Monday, June 25, 2012

The Many Faces Of Courtney: I am a Mom and I am Bipolar

The Many Faces Of Courtney: I am a Mom and I am Bipolar: Hello my name is Courtney and I am mother of a 6 month old and I suffer from Bipolar disorder. Does that sound like I am going to AA or som...

I am a Mom and I am Bipolar

Hello my name is Courtney and I am mother of a 6 month old and I suffer from Bipolar disorder. Does that sound like I am going to AA or something? Why is it hard for people to understand that just because I am Bipolar means that I will not be crap mother? Does that make any sense? I do not go around assuming people are bad parents because they have health problems. There is nothing wrong with me to prevent me from taking care of my house, family, and my child. I love him with all my heart and he has been so wanted for so many years... he is my little miracle. I have come across many situations where I wanted to lash out of the people who feel the need to put me in a cage and throw away key..... and condemn me for a health disorder and not for who I am. I mean you can be a 100% healthy, have all the money in the world... and still be a crappy parent.

I would hope people would see the love I have for my son. Has it been easy? Of course not! I would like to see any woman claim that she was the prefect mother.... so I can slap her back down to reality.

I was told this expression once or twice (or a hundred times)... that you put your child's needs before your own. I agree with this and I do not agree with this. When I was pregnant with Caleb I was asked numerous times whether or not I was going to breastfeed. I had already made up my mind that I was not going to breastfeed because it would be better for Caleb and I because I needed to be back on some very important medications (not just Bipolar related). I know I got a lot of mixed results about this.... I had one woman said it was wrong for me not to breastfeed (she was a nurse in the hospital) I had others who gave me their support and others asking if I was okay with not being able to breastfeed. I had to look at it this way... my medications help keep me healthy and live a very proactive life. If I decided to stay off of the medications longer to give my child the "benefit" of breast milk. I could have put my own life at risk (and I do not need to sound morbid but that is the reality) and I am sorry not sure how much good I would do if I was in the hospital or worse.... However, this does by any means that I put my needs before my child far from it! In fact I look at my choice not to breast feed as putting my child's needs ahead of mine. My child will never go out food, diapers, baths, and so on. I may say no to a toy he may want but that is the key it is a want!

I also get this concern a lot.... what happens during your mood swings? Well the good thing for the most part I can tell when a serious shift will happen but that is because I am proactive in my health. However, my form of Bipolar does not keep me from a normal life. If you look it up there are various types.... and yes my mood can swing up and down in a blink of an eye but it is not dangerous and I know who to trust and what to do if I ever felt the need of help because of the disorder. I think in a way Caleb is blessed to have a Bipolar Mom.... for example, when I am in a "up" phase beyond my normal.... I explore new things or read. I love to craft and do art... and I cannot wait to do art with Caleb or run around with him when he plays. I mean having some extra energy without outside sources... can be a huge blessing. Being up allows me to get things in order take care of my son.... play with him... read with him.... how is that any different from a Mom who is not Bipolar? Maybe except it will seem that I will have a natural coffee bean inside me... but then it brings the question.... what happens when you are down? Well it just means I have to work harder.... yes it may take all my might to get things done that day.... but Caleb makes it worth doing! Mothering is a 24/7 job and just because I am in a down mood does not mean I take a break from being Mom.... I mean do you take a break every time you felt out of it..... so why would I? I follow a strict routine when I feel down to help me get out of the funk it may take a couple of days but Caleb is always the first! Everybody has girl nights out and mens night out.... they do what they need to recharge....and I do the same. Caleb is one of the reasons I exsist and why I was put here.

So please stop lumping bipolar moms into this group of incapable mothers.... it makes me feel like you have no faith in me... and if you look in my son's eyes he knows how much he is loved... and even if I have ups and downs... Caleb will always be first... and how you take it is your business..... I am just asking think of the world and how unique each mother is.... I am not extra special... have no super powers.... than any other MOM..... some days are tougher than others... but we all have days like that.... so do not assume the negative of the situation....

and embrace and except me for the mother that I am to my child! How I rock him to sleep, read to him every night.... laugh and play with him.... or how he loves to smile when I sing and talk to him. Worry about him all the time... if I am doing a good job....

so yes my name is Courtney, I am a mother... and Bipolar..... stop putting a Stigma out there for me to fight... instead get to know me.... the real me.... and maybe you will see past that I am Courtney bipolar and a mom.....

What about you? Your a mother and...? or Your a father and I?  I am sure there is something...............

