I have been separated from my wife for 4 years now and no i am not divorced but that is not the issue here. When i left my wife my oldest daughter (13 at the time) and my oldest son (7 at the time) came with me. shortly after this, say within 3 months my youngest daughter (10 at the time) and my youngest son (4) at the time also came to live with me. okay here we are 4 years later and my boys are still with me and my daughters are with my wife. The youngest daughter went back 2 years ago...she is shy and had trouble making friends and really needed mom during her pubescent stages. The oldest and I always had an open relationship and could always talk about things, anything including pubescent changes happening in her body and whatever she needed.
okay now a little background on the oldest. I am her biological father and have been a stable part of her entire life. My wife is her step-mom but adopted her as her own when she was 10. You see her biological mother was bipolar and not on meds and got herself into a bad track on life (drugs and everything bad associated with it). Through all that i had my daughter 60-80 percent of the time and was finally able to get full custody when she was 8. Well the bio mothers lifestyle led to her death in 2001 (murdered unsolved).
the realtionship between my wife and daughter has always been like oil and water. hence why she came to live with me when i left.
History done lets move on....My daughter started with the behavior problems about 2 years ago...drug use...sexual promicuity....cutting....and i didn't see the signs...she eventually started with the school issues and got caught shop lifting.... she became defiant toward authority figures and has no remorse about any actions she had said or done to anyone (always "their fault"). she threatened suicide and i called for help and she was placed in a youth program for 21 days where she was classified as Bipolar and it was learned that she had the vast majority of the textbook oppositional defiance disorder symtoms. She was placed on Abilify and seem to level out so she was released back to me and we started the home schooling(tutoring) to get her back into school.
She, within a short time went right back to her bad track and got herself in more trouble with drinking, drugs and just wrong decision making at every oppurtunity. She (by her request) ende up back at the youth program for another 2 weeks... I am figuring good she is asking for help...this is a good sign. 3 weeks after getting back home with very strict rules and checks and balances set in place at home, she is out with a friend and commits a breaking and entering, and vadalism and ends up in court. Court day arrives and she gets probation for six months and restitution. I get her home and she asks to go out to the mall...the rule was she needed to rebuild trust with me and she was only allowed once a week to go out with friends with stipulations that i knew where she was, who she was with and that she was where she said she was going to be...none of this "hanging out". Well she had gone out the night before so of course my answer was no...Well she decided to explode and threaten to hurt herself. So i asked to to go to her room and i would be right there to discuss this with her and assess whether i needed to address this. Well she decided that i was not being fair and was going out anyways and i told her no and to go to her room. she told me she was going to call the police so i asked her for hercell phone and took the house phone and placed it in my pocket. she refused to give me her phone so i took it from her and she decided to start kicking me punching me and tried to push me down the stairs.....i got her under control and got her downstairs and she told me to call the police because she was going to hurt herself. i obliged an the police brought her to the hospital for assessment. I told her at this point that there was no way she could stay with me anymore....i love her...she is my daughter but i am not going to be hit by my own child....first of all i did not hit her back but who is to say that if it happened again that i wouldn't....can't take that chance. So i placed her in her mothers care against my better judgement, i wanted her to go with her maternal (bio) aunt...
that lasted less than a month as i knew it would but we gave it the go...it was only fair to my wife...actually i really didn't want to hear it...but she ended up with her aunt.....all was good for about 3 months...she was working staying drug free...and actually attending school again....i was thrilled...
Impulsive and defiant as usual she decided that she no longer wanted to live at her aunts....to many rules....to much drama....so i said okay come stay with me until i can talk to your other aunt and see if i can plce you with her. Keep in mind that i had moved to a 2 bedroom apt with my sons by now and life was settling down for us.......she decides to visit my wife and boom she is moving up there with her instead...yeah this is not gonna work i am saying to myself... She stops taking her Abilify with my wifes encouragement...nice huh...she seems stable enough but yet a little moody but hey she seems to be okay....wrong....i get a phone call last night...she wants to move out she can't deal with her mother.....can i come stay with you...i tell her to sleep on it, take some time to calm down...and think about the decision she is about to make.....
here is my dilemma....I love her to death....i really do not have room for her....her erratic behavior affected my sons and their behavior...they are doing great now....adjusted well and things between us have been pretty easy....do i let her back into my home to stay...remember she has hit me before when she didn't get her own way.....
