Mothers of Bi-polar Teens

[deleted account] ( 50 moms have responded )

My Son is 19 and bi-polar. I really would love to vent with some other Mother's with bi-polar teens.

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Silka - posted on 01/14/2009

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My 15 year old daughter has been diagnosed bipolar as well. I am going through a good time with her right now for the past month or so, but honesty it's the first time I can say that in years. I am here for you if you need to vent! I know how bad it makes me feel about myself as a mother sometimes and how hard it has been for me at times. Perhaps we can exchange notes since you have been dealing with this longer than I have?

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Silka - posted on 01/22/2009

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If anyone can't find us just click on my picture to go to my profile then you can find it under my communities tab. silka

[deleted account]

I found Silka's New Community and posted a Hi. Hopefully everyone will join. Wow! never expected such a response when I first posted this thread. Thank you Silka for creating the New Community, I was thinking about figuring out how to do it.

Kimberly's information is dead on. It is only new research that has opened the Medical world's awareness to Childhood onset. Also, so right about it being genetic. My Son's natural Father was one of 7 boys, only 2 didn't inherit the gene. One has committed suicide, and another was almost successful with his last attempt. His Father has lived off of one woman after another and never been able to maintain a job. I am doing everything in my power to save my son from repeating history.

Yoana - you are a very special person, I admire how you have dealt with this very complex and difficult disease.

I have had 3 consecutive peaceful days with my son. A little vacation-Hurray!!

Hugs and Prayers to all

Silka - posted on 01/21/2009

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Hi guys! I tried to create a new community on here called Early Onset Bipolar. Let me know if you can find it and please join! silka

[deleted account]

There are a ton of online support groups already formed for parents of bipolar kids/teens.  Go to Yahoo Groups and search "bipolar" and "parent" or "teen" or "kid" or whatever category you fall into.  I've searched teens here  http://groups.yahoo.com/search?query=bip...



For Desiree, while the concept that bipolar disorder isn't diagnosable until early 20's or something is a popular older idea, we know now that it's possible to diagnose much earlier and begin treatment options on younger children so their disorder doesn't progress so much by their 20's.  I do know that there are still pdocs who don't "believe in" childhood onset bipolar disorder, but they are fewer in number every year that passes.



Just as children who used to be considered "odd" or "retarded" are now being diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders, and far earlier than they used to be, it's awareness of those early signs that's changing.  It's not a fad of excessive labeling.  It's that we know more now than we used to because research has gone in the direction of examining the early childhood history of a person who is diagnosed at age 9 or 16 or 22.  The result is that while children are being diagnosed (properly) earlier... and in larger numbers... the success rate is much higher for an eventual outcome as medication, treatment, therapies etc can be started sooner.



My son is 15.  He was diagnosed with childhood onset bipolar disorder with psychosis at age 5.  When he was manic he would be awake for three days at a time - no sleep at all.  He hallucinated and clawed at imaginary things that were attacking him.  He raged and tore curtains down from the walls.  Once we found a medication plan for him (he required a mood stabilizer as well as an antipsychotic) he slept through the night, began to talk, hugged me for the first time in his life and sat down at a table long enough to eat.  He stopped trying to jump out of windows.



At age 9 he was additionally diagnosed with high-functioning autism.  Once his world became more stable and the bipolar disorder was more controlled we were able to see that there was more going on than just that.  At 15 he uses Depakote for mood stabilization, Abilify for psychosis and raging, we use Risperdal M-Tabs once every few months as needed for rare manic episodes because it works so quickly and no med plan is perfect but this is the best we've gotten so far.  He attends a school for children with special needs and receives services through the DD Waiver.



Every child/person responds differently to meds.  What works for one will not work at all for another.  It's all about the differences in each person's body/brain chemistry and metabolism.  With my son we learned we had to give him a ridiculously high dose of Depokote to achieve the right serum level because his body just eats it up/he metabolizes it so quickly. 



Because of the genetic components to both autism and bipolar disorder, there is no longer a need to wait until later in life to receive a formal diagnosis.  Some children are just genetically predisposed to both disorders and you know what to watch for early on.  For those who have no family history, it's still possible, with a good team of developmental pediatricians or a learning and behaviors clinic at a major children's hospital, to diagnose during childhood for those who begin exhibiting extreme behaviors during the early years.



There will always be those who show few/no signs until adulthood... but that is not the only way bipolar disorder presents.  There are a ton of theories on why it is that the severity of mental illness has increased and is now showing itself earlier in life - in children - and it's been blamed on everything from genetic degradation to environmental toxins and poor parenting.  The bottom line is... there's no need for a child or family to suffer because of refusal to diagnose and treat.



My son was the 5th of 7 children.  My older children were all honors students and well-behaved.  If he'd been born first I would have thought I was just a horrible parent who didn't know how to control a feral child.  At some point AFTER my son was diagnosed with BP my husband was finally dx'ed as well.  In retrospect he was probably Asperger autism as well and he still struggles with life on a daily basis (we're divorced.)



