19 year old with bipolar left home
(San Jose, CA)
My 19 year old daughter has bipolar. She has very low self-esteem and has had social difficulties and so sets the bar low for friends. She tends to hang out with people who use her for drug money, or even sex. She has had a traumatic adolescence; experiences have included the death of my husband (her stepdad) a rape and severe bullying at school.
I am a loving, present parent and a special ed teacher, so I have utilized every tool I can muster to help her, but I feel like I'm on a sinking ship. I tend to be protective and hands-on and she relies on me to help her navigate through the day. Our conflicts are always about the choices she makes with a certain group of friends. Awful things happen whenever she associates with them. Today I left work to help her through a particularly rough mood. After helping her get through the dark moments, I left to attend a meeting for an hour. When I returned, she had taken the bus across town to see the aforementioned "friends,' and lied about her location. When I said I was coming to get her, she admitted the truth and then said she was leaving for good. I was stunned. She came to get clothes and thankfully took meds with her.
Last year after hanging out with this crowd, she had an episode so bad that she was in the hospital for weeks.
She seems to be acting completely without impulse control and
it frightens me because she does not seem to learn from natural consequences. I don't know where she is staying--the person who came for her clothes is completely new to me. I am at a loss about what to do.
I can understand how you would be concerned about her behavior. DO you have a good therapist and psychiatrist? I know that it is difficult to deal with your daughter being 19 in chronological age , but not really being 19. It's hard to know what kind of boundaries and rules to set because developmentally she isn't really that age.
I wonder if she is stable, as you don't talk about her stability. The other issues in her background complicate some of what might be going on also ( the rape and death of step dad).
I would recommend that you get a good therapist if you don't already have one. Building the infrastructure of emotional regulation is part of the job of parents of bipolar children.It's not normal for a nineteen year old to rely on her mother to get through the day, but it is normal for a 19 year old bipolar child too. In fact, it may be that you can use this closeness to bring her back in when she starts to make those dangerous and impulsive choices. I am truly sorry for the difficulties you are having and I hope some other parents will chime in her and give you some support.
Wishing you the best