We’ve had a rather traumatic day

I’m sat on the sofa feeling my baby dance away inside my tummy. I ring my dad to wish him a happy birthday, aware that with mum low he probably hasn’t had the best day. Dad says “We’ve had a rather traumatic day”. Dad tells me that mum overdosed on her pills today.

Strangely I’m aware of not feeling surprised by this information. As it is when Dad says overdose were talking a day and a half worth’s of pills rather than the one for that morning, not enough to do much damage just enough to knock her out for the next 24 hours. I find that within 30 seconds of receiving this news Dad and i are chatting about it as if discussing last nights  dinner. Its soon obvious to me that Dad is not prepared to discuss the overdose as anything other than Mum being “confused”, a mistake. So after the initial filling in of details, a check list of who he’s told and got help from, of when they next see a doctor/psychiatrist etc we move on to more mundane conversation; the football match currently on the Telly.

I have clearly spent some time thinking about this event over the last few days. Its not something that quickly moves on in my thoughts. I picture what was going on at the time in my parents house, picture mum downstairs in the kitchen “confusedly” popping 12 pills instead of 1. I don’t shy away, in my head, from the question of “did she know what she was doing?”. I often feel when discussing this topic, that there’s a part of me that is just waiting for such news and its not a thought that angers me or even one I don’t understand. I study my Mums situation and I watch her struggle every 4 weeks and I often wonder how she has managed to get through it all without an attempt to shut it all down. I guess, for many, its strange that these thoughts are normalized for me. Having said that it doesn’t change the instinctively natural response of sadness in me. I sat on the sofa after the call with Dad, feeling so aware of the life growing inside of me and the contrast of my Mum’s possible thoughts. And its at those moments that i feel most alone in all of this. Its hard for people to really understand and harder still I think for me to let people in. I suppose because if I allow people to truly get it that would mean admitting such a level of sadness, such a frank possibility of one day Mum not just taking 12 pills but more, and that’s is just too real. Most of all I want to be by my Mum’s side at these moments and that’s no longer an easy option.

Anyway, for now, Mum’s fine (actually she began to come back up 3 days after the overdose) and it was just another part of her cycle. But, we are still left with the fact that “confusion” or not mum can, when left alone for an hour, take way too much medication and that is clearly not a safe or hopeful situation. And the irony?……. This all occurred in the week that Mum’s psychiatrist finally said out loud what I’ve been thinking for a while; Mum is drug immune.

4 thoughts on “We’ve had a rather traumatic day

  1. I’m really sorry to hear that your psychiatrist thinks your mum is drug immune. Obviously I don’t know her history or how many different meds she’s taken, but there are so many drugs out there, and so many possible doses of each drug. Last major episode, it took about two years to get anything to work. In the interim period, I worried I was drug immune, or – the more usual euphemism – “treatment resistent”. I could not even count the number of drugs I have tried over the years since I was first diagnosed – old antipsychotics, new generation antipsychotics, SSRI antidepressants, venlafaxine, MOAI antidepressants, tricyclic antidepressantm, anti-epileptics, lithium, benzodiazapines, sleeping pills. I’ve had to start again from scratch this episode, and again have experienced hopelessness, as we’ve tried one med/dose after another with no joy. But now the symptoms are finally lifting, two years into this episode and just over one year since the commencement of a new treatment regimen. My psychiatrist has an “there’s *always* something else we can try” kind of attitude, and I feel sad for you and your mum that her psychiatrist doesn’t appear to have the same attitude. Best wishes to you both.


  2. Your words will help so many people who are facing this same ‘sadness’. I think you are very brave and a wonderful daughter. x


  3. I agree with Beth you are very brave and wonderful. My Dad has bi-polar, him and my mum split in 2000 and as the eldest of four girls I am now his carer in his tough times…overdoses, arguments with the radio and trying to simplify the subliminal messages he is receiving. Not to mention his poor cleanliness Poor sleeping pattern and bad diet. It’s a relief to read about someone else riding the same, role reversal rollercoaster that I also am on. However must remember to keep a light attitude to it even at 3am when he decides the best thing to do is make a bomb and target all the drug dens in the area… If you can’t cry, you must laugh. I’ve always thought the hardest part of my Dads illness was finding the right drugs for him (and getting him to take them as directed and not as he wanted!) and after nearly 20 years they seem to have found the right cocktail!


    1. Hi Kimberly, Thanks for your thought provoking and supportive msg. Its good for me also, to hear from other children of Bipolar parents. I hear of your parents separation and remind myself that I’m a lucky few with parents still together, it helps. I’m happy to hear your dad appears to be on the right cocktail of drugs, even if it takes 20 years! As we are in the depths of trying so many variations that light at the end sounds good. Cheers.


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