I'm glad to see so many parents supporting one another, even through Facebook.  I found the ONLY parent group online at the time years ago and it's now grown and branched off into several groups, all larger now than the first one was originally. 



For those of you who have a "dual diagnosis" child - like bipolar and autism - there is a separate group for that as well.  I strongly encourage everyone to find the group that's right for their child, the age and the situation.  It can be helpful even just to know that "there are others dealing with this too."

Angela - posted on 01/20/2009

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It is such a relief to know that I am not alone in the frustrations with meds, diagnosis, schools ect.....Can someone start a group that we could all join? I dont know how....

Yoana - posted on 01/20/2009

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Silka, I have gone through where you been through with your daughter and more. I also had problems with my daughter and her step-father. It's is stuff for any parent to deal with a bi-polar child, and is even harder when is not your bilogical child. When anyone enters into a marrige with step-children, it's very hard, is even harder when a child has a mental illness. But when a person loves you and that you have children, they have to love your kids too. Is the whole package or nothing at all!



My husband of fifiteen years, has it worse, because about a year and a half that we were together, and with two of my children from a previous relationship and our new baby,  I was diagnose with manic bi-polar. And then my  oldest daughter was diagnose at age 9, with bi-polar. Is has being very hard, but we truly love each other, so we made it work. Thank God, and my true friends, and family. I say true friends, beacuse you will loose most of your friends, when you let them know your diagnoses.



You are doing a great job, good luck, and God bless you and your love ones!

Yoana - posted on 01/20/2009

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Quoting Silka:

Have you read the book "The Bipolar Child"? I really felt a part of a community after reading that book. I currently do not have my daughter on any meds, but am on a wait list to have her seen at the Psychiatry Department of The Children's Hospital in Denver. Things for us have been so bad sometimes too, I actually had to have my daughter temporarily go live with my best friend a few months ago because things between her and my husband (her step-dad) were bordering on violent and I thought they were going to kill eachother. Like I said above though, for the past month things have been great, like a giant breath of fresh air. The only thing I have done was pull her out of her large and "Nationally Recognized as a School of Excellence" high school where she had spent the first semester of her freshman year ditching class, getting detention, then finally getting suspended. We were stuck in a constant state of her being grounded, from her friends, the phone, the computer, etc. and her always trying to sneak those things or just flat out take them when no one was looking. Then she really sent me over the edge about a month ago when she snuck out in the middle of the night and didn't come home until noon the next day. And she was caught by my husband who was driving home from running errands and saw her walking home with a boy that I happen to know is almost 18. I totally flipped. And just like her to do something like that right before Christmas, see no big deal with it because to her each day starts over fresh and she acts like she shouldn't be in trouble anymore. I have only been married since June, and my husband seriously did not know what he was getting himself into with her. For the past year I am on egg shells constantly hoping my daughter won't open her mouth and say something that will set him off, and he is normally an incredibly sweet man yet with no patience level at all and get's set off very easily. I felt like I was living in a battle zone and I was always in the middle. Anyhow, this semester I transfered my daughter to a new "Alternative" high school. Her school day starts at 1:10 pm and goes until 6:30pm. The classes are 5 consecutive with no breaks, therefore no opportunity to ditch. She can bring her food to class and eat it there. The evening school really has helped her main complaint for the past 4 years that she can't sleep and doesn't fall asleep until 4 or 5 am. She is getting sleep now, and so am I! And I don't spend every morning at 6am screaming at her to get out of bed anymore! The second thing is this school does not believe in homework, so she has none! She never did a single page of homework for the past 3 years I think, hence failed more than half her classes. Suddenly for the first time ever I am hearing her say things like "my teachers think I am really smart!" and "I got an A on my math test tonight". I am completely shocked. But as is usually the case with her, I never feel like I can count on the good times lasting very long because the bad times are right around the corner again, and every time I let my guard down she ends up doing something really dumb . Anyhow, that's my first vent. I would love advice from you all about medications you have tried, what seemed to work, what didn't, etc. Thanks!


 

Wendy - posted on 01/20/2009

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Desiree, so I have a question? I work in the psychiatric field. I have worked with adults and children. I know that when young men have psychotic breaks it tends to be in their late teens early 20's. However that is usually with schizophernia, and children rarely can be diagnosied with schizophernia. I am not saying ADD/HD are missed diagnosied however so is a child that has ADD/HD some of them actually do have Bi Polar disorder. It isnt a magical ages that occurs in your body, This has to do with chemicals, recpitors, etc in your brain. I am off to work. Have a great night to everyone

Yoana - posted on 01/20/2009

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Quoting Kendra:



My 14 year old daughter was diagnosed w/bi-polar last march.  It's been a tough road with her and it hasn't gotten any better as she's gotten older.  There are days I just want to give up, but I won't do that.  I won't give up on my daughter, but some days....I really feel like throwing in the towel.






