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Being a Bipolar Parent - I need serious help

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Old 09-11-2006, 08:43 AM   #1
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Being a Bipolar Parent - I need serious help

Some days it really sucks having this disorder. I truly love my 5 year old daughter, who generally has a great disposition and the normal strong will of a 5 year old. My problem is that when I am stable whether or not she behaves, I am a patient, caring, loving and attentive Mom. When I am in a bad state and she is not behaving, I continually lose patience with her, scream at her (loudly), accuse her of ruining my day and then start blaming the poor thing for everything in my life. I don't physically abuse her but I do pull at her roughly. Like in the morning, this happens at least once a week, we pick out what she will wear the night before so that there is no arguing in the morning. Well, sometimes she decides she is not going to get dressed and she will lay on the couch, bed or whatever and refuse to get up. This morning I gave her a half hour to get herself ready and she was still laying there. At this point, I am stressed out because I have to be at work by a certain time and she has made me late on occasion (why should that be such a big deal? The other secretary who works here is occasionally late and she has no child to get ready in the morning). Anyway, I started pulling off her shirt and pants and she fell on the floor. Thank god she wasn't hurt. Then I screamed at her that she was already ruining my week.

I am scared to be a parent. I think part of the reason I do these mean things is because I was physically (and mentally) abused as a child and the second part I think is the disease. Anyway, I feel so bad after these "episodes" that I cry and cry, get depressed and think I want to die. I have explained to my daughter that Mommy goes to the doctor and takes medicine so that I get better, and don't yell and scream and get angry (that's what a book told me to do).

Are there any bipolar parents out there who can give me any advice on how to manage myself and these horrible examples I am setting for my daughter?

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Old 09-11-2006, 09:41 AM   #2
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Re: Being a Bipolar Parent - I need serious help


Here is an example of what we do with our son who has ADHD when he is being difficult with putting on his clothes in the morning, pulling the typical laziness routine or being naughty.

The adult counts to ten, slowly- very slowly, while the child puts on a pair of jeans. If the jeans aren't put on by the count of ten (which they usually are) then the child will have to stand in the corner for 1 minute. Then do the same process with the shirt, socks, and shoes. Usually, I have the hardest problem is with the shoes. Our son, usually becomes so naughty, that he runs around our home, trying to provoke me into chasing him, screaming as loudly as he can for no apparent reason, giggling, then begins to throw things at me. When I finally catch him, I have to hold him in restraint, the butterfly hold where he is sat on my lap facing the opposite direction of me with his hands and arms cross ways so he can't hit until he gains control of himself. This takes anywhere from 2 minutes to 10 minutes. It is very tiring. Usually I'm a wreck by the time we leave for school at 8:00 am. This happens 3 times at least a week. DH usually stays home during the week but lately has been leaving early again for work, so when he leaves early, this is what happens; always. When he goes to school, his meds kick in about 8:30, so he is squirrley til then.

I usually am patient at first, raise my voice after the first 5 minutes, and then start to yell after I lose my patience when he then doesn't stop. He knows that I take medicine for the same reasons he does. We have talked about it before, and that I visit a doctor like he does too; a pdoc. After I get angry, I apologize- every single time and tell the boys that I had no right to be so angry. Then I also ask them 'why did you not listen to me the first time?' 'Was that polite of you?' I make 'them' rethink their actions as well mine. I do not care if we are late for school. That is not as important as settling what has occurred at home. Being late for school 5 minutes or so is not that big of deal when you are 6. The school has understood why we have been late before.

Counseling is what gets me through the parenting problems. Normally I am in counseling every 4 weeks. This summer I wasn't due to having my sons around all the time. If I am not in counseling, I suffer a lot. The counseling helps me refocus where my anger and triggers lie most and where I need to revamp my issues and what needs to be done to fix them. If needed, my DH also goes to counseling with me at times to help me out for family counseling for our family-team work in parenting our boys. That has been a tremendous help as well. We have made huge mistakes in the past, and still, continue to do so as well; life is a learning lesson. One must look at it that way. No person is perfect.

You are doing the best you can do with your daughter. You have a mental illness and are dealing with meds that are being adjusted. That itself is a huge ordeal as well. You are engaged; and that too, is a stressor. Getting married is a stress- a positive one. Planning a future with a person is a big ordeal along with getting married. There is a lot going on in your life right now. No wonder you have stress. And, your daughter is also pushing your limits to the hilt. She is just testing you, as my son does me each and every day.

If you don't have a tdoc, please get one. For your sake, and your families sake. They will really help you tremendously.


a loving heart is the truest wisdom

Old 09-11-2006, 09:45 AM   #3
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Re: Being a Bipolar Parent - I need serious help

maybe look into a parenting class?

they should be able to help you come up with some solutions to dealing with stress

Old 09-12-2006, 03:07 AM   #4
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Cool Re: Being a Bipolar Parent - I need serious help

Here is my two cents. I work in the medical field and I have bp. I read and read all I can to understand this craqy disease. Just two days ago a fellow colleage gave me a book to read she's trying to understand her boy friend and I asked if I could read the book. The name of the book is loving someone with bipolar disorder and is written by Julie A. Fast and John D. Preston, PSY.D. I have found it very interesting and I'm even found some chapters in it that I'm going to suggest that the doc's I work for should read so they can better understand me. They are very open with me and don't mind me speaking up. I sometimes think they are happy to have me around even though I do get very moody at times. I also think this helps them to understand their patients. I am so bless!
Be there for her in a way I'm in the same situation except my daughter is far away from me. I'm going to see her in a few weeks and I'm bring some of my books for her to read and I hope she will open up her eyes and find herself in these books. In my heart I know she has this disease too!
Hang in there if you can as the old saying goes this too will pass.
Just my two cents and more
Just me,

Old 09-12-2006, 08:56 PM   #5
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Re: Being a Bipolar Parent - I need serious help

This is my first time posting to these message boards. I just finished reading your post and it might as well have been me writing.

