Monday, December 26, 2011
For years on Christmas Eve all of my kids, with their kids and spouses, have gathered at my house for a night of gift exchanges, games, food, and laughter. While I was in the midst of last minute preparations for this year's party the kids began to arrive. I had no idea how drastically the night would change, or how fast.
The Bipolar Princess was the first to arrive with her family in tow. She looked good, the kids and her husband were happy and I took in a long, deep breath of relief in light of how difficult the past week had been with her spiraling behavior.
While we were sitting around the living room talking I got a text that read:
"I feel like I'm losing my mind mom. All I can focus on are the frogs jumping all over everyone. I'm not going to let it ruin my night though. I'm just praying."
Things quickly spiraled out of control. The frogs became too much for her, the disassociation too great. She jumped at every sound, she heard ghostly voices calling her name. Tears begin to fill her eyes before spilling over her lashes and rolling down her beautiful face giving away her torment.
It was time to get her out of the chaos of children, laughter and frogs. Back in the familiar comfort of my bedroom she told her father she only wanted the pain and confusion to end. She wanted out of life and the hell that she had been thrust into by no fault of her own.
An emergency call was made to her doctor. She talked about checking herself into the hospital. We were resolved to keep her home and stand watch twenty four hours a day until the psychotic break eased if that was what was needed.
The doctor called back quickly. He called her pharmacy and ordered a massive dose of an anti psychotic and increased her mood stabilizer. I went through my pharmaceutical collection in search of something to calm her, to sedate her and to take away the suicidal thoughts, until someone could get to the pharmacy. I had a strong sedative that she had been on before. I filled a glass with cold water and handed it to her along with the mind quietening drug.
We waited until she calmed. We told her she couldn't leave us. We told her we needed her. We tried to change her thinking.
Trying to change the thought pattern of someone having a bout of psychosis it difficult at best, but we tried. Gradually it seemed to work.
After the medication began it's magic she was able to re-join the family for a bit. We finished the night early so her husband could get to the pharmacy to retrieve the medication called in by the doctor.
About an hour after she left I received another text that read:
"Just so you are aware, I made my husband let me go to the pharmacy alone to get my meds with the intention of buying a knife to end my life. I kept seeing the kids and hearing their laughs. I couldn't do it. NO way would I intentionally take my kids' mom from them. They NEED a mom. Anyway, I'm going to make a contract with you, my husband and my sister. I want everyone to know when someone needs to come pick up the kids. There are behavioral changes I have that need to be addressed immedieately, etc. I'm going to wait until after Christmas but it's something I feel needs to be done. Thank you so much for your support tonight. I love you. I'm so sorry for ruining the night and making it all about me."
Then another text:
"I'm feeling a lot better now, suicidal wise at least. I could NEVER EVER take the kids' mom away. It would ruin their lives. But that doesn't mean that those thoughts aren't frequent and intrusive."
I spoke with her several times today. She has a contract made for her closest family members to sign, so we know the signs to watch for that mean a break is imminent, so we'll support her and so we'll be able to get her help.
Hopefully it will never come to that. Her new psychiatrist is one of the best in the area and is diligently working to identify the correct cocktail to stabilize her.
She's signed releases with him so he can talk to us if an emergency arises. She's making progress. She'll slip from time to time, as we all do in so many areas of our lives, but she's on the right track. This Christmas the greatest gift received was the awareness she gained during some of the darkest days of her life.