I got a comment on my blog recently that I wanted to share with you (It’s kind of long, so bear with me. I have used R. for the daughter’s name to protect anonymity):
“Apart from a month where my daughter R. was very fragile and in need of respite care away from the home to settle down again not long after we relocated…R. has been great . I must note that R. and I had talked about the probability of her becoming fragile because of the stress of the move so we had made contingency plans re contacting her mental health team and directing the transfer of her mental and medical details before we relocated – set up a meeting with her mental health team when we arrived , informed them 1 week after our arrival that R. was experiencing real difficulties and pushing to have R. accepted as an acute case into respite.
But today I awoke a whole new ball game. R. has not slept for 24 hours. This morning she informed me cheerily that she had not slept last night – and how did I respond- I pushed the panic button – such a dumb idea!!! I yelled at her about that being a dumb thing today and if she wasn’t careful I would ring up her mental health team pronto!!!!!!! And of course she jumped down my throat – she not only hyperactive at this point but a tad irritable!!! Realising there would be no way out of this dead end I had started in my panic – I left her at home without further argument….BUT…..Then I felt so guilty then I began to get really really anxious at work – and THEN I remembered why I had persuaded R. to move ……..MORE FAMILY SUPPORTERS.
So I put PLAN SUPPORT into place I rang her brother- he told me to settle down – that I wasn’t a bad person, that number 1 importance…I needed to look to my own health situation first(very high anxiety state)and my job was to settle that down swiftly. He would talk to his sister – they have a closer relationship and she does listen to him. My son rang me back a while later having contacted R. and elicited a plan of action from her. She was going to have a quiet day at home
and have a sleep and that if things had not improved by tonight then it would be Plan C the involvement of her Mental Health Care Team. I know its absolutely not R.’s fault at all and its not mine either, the episodes come… just like that… It is the nature of the Beast called Bipolar.”
Now, first of all…It’s easy to look from an outsider’s point of view and point fingers at someone else’s reaction to their situation, because maybe you think you might’ve done things differently if you were her, but I don’t want you to do that. I just want to look at this email objectively.
This is a mom struggling with her daughter’s bipolar disorder. And the daughter, too, is obviously struggling. Most obviously, with a current manic episode due to lack of sleep. Lack of sleep can be a trigger to a manic episode. But they have both just also faced a major move, which can also be a trigger to a bipolar episode.
But one thing the mom did right was try to prepare ahead of time, as she talked about in the email. That was a good thing.
She also, seeing that her daughter was “fragile,” said that she “set up a meeting with her mental health team when we arrived , informed them 1 week after our arrival that R. was experiencing real difficulties and pushing to have R. accepted as an acute case into respite.” That was a good thing too.
But then something bad happened. Her daughter didn’t sleep for 24 hours and told her so. Then
she says, “…and how did I respond- I pushed the panic button – such a dumb idea!!! I yelled at her about that being a dumb thing today and if she wasn’t careful I would ring up her mental health team pronto!!!!!!!”
This caused a fight between them, which wasn’t a good thing. It’s easy for us to see as outsiders that this woman should not have “pushed the panic button” and should have been more understanding of her daughter not sleeping.
But then she tried to turn things around, at least. She put PLAN SUPPORT into place, and called her son. He gave her good advice, primarily to take care of herself.
Then she says, “My son rang me back a while later having contacted R. and elicited a plan of action from her. She was going to have a quiet day at home and have a sleep and that if things had not improved by tonight then it would be Plan C the involvement of her Mental Health Care Team.”
There would be a Plan C if things didn’t work out the way they planned, and that, too, is a good thing. You should always have a backup plan.
Then she ends by saying she doesn’t blame her daughter for her episode, and I want to stress that point. It truly isn’t your loved one’s fault, and it’s good to remember that. Much of their behavior is due to their bipolar disorder. It’s also good to remember, as this woman says, that it’s not your fault, either.
Well, I have to go!