I have no advise to offer. Just support and a friendly voice letting you know that you are not alone.

My daughters are 5 and 3. I had only been a stay at home mom for about 6 months before being dx with BPII.(Always dx w PPD) Before staying at home I worked as a Nuc Eng for 2 years after doing 6 years in the Navy. My husband and I decided that after my being away from the girls for so much that staying at home with them was a good thing. Now I question it everyday.

It has been 7 months since my diagnosis. Up until the past month things have been relatively under control. Now the hypomania is back with a severe vengeance. The girls are great until I can't handle the constant noise or the continuous movement. I know it isn't in anyway thier fault. They are both very strong willed in the first place. The 5 year old is highly intelligent but very emotional. The 3 year old is still testing her boundaries. It's the makings of a stressful day even when I am stable and good to go. My husband is still in the military so it is pretty much me all of the time. Daddy does come home late and heads out early mon-sat. He sometimes gets sunday off. I'm trying not to lose it on the girls. I attempt my regular approach to discilpline but it escalates into my screaming like an idiot and the girls still ignoring me. I'm afraid to discipline them our regular way when I am in this state of mind I'm afraid of going too far, being too rough, saying too much over the line. I can't just shut myself in my room and let them settle things on thier own. It would be the Lord of the Flies in the living room.

Until I get new meds worked out, or a new method worked out, i need something in place in ensure that my kids don't have to deal with me acting like this. I've never hurt them. They just see me cussing the dell costumer service guy, random telemarketers, the drivethrough chick, and just about anyone else that slights me in the least. If they act up and I'm screaming in their face after something menial, I try to breathe and walk away. No one is coming to help me so I have to clinche my teeth, get the girls ready, feed them, and then let them watch a show. It usually gives me enough time to calm down a bit. If that doesnt' work, I have to call my one good friend to come help out. She'll bring her kids over so I can lock myself in my room for a few hours or she'll just come and get my kids all together. We trade that favor often.

I apologize often to my girls for mommy yelling. I show them and let them know that I love them. I do not overcompensate by buying them things or by letting them get away with what they were trying to do in the first place. Other than this, are there any other suggestions?

BTW I was on Wellbutrin150 Topomax 150 Ambien then I screwed crap up and hadmy PCM prescribe me phentermine (diet pill)(He knew what i was on and about my BP just not much about either I suppose) My own fault. It sent me straight up and out of sight. Haven't came back down yet. My Topomax was upped today to 200 my hubby trashed the phentermine, the Wellbutrin is being put on hold, still on the Ambien, Xanax .5 prn, and Pdoc added 15mg of Abilify Does anyone know a whole lot about Abilify?

Old 09-12-2006, 10:31 PM   #6
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Re: Being a Bipolar Parent - I need serious help

Hi Ronnie,
All Parents Need Help Our Cute Babies Dont Have Directions Like Our
Tv, Vcr...ect
My Daughter At 3years Old Was Like This, I Screamed, I Spoke To Councilors, I Reinforced Ect.... Now At 13 With Adhd. Her And I Still But Heads But We Are Learning Together. I Will Tell You She Rather Sit For 8 Hours Then Do What I Asked Of Her. We And She Are In Coulcilor And Sometimes Meds Can Help. My Daughter Is A/b/c Student And Wants To Be A Judge And Wow She Will Be Great....
Now My Son Very Very Different He Was Shy And Quiet But In 8th Grade It Was A 360 I Was At Wits End. But With Alot Of Research And God. He Is Bipolar And On Meds Almost A Year. I Will Tell You
Adhd And Bipolar Have Simalar Symtoms You Will Figure It Out.
Used You Gut And I Will Pray,,,,for You Alll

Old 09-14-2006, 12:09 PM   #7
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allilisa HB User
Re: Being a Bipolar Parent - I need serious help

I have a 5 year old daughter and have the same issues as you do.
Everything you discribed is exactly what I go through. There's yelling and
screaming. I told myself I have to stop because she is learning behavior from me. I definetly don't want her to be like me.

Things have gotton a little better. What I've been doing is when we are trying to get dressed for school and she starts to have a tantrum. I just stop and tell her to take a deep breath and she does,( I also do to.) Then I tell
her to go pick something else out. Then I take time to chill out while she's doing that. Usually, then we then compromise on an outfit.

I know that if I don't try to work it out. I will cry all the way to work and
be in a bad mood all day. So, I try really, really, hard not lose control.

I know this isn't much advice... Just keep you chin up and believe it will get better. That is what keeps me going.


Old 09-14-2006, 06:28 PM   #8
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Re: Being a Bipolar Parent - I need serious help

Also With My Daughter In 2nd Grade We Put Her On Concerta And A Modified Planner For School. She Was Really Smart And Sometimes Got Really Bored And Also She Has To Learn To Do What She Is Told At The Time. She Is Now 13years In 8th Grade And Some Days Are Better Than Others.
Good Luck

Old 09-15-2006, 06:29 AM   #9
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ronniesteers HB User
Re: Being a Bipolar Parent - I need serious help

Thanks everyone who responded. I was able to get some good advice and different perspectives. This morning she didn't want to get dressed so I did the counting thing (which worked) and told her she would not be able to go visit grandpa and grandma later (which she loves to do) unless she got herself dressed, brushed her teeth and let me brush her hair (she had trouble with that one). Otherwise, all was accomplished.

I know not every morning will be like today, but it is nice when you don't have to get angry. I hope all of you are so lucky and having a great day.

Last edited by ronniesteers; 09-15-2006 at 06:30 AM.

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