There are others here that have more experience in these things then I do, but I'll do my best to offer my support.
A little background, I am a single mom of 2 and have a 13 year old daughter with Bipolar as well. First and foremost, she needs a stable living condition. Whether that is with you or somewhere else, she needs that stability from someone who can be understanding that she has a mental illness and is not acting like this on purpose and won't let her move again when things get tough. Next, she needs a Psych to follow her on a regular basis and adjust meds as needed and a trained therapist to teach her how to remain stable once she gets there. Also, find a support group in your area. I don't have one near me, but coming here and talking to the other parents who have Bipolar teens really does help and is great therapy.
Just know, that with the right support and medication, you can have your little girl back. We are still working on getting my daughter stable, but after talking to the wonderful people on this board, I have faith that someday I will have my little girl back.
I'm sure Goody, Tsohl, and the other great parents will chime in soon. Hang in there and keep posting, we'll get you through this!
The absolute best person to help you with this is Goody2Shuz because her daughter experienced many of the same things that your daughter is experiencing.
My 16 year old son has shared some of your daughter's history, too, with substance abuse, self-injury, sneaking out, etc. What I will tell you is that your daughter is a long way from stable and she needs help. The Abilify alone is probably not enough (rarely does one med do it) and now that she has stopped that, she is going to suffer unless she gets the proper help.
Chelle is right, though. There's hope and your daughter needs an advocate. We have been through some very dark times with our son and days when we never thought we would get our cheerful, compassionate son back, but today he is MUCH better than he was.
Hi there....I have a 16 year old who pretty much presented like your daughter with the cutting, promiscuity, change in behavior, shoplifting etc. She had 4 hospitalizations before she was properly diagnosed and treated.
From what you describe there is no mention as to whether your daughter sees a psychiatrist or therapist who oversees her meds and treatments. This is imperative to her reaching stability.
Now as far as where she will best do that it is in an environment that will have consistency, structure, and the ability to be actively involved in her reaching stability. That will mean gaining as much insight as one can in learning about Bipolar, keeping a close eye on her response to meds and working as an active team member in finding the right meds that will keep her stable. The way I see it by my calculations you have only another year that you can legally be part of her medical care which makes it imperative that you use that time to the best of your ability in getting her stabilized.
My older daughter is in college and is not as bad as my younger daughter and we are trying to get her treated on meds for ADD/mood disorder and it isn't easy. For now things are going well but it isn't easy not being able to monitor things.
Alot of people who have Bipolar, paricularly teens, will try to run away particularly when unstable thinking that things will get better elsewhere only to find that demographics make very little difference.
So as her father you need to pick where you feel she will have the least amount of stress, more support and supervision, and somebody actively involved in helping her find stability (going to the psychiatrist and therapist as well as learning all that they can on how to best support somebody who is Bipolar). And then stick with it...do not allow her the option to move or leave until she is stable for at least a year. Draw up a contract realizing that at this time she probably isn't even capable of making a rational decision and you may have to make it for her.
YOu need to give her hope by telling her that you are going to find the right meds for her and that you love her and aren't going to give up until her life is more stable. That you know that what is happening is something that is not her fault and can be treated allowing her to have a wonderful future. Right now she seems to have given up on herself and needs somebody to give her a ray of hope that there is a way to turn her life around.
I am sorry that things have been so difficult for your family. With the separation things aren't easy to begin with....as a family the best chance of helping this daughter is to all pull together and figure out where she is more apt to have a stable home with structure and a plan to get her stable and do everything to work together to get her there.
There is hope, there was a time that I thought that my daughter would never reach stability but she has.
YOur daughter is going to have to realize that the only way she will have a happy future is to accept that she has Bipolar, that she will have to take meds for the rest of her life, make some changes in her lifestyle in terms of sleep, diet, exercise and decreasing stress.
Once she is able to do this things will improve greatly for her and the entire family. The first step is her getting to the point of realizing that she has a disorder and then doing everything she needs to do to get better. It won't be easy but with the right doctor, meds and support she will be able to see that light at the end of the tunnel.
Please continue to post...you are not alone and there are many hear who have been walking in the same pair of shoes.
