I wanted to share my story hoping to hear how others can relate and hear how others have dealt with, as well as touch someone with my own story.
I have been having a hard time as a single mom dealing with my son. He has been "difficult to control" since I can remember, and his dad had been diagnosed with Bipolar ADHD and Borderline Personality Disorder. 7 months ago I moved my son and I from his dad who also had a recurring drug problem in hopes of a "normal" life near family. Come to find as time went on he had issues in preschool that I got letters phone calls and meetings about his behavior. I took him to pediatrician who said it must be a discipline problem, the kid is only 5. One month later took him to neuropsychologist who said he was normal for the changes he has been through and the chaos he had lived with to give it 6 months to adjust.
In that time, I had changed his diet to avoid preservatives, additives, dyes and lower sugar added flax oil, b complex and fish oil.. This seemed to help a little at first, but not for long...I became stricter and he got worse, I was told to be consistent and he will get it, but my son didnt learn anything but anger and retaliation and got worse. A couple months later he was kicked out of his daycare due to the fact they felt he was a major liability for he threw violent uncontrollable rages, physically agressive toward kids, lack of respect for teacher and impulsively running away from class.
I was forced to quit my job to take care of my son and find him the help he needed for what I thought was partially PTSD from the changes in addition to ADHD. Now, 6-8 weeks since he was kicked out of school, I have found a program at a hospital who seems to believe it is BIPOLAR because its a mood driven disorder and he fits the classic case (on the high side) He doesnt show many symptoms of the depressed side...
I am a very strong person (obviously) have been able to handle my son all these years alone (while his dad was in/out of the picture and on/off drugs) and now for 7 months completely alone... 16 hours a day. He is very high maintenance requires constant stimulation.. see people, play, fun, action....
I am so glad that he will finally be getting the help that he needs. The dr. said he could start off on a low dose med to help control the moods, and possibly something to help him sleep (he only sleeps 8-9 hrs a night) But, with therapy he can possibly learn on his own to control himself and his emotions being that he is so young... and come off the meds.... Which is excellent news. I am also validated that my hardship and issues are not discipline related as so stated by a few family/friends who have no clue. I am by no means a weak person or parent, nor did I do or not do anything to cause or contribute to this problem.
I have also been told that other family members with children do not want to be around my son for he teaches them bad behaviors.. It hurts, but as a mother myself, I do understand. For some reason, some people feel the need to tell you how to be a parent of a child they don't even know. I have an open mind and I am very self-aware.
What I can tell any of you that might help is what I have learned.
I have learned
to trust and listen to my motherly instincts
all children are different
and no one knows myself or my son better than me
Do not procrastinate or wait
.. and NEVER give up
My son is also 5 and also has been diagnoised as being bipolar. After much discussion the pediatrician and the psychiatrist have decided to just go with a mood disorder diagnosis due to his age, but he still gets treatment. He's currently on Depakote and Risperdal.
He's also had a disgnosis of ADHD (from the psychologist), but the psychiatrist said he believes that it's just the mood disorder giving him those symptoms. He doesn't believe that he's truely ADHD.
I've always said he's not a "bad" child. He's just very difficult. I always thought something was wrong. I never fathomed it would be bipolar, so I was definately thrown for a loop when we got the orginal diagnosis. But I have been told now by 4 docs the same thing, so it made me realize that this is what we really are dealing with.
If you have any questions, please let me know!! I lurk here a lot, I don't think there are many parents with young ones with the diagnosis.
Mom to -
6 yr old son, diagnosed w/ Mood Disorder NOS
3 yr old daughter
I read your post and though my son was older when he was dx'd. I suspected for a lot longer he was Bipolar at the very least. He was a child that often would go from being thoughtful and loving to one that was bouncing off the walls with very little if any sleep. He started cutting and at the time we had a therapist who came out to the house. They gave bad advice which I heeded thinking that perhaps they might be right. I should have listened to what my heart and my experience with being Bipolar said and not someone else. So reading your post though my experience with my son and my own illness maybe quite different still gives me hope that one day perhaps things will be better for many who watch their children suffer. Thank you so much for sharing your story and I hope things are going well for you.
