There have been many posts here about kids with bipolar disorder. And yet, there is not always alot said about how it affects Mom's and Dad's and their relationships with each other.
Along with sharing about the difficulties of raising a child with bipolar disorder, would it be helpful if we had a spot here to talk about what it very realistically can take out of other relationships in your lives?
I know that Mom's of Bipolar's are pretty strong folks... But you'll notice that not near as many Dad's write in...
My Dad pretty much washed his hands of doing any of the actual "dealing with Bipolar" stuff. I honestly don't know how my mom did it, or if maybe there was something she could have done to bring him into it all...
Anyway, hope to hear some of those coping mechanisms that you all must have begun developing,
Okay....so she laid the bait and I am hooked Geez is there anything that doesn't go by you my dear sweet metaphyscially connected cybertwin????
Alright, so Tom & I tried the double axels and had ourselves gaining the judge's attention and suddenly when we thought we were stealing the hearts of the audience we fell flat onto the ice and find ourselves spent and unable to help one another up. We know, as our audience well does, that we have the talent, strength, and heart to get up again but it isn't so easy and we find ourselves somewhat spent from all the efforts put into getting prepared for that big moment of winning the Gold!!
And there she is.....sitting there as the spotlights shine and although I cannot quite make out her face I sense her presence and she reaches out to me with her strength and soul that is able to feed mine emploring me to get up and go on....Knowing that the thing that counts in the end is getting back up and finishing what was begun.
The timing couldn't be more perfect to come upon this thread. Since Erin has been hospitalized four times over the past 6 months I cannot even describe what an emotional toll this has placed on Tom & I. As a mother I fight day in and day out to make sure that Erin will reach stability....I am her advocate and the one who knows her most and promised to find her the help that she needed to get through this. It consumes me from the moment I wake to the moment my head hits the pillow. I only have so much time to get her to stability....the time is ticking until she is 18 and I will have very little say on how things go...already the doctors ask Erin what she thinks and what she needs even though she is just learning and understanding what is going on. And for now things seem to be progressing well but with much effort and emotional investment on my part. Tom is a great father but doesn't have the same emotional strength that I do....he seems to deal with the stress by doing his best to avoid it by fishing, working, watching TV and taking siestas while leaving me with most of the work. I must say that he goes to as many pdoc and tdoc appointments but when it comes to dealing with the confrontations, irritability, and daily happenings within school and at home I am the one who bears most of that burden. And I find it exhausting both physically and emotionally.
I am coming to the realization that because of how much this consumes me that it is indeed affecting our marriage in the sense that it leaves so little time for us. And that is really nobody's fault but ours for not making sure that we are taking care of one another. To be honest, I have very little energy and would like some relief. The tdoc is working on that with us encouraging us to take time out for ourselves but it is easier said than done. But I know that she is right....for Erin needs a solid foundation which starts with her parents.
But it's not easy.....the reality of what has happened over the past year has hit our family hard and we don't know anything different. WE don't know when the next shoe is going to drop but only know how to prepare ourselves for it. It only seems to take away from what we once knew as "normal" and spontaneous. Erin is doing so much better now and I know it is time for us to stop worrying and learn to refocus on us again. We can't stay down on the ice and need to learn how to get back up and continue with the program that we have worked so hard on and is all that really matters.....so eveyrthing is not perfect and we may not get the Gold but we need to realize through all of this we only need to reach out to one another.
I will not lie this past year has definitely taken it's toll on our marriage....ironically we didn't realize it until this past week how long it has been that we have taken care of us as a couple. I know that we will find the strength to do so.....having a Bipolar child seems to take alot of energy that normally would be given to our spouses. Often we are wlaking aorund like zombies since the crisis hit our family. As Erin gets more stabilized things are getting better and both Tom and I realize that we can now focus more on what we need to do for one another. But since this seemed to suck the life out of us and never knowing what is coming our way next the best made plans and intentions often do not happen. That is the reality of the situation....and one I really didn't expect to come our way.
My parents were in for the week which really helped out alot. They were able to point out things that Tom & I couldn't quite see. And I am so glad to see that someone so attuned to what I am feeling and experiencing could so amazingly start a thread that could serve as such a support to me and the other mom's here who must be experiencing much of the same.
As far as other relationships....even our time spent with friends has diminished since this crisis has hit. It seems that their lives go on "normally" while ours is riding through the peaks and troughs of working towards getting Erin well. But I know that the time has come that we have to change the tides more and take the time to recharge what has drained from us as a couple. Erin may not be fully stabilized, but she is far better than she was 4 months ago. And it is time for her to see that her parents are still standing strong.