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Lamtical, Prozac.... Oh My (and Metformin too)!

In a world where there is still very much a stigma around mental illness often medications do not make that stigma any easier for that person. I will give you a prime example that happen to me several months ago before I was pregnant. I was filling all my medications (some for Bipolar some for PCOS) and this little old lady saw that I had a larger bag (I would not say large but they put your medications in brown paper bags depending on what you getting is the size you get. I was happening to get some test strips for my monitor). She told me I was to young to have as many medications as her. I smiled and then without warning she blurts out- WAIT YOUR NOT CRAZY ARE YOU? For once in my life I wanted to slap an old person but I just walked off it and it got me thinking... what is wrong with my medications... if they are making me better? First and for most it is no ones business what people take and what their health problems are unless the elect to tell you. I mean I could have yelled out- WAIT DO YOU HAVE A BAD HEART? Really not the same affect but you get the  idea it really is no one else's business unless you allow it be and if they have gotten into your business it is your right to tell them to back off (hopefully in nicer terms)

I guess the reason behind this blog post is that it is okay to be on medications for various health problems to include mental illness. You may not want it to be public or even let people know but the importance of medications (whatever the reason you are on them has a reason). I will not go into great detail but I am on what I like to call a "Bipolar Med Cocktail" and a "PCOS Med Cocktail". I refer to these as cocktails because they usually consist of multiple medications that are currently working to treat my two on going health problems. As of now there is no "CURE" for either one of these so accepting that I will likely be on daily medications for the rest of my life is what I must deal with. Believe me some days are harder than others but I pull through most of time. For example two of the medications that I am on for PCOS is  Metformin (Common brand names Fortament, Glucophage, Glumetza, and Riomet) and Birth Control Pills. Both of these medications help treat PCOS symptoms which include but are not limited to (each woman is different)

 So as you can see why medication is very important.......

Then there is Bipolar Medications that I am on.... and it is cocktail just like my PCOS. If I did not take my medications then I would be facing these symptoms alone... and I have been there and it is not fun fighting these alone.


The primary symptoms of bipolar disorder are dramatic and unpredictable mood swings.
Mania symptoms may include excessive happiness, excitement, irritability, restlessness, increased energy, less need for sleep, racing thoughts, high sex drive, and a tendency to make grand and unattainable plans.
Depression symptoms may include sadness, anxiety, irritability, loss of energy, uncontrollable crying, change in appetite causing weight loss or gain, increased need for sleep, difficulty making decisions, and thoughts of death or suicide.

Now just like  any health problem medication is often not the cure all.... and for PCOS and Bipolar..... medications do not solve all my problems and there have been many of pity parties of why me and why do I have to take all of these (I have thought about it more than once throwing all meds out and doing it once) medications.

What it boils down too..... have conversations with your doctor if medication is to be part of your life.... learn to accept it no matter what it is for. Whether it Asthma medication, blood pressure medication, birth control pills (to prevent pregnancy or for other reasons)... or taking medications to help with a mental illness... it is OKAY. A doctors goal when it comes to giving you medication is to keep you healthy.... and if you were my friend or anyone for that matter

I would like to know you will be around for a bit....

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Bipolar Eyes

Bipolar Eyes... what a concept or term for that matter. In other words what does a person who suffers/blessed with BP disorder see the world? For me the world is often predictable and ordinary. However, by this I mean I see the same thing everyday people talking about politics, war, pain, violence, drama, friendship, love, faith, caring, kindness, and everything in a way most people do not..... I choose to see things way to live my life drama free as possible but my bipolar mind also makes me see things in ways whether I want too see it or not... which brings me to the concept Bipolar Eyes.

Now there is no medical term or even medical findings about this... these are just my own experience of what it is like to see the world through my eyes. I know the way it sounds that I am always on this cosmic trip and everything seems magical... but trust me it is far from that. I actually have to sit there sometimes and ask myself "was it what I actually saw... or what I choose to see...". Now please understand I do not hear voices in my head or if there is black van following me or the devil is telling me to do something.... no more than the next person... IN OTHER WORDS I AM NOT SCHIZO.