I know is very hard but don't ever give up! yOU CAN REaCH mE ON FACEBOOK, i DEAL WITH THIS ILLNESS EVERYDAY AND MY 20 YEAR OLD DAUGHTHER DOES TOO! GOD BLESS YOU AND YOUR FAMILY! HANG IN THERE!

Silka - posted on 01/20/2009

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Thank you to all of those who have helped me to understand more about some of the medications you have all tried! I think that the "experimentation" phase is what scares me the most too. Having not started her on any meds thus far I almost want to wait it out until she is older, but I couldn't stand her failing out of school and thinking she will have no future at all at this pace. Desiree, I appreciate what you have to say, but I must say I disagree with the perception that Bipolar only exists in adults. The truth is that the DSM-IV does not account for children in the discription of bipolar, but the fact that it only addresses adults does not mean that it doesn't exist in children. Both my brother and my daughter I believe have this disorder. Since I grew up with my brother and we are only 2 years apart, I remember exactly how he was when we were kids, when he was a teen, and how he is now as an adult. I also know that my daughter is different from my other kids, has been since birth, has been different than all of my friends kids, and has problems that I can only describe as "normal depression/rebellion" times a thousand. I have waited 15 years to seek help for the serious problems I have been having with her all along. I can't really imagine how she will have a normal adult life if she continues down the path she's been on, and worse I have a hard time imagining her ever being able to have any lasting relationships in her life because of her mood swings. I have tried a so to speak "holistic approach" with her including exercize, enriching her foods with omega-3's and flax seed, changing to soy, then startes seeing a social worker once a week who so far in not convinced it is bipolar, but thinks she has been severly depressed her whole life. He however doesn't live with her, doesn't see the "up" times when she is full of this strange energy that she will take out on her little brother sometimes with this look in her eye like she has lost control, or lie to me over and over and over and over. steal from me without thinking twice about it and not understanding why it is wrong, BELIEVE me I have spent the better part of the past four years or so trying to convince myself that this was just "normal teenage angst and rebellion" but it is not normal. I have also been writing on a post for highly gifted children and the topic of bi-polar was brought up. Many many bipolar kids are also highly gifted. My brother is like that. I grew up competing with him academically because he never had to try and it seemed he could pass tests with A's but I had to study my buns off. Then in high school he started to ditch a lot and his grades dropped, but his best friend was the validictorian of our high school and got into Standford. I just remember that my brother got a higher SAT and ACT score than his friend but my brother had like a 2.5 GPA when he graduated. Now my brother is 35, has never really been able to keep a job longer than 6 months his whole life, almost killed himself when he was 24 and actually checked himself into a mental institution on his birthday because he said the deamons were all around him and he started putting crosses in olive oil on all of the windows in the house, just very strange behavior. Needless to say a highly intelligent man such as my brother can get these great jobs, but can't keep them long enough to get insurance so he never really get's or stay's on any medication for long, but one doctor did prescribe him Stratera and he really wants to get back on that. Needless to say for about 10 years since he had no insurance he was self-medicating with pot a lot. He is now sober, but on a whim about 3 months ago he moved to Australia to be with a girl that he met on Facebook. I am happy for him, but that is just a glimpse of what is has been like to be his sister, never knowing what he will do next. We lost our dad in a drowining accident in 1999, then our mom 3 years later to a sudden aneurysm. I am the only family he really has so I feel like his mom too sometimes, at least with the way he always seems to end up back at my house eventually, but I love him to death and my door is always open to him. I suppose I just hope to find some way to help my daughter to have some grounding in life, to be able to stay focused without her mind getting away from her, to persue her creative outlets and talents that she has been blessed with. When she was much much younger I could just convince myself it was just growing pains or a phase or insecurity or middle school. I am out of excuses, and all I want is for her to be able to live on her own someday. All I know is that everything that I have read about bipolar so far fits her to a T, from birth on, and there is a lot of information out there about childhood bipolar now.

Yoana - posted on 01/20/2009

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My name is Yoana vega-Mata, and I have dealt with bi-polar disorder since I was 21. Now I'm 36, married with 3 children. My oldest daughter is 20, she was also diagnose with bi-bolar. She has had a harder time than I havecoping with this mental illness. But neither of us are using medication to overcome this illness. Is very hard to cope with it, but I have a lot faith in God, and I sorround myself with very positive,and spiritual people. I also like to listen to music, depend on the mood that I'm in.



In addition, I like to dance, work out, at my home, and most important pray! Is very hard when a bi-polar person in is on his or her very high, or very low mood swings. But, all they can do is do research on bi-polar disorder, and find ways to live with it. And it can be done, specially if they have a strong family and friend's support.



 If you wish to contact  me, you can find my numbers and e-mail, on facebook phonebook. I'm here if you need someone to talk to! Good luck, and God bless you and your family!

