Psychiatrist and author, Joan Childs, shares the story of her daughter who struggled with a Bipolar disorder that led to her suicide and gives advice on how to help your loved ones who may be suffering from the disorder.
Lu Parker reports on KTLA News at 10 on Sept. 23, 2014.
What happens when you break up from a relationship? It’s a nightmare that never feels like it’s going to end. What occurs when your investment of time, energy and emotions come tumbling down destroying all your hopes, wishes and dreams? What are the physical and emotional ramifications of this disorder that leaves you anxious, depressed and feeling hopeless, often losing faith and trust in the opposite sex?
Here are some of the manifestations of a broken heart that can take weeks months and sometimes even years to overcome, especially if the essence of the relationship was a love addiction and the drug of choice.
The physical and emotional symptoms that accompany a broken heart are in fact an actual pain in the heart; a feeling that part of you is sick and even gone. A heart ache is a common effect and the pain is palpable. You’re not crazy! It’s real! Sleepless nights, loss of appetite and weight, a devalued sense of identity and a diminished sense of self worth are all common effects of a broken relationship. In addition crying spells when you least expect them, sudden outbursts, stomach aches, headaches, diarrhea, murderous rage, frustration, deep hurt and a feeling that this will never pass are also all normal reactions to a breakup.
The feelings of the dumper are different than that of the dumpee. Both suffer, but with different emotions and experiences. The dumper even with a sense of relief that it’s over, can experience a sense of guilt, self doubt and shame, while the dumpee is devastated, confused, sad, often nauseous, grief-stricken and feeling lost with a loss of interest in everything. Just getting by day by day is an all out effort. Feelings of abandonment, loneliness, apathy, self-degradation and even suicidal ideation are not uncommon. Love loss can make you both physically and emotionally ill.
There is an important distinction between losing a relationship that was based on healthy, adult love and one that was based on codependency. The pain that lasts longer than a few months causing a clinical depression with a need for an anti-depression and anti-anxiety medication and an inability to cope with the loss is often a sign of a codependent, love addiction. When you feel that you can’t go on without the other, that the other made you whole, that your world and happiness depended on the other, then you can be sure that it was a codependent relationship and you can be certain that if your suffering is lingering more than six months, you have all the signs of a classic love addict!
If that is the case, you need help! There is a reason why your struggle in letting go is so interminable. It has to do with your history that you brought into the relationship hoping that it would make your past better in the present. That never works. You are the one who needs to heal the past in order to make better choices in the present.
Please watch for my next blog for part II. DID I EVER REALLY MATTER?
As with morning showers and orgasms, some people need more time in therapy than others. I needed a lot (with all three). But spending a lot of time in therapy with just anyone won’t – and didn’t with me – get you anywhere. Indeed, I sat fruitlessly on many therapists’ couches before Joan’s.
One day at work, I confided in a close friend that, as a result of my experience, I’d sworn off therapy. She understood, as she’d had similar, unproductive experiences, but told me of an exception, a gifted therapist named Joan Childs whose insights, creative approach to therapy, and genuine concern for her clients worked wonders where others had failed.
After many sessions with Joan, I told my friend that her assessment was wrong – Joan was a lot better than she’d let on! I came to Joan with a boatload of insecurities, shame, and self-sabotaging behaviors. The same as anyone reading a therapist’s testimonials like you are now, I had generally low self esteem.
Joan doesn’t wave a wand and you can’t just sit there. Effective therapy requires the hardest and most courageous work you’ll ever do. And if you’re really committed to getting better, Joan will lead you on an odyssey where you confront internal demons – often a lot scarier than the ones Odysseus faced – and come to love and accept yourself in a way you can now only do so with another.
I’m not saying you’ll emerge from the process as a brand new you, shiny and unscratched like a new car. Follow Joan’s lead and put your heart into it, though, and it’ll be like getting a car that never ran well back from the shop and having it run smoother than you ever thought it could.
After proclaiming myself “the poster child for co-dependency”, I was fortunate enough to meet Joan Childs 10 years ago. A greater find would be hard to describe. She has walked me through the visceral pain of many of life’s hurdles: preparing for remarriage, separation from marriage, divorce, remarriage, dispute and isolation from offspring and the list goes on. Joan empowered me, with her deep knowledge and life skills, to not only survive these challenges, but come through to the other side stronger and more empowered. Her focus on digging deep within and finding and honoring your “authentic self” is a tool that everyone should be lucky enough to learn. Thank you Joan.AMS
I have known Joan for over a decade and, having experience with a number of therapists, she is the ONLY one I’d recommend for individuals or families dealing with mental health issues. She helped diagnose my ex-wife with bipolar disorder and worked in a couple of extremely important ways to help us over the years. First, Joan provided direct counseling to my ex-wife, getting her back on a path to health and happiness and away from one of self-destruction. And, just as importantly, she worked with me on how to effectively provide support for her illness while still maintaining my own integrity and piece of mind. In my case, my ex-wife eventually returned to her previous pattern after we moved out of the area. I believe that, in an ultimate testament to Joan, part of the reason was because she never found a therapist who was Joan’s equal.
Your appearance this afternoon on Topical Currents: Dear Ms.(Dr.) Childs, Thank you so much for appearing on the show. Of course, I could get into a long story about so many things related to suicide. Instead, I’ll simply say "Thank You," for being a special person( I know we’re all "special"), but some of us, like you, do so much for the rest of us, that we need to remind you, over and over, how grateful we are. For my part, I’ve been in remission from a rare neurological syndrome, cervical dystonia, for about 35 years. All I can do, when I talk to people who are suffering with this, is tell them what I think, worked for me. I would have called in on today’s show, but I was already crying. My very best for good health and happiness for you and your family. Dan Sarper, Aventura, Fl. P.S. If you know of anyone who has cervical dystonia(spasmodic torticollis), please feel free to give them my email and phone #.
I heard your interview on NPR today. Way to go! I listened with pride at how you grew from such a horrific loss. Isn’t it amazing how we get through our hardships and hopefully find our voice to help us go on. You’re an amazing communicator & your story will hopefully make a difference for many people out there. What’s important is to find your voice, tell your story which connects to so many other stories, it’s an important story. Through this book your daughter’s voice will be heard.
This is Sabrina Baron, perhaps you remember me, I was in your group class in Hallandale when this was all happening, it was a horrible time for me too. I lost my children in a whole other way & was lost in deep depression. Your sessions helped me so. I learned much from you, I’m so grateful for the intense sessions we had. You offered us tremendous lessons with every session, you shared such valuable knowledge with us every week. Not only did you listen to us but you shared with us insight to understanding ourselves, others & our problems. Meaningful knowledge that I still think back to & use daily. I listened to you on the radio with great pride thinking back to the important role you played in my life back when I needed help so badly.
Thank you, thank you for all your help when my world crashed. I looked for my voice for a long time, some meaning to the whys & whos in my life & now, I’m happy to say I’m still writing my story.
And I found my greatest voice in my artwork. I never knew I could express myself without words. if you like, take a look: sabrinabaron.com
I’m kvelling from you. Thank you!
I started seeing Joan in 2011 to help me prepare for the WTF Taekwondo World Championships. I’ve been a US National Taekwondo Team Member since 2004 and have competed in numerous international events, but I felt like I needed help mentally preparing.