Writings from the Mother of Bipolar Bandit Part 3: My Daughter’s Diagnosis and my Reaction

mom and me for blog
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
Michelle has bipolar disorder and is willing to share her struggles in hopes that others will be helped by them.
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About Michelle Clark Bipolar Bandit

I am a strong advocate for the mentally ill and have been since I was first approached by a lawyer in a psychiatric facility as a teenager. He wanted me to help him fight how the mentally ill are mistreated. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at the age of 17 after a full blown manic episode. Before that, I suffered from debilitating depression for 4 years. My goals are to help others by sharing my story and providing tips to deal with mania and depression. I often write blogs related to advocating for people like myself. I want to encourage, inspire, and educate those with #bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses and also include inspirational #quotes. I founded the group Advocates for People with Mental Illnesses and the page Mental Health Advocates United and have several social media sites that are related to bipolar disorder and/or advocacy. If you are an advocate or would like to be, I hope you join our FB group: Advocates for People with Mental Illnesses
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One Response to Writings from the Mother of Bipolar Bandit Part 3: My Daughter’s Diagnosis and my Reaction

  1. cj schlottman says:

    Sue, I want to thank you for sharing your moving story. It speaks to all of us mothers who are struggling to be the best parents we can in light of our challenges with adult children with mental illness. Your advice to fiercely advocate for our loved ones is especially important. I have learned to question, even confront, mental health professionals when I know in my heart that their decisions about my son’s treatment are not in his best interest. Thanks again, cj

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