You are one courageous woman! And, a terrific mommy too. Gosh, I can only imagine how exhausted you must be at the end of every day?! I know how I feel with my two boys, and they are up at the crack of dawn by 5:45/6:00 and go to bed by 8:30. Is your son like my son who is high wired the moment he wakes up? Screaming when he awakens? Do you get headaches from running in circles? I sure do.
I don't even know where to start. The message you responded to at my post was very nice. I am overwhelmed with what to write because there is so much to say.....and little time to write. I'm just stumped with words right now.
Oh, just so you know... My son with ADHD got kicked out of school the second to the last day of school this year. Yes, and that would be kindergarten. Let's just say, he had been naughty, and it all led up to a very bad week and the principal had it with him.
It sounds like you are doing all you can possibly do for your son, and yourself Michele. You are a very good mom, and a strong one too. It takes a lot to endure a child with emotional turmoil going on inside and then a dad (ex) like that too. Gosh, I can't imagine. Support is hard to find. We too, have a hard time finding childcare or people who will watch our sons. Our sons have scared babysitters away.
We have neighbors who don't want their children around our one son and I completely respect that. At first I was offended by it but now I am not. I understand why. It is a good thing, and now I have my other son play with the neighbors and keep son B at home with me and do things with him and have quiet time with just us together. We usually read books and do school work. Things he likes to do.
I need to get going. I'll try to sign on again tomorrow.
TTYL and take care.....
a loving heart is the truest wisdom
Thanks for all of your support and stories.. Its been getting progressively worse. Just wondering what your experiences have been with discipline? I have been trying to understand that he has issues,. But also need to reinforce that he cannot be fresh, hit, steal, lie, destroy things. blah blah It falls on deaf ears. No matter how many consequences (which are matter of fact and non confrontational) he fights and fights and actually makes it worse. On a typical day he will have 3 tantrums .. I will ask him 3 times to put on his underwear/clothes... after 3rd time the TV goes off until the clothes are on- this will produce a raging tantrum that can last 30 minutes.
I thought at first, he needed to go through this and with consistency and over time he would see that his actions caused these consequences and LEARN, but NO all this time and energy I feel is being wasted. He DOESNT GET IT. He will turn around and do it again and again and go through all that over and over again. Cause he cries screams fights, and rages everytime there is a consequence (loss of privelege) or told no (no matter how its said or redirected) He wants what he wants when he wants it, and even though he doesnt ever get his way he still wont give up trying and fighting for it. (Thats why it really irks me when others say it must be discipline, you arent firm enough with him or he needs a *** beating, no child of mine would get away with that- these people have no clue !)
He CANNOT calm down or stop his anger from accelerating, and covers his ears and says BLAH BLAH when I try to talk to him. I want to call 911 for he really scares me that he is out of control, and my neighbors probably think he is getting beaten or something. He does get a lot of GOOD attention.. its not making logical sense to me.. He just isnt getting cause and effect. Its VERY apparent to me that he has a psychological problem. When its over he is mad at himself and says he is just bad.. I keep telling him he makes bad choices, but he is not bad. I just don't know what to do anymore. This has been going on for years now. I was told by dr. thats what they do at this age. HUH ? But everyone else we are around has said "whats wrong with him, why cant you make him mind you" He is very big for his age, but as a mom I know he should be learning something by now..
ALso, he has been peeing his pants during the day now. This is new over the past few weeks and its been happening at least once a day. Which I know from personal experience is a sign of mental stress/issues.
Just wondering. We meet with the therapist and dr on Friday which I will discuss meds. Anyone familiar with Depakote? They said to get him stable enough to start to control himself. Im so afraid of meds, but he might harm himself if he goes on like this.
Hi.. I know this will sound horrible, but if you are having that severe of problems with your son as a mom, and you are a single parent, with no outlets, then take him in today to the clinic or call until the pdoc will call back. It is for the sake of his and your own and for him to remain safe. Who knows what he will do next? I have a child just like him, and I know what the limits are- THEY ARE UNKNOWN!! His meds need to be adjusted immediately, and that will make a huge difference. They always do with my son and the pdoc will understand this (or they usually do). He needs some type of antisychotic med or anger med in him to help reduce the anger and aggression, and the Depokote might not be enough. He needs something added on to it. Tell the pdoc you are very concerned about his anger and aggression, and really lay it on about that issue. Write down EVERYTHING he has been doing at home so you won't forget anything at the appointment. Trust me, the more you write down, the better you are at the appointments. I've learned the hard way and had to call back.