Yoana - posted on 01/20/2009

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My name is Yoana vega-Mata, and I have dealt with bi-polar disorder since I was 21. Now I'm 36, married with 3 children. My oldest daughter is 20, she was also diagnose with bi-bolar. She has had a harder time than I havecoping with this mental illness. But neither of us are using medication to overcome this illness. Is very hard to cope with it, but I have a lot faith in God, and I sorround myself with very positive,and spiritual people. I also like to listen to music, depend on the mood that I'm in.



In addition, I like to dance, work out, at my home, and most important pray! Is very hard when a bi-polar person in is on his or her very high, or very low mood swings. But, all they can do is do research on bi-polar disorder, and find ways to live with it. And it can be done, specially if they have a strong family and friend's support.



 If you wish to contact  me, you can find my numbers and e-mail, on facebook phonebook. I'm here if you need someone to talk to! Good luck, and God bless you and your family!

Nicole - posted on 01/20/2009

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I know alot about bipolar but not because my child has it, but my husband has it and its so hard to deal with :(

Wendy - posted on 01/20/2009

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I have a child that is 16 y.o just diagnosed with BiPolar. He has lived with his father up until this past summer. Dad had him on varies of ADD/HD medication. I am a psych nurse, when he came to live with me I did notice some of the mood swings, put it to the side of just change and adolscent, took him to a psychiatrist that says yeah mom you are going to be surprised, He is BiPolar, am I surprised no. He has punched walls, broke mirrors etc. Since he has lived with me minimal of the hurting issues, impulsiveness is still there. He doesnt like Depakote, I hope to be getting him on something different. He says Depakote makes him too tired, and he doesnt sleep at night (hum mania perphaps lol). He has walked out of the store when he was with my husband due to a conflict.. needless to say Iet my husband handle it when he got home. When things are good they are good when they are bad they are bad. Just keep loving him is all I can do.

[deleted account]

I have just stumbled apon this community, I cant believe how much of the posts and replies describe my son. My son was dianogised with seperation anxiety at 8yrs old. he was medicated but still the same, as time went on my marriage didnt survive and i moved on, He now has been dianoisged with bi polar, it is spread right through my family, bipolar, depression, anxiety disorders, ADD, ADHD, manic depressive, and many more. My boy is 14 now and takes repseridal, 2mg which i think isnt enough, but is the outbursts of language and laughter part of bipolar, it seems to me like sometimes like a something else as well. I am at a loss, the doctor just looks at me as if i am the silly one.

[deleted account]

Hi again! My Son also deals well with the Adderall and Depakote combo and can't handle Risperdal. Seems like all the kids react to different Meds. I think that one of the hardest parts of the disorder is the "experimenting" with Meds until they hit the right mix for the individual child. Then as the child matures they still have to keep fine tuning them.

On another note. I advise each of you to insist on a special ed plan for your child. Here they call it an "IEP". That is usually the only way you will get State help and real cooperation from the Schools. I learned this too late, I asked, but because my son had a high IQ they said it wasn't necessary even though at the time he was failing. I didn't push it any further -Duh...

When I had to send him to the "Academy" it cost me over $100,000 which took all my savings and I had to borrow the rest on Credit Cards and a Student Loan. If he would have had an IEP, the State would have had to pay most of that cost and I wouldn't be broke. I wish I had known that our school district pretty much has a policy to turn you down when you ask and only give it to you if you insist.

I sent him to the Academy when he really started scaring me. He is a big guy and played sports. Football, Basketball, Track, Weightlifting and Karate. So, my handling him physically was not an option. One of the greatest things he learned at the Academy was controlling his urges to hurt himself or others. He still can be very distructive with things-but never people. I know what you mean by the look of rage and hatred in their eyes, it terrified me.

Now he sometimes still gets that look and his mouth is disrespectful and filthy, but I no longer fear him physically. He hated the Academy and hated me for months after I had him taken there, but he finally figured out that I did it to save his life. I'm not about to say that he is happy I sent him there, he still feels I could have found a "nicer" place to send him. But, he has forgiven me for sending him and when he is "level" he actually now understands I had no other options at the time.

He had been on a manic for the past several days and I was at wits end. Today, he was the sweet boy I enjoy so much. How long that will last who knows. However, I know it is only temporary. Sadly his bad spells seem to last longer than his good ones.

My heart and prayers are with us all.

Night!....

Kendra - posted on 01/19/2009

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My daughter is on Adderall and Depakote.  She was cutting herself and in a severe depression and often has outbursts that are uncontrollable.  She refuses to admit that she has been diagnosed w/bi-polar.  She's 14 now and was diagonosed when she was 13.  She was hospitalized for a week once back in March.  She has run away three times.



Most of what I have read from the other posters is exactly what I am going through with Emma.  It's nice to know I'm not the only one.

Wendy - posted on 01/19/2009

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sorry ladied I have dial up so it is realllllllllly sllllloooooooooooooowwwwwwwwww.



It really nice to find an outlet for myself. Thanks so much for the conversation.

Sally - posted on 01/19/2009

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Hello everyone!

