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Old 04-13-2006, 07:27 PM   #1
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Bipolar/College ?

My 17 year old daughter has recently been diagnosed BPI. After a MAJOR manic episode (it lasted 4 months) we were given the diagnoses and now have an idea what is going on with her.

She has been working with a counselor and a psycologist for her meds. She takes meds for a week or two then decides she doesn't need them. When she started Lithium we could see a big change in her behavior, even though she said she couldn't tell the difference. She stoped taking Lithium when she broke out with a rash. She hasn't been given anything new because she has missed her last two psychiatric appointments.

My daughter has been accepted into her number one choice of colleges. It is a long way from home and she is bound and determined to attend in the fall.

My question: Have any of you had children that have gone away to college after being diagnosed BPI? If so, how did they make out? Do you have any helpful suggestions?

I have kept myself busy reading everything I can on the subject to try and understand my daughter better. Kay Redfield Jamisons "An Unquiet Mind" was a good book from the Bipolar persons perspective. Judy Erons "What goes up.." give the reader a perspective of a spouse dealing with a loved ones manic episode. Any other book suggestions would be welcome.

Madolyn

 
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Old 04-14-2006, 01:41 AM   #2
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Re: Bipolar/College ?

Going to college would be a great distraction for your daughter!

I don't have a child in college yet, but I just graduated (at 39) with honors.

She may run in to times when she won't be able to attend classes, but if she can contact the "guidance" department, there are usually support programs for a variety of disabilities. This would help her in communicating with her professors that she is ill and needs accomodations. Remember, she doesnt have to tell her professors about her illness, just the "guidance" department [at my school it was called "Cornerstone"] .

Be sure to encourage her to take her meds- I know the mood stabilizers suck, you feel like a zombie, but have her speak to her doctor about a trial with a lower dose.

If she relapses into depression or mania, she can always take an "incomplete" for her classes. If she has documented her illness with the right department she will have a built in advocate for these times. The school should allow her to pick up the classes when she is ready, without charging additional tuition.

LR

 
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Old 04-14-2006, 05:45 AM   #3
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Re: Bipolar/College ?

I am 30 and in college. This is my freshman year. Towards the end of the 2nd semester I had a manic episode. One of my counselors has told me the same thing, that I should continue even though I missed the last two weeks and work towards getting incompletes in the classes I am not doing well in. It takes courage, but leading a normal life takes extreme courage as well. I commend her, and hope she gets the meds she needs.

 
Old 04-14-2006, 09:04 AM   #4
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Re: Bipolar/College ?

Thank you for your replies. My daughter has been taken out of high school becuse of her inability to go to school during her manic episode. She is now being tutored at home so she can graduate with her class. I worry about the same thing happening when she is away at college. Her counselor is trying to set up all the safeguards for her while she is away, for that I am grateful. I still worry about her being so far away from family support, or should I say my support, as her father is in denial about her being bipolar.
This college is a wonderful educational opportunity for her - I just don't want to put her in a stressfull situation that may cause another manic or depresive episode.

 
Old 04-14-2006, 02:00 PM   #5
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Re: Bipolar/College ?

Bipolar and college for me is not a good mix, but it is different for everyone depending on how much they can cope. This is my freshman year. Last summer, I was able to complete two classes. During the first quarter of fall, I finished another one. I had four other classes, but I was overwhelmed. I was manic during the summer and thought I could handle being a full-time student, but I couldn't.

I'm taking this semester off to get some much needed therapy and relaxation. I plan to go back during the summer, but I'll take a lighter load.

There may be nothing to worry about at all. If she needs a break from her school, encourage her to do so. Nobody said that you have to finish college in four years. That is even stressful for people without a mood disorder.

 
Old 04-15-2006, 11:00 AM   #6
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Re: Bipolar/College ?

I'm not bipolar, but I'm a freshman in college who has severe OCD, severe panic attacks, GAD, and Asperger's, and though my functioning isn't nearly as impaired as it would be during an acute manic episode, I do struggle many days, and I was so bad from September-November, that I was seriously considering dropping out for the rest of the year. Most colleges offer accommodations for psychiatric disabilities; for example, you can get extra time on tests and assignments and request for your own room, which I had to end up doing. It is scary to think of your daughter being away from you to keep an eye on her, but if she takes her medications, there shouldn't be a problem, and if, heaven forbid, she would become manic again, if she has regular appointments with the college's counseling centers, they'll be able to catch it relatively early and bring her back to a euthymic mood before she hits the psychotic stage. Good luck, God bless, and if you have any questions, feel free to ask!
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Last edited by GatsbyLuvr1920; 04-15-2006 at 11:02 AM.

