Who I was...who I am today...the good the bad the ugly...

by Carol

13 years ago I was a driven 35 year old on the way to making my first million. Popular and happy with the entire world following behind me like a puppy on a leash!

Today I am a tired, over worked 48 year old with no friends, no career, no money, and no hope of ever being anything more than I am right at this very moment....in fact, most days all I see ahead of me is more of the same. BUT!......

I am also incredibly blessed to have been given to chance to love a bi polar child. To be taught the true meaning of unconditional love. To know that there is NOTHING I can't handle. To get up every day and KNOW I am making a real difference. One smile from my 13 year old is worth more than any million I could have made in the corporate world and worth so much more than all the friends who disappeared when things got tough.

Just when I value myself the least, her smile reminds me my worth to her is inmeasurable.

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Aug 18, 2017
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Mar 22, 2014
Thank you NEW
by: Jen

I find myself so lonely at times I cry. I have a friend in my next door neighbor that understands that even though I don't work, I might not have time to walk next door to say except every other month at best, but will at least try to phone her once a month. Now she is looking at moving across the country, my daughter that drives me nuts is the person I've wrapped my life around, and she's turning 16. I find myself mourning the impending loss ("empty nest"), fearful of will she be ok, we're limited income so when she turns 18 we will have to find some limited income housing type place, etc. I'm scared and lonely and angry all at once.
Thank you for helping me, instead, to put my life back into prospective. The fact that I could be mourning what I know I'll be losing states that my life isn't as bad as I make it out to be. I would not trade her for a million dollar a year job. She's been the job that one pays to have because it is so worthwhile. Thank you for reminding me of that.

Oct 15, 2012
tears rolling down my face NEW
by: Anonymous

Been so consumed,I had forgotten that I hurt for myself sometimes too.
I was a 28 yr old who had finally learned how to control my own bipolar, taking this world by the horns! Now six years later after my son was born, I am a homeschooling mother finding myself on "early on set bipolar" sites at least 35 x's per week trying to find some way to convince the doctors that my child is bipolar!
Unwilling to medicate with adhd meds (he went crazy), we are stuck until I find a doctor brave enough to accept that I "get" my child all to well.
Thank god I was blessed with bipolar, I couldn't imagine not truly understanding him because the world sure doesn't!
It is amazing how the love for another human being can transform our dreams and goals.....
I walk with you- the past,present,future,ups downs,tears,laughter,trials,tribulations- I understand.

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My Bipolar daughter story 12-17 years old

by Mark

My daughter was hospitalized at 12 years old for rage and attempted suicide. She was in the hospital for 1 week. She was put on Lithium and later zoloft.

We were living with a monster for a few months after the hospital. We have a son who was 8 at the time.
She was triggered by her brother and her mom. Her brother would call her names and mom was difficult at times. Mom has depression and anxiety which of course did not make our daughter's life any easier. I do not have any mental illness so all of this was crazy to me but I am very patient. Despite many counselors and psychologists, Mom continued to rage at our daughter and say mean things. I would remain calm and bring everyone together to talk about the issues and come to agreements and understandings...
Sounds good but in the end I kicked mom out of the house and I have the kids full time from ages 15-17. now my daughter is finishing high school and is very enthusiastic about the future.

There have been no rages in the last 2 years. She is happy but struggles at times with friends. She is very beautiful and smart. She is a joy to be with. I ignore small behaviors and refusals and give her lots of love and room to be frustrated. I never yell and try to be positive. My daughter has made choices not to try drugs or have sex like her friends are doing. She speaks openly about these decisions with me. She is amazing. We have cut back her lithium over the past 3 months and she is still doing great. She will never be cured but it can be managed. I tell my story to share the importance of loving your child and having an unconditional positive feeling about them. Bipolar kids are not like other children so please ignore other people's opinions.

I have encountered many opinions and I understand how things look that I spoil her or not strict enough ...all that nonsense but in the end she is doing better and I have hope for the future. I will never stop thinking my daughter is the most amazing girl on the planet.

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May 01, 2019
Thank you
by: Kate

"Bipolar kids are not like other kids so please ignore other people's opinions." My 10 year old son is presently in a day hospital due to his Bipolar disorder. He was self harming and and saying he was going to kill himself. He was doing these things at home and at school. He is already in a special education therapeutic classroom. My Uncle explained to me today that I should let my son know that he is going to have to behave at school so I can put him back in school. I told my uncle that unfortunately, I can't make my son stop having Bipolar disorder by telling him he has to behave. My Uncle then explained to me that back In his day they would just smack the kids and then the kids would listen. I feel like everyone thinks my son's disorder is caused by my parenting. Your post have me some hope tonight. Thank you, Kate

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Could it be bipolar?

by Jane
(Somewhere, TX)

I have a 4 year old son who is displaying really odd behavior. He is a wonderful boy, he is very smart, he is creative, and he amazes me every day with how much he knows! But, I just think that he has something going on with him. I have not taken him to the doctor over it because of my experiences when I was little, but he is displaying a lot of the same things I did when I was his age.

