Is there any light up there, Tsohl??? My biggest problem right now is differentiating the teen behavior from BP behavior. Those are the times that I wonder if Erin really has BP....I still have my doubts sometimes. Perhaps it is denial????
It's not easy.....I guess what has me doubting is when we got together with other parents in the area. They were talking about some of the stuff that their kids were doing and it made me think....I guess moreso about Kait than Erin. The mom told me how she was really worried about her son....that he had started coming home from school at 3pm totally exhausted and slept from that time through the night. She thought for sure it was drugs. Turns out that she found out that he was getting on his bike and going to his girlfriend's house to have sex each night at 3am each morning. This so happens to be Erin's best girlfriend and her boyfriend was the one that she was mad at for a while and made up with....turns out that another girl was telling them both things each had said about the other which was not true. And how her daughter who is a straight A student and never had problems was going out with Victor's brother and she was worried like crazy about that situation. She went on to tell me how her daughter had stayed behind to support her best friend through her mother being in the hospital with cancer while they went on a family camping trip. The daughter ended up having a party in their home while they were away.
Anyway....it made me think about how things have changed and perhaps what I was sensing as mania was actually the typical teenage behavior of the times???
With Erin....the suicide attempts and depression were real concerns and don't have me questioning it as much. I read alot of similarities here but without psychosis and full rages it is really diffficult to feel 100% sure.
Jules - that's great news about your son! It sounds like all of the intensive help is starting to break through! I wouldn't worry about the bipolar diagnosis until they get further along. It really doesn't matter what the name is as long as he gets help. I also think that everyone experiences BP differently. Zac does not usually have the bouts of depression (although he was more depressed early on), but has exprerienced the extreme irritability and frustration. When he was first diagnosed, it was iffy - maybe BP, maybe not, but as the year went on and all of the behaviors with it, the pdoc became more convinced, as did we. His moods were unstable and that was manifested in a myriad of different ways. I am hoping and praying that this is the beginning of better news for your son and you!
Goody - Zac also worries about OCD. He has told more than one therapist that he has "magical thinking" and is obsessive about some things. You'll see what the pdoc says. I'm glad to hear that Erin has been in a better mood and can't wait to hear what she finally decides about Idol! I can just picture the two of you singing at the top of your lungs! I'm also anxious to hear what the pdoc says at tomorrow's visit.
Tshol- I get optical migraines, too, and they can be scary. The first time I got one I thought I was having a stroke! Hope you are feeling better! I also can't wait to pick your brain about small liberal arts colleges!
Zac had a good weekend. He broke into Semi-finals, but not Finals and was somewhat disappointed. I reminded him that most of these kids have been going to tournaments the whole year and he really missed most of September through early February, so he should be proud of his accomplishment. He was with the best kids in the state and broke into Semis with a piece he has only been practicing for one week! He goes to Districts in 2 weeks.
Tomorrow he starts back to school with 4 classes. He's nervous, but looking forward to it. I'll keep you all posted on his progress.
The Scrabble games continue and I think they are helping keep all of us sane. We haven't had an activity that all three of us could share happily for a long time and we are enjoying the comraderie and the competition. Zac is getting great at it! Has at least one 7 letter word almost every game!
I am so thankful for the "normalcy" we are living with right now. Zac is in his activities, busy, getting a decent night's sleep more often, and in good humor. It is such a gift. It is amazing how the things that other parents with teenagers take for granted is something we all long for. I will always have my antenna up with him, but I am delighted to get some respite from the constant stress and worry. I am praying and hoping and wishing it lasts because I am so happy to see him happy again. The biggest difference I see is that he seems more controlled, less intense and hyper and "on" than before, and he can sit still for longer periods of time. I don't think the Concerta could have worked so well if his BP meds weren't working, but the combination of the three meds seem to really be helping.
Well, it's getting late, but I couldn't let the weekend go by without reaching out to all of you. Good night, my friends, and sweet dreams.
Since I haven't shut down yet, I wanted to respond to your thoughts. My sense is that you have better intuition than almost anyone I know and I don't think it's typical teenage behavior. Although there are elements of typical teenage behavior and some kids are more out of control than others, I think the family history, combined with the sustained difficult behavior, warrants your concern.
With Erin I think it's clearer because of the suicide attempts and the other behaviors, but when you listed everything that had gone on with Kait since she was 14, it certainly seems worth the investigation, especially since she herself is sensing something.
