It all started when my oldest son woke up in a really great mood. He was so happy about his latest computer interest. He talked excitedly about it, following me around the house, chatting up a storm.
That should have been my first clue.
My oldest isn’t usually this “up”. At one point, he didn’t even skip a beat when I closed the door in front of him to go to the bathroom. He continued on in a very excited tone telling me about all his incredible ideas. Throughout the day he continued to update me about his project like an excited child on Christmas morning.
Then day two started with a big shift.
My oldest became very argumentative and was irritated by everything we did. As his mood progressed down this path, I started to see old behaviors. Blaming others, initiating fights, threatening us. It was sadly familiar from his younger days that often ended with rages. As I tried to navigate his behaviors, I kept reminding him that this wasn’t him, but his moods being off. Understandably for him, none of that mattered since it felt real. Mood or no mood illness, he was in a mood to fight.
As the day progressed, I tried to help him identify his feelings as they related to his actions. In a calmer moment, he clarified that, “Everything and everyone is bothering me!”
His mood continued for a handful of days. Thankfully he never escalated into a rage. But after a few days we had a light bulb moment.
My son’s sleep patterns had changed during this time. Instead of sleeping in as he normally did all summer, to our surprise, he was waking up early every day because he no longer felt tired. It even surprised himself.
He was cycling.
Once it dawned on us, it put everything into perspective.
It really helped once my husband explained this to my son. I think for the first time my son could see proof of his illness outside of his moods. “It’s all connected Mom! I’ve been getting up early every day that my mood has been bad.”
And just like clockwork, the very first day my son slept in, the planets aligned and I had my son back to normal and he’s been doing great ever since.
Even my son recognized the difference when he shared, “I’m feeling better today, my brother was leaning on me and it didn’t even bother me!”
It made me think of all those years and all those rages so long ago.
He was cycling then.
It was harder to tell since I saw very little stability to know what “normal” looks like for him, but seeing this recent cycle and the return of old behaviors in such contrast to what we have come to now know as “normal,” has validated for me our decision to medicate.
You may laugh and think, “Validation? You still need that?”
Unfortunately yes. I don’t think I’ll ever stop asking the question, “are we doing the right thing?”
But tonight I can rest in peace knowing that, yes, we are doing the right thing for our son.