I have always thought he had "OCD" tendencies (his clothes, they have to be just right, if they don't feel right then he changes, if I don't let him change his clothes, he deliberately urinates on himself so he can change!). He can not pay attention to anything! Tonight, he was sent to him room to clean up the mess he made from one of his fits and instead of cleaning, he painted his carpet!!! He also gets mad if he is made to go to bed in his room and he will urinate on his carpet!!! I work with him to try and teach him his letters and how to spell and write his name, he gets very mad and he calls himself stupid and says he can not do it! He gets very negative about himself! After putting on a outfit (that he has picked out) he looks at him self in the mirror and says, "I look like a freak, I cant wear this!"

No one has ever said anything negative about him, every one always talks about how handsome he is! Sleep!! He never does it. He stays up and when he does fall asleep he wakes up ALL night screaming! Sometimes he wakes up and sneaks out of my our bedroom. He did it this morning. He said it was because he wanted to surprise us with him baking us a cake! He went into the kitchen and started mixing cake mix. He also had the oven pre heated, but thankfully he made too much noise and it woke us up before he put anything in it! Also, he has been stealing and lying! He stole money from us, once out of our "cash" spot and once out of my purse. It all came up to about $140. We have asked him where he put it and he gives us different stories. He throws fits and screams and punches. He has gotten mad at me and says, "Mommy, I want to slit your throat!" I know, a child at his age should not be saying things like that, it just is not normal! He hits himself! He gets anxiety because he is scared of "monsters" in his room and her hyperventilates. He also gets very hyper and talks and talks and talks! He bounces off the walls! He loves horror and gore. Almost every picture he draws has a person with a knife. We have done everything, our next step is taking him to the doctor!

When I was a child I can remember being like him. But, I was a little worse. I stayed up late re arranging my whole room, I cut myself (starting at about 7). I burned myself, I hated people, I never had friends! I would get mad and pull my hair or hit myself, I never had a self esteem! I was diagnose bipolar, I was in and out of the behavioral hospitals, I had and still have anxiety! I was 17 when my doctor said (after I refused to take any of the medication he would give me, in fear of the side effects) that I just had border-line personality disorder. I still believe that I did have and still do have bipolar.

My question is, does the things that goes on with him sound as if it could be signs of bipolar? Or am I over reacting?? I feel like I should take him to the doctor over it. Does it sound like severe adhd more so than bipolar? I am confused and scared for him!


These behaviors could be consistent with mania. I would definitely take him to a doctor asap. Others may weigh in and give you some information as well. Good luck


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Mom-the "soft target"

by Abused mother?
(Fresno, Ca.)

I have a 13 year old son that was diagnosed bipolar in first grade. His father is bipolar, and for 4 years has been struggling with his addictions. We divorced so he is no longer in the home, currently is in a rehab. I am in recovery from alcoholism. Every since he was an infant , my son would pinch, kick, and bite me. Lately (fall)he is being very aggressive and aggitated, Currently he takes zypexa and Adderall (co-morbid ADHD).
Do other mothers get grabbed, pushed and hit by their bipolars. He also calls me some of the most foul names when angry. Nothing seems to work to extinguish the behavior.
Am I just horribly codependent and he's running rough shod over me, or is it common with bipolar tweens?
We do therapy together and he goes to his psychiatrist.
Is he on the wrong meds? We have tried every ADHD med on the market, and every mood stabilizer.

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Dec 19, 2016
Mom is target of aggression by bipolar child
by: Kristen

Dear abused mother,

Many doctors would suggest adderal is a medicine that could aggravate a teen who is bipolar, especially one who is unstable.The aggressive behavior you are describing suggests that is the case.

All mothers of bipolar teens do not get pushed and shoved and hit, but many do.

Many parents of bipolar teens describe similar relationships, ones that seem codependent in the ways you are describing, and the aggression is often a very complicated issues to deal with. One that is isolating and alienating for parents, who feel embarassed and ashamed.
Extinguishing behavior when a child is unstable is an impossible task and really requires an appropriate med adjustment.

Here is a great resource for parents which you may wish to join.


Hope this is helpful,


Kristen McClure

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Need Answers

by Dianna


For the past seven years my family and I have been trying to understand what's wrong with my daughter.

At the age of five she was diagnosed with seizures, and then later add. We kind of understood that then. From the age of fourteen things went downhill. If she had or have a problem she always runaway. She would walk and sometimes have no sense of time or surrounding .Whenever this happens she have no desire for school nor work. I can't really express I have been doing some reading her symptoms seem to signal bi-polar disorder. Help me understand please

I’m so sorry about the trouble you are having with your child. I would try to ensure that you have a good neurologist to work with who can help you understand the relationship between seizure disorder and bipolar disorder. I’m not clear from your email on the kinds of symptoms you are saying she has that are associated with Bipolar Disorder. Children with Bipolar Disorder may run away, however, children with other issues run away as well. My experience is children may have difficulty with memory and time if they have bipolar disorder, but I am not clear on the walking and having no sense of time surrounding the walking. Also this is a feature sometimes seen in children with BPD, but it is not diagnostic criteria.