When it comes to self awareness such as subjects politics, high debatable topics (abortion, homosexuality, same sex marriage, and religion). I CHOOSE not talk about these and there is a simple reason why... because I do not give a damn what you think about these subjects and I do not give a damn what you think I believe in these topics (believe me I have my views and thoughts on these subjects it is just none of your damn business)...because if I based my opinion off you on these subjects or views... frankly none of us would be friends! So for example.... if you ask me a question about politics.... I tell you I do not discuss politics... do not turn around and say "well you must admit.... blah blah has not done what he says".... GUESS WHAT? That is still political talk and if I give you the eat shit and die look... well I am sorry to say it is your own fault because I already gave you fair warning what I do and do not discuss (now if I actually carry on a conversation in these topics with you which is often rare occasion then it is a whole another thing). However, if I say do not discuss certain things I do recommend you to drop it... and you will see why later.

When it comes to things such as friendship, love, faith, caring, and kindness. I believe I have the ability to find this in almost anyone. I guess this is because I choose not discuss certain topics and focus on the beautiful nature of people because in reality even in the harsh circumstances of this world you can find the most beautiful things. I love how children respond to their mothers or their mothers when they just want a little extra cuddle time, or an old couple holding each others hands, the clouds in the sky that tell you heaven is just a couple steps away from you and you are always protected by your loved ones... from the past and the present, just the beauty of nature, laughing until you cannot laugh no more, or just being so grateful that someone allowed you to be part of their special moments in their life (wedding, meeting their child for the first time, and so on). When it comes from tears because you have been hurt for whatever reason how your true friends and family come to you in your time of need and the ones who may not understand what it is like to be your shoes does not try but rather is just there for pure support. Because through my eyes a true friend never tries to walk in your shoes but rather walks by you.... one of the worst things a person can do is act like they know what you are going through when in reality they do not..... so take my advice just be there for them in their time of need.

However, through my eyes not everything can be controlled. When things go out of whack and I go up or down... I see things I rather not. Again I do not suffer from SCHIZOPHERNIA. Meaning when I am down.... I am down... where there feels like there is not bottom. I cannot control these feelings because if I did I would not be in a down spell. Unlike Depression where they may be a cause for why the depression occurred for me there is not... I just feel nothing.... I feel alone... what I see is often that leads me in to that rabbit hole further. I start to see what annoys me more... such as topics I choose not to talk about and I feel like if you look in my eyes you will see these storm clouds forming where you once saw Courtney... you just see the figure of me waiting for this ship to pass so to speak....afraid to say something... thinking leaving me alone until it passes is your best option... and in reality it is... because unless I have trusted you to bring me back from this storm (which is just a couple of people).... you may not what like what you see or do and I may or may not apologize for my actions............ depending if I feel like I was in the wrong. When I am in up phase it really is no better... I am not the happy go lucky life of the party person that people often think of when they think of Bipolar on the upside.... I however, see the world through sickening eyes.... what was funny just seems annoying and sick to me... I mean I can recall getting to pissed at a broom because I tripped over it.... if you think my eyes show storm clouds when I am down... it is more like I could shoot fire from them when I up... that sad part is I cannot control or help it... extra night rest will not make it all go away or even a good talk... the chemicals in my body do not want to play nice so what I often see is destruction and chaos and I am thrown in the middle.

That is why there are times I prefer to be alone... re-focusing my eyes, letting the storm pass, and putting the fires out. In this alone time I feel safe to see the things I need to... and get it out.... because it is the fastest way for me........ and the less likely people will get hurt with my actions. My home is my shelter and within my home I am protected and in control....

I write this not to scare you or for you think I am nuts.... I did not ask to be like this... but you asked what I saw through my eyes......

My Bipolar EYES....

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Many Faces Of Courtney: Caleb My Miracle

The Many Faces Of Courtney: Caleb My Miracle: Caleb arrived December 21, 2011 and boy has it is been an incredible adventure. I have never been so in love with a child than I am with m...

