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Mother of a bipolar daughter
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kcstar70 posted:
Ok I am grasping at straws at this point to help my daughter. She is 18 and was diagnosed this year. It finally gave me an explanation as to her entire childhood. Our lives have always been in turmoil because of her illness. Now that we finally know what has been going on with her it seems to be getting worse.We have a very good psychiatrist, i think anyway, she has been on 3 or 4 different medications, she is on Geodone now with Zoloft, xanax, and clonozopan? Anyway, she is a depressed zombie. She lays on the couch everyday, the sparkle in her eyes is gone and she has no motivation for anything. I want to fix her but I know I cant and I am at a loss as to what I can so to help her. I know she cant be "cured" but there has to be something more to her life than this. I work all day so she is home alone which I know cant be good, she refuses to learn more about the disease and what others in her situation are doing to help themselves. I get very inpatient with her and her doc has told me i need to be, it is hard to watch your daughter go through this when her whole life I just want her to be happy. Can anyone offer any suggestions as to what I can do to help her control this and lead a "normal" life, whatever that is..
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DizzyJgirl responded:
How long has she been on this combination of meds? I used to be on klonopin and it made me tired. My pdoc (psychiatrist), said all meds in that class have that effect. So if she is on Xanax and something like Klonopin, I just wonder about how tired that is making her. My dr put me on serax for anxiety. Well, I might as well take an ambien because all it does is knock me out. I rarely take it.

Unfortunately, it took me a long time to find the right combination of meds. But once I did...what a difference it made. That process is a frustrating one though.

I also found therapy important. There are also support groups around, though I personally haven't done that.

I know it is hard and frustrating and worrysome. I have been where your daughter is, and I know it isn't fun. But I also know it is possible to get the proper meds and help. And just so you know, I thought my first pdoc was good. Until I had to change to another one...wow..that opened my eyes and made me see the 1st one wasn't all that great.

Take care.
 
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ph5678 responded:
Hi my name is sonya and i have bipolar to...I have been diagnosed with bipolar since the age of 15,I am now 35years old,and if there is one thing i know that is my illness..there is something that i really need you to know.the doctors will put your daughter threw the ringer with medication,it is your job untill your daughter gets out of the denial state of mind,to look into all the diffrent medications out there,they will just put your daughter on anything they want...you as her mom cannot allow them to do that,,,trust me i know....i am on one medication and one only that is lithum........because i dont want like a zombie and i still like feeling like myself.....please take a look at all the medications your daughter is on,none of them are good for her at all none of them....unfortunally your daughter is in denial,...just like i was....ma'm it takes awhile for someone to like us to addmit that there is something wrong with us,it took me many years,because i just wanted to be normal like everyone else,and when the doctor say's your not,wow cannot explain the feeling only your daughter would know.....now there are so many thing that you can do,one of them is to take a look at all the diffrent programs that they have,now for me being in and out of the programs most of my life,there are some thats good and some that will not help at all,search..... you will come across something for her...another thing is you have to get her off that medication its to much and not nessacery please take the time to look more into what they are supplying her with... people like us dont like it when people baby us,or act diffrent because there something wrong with us,and we dont like it when you;es all try to help all the time,she should not be alone at all,not at all it will just make her worse..she needs to be around people at all times....the thoughs that we have are not good,someone should always be with her....and one last thing ma'm if she gets to bad you might have to admit her,and trust me my mom had done it quite a few times and boy do i thank her,so just a few tips for you...prayer works wonders.....god bless.hope everything works out..and it will
 
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lamp1361 responded:
Hi,

My daughter was just diagnosed bipolar. My son went on lithium eight years ago and he is still in denial, but takes wellbutrin to stave off the numbing depressions which strike from time to time. And I too, am manic depressive.

I take klonopin and find it to cause depression if I've upped my dosage. I can't imagine the effect of xanax and klonopin. That combo in particular needs tweeking.

It is very difficult to have a bipolar child who's in denial. My heart goes out to you. It makes sense that you need to be the vigilant one when your daughter refuses to take care of herself, but it's tricky when she's an adult now in the eyes of the law. With my kids, I'm trying not to press the you're-a-bipolar button. It angers them. It's like I have to be a much smoother animal using milder, less direct language.

