Home Health and Fitness My Therapist Told Me Not to Have More Kids Due to My Bipolar Disorder

My Therapist Told Me Not to Have More Kids Due to My Bipolar Disorder

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Christine MacIntyre, her husband, and two children at the beach.
Christine McIntyre

  • For as long as I can remember, my mood has fluctuated wildly from high to low.
  • After giving birth to my first child, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and PTSD.
  • I found therapy that worked for me and I am now happily remarried and have another child.

In 2008 I gave birth to my daughter. The reality of being responsible for caring for another human soon set in. Even pre-pregnancy, I was exhausted by my responsibilities in life: self-care, work, family, and friendships.

From my late teens until I got pregnant at 21, I struggled to enjoy the things that used to make me happy. It was difficult to find joy in the hobbies I once loved, and it was impossible to spend time with friends. Forgotten memories.

I often fell asleep for long periods of time because I didn’t have the energy or motivation to get out of bed. Also, it took more effort than I could collect over the course of several days, so I had a hard time managing my personal hygiene. After the birth of her daughter, she became irritable. I couldn’t help but wonder if the tremendous responsibility she brought would exacerbate my already difficult symptoms to deal with.

I’ve been experiencing mood swings for as long as I can remember

Since my teenage years, my moods have changed frequently. I have experienced extreme highs and lows. I was easily agitated and just as easily irritated. I was impatient, perhaps especially in the comfort of my home. I also cried more often than most of my peers. My emotions were disproportionately intense, but I thought I was very sensitive.

In college, mood swings can be intense. I started getting annoyed all the time, even if nothing in particular happened. Even though I should be doing my homework and studying, I cried a lot and fell asleep for no reason. I also had low self-esteem, which made it even harder for me to force myself to leave the house or take care of my appearance.

However, there were times when I was very energetic and euphoric. I avoid sleep for days. One of the few things I enjoyed was painting and crafting, so I immersed myself in those for hours. I was also very confident during this period.

After giving birth, the ups and downs intensified

I came to recognize these cycles and accepted that this could be an eternal roller coaster ride. The highest point is the light at the end of the dark tunnel of depression. After giving birth, the mood became even stronger. I oscillated between the extremes of depression and mania. Neither seemed to correlate with my situation at any time, so my own feelings often confused me. And although I could admit that my moods were extreme, I had no control over them. they ruled me

When my mood peaked for the first time postpartum, I welcomed a sudden burst of energy and euphoria that mimicked the peak I had experienced before. bottom.

I pushed myself into overdrive and did everything possible to have fun. I read, cleaned, worked out, started writing, pattered all night around the house, went shopping. But as I have learned over time, what rises must eventually come down, and the descent and consequent depression I experience during this time is intolerable and often debilitating. .

The crash came just months before the dissolution of my first marriage in 2010. I had to learn.

My mood continued the pattern of highs and lows. I distinctly remember feeling like I was on top of the world when my daughter and I moved into a cute bungalow in the countryside. I love her spacious garden and it was a pleasure to feed her. And yet, while he may have seemed happy and content to the outsider, his heart was bursting at the seams. I often felt disoriented and often wondered if her daughter would be okay without me during my mood swings. Exhausted by the constant feeling of being crawling out of my own skin, I often resorted to self-harm to escape the nightmares I felt.

After Being Diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and PTSD, My Therapist Said Something Shocking to Me

The following summer, after self-harm and a voluntary hospitalization, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and PTSD. I was prescribed medication and began weekly counseling sessions. By 2012, I had established a healthy regimen of medications and treatments and looked forward to my weekly sessions. I felt in control of my life. I thought I was in a good place. That is, until my therapist blatantly told me he advised me not to have any more children or remarry.

“You’ll regret your decision and it will only add to your suffering. Instead, I suggest you focus on yourself and your daughter moving forward. I just realized that I’ve started meeting a really nice guy.” We had been close friends for over a year, but our friendship was beginning to develop further.I was stunned to hear this from my therapist.I was stunned by his I questioned my reasoning and explained to him how I felt about this new person. He provided the stability I needed and wanted for my daughter and myself.

Still, my therapist discouraged me from remarrying or having children. He may have believed in his heart that he had my best interests at heart, but he understood the importance of these decisions. I felt like I didn’t believe in things or that I had the ability to make rational decisions on my own. And my therapist who gave me this unexpected piece of advice.

I understood that having bipolar disorder meant that my plate was full, but my therapist told me it was irresponsible to even think about having more children or remarrying. I felt that you were alluding to me.

I finally decided that I knew myself well enough to trust my instincts, but I didn’t take what my therapist said lightly. Actually, I’ve thought about it a lot. I told my then-boyfriend (now husband) about it and had a productive conversation about our priorities, strengths and weaknesses, and potential challenges we might face in the future. Moved in, he was playing the role of a father perfectly. He loved my daughter like his own, and although his medication and counseling made him feel more stable, he still had slight mood swings.

He took it all in stride and put me to sleep early on nights when I was struggling with depression. . He wiped my tears when I cried without judging or judging. He also loved my quirks like baby animals making me cry and having panic attacks every time he watched a scary movie.

His supportive affirmations towards me let me know that he was actually the very man I should marry. I was on medication for a serious mental illness that affected my daily life. But he gave me the structure, stability and security I needed. After all, he had already proven that I could handle even the worst. I told him that we had talked about our future together.

I’m so glad you listened to your instincts

By the end of 2012, when we were still dating, I found out I was pregnant. Part knew it would wreak havoc on my mental health. I was hesitant, but decided to get over it together. We have already been through a lot together and we both wanted another child.In June 2013 we welcomed a boy. The moment we saw her milky complexion, long lashes, and black head, we knew we had made the right choice.

Being a parent of two children is not an easy task. My husband takes a lot of slack when I can’t muster the energy to get through her day, when I’m irritated and need time alone, or when I need to be alone to cry a little. pick up The extreme changes in mood are less extreme, but the cycles are still recognizable. Our children are growing well.

I could not imagine a better father to my children or a better husband to myself. We got married in the summer of 2015 with her. My children attended a wedding in a beautiful flower garden outside the house. We still often talk about how much we loved that day and want to relive it. I won’t change anything

My children, now 9 and 13, fill my days with belonging and purpose. At sporting events, choir and band concerts, and the constant laughter that fills the house, it’s time to wonder if I’m good enough as a wife and mother, if remarriage or having another child was a mistake. very few. Unfortunately, like many mothers, I have little time to do other things, including the things I used to do to take care of myself. My therapist frequently reminds me that structure and routine are essential to balancing my moods, and that raising children provides that.

The biggest hurdle I face today is still my bipolar disorder. Thanks to a solid treatment plan, it’s not as serious, but it can still be debilitating. . Some days I resent how much my family needs from me when I barely care for myself. Instead of feeling like is controlling me, I finally have control.

I live a relatively normal life, and thanks to the care, patience and love of my family, I now only have bad moments, not bad days.I still see the same therapist when needed. She gently guides me not only with bipolar disorder, but also with issues such as raising children and getting married.

When my daughter cries, she seeks me first. My son, who has trouble falling asleep, asks me to give him a hug. My children’s needs and desires are my priority. Their happiness and prosperity reassure me that I made the right choice. My therapist was right that it was a difficult road and that there were potholes and dangerous curves, but I wanted the confidence to make life-changing decisions rather than acquiesce to recommendations that disagreed with me. Admittedly, some days are so rocky that I wonder if life with bipolar disorder could be easier without any other obligations to myself. If I am indulging in the joys of parenting and married life.

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