There are varieties of medical conditions that can complicate or rule out a diagnosis of bipolar disorder that are important to consider. Neurological disorders, adrenal diseases, and thyroid disorders. It is important to investigate all possible contributing factors. Also, again, you have not reported any specific symptoms of depression or mania in your post.

Good luck to you in the search for help with your child.


Kristen McClure

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My 3yr old son...autistic and/o bi-polar???

My son will be 4yrs old in October. This is hard for me to explain without sounding very scattered. He has developmental delays....socially and verbally. Honestly, he has just started really 'talking', most of which is still about 3 words paired together. He is in special education preschool, which seems to be helping. I had to put him into daycare because everyone that I trusted to keep him would just get tired of dealing with him. He has been diagnosed as Autistic, but my concern is this (i have been reading alot of things)....his father(we are divorced and they have NO relationship) is treated for Bi-Polar, Schizophrenic, Depression, and is an Alcoholic. Good combination, huh?!

My son has always been a little temperamental but nothing of the charts, in the past 3 months, it has gotten frightening. He has become so violent when he 'rages'. It gets so bad that I wear the battle wounds...and he has none(which is good). He will scratch, pinch, try to bite, slap me in the face, pull out handfuls of my hair, screeches at the top of his lungs. If I try to console, it makes him madder....if I try to hold him down to keep him from destroying everything in sight, its even worse. If I try to 'ignore' it....he WILL hunt me down to take swings at me.

He gets the glazed look...his pupils so big that you can't see the color of his eyes! Sometimes, he even says 'sorry'.....'sorry'.....'sorry' during the episodes. Then after about an hour of this...its like a light switch.....it is over and he is sobbing himself to sleep, as cuddly and loving as he was before it ever happened. I don't know what to do...I don't want him to be Bi-Polar, Autistic, or any of those things....but if he is,

I owe it to him to get him the help he needs and deserves!!!! I realize you cannot diagnose him....but can you point me in the right direction????? Thank you for your time.


I am so so sorry for the difficulty you are having with your child.I know how hard it can be to have uncertainty about why you are seeing these behaviors.

One thing I would suggest is that you get him an evaluation to make sure he isn't having seizures of some kind. This would be important considering the description you are giving. I would also continue to try to find the best in the field of autism in your area, get him assessed, and then ask the questions you are asking me.

Autism is not an area of specialty for me. I would ask specifically how he meets the diagnosis? Then I would ask how they know it isn't a mood disorder or some form of psychosis?
Its unfortunate that mental health diagnoses are so unclear, really they are flawed in many ways and professionals sometimes have difficulty teasing out all of the issues you are talking about. Thank you for sharing your story with us and good luck to you in finding help for your child.

Kristen McClure

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by Renee
(Monroe, NC)

Our son, Jimmy, has always been tough to handle. As an infant he rarely slept, and cried a lot! Through the toddler years, most would say "OH, he is all boy", "he is very strong willed", or "you just need to break him of that". Mainly leaving us with our mouths open, speechless. But little knew the rage he would only share with us. We were in constant contact with his doctor, who assured us that what he needed was stronger discipline. Once he was able to communicate, he would tell us of a black man (shadow) in his room. We always passed this off as him needing more attention.
For years the hallucinations, anger, agression, talks of death, obsessions, and hyper activity became worse. We swallowed our pride and demanded help from his pediatrician, we knew this was not a parenting issue. He listened and then our real journey began.
He is now 14 and more stable than he has ever been in his whole life. It was not a quick fix, it was many trial and error of medicines, and many trips to the hospital for MRIs, CAT scans, EEGs, EKGs, and blood work. Some combination of meds worked for a while then quit. And a hospitalization that failed him tremendously!!
Just know to trust your gut, learn all you can about bipolar disorder, and never give up. If you find that you are at the beginning of this journey, remember there are people out there to help you and know what you are going through! Don't be afraid to ask for help!

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Jul 10, 2015
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Mar 04, 2013
finally!!! NEW
by: Anonymous

my daughter has been telling me about a young boy she sees in her room and she refuses to sleep in there. i have been looking and asking for answers for months now. she is 7 and i am starting to see signs of bipolar which i have bipolar 1 and i have been trying to get her checked and i dont know where to go or where to start

Sep 21, 2008
by: Wendi

This is a great story which helps me believe that there is hope. I have an amazing 8 year old son who has many of the same traits as your son did in his younger ages. There are days that it seems as if there is no help or that there is no end. Though we have came along way we have along way to go. Thank you for this little bit of hope and good luck in the future.

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12 yr old son unable to go to school social anxiety obsessive need to fish/hunt..

by sue

My 12 yr old son is unable to attend school and do school work at home, suffers from mood disorder and social anxiety. He is gifted academically, excelled in school till 6th grade, then unable to attend. He is only "at peace" when fishing or hunting. Help!
Current meds are 20 mg propynil for Sweating/nervousness and abilify 2.5 and zoloft 100 mg.

