I went back to my class tonight...the dad was on call so he couldn't go. I am hoping he will come again next week. This week was so much better than that first class.
They talked about our family member's initial time of diagnosis and I found myself so angry while I thought of that time as I listened to everyone's experiences.
My girl's issues began when she was very young. It was as if someone had flipped a light switch and she changed from a sweet, regular little girl...into someone else. Someone dark and depressed and angry who soon was drinking, lying and smoking pot. We took her to dr's and to counseling....the responses we received ran the gamut from minimizing the changes we saw as *just* teenage angst (Isn't teen suicide an epidemic?) to me needing to "be the mother" and get a hold of my kid. It was awful. I felt like something awful was happening and no one was listening.
As the years went on, we saw lots of dr's. One in particular said to me, "Her depression is debilitating," But never suggested that we see a psychiatrist or that she have a psych evaluation. The pediatricians never suggested a psych evaluation. However, all were quick to prescribe strong psychotropic medications to calm her deepening symptoms. I trusted their judgement. I believed I needed to do a better job when they told me of what they perceived as my mistakes. When they told me she was just being rebellious, I believed them. I would think, "Ok, I need to toughen up. She won't get anything over on me from now on." I literally felt like I was chasing her and trying to stay a step ahead of her at all times.
It was just a few weeks ago that a psychiatrist we met with said something about "mood disorders" and they often hit at that age of 12-14...during puberty. That was the first time I had ever heard of a mood disorder. I of course went home and started Googling...its my girl to a T.
Why has it taken so long? Years and years. I feel like we have just been shuffled along through the system. Even this current time in treatment has been filled with shuffling around and ridiculous criteria for someone in her condition to fill.
Everyone spoke of the isolation they feel. Their families don't know what to say, their friends don't know what to do, so they stay away. I shared that my extended family doesn't ask about my girl. They just don't bring her up most of the time. I am down to only a few close friends....because I simply do not have the energy to maintain friendships that are surfacy and just for fun. Faking it is too much effort most days... and you know what felt so good? Was all of the nodding heads I saw there. They got that and I knew I wasn't the only one.