Navigating life with a teenager….who happens to have bipolar disorder

The Worry Wart

If worry actually caused warts, I could give a toad a run for his money.

I don’t think I was always a worrier.  In fact, when I was younger I took life in stride. I didn’t stress over grades or what people thought of me too much.  I was content to be who I was, never tried to fit into a mold or a group. As I got older, work came pretty easily to me. I didn’t have anxiety when it came to paying bills, although maybe I should have. I went along my day-to-day on a pretty even keel.

That all changed the day I found out I was pregnant with my son.  I had a pretty difficult pregnancy and I worried that everything I did, or didn’t do, would cause more problems.  By the time I ended up in the hospital at 30 weeks with preeclampsia, the doctors spent time trying to convince me that it wasn’t my fault.  Something I didn’t believe until I did more research into it at a later date.

From there it was worrying about a premature baby, all the health issues that came with that.  Then it was being in a difficult marriage and subsequent divorce. Follow that up with 8 years of being a single parent with a special needs child, absolute nausea over my ability to pay all my bills, all while I was working with doctors trying to figure out my son’s diagnosis…..or diagnoses as it turned out.

Eventually, somewhere along the way I went from that even keeled girl to a person that stressed about everything.  I worry about things that haven’t even happened yet.  I don’t sleep because I fear what will come tomorrow.

There are many parents of kids with mental illness or neurological issues that understand what I am talking about.  So many people complain about having a routine, monotonous day.  We would love that.  I would love to be in the movie Groundhog day and wake up knowing what to expect from the day, to have the ability to do whatever I wanted to change its outcome simply because I know what’s coming.  Instead, we wake up every morning not knowing what is around the corner.  Will it be a calm day or will there be a storm?  If there is a storm, will it be mild, or will it be destructive?

As I lay down in bed each night, I worry about tomorrow. Worrying about the next day leads to worries about next week and next month and next year.  I start to worry about how my son will function in the future.  Will he need to stay home with us, or will he be able to be on his own?

Ever since my experience with preeclampsia, I have dealt with high blood pressure.  I am sure parenting a bipolar child has not helped the situation. My current doctor has added a mild anti-depressant to my bp meds in an effort to deal with stress a bit better.  It seems to be working, my bp is lower than it has been in almost 15 years.  It hasn’t helped my worrying though.

I guess being a worry wart is now a part of me, just like the many other aspects of my personality that has changed during this journey with my son. I have also become a stronger, more determined person than I ever thought I could be.  I guess you just sometimes have to take the bad with the good.

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