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Thanks for reading.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Bipolar Rears Its Ugly Head AGAIN

My BF and I went out last night and had a great evening.  As we were driving home, I got this text from Josh:

"I gave my two weeks notice at work."


"I'm miserable and tired of the bullshit there."

As my heart was breaking ALL OVER AGAIN, my BF began venting.

"You need to tell him that bullshit is part of just about every job out there.  He can't just quit, he has responsibilities now.  He can't hop from job to job like this, eventually it's gonna catch up with him.  You need to tell him....and on and on and on....."

I don't know how to help Josh get to acceptance and a better place, but I do know that saying any of THOSE things will not help.  I know that because hearing them doesn't help ME.  While my BF views Josh as a normal kid who just doesn't 'get it', I know that my BF doesn't 'get it' at all.

As my BF vented, I just kept repeating my mantra, "Yea, but that's the Bipolar at work honey.  This is what Bipolar people do.  They can't COPE, they can't handle STRESS, they don't make good decisions for themselves because they don't SEE that they're the problem."

I'm hit from both sides with this Bipolar thing.  I am TERRIFIED for my son and worry about what the future holds for him and I have a BF who just can't understand the whole thing. 

I don't know HOW to help Josh.  I don't know what to SAY to him.  I kind of get what NOT to say, but I can't find the right words that will lead him to see REALITY.

I search the internet at times like this and I always find something that helps me.

Last night I was up for hours reading and I found this:

Julie Fast's Essay about Acceptance

Which lead me to her Blog where I found this:

Bipolar in the NFL

I shared these articles with my BF today.  In both of them, it's very easy to SEE Josh's behavior.  Demitius Underwood (an NFL player) even was haunted by visions of the apocalypse, something Josh talks about ALL THE TIME.

My BF left for work this morning saying, "I just find it so sad."

"Well, it is sad, and I know that you worry about how THIS will effect our lives, but I show you these articles to help you understand better that this is NOT Josh, THIS is Bipolar.  Of course he shouldn't quit his job, of course he should cope with the bullshit, but he's not capable.  He's just not capable.  Your reactions are totally appropriate if we were talking about a normal person, but Josh isn't normal, he has a mental illness."

"I'm just not going to involve myself in it then, I'll keep my mouth shut.  But if he comes in this house and is verbally abusive to you I know I'll go off on him."

I'm basically struggling here to get TWO people to understand what's at play here and I hate that Josh's troubles negatively impact my relationship with my BF.

My BF said, "I will never allow him to be disrespectful to you in this house."

"Honey, *I* don't let him be disrespectful to me in this house anymore either.  When he lost it that day at the storage unit, I made him leave.  If he hadn't left, I WOULD have called the police."

"You've let him treat you terribly!  The things he's said to you, calling you names, showing absolutely NO appreciation for what you do for him.  It's hard to watch that."

"Well, it took me a LONG time to accept this myself, and to understand it.  For a long time *I* didn't understand that his behaviors were Bipolar related.  So I understand it all better now, but just because I understand doesn't mean I'll allow him to ruin my life or our life.  My friend A tells me all the time to remember the flight attendants instructions, "Put on your oxygen mask first before helping your neighbor".  I had to LEARN how to protect myself from this, and that's the hardest part for me.  I'm a MOTHER, I want to help him, but at some point I may have to accept that it's all out of my hands."

He said, "Let's face it, we just need to set aside about $1,000 a month to support Josh, for the rest of our lives.  Then he can sit in his apartment and dream about the apocalypse."

I tried to explain to my BF that that is NOT something I intend to do.  Support Josh forever?  No.  I can't afford to support Josh for the six months I've promised, I certainly can't do it forever. 

I said, "At some point I'm going to have to let go and let him fall.  I have just held on to hope that in this six months I can get him to a better place.  If I can't, well, I don't want to even think about that, but I know I'm not willing to have TWO (or THREE) lives ruined here."

So I showed him this post from Julie Fast's Blog:

Julie Fast talks about Charlie Sheen

In this post Julie quotes Martin Sheen:  His father said, “I’ve tried everything. We have done everything. All I know do to now is leave and hope he will be ok.”