 
Old 04-18-2006, 04:25 PM   #7
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Re: Bipolar/College ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by madolyn
My 17 year old daughter has recently been diagnosed BPI. After a MAJOR manic episode (it lasted 4 months) we were given the diagnoses and now have an idea what is going on with her.

She has been working with a counselor and a psycologist for her meds. She takes meds for a week or two then decides she doesn't need them. When she started Lithium we could see a big change in her behavior, even though she said she couldn't tell the difference. She stoped taking Lithium when she broke out with a rash. She hasn't been given anything new because she has missed her last two psychiatric appointments.

My daughter has been accepted into her number one choice of colleges. It is a long way from home and she is bound and determined to attend in the fall.

My question: Have any of you had children that have gone away to college after being diagnosed BPI? If so, how did they make out? Do you have any helpful suggestions?

I have kept myself busy reading everything I can on the subject to try and understand my daughter better. Kay Redfield Jamisons "An Unquiet Mind" was a good book from the Bipolar persons perspective. Judy Erons "What goes up.." give the reader a perspective of a spouse dealing with a loved ones manic episode. Any other book suggestions would be welcome.

Madolyn
My wife whom is 23 just began her college life last year. She is bi-polar, borderline personality disorder, PTSD, and a depressant and she is doing absolutely wonderful with school. I think the trick with bi-polar and college is to take your first semester slow by only taking 2-3 classes. By doing this it allows them to concentrate more on just those three classes and gives them a better chance to earn better grades. By earning better grades they get a sense of fullfillment and accomplishment that they ever so dearly need. I think college is a good thing because it will help to keep their mind occupied but at the same time if they overwhelm themselves with classes it might be too much and it might send them into another serious manic state for an extended period of time. Hope this gives you a little insight.

P.S. Tell her often how proud of her you are.....it will do wonders!!!!

 
Old 04-18-2006, 07:00 PM   #8
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Re: Bipolar/College ?

I want her to go to college - full time, part time or one class at a time. She is hell bent on going away to school (ten hours away), where she knows no one and will have to work part time on top of her college classes to help defray the cost of this almost Ivy League school.

Today she had a problem getting out of bed and missed her 1:00 pm appointment with her counselor. Its now 8:45 pm and she is nowhere in sight. When she is manic she thinks she can do everything - when she crashes she hits hard. She is taking very few steps to ensure her mental health here at home, I find it hard to believe she will do better when she is away.

She has so much potential - I don't want to put her in such a stessful situation that she fails. Finding the right medication has been a challenge. She has missed her last two appointments and it is very hard to get in to see her p doc.

I try to be understanding of her Bipolar condition - I just don't want to let it blind me into making the wrong decision for my daughter.

I'm happy to hear your wife is doing so well in school. She has a few more life lessons under her belt than my daughter. How old was your wife when she was diagnosed Bipolar? Thank you for your comment and suggestions - I'm always ready to listen to other ideas and experiences.

Madolyn

 
Old 04-20-2006, 02:56 PM   #9
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Re: Bipolar/College ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by madolyn
I want her to go to college - full time, part time or one class at a time. She is hell bent on going away to school (ten hours away), where she knows no one and will have to work part time on top of her college classes to help defray the cost of this almost Ivy League school.

Today she had a problem getting out of bed and missed her 1:00 pm appointment with her counselor. Its now 8:45 pm and she is nowhere in sight. When she is manic she thinks she can do everything - when she crashes she hits hard. She is taking very few steps to ensure her mental health here at home, I find it hard to believe she will do better when she is away.

She has so much potential - I don't want to put her in such a stessful situation that she fails. Finding the right medication has been a challenge. She has missed her last two appointments and it is very hard to get in to see her p doc.

I try to be understanding of her Bipolar condition - I just don't want to let it blind me into making the wrong decision for my daughter.

I'm happy to hear your wife is doing so well in school. She has a few more life lessons under her belt than my daughter. How old was your wife when she was diagnosed Bipolar? Thank you for your comment and suggestions - I'm always ready to listen to other ideas and experiences.

Madolyn
My wife was diagnosed as bi-polar, PTSD, borderline personaltiy disorder, and depression about 2-3 years ago. Now having said that we knew something was wrong but she was in such denial until she had a major meltdown and realized she needed help. After getting help she realized she has had these disorders for the majority of her life. From the sounds of it you love your daughter dearly and that is all you can do. Just support her and be there for her and let time do the rest.

 
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