You are a good mom, and are doing the best possible for your son. Continue to be all you can be for him. I know about wanting to call 911 because you feel there is nothing more you can do. I've been there, and done that! It is a horrible feeling. You feel helpless. But, you can get through this. And, you will. You have made it this far so give yourself a lot of credit!!!!
You will be in my thoughts and prayers my dear. Do what is possible today, and keep us all posted on what is happening in your life. Let us know what is going on so we can support you. You need support.
a loving heart is the truest wisdom
Last edited by coffeegirl2; 06-28-2006 at 08:38 AM.
He goes to a hospital program every day 9-2:15. He isn't on meds yet. This Friday the Dr., the therapist and I will discuss this weeks events and options of meds and other forms of treatment, and alternative ways to handle him (I hope).
I can't wait until friday !
Even if he is bipolar what are you going to do about it? The father was obviously a poor model for him and the child could be imitating his behavior and is also emotionally damaged by the lack of empathy and understanding that people have for this child. There is no telling what is going on for sure except that it is a big problem. Here is what I suggest:
Read The power of positive parenting by Glenn Latham, Play Therapy the art of the relationship by Garry Landreth, and Family First by Dr.Phil.
Find good, trustworthy, drug free, and friendly people in the community to come over and be good role models for you and your child. Usually people at Methodist or liberal christian Churches are really nice and friendly. But becareful as usual not to get manipulated.
Possibly find a Board Certified Psychiatrist in your nieghborhood to get a good diagnosis and of course get second or third or fourth opinions. Make sure all psychiatrists are board certified and do work with kids.
Look for somebody who is a board certified behavior analyst. This type of person could have the knowledge for a good intervention.
My knowledge about Play Therapy is that it only good in that it allows the kid to be himself and be accepted and empathized with. It may work with your kid but the only way to fix these problems is by Behavior intervention by a certified and experienced Behavior Analyst. My belief is that therapists who practices the psychodynamic therapy doesn't really help at all.
Last edited by strongernow; 06-28-2006 at 05:47 PM.
I don't like hearing about kids that young actually being diagnosed as being bipolar if they haven't exhibited blatant psychotic symptoms of mania. There's several disorders that involve mood swings and "out-of-control" behavior that may mimic bipolar disorder in children. ADHD is one of them, and Asperger's is another. Putting a child that young who's suspected as being bipolar on a mood stabilizer is a good decision since mood stabilizers help calm down everyone, but I just don't see why so many kids are being told that they're bipolar when they haven't been manic, or even hypomanic. It's certainly possible for children to be bipolar, but rare. Watch out for them having grandiose delusions such as thinking that the President loves them or that they actually can fly because this signals mania. The reason I'm saying this is because I was just diagnosed with Asperger's, and I had a lot of symptoms of child-onset bipolar disorder such as rapid mood swings, little sleep, being "out-of-control," etc. as a child (and I still do), but I wasn't ever manic. I actually thought that I had cyclothymia for awhile because it fit, and my psychiatrist thought so, too, because I was put on the mood stabilizer Lamictal, which has helped with my Asperger's. You are right to take action to help control your son's symptoms, but it astounds me that the doctors have labeled him and so many other children under the age of 10-11 as being bipolar when they've never had any classic symptoms of (hypo)mania... Your son may very well be bipolar since your husband is, and bipolar disorder is a highly genetically-linked condition, but it's impossible to say if what he's experiencing is really bipolar disorder yet. Many people with child-onset bipolar disorder have the symptoms your son has, but they never knew they were bipolar until their early teen years (or preteen years) when the manic symptoms crept up. Good luck, God bless, and if you have any questions, feel free to ask!
"Not everything that steps out of line, and thus 'abnormal,' must necessarily be 'inferior.'"
Last edited by GatsbyLuvr1920; 06-29-2006 at 08:41 AM.