I may have to do the same thing eventually, but it doesn't escape my notice that Charlie losing the support of his friends and family left him in a horribly vulnerable position.

Josh and I continued texting last night; I was being very careful not to offend him:

"So where are you gonna look for a job?"

"I don't know."

"What time do you work tomorrow"

"10 PM"

"Maybe you could try Aldi's tomorrow?"

"I don't think they have an opening now, but I could try.  I just know I need to pick a job that doesn't suck dick this time."

"Well, in this economy almost any job you get is probably gonna kinda suck, so you have to figure out a way to cope.  Maybe a job like you had at the grocery IS good cause you don't have to deal with SO MANY people?"

"I guess but you are a little annoying right now so how about we talk later."


Seriously, I was a 'little annoying'?!

The BF and I have a horrible three days ahead.  We moved in together about six months ago, and in combining two households we have a MOUNTAIN of stuff in our storage unit to get rid of.  Our neighborhood is having a garage sale tomorrow, so we will spend the afternoon and evening dragging everything to the garage and setting up for the sale, which takes place Saturday.

I don't have TIME to be sitting here blogging, but this is what *I* do to cope with all this.  I pour it all out here, and then I try to get on with MY life the best I can.

I totally fell apart last night when we got home.  I don't do this very often and I've never done it in the presence of my BF before.  I curled up in bed and cried.

My BF came in and laid down and I began talking about Josh and how scared I am, and then I made an awful confession, and as I made it I totally lost it, barely able to talk as I sobbed.

"You know my greatest fear in all of this is that Josh will kill himself, but let me tell you a secret.  There's a part of me that would understand if he did that.  *I* don't want to see him live the rest of his life like this.  I cannot imagine how awful this life seems to him.  I think about him killing himself and I can see how someone in this state can see that as the perfect solution."

My BF help his arm out, and I rolled over and laid my head on his chest and as he wrapped his arms around me he got to see his strong, capable girlfriend turn into a complete puddle of goo (complete with snot and tears).

"Oh honey," he said, as he held me tighter and kissed the top of my head.

"You know, as I've raised these two boys, I've always KNOWN what to say, what to do, to help them.  I KNOW them, I know what approach works best with each of them and I've always been able to move them forward.  Do you have ANY idea how hard it is to suddenly be incapable of effecting change?  To not be able to communicate with one of my kids?  I've said it before, I have never felt so helpless before in my life.  This disorder is so insidious."

I'll spend the day doing what I have to do to get ready for this garage sale.  A lot of physical labor and time to think can only do me some good.  I don't have a plan, but I need one badly.

Perhaps the first thing I'll do is attend the Bipolar Support Group Monday night.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

A Lot to Say

It's been a stressful weekend for me.  I have several things to get done for work this weekend and I've been trying to help Josh get settled into his apartment.

HE has been working almost non-stop, and his shifts are all over the place.  In between, he's tried to get some sleep, which is hard for him to do with his ever changing schedule.

He would do so much better with a set schedule, and probably with a set paycheck; not having to rely on tips.  However, he made $40 in tips Thursday night and $60 in tips Friday night, so that's not bad.

He picked up his apartment key Friday and signed his lease.  He moved everything from his Dad's in, then went to work, dropping his apartment key off to me on the way.

My boyfriend and I took a load of boxes, etc to the apartment, then once the rain looked like it would hold off awhile, we moved Josh's bed and dresser in.  

Josh had asked that we not unpack anything, he wanted to do it himself so he'd know where everything was.  I did hang his shower curtain and towels in the bathroom, and put a rug down for him.  I stocked his bathroom with toilet paper and his kitchen with paper towels.

My boyfriend has been wonderful through all this.  Because we just combined households, we both have a lot of household things we're no longer using.  My boyfriend gave Josh a practically new, great set of pots and pans, and all the bathroom stuff was his.  He gave Josh a full set of silverware and a large variety of cooking spoons and spatulas, etc.  He gave Josh his entertainment center as well.

We made Josh a basket with cleaning supplies and I had gone to the grocery and got him some basic food items to get him started.

