Babies or Stability? Bipolar Women and Heartbreaking Choices.
I was adopted when I was only nine months old. My Dutch parents gave me every opportunity in life, to grow as a person and to develop myself in every single way. Little did they know, about their Colombian baby girl, being blessed with a mental illness, not yet to be discovered.
Since I was little, I dreamed of having my own children. It would be one big happy, noisy family with a strong man at my side. My rock. The best opportunity for me, to feel what it's really like, to connect with someone, having my blood, running through his/her veins.
After my fourteenth birthday, depressions took a hold of me. We never recognized these first signs of Bipolar Disorder. I started to work as a teacher when I was 21, worked for 8 months and was send back home again, by the school director. He saw me getting crazy in the middle of the classroom. I never made it back to my job and was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder two years after.
What Do You Really Want?
Click on the video and pay close attention to this young woman of 26. If you do so, she will share her thoughts with you. Look into her eyes and notice her desire of becoming a mother. You will be witnessing the battle, she's fighting in her head.
I'm not asking you to judge her, whatever decision she might take.
I can only tell you about mine, after fighting similar battles, before making a life changing decision on my own.
What you don't want
When my Bipolar Career started, instead of my Teaching Career, life sucked! I was 23, labeled with Bipolar Disorder, not stable enough to work and on the verge of losing my boyfriend. When I finally did, I went into the worst maniacal episode ever, wandered around Holland for a whole summer long, and ended up for months in a mental hospital.
While recovering from my crazy summer, I witnessed more than once, how proud daddies came to visit the mothers, who recently gave birth, to their precious little babies.
The site of mothers cursing their husbands, not recognizing them for being the father of their child, made me wanna scream myself. They didn't want to hold their babies, turned their back to their partners, spitted in their faces and were taken away quickly, by a group of strong nurses.... of to isolation.
When I left the hospital, I was 27 and I had seen enough.
Dreams Can Change
I always wanted kids, I always wanted to get married and I always dreamed of being a stewardess, flying around the world. Yet, it took me until I got 30, to decide for myself, that I wasn't going to live my life as a mother.
I went through a long process of balancing the good and the bad, talking for years with my psychologist, psychiatrist and gynecologist, to make a final decision. It was to become the hardest decision I had to make, sacrificing the one thing I really wanted as a child.
For a fairly simple procedure, I wasn't given anesthesia. The doctor would proceed with the sterilization, inserting a small spiral, in the opening of my two ovaries. It hurt like hell! I cried during the entire 15 minutes, saying goodbye to a dream forever. I chose for a new way of sterilization, not giving me the option to undo, what had been done.
Even though I can't have children anymore, I can tell you honestly that I never had any regrets. With my type of Bipolar Disorder, living a stable life on my own, would be a full time job anyway. And I succeeded!
How to cope with Bipolar Disorder
After the story I shared with you, below you'll find a list of several coping strategies I apply, to live a healthy and steady life with Bipolar Disorder.
- I always take my Carbamazepine and Seroquel between 21 and 22 o'clock.
- If I look for a job, I never want to work before 10 o'clock. I need two hours to wake up from the medication I take.
- I always look for a job with little responsibility even though I'm highly educated.
- I never work more than 4 or 5 hours a day and no more than 20 hours a week.
- I never work more than two days in a row. This means: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday.
- I say no to parties, meeting up with friends and having dinner with my partner, if I feel I have little energy or if I feel in stable.
- I walk out of a relationship if it effects my mental health in a negative way. I don't expect a partner always to take in consideration, I have a mental illness.
- I try to avoid conflicts with friends, a partner or colleagues.
- I divide my household over the week and I never do too much in one day.
- I get out of bed when I wake up from a bad dream, look some television and go back to sleep. This gets my mind of the bad dream completely.
- I always go outside for some fresh air, instead of staying inside the house, feeling locked up easily. (When I don't work)
- I call a friend if I want to talk.
- I meet up with a friend if I feel alone.
- I look into my charts to see if my stability is still intact. Small warning signals are often forgotten. My charts help me to stay focused.
- I warn my partner if I feel in-stable and take some time off on my own.
- I call my psychiatrist if I need some advice or make an appointment to come as soon as possible.
- I ask for more medication if I feel I'm losing control.
Finding a balance between household, quality time for myself, friends, work, hobbies, gym and taking care of my cats, therefore is a full time job. One I've had for over fifteen years now, sometimes very annoying, but most of the times I'm quite happy the way I managed to run my Bipolar Career.
- Thank God, I don't have children!
Questions about pregnancy, Bipolar Disorder and every risk there is to take. Decisions and decent stability.
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