StrongerNow and Gatsby thanks for all of your advice and input.
I am just wondering what exactly is Play Therapy? Is it like psychodrama? (role reversal where someone else plays you so that you can see what you look like) ????
I will definitely look into and keep in mind all of the things you have suggested. For this is all new to me, and I do realize that all of these disorders overlap each other and dr. told me that too. The Dr. said that his behavior is definitely mood driven, and I see that too. I do see that he is a lot like his father where his own thoughts cause him to be mad, sad, etc. and he runs away with his thinking negative thoughts. He has started showing new signs lately, such as self-hatred (I am stupid and I hate myself for being bad) and peeing himself during the day. Crying uncontrollably sometimes saying "The devil is stealing my brain and I cant stop him, MOM I am scared !" He talks like a teenager sometimes.. "I dont need a boss, I dont want anyone to tell me what to do, I want to be the boss, I can take care of myself and do what I want to do, like you do. Why do you always have to talk, talk, talk, talk all the time?" The grandiose thinking its kind of hard to differentiate for me as most kids his age do have a wild imagination..
I do know that the first 2 Dr.s we saw said he was normal for his age, it must be discipline or PTSD from all the major changes in his life. My motherly instincts and all of his daycare providers and anyone who has spent a lot of time with him disagree, for it is apparent to only us all the effort I have put into trying to HELP him, and understand him, etc.
I won't give up ! And I certainly want to do whats best for him to grow up happy and healthy, and have self-control and self-respect.
Well, if he's having thoughts like "the Devil is stealing my brain," that leans more to the delusion side. Do you know why he says that? Is he having "bad thoughts" and thinks that the Devil is making him think those things because he feels filthy thinking the thoughts, and they're not thoughts he'd normally think? If so, then that may signal OCD. (I have pure obsessional OCD myself, and I had this when I first started having obsessions.) If not, and he truly thinks the Devil is stealing his brain, then I'd say that's a clear-cut delusion. You're right about the imagination- that's another reason why bipolar-related delusions are so hard to diagnose in children. What child doesn't have fantasies? I find it interesting that you say he "talks like a teenager," and that he's so strong-willed- I'm the exact same way. My mother actually said those same words to me today: "I felt like I was raising a teenager your whole life because you were always so mature for your age."
"Not everything that steps out of line, and thus 'abnormal,' must necessarily be 'inferior.'"
MattsMoM: Play Therapy is very easy to learn. It is a way of communication that allows the child to know that he is accepted. The Child Centered Play Therapists usually use a style of empathic reflecting. So if he says " I don't need a boss. I am the boss" You would say "You don't need a boss. You want to be the boss" Basically repeating what the child says. Also they reflect feelings "You felt sad when that happened" "You feel angry about that" or "You feel...." and let the child fill in the blank. Also another technique they use is called Tracking Behavior. What they mean is that you verbally recognize the child's behavior "You are doing that now. You are doing this. You are moving that there. etc." During the play session. So in others words you will have no control. You will let the child do whatever he feels like unless he becomes violent or self injurious. Play sessions are usually 50 minutes and it is ok to reflect feelings outside of the session. There is some online information on play therapy. There is the non directive play therapy and the directive play therapy that I have not studied. Play therapy should help with mood. Filial Therapy is a therapy that teaches parents how to implement play therapy techniques in their home.
Now the problem with psychiatrists saying "That is normal" is that it just allows more and more asocial and inappropriate behavior become more valid. You've got to validate the valid and valid should be all behaviors you find socially appropriate. Reading up on behavior analysis therapy should help you a lot. This therapy is different in that demands will be placed on the child. Punishers should not be used. Use no spanking. An ABA therapist should do a functional assessment, and create an intervention based on a schedule of differential reinforcement. Also they will define what are appropriate behaviors and what are not in detail. Also remember ignoring bad behavior is not always helpful. It gets tricky.
Now for the statements about how the devil and his thoughts. I wonder if he hear his father saying that and is imitating him or if the child may be psychotic? Psychiatrists would call that a delusion - but you need to have a board certified psychiatrist who works with Kids - keyword kids- not adults to help answer with that.