It was hard to keep my boyfriend from unpacking and organizing the entire apartment; he can't stand clutter and messes.  He did unpack the groceries and put them on the counter so Josh could decide where they would go.  He set the pots and pans on the stove and loaded the dishwasher with the silverware and a few other kitchen items that we'd had in storage.  We started the dishwasher and I almost had to bodily remove the boyfriend to prevent him from unpacking anything else.

Josh still hasn't unpacked.  He's been working a lot and I know that Friday night when he got off work, he had a couple of friends over to just chill.  Among the mess.

He worked all day yesterday and stopped by after work.  He seemed in good spirits, but was very tired.  We were planning on moving his couch, but he asked if we could wait.  He wanted to go home and get some sleep.  We agreed to do it today (Sunday), but he texted me this morning and asked if we could put it off again.  "I don't even know if I want the couch Mom.  I'm not sure I'd really use it.  But right now, I'm gonna try to get some sleep before I have to work at 2:30."

The good news is that he seems to be being responsible about work.  He told me yesterday that his only day off was Tuesday, but he'd picked up a shift and was going to work that day.

The bad news is that he's working an awful lot and 'worrying' about getting settled in his apartment.  I've offered and offered to come and help him ANYTIME; that I would make myself available around his schedule.  I see the stress in his eyes and his stress is stressing ME.

He was REALLY stressed when we saw him Friday before work.

And my boyfriend doesn't really 'get it'.  He doesn't really 'get' Bipolar at all.  He views Josh as a spoiled, entitled man child who needs to get his shit together.  And Josh is those things, but the BF doesn't get that on top of those things, Josh is bipolar, and the bipolar makes it much more difficult to deal with Josh's immature nature.  He also doesn't understand how stress can trigger a slide on the bipolar pole.

"Well, it's just like Catherine Zeta Jones, she's had a lot of stress in her life, and for someone with bipolar, that stress builds and builds and builds and then, BAM....it triggers a slide.  She wound up in a mental facility for God's sake.  And for Josh?  It doesn't take much to stress him really.  Things that would be wind in the face to you or me are HUGE stressors to someone like Josh."

The BF has mentioned several times as we were moving Josh's things, "You know, Josh should really be here doing this with us, this is HIS stuff."

"I know honey, but his work schedule doesn't really coincide with our schedules, and I want to do this FOR him, to alleviate some stress for him.  That's important to me, it's just one of the little things I can do to keep his stress level down.  I really do appreciate all your help with this and Josh does too."

As I was typing this post, Josh called, "So, what are your plans today?"

"Oh, I have some work to do, but it won't take all day, what did you need?"

"Well, I wondered if you wanted to go to breakfast."


I picked Josh up and after we ate we stopped at Meijer and got him a small microwave and some measuring cups and spoons.  And Butter.  He had slept right after work Saturday, from about 4 pm to 1 am.  When he got up, he'd gone to the store for groceries, but had forgotten butter.

He seemed pretty tired and a bit 'out of it'.  When we got back to his apartment, I unpacked the rest of his kitchen stuff and organized his kitchen for him.  Then I unpacked and shelved his books.  When I headed to the bathroom to put away his toiletries he said he'd rather do that himself.  Then he said he was getting tired so he planned on taking  a nap before work, so I left.

His mood is kind of all over the place.  He's been pretty 'up' all last week, and even yesterday after work when we saw him briefly.  Today he seemed on the downslide.  Mostly he just seemed tired and like his brain wasn't firing right.  He's stopped smoking pot which is good, but he said he drank 'too much' Friday night and felt like it left him not feeling well.  He doesn't drink often (I don't think) and when he does he drinks in moderation.  He's not used to drinking 'too much' and I know that on the rare occasions when I tie one on, it leaves me feeling 'off' for a day or two.

He told me that after going to the grocery at 1AM, he just watched some tv and this morning he was feeling a little bored, so he was glad I could spend some time with him.  He said he sleeps like the dead there, in his own bed, and I know what he means.  I always sleep so well when I return home from a vacation to my own bed.  He's been missing his bed for almost six months now.

All in all, I'm not sure how I feel about him, I can't get a good gauge on his mood.  I imagine some of that is because he's going through a few pretty big life changes; adjusting to a new job and then this move.  In the end, if he manages himself right, both of these things will be positives for him, and that's the outcome I'm hoping for.

