I am struggling a bit with the whole issue of stigma and openness and privacy and public good. I want to send the message the mental health care should be part and parcel of "health care."
You know, like women's rights are human rights. Part and parcel.
But while I feel no qualms about writing about the appendicitis of my children, or the fact that they got strep throat, or failed their eye exam...
I feel plenty of qualms over disclosing any mental health crap that may be an issue. But if I am being honest, and if I am trying to remove stigma, I think I will need to cover mental health issues the way that I wished they would be treated. Just without disclosing too many particulars. Because dealing with the mental health of the rest of the family has a pretty big impact on my own mental health as well.
So in the interest of preserving these dual purposes of this blog: fighting stigma and tracking my own mental health crap... I think I cannot ignore issues surrounding mental health of my loved ones. Crap.
I have three children. Among them I already have one diagnosis of Depression Not Otherwise Specified (meaning doesn't meet the specifications of Major Depressive Disorder), and one diagnosis of Generalized Anxiety Disorder. I feel like I am just waiting around tapping my feet to see what remaining neurotic gift will be revealed...
Here is the discomforting thought that comes back to me again and again - that bipolar people are far more likely than not to pass on crappy mental stuff to their offspring. Things like depression (check), anxiety (check), and other nebulous things that may be of grave concern or no concern whatsoever (check).
This worry means that when a child talks about something that no one else can see or hear, my go-to thought is that naturally my bipolar brain has delivered up a special helping of auditory or visual hallucinations. I don't think imaginary horses. I think real zebras. (Stupid occam and his stupid razor.)
I had a super hard time getting to sleep last night worrying and worrying and worrying about my genetic contributions to my offspring. This is useless worry. First off, it is a bit to late to worry about that. Second off, the fact that I had been through issues with Depression and Eating Disorder did not cause me to avoid procreating.
Would I have made a different decision with the bipolar diagnosis? I don't know. But I didn't know so it is completely worthless exercise (I just tried to spell that damn word four times. Some great English teacher I am. That's why they only let me teach English to people who already speak another language-- so they will have something else to fall back on when I fail to teach them proper spelling of common words).
But it's kind of like the fact that if I had known my parents were getting a divorce, I might not have gotten married (the divorce following my own marriage by less than a year). And I am super glad I got married. I think that would have been a wrong decision based on fear. And so would have been the decision not to have children.
After all, I have a perfectly workable and very nice life, thank you very much. Genetically dooming my children be damned. That almost made sense in my head.
When I am up all night worry worry worrying that I have failed my children and that they have received some terrible inheritance...
I need to remember that this is not my own personal activity. That all over the world, every night, since the beginning of time, parents have been up worry worry worrying about all the ways they have failed and are failing and will fail their children.
It's okay to worry.
And then it's okay to realize that you just need to get over your dang self and get back to bed.
By the way, job is still super wonderfully awesome. Still a fairy tale. Still feeling that I have found a place I belong. It is odd how many places I have found that feel like home, since so often I feel that I am... odd.
Grateful CraP: Children overjoyed at dog sitting for their canine "aunt"
told F/friend about my ridiculous worries
laughed about the perils of bipolar Quakers listening for the "still small voice within"
laughed a lot about this
she thought maybe it's why I usually sing in meetings
Oh, and meds. I have forgotten which one I am on and how much because it is so regular. So I am checking right now...
Ok it is Lamotrigine (Lamictal) and I am taking 2 pills (300mg? I think so. Dang, I just sent Spouse to get more and I can't immediately see the bottle and am too lazy to go find the dang thing and update this. So I will just have to amend future post if I am wrong. ONLY lamotrigine (which is a mood stabilizer - really an off-label use for an anti-seizure medication) and no antidepressants (which did not seem to do me a lot of good).
Friday I will be going to see a play about the Diary of Anne Frank with a group of refugees who fled from genocide in their home countries.
Quaker, teacher, parent,