Hi sue.

Other people will likely comment.

When you say he is unable to do school work at home, and is bright, this concerns me. Is it his attention and focus? If so, then he may need a med adjustment. After the med adjustment than it may be that you can get him in a state where he can focus enough to learn some and explore entering back into school.

My suggestion would be that you explore the option of going back to school if he wants to if you can get him to a point where he is able to do school work. With social anxiety and careful treatment, this can often be overcome, However, It may also be that he is just unable to function in a normal school setting.

Each child is different,but he needs an assessment and a good therapist to help you with those decisions. I am happy to hear he is at peace when hunting and fishing. Perhaps he will be very suited for a career outdoors. Other parents will likely be responding to your post.

Sincerely, Kristen McClure

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Difficulties with my bipolar daughter

by Anonymous

Hi, I have a daughter 17 years old that struggles with bipolar disorder. On top of that she has a lot of problems to interact with other teenagers, lack of interest in basic things and total lack of enthusiasm for anything. She does not like too much of anyone and is easily rejected from others too. From the age of 4-5 everyoone complains about her: teachers, colleagues etc... I was always defending her, thinking that it was true people was bad to her and I though the problem of getting friends was because she was shy too. The only friends that she got were the kids of my friends. Her father did not support us much and he leave when she was only 3 or 4 to other country. His help was always scarce and I had to struggle to cope with all problems, including my own. We have to move a lot from one place to other because of work and looking for opportunities that I could not find in my country. We traveled to Europe for work/study and to rejoin his father. I found out that he did not love me at all, he was treating me bad there and cheating on me. I divorced him one and half year after we arrived there but I stayed there where I did my PhD and worked for some years. Life was always challenging for her, a child very sensitive, shy, lacking of self esteem, and that was usually bullied by others because she was foreign and different (I did not know that cause she did not tell about). Everything it is harder for her than for a normal person. She started with mental issues at the age of 10-11, including insomnia and hearing voices. At 15 years old outbreak the disease after being rejected by a boy in front of other girls. She just lose her mind there. From that moment the situation with her got worse, a I was accused from her father of her mental problems. Basically he said that it was my fault, that I do not know how to take care of her and he said he could do better than me. He took her back to his country (what it was initially relieving for me), assuring she had not a mental illness and he cut her medicines (what I did not know). After 3 weeks without medicines she got sick again and he had to suffer what I suffered before, a child screaming, crying and laughing without reason, complaining for everything, desperate, angry, threatening suicide, without sleep and trying to do whatever her crazy mind wanted between other terrible things. So, when he realized the true, her disease, he wanted to put her back here the next day. He had to wait there 3 weeks for a small recovery from her with medicines to put her in a plane. After trying a lot of medicines including one (risperidona) that made her obese and with high cholesterol, finally we found some medicines that worked with her and stabilized her a little bit (clozapine, equilid, carbamazepine and venlafaxine). Still with a lot of problems, without interest for life basically, without friends and depending too much on me, but at least finishing the secondary school, making some curses and interacting with her small sisters (I married again and had two girls). She also wants to go back with his father, living in Holland, to go into the university, but I do not think that is going to work (she has not any interest in reading one page of anything). Sometimes I feel upset because her lack of interest, cooperation, help in anything and confrontation with my current husband (that she never accepted). I feel frustrated having a child with all that issues, so much depending on me and I feel hopeless for her future. I somehow understand why people reject her, she can be very difficult, sometimes strange, absent mind, lacking interest for others and many times ignoring them. She does not like going to therapy and I do not want to go myself. I expended at the first years tons of money going from one therapist to other without getting any help. They were only interested in the payment. I have enough hearing all kind of complains that she gives every day. The true I am very tired from her, I feel unable to resist one crisis more, here where we are living, mental hospitals are a mess and any psychiatrist won't sent her there, because she is still a minor and they also mixed there psychiatric patients with addicts. In the country where the father is living (Holland) they are a little better and mental care is better too. Also people with psyquiatric problems get support and subsidies from the government (here nothing). She want to go with her father there to try in the university (in fashion career), is spite that I think it is not going to work and that her father is a coward (probably will want to put her back as soon as gets difficult). I am so tired that I want to let her go. That is the honest true. If you have any advice from your experience, let me know...Finding a good therapist here is a challenge and she does not trust them (me neither). She is crazy not stupid and she noticed that they were not good and that they promise support that they do not give. There is not compromise from them, a serious work plan, objectives with goals, nothing, like that I am not willing to expend the few money I have. Like I said I am tired and I see her going there as a relief, probably not the solution. At least she takes cares now from her medicines and she knows she needs to take them. Her father wont take them away anymore because he knows it can be worst without medicine. At least he learned something from the experience.

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Dec 19, 2016

by: Kristen

Thank you for sharing your story. It is one many parents can empathize with.

Here is a great resource for parents which you may wish to join. It is all parents who help one another and have similar issues.


