My daughter just turned fourteen. I adore her. I mean ADORE her. She’s bright, creative, hilarious, beautiful, and talented. And most importantly, she’s my daughter. In some ways I relate better with her than I do my wife. She’s silly and prone to flights of fancy, just like her daddy. My wife couldn’t have a flight of fancy if you nailed twelve foot wings to her shoulders, which is good because she grounds me when I need it.
So my daughter’s been having some trouble at school. Like attention issues. My wife and I decided to have her evaluated for Attention Deficit Disorder in hopes that we might find some way to help her. She was evaluated by the school counselor, her teachers, psychiatrist, and a psychologist.
We learned some interesting things. Her verbal skills IQ is through the roof. This wasn’t surprising. She scored high for depression and anxiety. Again, not surprising. She’s struggled with this for a number of years. She scored high for ADD inattentive. So our hunch was correct. But here’s the gotcha. The psychologist and the psychiatrist said that she is probably an emerging bipolar. I’ve seen her cycle between mania and depression many times. So it really wasn’t a surprise, I just didn’t expect it to come out in this evaluation.
I don’t know how to feel about this. I sure wish I had known far earlier about my bipolar. It would have prevented a lot of pain, suffering, and embarrassment. But I love her bursts of silliness and exuberance. I get it. I live it. That part feels good…at first. So far, it’s been harmless. The depression and anxiety is the bummer part of this. I don’t want her to suffer with that. I don’t want her to continue to suffer from insomnia. And I don’t want her impulsiveness to eventually cause her embarrassment.
Once you get the label of bipolar, it sticks forever. It means a lifetime of therapy and drugs. The doctor hasn’t put her on drugs, yet. She’s on some sort of super mental health supplement. And she takes melatonin for sleep. It seems to be helping. But for how long? How bad will her disorder get as she becomes an adult?
And the worst part is the risk of suicide. I know she thinks about it. She doesn’t think of actually doing anything about it, but I know she imagines the scenario.
There was always a good chance that one of my children would inherit this.