Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by dashcat, Dec 30, 2012.

  1. dashcat

    dashcat Member

    Forgive me for posting so much on this subject, but I have to get this out somewhere.

    I know most of you know the feeling of helplessness with your difficult child's struggles, their choices, their lack of choices, and the pure insanity of dealing with a difficult child loved one. So, I know I'm not alone in this feeling at all, but it helps to vent.

    I posted earlier about difficult child's drama, the breakup, etc.

    I'm not worried - and never was, about the "breakup". The lesbian acting out isn't a source of concern to me. What I am worried about is the confused and chaotic thinking ... the vortex she is caught in, and - most important of all - her absolute refusal to at least try lithium. Her psychiatrist told her - in front of me - that bi-polar disorder is managable. He also said that it is not managable without medications. Her therapist has said the same. I know that part of the disease is a kind of tunnelvision that causes them to think that they are fine ... everyone else is nuts ... but they are fine. I understand this, but accepting it is a completely different story.

    Right now, my beautiful daughter is sleeping. She was asleep when I came home at 6:30 this evening. She was asleep when I came home at 9:30 last night. She did work an early shift this morning (6:00 a.m.until 2:00 p.m.) and works tomorow, 5 a.m. till 11:a.m. I have no idea how long she'd been asleep before I came home.

    She has not showered. She smells. All she had tonight and last night for dinner was ice cream (she bought this, not me. there is plenty of healthy food in the house - sandwich stuff leftover pasta, easy to fix stuff).

    I don't know which difficult child I will see tomorrow. Will she be stable, as she was only a few days ago? Will she be manic? Will she sleep for another twelve hours?

    She is 21 years old. She is beautiful, bright, funny, articulate, and utterly caught on the hamster wheel of unmedicated bi-polar disorder. At 21, the world seemed like a smorgassbord to me. To her, it is a prison. Why?

    Last edited: Dec 30, 2012
  2. JKF

    JKF Well-Known Member

    Oh Dash - I'm so sorry! I do know that feeling of helplessness all too well. It's a horrible, sickening feeling. I struggle with it every day although I'm trying to let it go a little. My difficult child refused lithium as well. In fact he's been completely off medications since Oct. He thinks its the medications that make him "sick". He thinks there is absolutely nothing wrong with him and that he doesn't need medications. He clearly does, and I can hear it in his voice every time I talk to him. Some days, like today, he's clearly manic. Yesterday not so much. He cycles rapidly and it scares me. He binge eats and has gained a ton of weight. He can't control impulses. Yes he's doing well in the sense that he's taking some responsibility for certain actions and our relationship is better bc he's not blaming me for everything anymore but he still needs serious help for the bipolar and his other mental health issues. Until he gets that help he too will remain on that hamster wheel and it scares the heck out of me.

    I wish I had amazing, cure all advice to give you but I don't. All I can offer is lots of hugs and support. You're not alone.
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Will she take a different mood stabilizer other than Lithium? Maybe Lithium scares her because of the connotations. Frankly, I took Lithium for two months and it made me so spacy and stupid that I almost killed it wasn't a success here. There are newer mood stabilizers that allegedly have less side effects, but I never tried a MS again after the Lithium. I am however on medication. If she has a mood disorder, she will need some sort of medication to get better. The moodswings are out of your control...kind of scary...I never get it when people with mood disorders say they aren't sick. It's pretty obvious if you are depressed or manic. But a lot of people with mood disorders won't take medication. I don't get it. Maybe she will as time goes on, but sadly you can't force it and I can only imagine how helpless you feel.

    Could you maybe talk to her about other medications? Is she maybe concerned with weight gain?

    I'm so sorry you are going through this with your daughter.
  4. dashcat

    dashcat Member

    Thanks for your hugs and support. JKF, I know you are struggling, too - and I so apprecaite your reaching out to me. It helps more than you know. MWM, I am sorry that you had such a bad experience with Lithium. I know it's different for everyone, and I want her to at least try. I am very open to different medications - I have an autoimmune disorder and managing medications and finding the right combo is a challenge I know all too well. We have to start somewhere, and it makes sense to start with the drug her psychiatrist prescribed. I do understand her reluctance, but doing nothing at all isn't the answer.
  5. Calamity Jane

    Calamity Jane Well-Known Member

    I'm sorry Dash. It could be so many things...she's too depressed right now to think about taking the next step; she doesn't want to take medications because you can't drink alcohol while on medications; she doesn't want to face the reality and acknowledging the finality of bipolar right now. Maybe she's afraid the medications won't help her. Stigma. The breakup. So many things. Even though bipolar can be manageable, it's hard to accept - also she's been making accomodations and adjustments probably for so long that she's just used to it by now. Also, she's problem. putting every bit of her energy into getting through her job shifts and she has nothing left at the end of the day to think about other serious matters.