I feel the need to express my opinion about Catherine Zeta Jones' admission that she has Bipolar II.  We don't have much information; like was this her first experience with it or has she been long diagnosed? I imagine she would have preferred to never reveal this, but when someone with her exposure is admitted to a Mental Health Facility, it's pretty hard to hide that information. 

I think she's in a very powerful position to enlighten the world about this disorder, and I hope that she takes the opportunity to speak openly about it because she could make real inroads in decreasing the stigma attached to it.  I'd much rather see her face associated with this disorder than Charlie Sheen's.

Not that I have anything against Charlie Sheen, not at all.  If you listen to the experts, they all feel that Charlie's appearances on talk shows was during a Bipolar manic state (either that or very heavy drug use).  *I'm* not an expert and I have no idea if Charlie is Bipolar or not.  What I do know is that when I saw those clips of him, it reminded me so much of when Josh was manic and admitted to the hospital.  It offended me that news organizations didn't use more discretion and compassion towards him when he was in that state.  While that looked very much to me like the 'reality' of Bipolar, I'm not sure his appearances did anything to further the discussion about this disorder.

Basically, these two actors have shown both sides of this disorder.  One quietly managing it and getting appropriate treatment when necessary, and the other, well the other was too heartbreaking to even watch for very long.

Josh refuses to accept that he has Bipolar.  I look at the son I raised and KNOW that something very powerful has derailed his life.  I see all kinds of behaviors that convince me that he is Bipolar.  I feel very strongly that someone in his state, struggling with the 'softer' symptoms of Bipolar COULD live life unmedicated.  But that person has to be VERY aware and do all the basic lifestyle management things that aid brain function.  At the very least, I believe that for someone like Josh who is so medication adverse, it would behoove him to do everything in his power to manage his life in ways that are 'natural'.

I intend to talk to Josh about this, at the right moment, and basically say, "If you don't ever want to be on 'brain' medication, then do these four or five things as INSURANCE against depression and the soft symptoms I see.  Be militant about sleep. Cut caffeine out of your life.  Exercise every single day.  Take a multivitamin everyday, as well as B vitamin supplements and Fish Oil.  Eat from the 'outside' aisle of the grocery store; fresh meats, fruits and vegetables.  Eggs,yogurt and Milk."

I would like to see Josh adopt good, basic, healthy lifestyle practices, because I think he MIGHT be able to avoid medication.  And finally, I'd like to get him to see my therapist.  NOT a psychiatrist, but my very, very skilled therapist.  I think she could help him learn to manage his stress and frustration better (which will aid him in interpersonal relationships as well as workplace incidents).  She could teach him basic coping skills and teach him to be aware of his feelings and have a plan of action to deal with those feelings.

I think Josh is SO intelligent and self aware and if anyone can manage Bipolar without medication, he could.  But it would take a real dedication on his part.  I honestly think that at some level he knows or at least is afraid that he does have Bipolar.  I somehow need to get in touch with that part of Josh who KNOWS he's struggling against something that is bigger than he is, and hopefully get him to see that very small lifestyle changes will give him a much better chance of handling this the way HE wants to; without medical intervention.

Wish me luck.


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Movin' On

Josh and I went Apartment shopping this weekend.  We spent so much time waiting at the first place we visited, that the second place we were interested in was closed by the time we got there.

About that first place.  They have no studio apartments available right now, but do have Jr. One Bedrooms.  The rent for that is $439, as compared to $414 for the studio.  They are total electric units and the tenant pays electricity and water.

We didn't get to actually SEE an apartment though.  One would be available for us to see TODAY.

Our other option is an older complex I pass all the time on my way downtown.  It is about 15 minutes from my house.  I have always LOVED this complex.  The buildings are French Provincial and the complex is full of huge, mature trees.  Years ago, I had a girlfriend who lived in a studio in this complex and I really liked it. 

It's kind of funny, cause I've always driven past this complex and thought it would be a good fit for Josh when he was ready for an apartment.  I don't know WHY I've always felt that way, but I have.

I called there last week and was told they had studios available and the rent was $510 a month.  However, they pay the gas heat and water, so Josh would be responsible only for the electric.  Still, for someone who is just learning to cover his own expenses, the price difference between this place and the other was significant enough to concern me.

