Monday, January 18, 2010

Fucking Horrible

Today's one of those days I cannot be eloquent. Today's one of those days I think I may lose my mind. Ava's raging and irritability are off the charts. There is no school today and so today at home is hell. She refuses to help me to help her. Refuses to use calming techniques. She's screaming and yelling and like a rabid dog. She has her little 1 year old brother in hiccuping sobs with her screaming and swinging. She's following me around the house, for 30 minutes or more, telling me she hates me, how mean I am, how stupid I am. She's swinging at me, batting at me, grabbing my shirt, my jeans. She's sticking her tongue out. She's laughing as I try continously to walk away from her. I lock myself and Jack in my bedroom. She beats the door. Screams horrible things into the door pain. She kicks the door and swears to me she'll never stop. I snap. I sob with her little brother begging her to leave me alone. Leave us alone. I swing open the bedroom door, sobbing. I scream to her to LEAVE US ALONE.

I hate her.

I do.

I hate her with every fiber of my being.

I hate this child I see in front of me.

I have no idea who she is.

I feel betrayed and tricked and abused and hopeless.

I want to snap her in half. Take her by the shoulders and shake sense into her. I feel rage rise in me and have a difficult time controling myself. I want to scream "SHUT THE FUCK UP" at the top of my lungs and throw her in her room. I hate her. I hate my life, hate the mother I am, hate the hypocrite I become during these episodes of hell. I want to combust, jump out of my skin, scream until I am hoarse.

But somehow I don't do these things. What will stop me from doing them the next time? How can I continue to hold it together? In turn, I break down and cry and cry and cry. I ask her to please leave me be and please go to her room. She sobs too. She realizes it went too far now that she sees me crying. She begs for my forgiveness. She cries out how sorry she is for her behavior. She covers her brother's sweaty head with kisses.

A half hour later her brother is still teary. As am I. She's done, she's ready to just move right along. But I cannot.

How do we live like this? How will I survive the years ahead of us? How will SHE?

No one will ever understand what happens in our home behind closed doors. You could never possibly understand that the beautiful young girl in front of you is crazy. Completely crazy. She attacks me, she hates me, she wants to hurt me. Me. I'm her mother. Everything in my being is dedicated to helping her, loving her, protecting her. And she beats me down, everyday, slowly. Until I'm worn thin. And why bother explaining to others? It's impossible to put it all into words, let along complete thoughts. And how would they understand? "You're her MOTHER", they would say. "You should love her no matter what!" And I do but it's far from that simple. I've become a beaten dog. I go back for more love from the little girl who is kind and sweet only to be kicked in the face by the beast that hides inside her. Over and over and over and . . .

What the fuck did I do wrong to deserve this? What the fuck did she do wrong to deserve this?

It's horrible. It's hell. Every day with my bipolar daughter is a trip to hell and back. One trip daily, if we're lucky.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The first years

One year ago today we welcomed our 3rd and final baby into our family. John (Jack) Mitchell was born at 7:33 am and as ecstatic as we were to welcome him into the world, he brought forth some deep and painful memories for my husband. The abuse he endured as a son himself was horrendous to put it gently. Upon discovery that baby #3 would be a boy, my husbands life was just short of being turned upside down. Would he become the evil father he had been raised by? One year later, after hours of therapy, terminating his relationship with his toxic parents as well as lots of medication for anxiety, my husband is finally free of his past. He is of course, an amazing father to both of our girls as well as our boy. And one year later, looking back, we've had one tumultuous year. Oddly enough though, I greeted today's 1 year anniversary of the birth of our third child with tears and the blues. Jack had been an amazing baby. So easy going, so sweet and gentle-natured, so calm. He cried if he was hungry or had a dirty diaper. That was it. If he was sleepy, he'd just doze off where ever he was. He simply could not have been an easier baby. He was much like the younger of his two older sisters, Ana - a very dream-like, happy baby. I relplayed years of baby memories over and over in my head all day long as Jack's birthday marked a huge milestone for me. Our baby years were over. They slipped away so quickly. And while enveloped in my grief of letting go of our baby years and the difficult year we had just completed, it suddenly occurred to me, while thinking back on all three of my kiddos baby years, that never in my life had I been so happy to celebrate Ava's 1st birthday. Wow - what a difference between the first year of her life and the first years of her siblings lives. We should have just known, from the very beginning with her - we did know but at the same time, we knew no different. We were just as naive as all first time parents. And hindsight is 20/20.