I am so glad to find you guys talking about this topic for it has been an extremely hard road... I have a 21 1/2 yr old daughter that is BiPolar, she was diagnosed when she was 15...

She has been on many meds, but the ones that she has been for the past 3 yrs have been Respirdal (for the impulsive actions) and Lamictal (for the depression/hurting herself part).



She is now pregnant and due in about 2 wks with our first grand daughter :), got married 4 mths ago, came to live with us with her husband and 3 dogs, to save up and move out on their own... DRIVES me crazzzy at times, it takes a lot of patience and letting go of things said and done! She is counting the days cause she is very depressed and can't wait to get back on the medications, which she will be 2 days after having the baby!

I love her to death!!! She can be a very nice person, but stresses highly for every little thing. She is very stubborn, manipulative and it is her way or the highway! lol



Thank you all for sharing, I have learned from you all, please continue to share and we will all learn form each other!

I am here if I can help in any way...

Sally

Wendy - posted on 01/19/2009

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I remind kyle that I am on his side and that we need to both take a deep breath and find a solution to what ever he is having a struggle with. Some times it works perfectly and sometimes I just have to let him vent.



I have read alot of articles about the corrilation of sun light with mood disorders like BP and agree totally that he is worse in the winter. I purchased sun light bulbs at walmart for his room and see a big difference.

Angie - posted on 01/19/2009

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Reggie is a big boy so he is very hard to control during rages.  I ussually have to hold him down or sit on him, whatever i have to do so he doesnt hurt anyone else or himself.  i do this ussually for over an hour at a time.  my 7 year old daughter is terrified og him when he gets that look in his eye but cries hysterically because she doesbt want him to go away.  My 15 year old wants to hurt him for hurting me.  i worry when he is a teenager cuz i know he will be bigger than me... 

Angie - posted on 01/19/2009

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wow!  reggie was like that on everything but the depakote...he has broken my tooth and given me many bruises and a couple black eyes.....

Angela - posted on 01/19/2009

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Ya finding a good pshyciatrist was what saved us too.  It seems when we change his meds and try something new I take a chance of his rage fits escalating. But I hate putting him on meds that make him tired....which clonodine kind of does.  He is on a small dosage of adderall in the morning.Concerta and strattera really effected his appetite and he actually lost wieght......and he is tiny to begin with! finally got a 504 plan in place at school which has made a big difference for him. He finally has the pressure off regarding homework and due dates of assignments.  What do you guys do when the rage fits are at their worst? I hate the fact that my other children are scared of him.....its soooooo sad. Honestly I am a little too sometimes.

Wendy - posted on 01/19/2009

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my 7 year old daughter has cronic migranes, ADD, and sometimes is just plain Bitchy.



kyle antagonises her all of the time. He has fractured my ribs, and my arm in two different outbursts. That was when he was on the depakote.

Angie - posted on 01/19/2009

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he was on a combo of seroquel/depakote....but the 2 together made  him gain weight.  my daughter is doing well on seroquel



 

Angie - posted on 01/19/2009

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When my 9 year old was 4, i noticed his outbreaks of rage...it only got worse where one minute he is grinning from ear to ear and then for no reason he gets this glare in his eye like he wants to kill me.  he has been very violent with myself and my other children and threatened to kill himself.  we finally found a great psychiatrist who sees what i am going through and doesn't blame me for his actions.  I am a single mom, and my 7 year old is adhd/mood disorders as well.

Angie - posted on 01/19/2009

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When my 9 year old was 4, i noticed his outbreaks of rage...it only got worse where one minute he is grinning from ear to ear and then for no reason he gets this glare in his eye like he wants to kill me.  he has been very violent with myself and my other children and threatened to kill himself.  we finally found a great psychiatrist who sees what i am going through and doesn't blame me for his actions.  I am a single mom, and my 7 year old is adhd/mood disorders as well.

Angie - posted on 01/19/2009

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My son is 9 and on a combination of depakote and invega ( a form of risperdal).  We have tried just bout every combo of every drug out there and depakote saved us.  Every day is stilla struggle but through prayer and the help of our wonderful psychiatrists and counselors we will make it through...



 

Angie - posted on 01/19/2009

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My son is 9 and on a combination of depakote and invega ( a form of risperdal).  We have tried just bout every combo of every drug out there and depakote saved us.  Every day is stilla struggle but through prayer and the help of our wonderful psychiatrists and counselors we will make it through...



 

Wendy - posted on 01/19/2009

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silka,



my son is 9 and bi polar. He has made such huge improvements on a coctail of Risperdal, Clonidine, and Concerta. He is on his 3 rd year of that drug combo. and let me tell you he is a whole different kid from what he was. Be careful if you do choose medication though that they don't just treat with an ADD/ADHD med. like they did with my son. He was 3 1/2 when they put him on concerta and he went completly manic. Thought he could fly, had conversations with God; and believed that God was in his room telling him to do all sorts of crazy things. It seriously was scary.



