I was speaking with a consultant at CPRI (the place that I love) this afternoon. She is new to our family and came on board following C's BiPolar diagnosis in late 2010. She and I had met briefly in the hallway between other appointments in November but this was my first real conversation with her.
For the most part things have been going really well with C. We had a great Christmas Break for the entire break (which has NEVER happened before) and the newest medication seems to really be making a difference for him. But in the past week or so we have seen a resurgence of what I now recognize as his BiPolar symptoms (extreme irritability, staying awake til all hours completing tasks in his room when most days he never finishes anything he starts without a lot of support, seeking out high carb food, chewing his fingers and so on). Only thing is, I'm the only one that now knows/recognizes these are attributable to his BiPolar. And sometimes I begin to doubt myself - particularly if faced with person after person questioning me on "How do you know that's the BiPolar, what if it's ______". This is all new to me to - not his symptoms but interpreting his symptoms in this manner.
He's holding it together though and not falling apart the short time he is at school. That is good. Nope, correction, that is AMAZING. But the school also wants to increase his attendance and C wants to stay longer. But he's coming home after 80 minutes at school and falling apart. It's obvious to me that until we get his meds stabilized (we have an appointment next week) and he's back on track with proper sleep and eating and so forth - why would we want to set him up like that? Especially when the school and his afternoon "treatment" centre still take a very behavioural mod approach to his mental illness?
So this consultant that is new to our family - I had called her last week to just touch base and she called today and I admit I am feeling pretty raw and emotional today and after a few minutes of my babbling and crying she asked me "What do you need from me?" Not in a challenging way but in this really genuinely supportive way. So I told her, I just need to know I can call her when I feel shaky, when I feel like I am the only person in this whole damn city that doesn't see my kid as a behavioural problem. That I can call her when I need someone to express to about how I feel like I can't do it one more day and then I look at my son and realize no matter how hard my life might feel, his life is that much harder and yet he continues to power through.
In the future I might need her to write letters or attend meetings and to back me up in a more tangible way. For now I just need to know that I am not alone in my understanding of my son and his mental illness.