Hi. I am a fat 35 year old woman. I have ADHD. I am also bipolar. And I have four little boys. That's right, FOUR BOYS. And I am therefore, also a mom. Thus the title: ADHDbipolarmom
I have anxiety too, but adding that would have made the title too long. I have other quirks, but I really couldn't put them all or no one would ever be able to remember the name of my blog.
Before I get into how I know I have these things, I want to preface it with this: I am happy NOW. It has been a long hard journey, but as of right now (September 2012) I am balanced and happy. No, I'm not giddy all the time. But I feel - "normal". Everyone has their own place that feels that way, but it basically comes down to that I can handle the stressors and happinesses I am handed right now. (I know, happinesses is not a word. So sue me.)
It is hard for me to share these things because of the continuing archaic prejudice against anyone who has any sort of mental disorder. I am afraid people will think less of me. But for those I’ve already shared this with they have found help and hope in finding they (or a loved one) are not alone in struggling with something like this. So I write this not just for me, but for them. To those that will think less of me for it, well, I will just have to let that be your problem. I already have too many on my plate.
I didn't get diagnosed with bipolar disorder until I was 32. I'd just had my 4th baby boy and I'd sunk into yet another deep depression. This one was different though; I couldn't get my head above water ever. I was drowning. The suicidal thoughts were so pervasive that fighting them off was taking every last ounce of strength I had, and with four little boys I didn't have much strength left for me to start with.
When I finally decided to try to explain to my husband just how bad it really was I had a panic attack. I'm sure you've heard of those, and how some people mistake them for heart attacks. They do feel like a heart attack. My chest constricted, I couldn't breathe, and I was in pain! Then my vision began going black around the edges and then closed into complete blackness as I fell to the floor. I struggled to breathe while I felt like someone had just put a 10 ton weight on my chest. Eventually I passed out. I came back to in a few minutes, explained more to my husband how the suicidal thoughts were pressing on me nearly every 5 minutes now, and then had another (smaller) panic attack. My husband finally got how serious it was and got me to a doctor: my OB/GYN. That doctor started me on a prescription and insisted that I see a psychiatrist as soon as possible.
A few weeks later I saw my psychiatrist for the first time. I went in sobbing and shaking. I was wringing and clenching my hands repeatedly. In short, I looked like I felt: a total mess.
He diagnosed me with mood disorder (bipolar) and anxiety. I'll go into details in another post about the conversation (as much as I remember) in another post.
A few months later he diagnosed me with ADHD as well.
Did I suddenly develop these? No. I've had them my whole life. Did anyone know that? I don't know that they knew the proper terms, but I'm sure people saw the traits and thought, "Oh, that's just Elona. That's just how she is..."
I wasn't really surprised with the diagnoses. I was disappointed. I was hoping it was just postpartum depression. Guess not. Now the doc wanted me to take some serious medications. But I was nursing a newborn! Could I take the medicines and keep nursing? I was seriously worried. So I researched. I talked to doctors. And I decided to nurse the baby AND give him a bottle every so often too. And it worked. And he is fine. Really. I promise. (so far…)
And my life is different, but still the same. I’m still me, but now I’m more self-aware. The medicine does not change who I am anymore than insulin changes who a diabetic is.
Does it fix my conditions? No.
Does it help? Yes. Very, very much.
I am in awe of my former self who worked 10-100 times harder at everything to accomplish anything at all. I get more done now, but it is easier to do so most of the time. Easier, but not easy. And not even always easier.
Do I still get depressed even though I am on meds?
Do I still get manic even though I am on meds?
Yes. (woohoo! ummm…. Wait…. No… not woohoo. I think….)
Do I still do stupid ADHD things that mess up my life (and others’ lives too)?
Yes. *facepalm* <hangs head in shame>
I’ll be writing about my journey through this stuff, and aow I found out I had these conditions. I will write my reflections on the past with a different outlook knowing more about me now (i.e. why I was clinically depressed at age 7). And I will write about all the strange, silly, awesome, stupid, clever things I do now.
Feel free to ask questions. I’ll try to answer them. But bear in mind that I am my own little snowflake, and even with the same diagnosed conditions anyone else is unlikely to have all the same symptoms, problems, and strengths that I do.