You mentioned that your brother was on stratera. Is he bi polar also, because I've never heard ot that being used for BP. I used to take it for ADD, but felt like I was high as a kite all the time. That stuff is like speed. I even dropped 20 lbs. when I was on that stuff.

Veronica - posted on 01/19/2009

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Hello



My name is veronica Spencer..I have an 18 yr old so who is bipolar..diagnosed at age 17.  Right now we are having good times, but the road has been tough.  Like a roller coaster from HELL.  I take 1 day at a time.. He is a lot better now that he is on risperdal contra..an injection that he gets every 2 weeks.  I am here if u need to vent..we could probably help eachother

Angela - posted on 01/19/2009

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Are there medications that have helped the mood swings at all. We tried abilify and it made him sleep all day and part of the night, so that was out. He is now back on clonodine

[deleted account]

"I'm glad we have all found each other!"

Amen!! This is the first time I have been able to communicate with other Mothers who truly understand what it is like to live with a bi-polar child/teen. It is great to be able to express myself without my Son or I being judged.

Thank you so much.....

Silka - posted on 01/19/2009

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I second Marsha's post. At 13 Karlee went into these hormonally induced rage/depression's. I was trying to discipline her like a normal parent with a normal child, she got F's on her report card so I took away the phone and the computer. Well, her only friends in the world were on that computer because she had none at school so when I would take those priveledges away she would fly off into a rage, cut herself, and one night I was asleep and kept hearing this thunk thunk sound over and over comming from my kitchen so I went to see what it was and it was my daughter sitting in the middle of the kitched with a butcher knife stabbing it into my floor over and over then I looked to her left and noticed she carved the word HATE across one of my kitchen cabinets. I thought I was going to lose my mind, and all of that was while I was going through a divorce so I had no one to back me up or help me. I lost my parents years ago so I had no family support either. I should have had her hospitalized that night but I didn't because I was in denial. Disrespect, constant lies, sneaking out, many times hyper at night and teasing her little brother a little too much, very arguementative and always has a comeback or excuse for everything I say, destructive, messy, insomnia, headaches, poor performance in school, perception that all kids hate her, perception that her teachers hate her, perception that her family hates her and we all wish she would just leave...etc, etc. I do have 2 younger kids and I always feel that it is unfair that they have to see me so much more focused on her sometimes. My daughter also hates her step-dad even though he tries to be a dad to her. I finally had him read the book that I talked about above and the lightbulb went on for him to a degree, because prior to that it seemed like he was also always on my case that I either need to take everything away from her and give her just a matteress in her room and no priveledges at all until she shapes up or I need to have her sent away because he was going to kill her. Contrary to that line of thought, which makes perfect sense for the average kid, my daughter became so much worse when I took things away. He hadn't been around all her life and hadn't seen all of the things I had already tried with her up till that point that didn't work. On the other hand, my 11 year old son is the easiest kid on the planet! If I even look at him crosseyed he is apologetic, but he is never in trouble, pulls in all A's and is just such a blessing. But I feel guilty that I spend more time with my oldest because I pretty much need to keep her around me at all times or who knows what she will do next and to my son that probably seems really unfair. The baby gets a lot of my attention too because she is a baby, but my husband is more protective of her because she is his only child and he doesn't want my oldest teaching her bad things or saying bad words around her, etc. It is so hard!! I cry myself to sleep sometimes too, and I have to watch myself or I will become a workaholic because I love my job so much and it is so much easier to be there where people appreciate me and praise me all the time! I'm glad we have all found eachother!

Angela - posted on 01/19/2009

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Ya we have a lot of common threads. He hasnt escalated to cutting himself but has put himself in danger by running away and staying out all night. We actually had search dogs looking for him, only to findm out he was curled up sleeping in a trailer. He has no ability to take responsibility for his actions. Sometimes I feel like I walk on eggshells around him because I never know how he will react to a situation. Moody and Manipulative is putting it midly! We have 3 younger siblings that I had with his stepdad, there are issues between him and his stepdad........he hates him even though the stepdad tries and tries. His real dad was a drug addict, depressive, and I am pretty sure an undignosed bi-polar as well. There are real mental health issues on that side of the family, the grandmother commited suicide of a drug overdose.  Honestly I feellike he demands so much more of my attention than the other 3 combined.....This past month I have cried myself to sleep more times than I can count.  He is however a very caring person and can be sweet when the moment is right. he also is very obsessive complsive about cleanliness.......

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Everyone (especially Silka) Thank you for your comments, you really made me feel better.



Angela - The others will have to address the issue of effects on other children as my son is an only child.