Hope this is helpful,


Kristen McClure

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Mother of 2 children 1 grandchild and ex wife of bipolar disorder.

by Amy
(L.A. Ca. USA)

I married 40 years ago, became a victim of battered wife syndrome but realized my life and my 4 yr old daughter's was better without the insane man I was living with. Besides beating me and sleeping around behind my back, having no food in the house and soon to be homeless, how much worse could life get?

After I left My daughters father I realized I had to get far away because he was hurting me and my little girl, emotionally.

Years later, and 3,000 mi. away, after some unexplainable behavior on my daughters part I found out she was manic depressive at age 14. I had no clue what that was all about and I don't think the Drs. did either, especially for a kid.
We did the hospital path several times, she was suicidal a couple of times then became a chronic runaway, which was so upsetting to me. I never knew if she was alive or dead. By then I had remarried and my poor husband didn't know which end was up with all the drama, then we found out she was drinking to the point of blacking out and doing drugs. We picked her up at a police department and we went to family court, which expedited the IEP with the school dept. so we could get her into a locked facility,To keep her safe.

Finally we thought she had a fighting chance but little did I know that Provo Utah was more like a jail and didn't believe in any medications, religion was what she had to depend on. After a year there she finished high school in a very small non public school without medication but she did have therapy and we had family sessions. WE were so happy that she was doing well and finally graduated high school.

By then I was pregnant with my other daughter from my second marriage, wow that was like day and night being with a non bipolar husband.
My daughter was invited to go live with her friend in Lake Tahoe, she was 19 by then and us having no idea how her illness worked, we sort of thought she out grew itand because we were led to believe the worst was over. To be continued...

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Bipolar only at Home with Mom?

by Colleen
(SW Washington State)

My 7 year old has been difficult from the beginning. The pediatrician at one point prescribed phenobarbital to make him less agitated and hopefully sleep better (he was only 2 months old!).

As a toddler we had tubes put in hoping that might help. Next his tonsils were removed. Finally he was in therapy for minor sensory issues. Nothing seemed to work. No one else saw it though.

Even his dad thought it was how I was parenting him despite the fact that we have an older wonderfully behaved child. His teachers all tell me he is an absolute delight and angel. He is verbally nasty to his brother and I mostly, using language he knows we don't approve of, hitting (brother not me), and has violent outbursts when he doesn't get his way.

He also has been fixated on things like war, what it feels like to be hurt in certain ways, dying, bleeding/bleeding to death, etc. I'm sure there is much more but this is getting long.

I guess my question though is do the symptoms have to be extreme or can it be having a multitude of them?

And can a bi-polar child control their behavior at times? Like in school or at grandparents. I'm very concerned about a doctor diagnosing/medicating because I ask about it. Thank you for any help you may have.

p.s. I have been medicated for depression since my teens and am now on a "cocktail" that works wonderfully. My biological father has undiagnosed mental illness (very likely bi-polar/narcissistic). My maternal grandfather had a 'nervous breakdown'. Definitely a strong genetic history!

Hi Colleen:

My experience is that children who have an early onset of bipolar very often begin their behavior primarily with their primary caretaker or in the family.

Frequently I will have psychiatrists argue that it is behavioral on the basis that they are not having the same behavior problems across different settings.

I disagree with this assessment because what I see happening is that children begin at home and then it spreads to other areas as the illness progresses and advances. They also may begin with one person ( like mom) and then as things get worse it spreads to dad, grandma teachers etc.

I also believe this about symptoms. They may start in one area ( for example ) anxiety and later spread to a more typical display of mood instability.

I don't know how much research their is to prove this, but this has been my own personal experience.

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Nov 02, 2015
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Jun 03, 2014
Same thing for us NEW
by: Anonymous

For years my son had horrible rage at home but was a perfect student at school. Teachers and other moms could not believe me that he had a temper. It was awful. Finally we found a good family therapist when he was 10. After just a few months he highly recommended medication. He referred us to another doctor, who diagnosed a mood disorder, OCD, possible bipolar. We started him on Zoloft and it made a huge difference. There were far fewer severe anger episodes. However, when he turned 13 (huge growth spurt) we needed to increase his meds and we didn't fast enough. He spiraled into a major depression during 8th grade. We are still recovering from that, but definitely getting better. Therapy doesn't always seem to help. But I think it is important to keep up with therapy and keep that familiarity. Routine is also important.

Hope my story helps someone feel better. It's lonely when my friends don't understand what I'm going through. They sympathize but really don't understand.

