Knowledge is power so I have been told.  Today it became clear to me just how powerful that statement is.  I will be honest and admit that it was only a few years ago that I found myself hiding in denial regarding Kim’s illness.  I felt powerless.  Hiding in denial was easy.  I did not have to do any work.  However, as the disorder rapidly progressed it became evident that I could hide no more.  Denial was not a safe place anymore for Kim or my family.  You see, I found it all too easy to blame the behaviors and variance in attitude on drugs and alcohol.  Why not?  She was a teenager wanting to fit in with her peers.  How could the experimentation and flirtation with drugs and alcohol be any different than what I experienced?  Sadly I was in a fog, and I didn’t see that she was self-medicating.  After the second attempt reality was staring me in the face.  It was time I got on board rapidly.  It was time I learned about bipolar disorder.  I found valuable information on the National Alliance on Mental Illness website  Things were becoming clearer.  I felt a little less powerlessness.

One piece to the puzzle that has been instrumental in Kim’s stability is medication.  I found that I had to fight the stigma associated with taking medications.  I was concerned about side effects, and hoped that she would just get better.  I thought maybe as she continued to develop and grow she would “grow out of it” like her siblings. However, it became clear that medication would be an important part of her recovery.  I learned about her medications, dosages, and side effects.  I had more clarity.  I felt a little stronger.

It was just today that Kim and I discussed her medications, and how much better she feels she is doing.  I have to say Bill and I agree!  I have recently experienced moments when I feel like our Kim is back.  I even tell her that.  I tell her how much we miss her and love her.  She in return shares her thoughts of love and longing for us as well.  Lately some of her friends tell her she should go off her medications.  Sadly they don’t understand as I did not.  The medications are truly a lifesaver, and Kim is able to live a more satisfying, healthy and stable  life.  Side effects are part of her medication therapy, but she communicates any concerns with Bill and I and her psychiatrist.  Adjustments are made when necessary.  With medication therapy she has been able to once again pursue the very things she enjoys in life.  I see clearly the benefits of medication therapy.  I see Kim smiling.  I hear her laughing, and today she sang along with the radio as we drove home from an important errand.

One form of therapy in addition to medication therapy, and something that Kim enjoys doing, is creating jewelry.  And my what beautiful jewelry creates.  Her fingers hurt though, and she develops cuts from the thread since she uses her fingers instead of a crochet hook or knitting needles to create the necklaces.  I saw her working on a necklace today, and saw the cuts on her fingers so I took her to Office Max and we found finger protectors.  I have posted a picture of the necklace Kim made for me a few months ago.  I wear it proudly, and feel it is a representation of how far we all have come especially Kim.  It represents love, awareness and strength.  I find that I agree that with knowledge comes power and clarification and in turn strength and the ability to provide unconditional support and love for our loved ones.