As for signs: I noticed my son was over-intense and criticial of himself and others when he was in elementary school. I kept him in counseling, but it never really helped. Then when puberty started - everything went out of control. He was hateful to me and blamed me for the divorce from his natural father (who is ADD, Bipolar, borderline Schizophrenic/Sociopath). Since then he has gotten to know his Father and not only no longer blames me, but can’t understand why I stayed as long as I did. My Son seems to have multiple personalities. Sometimes moody & critical of others. He blames everybody else for everything and refuses to be accountable for his own actions. He is also a consumate liar. To quote someone else "he couldn't tell the truth even if it benefited him". He has no respect for other people or their property and can be destructive and manipulative

Then, He can be kind, thoughtful, sweet and say all the right things at the right times. He has a 178 IQ but has difficulty staying on track unless it is computer or video game related. He has an addictive personality and no concept of financial responsibility. I know this sounds a bit crazy (But it is typical of some bi-polars.)

I never know "who" he is going to be, or how he is going to react to things.



Wow! Does that sound critical – No, it's just factual. I love him more than anything. I had him when I was 39 and he was a miracle baby. I was told I probably wouldn't be able to have children, was blessed to have him and will never give up on him. He started cutting when he was 15, we had him hospitalized and he hasn't done it since. I had him transported to a private Academy (24/7 lockup) when he was 17. It was there that he was diagnosed and first placed on Meds. I brought him home after 10 months of treatment. He turned 19 two weeks ago and still lives at home.



Well, that’s my story, and I’m stickin to it. (A little humor)

Angela - posted on 01/19/2009

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My son just turned 13, he has been on ADHD meds for 4-5 years and a mood stabilizer clonodine for about a year now. His Phyciatrist has just brought up the possible bi-polar diagnosis recently. The outbursts have been severe lately and he actually had to move in with my brother for a few weeks and then he was hospitalized for another week. I would love for anyone to tell me the signs they have seen in their own children, also how you deal with it all? How about how it effects other children in the home?

Silka - posted on 01/18/2009

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Don't worry about feeling sorry for yourself, this is really hard. Raising kids in general is the hardest job in the world, but we can never be prepared to end up with kids that put us through this kind of hell and other people can never seem to understand how deeply we love our children in spite of it. My ex was a Marine. He was the so called disciplinarian, constantly yelling at our daughter and saying things to me like I have no concept of discipline, bla bla. Yet he was also a raging alcoholic. My daughter I believe looking back has had simptoms of bipolar her whole life, but it really became evident as she entered her teens. It was also around that time about 3 years ago that I decided to leave my husband. So here I was with a kid that was hormonal, suicidal and out of control and I was also getting divorced on top of it. I kept thinking her behavior had more to do with our disfunction as a family, but there was always something more about her behavior, it just wasn't normal. I suppose I am still just at the beginning of this process of trying to help her and figure out what works and what doesn't. Medicating her scares me to death, so I have put it off I'll admit. Still, I understand the expenses these kids can rack up. Right now I have her on birth control, which helps with the hormonal outbursts a lot, and Inderol for her headaches which also helps her sleep better because it lowers your blood pressure. I spent $500 on contact lenses for her that she desperately needs to wear every day, and she refuses to wear them because they feel wierd. It just seems like one thing after the next of her having a complaint, so I try to figure out how to fix it. And I can't really afford it either, I have an 11 year old son and a 16 month old daughter too.

Do you find that the meds show significant improvement with your son? My brother was on Stratera for a while and he loved it, but he lost his insurance too so now he isn't taking anything. I'm not sure what my daughter's doctors will want to put her on, but one of them tried Abilify and within a few weeks she flat out told me "mom now instead of wanting to kill myself I want to kill everyone else". I took her back off of that right away and am on a wait list for a new doctor. I think you are better off without a man that obviously wasn't man enough to stand by your side and know that you know what is best for your child. I also think moving and starting over in a new place sounds like a great idea. Sometimes we just need a fresh start! Has your son ever tried night school? I am just amazed at how much better my daughter is doing now that she goes to school at night. I work in the medical field so I also know that there are a lot of great jobs in the middle of the night, and since I used to work graveyards I also know that I worked with a lot of people that had worked nights for 20 years and loved it. I guess I am trying to figure out how to make the world adapt to her, rather than forcing her to fit into the mold of "normal' anymore because that wasn't working. I get really stressed thinking about her future sometimes. Just a few months ago I thought she was going to drop out of school, run away, end of homeless or a druggie and have no future at all. I have a small amount of my hope restored since she started this new school and has improved so dramatically over these past few weeks. I just pray it continues! Thanks for listening. I get depressed too, but we are only people doing the best we can. That is all we can do and deep inside though they don't know how to express it, our children need us and they appreciate our efforts. Just know that!

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It's taken me three days to find my way back to this place. I'm just learnng facebook and I don't seem to know what I'm doing (so what's new). My son was on Adderall for his ADD and Depacote for his bi-polar until about 10 months ago when my divorce was final and we both lost our Health Insurance. My husband (Rob's Stepdad) told us both to get out of the house and that Rob's issues were too much of an "inconvenience". My husband was Military Black&White guy who doesn't believe in bi-polar "it's just bad behavior and bad choices by a No good kid. He never had any children of his own and indeed married (me) for the first time at age 47.

