Parenting While Mentally Ill

If you weren’t mentally ill before becoming a parent, I can almost guarantee that having kids will make it so. All of one’s job travails, interpersonal challenges and recriminations for roads not taken become tenfold once you actually care. I mean truly care, a kind of caring that defies gravity and reason, for wouldn’t you reverse the Laws of Gravity themselves in the moment that your kid tumbles headfirst off something crashing into an immovable earth? And reason disappears once there are small beings that are completely dependent on your care. Will you be able to feed them? Can you guide them away from the myriad mistakes you have made? Mere reasoning is no longer enough to understand why their throwing around household objects can cause an irritation so nerve-shattering.

Which is where drugs come in, in this case I mean legal ones. Not for me the blessed relief of a nightly medical marijuana joint—I have demonstrated myself unable to handle recreational use of anything and now much handle the whole parenting caper completely sober.

I have over the years, been prescribed various medications which, while not getting me “high” have helped considerably with the messy business of raising children. I am hard to medicate, because I’m extremely sensitive, but one thing is certain- without meds I become a day-sleeping zombie, unable to function in general, and shower in particular, destined to impart a message to my kids that everything is fucked and will remain so and what the fuck is the G-d damn point, we’re all dying anyway, you can’t see those cells degenerating, kid, but trust me when I tell you, we’re not long for this G-d forsaken planet.

Hence, anti-depressants.

Also, for the last year, I have been on a mood stabilizer which is so new on the market that one month when our insurance lapsed I had the pleasure of discovering that it cost $739 without coverage. Specifically it’s an atypical anti-psychotic (that they give to schizophrenics) one of whose side effects is listed as “sudden death.”

So there’s that.

Apparently until a drug becomes generic, they rape you for it, though not literally. The med has been helpful to me, but recently the side effects became so intense that I had to stop. Three days ago to be precise. Though not afflicted with “sudden death,” after enduring days and nights of akithisia, the costs started outweighing the benefits. Also I started sleep masturbating (sexsomnia, it’s a thing) and having disturbing, vivid dreams. My life was compromised to the extent that it became wise to throw the dice (yet again) and see if perhaps I couldn’t handle my moods without chemical help. The withdrawal was not nearly as bad as what I’ve experienced with other anti-depressants, a little coldness, shaking and a feeling of being twelve again were worth it, for the akithisia to stop.

Last night was my first bedtime not buffered by a mood stabilizer. And I did okay, yelled once and apologized for it, and got everyone to bed without further incident. While I am most definitely more irritable than I have been in the past year (it’s clinical irritability people, not just what you feel when someone cuts you off in traffic) I am also softer. The hard veneer has fallen away and I am standing again as my naked, sensitive self. The crab’s shell has fallen away and only time will tell how this will truly impact my kids and their own, vulnerable unprotected selves.

pill box

One comment

  1. Parenting can drive us all crazy and definitely causes irritability but in your case it must be an added pressure to stay on top of your emotions and get the balance between “normal” levels of stress and ones which are in need of control.
    I hope this works for you.

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