Last night, my wife and son and I went to a 4th of July celebration at some friends’ house. I took my Seroquel to stay chill. I was having a wonderful time eating bratwursts, sipping root beer, and watching the fireworks when my 18-year-old bipolar daughter called in a terrible state. The following conversation occurred.
Her: Dad, I’m at home and I’ve been cutting myself really bad and Amanda had to come over to stop me. I just think I need to go to the hospital again.
Me: Have you taken your meds?
Her: I don’t think you understand, this is like the worst I’ve ever felt!
Me: I’m sorry you feel bad, but did you take your meds?
Her: I took them last night.
Me: And how many times have you taken in the last 7 days?
Me: Ok, there is nothing wrong with your life. What you are experiencing is 100% chemical from you not taking your meds. You will feel better after 3 days of taking them. You would literally be costing us thousands of dollars to pay someone to make you take your meds. It is absolutely free for you to take them yourself. Is Amanda going to let you hurt yourself.
Her: No. Do you even care that this is happening to me? I need compassionate
Me: Listen, this is not happening to you. This is something that you are doing to yourself. I hate to see you suffer, but it’s hard for me to have compassion when you choose not to do what the doctor orders you to do. If you go to the hospital, I’ll text you the insurance. You are an adult now, and need to start taking responsibility for yourself.
Her: Fine, whatever, I can tell that you don’t care about me…I’ll figure it out (click).
This kind of thing hasn’t happened since she turned 18. I cannot make her take her meds now…legally. I cannot make her go to the hospital. We are in a transition period with this, and I’m not sure how to handle it. In the past I would have jumped into the car in a panic and rushed her to the hospital, but I’m tired of this shit. I don’t know why bipolars do this to themselves. I never have. And so, I don’t know how to have compassion for it. It’s completely stupid and selfish to stopping taking meds. It’s hurting yourself and the people around you.
I asked her “What do you think would happen to me if I quit taking my meds? Is that a grownup way to live? Think what that would do to the people who love and depend on me. You think your mom would feel sorry for me and see me through it? Her ass would be out the door.”
I’m torn. I don’t want her to cut. I don’t want her to commit suicide, but I can’t keep doing this with her. She is pissed off, but she is alive and taking her meds now. I don’t know why she does this; if she wants attention, needs a little drama once and awhile, or is truly unable to control the situation. I know that so many bipolar folks repeat this pattern over and over again their entire life, and I can’t understand why they think it’s worth it. Everything in my life depends on my taking my meds and staying well. I will never do anything to jeopardize that.
I don’t know if I did the right think or not. I just know that I cannot live the way I’ve been living with her.
EDIT: The end of this story is that she grabbed my card, drove herself to the pharmacy, refilled her Lithium, took her meds, and the next time I saw her she was well again. If I had left the party and drove her to the hospital, I would have robbed her of the opportunity to take control over her life.