I think all of us sometimes wonder if BP is the right diagnosis, (or any of the other acronyms we learn along the way - ADHD, OCD, PSTD, etc.), but as we start to look at the historical data of our children and the extreme behaviors, it starts to paint a picture that something greater than teenage hormones is at work. With Zac, I didn't know what to deal with first, but I realized that there was simply too much going on at once to consider it "normal".
I don't know if this helps or not, but I wanted to respond because I know how crazy we can all makes ourselves with the "What if I'm wrong" thoughts!
Thanks hope, i am trying not to focus on the bp, i know he has things going on in his head. you can hear on the phone how his moods are changing with such extreme. Im sure its a combination of his missing us, the intenese therapy, the alone time with himself, the meetings where he is listening to lots of people and their life stories. I have to just keep saying that this is a good thing.. He is a good hearted boy, but for the past almost a year we didnt know who he was anymore. really, didnt know who he was..i know that sounds unbelievable, but its true. I keep saying to myself that he is in rehab, not a prison. For sure, if he kept up with using drugs he would have wound up dead or in prison..and that would have broken his soul. Im going to see if maybe i can talk to his pdoc this week. again with him being 20 yrs old, its difficult. He just sounded so depressed. Im worried.
Is your son on any meds at the moment? The place sounds fairly open to communicating with you. I don't think it would hurt to put in a call. The worst thing that can happen is that someone will tell you they can't talk to you . Jules, of course he is going to sound sad. Think what he's going through....but you just have to have faith that the staff has been through this same type of thing with hundreds of others. Do you know what the ages are of the other people? Are there any others near his age?
Goody, what time is your appointment today? I know you will have lots to discuss. I will be interested to hear what adjustments he makes for Erin, if any. Is this the pdoc that you've been waiting and waiting to get in to see?
I know you know this, Goody, but sometimes it helps to hear things from others. I'm thinking about Kait and whether she might be bipolar....Just remember that BP is a spectrum of symptoms and very few cases look the same. I think a lot of people posting on this board have fairly extreme cases. My son and his two friends that are also bipolar, do not and never have exhibited the kinds of behavior that I hear about on this board. As a matter of fact, I had NO idea anything was wrong with our son...he was so good at covering his emotions from us. He never got into trouble. He was never rude to us or fought with us, etc. He really was the kind of child everyone would love to have...caused us no problems or concerns...
Also, since it has the genetic component to it, I think it is safe to assume that Kait has the potential lying in wait in her genes and neurotransmitters, etc...and if and when the perfect combination of environmental, biological and emotional factors come together, she would be ripe for developing BP. Maybe she'll go in for an evaluation, everything will check out and then you and she will be relieved!
On another note, what did you think about our friend's last post? Did it strike you a bit like a farewell? You know I think I got that migraine because I literally spent the entire day on Saturday at the computer, staring at the screen...worrying about and trying to find resources for people I don't even know. I think I sometimes get too wrapped up in my new cyberfriends' problems -- not you and the other moms, but some of the other friends.
And, Hope, I was hoping you'd post so we'd know how the meet went for Zac. I hope he has a good day at school. I imagine you are on pins and needles until he comes home this afternoon, worrying how the day is going for him. I hope he won't have to spend too much time explaining where he's been for the last few months. How would he deal with that situation?
You have to keep telling yourself that this is all a process in his healing and it's going to be painful for him, but it's what he needs to do. Just like with a physical illness, the treatment sometimes seems as bad as the disease, but the goal is better health and a longer, more enjoyable life.
Jules ~ I am glad that you will be able to talk to somebody today. Yes, it is heartbreaking every moment that they are away, but when you finally hear the healing in his voice, you will both see how this part of the process was all worth it. Remember...it always gets worse before it gets better. The first few weeks perhaps month was the most difficult for us and for Erin. After that, the progress was measurable and we finally were able to see that it was all worth it. I hope that the phone call will have something positive to show you. And remember, our kids know how to pull at our heartstrings....he doesn't want to be there and would like to run away...but you are going to be his strength to have him hang in there so that he can give it a fighting chance!!
Hope & Tsohl ~ Thanks for the words of encouragement. Erin's appointment is at 4pm. I am going in with my concerns and I know that Erin is concerned as well. She usually goes in first and then I join her and the pdoc comes up with a plan.