Caleb My Miracle

Caleb arrived December 21, 2011 and boy has it is been an incredible adventure. I have never been so in love with a child than I am with my son. He has the most beautiful blue eyes and a smile that makes my heart just melt. When I think of him and the journey I have been on to have him I often just close me eyes and think of my little baby 6 years in the making. The picture above was taken when he was 2 months old but even he decided to make his welcoming into this world and adventure as well. Christopher and I knew he was not going to be here for the birth of Caleb and for the first couple of months... duty calls when you are military. My husband left at the start of Dec and the following day Caleb decided not to do what he was suppose to do in our weekly NST testing so I was admitted to the hospital. With having PCOS and doing infertility treatment I was high risk and I did develop gestational diabetes (and for future reference- I may never drink Sunkist or any other orange flavored things again). He was not reactive above his heart rate so I had to go through this special ultrasound which basically the doctor places the monitor on my stomach to watch his breathing movements. It is not a painful test but it is very stressful. He failed the test meaning he only 6 six breathing movements out of 10 in an hour and he needed to do at least 8. I was scared, I mean who would not. I mean my husband was going back over to Afghanistan I was alone and there could have been something wrong with our little baby. Well thankfully, he did what he was suppose to-do in a repeat of the test and I was sent home. I was adjusting to being pregnant by myself passing the days by slowly and miserable wishing I could lay on my stomach or back. I knew I was having a c-section because Caleb had remained breached the entire pregnancy and I refused to go through an aversion procedure (which is where they try to roll the baby into position). I just felt it should come natural... I still had a month left when my nightly checks with my parents... I just told my Mom I think I am ready to have someone sit with me. She just said I was having a bad day. Well that night I was getting things ready for bed and I was putting juice in the fridge (Blue Kool Aid) to be exact when I felt this pop...kind of like a water balloon and a small but warm gush of liquid..... My water broke. The one thing I did not plan for was my water breaking early. I called my parents told them what happen.... put my dogs in the kennel.... and drove myself to the hospital (yes you heard me right). I went through the entire check in process, they got a hold of my husband, my parents were on there way up (they were about 4 1/2 hours away). So as I was waiting for everything they tested my blood sugar and it was high... the doctor (who I do not like) told the nurse to give me insulin. I asked him not to and if he could wait just a little bit I am sure it would go down by itself.... BUT he knew what was best... well the gave me his dose... all I remember saying is I feel like I am going to throw up... and next thing I know I am being woke up with something.... I passed out.... go figure... I honestly think people know their own bodies and I knew I did not need that insulin.... oh well. My parents arrived 15 minutes before they were to take me back. The C-section went well and to be honest cannot remember a lot about it because of the drugs... I think. My mom said I was out of it... the thing I do remember is hearing Caleb cry. I was told in recovery when I got back in my room my son would be joining me.

When I got to my room my mom told me Caleb was grunting a little bit so he needed to stay in the nursery for a little bit longer. That was a start of a night mare for me. Hours ticked by and they kept giving the same answers. Finally a doctor came to me and said that he was going on the C-pap machine for 4 hours to see if that helped and if not he would have to be transferred to a NICU. My heart just dropped. I only saw my son for a brief second and have yet to hold him and the doctor is telling me this.... well sadly he did not improve and he was transferred to a NICU about an hour away. I held it together when they brought him up to me and actually felt a great calm where he was going...I just felt the overwhelming need for him to be out of there as much as I hated not being with him. He went to New Hannover in Wilmington, NC and you do not ever want your child to be in that situation but if they have to be I think New Hannover could be the best place. I was released from Naval the following day and my parents drove me to Wilmington at Midnight so I could see my son. When I got there I got the most welcoming feeling in the world. Each baby has their own room called pods and is private and secure. They asked me if they could do anything..... I asked if I could hold him finally? They almost seemed shocked but not surprised that I have not been able to hold my son yet  when they found out where I came from. So almost 48 hours later this is me holding my son.

I kept very quiet that he was in the NICU because it is a very hard thing to go through. His stay was only a week but each day feels like it would never end. When it was over I just prayed for the parents who had their little ones in there for months. I was so thankful my parents were with me. They drove me every day back and forth from Jacksonville to Wilmington to see Caleb. I called there every day for updates sometimes twice and they always were welcoming. Caleb spent his first Christmas in the NICU but it was soon after that my baby boy got to come home.

Knowing and having home was one of the greatest feelings on this earth. Since he came home from the NICU we have had no health problems with him. Everything on little man is healthy and you would have never known he had time in the NICU. Besides for the first two months where he thought he was an owl and decided to turn me into a vampire he has been beyond a good baby and I know how lucky I am to have him.


So for Caleb just being 5 months old he has already had an adventure that trumps most adults.... I wonder what the next part of his adventure will be... I know one thing for sure... I am so excited to be part of it!


Where has the time gone?

I have not written in a long time... there have been so many things worth writing about but to be honest I lost track of it all. So in reality this is a catch me up... Nothing new in the PCOS or Bipolar department in other words I still have them but then again I was not expecting them to just up and go away. The last post I wrote was in Nov so a lot has happened. The biggest thing is that I am a mommy! For anyone who has faced PCOS knows this is nothing easy to face and I have my little miracle 6 years in the making. My husband deployed again and is home once again... and for right now that is about it... but this is just a small update.