Josh came by this afternoon so we could go see that first apartment and also check out the second place.

"Mom, I'd kinda like to see that other place first (the $510 unit).  I don't know, I just didn't like the feel of that other complex, so I guess I'm really interested in seeing this other one first.

The lady I had talked to on the phone last week was SO nice, and she was in the office when we arrived.  She was just wonderful, both Josh and I commented after we left about how nice she was.

As we were discussing our situation, that I would be helping Josh with his rent for awhile as he's just getting established, she mentioned that they don't accept Co-Signers.  "We feel that the person living in the Apartment takes better care of it when their name is on the lease.  But we kind of get around this by allowing you (Mother) to submit a little letter that states you will be contributing X amount of money to assist Josh.  This usually helps our Manager with the approval process."

We had several questions and she told us that there is a laundry facility in each courtyard, and actually, there is one in the building she planned on showing us.  The machines are coin-op machines, but are FREE!  I told Josh that's really unusual and could save him $10 or so a week.  She also told us that they don't collect a standard damage deposit.  We would give her $200 to hold the apartment for 30 days, and that money is applied to Josh's first month rent.  Again, this is unusual, but really great.

The grounds and buildings all appear to be well maintained, she told us that the man who built the complex owned it until he passed, and the complex is now owned by his daughter, who lives on the property.  I was impressed by this and I think this complex is unique in that it's not owned by some big corporation or as an investment vehicle for some huge insurance company.  And that seems to show in the way the place is maintained.  The lady we spoke with today?  She's worked there for 30 years and lives on the property too.  As does her daughter.

Anyway, we took a short walk over to the apartment.  This apartment is upstairs.  Josh and I both loved it.  When you walk in, directly in front of you is a dining area that is large enough for a normal sized dinette and four chairs.  You'd have to skirt around the sides of the dinette to get into the kitchen behind it though, so again, not a large area, but decent sized. 

The kitchen has an apartment sized, four burner range and an apartment sized fridge.  There's a dishwasher, but no microwave.  The cabinets and countertops are 'dated', but in great shape.  There's even a counter on one wall with room for two stools.

The main living area is very sunny, there are two large windows on one wall (that have mini blinds), and there is a decent sized coat closet.

What amazed us both was what was behind the living area and kitchen.  A HUGE walk in closet (12 feet long) with built ins down both sides.  Hell, it's bigger than my walk in closet.  Right when you walk into that area (the closet is to the left, the bathroom is to the right) there is a built in desk with a cabinet above it, just big enough for a computer and chair.  The bathroom is nice sized and clean and neat.

Then the lady gave us the best news.  "I don't know when I talked to you last week, but I think it may have been before our special kicked in.  This unit is renting for $452, instead of $510."

Josh put in an application and we went to get a bite to eat.  Shortly after, we received a call that his application was approved and he made plans to pick up the keys Friday.

I'm so excited for him.  There's just something about that place that feels good to me, and to him.

"I think I'm more excited than you are," I said.

"Nah, I'm pretty excited, I just keep it inside I guess.  You know Mom, I only have to sleep in that horrible house and deal with Dad and Denise four more nights.  You have NO idea how excited I am about that."

We talked about what stuff Josh wants to take with him and how he'd arrange it.  When he left he thanked me, "Thanks Mom, for helping me with all this.  I think this is something I can handle.  It might take me a couple of months to get my finances in order, but I think I can manage this, I don't feel overwhelmed by it.  I'm pretty excited to finally be getting MY life going."

I do think Josh's mood will be positively impacted once he's in this great little place.  And I'm hoping that he WILL be able to handle it on his own.  The good news is that this is all in HIS name, I'm not legally responsible for anything.  But the interesting thing is that just a few short months ago, Josh was AGHAST at the concept of signing a year long lease anywhere.  At that time he DID feel overwhelmed by the responsibility of it.  After living with his father for a few short months, he's changed his thinking on all that.  I guess that's a good thing, huh?

Thursday, April 7, 2011


Since Josh was diagnosed with Bipolar II, I have read countless books and websites on the subject.  I have poured through message boards and attended a Bipolar Support Group.  Along the way I've learned quite a bit, but I'm still learning.