Tsohl....the pdoc who were are waiting for was in a bad car accident and we are seeing the pdoc who Erin saw since her first hospitalization. WE weren't too happy about him not recognizing the induced mania that came from the antidepressants despite my concerns even before putting her on them without a mood stabilizer in place. And STILL even when I called him with Erin's worstening condition, he didn't home in to the cause of it and only increased the AD's. However, since her discharge, I think that he has a newfound respect for me and has redeemed himself in my eyes by how he has handled things since Erin's discharge and diagnosis. I think that without my telling him so, he saw how he had screwed up and in a humble way congratulated Erin for all that she had done and sacrificed to get herself diagnosed and better. Before she was sent to the phosp by the courts in our last visit to him he was suggesting a Residential Treatment Facility feeling that Erin's problems were more behavioral than psychiatric....and my intuition had me fight to find the help for her other than removing her from the home for a year or two. I only thought that would make things even worse. IT was a blessing to have the judge mandate a thorough evaluation and that is what truly saved us.
Anyway...this pdoc has done what my instincts tell me as well as what a trusting pdoc with the state told me they would do if Erin were still in their care. So I am now confident with this pdoc and I think that I have more than earned his respect in working jointly with him in stabilizing Erin. I intend to also have him evaluate Kait because he knows our family history more than any other pdoc and I could always use the other pdoc we are waiting for as a second opinion for Kait.
I know, Tsohl what you are saying in regard to this board and the extreme cases....I am going to trust the pdoc in diagnosing Kait with my input as much as possible. I hope that he will allow me to have some say in things and feel that in the end Kait will give me permission to. I think that if I explain to him how I tried my darndest to get her in before she started college so that I could have some input he will allow me as much input as possible and besides he owes me...right ???
Hope....thanks for being so supportive, I know that we all have our doubts but the similarities are so strong we all can't be wrong...right??? And I am thinking about you and hoping that Zac's first day back with 4 courses turns out to be a positive one. I am sure that there will be some anxiety involved which is big with our kids so give it the week....he has some adaptations to make. Let us know how it goes.
Well I have lots to prepare for Erin's pdoc visit. I will let you know what happens when we return. Thanks, everyone, for your neverending support and prayers. I don't know how I would get through all of this without my friends here.
Oh and Tsohl....I am as concerned as you but our friend has to want to help herself too. And I re-read her last post and after doing so am quite concerned. Hopefully there will be an update.
I had one of those experiences where I wrote a long post and it got lost in cyberspace. I hate that!!!
I am very concerned about Zac today. He seemed very tense and told my husband he is thinking about dropping out of Districts, that he doesn't need the pressure right now. I can tell that he is also starting to stress out about the work. He seemed like he was holding it together, but I do worry that he will be overwhelmed. I look at our wonderful friend, Paige, and see how challenging it can be to juggle so many plates in the air.
This, of course, is the way it goes with Zac. Last week the tdoc is telling us that he doesn't need too much therapy and today he could use a crash course. One of the challenges he is going to have to learn to deal with is how to handle stress.
The good news, to answer Tshol's question, is that he has already been back to the high school and has been welcomed with open arms by his friends. Other than a "where the hell have you been, Zac?", no one seems to be focusing on the fact that he has been out so long, just that they are glad to see him.
It struck me today that we have to always be on guard. Zac has seemed so much like his old self that everyone (including us) is forgetting that we can't heap too much on him. His Forensics coach asked him to compete in another area as well as his Dramatic Interp, and he said he would. We were delighted that his coach thought he could count on Zac, but we forgot that this is adding another layer of stress. Zac won't compete if he doesn't think he can do a good job and I can tell that he is obsessing about this new piece. We should have told him to tell his coach that he couldn't do it, but he wants to be thought of as someone who can be depended on. Now I'm worrying about finding razor blades in his room. UGH! This never stops!
And that's how I think we know that our children truly are bipolar. Rebellious teens act out, but they are not thrown off by everyday life. Our children are. Going back to school, stressful jobs, deaths, new situations - our children internalize those stresses and it literally makes them sick.
So, as my son's level of stress goes up, so does mine. I can feel my heart racing as I think about how he will handle all of this. Boy, do I hate this!
Thanks for letting me vent. My last post was much calmer than this one.
