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Raising Bipolar (Raising a Bipolar teen)

Updated: Apr 16, 2021

Raising Bipolar (Raising a Bipolar Teen)



Scientists have not identified a mental illness gene, but there is no evidence that if you have a biological family member with a diagnosed mental disorder, such as Depression and Schizophrenia, your likelihood of having one increases (“Does Mental Illness 2019”). Raising a Bipolar Child has proven to be one of the most difficult tasks that I have had to endure. Why me ? I often ask. Why not me? I tell myself. No one could handle this like me. I begin to bless myself; so to speak. I realized that my son is blessed to be able to have a mother that can handle the severity of this disease.

My son is diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder; mixed type. Hormones rage as well as the symptoms of this unpredictable illness. Raising a teenager with Bipolar Disorder has been especially challenging, since I battle mental illness, myself. My son has weeks where he does not display any symptoms. During these times my son is loveable and accommodating. Then there are weeks when he displays every symptom of Bipolar Disorder, such as: aggressiveness, violence, over emotional, depression and anxiety to name a few. The police have been called to my home on several occasions. On many occasions, my son has destroyed property in and around my home. I often have to re-purchase items. The symptoms that present with this diagnosis is the secret that is kept between the walls of my home. No one knows what I truly have to deal with, however I deal with it because I love my child.

Last year was a horrible time for him and I. My child had two concurrent hospital stays. I felt like a failure, as if I was not capable of controlling my son. After all, I had worked in mental health previously and I was incapable of controlling my own son’s behavior. I was also unable to control the depression that I felt associated with my child’s struggles. Many times, I blame myself for my child’s diagnosis. I often fear that his life as an adult may be hard. My son does not realize the severity of his illness and does not comprehend that just like any other illness; he needs to see a doctor and take medications to be healthy.

Yes, my 14 year old is medicated or at least, he is supposed to be medicated, when he decides to take the medication; that is. I felt as if I had no other choice. In fact, it was the only choice that I could have made in order to live my life with some sense of normalcy. Initially, when I began the medication, my son slept day and night . He was unable to do simple things and school work was completed between the times he was actually awake, which was rarely. Although, he was in a zombie-like state, mentally my son was the child I had once known him to be, but he lacked any social interaction. I had to make a choice; I talked to his psychiatrist and I made the decision to decrease his medications. He began taking a single 300 mg dose of Seroquel, once per day, until eventually he began refusing to take the medications at all.

My son felt/feels that he does not need to be medicated and medications mean that something is wrong with him. One of his greatest fears is being labeled as "crazy". The aftermath of not taking his medications consistently, was/is constant mood swings. I must admit when my son’s mood changes, my mood tends to change as well. Although my son is difficult and often aggressive, he requires a soft tone when spoken too. Any other tone he interprets as hostile and feels that I, or anyone for that matter, is being mean to him.

My child has mental abnormalities and I do as well. It is with deepest regret that he will have to live a difficult life if he does not care for himself in the manner that he should. Each and every day I show my son new grace and new mercy as the creator does for his children and many times my parents have done for me. Mental illness may be in my home but I will not allow it to set up a permanent residence, as an unwelcome guest. We will continue to battle daily and conquer our territory.



References:

Does Mental Illness Run in Families? Here’s what you need to know if you are at risk. Health Essentials , 2 Dec. 2019, https://health.clevelandclinic.org



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