I would suggest to be a good role model. Model friendly, polite and positive behavior. Do not allow him to play with violent toys. eg: knives, toy guns etc.
Also I wanted to mention that if Cognitive therapists do play therapy that may help a ton with his negative thought problem. Also be careful who you pick to help your child. The person needs to be empathic and listen very well, must be kind and respectful and eager to help and hear your concerns and get results. OK don't get trapped with a bad doctor or therapist because there are many out there. Keep in touch.
Last edited by strongernow; 06-29-2006 at 02:39 PM.
I had the appt with the dr and therapist today. They said my initial scoring of his individual behaviors scored at 48. They like to see kids under 10. THey did their own scoring this week and he was a 33, which is still extremely high. This included yesterday which was an excellent day, but not today which was the worst day he has had so far.. The checklist includes hyperactivity, abililty to focus, etc... sooo they said even if he has the mood disorder which still can be bipolar (TBD) that causes the destructive behaviors... he is always adhd regardless of his moods and was dx as severe ADHD with ODD and gave me a rx for metadate 10mg., BP is still pending dx for further eval.
I thought at first, that this was great.. but I cannot bring myself to fill the rx... I feel like this is a BIG step into a whole new world, and there is no going back. I am so scared... They also said if he has bipolar now, these meds will increase the BP. If he doesn't have BP now and doesnt take the meds, its likely he will get BP by adolecense...1) by not controlling the ADHD and 2) genetics..
OOOOOFAAA. I want to do cognitive or biofeedback or something else ??$$$?? . But since this came to a head and he got kicked out of school 2 months ago... I was forced to quit my job and now this program is only part time and dont even have enough hours to get a PT job... until he is under control there is no other care as an option.. plus I want to make sure that he gets all the RIGHT help. So, we are on medicaid now. This program is called CARES "The staff at the CARES Program are a multidisciplinary team consisting of master level clinicians, bachelor level counselors, a registered nurse, and a child and adolescent psychiatrist. All children receive daily academic instruction, daily group therapy, weekly individual therapy, and weekly family therapy. Upon admission all children receive a psychiatric evaluation."
So they are using a positive reinforcement system and use timeouts for bad behavior,,, exactly what I have been doing and his old preschool did... I dont know.. the only difference is now they want to add meds. I believe that he something different to help him.. Dont know what is available on medicaid. I dont know where to begin. I can try those books that were suggested, I dont know how expensive those specialists are. I have already tried the Feingold Diet, organics, and fish oil, flaxseed and vitamins... I do have a cousin who used familial therapy at the YMCA, she said it helped. I cant find that around here either.. I will have to take this slow and make a lot of phone calls !
Definitely don't be afraid of the medicine! I had all 3 of my kids on psychiatric medications at very young ages. They are doing much better now, although 2 are still on them. You can always try the meds for a few weeks and see if he is calmer. If not call the doctor and let him know. If so, you are helping him to be more under control so he can fuction appropriately and learn. NO CHILD WANTS TO BE BAD, GET INTO TROUBLE ALL THE TIME OR CONSTANTLY HAVE BAD BEHAVIOR!!!!! He obviously can't control it because, no matter what they label it, him brain chemistry is off! The diagnosis isn't as important as getting the right combination of meds to balance him brain so he can think rationally. Then it will be easy to take care of him because he will be able to control himself! Also,. the therapies that are being suggested are great, but I think work a lot more efficiently when a child is cooperative and stable. Believe me, I have been dealing with ADHD, ADD, OCD, ODD, Bipolar, Aspergers, Autism, seizures and depression for 12 years with my 3 kids as a single mom 24 hours a day! I too had to leave my career (I have a Masters Degree) because nobody could possibly handle my kids. I am finally getting back to work now as my mom is with them in the late afternoon. With the right help, a ton of persistence and a lot of patience your son could be basically a normal person with a great future in a few years! If you don't follow through with the meds and therapy, like many people I know have not with their kids, you son could be a problem and in trouble forever. YOU DID NOTHING TO CAUSE ANY OF HIS BEHAVIOR, it is all the chemical imbalance! Your goal should be to end up with all the good and none of the bad from him! That would give you and him the best chance at a happy life.