    Dash, if you've not done so already, I'd encourage you to look into NAMI. They have so much helpful information that you, and certainly difficult child - if she was open to it - could get so much great advice and pertinent info. It will make things a little bit less scary.
  6. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hi Dash, post as much as you want about your daughter and her issues, this is the one place you can do it and get heard by others who really know what you are going through. That 'why' is a killer isn't it? It's the one question we can't answer, yet always search in vain for the answer to. I understand that in a very personal way having been born to two parents who were never diagnosed, but clearly displayed bi-polar symptoms as well as other problems which manifested in a skewered reality. Two siblings, a cousin, a niece a nephew and my only child all live in that skewered reality too. It is a sort of prison, you're right about that and for whatever reason, known only to them, they choose to stay within the confines of that prison by the choices they make. I don't know why.

    I've had a lot of help to learn how to make distinctions between what I can do, when I have to let go, how to set boundaries and when the only thing left to do is learn to accept what is. It's been very very hard at times, I've had to do this with almost every single person in my family. I suffered most when I asked myself that unanswerable question...........why?..........

    I have no answers for you. I'm just another Mom here whose heart has been permanently scarred by what I can't fix in those I love. I'm sorry, I do know how you feel. You aren't alone on this lonely road, there are quite a few of us walking beside you.............many gentle hugs............
  7. Rabbit

    Rabbit Member

    Dash- You r not alone. I know somewhat what u feel. My difficult child 3 threw her medications down the sink a year ago and refuses help. She plans to get a good job and move in with her difficult child boyfriend in September. I feel helpless too. Sending Hugs Rabbit
  8. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member away. In fact, if you think it would help I would be happy to PM you my number and I would be glad to talk to you on the phone anytime because I probably have a unique perspective as it be.

    I understand why she might not want to start with lithium. It is sort of a big gun but then I dont really know whether she runs more manic or more depressed. Lithium is the gold standard but there are other newer ones out there now that are much easier on a person's system. I would bet that someone has told her that if she is on lithium that makes her a really crazy person OR she has seen it in a movie or read it in a book. They always use lithium as the most horrible medicine around for the really crazy people. That and haldol or thorazine. And its always really crazy people who need to be in straight jackets, not those of us who are relatively normal...or so I like to think I am...lmao. at least 50% of the time I am fairly normal. (dont tell her that part)

    As far as you understanding more of what we go through, have you read An Unquiet Mind? It would do you a world of good I think. It is written by a woman with bipolar. She is a psychiatrist or a psychologist, I cant remember which one but she is so smart however she has severe bipolar. Now she has her illness under control and she works with either NIH or some place like that.

    Your daughter also needs to get involved with other young people who have bipolar or other mental illnesses. I know you live in a fairly metro area so I would hope you could access some type of support group for her. If not, look for work books.

    Now for the sleeping. Good sleep hygiene is important. She needs to nip this in the bud before she ends up like me with horrible insomnia. I would get really good black out shades for her room so that when she is supposed to sleep, it is dark for her to sleep. Also her bedroom is just for sleeping. Let her do all other activities in the rest of the house even if that means you let her have a small area of the house for her TV and computer. Then I would get one of those alarms that wake her up with daylight. It slowly turns on the lights with a light that mimics the real sunshine. This will help her circadian rhythm.

    I have no idea if I have helped or hurt or even made any sense.
  9. BKS

    BKS New Member


    I feel your anguish and helplessness. It is one thing if there is a problem that doesn't have a treatment but when help is available and it is flat out refused - that becomes something so much more painful. I know that your daughter's age plays into this as well. If she were in her 40's and had some life experience behind her, it would be different. My son is 19 and I KNOW that I feel a moral protectiveness for his welfare - even though he declares he is an adult.