Apr 01, 2013
Anyone have any promising experiences? NEW
by: Worried mom

I have a son who is exactly the way you all describe and now he is becoming very violent towards himself . Has anyone had any luck with a certain med or any other treatment? I am desperate to find help to be able to survive thru this)-:

Jul 20, 2011
by: Original Poster

It has been so long since I originally posted this on here! We continued to struggle until last Fall when I finally took him to our pediatrician and said I was ready to medicate. After nearly a year of trial and error and four, yes FOUR, doctors (in just one year) later we finally got a diagnosis today! He is currently on 5mg of Prozac and has been for about 5 months or so. I filled out the questions for his current behavior (while medicated). It came back off the chart for Oppositional Defiant Disorder, very high for major depressive and almost as high for anxiety. The last two of which the doctor said would have probably been much higher with out medication. While he isn't currently diagnosed with bi-polar I do believe he will need to be watched for it very closely as he grows. Right now, he is almost 10 and is doing signifigantly better with the Prozac. Our house is a much calmer place to be and we aren't constantly walking on egg shells. We found a therapist who is wonderful and our son loves to go - which is half the battle! For all of you still struggling, just know that you are not alone! Keep at it, beat down every doctor's door until you find the right one. This current one of our's is on staff at a major teaching hospital, a children's hospital and local university. I had to wait three months for an appointment but I felt if he was that popular then it was worth the wait. And it was!

Jul 20, 2011
My Daughter is the Same
by: Crystal C.

At home, by 8 year old daugher, with Bi-Polar, Sensory Processing Disorder and Non-Verbal Learning Disability can be an absolute angel at school, as long as her programming is in place. At home, it is a different story all together. She is an absolute terror and very unsafe. I believe that the school thinks it is something with our parenting. That a diagnoses is there, and may be accurate, but that we don't have the right routine, or try hard enough. Our people say that she is doing everything she can to hold it together during the day and then just explodes at night, where she knows she is safe, love, and more comfortable.

For what its worth...

May 31, 2011
A Big "Us Too"
by: Kristi

We have been trying for years to find out what is going on with our soon to be 9yr old daughter, same scenerio, verbally abusive to me, her father, grandparents (only the maternal ones though, b/c she is w/ them more often, her little sister at times but most of the abuse gets pushed onto her brother 17mos her junoir. We are on constant eggshells at home with this child, the entire family. At school since she was 2 yr old in preschool they tell us how quiet she is, how respectful, same thing, she'd bottle it up, shut down and tune out and then just BLOW at home. We are still trying desperately to get appropriate meds and diagnosis. We too have LONG list of mentally ill relatives, I am convinced I have ADHD as well and just never diagnosed, there have been 3 people for certain w/ bi polar disorder and 2 suicides in our family (my aunt, husband's uncle) and drug abuse (self-medication) run galore. One therapist did say they can at this age still turn it off when needed but as they get older, the true issues will continue to show their ugly head, even in environments like school. Good Luck and God Bless, we are right therre w/ you.

May 14, 2010
bp only at home with mom
by: Connie

This is very common. I had so many people including professionals judge me. Why would she act like that with mom and not outside the home? It is a terrible feeling for a mom to have...you continuously dought yourself. As my daughter grew up...the behaviors did come out with others and in other settings. The right medication cocktial is important and a good therapist that gets bp in kids. Hang in there...it does get better.

Feb 04, 2010
by: Daisy

OMG Yes! They can hide these behaviors. What I have found out having a 12 yr old diagnosed for past seven years with bipolar,ocd and odd. And I have a hard time wrapping my head around this fact but know it true is that at school for instance they dont want the teacher or other students to see how they are. They want to be like the other kids or are embarrased. And when they go to other parents or grand parents on the weekends they hide with all their might. Then.....the fun begins when they get home from school or from the weekend they meltdown and sometimes bigtime. They use all their energy and might to keep this in and sometimes are frustrated by teachers and others that when they get home where they feel safe they let it all out. Through the past years and with good therapy and coping strategies the meltdowns have gotten way better. Good luck to you.

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my horror story any tips?

by Jennifer

Hi my name is Jennifer and i am a mother to two girls I have a 4 year old that is turning five in February on the 4th and I have a 2 year old . When my oldest daughter turned 2 years old she started showing signs of extreme problems but i never thought that things would ever get as bad as they have gotten. She was diagnosed as adhd when she was 3 years old and they started her on meds and that's when things just got worse and worse now we deal with daily fits that are as many as 4 to 8 or even more depending on the day. She ties any string she can find around her neck like a noose and has done this to her sister as well. She has tried drowning our cat. I get up every morning and put my whole house back together because she gets up before everyone and destroys as much as she can. We have a door with a lock on our kitchen to keep her out because if not she will climb and eat anything that is sugar or carbs. She will play with the knives and she will even get in to the meds that are locked away and take them as many as she can without getting caught. Now note we have all these things locked a away. She picks locks or climbs to get this and she won't quit until she gets there we .