She needs a whole host of coping mechanisms. She needs to go to bed at the same time and awaken at the same time. She needs exercise and a balanced diet. Therapy works great for me. Hopefully she's open to that. She may burn through a few therapists before she finds one she likes. I believe she needs some connection to her soul--that could mean a hike, music, church, prayer, etc. She's feeling a lot of shame and needs to know she is more than her disorder.

I think it'll help you if you educate yourself. "A Brilliant Madness" by Patty Duke really taught me a lot about the illness.

Know I am with you in spirit.

Lisa
 
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hope7951 responded:
Well, xanax and clonozopan are both highly addictive anti-anxiety meds that do nothing but mask problems. Taking both of them - not on an asneeded basis but consistently will turn you into an addicted vegetable.

Zoloft is an anti-depressant. Geodone is an atyipcal anti-psychotic used as a mood stabilizer especially when lots of mania is present. You might have a great pdoc but I'd question this mix considering how you are describing your daughter. She sounds over medicated.

Bipolar is a genetic illness and with the right meds people live ordinary or more often better than ordinary lives. meds alone won't bring on wellness. They just correct partially some of the physical problems of the nerve connections so you can do therapy to teach yourself to cope better with life and distinguish bipolar thoughts/feeling from reality. Even then you can't get well if you have things in your life that are not good. People who self-med with drugs and alcohol, don't ear right, ignore sleep, don't exercise, don't solve the things around them that are wrong won't get well.

Your daughter can certainly have a life, just not with the present approach yopu are using for her illness. Bipolar is not a excuse for anything that is wrong with your life. I'd start with an MD and get her a complete physical to rule out other physical factors like her thyroid or hormones that could be way off. Then I'd get her into full treatment, not just meds to dope her to the gills. It does not have to be like this. I was diagnosed in 1980 and have a whole full life. Get your daughter better treatment now. Joye
 
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shania09 responded:
Hi, since I am on this site, I am to bipolar, and am type 2, which is a lesser extent on bipolar 1, and is mostly major depression, then the manic part. Anyway, I took lithium for quite awhile, and it worked REALLY well, for awhile, cause my pdoc thought I was type 1. Well anyway as others will probably tell ya, lithium does work well, although it does has side effects, but properly applied it does work magic. Or that new drug Seqerquil or something like that, can't spell today. Well anyway, take care and good luck!!

Shania
 
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hope7951 responded:
Bipolar used to be one illness called manic-depressive. BP2 is different than BP1 but not nessesarily lesser. More BP2s committ suicide than BP1s, so while it may be less disruptive it kills more people. Lithium is the oldest med aprroved for manic-depression in 1970. It works for 70% of people. others don't respond and others still are intorerant to the levels required of this naturally-occuring metal. Now there are many other medications for bipolar. The two clases are anti-seizure medications and atypical anti-psychotics. Seroquel is an atypical anti-psychotic. All meds have side effects. Most take at least 3 weeks to take effect. During that time mose people feel worse. it is part of the process. No meds are better than others. We are all individuals and what works well for one person does not work for others. in addition to meds, bipolar wellness needs to include therapy and on-going self-care. You must always take better care of your physical, mental and emotional self than other people can get away with. You need to be in a low stress, scheduled, balanced life situation. If you take meds and does therapy but live3 a miserable chaotic life, you will never be well. There is no magic. Bipolar is for life. Everyday you make small choices that will change your outcome. Choose wisely. Joye
 
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kcstar70 responded:
I want to first thank you all for responding. I am not sure my daughter is in denial so much as she has no motivation to seek out different types of coping other than meds. We are in a society that preaches if you have problems throw a pill at it and if the side affects dont kill you then bam your fixed. She has no shame or problem admitting she is bi polar, me on the other hand felt like i had been punched in the stomach when we heard the news. Why I do not know because for years we as a family had a pretty good idea. I talked with her doc last week and told him about her not sleeping and he called in seraquel (spelling?) so that is now added to the 3 others she is on. I looked it up today and its another anti psychotic so I am refusing to even pick it up. She is ok with that so that is good. We are driving over an hour to see her doc and I am considering finding one closer and who knows maybe it will be not only closer but better. We both this is a life long disease but I just want her to fight as hard for her happiness as I am. I would walk to hell and back just to see her enjoy her life. I will not give up on her nor will I allow her to give up. I wish all of you the best with your fight in this battle with mental illness, and again I thank you for sharing your experiences and thoughts and your good wishes. I hope you all have a fabulous new year!
 
