Katie Perttunen is a bipolar mom and writer and she writes today’s piece. Considering how people have been crucifying me over my decision to not get pregnant, in large part, because of bipolar disorder, I thought this would be a good time to share some tips on how to parent with bipolar disorder; because, while I don’t plan on doing it, others certainly do.
Parenting with bipolar disorder is not an easy thing. What do you do when you are a mom with bipolar type one with psychotic features? What do you tell your children, and how do you cope? These tips for how to parent with bipolar disorder might help.
A baby of Truehope believers died of meningitis likely because they chose to use alternative remedies instead of actual medicine to treat their son. No one can say, of course, whether the baby would have lived with proper care, but what we can say is that without it, he died.
The parents of the baby are David and Collet Stephan – David being the son of Tony Stephan, one of the founders of Truehope.
On the topic of pregnancy and bipolar disorder, I have said before, I would choose not to have children because of bipolar disorder. I’m not saying this is what every woman with bipolar disorder would choose, I’m saying that with my particular brand of bipolar, with my particular situation, with my inability to live off of medications, I would choose not to get pregnant because of bipolar (Medical Research on Bipolar Disorder and Pregnancy). I believe that, ultimately, it would be unfair to bring a life into my mess. It would be selfish. It would be me “wanting” a child above me considering the welfare of the child. And that’s not something I would ever do.
And while I know the choice is mine entirely, it doesn’t feel that way to me at all. While I know I could get pregnant (or, at least, I assume so), and it’s me that’s choosing not to get pregnant because of bipolar, I feel like my back is against the wall on this thing and that not having children is the only thing I can do. I feel like the bipolar has taken away my choice. All the other women out there get to decide if children are right for them based on, mostly, lifestyle choices (although, of course, some other women carry genetic risks as well) and I don’t get to decide because bipolar has forced my hand. Bipolar has taken away my choice around bipolar and pregnancy.
Some of us are lucky enough to have really supportive loved ones and, sometimes, a friend or family member might come to our doctors’ appointments. If this is the case for you, consider yourself lucky because it can be very helpful. I’m not suggesting that you drag someone to your psychiatrist’s appointment by his or her hair or that you invite people with whom you are not comfortable, but if a friend or family member coming to a doctor’s appointment is an option for you, I say, take it.
So I’m on Twitter today and someone says that Natasha Tracy stigmatizes the mentally ill (paraphrasing). Specifically, Bipolar Burble is “one of the most stigmatizing things I’ve ever seen.”
Now, in case you haven’t kept up with completely uncurrent events – Natasha Tracy also has a mental illness called bipolar disorder. And while I’m sure that some people don’t like the way I express that or my opinions on it, to say I’m stigmatizing to those with a mental illness is, well, redonkulous.
Bipolar quality of life has been measured in many ways but, in my experience, doctors tend to look at it like this: you can make your rent, you eat, you bathe – good enough.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I consider this extremely insulting. I mean, if doctors only measured their own quality of life in that way I think they would find that they had no “quality of life” at all. They really should understand that there is so much more to life than merely eating, showering and paying your rent.
In a year I write around 50 posts for Bipolar Burble, some of which are popular bipolar or mental illness posts and some of which are not as much. If you haven’t kept up all year long, who can blame you, really? So I’ve put together a list of the top 10 bipolar posts of 2015, just in case you’ve missed one or two.
Depression is painful but can you turn that pain into something good? I recently heard of a couple that went through extreme suffering because of losing a child and one of the pieces of advice they received was, “don’t waste your pain.” These people turned their pain into a full-fledged and extremely successful business that gives back to children’s charities. I’ve decided that was an extremely valuable piece of advice with depression – don’t waste your pain.
From time to time, even I, mental health writer and speaker, have forgotten that bipolar disorder is a physical illness. Well, I don’t forget, exactly, but I have acted like it wasn’t physical with my actions in my own life. But how could I act like mental illness (which I even call brain disorders) isn’t physical? Why would I ever forget that bipolar disorder is a physical illness?
Do you ever feel like people discount your opinion because you have bipolar? Have you ever had the experience where someone simply steamrolls over what you’re saying because they feel it’s not important because you have bipolar? Once someone found out you had bipolar, did they suddenly decide what you said didn’t matter? Have you found that people discount opinions of those with bipolar?
I was walking through the drug store today and I saw a great book for young children struggling with understanding of moods. It’s called The Many Moods of Me Journal by Klutz. Not only does it encourage the journalling of a young person’s mood but it also teaches the child about feelings and moods. I think this is perfect, age-appropriate information for children who need to understand that moods vary and can be extreme in cases of mental illnesses like bipolar disorder. I think this would be a perfect teaching tool for teaching a young child about bipolar disorder and educating them about their own moods too.
After a stressful day, I’m hypomanic and it brings to mind my self-help tips for how to calm down a bipolar hypomania. These tricks might not be available or work for everyone, but here’s what I do to calm down my hypomania.