Thanks Ruth for the strong, caring hand that you have extended to me. I know that this is only the beginning and having a place to vent about how this crisis has affected our relationships with spouses, family and friends is such a comfort to me.
goody2shuz, amen! You were nearly word for word looking through our window! I'm so glad you could vocalize what I had been feeling in silence! Sometimes we get so busy taking care of our family we forget about each other.
Kathy and all I am here to tell you how great it is to make the time for one another NO MATTER WHAT!!!
This weekend we had Erin on lockdown for getting detention at school. The therapist told us to prepare ourselves for her trying her best to wear us down, and she did, but we stood strong. She tried to get us to take her out shopping to get her new state of the art sneakers that she didn't need, to collect her allowance that she didn't earn, and to download a program for music that you would have to pay for...hubby almost caved, in fact he went to hand her allowance, however, when I reminded him of what she did and didn't do to earn it and he shoved it back into his pocket. (If I could only get him to play "bad cop' once in a while, things would be so much better!!)
Hubby suggested we take a ride and I invited Erin along.....she went into how she could get her sneakers and I quickly told her that I had been invited by hubby to get out for a while and that it was my time and we would not be shopping for her!! She pouted and I told her that I wasn't interested in a nasty attitude and if things were going to be that way then she could just stay home. And that she did!!!
We kissed her goodbye and hubby and I decided to hit the bowling alley. We hadn't bowled in years (as was demonstrated in the two games that we bowled) but as we bowled frame to frame you could see the transformation. Hubby even got a gutter ball and I kissed him telling him it was all worth it just having the opportunity of seeing him line it all up and how sexy he looked doing it!!! The place was fairly empty and the staff was giggling at us and enjoying the show!!!
Anyway....both hubby and I bowled pitifully and when we saw what it cost we were both shocked and came to the realization of how long it had been since we got ourselves out!! When hubby commented on the bill I recited the Mastercard commercial and got to the end stating....."Spending time with your spouse....." and we both looked at each other smiling shouting in unison,......"PRICELESS!!!!"
Yes, leaving Erin for the few hours and taking care of us was much needed. Hubby promised that he would make a point of doing it more often and promised that we would get me to break a 100 next time we bowled!!!
When we returned home we found that Erin was in a much better mood to match our own. We shared our pitiful bowling abilities with her and we all smiled. And I couldn't help but think how she was just as happy as we were to see that her parents had taken the time to go out together....something she hasn't seen of us in quite sometime!!
I cannot tell you how much a few hours out with one another turned things around for hubby & I. It is a habit that I could see us getting very much into.
The problem will be backsliding into the same old pattern but I am going to try my darndest not to let that happen.
I know how difficult it is to find the time for one another through all of this but yesterday reminded me of all that we have been missing and how easily we can forget about our needs parenting a Bipolar child. It didn't take much and yes it was a little difficult to leave Erin alone, but we did it....she is 15 and the way I saw it was that we were drowning, hubby and I, and needed to throw one another than life ring. And boy am I glad that we did!!!
Kathy....go out with hubby even if it is just for an hour. Do something with one another that you haven't done in a while. And enjoy the reality that there is something very precious that needs taking care of. Denise & Pippin I expect the same from you and all you other parents who have Bipolar children or kids with chronic illnesses. It all puts quite a toll on a relationship and it isn't surprising that so many marriages and friendships suffer through it. I guarantee you will be glad you took the intiative.
I admit that yesterday I was as nervous, if not more, as I was going out on our very first date. I didn't know what to expect but like our first date all turned out to be wonderful!!!
Go....I know you won't regret it!!! And let's stick around and remind one another to take care of ourselves and the realtionships around us!!! I am counting on that!!!
(((HUGS))) ~ Goody
Last edited by goody2shuz; 10-16-2006 at 04:54 AM.
hi everyone im so glad ive found this site ireally just need to talk to someone cause i think my daughter either has oppositional defiance disorder or cyclothimia or both. she has classic symptoms which over atwo and half year period are getting more severe. i tok her to doctors but the triage nurse at the mental health clinic rejected doctors referral saying she didnt meet criteria. dsm manual is complicated and strict. doctor was livid gave doctor diary for two weeks worth of hell hes reffered her back have filled in form from triage nurse i just prey ive included enough symptoms on it to convince the team my daughters ill. my daughter flits from aggreeing shes moody and at times violent and has rages then she says leave me alone nothings wrong with me. has anyone else experienced difficulty convincing staff that children need help. my husband and i are like walking zombies at the moment . my daughter currently is not sleeping well and is slightly hyper at times . social worker has rung today thats how bad things have got we had to openly refer ourselves because daughters erratic behavior and temper and rage outbursts are affecting all of us i have two sons by the way. i just prey the phychiatrist takes my daughter on for assessment . because ive read that diagnosing adolecents cabn be tricky . its almost like my daughter has to slit her wrists first and like weve got to convince the mental health team that she needs help. i cant wait to meet other like minded parents and to share their greif and pain . ill bring the coffee and biscuits next visit . thanks for listening . seeangelxxx
Hi, Seeangel Welcome......you sound just like I did when first seeking help for my daughter, who by the way is 15 and was must recently diagnosed as Bipolar. It knocks the wind out of you and has you walkin around like a zombie because it definitely turns a household upside down and unlike any physical illness, we look for a way to get help and know something is wron but it takes so long before you can get it.
