I have dealt with debilitating depression since I was a child, although at that time I had no word for it. I knew I didn’t feel write, didn’t seem to feel happy the way the other kids did. By high school I’d developed severe social anxiety that has only gotten worse over the years.
Recently my doctor changed my diagnosis from clinical depression to bipolar with hypo-manic episodes. I’m the kind of person that stays depressed for long period of times then suddenly has a week where I feel really good and want to take on the world. I don’t go overboard with the manic stuff, but I do a lot of out-of-character things for me. It was my getting a tattoo back in October that made me realize something was up.
Right now I’m in the process of weaning off of certain anti-depressants and easing into some bipolar meds. It’s not going very well and causing me to feel a little nutty. So dealing with my thirteen-year-old daughter who also has mental illness problems has become an ordeal.
She’s been diagnosed (well, her counselor at school and her primary care doctor both agree) with depression and anxiety. Whether a therapist said it or not doesn’t really matter because it’s obvious she suffers from both. Her anxiety is more general whereas mine is mostly social. I have a feeling she’s bipolar, too. My dad has been saying for a long time he’s manic-depressive. That’s another way of saying bipolar. Looking back a lot of his actions when I was growing up fit the description of the illness.
Trying to deal with my daughter’s mood swings isn’t easy when I’m already a mess in my head. We get into screaming matches. Well, mostly she screams at me and I try to ignore her so I won’t say something I regret. When I do yell it’s because I have to get loud to be heard over her tantrums (which can flip on at any second over any trivial little thing).
We both need to be in therapy, but even with our medical insurance, we just don’t have the money. So far the best way I’ve learned to cope is to stay in my room and try not to piss her off. It works to a point. Night time is the worst. Right around bedtime she suddenly feels a need to scream at me in the face and tell me everything I’ve ever done wrong.
And call me Satan.
That makes her laugh.
Honestly I’ll take the new name if it gets her to quit screeching at me. With my meds not set yet my head is too muddled up to deal with her.