She has been put in a behavioral center because she has tried killing herself and her sister all in the same morning and they told me that they didn't see anything outside of normal four year old behavior but yet when she was throwing fits there she was doing just like she does at home and was beating her head in to the floor and they diagnosed her with a mood disorder. This is a little girl that has extreme rage and anger. She has told everyone in our family that she hates them and will go out of her way to hurt herself or other people or pets. So I finally got referred to a physiatrist and they are saying because she doesn't act out at school that it must be because of my way of parenting and have given us what is called a case counselor that comes to our home and tries giving use tips on how to deal with her fits . but nothing has worked I have taken 5 different parenting classes even one two three magic nothing works and i am really at a point i don't know what to do the doctor they have sent us to doesn't want to prescribe her anything to help her and has flat out told me that she's not going to , and that she doesn't see how giving me a diagnoses is going to help me and everywhere else I have gone doesn't take children her age. As life is right now I'm scared that i am going to wake up one morning and find both of my girls dead... Because I can't find anyone to take me seriously.

Hi Jennifer, this is a terrible story and you sound overwhelmed and frustrated, understandably. It certainly sounds like your child needs help that she is not getting. t saddens me to hear how you are unfairly blamed by professionals and how they continue to use was seem to be ineffective techniques. I am unclear about what part of the country you are in, but if you send me some information here kristmcclur@aol.com, I will see if I know anyone who can work with you. Additionally I am going to post this and see if any other parents may be willing to offer some advice.



Comments for my horror story any tips?

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Dec 22, 2015
Your Horror Story is my Horror Story NEW
by: Anonymous

your horror story is my horror story. I'm so sorry. I know your pain. This is a helpless feeling. I'm from your area and I'm finding no help also. We have been blamed over and over. This is painful to hear when we are watching our daughter suffer and suffering ourselves. I wish I had some tips but knowing someone is in the trenches living this horror may be sort of supportive. I know how lonely this can feel.

Sep 17, 2015
Tips for Kristen NEW
by: Anonymous

Kristen, as a mother of a daughter with a mood disorder, I know how it can destroy your life. I found that if I prayed and asked God to help me love HER like He loves HER maybe I could see past the terrible fits and abuse and somehow continue to parent her like a loving parent should. Remember that you are not perfect and you will have days that you fail her... forgive yourself. You are doing your best. Not all professionals will discount your story, those with knowledge of mood disorders will believe you. Keep fighting each day and try to take care of yourself somewhere in the middle of this storm. May God show His grace to get you through as he has me for 16 years. Hugs. Tonya

Sep 15, 2015
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Sep 08, 2015
Informative post NEW
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I am sad to know what your daughter is going through, better change your house. I have read the tips these are really very useful.
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Mar 22, 2014
Look for others - Place an ad! NEW
by: Jen

I wish that when mine was young I'd placed an ad for a play group of similar-minded children and their parents. (Just if you do this don't allow them to drop their kids off.) It could have been something to help all of us, throughout the years, giving them all kids to actually work through their issues. It isn't too late for you, though.
By the way, at 4 years old mine told me she needed help but couldn't explain why, until she was almost 5. She said "You know north, south, east, west? Well, it's like they're all running around in circles in my brain." (Racing Thoughts.) She also said she felt like being dead and proceeded to explain what death was. I was ignoring her until she finally tried to end it herself by running out in front of oncoming traffic. I called and got her help right away.

PS You know what you could do, would be to contact the girl scouts organization - the real one, not a local chapter - and ask how you could start one for special emotional needs. Helping the little ones work towards goals could be a big boost for them. And you could meet kids with autism, aspbergers, etc.

Mar 22, 2014
Look for others - Place an ad! NEW
by: Jen

I wish that when mine was young I'd placed an ad for a play group of similar-minded children and their parents. (Just if you do this don't allow them to drop their kids off.) It could have been something to help all of us, throughout the years, giving them all kids to actually work through their issues. It isn't too late for you, though.
By the way, at 4 years old mine told me she needed help but couldn't explain why, until she was almost 5. She said "You know north, south, east, west? Well, it's like they're all running around in circles in my brain." (Racing Thoughts.) She also said she felt like being dead and proceeded to explain what death was. I was ignoring her until she finally tried to end it herself by running out in front of oncoming traffic. I called and got her help right away.

Aug 06, 2012
don't give up! NEW
by: Anonymous

It seems common to me to blame the parent. I am not sure why. This happened to me and a few others I know about when our kids did need help.

I encourage you to keep plugging at it until you will find someone who will listen.

I am in southern IN And my son see's Dr. Griffen (psy)and Dr. Daily(psy). Also, Dr.Todd Baxter In Columbus Indiana. He is a pediatrician.

Hope this helps.