    << HUGS >>

    Last edited: Dec 31, 2012
  10. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    Dash, I have no advice or nor words of wisdom - just many many gentle hugs. I am sorry you are hurting. I know how frustrating it is to see that their choices are limiting their future. We know it - we see it - but it's so hurtful when we can't make them see it. Please know you are not alone. And we all care.
  11. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    It is an awful feeling..... Hugs

    It use to be that trying to reason with an 'unreasonable' five yr old was a lost cause. It's just as useless trying to reason with an unreasonable 19 yr old, but we keep worrying, nudging them along, and trying; thinking one day the light bulb will come on in a big way.
  12. rejectedmom

    rejectedmom New Member

    I do not know why they donot want to take their medications. It makes no sence to me. My daughter told me she didn't like the way it made her feel but was unwilling to even go through the trial period or any adjustments. The medications made her hadds shake and so she stopped because "they were no good". My easy child/difficult child stays on his for me and only for me. I knowthat when he goes back to living in his own place he will stop taking them. difficult child took medications and then drank to get high. e as their parents ARE helpless in that we cannot force an adult to be medication compliant. The desire has to come from them. It stinks for us. ((Hugs)) Dash, I am so very sorry for your pain. -RM
  13. dashcat

    dashcat Member

    Thank you for your understanding and your hugs. It really does help.

    She got up last night around 10:00 and said she was hungry. I made her an omlette and sat with her while she WOLFED it down. As far as i can tell, she'd had nothing but ice cream for two days ... she may have eaten at work, but says she didn't. She said that she'd heard from the psychiatrist and her bloodwork was clear. She said she was going to call him to have a script called in. Of course, any warrior parent would understand .... this is progress, but it doesn't mean she'll do it.

    I called Ossy last night to fill him in and he said he'd see if she wanted to have lunch today. She came home for work all smiles because her dad was taking her to lunch. She was a bit less happy when he picked her up because he had his girlfriend with him. She likes her, but she never gets one on one time with her dad, and I know she was really hoping it would be the two of them. But, she took a shower and got cleaned up, so I'll count my blessings on that one.

    My niece and my sister are coming to dinner tonight and we're going to watch a movie. I know this isn't the NYE difficult child was hoping for, but she's excited that we're having company.

    When she gets home from lunch, I'm going to talk to her again about the medications. I'm going to frame it in a new years resolution kind of way.

    Hoping for the best here ...ever the pollyanna that I am.

    Janet, I did read An Unquiet Mind. It is a great book and did give me insight and understanding.
  14. SearchingForRainbows

    SearchingForRainbows Active Member


    difficult child 1 is bipolar/Aspie. He stopped taking medications as soon as he left the "nest." While I'm very proud of his accomplishments and how far he's come in a relatively short amount of time, I'm also very worried about him. He self medicates by drinking. It is a ticking time bomb for disaster...

    Like your difficult child, difficult child 1 is bright, articulate. difficult child 1 has a good heart, a good job, works hard to be able to enjoy a nice apartment, a nice car, lots of "toys," etc... However, he is living life in the fast lane, and sooner or later, I'm afraid he's going to crash...

    I work hard on staying detached, trying to focus on all the good things he is doing with his life, but it's hard. It breaks my heart if I spend too much time thinking about his drinking. It is so frustrating, painful knowing that he has the potential to lead a wonderful, fulfilling life, but wondering if he'll ever be able to reach that potential...

    Keeping my fingers crossed and hoping for the best for your daughter, my son, for all of our difficult children... Many hugs... SFR
  15. Dash - I am wondering how your difficult child is doing. Did she get the prescription like she said she would? I hope so. Did lunch with her Dad help at all? It seemed like a positive step.

    I want to thank both you and Janet for mentioning the book An Unquiet Mind. I downloaded it onto my ipad and intend to read it.

    Sometimes in searching for our own help we unwittingly help others. I am keeping you and your daughter in my thoughts and really hope that she is taking steps to get better.
  16. dashcat

    dashcat Member

    Thanks for your comments and concerns, searching and welcome ..

    As of today, she still has not had the prescription filled. She is at the todoc right now, and I am hoping she (therapist) will have some influence. Lunch with dad was ... I don't know what to think about that. He brought girlfriend along (really? can she not even have a hour alone with her dad?). He left me a VM after the lunch and said "I have a feeling she's going to be just fine." Really, Mr. Ostrich???? I LIVE with her. You take her to lunch for an hour with your girlfriend, have a nice little talk and call me to reassure me that SHE's GOING TO BE JUST FINE??? I called him back and asked him to elaborate, and he said "we told her she has to start somehwere and it makes sense to start with lithium. She aggreed. Oh, I never thought to tell her to "start somewhere", and God knows she never just placidly agreed with me before. Sheesh. He later said, I'm going to make an EFFORT to ask her to lunch ONCE A MONTH. OMG. He's living in a fantasy world. She said she had fun and the food was good. Made me laugh.

    I realize that all I can do now is wait. Hard as that is. She's in a fairly stable phase right now. Serentiy prayer time.
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2013
  17. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Must be nice to play daddy.