Michelle was diagnosed with bipolar disorder 30 years ago.
Michelle started having periods of deep depression when she was about 13. We explored every avenue we could, complete with environmental testing,and psychotherapy.
At age 17 we experienced Michelle’s first manic episode. It was almost a relief to finally have a diagnosis and medication she could take that would stabilize her mood. We were hopeful the worst was behind us.
Michelle had gorgeous hair, thick and curly. The morning before she became full blown manic I awakened to see that she had cut off all her hair. I am not proud of my reaction. For me this was the straw that broke the camels back. I still remember the shock ,pain and sick feeling I had. Shortly, I was back to mother/nurse and trying to figure out what to do next. Of course , calling and getting an immediate appointment with the so called expert/ psychiatrist was and still remains out of the question.
By the next morning we were on our way to the ER and got the diagnosis of bipolar disorder.
I remember with such sad and empty feeling having to leave our dear daughter at the hospital in the care of others.
She came crashing down and was deeply depressed for weeks. It was difficult for her sisters. They were afraid of her frequent mood swings and embarrassed by her bizarre haircut.
Luckily we had good insurance for mental health so did take family to counseling several times but all were at different stages of accepting and understanding bipolar illness.
(Prior to computers in every home) ..I made many trips to the library and found myself borrowing anything I could get my hands on to learn about Bipolar disorder. I transferred to working on a psych unit so that I could pick everyone’s brains, trying to find the best doctor and what meds should be avoided.
Again, let me just say… no matter what anyone tells you or what their degree is. You MUST advocate for your loved one and educate yourself. NEVER be intimidated by a Dr telling you that you are not compliant. If you have strong feelings about whatever the Dr is trying to sell then go with those feelings. No two people are alike nor should all treatment be the same for every person. Read , talk to your Pharmacist ,research on line.
You are your loved ones best chance at not just surviving but thriving.
Gods blessings to all. – Sue, Michelle’s Mother