I had a pretty uneventful pregnancy with Ava, outside of severe nausea and gaining 60+ pounds to my previously tiny stature. At 37 weeks we took a belly shot/picture and within a flash of a camera, my life was never the same. The flash from the camera was the catalyst to a strange sort of migraine headache that day. Which turned into seeing spots and then led to me having trouble speaking. We called my OBGYN immediately and went directly to the ER. 24 hours later I was diagnosed with preeclampsia and Ava was delivered via c-section at 8:32 pm November 9, 2002. My preeclampsia was treated with Magnesium for 48 hours and so the first two days of Ava's life is quite blurry for me as Magnesium provokes a sort of high - not a good high though. We brought her home to our small apartment and cuddled with her in bed. All three of us snuggled together, it was wonderful. Ava was your average newborn until about 7 weeks of age. Then began the crying. The non-stop crying. Colic was an understatement. Our poor child had gas like you would not believe. Her poor tummy was so often distended and no amount of baby gas drops did a thing to help. I recall one 3 day stint where she cried, non-stop for those 72 hours. We trudged through those days and nights knowing it was craziness but also knowing we had no choice but to just get through it. There was NOTHING that calmed her. Not my breast, rocking, swaying, sleeping, patting, bouncing, singing, nothing. We even had one pediatrician who prescribed a light sedative for her! I'm sure this was more for our sanity than for her health as he looked into the crazed sleep deprived eyes of my husband and I as we asked, "WHAT is wrong with her?!!!" We used it once and quite honestly didn't see much difference. She was a bit more calm, a little less crying, but nothing significant. Then one day by chance, we ran a bath for her and she stopped crying instantly. We turned the water off. The crying returned. Turned the water back on. The crying stopped. We had a heck of a water bill that month until I found a CD online that contained the recording of running water. By the end of her 4th month I could not believe that that CD was not too worn to from the repeat button on that CD player. Once Ava hit about 5 months old she was the happiest baby around. Big huge smiles and big belly laughs. I feel like the only time in her life she's had peace was between 5-27 months. Then 2 years old really hit. Like a ton of bricks. And issues began to surface.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Restraint

So, ironically enough after posting my first post - the very next night marked the first of restraining our 7 yo. Our life as parents with a BP child have peaked. No fun. She kept hitting my poor hubby in the face and so I warned her if she did it again we'd have to restrain her. Welllll, she did it again and so I held her to the ground but before I could get her there, she head-butted me slam into my right cheek. Oww. As I held her she calmed down. Or came down perhaps is a better way to describe it. She cried and cried knowing she'd hurt me. The heartache from this is sometimes unbearable. She sat up and cried, "Mama, I'm so sorry, please tell me you forgive me. I wish I could take it back. I'm so sorry. Why am I such a bad girl. I hurt so bad inside, please take it away." My husband and I held her together, in tears, wishing we could take it all away. She quieted soon after and I tucked her in bed like any other calm and 'normal' 7 yo. I lay with her for a bit as she squeezed me tight, apologizing again and again. Finally she drifted to sleep. I lay there awake and cried silent tears thinking the only peace she ever has is when she sleeps. It's not fair.

And so tonight was night #2 of restraints. We held her until she calmed. We let her go and she sat at the kitchen table yelling at us, "You hate me, you're so mean to me. You probably never even wanted me." At that we had to stop her. We then told the story of how she came to be and how excited we were to be pregnant, to find out she was a girl, to name her, to fold her newborn clothes nightly before she was born, to nurse her, to love her - and slowly she snapped out of it. Brian scooped her up and she rested her head on his shoulder. We told her how much we loved her now, no matter what, no matter what she said or did. We loved her good parts and not so good parts. We never stopped. I hope she heard us. I hope she listened and absorbed it. Brian tucked her in bed and laid with her a bit as usual to be sure she was asleep. And just like that the storm was over. But we know it will all return again tomorrow.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Dawn

Something came over me yesterday suddenly, out of no where. I should start a blog. A blog about being the Mama of an amazing 7 year old little girl, Ava. Ava is beautiful, highly intelligent, kind, considerate, an amazing big sister, articulate, creative, polite, sensitive and a dancer. Ava also has Bipolar Disorder.

Here you will find a day in the life of a parent who has a child with a mood disorder. Think mood disorders in children are nothing but B.S. and an excuse for poor parenting skills and spoiled children? Think again and continue to read.

My hope is that in the years to come this disorder will become accepted as a diagnosis in children and that other parents will not struggle for years to find out exactly what is wrong with their child. My hope is that other parents of bipolar children will find me here and know this: You are not alone.