First, a little background for those that need it...
As a struggling college student, desperate for a job closer to campus, I applied to be a receptionist. (For those of you laughing at the thought of me begin a receptionist... Shut the heck up! LOL!!) During my interview, they noticed that I knew sign language. I was asked if I would consider taking a position as a support staff in one of their group homes. Turns out they had a client with Cerebral Palsy that could not speak. They really needed someone in the home to develop a sign vocabulary for her. I was very reluctant to take the position. It was not anything I ever considered doing. Afterall, I was an anthropology major. I was going to school to work with long dead things; not living, breathing, needy people. I was asked to give it two weeks. If I hated it, he would give me the receptionist job. (Shut up, Eileen!) The rest is history and I spent the next 8 years working and managing behavior health and developmentally disabled group homes in Arizona and Florida. I have seen every major mental illness, and some not so well known. I have a deep understanding of psychotropic pharmacology. I can write a behavior mod plan better than any psychiatrist.
So when Kyllian began to show signs of bi-polar I told myself that, if this was indeed the case, I knew how to handle it. I really felt that that weird twist of events that lead me to a field that I NEVER would have considered myself even remotely qualified for, and one I ended up embracing and loving, was the universe preparing me for the future.
When the Dx became "official" (It technically isn't official. He is too young for that.) I was not worried. I was not upset. I am a bit more pragmatic than that. I knew what it meant to have bi-polar. I have worked very closely with a number of people with bi-polar disorder. Believe me, there are far worse psychiatric illnesses! I thought, "I am prepared for this. I know what is coming. We will get this straightened out and everything will be fine."
Now I have decided the universe is getting back at me for being over confident!
Okay, I don't actually think the universe is conspiring against me but man it does feel like it some days.
The biggest difference in working in group homes and having a child with bi-polar is that in group homes you get time off. You work your 8, 10, 12 or 16 hour shift and then you go home, presumably to psychologically "normal" people. That is not the case when your are talking about your own child. I am his 24/7 care giver. Day in, day out, I am the one that deals with the roller coaster that is Kyllian's emotions, the extreme ADD, the anger outbursts and the oppositional fits. Now I am not saying K doesn't help. He does! But he doesn't get home until 7pm most nights. Kyllian goes NON-STOP from the time he wakes up until his medication knocks him out at night, especially when he is in a manic phase, which he almost always is.
Also don't mistake my little rant for me saying I wish Kyllian was any different. Kyllian is who Kyllian is supposed to be. I do believe he has a destiny that only he can fulfill. He is such a wonderful little boy. He has such an unusual outlook on the world. It is as if his soul is brand new, not tainted or biased by any past experiences. He knows no fear. (except spiders! ;) ) He accepts all people and views everyone as a friend until they prove otherwise. And even then he feels they deserve a second chance and sometimes a third or fourth. (Although at the same time, he has been known to hold quite the grudge!) He is painfully aware of everything around him. He notices details that I can only hope to notice. He remembers events and people with strong emotion, both good and bad. He can become completely lost in the world around him. And become very connected with the world as well, even though connecting with people is more difficult for him. In general, people have normal barriers that Kyllian can't even comprehend. If he has ever sat next to you, you will know that the concept of personal space is one of them!
It is precisely all of these wonderful characteristics that also makes living with Kyllian a very physically, mentally and emotionally draining experience at times. As you can tell by Thursday's blog post, we are in the midst of those times currently. I know it will pass and things will level out again but it is really hard to remember that at the top of a manic swing!
If you have managed to make it this far, I thank you!! So if I look like I have been beating my head against a wall lately, you know why! LOL If you see me wandering around Walmart aimlessly at midnight just so I can get out of the house (man I need a life! LOL), you know why. If you drop by at 4 in the afternoon and I am half way through the bottle of Merlot, you know why!
I was wrong! The universe most definitely did not prepare me for this.