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    Old 01-14-2007, 07:53 AM   #1
    mamiacp
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    Talking bipolar teen-what we have learned

    I am a new poster,although I have been reading for about 6 months. This is a long post.

    We have been through so much of the same. Our daughter started the irrational manic/psychotic behavior about 1 1/2 years ago when she was twelve. Of course we thought hormones, preteen behavior, but when it started to occur daily and completely unpredictably we sought help. First the pediatrician who then recommended a psychiatrist. Although it had to get worse before things started to turn around (she had to be hospitalized in May),her doctor has said now she is showing typical teenage girl behavior which is not all that much fun either Back in May she became completely psychotic when her doctor told her she had bipolar disease and on the way home from the office, she tried to jump out of the car (thank God for child locks). Fast forward 8 months and now she is being defiant, but we can handle that.

    I think what I want to write is that there can be better days ahead for children diagnosed with this disease. By no means is it easy and honestly, I have had to start taking Xanax just to be able to keep my own emotions intact when her's go haywire. For example, last weekend she had plans to go to a friend's for a birthday sleepover, when I discovered she had lied about being caught up on her studies. So her father and I said no party and prepared for the reaction. She went completely biserk, crying, screaming, basically throwing a tantrum at which point we called her doctor. On speaker phone she told our daughter "You are angry about getting caught and you are now throwing a tantrum about it. Now settle down and accept the consequence". We could see the difference in this tantrum and the psychotic manic behavior from before because she was completely rational, just ticked off. She also kept up the baiting behavior, trying to pull us into her pity party, telling us she was having a mood swing, telling us no one cares, I don't feel loved It takes rationality to manipulate others. But it took her doctor telling us this is not the illness, just a defiant and intelligent manipulating teenager. That was a huge light bulb moment for us.

    This disease has done alot of damage in my own family. My father, uncles, cousins because they did not get diagnosis until late in life, lack of knowledge and denial. I think the lesson we have learned is that like any disease, early and aggressive treatment can make a difference. Like cancer, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, this will run its course if not brought under control. We have had to try several combinations of medication along with talk therapy (not just for her, but for the whole family) to get her stable and know that there will be adjustments throughout her life. It has been a rollercoaster ride and very scary. Compliance is key and she has to learn this. Our hope is that by the time she is out on her own, she will have command over her own illness.

    I hope no one thinks I am on a soapbox. It is hard everyday. I just thought I was finally able to share our experience and hope it is helpful to someone as so many of your posts have been to me.

    Cristina

     
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    Old 01-14-2007, 08:17 AM   #2
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    Re: bipolar teen-what we have learned

    Welcome Cristina,

    I'm so glad you finally posted. I'm sure many who read it, especially those with young teens who have recently been diagnosed, will find it very helpful. Sounds like you have quite a lot of experience with bipolar disorder from your family members. Now that you have gotten your feet wet here, I hope you will keep posting, adding your experiences, comments and insights to the mix.
    Kind regards, Tsohl

     
    Old 01-14-2007, 08:29 AM   #3
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    Re: bipolar teen-what we have learned

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mamiacp View Post
    I think the lesson we have learned is that like any disease, early and aggressive treatment can make a difference. Like cancer, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, this will run its course if not brought under control. We have had to try several combinations of medication along with talk therapy (not just for her, but for the whole family) to get her stable and know that there will be adjustments throughout her life. It has been a rollercoaster ride and very scary. Compliance is key and she has to learn this. Our hope is that by the time she is out on her own, she will have command over her own illness.
    Welcome, Cristina Your words are so true and I have lived through them as we have strived to find the stability for our 15 year old daughter. It truly is a rollercoaster ride as you go through the course of acquiring the proper diagnosis, treatment and finding the right med combo to help your child out. And then the hope that they will continue to be compliant throughout their lives after all the work it took to get to the stability that took so long to find. We have just entered that stability and know that even though our daughter is on the right meds that there will still be issues that she will have to deal with and perhaps the meds may have to be changed in the future. I t certainly is not an easy road f or a parent to travel, however, I too consider myself lucky to have found the diagnosis and treatment for my daughter early so that she can have a good future. I see so many young adults/adults struggling on their own with this all and admire their strength in being able to do so.

    You are not on any soapbox sharing your experience. And I am sure that it will definitely help others.

    There are many parents here who will relate. And if you need some support you will definitely find it here.

    What meds is your daughter on??? Oh, and I hear you about the teenage behavior.....I welcome normal teenage behavior....for a while there I was having a problem differentiating the teenage behavior from the Bipolar but I think I have a pretty good handle on it now...thank God.

    Again, welcome, and I hope to see more of you on this board.

    ((((HUGS)))) from another mom who has been on that rollercoaster ride ~ Goody

     
    Old 01-15-2007, 05:58 PM   #4
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    Re: bipolar teen-what we have learned

    Cristina,

    Thank you very much for your wise and insightful post. I have a 16 year old son who was diagnosed last year and, like you, we are hoping to give him the tools to manage his bipolar once he is out on his own so he can continue on his journey to a wonderful life. This road has been far bumpier than I ever imagined and, more than once, we have fallen deep into the ditches, but your post reminds me why we keep getting up, brushing ourselves off, and continue on our path.

    Please keep posting. We all need each other!