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Yenraek responded:
Hello kcstar70. I have just read your story on the WebMD site and I thought I would reply to you. I have 4 daughters, the first 3 lost their father in 1989 when he died of a sudden heart attack. Far too soon after his death I remarried, however, that was a disaster waiting to happen and so it did. We had a child and she was a girl as well. When she was 8 months old I had to leave to get my daughters to a safe place. She is now 16 and I have had great difficulty with her behaviour throughout the years that she has been growing up. Our lives have always been in turmoil with this child and one of my problems is that her father, I believe, has problems himself and she visits him every second weekend and all the school holidays. I wanted to say to you that I believe that you are extremely fortunate to have been able to have your daughter assessed with her condition. If she is willing to recognise the same thing you are recognising, that she is like a zombie, then encourage her to believe that it is ok to gain a second opinion from a different Psychiatrist. Now that she has been on medication and it is only making her like a zombie the doctor will change to another medication and work with that for a while to see if it's better for her. I believe that is the only way that anyone can get help, keep going to someond until you are reasonably happy with what they give her! My biggest issue is that my daughter refuses to go to anyone because her father ridicules the Mental Health Professionals and he has taught our daughter to refuse to go to see someone. It's almost as if he and my daughter suffer from dillusions of grandeur! Meanwhile, my older daughters and I in particular, since my older daughters have relocated to Melbourne now and removed themselves from the environment, suffer in silence with her unusual behaviour and ways of communicating with others. I have almost become a hermit because going anywhere is virtually impossible with her or without her. How my self esteem has gone down so low that I haven't the motivation to take myself out. My daughter has 2 more years remaining at school, even though she has pretty well failed Year 10, the school are letting her continue with her VCE. It is convenient for her father and his family to have her living here with me because they are on an isolated property and there is no schooling near the property. If there was schooling, her father would be the one that could care for her over the next couple of years!
 
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Chriss00992 responded:
Hi, I've had Bipolar since 1993 when I was 18 or 19yrs old. I am 34 now and on meds that I'm not sure if they work or not. I was in the same position as your daughter. When I first started taking medicine they put me on xanax and clonozopan too. That's not a good drug for long-term care for treating Bipolar. It took 3 months in a psychiatric place to get me on the right medication. Ask your psychiatrist to try her on meds that aren't addicting or narcotics. I'm on Depakote for Panic Attacks, Anafranil for Depression, and Seroquel which is an antiphychotic. I was like your daughter a zombie in the psychiatric place. I weighed 100lbs and couldn't even take care of myself. Now I've gained over 100lbs and the weight gain is the worst. These medications also effect your liver after awhile. I am able to do things on my own now. Ask your doctor about different medications. They are out there. It just takes time to get them in your system. I hope I've helped you. Take care, Christine
 
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hope7951 responded:
"We are in a society that preaches if you have problems throw a pill at it and if the side affects dont kill you then bam your fixed. She has no shame or problem admitting she is bi polar, me on the other hand felt like i had been punched in the stomach when we heard the news."

Bipolar is a genetic physical illness. When in episode, while legally responsible, the person with the illness has no idea they are acting inappropriately. It sounds like you are angry at her for being ill, but she inherited your genes, so maybe you are mad at you or your mother. She has nothing to feel shame about anymore than diabetes "should" feel shame.