I downloaded a book onto my Kindle yesterday, and while I'm only about 25% through the book, I have already learned something very important.

Josh probably isn't a good candidate for anti-depressants.  Somewhere, in all the reading I've done, I totally missed the concept of anti-depressants triggering mania in someone who is Bipolar.  Actually this is complete stupidity on my part because Josh's initial slide into mania was probably 'caused' by the use of Prestiq for his depression.

And that's the problem with this disorder.  There are SO many issues at play with it and yet, there is so much unknown.  As I've moved through all this, I've actually 'forgotten' some of the things I learned early on.

This is the book I am reading.    Dr. Phelps also maintains a website, which is FULL of great information.

On his website (and probably in his book, although I haven't got to that section of it yet) there is DETAILED information about the brain and how it 'might' be effected by Bipolar.  Dr. Phelps explains current research and possible explanations for what happens inside a Bipolar brain.  While it can all get pretty technical, even *I* could follow along and absorb the information.

In reading this book and website, I can 'see' Josh when Dr. Phelps talks about Mixed States.  While Josh doesn't exhibit full blown mania in conjunction with full blown depression, I still can see him when Dr. Phelps explains it like this: 

"This combination is one of the most severe and dangerous mood states known.  You feel overengergized to the point of agitation, and yet you are terribly depressed.  You may feel extremely irritable and extremely hopeless at  the same time, giving you an angry, "What's the point anyway?" attitude.  Your mind is usually racing with thoughts, nearly all of them very negative.  Perhaps worse of all is a reversed self confidence, where the grandiosity of mania is instead experienced as a profound lack of self-esteem, to the point where you feel worse than worthless: you are slime, you are a burden to others, and you cannot do anything correctly or of any value. 

While depression alone can lead to suicide, depression in this mixed-state condition often leads to intense suicidal thoughts that seem utterly appropriate.  People can really believe their loved ones will be better off without them."

I guess the best way to say it is that it makes sense that in the depressed state Josh is in, when he becomes even slightly manic, all those racing thoughts are negative and directed at himself.  I HEARD that in my kitchen the other night.

To put it very simply, Dr. Phelps believes in the concept of a "Mood Spectrum", where mania can be mild and laying beneath the surface, even in someone who 'lives' almost all the way to the left on the Spectrum.  He cautions that identifying someone with "Major Depression" and not looking for underlying 'soft' bipolar symptoms is dangerous.  If there are underlying 'soft' bipolar symptoms and an anti-depressant is used, the medication can trigger a manic phase.

It's quite possible that this is exactly what happened to Josh.  He exhibited many 'soft' bipolar symptoms, yet the original diagnosis was depression.  Of course, it's quite possible that the medication had nothing to do with the slide towards the other end of the spectrum, it might have naturally occurred, but it certainly makes you wonder.

I'm terrified that his current depression, when coupled with even a mild manic state, could lead him to suicide.  You listen to him and it's hard to miss how much he hates himself and life in general.  And if he's all up in his head, having racing thoughts, and all those thoughts are negative...well, it's easy to see how suicide might seem like the perfect solution to the problem.

And yet, he refuses treatment, refuses to accept that Bipolar may be at work in his life. 

I can understand the denial, and I imagine that there is a process Josh has to go through to get to acceptance, I just wish he'd GET THERE.  It terrifies me to think that he may be one of the many who never accepts the disorder and is handicapped by it forever.  More terrifying is thinking that he may kill himself, and in it all, I question how long I can financially hold this all together.

I spoke with Josh last night, and we're going to look at apartments this weekend.  He is still in training as a server at work but said he enjoys it and "it's a piece of cake".  He begins actually serving next week and I hope that it doesn't stress him.  I imagine a server in training isn't given a full section to work, so what looks easy now, may look very different to him next week. 

He sounded good though, and I always like to hear that.

And here's my final thought for the day.  Where do *I* find a Dr. Phelps?  MY therapist suggested a doctor to me, who she doesn't 'know', she only knows that he specializes in Bipolar.  When I researched him on the internet, the comments from his patients were HORRIBLE.  Let's face it, I've gotten Josh to agree to another assessment, I HAVE to get him in front of someone who is highly skilled in diagnosing but also skilled in guiding a patient towards acceptance.  I don't have the luxury of trial and error in finding the correct doctor for Josh.

