As I said before this blog is a place for me to sort out and record the events of Damain’s BiPolar Disorder. This post may be hard to read.
Today I wished Damian had cancer.
Today we went to our family therapy visit where the head of the psychiatry department sat down with us and explained what we need to know about pediatric onset Bipolar. He talked on and on in calm tones for about 30 minutes. Using words like…prevelance, dialectic, cognitive, cycling, mania, depressive, self harm, suicide, outcomes, plans, regimen, ideation, attempt, morbidity…wait what? Morbidity rate of 20-35% within ten years of diagnosis for pediatric bipolar. 3 times the rate of adult onset bipolar. “I’m sorry,stop. what did you just say.” My voice must have risen, because he sat up straighter in his chair. “I said, what did you just say, just now about morbidity?”. He repeated the answer. I stood up, “Well that’s for kids who are not treated with medications and therapies. Those statistics do not apply here, they do not apply to Damian. That’s for kids who don’t have support.”
I don’t know how this doctor was expecting me to react, but it was obvious that this was not how he thought this conversation would go. He sat for a moment in that annoying way therapist do before speaking, and said..”Mrs. Cronnelly these statistics have varying degrees of accuracy. I only mention them as due course in our conversation so that we may all understand the severity of Damian’s condition.” Me: “Understand the severity, are you kidding me, this is his 5th suicide attempt and his 7th hospitalization in 4 months. I am living in the severity. I understand so much more than I should. So let’s be clear if you are going to tell parents these statistics then your next words ought to be a targeted medical plan on how we are going to proceed to beat the statistics.” Annoying, supposed to be, calming silence ensues. “Mrs. Cronnelly we develop an individualized safety plan each time Damian is discharged from the hospital.” Me: “You mean the safety plan that says, when I am feeling suicidal I will- take deep breaths, work on a puzzle, take a shower, or take a nap? That’s the medical plan? That’s it?”.
Today on my drive home, I wished Damian had cancer…the overall statistical odds are better, the medical plan of treatment is researched and funded, you get to stay with your child during treatment, there are colored ribbons to show awareness, there are playrooms, brightly colored hospital walls. And no one, no one, especially not a a doctor who relays statistical nightmares, tells you to “calm down”!