The system works sometimes for and against us as parents seeking out help. The pros are that many primary physicians and psychiatrists are quick to diagnose and like you described there are others that fight overdiagnosing our kids until it is a real problem and we are screaming for help. Thing is, kids do present so much differently when Bipolar with symproms that characteristically could fit many other diagnoses. So that truly is in our favor but also can work against us IF our child is truly Bipolar. It leads to years of problems which lead our kids into the judicial system or labeled problem kids and often has them seeking out drugs and alcohol which lead to addictions. Our kids lose out on so much while being properly diagnosed, in terms of social life, education, and emotional and mental well being when if they had been diagnosed and treated could have been avoided.
That being said....YOU are your daughter's greatest advocate!! You need to do everything and anything to get her the help that she needs....the longer this goes on the more that she will suffer and your family will suffer too. If I were you, I would find the best child psychiatrist you could get your hands on.....an adult psychiatrist will not recognize adolescent/early onset Bipolar since the system only recognizes adult criteria. The brain of a child is still forming with hormones coming into play which when mixed with the chemical imbalance that is characteristic of Bipolar will present itself far differently in a child/adolescent than an adult. Alot of it will be almost seen by parents like ourselves as way above that of a rebellious teen with severe agitation, irritability, frustration, anger and rages as you describe. Behaviors will be so ***-arre, almost impulsive with hypersexuality and risk taking behavior.....the grandiosity is seeing things as if the world revolves around them and their needs and getting those needs met and plowing over anybody standing in their way. The depression and mania often are presented as severe irritability that is almost constant until treated. Looking back on it I was living with the tazmanian devil who struck at me like a viper and many parents here will describe their child in the same exact way. I looked at parents of other teens going through the rebellious years but never to the degree that we did.
Anyway, your instincts will get your daughter the help that she needs. You may wish to open your own thread since that way you may get more of a response from others rather than just remaining here. There are so many of us here who gone through what you have to seek out the help that their children need....when I came her last year the people here helped me out immensly in terms of support before, during and after the diagnosis and I wouldn't have been able to do it without them.
I hope and pray that you get the help that you need. And I look forward to helping you out in anyway that I can.
((((HUGS)))) ~ Goody
Last edited by goody2shuz; 10-18-2006 at 10:08 AM.
I seen your thread last week and thought it was an excellent post, but I
just wasnt ready to get back on board yet. Goody has such excellent communication skills and I can truely empathize with the emotional roller coaster.
Mine is a little different and of course Im also bipolar which has advantanges as well as handicaps. Having a bipolar daughter at times has made parenting like two runaway trains heading for each other. I would trigger my daughter and she would trigger me.
Some men just dont have the emotional ability to be supportive, yet there are some men here on this board I wish my husband had their supportive qualities. My husbands family didnt understand nor did mine. By the time I was truely convinced my daughter was bipolar even with my own dx her doctor refused to treat her for it. She struggled socially and hated school. So we homeschooled for a few years which boosted her self esteem, she went back into public school in jr high, by highschool things were going down hill fast. She changed highschools 5 times in two years then dropped out and with much coaxing she got her GED. She still was untreated at this time. She got mixed up with the wrong crowd, her actions and behavior towards me showed anger and hate. Even thru the hate I still fought with everything I could to convince her these so called friends were taking her downt he wrong road. At 18 yrs old still untreated, a horible secret was revealed, she had been sexually abused by two different trusted family members. That was the beginning was the healing over the next year she was finally dx as bipolar it took another year to get on the right med. She is now 22, moved back home a year ago to get her life back together. We are both on meds and the anger and hate is gone. We both try to be extra senitive to each other, have more understanding and compassion for each others emotions.
Myself I wasnt dx until I was in my 30's, my father was an alcoholic copmpulsive gambler that got violent when he was drunk. My mother had
some kind of mental illness which was hard to understand as a child. It wasnt until the last few years that I realized both my parents are undiagnosed bipolar's. I had a very disfuntional childhood, but I have learned from it, have understanding and compassion for anyone who's been there and some of it helped me to support my daughter when the rest of the family want to sweep it all under the rug.
