Neonatal Bipolar Disorder
I have always showed signs of bipolar disorder, even from my early teens. I can still remember my first blown manic episode at the age of 13 years old, but no one really knew what was going on with me or how to deal with it. So like most things that my family found complicated and ashamed of, it was pushed under the carpet.
For years I lived a semi “normal” life. Most of my issues were chalked up to me being a typical teenager, or a rebellious teen because my parents had just separated and were heading towards divorce. Everyone thought my behavior was a reflection of my home life. The truth was, a mental illness was brewing inside of me and eating me alive.
It wasn’t until I was pregnant with our seventh child before I finally broke into one of the worst depressions of my life. I had just given birth to our sixth baby, not four months prior and was feeling the effects of pregnancy hormones, postpartum depression and full blown psychosis. I became increasingly paranoid about everyone and everything around me. So paranoid, I wouldn’t even let my children play outside and enjoy their summer vacation.
I kept everything locked up tight and all the curtains and windows drawn for fear “somebody” might see or hear us inside. I was certain I was being monitored, by who? I didn’t know.
I was just about four months pregnant when I began to contemplate suicide and my Hubs had to rush me to the ER. I begged them to allow me to come home to my six babies waiting for me and reluctantly they agreed. I was set up with psychiatric care and a good therapist. In less than a month I went from being a ball of hormones to receiving an official diagnosis of bipolar 1 disorder.
I was shocked and I argued with the doctor. I didn’t believe it was possible. I thought for sure it was just hormones. But he made me promise to go home and do my own research and if I found any evidence to prove him wrong, we’d discuss a different diagnosis. The truth was, I couldn’t find any holes in his story once I started educating myself.
I walked in the following week with an entirely different attitude and I was ready to start whatever treatments he had in mind. He consulted with my OB first and we went from there, starting on a low dose of Seroquel and working my way up to a theraputic level. It wasn’t until I hit around 400mg before I started feel a sense of normalcy come back into my life. I wasn’t miraculously cured, but my perspective on things brightened just a little bit.
I firmly believe I fall somewhere in the middle of Postpartum Depression and Postpartum Bipolar Disorder. Although I showed signs much sooner in my teens, it took having two pregnancies so close together to bridge the gap and have the disorder close in on me.
If you would like to read more about my journey with pregnancy and bipolar disorder you can do so soon when my book is released through Praeclarus Press. I will keep everyone updated on the release date once I have more information.
Smith, A. (2016). Neonatal Bipolar Disorder. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 20, 2017, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/bipolar-parenting/2014/06/neonatal-bipolar-disorder/