Friday, September 7, 2012

About the title

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?
Unfortunately, yes.

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.  

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