I'm BP and I'm 33 years old, it's hard enough at my age to find stability so I can't imagine how difficult it must me as a child to try and find it... Her stability is up to YOU right now and once YOU achieve that it's her responsibility to maintain it...
Like everyone has said KNOWLEDGE IS POWER... Learn as much as you can about the condition, meds, etc... A good support team is KEY!
she has been diagnosed as Bipolar and her Biological mother was also. She was on meds (Abilify) and appeared to me to be responding welll. But appearances were decieving...I find out after the hitting incident that she was taking pain killers and smoking pot with friends. When she no longer lived with me and moved in with my wife, she decided she no longer wanted to take them, she lost her counselor and psychiatrist when she moved to my wife's. my wife never really believed that there was anything wrong with my daughter and pretty much downplayed the whole thing. So when my daughter made the decision to stop the Abilify, my wife supported it. She did this behind my back, she never set her up with a counselor or a new Psychiatrist. The bootm line comes down to this. my daughter did not want to see a counselor or a psychiatrist and the Abilify gave her a false leveling of moods which she construed as i am fine i don't need these meds..How do i force her to take meds.....if she doesn't want to take them or seek help how do you make them... Also the most stable environment for her is with me....but i only live in a 2 bed apt and have my 2 sons with me....i am not in a position to move into a larger place and there is still the trust issue with her striking and hitting me. I am so torn....what do i do???????
You need to do everything and anything to get your daughter the help that she needs. If you are supporting her then you do have some leverage in terms of helping her. It will be tough but you need to make it quite clear that if she is to live with you that certain things must be done.
Make it quite clear that if she is to hit you in anyway that the police will immediately be called in and she will go to the hospital...that if she is a threat to others or herself that will warrant her to be admitted. Tell her that you are going to do everything in your power to get her help, that it is your job as her father to do so, and that you don't want her to end up like her mother dead from this disorder. That it was because her mom didn't take meds or take the help that was out there to beat this disorder that things ended up as they did and that you will be damned to lose her the same way. That you are going to do everything in your power to fight this viscious disorder that is taking over her life whether she wants to or not and that it will be alot easier if she worked on the same team in which she sees the disorder as the enemy and not you. If she is better off with you then make it happen. It is going to take tough love and you cannot leave her with an out. Right now she needs your support in terms of food, shelter, and anything financial. If there is a way to make sure that your wife doesn't let take her in (such as pressing charges if she does so making it quite clear that you are going to do everything in your power to get your daughter the help that she needs and mow down anybody who stands in the way of that) Tell your daughter that there is no running away from this anymore....that you are going to do EVERYTHING and ANYTHING to get her help. Drug test her and have a consequence for it and stick by it. If she gets out of hand or breaks the law have her arrested. Let her know that you would rather her be in jail where it is safe and she may get help than out in the world where she will bring harm to herself. It is going to be a nasty fight and you may need to get your son's on board telling them that you have only a year left to save their sister and that things are not going to be pretty but that you would do the same for any of your kids if there was any harm coming to them. That it is going to affect all of you and that you will survive it. Get in as much support as you can in terms of keeping the family from falling apart....that means counselling services, the support of other family members or friends of picking up the slack if need be. Call in the infantry and the field artillery and consider this a battle that you are going to fight AND win. Make it clear to your daughter that you are not going to sit by anymore and let this Bipolar continue to take her life....that you intend to fight with every ounce of your being to get her stable and that there is hope that things will turn out good if she will only cooperate. As far as taking meds you need to set up consequences if she doesn't, no car, no priveleges (TV, cell phone, going out etc.) Make it mandatory that she go to her pdoc and tdoc appointments....make her see that you are in charge until she can take charge of her life.....that she WILL take the consequences of her actions until she accepts the treatment and chooses to turn her life around. Her using the drugs is a form of self medication to find something to make her feel better. But they only provide a temporary relief and mess even more with the chemical imbalance within her brain. Making her see that Bipolar is a real illness just like diabetes that needs to be treated or she may die is what you need to show her and others who are not accepting that this is something that is only going to get worse unless she gets the help that she needs.
