Yesterday I did a presentation for NAMI Orange County on my recovery.
Yesterday I did a presentation for NAMI Orange County on my recovery.
Originally posted on Psych Central
It is natural to wonder if you are a “good enough” mother. This can be amplified with mental illness.
My children were ages 2 and 4 when I had a psychotic break. I was hospitalized twice that year After that, I needed help doing basic tasks for a while. Even when I got back on my feet, I was not 100%.
I was too tired to take my son to the park and too anxious to make play dates. My daughter didn’t have the “supermom” some of her friends seemed to have. She has me. And, I try. But, I feel like they got a raw deal.
And there was more. I would get paranoid they were going to get harmed and not want them to see certain people. I was almost constantly distracted by voices and delusions of messages and not nearly as attentive as I could have been.
They didn’t understand that I had a mental illness called schizoaffective disorder. I had planned to answer questions as they asked, but they didn’t ask much. My daughter once questioned why I was making a sign for a National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) class. I told her it was because I had a mental illness. She just said “I didn’t know that “and went back to playing.
They know I take medication and I am tired often. I didn’t want them to worry it was something else, and it seemed time we talked about it, so one day I told them. My son did not know, my daughter knew already. Neither of them wanted to hear any more.
I worried my behavior would affect them. That they would have some problems because of me. But, they are the best kids. They have friends, do well in school, are active. I need to give credit to the other people in their lives: my husband, their grandma, teachers, other parents. They picked up where I couldn’t.
I was fortunate. I had my children before I was diagnosed, so I didn’t have to worry about medications and pregnancy. That can get complicated and needs involvement with your psychiatrist and obstetrician.
Schizoaffective disorder has a genetic component. Not everyone has a relative with a psychotic disorder, but it isn’t unusual. That is another of my worries. Will I pass this illness on to my children? So far, that hasn’t been an issue.
I have a lot of “what if’s” about my mental illness. If I had known I had it before I had a psychotic break would we have had children? Would my husband have married me? I don’t know. I like my life and I can’t imagine it any differently than the way it is now
First published Psych Central
I have a thought and mood disorder called schizoaffective disorder. It is similar to bipolar disorder, in that I have mood swings with periods of mania and depression.
When I was treated for my first severe manic episode I was heavily sedated and slowly titrated down on the medications. When I got to a dosage where I was no longer sedated, and my symptoms were under control, I started to feel okay, good even.
It scared me. “Would I feel too good?” I voiced my concerns to my psychiatrist and he reminded me I usually have other symptoms that precede mania. I think most people do.
You could go through a list of symptoms and see which ones are typical for you that would be noticeable.
Do you spend a lot of money?
Are you impulsive?
Do you talk fast?
Do you start lots of projects?
A lot of people monitor their sleep. I often have trouble with insomnia, so that isn’t a particularly good indicator for me. One thing is that I get irritable. I am usually pretty mellow, so if I start snapping at people that is a good sign that something is off. My psychiatrist also told me if people are looking at me strangely that is a warning sign. I am not sure if he meant I do strange things or I get paranoid, which I do, and get suspicious.
Isn’t everyone entitled to an off day, though? Sometimes when I am upset at someone, it is for a good reason. A lot of people imagine others think poorly of them, once in a while.
It would help to have someone I trust, tell me if I didn’t seem right. I have trouble with trust, though, when I am symptomatic. I think everyone else has the problem and I am fine. I am working on that, because I know it is important. Otherwise, you can have a great list of warning signs, but deny them. “I’m not talking fast, you are just listening slowly”.
Once you notice these warning signs, what do you do? That is a million dollar question.
This is where it is best to consult with your doctor and find out when they want you to contact them.
It is good to catch things early, but you don’t want to be worrying every time you have a bad, or good, day.
I am blogging for Psych Central. I have published 2 posts so far.
It is about schizoaffective disorder and alcoholism.
I am supposed to write about 2 posts/week.
Did I mention I am really insecure and worry a lot and am a bundle of nerves????
I am so afraid I am going to run out of topics.
Or crash and burn in some humiliating fashion.
I already have 2 ideas for next week.
It is just the “what if?
I am going to try to stay in the present.
I don’t know if I do this. It is easier to recognize in others. Every bad day is depression, any agitation is mania. They tell you every morning how many hours they slept the night before.
A friend was telling me much of what people think are mood swings have to do with distress tolerance and has more to do with therapy than medication. Specifically DIaletical Behavioral Therapy(DBT).
I don’t know if that is correct. I don’t think everyone that rapid cycles really has a personality disorder. That was what he seemed to be eluding to. But, if you can’t get mood swings under control and you can get into a DBT program that could be an option.
I want to be well and in recovery. I know I can relapse, but I try not to worry. The longer I go without psychotic symptoms, the more assured I get that it will stay this way. I get some minor dips. They don’t seem like they will end, but they do.
My major issue is anxiety. I have made great progress. At one point, I would just go to work and come home. I would shop at night and avoid people. Now, I work with people and even do some public speaking (I am not a good speaker, but I do it).
I think if you spend too much time focusing on possible symptoms you miss out on what is around you.
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