I would like to welcome Brittney D. Herz to our site. She is a brave and loving mother, freelance writer, and librarian who was kind enough to do a guest post for us about her daughter and life with juvenile bipolar. Brittney runs her own site and you can find the link below. Please feel free to check out her site as well. This is her story:
Canceling Playdates: Life With Juvenile Bipolar
By: Brittney D. Herz
“I’m sorry I don’t think we’re going to be able to come play today, we’ll get over there soon though!”
It’s a text I’ve sent many times before but it never gets easier to send. Not so much the words and not so much the missing an opportunity to see an old friend and her children; but the feeling of defeat. That feeling of finally saying, we just can’t be in public today.
It’s not one that gets any easier.
We had been on an upswing. This was before I realized it was indeed an “upswing” and that we even needed to know what an “upswing” was. The many moods and phases of my daughter change just as frequently as I change my mind on what I want for dinner.
We had come to terms with the fact that whatever medicine, treatment plan, positive/negative reinforcements; whatever it was that was working so well, would just stop. Every month and a half. We were treating her for ADHD and Anxiety because that’s what we were told to do, even though she was “atypical”. Her diagnosis has not changed yet, we’ve just been moved to “Predisposed for juvenile bipolar”. Who knew there was such a thing?
I made a date for us to go play with some friends down the street. We were on an upswing so why not? A girl a little younger than her, and one a little older. Plus I’d get to see a friend of mine I hadn’t really spent much time within the past few years. Win-win, it would seem.
The night before, bedtime went well. A little agitated, a little unsettled, a little picky about her pajamas, nothing to write home about. She slept through the night so I had false hope that our day was going to be great. But I awoke to her screaming.
Not scared screaming, not hurt screaming; angry screaming. I ran into her room and she was trying to put on an old Halloween costume from two years ago that she had gotten out of the hall closet. She couldn’t fit in it obviously, so she was furious. Red faced. Tense. Her words blended together as I tried to make sense of what she was saying. We calmed down from witch dress incident after about 45 minutes of upset and I told myself it was fine. It was just a normal, frustrated moment that every kid has.
We had been doing so good, it’ll be fine.
Then her oatmeal was too thick, then too thin, so she threw it at the tv. Her cup wasn’t getting her juice out fast enough, so she stormed off into her room and slammed the door. Her shirt was itchy. Her shoes were too tight. Her brother was too close, then not close enough. Nobody liked her. Everybody needed to leave her alone.
Screaming, crying, panic. All morning long.
So I sent the text I had to send many times before. “We’ll get over there soon though!” I know it’s probably a lie.
Soon won’t be that soon. We get into the rhythm and this will be our lives for the next few weeks until we make it back to the upswing. Then maybe I can plan a new playdate.
After a while, people will stop asking us to come play. You can only cancel so many times before you just stop getting invited.
Brittney D. Herz
Brittney is a freelance writer, librarian, and mother who lives and works in Maryland. She reads too much, sleeps too little, and has an unhealthy Harry Potter obsession. See more posts at justbemom.com.
Samantha is the author of "My Bipolar Mind: You're not alone," she is also a freelance writer, blogger, and mental health advocate who runs and manages her own mental health blog MyBipolarMind.com.