Everyday my daughter comes home or calls on the phone I listen for any undertone in her voice. There were so many jobs she fought so hard to get then lost due to her bipolar illness. The emotional wave left us gasping for air everytime. We talk more now about our illness as she has finally emotionally accepted it. We are both affected by each others moods so it's kind of a catch 22, often we hide our feelings at times so not to upset the other. It good because then there's not guilt for bringing others down, down and down futher. Im hoping in time we can learn to help each other without affecting each others mood. Sure I felt cheated I didnt have any family support, sometimes I actually felt like the odds were stacked against me but it only made me more determined to beat them. I feel a Mother's Love is one of the strongest bonds there is of course there are exceptions. Some believe we come to earth to learn lessons and we choose our own parents. I can only hope I have learned what I need from my parents and will continue to give to my children what they need from me. Thanks for the post Ruth and allowing me to share. Hugs Sue
Sue ~ When I read your words yesterday on Coffeegirl's thread I was looking for the words and opportunity to tell you how unbelievably touched and inspired I was by all that you have endured and the strength and courage you had to open up and share what I perceive as having been the most painful moments in your life. And here I was almost at a loss for words (can you believe that ) and the thing that I naturally wanted to do most was to crawl through the screen and take you into my arms and hug you for all that you are as a person, as a mother and as a wonderful being and source of support you are to all here despite it all. You could have chosen to crawl up in a hole and hide away but NO, you have one above and beyond to help yourself and others out and I am proud to know YOU.
At one point I thought I might have been one of the one's who offended you (see us non-Bipolar's can be somewhat sensitive as well ) but in time I realized that wasn't true. I know that when I came here at the same time alot of others did who had family members with Bipolar and there was such a need of support from the perspective of wanting to learn how to best love and support a loved one who was Bipolar. And I am sure that wave sort of was overwhelming for those who were Bipolar and needed support and then to see their turf invaded by those who were in such pain and openly sharing it from the other side of the fence....well let's just say that I am sure it was not easily received.
However, I found that it could be viewed as symbiotic type of relationship in which each benefits from the knowledge and understanding of how the other person sees life being Bipolar and living with somebody who is. Heck, you have that going on everyday in your household so perhaps you were looking for a place to get away from it all and POOF her I plopped in amongst others. But then we wouldn't have met and that would have been a shame because I think we will both agree that we have learned a great deal from one another.
I cannot apologize for anybody else around here but if I every inadvertently said anything that would have offended you I am sorry. And if I ever do I would hope that you would tell me so that I could make the proper apologies. Deal????
Anyway....I can imagine how difficult it must be to be Bipolar yourself and parent smebody who is Bipolar. It would take a pretty amazing person to be able to do that. I love the way you think and fight to do everything you can to make lemonade out of the lemons that life has thrown your way. Many famous people have done just that and Sue it is an honor for me to have met yet another one who in my eyes is amongst many successful people.
You are a wonderful mom and what you have taught your daughters has gone beyond any teaching they ever could have acquired anywhere else in this world. And for that you should be proud. You are a winner, Sue, and don't you ever forget it!!
Now where is Ruth??? She opens these threads and sort of nonchalantly steps off to the sidelines!! But she is one of my favorite angels and thanks to her pointing me in this direction I am able to reap the benefits of having met some of the best people on earth!!
hi goody thankyou for your support. i wait for the post everyday to see wether theres abrown envelope with an appointment in it for my daughter , but typical of my family trait i think ill have to do another round with the doctor whille she rows with the phychiatrist about getting my girl help. last night my daughter calmly told me about the lady sitting on her bed ?????? is now seeing things . my doctor beleives theres a problem but theres only one child phychiatrist currently on offer in our area by the god old N H S service.i will keep you updated . blesss you for your time.
Seeangel ~ This only goes to show that your daughter needs an evaluation and how important it is for you to see that she gets it. I see you opened another thread and will further post to you over there. Meanwhile, keep your chin up...you are doing a great job!!
As far as everything else here, things are going fairly well...hubby and I continue to make strides to make an effort to keep things flowing between us....that day out bowling truly opened our eyes to how important that is. Also, we have made some more efforts to get together with friends now that Erin is doing better. This past year changed our lives quite a bit and now that we have ben through the worst we are finding it easier to relax....like the therapist sensed the other day, we seem to have been waiting for the other shoe to drop but so far things are going well and we are trying our best to return to a "normal" routine if there is such a thing.
As always, this is a great place to come and find respite.