefore he acts out more. People who do not know any better say that I should spank Griffin for his behaviors especially because he hits me.....c'mon people, you do not hit a child and teach them to hit while telling them to not hit someone else! And you do not hit an autistic child! Spanking an autistic child does not work. I may have mental illness and get angry to the point of losing my cool but I do know not to hit Griffin because spanking him is counterproductive. I have to use positive reinforcement.

The love that I have for Griffin keeps me sane and gives me a purpose in life. I don't care that there are problems every now and then....he is so worth every moment!

Mental illness is so misunderstood I hope that you will think about it twice when you see someone who is afflicted or hear a story that you might find compassion in your heart to understand his/her situation. That he/she might be experiencing pain and anguish or any other negative emotion that may be beyond his/her control. Reach out and offer a hug if they are open to it because that show of affection would make the day of one individual which could in turn light the day of another then another and so on and so on.....

I know that when Griffin gives me a hug my anguish dissipates and all I can see is his beautiful smile, suddenly all I can think about is his unconditional love and how grateful I am for it.


jazzygal said...

Oh Lora, how difficult it has been for you. And how brave you are to share your experience because you're right, people need to think twice when it comes to mental illness. This I know as my mother is also bi-polar. Please don't be so hard on yourself as regards not being a 'nurturing mother' or being 'slack in your parenting skills'.... we've all had those days, believe me! you're a great mum with such an interesting previous career.Stay strong :-)

xx Jazzy

Chris P-M said...

Holy cow have been through so much! I was just noticing that you've also recently undergone knee surgery and a hospitalization for infection. Ugh.

Mental illness runs in my family as well (my father was hospitalized for depression, and there is bipolar illness on that side as well.) You have so much insight....I think that is half the battle.

Keep pressing on!

Unknown said...

What a beautiful post! I’m moved by how much you love your son and the effort you give to be a better person for him. It is a long shot, but you made it through because of the love you have for Griffin. I know that will be a long fight, but keep holding on. And when you are down, just remember that you have a wonderful son who can give you happiness and love. :-) [Russell Dill]