Dr. Phelps seems like a dedicated, forward thinking practioner; a doctor who looks at the big picture and relates ALL he's learned through his work with patients to each patient.  I don't want to put Josh in front of someone who isn't the same.  The mental health field is full of horror stories and I don't want Josh to be one of them.  I feel intense pressure to 'get this right' because it may be my last chance to get him onboard anytime soon.

I've searched the internet locally seeking someone very gifted in Bipolar, but I've come up with nothing.  I think I'll call the therapist that Josh was seeing when he became depressed.  In his practice he has a couple of psychiatrists and maybe one of them would be our best choice?  

I don't know.  All I do know is that this Bipolar thing leaves me constantly feeling like a fish out of water.  Can you imagine how Josh must feel then?

Saturday, April 2, 2011


It appears that Josh's situation will soon be changing.  He's found out that his father is going to be evicted from his home the beginning of May.  His father and step mother are relocating to Florida.

"Are you going with them?"

"Are you nuts?  I don't even want to be living with them now, I'm sure not following them to Florida!"

So I've given a lot of thought to what comes next for Josh.  Living with me again is not an option.  Since Josh moved out I have experienced such calm and peace in my home.  Living with Josh had become impossible and nothing about him has changed to make me think that living with him again would be pleasant.  I feel horribly guilty about this stance, but there it is.  I'm not willing to open my home to him again.

I met with my therapist and told her of a couple of ideas I had to help Josh out.  We agreed on one of my plans, to assist Josh financially in getting a studio apartment.  I can't really afford this, I will be using borrowed money to provide this assistance, but I feel that I have to DO something.

We felt that choosing a six month lease would prevent me from assuming responsibility for an entire year and would give Josh enough time to gear up for full financial responsibility for himself, and that the time frame might alleviate the stress of having to deal with an immediate need.  We felt that having his own place, with his own things with him might enhance his mental health, and we felt that finally having a place of his own might lead him to WANT to do what is necessary to maintain it past the six months.

Well, like sometimes happens....the best laid plans......

.....dont' work out the way you envisioned.

Oh, actually, THAT part of the plan was accepted by Josh in its entirety.

The second part of the plan didn't go so well though.  The second part of the plan involved me asking Josh to do me the favor of having an assessment with a doctor who specializes in Bipolar.  I broached this subject with him carefully, and explained the things I had seen over the last few months that had me concerned that Bipolar may be tripping him up.  I asked him only to commit to an assessment, nothing more.  I reminded him that he was diagnosed during a period of sleep deprivation induced mania and I felt it would be beneficial to be assessed in a non-manic state.

He reluctantly agreed to see the doctor 'for me', "But Mom, it doesn't matter what he says, I'm not getting on the pill bandwagon."

The conversation then degraded to what it always degrades to when I try to discuss Bipolar with Josh.

I can't even begin to relate our entire conversation to you, but suffice it to say that with every minute that went by, my heart shattered further.  What I'll try to do is just list some of his random comments, but I don't think you will get the totality of what was said, no matter how hard I try to remember the most salient parts of the conversation.  My comments to Josh are in italics.

"Mom, don't you GET IT?  I'm NEVER going to be happy.  I spend most of my time in a suicidal state, overwhelmed with feelings of doubt and self loathing."  "Why the self loathing?"  "I'm a terrible person, hell, you've lived with me, you better than anyone should see why I hate myself."

"You want to give me a handout and I feel AWFUL accepting it.  You of all people, I can't imagine why you feel so compelled to help me."  "Because I'm your mother and because I honestly believe there is something bigger than you at work here tripping you up, and because I love you honey."  "And that's exactly why I'm never having kids!"

"I'm never going to be able to afford this on my own, NEVER.  I'll never make enough money to cover an apartment and all my expenses and have any money left over to have any kind of life...hence the suicidal thoughts."  "Well, given some time you can work your way up to making more money, and until you get there, I'm right here to help you."  "Yes, but don't you get it?  I'll be working for something I don't even WANT?"  "Well, what DO you want Josh?"  "Nothing Mom, I don't want anything, I sure don't want what most people strive for, all I know is I don't want to work for some piece of shit existence."

