Bipolar disorder. That is a new concept in our family, and a condition we have learned a lot about in the last two weeks. As a mom, learning my 19 y.o. has Bipolar Disorder has been extremely sad and difficult. Grieving is the term I would best use to describe how I am feeling. Grieving the loss of the adult son I have hoped for and prayed for. I will come to terms with this new normal and accept them even; however, right now I need to give myself a little grace and simply grieve.
Our Mental Health Journey
I brought my son to an ER in Woodbury, Minnesota on Monday, September 14th around 8 p.m. About 10 days prior, he had been calling me to say he was confused and having serious mental health issues. At night, he was calling me multiple times and talking for hours, because he was unable to sleep. When he mentioned that it would be easier if he didn’t exist, and he thought of driving his car off the road, I knew it was time to seek immediate help. Now I would recognize these symptoms of racing thoughts, confusion and the inability to sleep as signs of a manic episode of Bipolar Disorder and know to seek help sooner.
The ER on-call social worker interviewed my son, and it was determined that he was a threat to himself, and needed hospitalization. A bed was found for him on a psych ward at a reputable hospital in St. Paul, Minnesota. My son has currently been there for 9 days. To make this hard situation even more difficult, we are not allowed to visit him due to Covid-19.
A Diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder
The social worker, nurses and psychiatrist have been great at helping our son, and keeping us updated. We learned last Thursday that he now has a diagnosis of Bipolar disorder and is in a “mixed state” of mania and depression. He is delusional, agitated, confused and euphoric at the same time. He is hearing and seeing things that aren’t there, and has relayed many bizarre ideas and thoughts. To say this has been a hard time for us as parents and as a family would be an understatement.
Because my son was calling me agitated and unable to sleep for many nights, I have also been down on my sleep. Typically, I sleep very well diffusing various relaxing essential oils by my bedside. I spent hours talking to my son in the night. When we hung up, I was often unable to sleep because I was wound up and worried. This lack of sleep (even for me who does not have Bipolar Disorder) caused a definite lack of concentration and forgetfulness.
Self care is something I have started, because I know I need to take care of myself in order to be strong and help my son when he is released. I started taking doTERRA’s new Adaptiv Calming Capsules to help manage my feelings of overwhelm and stress. I have been relaxing in an Epsom Salt Bath with AromaTouch essential oil as time allows. Sleep is a priority, and I have been diffusing Lavender and Cedarwood or Adaptiv Essential oils by my bedside, and also taking a Yarrow Pom Cellular Beauty Capsule before bed (this seems to help me with restful sleep).
Having gotten a decent night’s sleep for the last few nights has definitely helped me be able to work on the mountain of tasks I suddenly have (calling to get state insurance for my son, speaking to his doctors and social workers, lining up treatment and therapy when he is released). For the grief, I have been drawn to doTERRA’s Console essential oil. I have been diffusing Console during the day, and also applying this blend topically over my heart. It’s funny, in the past I have not cared for the scent of Console essential oil, and now feel drawn to it — like I can’t get enough. I guess my body knows what it needs!
Our Treatment Plan
My son is beginning to stabilize, and they are working on a treatment plan so that he can be released from the hospital in the next few days. I am so relieved, and look forward to having him home. This also means that his care will now be mainly up to me (my husband works long hours). I am blessed to work from home educating others on the health benefits of essential oils. We also have a 17 y.o. son with special needs, who requires a lot of care and help when he is not in school. I know I will have my hands full and feel overwhelmed at times, but I look forward to having my son home. My hope and prayer is that with medication, therapy, prayer and love he will soon be on the road to recovery, and enjoying life again as an independent, happy young man.
Mental Illness Acceptance
Mental illness needs to be talked about more in our country, and accepted just any physical illness. I told my son that having Bipolar Disorder does not define him any more than having diabetes or a broken leg would define someone. He has a chemical imbalance in his brain, and needs lifelong medication to restore balance. I pray that he is willing to take his medication consistently and avoid some of the triggers that led him to needing hospitalization. I am thankful for his doctors, therapists and social workers who have been helping him find the right answers for his body. I am grateful to countless friends and family for their love, prayers, supports and offers to help.
Our family will get through this and arrive stronger and healthier on the other side. It will be a battle, one we intend to fight and win. We love our son, and know that this doesn’t define him. He is a strong, kind young man with a strong faith. I pray his faith will carry him through this storm, and he will feel comforted by his heavenly father’s love and our family’s love.