It is going to be a tough road....my daughter's help finally came when she went before the judge for her shoplifting charges and for breaking her probation. Somehow the judge saw, as we did, that our daughter was not the typical juvenile delinquent, that she was an honor student and child in trouble who needed his intervention to help her to get the help that she just wasn't getting or accepting. So he ordered a full psychiatric evaluation and she was hospitalized for an entire summer....losing only one summer of her life as compared to the rest of her life if she were not to get the help that she needed. And she finally did, thank God, and now has her entire future ahead of her. She is finally stable, has a boyfriend, worked two jobs this summer to save up for her first car, and is looking into colleges to pursue something in psychology.
It will be the toughest battle that you may ever fight but when you finally win it you will KNOW that it was worth every effort that you put into fighting it.
Look into NAMI and call the nearest facility near you and ask for their help in assisting you in getting the proper help for your daughter. Use every resource available to you in order to fight this battle knowing that when you win it you will have your daughter back...the one you had before the BP took over.
We are here for you in anyway that you may need.
((((((HUGS))))))) ~ Goody
Last edited by goody2shuz; 11-01-2007 at 06:58 AM.
i know that all of this needs to be done and prior to her moving in with my wife the first time it was being done.... I cannot be on her 24/7. if she does not like my rules and threatens to run how do i as a parent sleep at night....she is a teenage girl.....this is a very scary world we live in....i do not trust her...she has lied so often that her promises don't mean anything to me anymore....i am 99 percent sure that if she was to hit me again that i could contain myself as i did the first time she hit me and not lash out at her....but that one percent chance that i wont be able to scares the hell out of me...i am not a big man but she is only 5'-0" at about 90 lbs....i am seriously afraid that if she did lash out at either myself or her brothers that she could end up hurt.... I love her dearly and i am very afraid for her...the threat of police for her never really seems to work...she will call them herself....she has threatend to call and lie to them just to try and get her way (the big fight that led to her moving). Where do i put her in a 2 bedroom apt...she is 17 and does require and deserve her own privacy.......i don't know.....this just sucks...everything in my heart says to just do this and see where the chips fall....grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr frustrated
I would like to second Goody's post. I think you must do everything you can to get your daughter the help she needs right now. It will be so much harder to have any say in her treatment after she turns 18. As you saw with her mother, BP does not go away. As she gets older, your daughters problems will only get bigger unless she receives the help she needs.
I have a 14 year old son who has had problems for about two years. He is doing better now, but we continue to struggle to provide him with the support and medications that he requires to achieve stability.
Since your wife is not accepting of your daughter's dx or treatment, unfortunately it will be up to you to see that she gets the help she needs. Hopefully, your wife will come around and help as she sees some progress with your daughter. My advice to you would be to do everything you can to get her help and provide the support and structure that she needs. Hope is right, usually with these kids one medication is not enough. You need to find a pdoc who has experience treating BP adolescents and is willing to work with you until you find the right medication for your daughter. Even with medications she will need to learn how to live with and manage her condition and you will have to help her with this.
My son is the 4th of my 5 children and I can honestly say that dealing with this disorder has been the most difficult thing I have faced as a Mother. Luckily we only have one other child still at home, but I know that I have not always had the time to spend with her because I am dealing with my son's issues. The one thing that has helped with this is enlisting family and friends to help with my daughter or our older kids while I am dealing with my son. Do you have anyone who can help out with your sons?
I know that you love your daughter and will do everything you can to help her. It will not be an easy road, but with the right medications and support it does get better.
there has been a calm over my house since she has moved to her mothers...i have little to no issues with my sons...other than normal rivalry...the are much happier and at ease because i am...this change or anticipated change is building that stress inside of me again....i know i need to help her so why am i so stressed....i can see the house becoming a battlefield again...my wifes home is no help....she is a very self-defeating person and it rubs off on my daughters...i can see it but i am so helpless.....i am so afraid for my daughter....17 years old....quit school, can't hold a job for more than a few months....planning her wedding for 15 days after her 18th birthday with no drivers license, place to live or a full time job....i know that this is just part of her manic period....but i cannot control what she will do after 18.... i can only try and control what she does before that....i see her on her bio mother's path and it scares the hell out of me. she is fully aware of what happened with her mother and all the things that led up to it...but yet she sets herself on the same path......