"I'd be dead by now Mom, except I'm a coward.  You know, everyone says that killing yourself is so cowardly, and I can tell you for a fact, it's not....it takes a very brave person to do that and I'm nothing but a coward."  "Well, I for one am GLAD that you're a coward then."

"I don't just NOT want what you have Mom, I don't want ANYTHING.  There is no joy in my life, the only thing that would make me happy would be to live in a shack in Tennessee and have a spear and hunt my own food, and that's not likely to happen."

"You know I've had a couple manic episodes since I moved out, and they always happen when I'm sleep deprived."  "How did you handle them?!"  "I shut up.  I just didn't talk, I just got through them up in my head."

"The reason everyone fights so hard to have THINGS is because most people don't see the world the way I do, the world is a mess and all this scurrying around like ants?  Well, THAT'S insanity Mom.  People don't see reality."  "You know Josh, the reality is that most people find pleasure in life, most people don't think of killing themselves 24/7, most people have successful social interactions and find pride in creating a life for themselves.  That YOU don't just leads me to believe that Bipolar may be at work here."  "Oh bullshit."  "No Josh, seriously, think about it, YOU are one of the few people in the entire WORLD who has this all worked out correctly?  Can't you see that your thought processes are not the norm, and *I* believe that's because your brain chemistry is messed up, and as your mother, as someone who loves you SO much and wants to see you happy and functioning well, it's heartbreaking to hear you refuse to take a freakin' pill if that pill will allow you to have normal, meaningful social interactions and all that."  "See?  This is why I hesitated even coming over here to discuss the apartment thing with you cause you start this shit."

"Josh, the idea behind me helping you for six months is to allow you time to settle in at your new job, or get a better full time job, so that at the end of six months you'll be ready to do this on your own.  Do you feel like you can work toward that goal?"  "I don't KNOW Mom, I can't predict the future.  Nothing....absolutely NOTHING in my life has EVER worked out the way I wanted, so I seriously doubt that this will.  "Well Josh, I'd hate to get to the end of this six month period and then wind up right back here, with you not able to manage on your own.  I mean, what do we do then?  What other options do you have NOW?"  "A homeless shelter, I guess."  "Do you want to do that?!!"  "NO! But other than that, my only other option is to sleep in my car and starve to death."  "But Josh, look around you, MILLIONS of people do this every single day.  I'm not asking you to live in a million dollar mansion and get yourself in the position to afford it.  We're talking about a tiny little apartment.  The fact that you can't fathom doing what is normal, standard stuff for MOST people indicates to me that SOMETHING is interfering with all this for you." 

Nothing I said got through to him, and of course it didn't, he's Bipolar!!

At the time I told him to forget the doctor, thinking that if he really won't accept treatment, what's the point.  But after Josh left as I talked to my boyfriend, he said, "Hey!  If he agreed to go, I'd take him up on that, you never know, the doctor may be able to make progress with him that you aren't able to, he's a professional, this is what he does, maybe he can get Josh to at least TRY treatment.

And he's right.  Josh and I left it that I would do more research and try to find something even cheaper.  I'm not sure I CAN find something cheaper in an area that I'm comfortable with, but I'll look.  And when he and I talk again, I'm going to tell him that I would like him to see the doctor with me.

As he was leaving I remembered that his bank statement came and gave it to him.  Apparently he has overdrawn his checking account and I told him that they charge you $5-7 a day.  "How long has it been overdrawn?"  "Too long Mom, when my first paycheck goes in there, this is going to eat it up!"

He got very upset and I told him that if he needed some money I could help him out.  He wadded the statement up and threw it in the trash, and as he was walking out the door he said, "What?  More money I owe you?!!!  God, I'm never going to get ahead that way.  I love you, I'll talk to you later."

So I sit with worry and concern.  I question whether in his current frame of mind my six month plan will work at all.  I think the only thing I can do at this point is try to find him something as cheap as possible and hope he WILL see the doctor and that the doctor can make some inroads, because, if not, I imagine things will not only NOT be better in six months, they'll probably be markedly worse.