There is nothing more difficult than living with a diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder Type II, and then adding to that the “loss” of your child. Yes, I adopted my daughter out. I wrote about the adoption before, and you can read that essay here (http://stigmafigters.com/stigma-fighters-bittersweet-love). I have been hesitant to reveal who I am for a while because this story is so close to my heart and so incredibly personal. But now I think I am finally ready to put my face and name to the story for you.
My name is Katy Nicole, and I am a strong Stigma Fighter, as well as a grieving bipolar mama.
My daughter was born, and adopted, in July 2014. At that point I had been diagnosed with Bipolar II for just over a year and a half. Going through with the adoption process was not easy by any means.
Triggers can be a very dangerous thing for those with bipolar disorder if you don’t have a way to cope with them. They can send you falling into the deep, dark pits of depression or bounding into the highs of mania. There is no right or wrong way to deal with them, just as there is no way to expect when they will pop up.
Recently I have discovered that seeing families and their newborns can be a trigger for me. It can send me spiraling down into a very dark place, where my heart aches for my baby girl. That’s something that I will have to live with for the rest of my life. Instead of accepting the darkness as inevitable, I am learning how to ward it off.
My daughter is now 8 months old. That was a rough day for me, especially after scrolling through Facebook and seeing a new church member’s baby.
I have been coping with the loss by focusing on my schoolwork, as well as my writing. Both are good outlets for me, but I am using them as distraction techniques when I can’t think of anything other than my daughter.
I try to make it sound easy, but that is not the case. It is so incredibly difficult and challenging to force myself to do something else when all I want to do when I think about and/or miss her is curl up on my bed with a stuffed animal and cry. It takes nearly everything I have in my to fight that urge. But somehow I find the strength to do it. I remind myself that I am being strong not only for myself, but also for my baby girl that I couldn’t keep, and it does help.
At this point, I have only discovered one trigger. However, does not mean that I will not uncover more in the future. This is a lifelong illness; there is no cure. Similarly, there is no surefire way to get over the loss of a child. You just don’t. You can’t.
The updates I get from my daughter’s adoptive parents almost always make me cry. With every picture I look at, she is getting bigger and growing up even more. It is incredibly difficult to watch her grow up from afar; the feeling is bittersweet.
In this difficult time in my life, I am so very thankful to my fellow Stigma Fighters who have shown me immense support as I have slowly opened up about this. They have shown me so much love and constantly reassured me that I made the right decision. They remind me of the strength that it took to do what I did. They also remind me that it’s ok, and even normal, to feel sad; they tell me that I am allowed to cry. I am strong even if I cry; it is not a mark of weakness.
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Katy is a college student studying American Sign Language Interpreting. She’s addicted to coffee and is always dreaming of more tattoos she wants to get. She’s the middle sibling of three. Blogging and journaling have becoming forms of self-therapy for her over the years. She would love to write her own book someday, but she’s not quite sure what to write about. She is also learning to be brave when it comes to sharing the story about her daughter’s adoption.
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