I don't know what society you live in but pills only correct the physical part of the illness to the point that the person can go into therapy to relearn better coping skills. Your daughter probably is suffering from more than one condition - some of it physical and the rest behaviors she is using to cope. Fix the medical then get her to a good therapist. There is a good book you might want to read, " Bipolar Disorder for Dummies" by Candida Fink MD. You should consider going to a family therapist to understand why you are reacting to your daughter's illness the way it is hitting you. Joye
 
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kcstar70 responded:
I am not in any shame nor am I in denial that my daughter has a life long illness. As her mother I want to "fix" this for her and I know I cant. I get frustrated when she doesnt seem to want to get better as much as I want her to. I reacted to the diagnosis the way I did because I knew this was not going to be an easy road for her, not because I wanted her to be "normal". I am fully aware of the genetic connection with this disease. I am not angry, in denial or blaming anyone for it. I most certainly am not angry at her for having it. I do not try to hide her disease from anyone. I live in the same society you do. The one that is constantly bombarded on tv, internet, magazines etc preaching yet another pill to fix our woes. I do not recall seeing too much on the importance of therapy. I would walk to hell and back to find the right doc, med, therapy etc for her but there is only so much I can do when she is not willing to participate. I have read books, joined a "support group", researched all her medicine and looked for other docs in our area. My daughters illness is not hitting me in any certain way other than I want her to be as happy, healthy and successful as she has every right to be.
 
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gertrude421965 responded:
Good for you! I can't imagine how hard this is for you to be on the outside looking in. I have a daughter and look for signs almost everyday. Probably my paranoia, but would like to catch it as soon as possible, mainly because she is prone to it on my side of the family.

Just try to keep letting her know you love her and maybe try to get her to participate in something with you, like cooking tonight's dinner?

Some thoughts. Take care of yourself.
 
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kcstar70 responded:
Thank you! It is hard looking in and only having so much control. I am looking for signs with my two younger daughters as well, and yes it is our paranoia.

I tell my daughters I love them everyday. I have tuesdays off from work and I always make sure we get out of the house and do something. That is important for her.

Thanks again for your kind words. Take care of yourself as well.
 
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kcstar70 responded:
Hello Tessa, Thank you for sharing your story. I am sorry to hear you are having such a struggle. My daughter has an appt with her pdoc in a couple weeks, we have discussed her zombie state on the meds she has. She has cut back on them alot an I see a huge difference in her. Unfortunately there isn't a whole lot you can do with your daughter if she is not willing to admit something is wrong. I am sure it doesn't help at all with her dad having the attitude about mental illness that he does. One thing we as parents do have and that is putting our kids who cant or wont help themselves into a facility where they can get help. When my daughter was about 14 or 15 she threatened suicide. It was at a time when she had hit her peak at being out of control and not doing anything but getting into trouble and defying me. I took her to a lock down facility and committed her. It was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. I cried the entire way home and into the night. I went to visit her the next day and she convinced me she didn't belong there. She told me her roommate was hearing voices and had tried to commit suicide several times and this girl was my daughters age. I was convinced that my daughter did not belong there so I signed her out and took her home. Needless to say things didn't get better. As an 18 year old now, my daughter tells me she wished I would have left her there and that she manipulated me into taking her out of there. She tells me that maybe she would have gotten the help she needed and things may be a little better for her now. She knows it wouldn't have changed the fact that she has this disease but maybe she could have been helped sooner. I am telling you this to let you know that as parents it is in some of us to try and keep our kids happy and not want to see them suffer in the things we make them do, ( (like putting them in a facility). The problem with this disease is that they are suffering, worse than anything we may do to try and help them. I wish I would have dried my tears and made her stay and gotten the answers we so desperately needed then. My daughter wouldn't go to school and I tried to help her by talking to her teachers, doing her homework for her and finally I got so tired of pulling her thru school that I told her she was on her own and if she didn't graduate it was her own fault. Well, she didn't and that is one of her biggest regrets. Her class graduated this past June, I didn't let her know but I cried. Not because my daughter didn't graduate, but because I knew she would suffer another blow to her so delicate self esteem. She didn't flunk out because she couldn't do the work, all of her tests were in the highest of her class. She flunked out because of the internal struggle she was dealing with. I totally sympathize with what you are going thru with your daughter but if you can learn anything from my mistakes it is help your daughter now before she turns 18 and is considered an adult. It is amazing how much we lose when they become adults in the eyes of the state. Doctors and anyone else for that matter do not want to talk to you they want to talk to the child because they are "adults". But when our adult children are in no position to deal with this on their own, it makes it that much harder. I really hope this helps you in some way. Good Luck. K


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