There is never a day where we can predict, upon waking, what mood will strike. It could be fun and silly, or wails and shrieking. The only way to find out is to get up.
It would be great if Genea could submit a scaled number prior to going to bed. (1) being awesome and (10) being the hardest, she could give us a slip of paper saying tomorrow will be an (8). Surely someone could invent an app for that. Along with the alarm in the morning, a number would flash on the screen. Grit your teeth, today is going to suck! Or, get your giggles ready, tomorrow is scheduled to be a (3)!
Bipolar Disorder is never something we can forget about. No relaxing with a day off. Even when Genea seems stable we have to watch, try to anticipate, and wrap our daily choices around predictable triggers.
She's had a rough few months and I'm struggling with what to do. She takes a medication that she started about 2 years ago. This one medication has made an immense difference. While other meds have helped, they typically fade after about 3 months and lose all "power" after about six. This has been the one that has helped and kept going.
The recommended top dose is 6 milligrams and she is currently on 2 mg. If I call her psychiatrist and ask for an increase in dosage, he'll probably go to 2.5. Being as this is the one and only thing that has worked long term I feel like I should be hoarding the increases. 7 more years until she turns 18 and can legally make these decisions for herself, for whatever that's worth. If I'm crawling across the desert with one big sip of water left, should I wait until I am almost dead to drink it? Or should I use the last of it to push me on a little further than I could have gone otherwise, even if that means I might run out too soon?
Of course a medication increase is not up to me. However when I describe recent changes, that is most likely what her psychiatrist will do. I'm not interested in, god forbid, adding another medication. It's a tremendous gift that Genea's psychiatric team considers me a deciding part of the package. I read so often about parents who are rigidly told, instead of consulted.
The nature of Bipolar Disorder is how it cycles. The current low that we're in has been going a little over four months- and 3 months is typical for her. She should have pulled out of it by now. I thought she was on the upturn for a week or so until the violence returned just recently. But sometimes the lows ebb away on their own. Well, not often. Ok, maybe once. And it's possible I miscounted. Somehow though, despite 7 years of this, I hold on to hoping. Probably stupid.
Am I letting her brain damage itself? Marinating in neurological chemicals equivalent to pouring gasoline on a burning building? Is it better to increase an outside chemical with potential side effects that may or may not have long term effects?
I find myself glad I stalled signing her up for extra performance lessons in May. When her control cannot be relied on inside the house, I do not let her participate in extra things outside the house. That's always been my criteria anyway. We might do short term, inexpensive activities where if she has to miss or if she blares symptoms over a metaphorical loudspeaker, we can back out, social damage minimized.
Between the ups and downs are periods of reasonably expressed emotion. Its hard, almost as hard as the severe parts, to see balance. Because if it's in there, where does it go? Where the fuck does it go?
Then of course there is "the line" conversation I have with myself constantly. What line is this crossing? Is this a RAD thing? A puberty thing? Is is Bipolar or that she's 11 or that she's sick or tired or what?
And the other line of my own making. Who am I to sit here with the luxury of my (presumably) logical brain thinking up all this shit to worry about? The child needs help. Get her the goddam help.