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A First Time For Everything

April 11, 2011 8 comments

I’m having a bit of blogger’s block, so I thought I would pull this out of the archives. As a lot of you may already know, I have Bi-Polar Disorder. I found this out in September of 2010, although I have probably suffered from it for most of my life. While driving to work one day last September, during a particularly bad morning for me, I had what the doctors told me was a mixed episode. During this mixed episode, I was both manic and depressed, a very dangerous combination for anyone who experiences it. As a result, I spent 4 days in a hospital psychiatric ward under suicide watch. A few months ago I decided to write about it, but I have only shared what I wrote with my partner. Now I have decided to share it with the rest of you. Without further adieu, I give you “A First Time For Everything.”

A First Time for Everything

“Baby? Where are you?”

My wailing serves as a reply

“Baby I’m getting in the car now, stay on the phone ok?”

“Ok” I whisper in between sobs.

“Please tell me where you are.”

The fear is evident in her voice.

“I’m at the rest area off the highway.”

The pain is evident in mine.

“Which rest area sweetie?”

“The one by work, how did I get back here?”

“I know which one, are you ok?”

“I don’t know how I got here, I see lots of trucks.”

My shrieking escalates, I feel reality ebbing away.

“Who’s going to pick up our son at day care?”

“Honey he’s 16, he’s in high school.”

“Oh”

“I’m at the rest area, where are you?”

“I see lots of trucks.”

She pulls up; I cling to her for dear life.

“We’re going to the hospital, ok?”

“Will you call Ernie and tell him?”

“Baby, Ernie hasn’t been your boss for four years.” “Arnold is your boss now.”

“Oh.”  The car is moving now.

My mom talks to me as the car rolls along.

“Did you call my mom?”

“Your mom has been dead for 30 years sweetie.”

“Oh.” The sobs return.

We pull into the E.R. parking lot, I hear music.

“Honey, are we at a carnival?” “I hear music.”

“No baby, we’re at the hospital.”

“What the fuck are we doing here?”

“Your having an episode baby, we need to get you some help.”

“Oh.” I sink back into delusion.

The triage nurse asks “do you feel like hurting yourself?”

“Every day” My chin sinks back into my chest.

“Do you have a plan?”

My eyes sparkle, my head rises. “I have a lovely spot picked out on the highway.” “ I’m going to drive into it.”

My gaze focuses on my feet again.

“Sounds like a plan to me.” “We need to admit him for a few days.”

“To the psyche ward?” “That’s a first.”

A Father and Son Disorder: Bi Polar Opposites.

October 7, 2010 1 comment

Bi polar disorder is a mood disorder that was labeled as manic depression in the past. It can be a crippling disorder when not diagnosed and treated properly. Bi polar disorder can cause drastic mood swings ranging from suicidal (depression), to homicidal (manic). In the past, it was thought to be more of an environmental disorder than genetic. Doctors who are extensively studying mood and thought disorders are now providing research results that these thought and mood disorders can indeed be genetic as well as environmental. An article I came across discusses the results of this research, as well as the possibilities of passing the disorders on through inheritance.

 

The article written by Tanja Meece states that geneticists now believe that there are “links between the GRK-3 gene and chromosomes 4, 6,13,15,18 and bipolar disorder in the case of chromosome 6” (Meece 2010). She also states that bipolar disorder may have not been “selected out” in the course of human evolution because a lot of the symptoms such as creativity, and high productivity are a positive trait in small amounts (Meece 2010). She further writes that 50% of all mental health patients have at least one parent suffering from a mood disorder. When outside sources such as drug abuse, physical illness, poor diet, etc come into play, the influence on someone predisposed to mood or thought disorders is tremendous (Meece 2010).

 

Bi polar disorder is an important topic to me because both my 16 year old son and I have recently been diagnosed with it. I have suffered from it for most of my life, without ever knowing what was really wrong. When I sought help in the past most doctors would only throw anti depressants at me without taking the time to find out what was truly causing my mental anguish. I recently spent four days in the hospital under suicide watch when I experienced what has been labeled as a “mixed episode,” in which mania and depression strike a person at the same time. The results are often catastrophic for the patient if they do not seek help immediately. I am currently on 400 ml of Seroquel, an anti psychotic drug that has been found to be relatively successful for both mood and thought disorders. It has helped, but it is not a panacea. In fact just yesterday, I experienced another episode at work in which I lost time for 45 minutes. I spent that time holding a staple puller in one hand, while tracing major veins and arteries on my arm and neck. When I realized what I was doing I completely broke down and immediately contacted my wife, psychiatrist and counselor. They were all very supportive and managed to talk me “down from the ledge.” At this point, the best I can do is take each day a few minutes at a time.

 

My son is prone to fits of mania; during such an episode last week, he pulled a knife on me and threatened to kill me. We had him arrested on domestic violence charges, and committed to children’s hospital here in Cincinnati. I think his episode was the primary cause of my latest episode. His levels of violence and rage have consistently escalated with each rageful manic occurrence. I’m not sure when I’ll get him back, if ever.

 

The reason I believe that mood and thought disorders are genetic is not only because of my son’s challenges that I’ve evidently passed down to him; my mother, her sister, in addition to their mother suffered from mood disorders as well. All three have spent time in mental health facilities. In my mother’s case, her mood disorder drove her to suicide in 1980. Before her suicide she displayed some classic bi polar tendencies. Manic one moment spending money we didn’t have on eating out, toys for me, as well as drugs and alcohol. The next moment, she would be in such despair that she would have to go to the emergency room or self medicate. As time goes by I see so much of my mother in me, and it terrifies me to no end. My mother took her life when she was 38 years old. I’m 45 years old now, and I’m holding on for dear life. I don’t want to die, but sometimes the little voice telling me it’s ok to die can be very convincing. Thanks to my wonderful partner Michelle and my mental health providers, I’m learning to cope and maybe someday overcome my challenges. I can only hope that my son may someday become capable of doing the same. I miss the happy little boy who watched Brave Little Toaster every night before bed. The sense of loss I feel for him can be overwhelming.

 

References

Meece, T.J. (2010). Bi polar disorder and heredity. Retrieved from http://bipolar.about.com/gi/o.htm?zi=1/XJ&zTi=1&sdn=bipolar&cdn=health&tm=19&gps=98_259_1129_634&f=00&tt=14&bt=0&bts=0&zu=http%3A//bipolarworld.net/Bipolar%2520Disorder/Articles/heredity.htm