Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Coping with Death of Loved One When Bipolar
My last post, in mid-December, was titled "Bipolar? How to Survive the Holidays." It turns out that it wasn't me who had trouble surviving the holidays, but my mother.
My mother, at 67 years of age, had an aneurysm burst in her brain in the 22nd of December. She passed away after a week of unresponsiveness in the hospital. She hadn't even been sick. The family was looking forward to celebrating Christmas Eve at her home. I'm still in shock, and miss her so much.
As an only child, the tasks of making medical decisions for mom in the hospital, arranging the funeral and settling her affairs and estate all fall on me. These sad practicalities on top of all the grief. It's been a couple of rough months for me and my family. The kids were very close to mom, and we are slowly trying to help them cope and work through their grief.
Grief + Bipolar Disorder =
Having had bipolar disorder for decades, I know that, when loved ones are in critical situations, I rarely fall apart, but instead go into autopilot and do what I can to help out and manage the situation. Thankfully, that's what happened again. That being said, I can't say enough about how crucial it is to STAY ON MEDS when faced with stress and chaos (and the rest of the time as well).
Bipolar Medications and Change of Routine
My mother lived about an hour away from us. And there were several times when I had to race up to her hospital or stay overnight in her town. On at least two nights, I either did not pack anything, or forgot to include my meds when packing, a dangerous situation. My advice for anyone with bipolar disorder is to always keep a little bit of emergency medication in your car, purse or wallet, somewhere that you have access to all the time, so that if you don't remember to bring your medications with you when traveling, you still have an emergency stash to carry you through.
In addition to the possibility that missing a dose of bipolar medication will precipitate a manic or depressive episode, people with the disorder and more vulnerable to manic depression when under stress, sleep deprived or during a change in routine, making it especially important to take meds during hard times.
Moral of the story for those with bipolar disorder...doesn't always seems to revolve around having bipolar medication? If you are not on any, get a prescription for appropriate meds. If you take meds for your disorder, remember to ALWAYS take them, particularly when life goes haywire and you need to hold yourself and family together.
Love you mom!