    Hope

     
    Old 01-15-2007, 06:48 PM   #5
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    Re: bipolar teen-what we have learned

    Everybody out there with bipolar kids ,teens and young adults-- do you manage to have a job and deal with this on a daily basis? I work part time and find that im so stressed out lately,its difficult for me to focus at work.i have alot of anxiety lately and sometimes have to take a xanax to calm down..also, i think im peri-menopausal, my god i never thought i would write that. but i have hormonal issues that i never had before and feel like i have constant pms..that might be making my situation worse.

     
    Old 01-15-2007, 07:42 PM   #6
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    Re: bipolar teen-what we have learned

    Jules,

    I just read your e-mail and had to do a double take. It sounds like me! I work parttime (I teach in the morning), I am menopausal (had a hysterectomy last year) and I take Xanax when needed. Honestly though, I thought I would have to stop working completely when my daughter got so sick last year. I have two other children, 10 and 5, plus was caring for my aging and sick father and the stress and anxiety was eating me up.There were times I wanted to be in the hospital. Today has been a good day. She and her sister are playing a game right now and I don't hear them. Tomorrow is a teacher workday, so they get to stay home.

    One day at a time.

     
    Old 01-15-2007, 08:15 PM   #7
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    Re: bipolar teen-what we have learned

    I agree that this definitely is a full time job in itself. I have a back disability that has had me at home since the girls were little. It is chronic and progressed to osteoarthritis as well.

    A while back when I was perimenopausal I found myself getting more testy and PMSing. My primary doctor and gyn both agreed that I should take Wellbutrin since chronic pain and the perimenopause could be causing some depression. I am not one to take meds unless really needed.....I took it for a little while and then took myself off of it. I was doing well until things got bad with Erin. I found myself crying more during the worst of it when she needed me the most and so I asked my doctor to put me back on it and have been on it ever since. I feel it helps me through the hard days and allows me to be strong for Erin. I often have felt as if I had 10 kids just getting Erin through all of this. A while back when I described one day with Erin, one of my good friends said that what I experienced in one day was spread out over a period of a few months during the really bad teenage years with their kids. That definitely had me looking at all of this from a different perspective.

    As, Cristina so wisely said....we need to take one day at a time. That's all we can do.

    (((((HUGS))))))) ~ Goody

     
    Old 01-16-2007, 11:42 AM   #8
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    Re: bipolar teen-what we have learned

    I'm supposed to be working full-time and it is a constant struggle. I've been working out of the house lately, but I feel like so much of my time is consumed with my son's diagnosis, behavior, school challenges, etc. that I can't get a head of steam to get any work done!

    I also have had severe aches and pains latley and went through 2 months of multiple rashes! I think the stress takes its toll in different ways, but all of us are feeling it one way or another.

    Thank goodness we have each other!

    Hope

     
    Old 01-16-2007, 11:56 AM   #9
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    Re: bipolar teen-what we have learned

    Stress can take a major toll on your body.. I am working a part-time job.. my son is starting school tomorrow..hes at work today..and hes doing well, i just feel like im waiting for something to go wrong..but, thats my problem not his. i try not to let him see the anxiety he causes me..and im doing a good job at that...hes always telling me to stop worrying about him.

     
    Old 01-16-2007, 12:30 PM   #10
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    Re: bipolar teen-what we have learned

    Hi ladies,

    I'm here to tell you that it gets easier, and in awhile you'll even be able to breathe and sleep again. Although after 18 months of stability, you still wonder if the other shoe is going to drop. If several days go by without hearing from our son, and when I don't know what his plans are, I start wondering if "things" are ok. This happened this past weekend. I finally sent him an email Saturday evening, and he called to say, yes he was in town....yes, he was ok...yes, he felt fine. Then yesterday he called. When he calls me, I always wonder "why is he calling???" I couldn't tell from the first five minutes of the conversation, and I needed to get to a dental appointment, so I asked "What's up?" And he said, "Well, Mom....you were upset because I hadn't called over the weekend, so I am calling to report in and just to check in." Then I feel guilty because he is 25 and should be able to lead his life without having to check in with his mother!!!

    I do think things are a bit different when all this begins when your child is a teen or pre-teen. With us, our son was diagnosed after he was of legal age, so we were cut out of the loop from the beginning...which comes with its own set of anxieties.

    All I can say is hang in there. Do what you have to do to protect your own physical and emotional health.

    love,
    Tsohl

     
    Old 01-16-2007, 12:37 PM   #11
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    Re: bipolar teen-what we have learned

    I know that was one of the things our family therapist worked on with me. She told me how anxious I seemed, and I was after all that we went through. She kept on stressing not too look back but to look at today and forward.....and she pointed out that things were much better than they were in the past and that Erin had made great progress. And you know what...at the time I wanted to strangle the lady saying everything was fine but she was right...my worries and anxiety were holding me back from seeing the progress Erin and our family has made.

    So it really does make sense to look at today and ahead into the future knowing that things will only get better. I know it is difficult when we have seen the worst of this all and it doesn't get better as quickly as other health issues, but with patience and hope it really does.

    So I guess it all boils down to taking care of ourselves so that while our loved ones are doing the same we come out of this strengthened and still standing on our own two feet.

    As I just said to our pdoc at our last appointment who saw us at the beginning before Erin was properly diagnosed....we have been to hell and back but with the right diagnosis and meds we are in a much better place. And we are.

    Hang in there ladies....I know that my bad days are not over but by taking one day at a time rather than a whole lump sum of days, weeks and months is definitely the way to go.

    And of course....knowing that there are others who understand and have been there definitely makes a world of difference.

    (((HUGS))) ~ Goody

     
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