Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Behind Closed Doors

This is something that has been on mind a lot lately so I thought it might help if I wrote about it. So here goes it...
I think one of the hardest things about McKenzie's illness is that it is all behind closed doors, our doors. Yes, other people see things that they know are different or wrong. And yes, she is difficult at times with her extended family, and she is even quietly defiant at school at times. But her teachers have called her "lovely" and our neighbor has said, "she was an angel today." Other people comment how polite and mature she is with adults. But what they don't know or see is the other side of her at home. The side she says she cannot control at times. But how can she control it outside our home? It is so hard for her dad and I to have her treat others with so much more kindness and respect than she does her own family. It hurts. Sometimes it makes me feel like nobody believes us. I know that is not true, but it is hard trying to describe what she is like to others when they have never even seen it. Only one friend outside our home has somewhat experienced a rage and even at that it was only on the phone as I was calling her for help. She could hear McKenzie in the background. I remember her saying, "Amy, that is not normal!" My mom and mother-n-law see the side of relentless requests and her anxiety. But nobody has seen a full blown rage where she has thrown her medicine bottle across the room and hit the Christmas tree or poured water all over the floor or hit me in the stomach when I was pregnant or ran after Tori and said "I am going to hurt you." I could go on and on, but you get the idea. Or do you? It makes it even harder when friends judge us and make comments like she is just a strong willed teenager or I was like that when I was 13, just hold your ground harder. I even had one friend suggest that she had attachment disorder. If you do not know anything about that disorder then I will share that it is when the child is neglected as a baby so the child grows up not trusting anyone. I have no idea why they made this comment. They were not even around or even in the same state when McKenzie was little. How would they know? And I can tell you if anything she was overly loved-if that is possible-she was the first born with both grandparents and the first niece to both sides of our family. She was my precious little angel baby. She was never neglected. As you can tell this makes me so mad! Anyway, to get back to my soap box...
If I had not read in The Bipolar Child that it is very common for all of it to be behind closed doors then I am not sure if I would believe it either. That is truly a mental disorder. It is just so complicated and hard to understand. It is also so new to children. Most psychiatrists are hestitate to even diagnosis or label a child with bipolar. We keep getting, "Well, she has some kind of mood disorder but I am not willing to say it is bipolar for sure." When will we find a doctor who has the balls to really help her? Excuse my french! Again this makes me very mad! I want help for my little girl and I know she does too. And I want people to understand, but I know that is hard unless they have experienced it themselves. I guess that is one of the reasons that I am writing this blog. Okay enough of my soap box. Hopefully, this helped me get it out and maybe it will help someone else understand a little bit better.


  1. Behind closed doors certainly does describe what we experience with these kids. I know that no one really knows how much chaos and pain we go through except another parent of a bp kid, or maybe someone who is brave enough to enter into our lives and be there with us. I have three sisters who are very understanding and loving toward our daughter, and a church that has sought to understand and help, though imperfectly. But early on, I felt very alone, because my best friends pulled back and my best neighbor friend pulled back, and it hurt. I have sat in my living room chair feeling utter despair and darkness when she was completely bad off, seemingly possessed. I feel your isolation and I understand the pain.

  2. Oh Amy - I completely understand your entire post! It is so hurtful and some days I feel my daughter's BP has worn me down so thin, I'm not sure I can take another day. But the sun rises again the next day and we trudge on. I'm so happy to have found your blog and thank you for your words. The comfort of knowing I am not alone in the struggles we face each day is priceless and gives me the strength and determination to go on.