Saturday, May 14, 2011

Mental Illness

For updates on Tyson, go here.

I've come to terms over the years that I have a mental illness and I will forever.  I can deal with that.  It's a disease like any others.  Instead of insulin to control sugar, I take antidepressants and mood stabilizers to control sanity.  I'm not ashamed of it, I'm not afraid of's just part of me.

I've often considered the fact that my kids are likely to have it as well.  I've always watched their actions and behaviors closely for any signs that it's popping up so as to catch it before they don't know what's going on and lose all control.  I never ever thought I would be faced with it with my 4.5 year old son.

Two times this week the psychologist has said that Tyson's episodes (the sudden anxiety a few weeks ago, and then the severe depression this week) are indicative of bipolar disorder.  The psychiatrist said today that she believes he may have bipolar disorder and the medications made it present earlier than with anyone else by flaring up the extremes.  I braced myself for this news since my kids were conceived...but I can't help but feel like I did it to him.

I know you are all going to say that I didn't do this as much as my mother and father didn't do it to me.  But that's not going to stop that feeling that I am responsible for my son's mental illness.  We all have those traits we carry genetically that we don't want passed on to our kids because they are a nuisance: frizzy curly hair, excessive freckles, allergies...  But like diabetes, no one would ever want their worst enemies child, let alone their own child's genetics to hold their mental illness.

And unlike diabetes, mental illness cannot be measured by blood monitoring and lab work.  It's all trial and error and close observation by a psychiatrist and psychologist and therapist and whatnot and so forth.  I can barely handle this with my own crap, let alone now having to watch it in my son as well.

Now I know what my mom felt when I was spirally downward in my teens....


  1. I know what you said we would all say it isn't your fault (and while I agree)... I won't say that.

    As a mother who struggles with mental illness in herself, her husband and one of her 4 children, I try to look on the bright side of it (is there a bright side to mental illness???) because of my own mental illness I do in fact know what my child is going through, because I watch for the signs in myself and my husband, I also know how to help my daughter. And because you know the signs, symptoms etc you too will be able to help your son better...

    You are an amazing mother and your children (all of them) are lucky to have you.... Our thoughts and prayers are with you as you all turn this new page in the book of life and remember... People are here for you!!!

  2. I know how you feel. While we don't have a real diagnosis, it is generally understood that Ida will have anxiety because it usually just goes hand in hand with autism, and because I have depression/anxiety. The psychologists she's seen just seemed to act like it was matter of course. We also have a genetic defect in my family that causes early onset Alzheimers. My dad has it now, my grandfather and his sister had it, my great grandfather and his brother had it, etc. I have a greater than 50% chance of getting Alzheimers around 50 and dying around 60. It's bad enough that I am leaving the burden of caring for me through that to my husband and kids, but if I do get it, that means they have at least a 50% chance themselves, and Ida has a statistically greater chance. I try not to think about it, because when I do, I start to wonder if I just should have kept myself out of the gene pool if you know what I mean. My brother is getting married, and he and his fiancee have said that they won't have children in part because they don't want to pass on these genes. Naturally that makes me feel like I'm a real jerk for having kids. If you want to talk/complain, let me know.


Be nice, or thou shalt be banished!