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Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Two Long Years

Here I sit, just a little more than two years after Josh was diagnosed with Bipolar II.

A year or so in he was still in complete denial, then almost a year on very successful medications, and now, several months with no meds.

I see the changes in him, with no meds, but he's doing OK.  He's snippy, with me and I'm sure with the people he works with.  He complains about work when he calls me on his breaks, but when I see him, he seems mostly happy and normal.

I'm not sure what to think to be honest, but I can tell you that I feel like I'm holding my breath.

If I'm correct, and Josh cycles seasonally, I would assume he'll remain in his present state until we move into spring next year.  Then again, a major stressor coming alone might send him cycling?

Right now the hardest part of this for me is knowing HOW GOOD...no...HOW GREAT...he is on meds.

I've made it clear to him that my financial support is over.  He is in a position to more than support himself as a Dog Groomer.  If he cycles and somehow loses that job...he's on his own.

"You have a lot at stake here Josh, I just can't imagine why you'd want to jeopardize all you've built."

The only small hope I hold onto is that a year ago, when he was suffering through hypomania, HE came to ME and asked me to help him find a doctor, feeling like he couldn't live like that.

I just hope that he gets to that point sooner this time if he cycles...you know...before he destroys this wonderful life he's built.

I'm so proud of how far he was able to come, against some pretty difficult odds (bipolar and the economy).  I got a good long glimpse of who Josh is capable of being as an adult; responsible, caring, kind, loving, fun and fun loving).

I want him to be his best, and to me, he's his best self ON MEDS.

Monday, January 30, 2012

A Life Sentence

I haven't written here in a LONG time because my life has been full of changes and Josh has been doing so well.

He continues in his job as a Dog Washer and generally loves it.  He really does like dogs more than most people! 

He has made new friends at work and actually has a girlfriend.  He acts very responsibly in all areas of his life; keeping his apartment clean, getting oil changes...basic things we all do, but things I didn't even realize that Josh cared about doing.  He's paying his own living expenses (although I'm still paying about half his rent and his health insurance and medical bills).

A couple of months ago I noticed a change in him.  He seemed 'moody' and 'touchy'.  He wasn't tired and he wasn't hungry (two things I know of that create a mood shift for him).  I asked him if he was still taking his medicines and he told me he was.  The next weekend when I saw him, he admitted that he had quit taking his anti-psychotic.  He hated how lethargic it made him feel.  He had been to the doctor that week and told the doctor that he'd stopped the medication.  His doctor said that he was actually going to stop his anti-seizure medicine, but since Josh had stopped the other, they'd just see how that went.

Josh lost his 'shine' when he stopped that medication.  That glow he had, the ever present smile and obvious joy in his face went away.  It made me sad to see him in this diminished state, but slowly, as his body adjusted, he seemed to get better; not as good as he was on the medicine, but better.

Josh is going to Grooming School in mid February.  He has mixed emotions about this.  He has favorite breeds of dogs, like boxers, labs, german shepherds, etc, and those dogs don't get groomed, just bathed.  He'll miss working with his favorite dogs.  Secondly, Groomers aren't on salary, they make a 50% commission.  The Groomers at his store make almost twice what he does, but that's only if they have enough work.  Thirdly, Grooming School is 'free' (you have to buy about $600 worth of tools) but you have a two year commitment with the store and if you don't honor that commitment, you have to reimburse them for the education (a lot of money).

I encouraged Josh to go to Grooming School, arguing that he can still see and 'play' with his favorite dogs who are being bathed, as he has time in his schedule, and I told him that he NEEDS to make more money, that I'm just about finished subsidizing his existence.

And then.....he told me last weekend that he's going to stop taking his anti-depressant.  I'm not just unhappy about this, I'm pretty pissed off at him too.  I know it's his life and his decision, but I think he's doing what so many Bipolar people do.....derail their progress because they think...in their heads...that they're doing FINE and will NOT acknowledge that the medication is what's keeping them fine.

I told him how I felt, I reminded him that when he asked the doctor to add the anti-depressant, IT was what  HE said made him feel better.  I reminded him what his life was like before the medication and pointed out how far he's come since he began treating his Bipolar.  And I told him that THIS was the worst possible time to experiment with his life...just getting ready to start Grooming School...just beginning to really be able to support himself.

Deaf ears.  It all fell on deaf ears. 

I said my peace, made the best points I could make and told him, "Your life, your decision, but I cannot continue to support you, so if this causes you to cycle, you are on your own."

I'm going to have one more talk with him.  The tools he needs for school, he can buy at his store and they will deduct the cost out of each check, but all the groomers say their tools suck and break and have suggested he buy his tools on his own elsewhere.  He asked if I could help him buy the tools and he'd pay me back.  Of course I'm willing to do this, but I think my willingness to help him out financially ONCE AGAIN, is going to have a stipulation placed on it and that stipulation is that he make no more medication changes until early summer (he tends to cycle in the spring).  Of course, he can agree to this and then not really take the medicine, but if he does that and things go haywire, he's gonna have to deal with the consequences.  And if he feels I'm strong-arming him, he can buy the tools at the store and have them deduct the cost from his checks.

All of this reminds me that this Bipolar stuff is really a life sentence, and not just for the poor person suffering the disorder, but also for every single person who cares about them.

And I care deeply about Josh.