We finally got Rob approved for medicaid and Social Security starting this month, so I am loking forward to him getting back on his Meds. He has been up and down continually. He seems to live in the manic more than anything. Staying awake all night and sleeping days, Refusing to be repectful to me.

I'm wore out and broke. I was a top producing Realtor for the past 15 years and the market in Michigan died last year. That means my income disappeared just after the divorce. I spent all of my savings sending Rob to a private institution when he was 16. I'm just at a loss as to what to do. I've been praying, just not sure what the answers are. All of my family has moved to another state and I'm thinking about selling my house and moving where they are and starting over.

Sorry, about sounding so "sorry for myself" I guess I'm having some depression of my own.

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While my child is not bipolar, I am. I was diagnosed in 1993 at age 23, while living on my own in NYC. With therapy and medication, I was able to come to terms with my diagnosis and live a very balanced life.



My mother is also bipolar, she was diagnosed in 1990. She's been hospitalized twice, luckily I haven't at all.



The one word of advice I have: make sure your loved ones stay on top of taking their medications. Our bodies can also become attuned to our meds so it's important to learn what mood swings are normal (life, puberty, hormones, etc.) vs. manic/depressive states.



 



Good luck, mamas. You're on the right track!

Mary Jo - posted on 01/15/2009

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I'm hoping to be a ray of hope. My son was 13 when he was diagnosed with bi-polar. He has been hospitalized 8 times!!! He is now 18 and is very stable. He is able to work and is doing very well. There were times that I didn't think he would ever be the man he is becoming. He has been very stable for over 5 months now which has been an answer to prayer! I would love to be able to encourage other moms who deal with this.

Silka - posted on 01/15/2009

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Have you read the book "The Bipolar Child"? I really felt a part of a community after reading that book. I currently do not have my daughter on any meds, but am on a wait list to have her seen at the Psychiatry Department of The Children's Hospital in Denver. Things for us have been so bad sometimes too, I actually had to have my daughter temporarily go live with my best friend a few months ago because things between her and my husband (her step-dad) were bordering on violent and I thought they were going to kill eachother. Like I said above though, for the past month things have been great, like a giant breath of fresh air. The only thing I have done was pull her out of her large and "Nationally Recognized as a School of Excellence" high school where she had spent the first semester of her freshman year ditching class, getting detention, then finally getting suspended. We were stuck in a constant state of her being grounded, from her friends, the phone, the computer, etc. and her always trying to sneak those things or just flat out take them when no one was looking. Then she really sent me over the edge about a month ago when she snuck out in the middle of the night and didn't come home until noon the next day. And she was caught by my husband who was driving home from running errands and saw her walking home with a boy that I happen to know is almost 18. I totally flipped. And just like her to do something like that right before Christmas, see no big deal with it because to her each day starts over fresh and she acts like she shouldn't be in trouble anymore. I have only been married since June, and my husband seriously did not know what he was getting himself into with her. For the past year I am on egg shells constantly hoping my daughter won't open her mouth and say something that will set him off, and he is normally an incredibly sweet man yet with no patience level at all and get's set off very easily. I felt like I was living in a battle zone and I was always in the middle. Anyhow, this semester I transfered my daughter to a new "Alternative" high school. Her school day starts at 1:10 pm and goes until 6:30pm. The classes are 5 consecutive with no breaks, therefore no opportunity to ditch. She can bring her food to class and eat it there. The evening school really has helped her main complaint for the past 4 years that she can't sleep and doesn't fall asleep until 4 or 5 am. She is getting sleep now, and so am I! And I don't spend every morning at 6am screaming at her to get out of bed anymore! The second thing is this school does not believe in homework, so she has none! She never did a single page of homework for the past 3 years I think, hence failed more than half her classes. Suddenly for the first time ever I am hearing her say things like "my teachers think I am really smart!" and "I got an A on my math test tonight". I am completely shocked. But as is usually the case with her, I never feel like I can count on the good times lasting very long because the bad times are right around the corner again, and every time I let my guard down she ends up doing something really dumb . Anyhow, that's my first vent. I would love advice from you all about medications you have tried, what seemed to work, what didn't, etc. Thanks!

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Thank you for your replies. I'm a single Mom and sometimes I just feel so lost and overwhelmed. My friends are great, but they don't see Rob when he is "off" and I don't like to tell them what he is like. You know, the judgement thing.

Dana - posted on 01/15/2009

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I have a son that is 11 and has biploar, Adhd and PDD (falls in the autism spectrum) and its been a long hard road but we finally got him on the right meds and with the help of his doctors he is doing better. He has his days that are not so good. Some days are harder then others. But feel free to vent we all need to at one point.

Kendra - posted on 01/14/2009

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My 14 year old daughter was diagnosed w/bi-polar last march.  It's been a tough road with her and it hasn't gotten any better as she's gotten older.  There are days I just want to give up, but I won't do that.  I won't give up on my daughter, but some days....I really feel like throwing in the towel.

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