Well it's time you stepped up and found a different approach to the situation! Go to her NOT in a demanding way but a loving way, it makes a world of difference... Go to her when she is in a normal state of mind NOT when she is getting in trouble for something.. BP people are sensitive/paranoid tell her you care about her and only want the best, find the RIGHT time... There is a difference at being talked too then talked at..
i agree with you on that...with her i have found that if i talk with her and don't assert myself to vigorously that she has a tendency to stay calmer...but raise your voice and forget it.... if i let her back into my home and work with her how do i afford her the privacy...i only live in a 2 bed apt now and am in no financial position to move
My only advice for that is to make the best with what you have... Everyone is going to HAVE to compromise...
I would also advise that you have your ex wife go to dr's appt with you, include her in everything that way you both are on the same page... She may better understand if a 3rd party explain to her the situation at hand..
Dee-nah brings up alot of points. Thing is, you do have to find that window of opportunity in order to present this all to your daughter. Of course you have to present it in a loving way so that she can see that it isn't a punishment but something that you see you must do as a father who loves her. Of course she will, while manic, twist it all around and use your ex wife against you pitting the two of you against one another so as to take the spotlight off of herself.
Oh and yeah, I know all about the lying and deceit and how much trust has bee broken, been there and done that. You must present it in a loving way b saying that it isn't her that you don't trust but the BP.
As far as the boys...the way I look at it is you are setting the stage for them to see what lengths a parent will go for their child when they are in trouble. Sit down with them and tell them that you need to help their sister, that she is in really bad trouble and even though she may appear not to want help that she really needs it. And if you don't get things squared away this year she may never get the help that she needs.
As far as the police or her running away....you call the police each time she runs. Eventually they are going to get her on the right med that will smolder this mania that is going on so that you can better reason with her and she will be much less argumentative and more reasonable.
There is a system called PINS with the law enforcement for kids underage who need constant supervision. It is Person In Need of Supervision and she will have to account to them for her behavior. They will make it mandatory that she go to school, have a curfew, and set up everything that she should be doing from the moment she gets up to the moment she lies down to go to sleep. If she violates the contract they set forth there will be consequences.
You need to use every resource available to you and tell them how scared you are for your daughter's life. At this point in time you can have her involuntarily admitted to a psychiatric facility....an adolescent one that isn't as scarey as the adult ones. Do it if you must....it will be difficult but those days she is in there they will administer meds and possibly in that time find the right one that will cool this mania down so that you can go the rest of the way with her.
It isn't going to be easy but if you take away the fear and look the BP in the face and let it know that it isn't going to win over your daughter it WON'T!! It is in facing your fear that you will be able to remove it.
It is sooo obvious that you love your daughter and with that love you can get her through this. You are right, after she is 18 there will be very little that you can do as her father....your time is now and when your daughter finally sees how much you don't want to lose her to BP, she will come around but it is going to suck every bit of energy out of you but somehow the good LORD provides us parents with the strength to get through times that we never thought we could. When I look back on where I have been it almost seems as if it was another person going through all of that because I don't know how it was humanly possible for me to have survived the past 5 years. My daughters and I lost 5 years of our lives together but now we have the rest of our lives to make up for it.
The sooner BP is treated the better life will be for your daughter. They say that it takes an average of 10-15 years from the onset of symptoms before BP is diagnosed and treated and so many years of a person's life are lost to it. You have a chance to save your daughter from losing many years of her life to this disorder AND from following down the same path of destruction that her bio mom did.
You can do it....use that energy that is building up the fear that is growing inside of you and redirect it in a constructive way in which you can help your daughter turn her life around to aid future generations from being taken by BP without having known a way to stabilize it and lead a productive and successful life. That is the difference when somebody accepts BP and does whatever they need to do in terms of treatment to find stability.
Keep on coming her to gather strength...I know that you worry about your boys, call on family and friends to help you out as much as possible. You are going to need as much support as possible. If your daughter gets psychiatric treatment they also have wraparound services that will come into your home 3 or 4 times a week to make certain that things are going well. Make those phone calls and see what resources are available to you and forumulate a plan.
I hope that you will extinguish that fear and realize that you are strong in love and if you have faith it is time to call on that as well to get you, your daughter and the entire family through.
There IS a light at the end of the tunnel, I use to think that there wasn't, but we have seen it and I am telling you that it IS there.