Also Denise and Brittany. You kept the name of the thread close enough that I think they will all find us! I do worry about Pippin. She was posting alot and then seemed to fall of the face of the earth. I hope she and Erika are OK. I saw that her husband posted once or twice and then stopped, too. That's the only frustrating thing about not having personal e-mails. No way to reach out to our cyberfriends!
I am new to this thread and so I will go back in a bit to read those that I missed. My son is a dx'd Bipolar who with the support of his grandparents does not take meds. He lives with them and that is a long story. As a mother I cherish him and have told him so with any way of communicating possible. He ignores it or if an ecard doesn't pick it up. Recently I buried my grandma, the trip home was a Stygian nightmare, and when I get back I see an Im from him. I was so tickled until I read it. It was nasty and it greatly confused me. I im'd him back asking what he was talking about. Then later when I had calmed down quite a bit I emailed him. Now his grandmother is involved and I am playing the part of the villain. My husband asked if it possible to doctor an email and if I thought he would. I answered yes to the first and to the second I don't know. I didn't answer his grandmother's letter or phone calls because I was so emotional and angry that I knew it would make it worse then it already was. I am still hurt and confused greatly by the whole thing. My husband believes he is manipulating boths ends like we were pawns in a sadistic chess game. I believe it is possible. How do you try when the trying backfires? How do you respond to someone who possibly doesn't have all the information or the wrong information? And to someone who thinks bipolar is like the common cold or virus. I hope that by reading the ones I missed that perhaps I will pick up a few things that right now seem cloudy or dark to me. I just don't know anymore at what path is correct or what to say without making it worse.
I remember your posts from an earlier time. We just started this thread as the other one was closed yesterday...so you may have to hunt to get caught up! How old is your son?
If your son is unmedicated and living away from you, I don't see how you could possibly be able to figure out what is going on with him. It is a challenge for those of us who live with the kids!! I can't imagine trying to deal with him through a layer or two of filters.
I'm afraid I don't have any suggestions for you at the moment. If your son is unmedicated, there is no telling what he is thinking or feeling. Chances are it will not be rational -- you can pretty much count on that. If he has been dxed BP by a qualified psychiatrist, the grandparents are doing him no favors by keeping him off meds. His condition will get more severe as time goes on.
Please post again. Hopefully someone will have some suggestions for you. Tsohl
We're back on the roller coaster -- time for another ride already?? I was so pleased that things sounded so hopeful last night...and posted to that effect this a.m. Maybe in a day or two Zac will make a quick adjustment and the stress will go away??
He has taken on too much in the Forensics competition and rather than tell the coach that, he feels he should drop out entirely. I think you need to encourage him to tell the coach he overestimated the amount of time he has to learn a new piece on such short notice, and encourage him to continue on with the one he did this past weekend. I doubt Zac wants you to call the coach to explain. Does the coach know about Zac's reason for missing school??
Zac sounds like my son. He expects a lot from himself and isn't satisfied with anything less. I was talking to mine about GREs a couple days ago. He is of the opinion that if he doesn't get a perfect score in the math parts, his future is over. How do you tell someone like that to not put so much stress on himself? I can say it, but he doesn't believe it.
Well, let us know how he is when he gets home today....I'll be sending positive vibes your direction.
Thanks, Tsohl. Zac must have caught your postive vibes because he came home in a much better frame of mind. He has figured out what to do for HI (Humerous Interpretation - his new category) and is recharged to work on both pieces.
The first day wasn't too bad. Classes were fine. He seems fine. He was disappointed that he did not get into AP Euro, but found out that all of the others had been given a preparation packet. He is thinking of appealing it, but will wait to see what others he gets into. I don't want him to take on more than he can handle. How many is that? Who knows? It really is a rollercoaster of emotions, though, isn't it?
This perfectionism in our children is enough to make US crazy, isn't it? That was the reason for my suggestion to you of pursuing the Career Counselor for your son - not to make him feel like he has to get a job, but so that he feels like it's not the end of the world if his GRE scores aren't as high as he would like.
It sounds like your son, like Zac, thinks about things as "all or nothing". They have been so used to having it all that they really have a hard time seeing the middle ground. I am constantly talking to Zac about options, about scaling down to scale back up. It's a struggle, though.
Thanks for thinking of Zac today. I appreciate it.