Jan 18, 2012
help NEW
by: Camma

Hi Jennifer,
Your story made me really sad and angry at the same time. How could so many Dr.s think this is a parenting issue?! That makes me furious. The fact that she is trying to harm herself and others is enough to know that this is much more.
Though my daughter was not as aggressive as yours I went through similar problems with having her diagnosed. My daughter, who is now almost 11 had issues ever since she was 4. She had uncontrollable fits that started off as harmless and then as she grew older she began to take her anger out on me and would physically attack me anytime she didnt get her way or when she was just angry for no reason. I was also told that this was a "parenting issue" (by her pediatrician)and that I needed to take control and discipline her more. I also tried counseling (which didn't help) and was told the same thing "its a parenting issue." her agression only got worse as she got bigger and I didn't know what to do. She would hit me as hard as she could, Kick me, try to bite me, and grab and pull at my breasts trying to hurt me, she would then flop on the floor and throw an all out tantrum for hours at a time, she would throw things, punch and kick holes in doors and she even kicked out the windsheild in my car one day while we were driving on the freeway. So,after the kicking in of the windsheild I thought " this is nuts, why won't any of the Dr.s do anything?" So the next day I called and made an apt with her new pediatricain (her old one had retired). I sat down with here and told her everything that had been going on. She then told me "this isnt right, here is the number to a child psychologist that you need to take her to as soon as you can." I took her to this new Dr. and he then told me that it sounded like my daughter was bi-polar (this runs in my family and her dads family). He started her on Zyprexa for bipolar and Prozac for depression. We had to do a little tweaking with the dosages but after a few months she was a totally different kid and she hasn't acted like that since. Now I am battling ADHD with my son who is out of control with his anger and at this point and I'm wondering if he is also bipolar. He has an apt tomorrow with the child pyschologist so we will see what he says. Oh I forgot to mention that just like your daughter, my daughter only acted up like this at home with me and her dad, we were told its because its where she felt the safest to act like herself.
I know I am not a Dr, just a Mom with my own experience but it sounds like your daughter may be bipolar and maybe even ADHD. I hope you find a good Dr. for her to evaluate her. Your family deserves a happy life! I know it's tough being told over and over that its a parenting issue but just keep going! Good thoughts are with you and please feel free to email me if you want. I am not sure if we are in the same city or not but I would be more than happy to give our Dr.s name to you. cammajones@gmail.com

Jan 18, 2012
Sending Prayers NEW
by: Sharon

Hi Jennifer!

My heart aches for you! I am no medical expert but from what you describe you daughter sounds to be like she might be bipolar. I only say this because I have a 7 year old that is and can relate to your many issues. I don't know where you live but I am in South Carolina and my daughter has a wonderful psychiatrist and therapist. Feel free to email me if you ever want to vent or share stories. skb33@bellsouth.net I will keep you in my prayers! God bless.


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Questions about bipolar teen

by Alice

This is a continuation of a previous question I sent you, Kristen. I was thinking last night. When do you know if the therapy your child is going to is helping?

I know that sounds like it should be obvious, but sometimes I just don't know if what she is doing is related to her diagnosis or being a teen or what. She has been going to a therapist every week for over a year. She is better this year but still doesn't seem to recognize that she has control over her actions, and doesn't take responsibility of herself. I like her therapist -he is kind and calm, has good reputation etc. But it is costing me so much money, ( doesn't take insurance). I hate to start over, I don't want to hurt his feelings( ok I know that's silly but it does cross my mind)

Like I said before she is skipping classes, always an excuse and her story doesnt usually match the teachers. She is respectful to the teachers just doesn't do her work. She told me she cant stay in the class if she is bored, on the other hand she cant stay in the class if she hasnt taken her Vyvanse because she cant pay attention (?) How to I find the right Psychiatrist - the one she sees now seems ok, but he asks her how she is doing, she says ok. No big problems. So is that enough? Is this as good as I can expect? This sure is a lonely disease for parents.
Thanks for listening
Dtr 17 with BP, ADD


Please forgive me as I have 600 submissions to sort through! They don't get filed by date and I realize you have really been pushed to the bottom.

This is a really good question. How do you know if therapy is helping your child? I think a regular dialog should occur with the therapist!

I will often ask to meet with parents for updates or to give updates and we review the treatment plan, talk about expectations, talk about what therapy can do, and examine future goals. If possible!

Children don't always make progress in therapy just like adults don't always either. It has to do with therapist fit, but also client motivation.

It's a good question to ask!

Please update us.


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by Lisa B
(Gastonia, NC)

My son is currently 12 years old and is going through a very rough time in his life. He was diagnosed at the age of 8 when he tried to murder his brother. He was admitted into the hospital where they took him off all of his meds that he was on for ADHD. This is when we noticed that he was bipolar. While in the hospital, he busted a light bulb and started cutting himself with it. He would take his fists and beat his legs to the point that he had about 30 bruises on them.

Since being diagnosed, he has been isolated from most of his friends and even his family. His father has abandoned him, he doesn't do well in school, and he has a very difficult time making friends. He doesn't seem to fit in with anyone. He is constantly picked on by his classmates, and just gets really depressed about the entire situation.

I try my best to have him involved in every possible thing there is to be in. He is active in sports, plays in the school band, and is in charge of a lot of chores at home. This responsibility is teaching him that he has to overcome his illness and move on in life. Life isn't fair, nor does it give you a good hand when it is dealt.

The good thing that I can say about the bipolar is that it has allowed him to open up to me and talk to me about more things that other kids wouldn't dare share with their parents. I have to remember that God made him just the way that he is. We are not all perfect, and I try to remind myself of that daily.

The best advice that I could give, is to hang in there, talk to your child, make them feel like they are important, but at the same time, you must teach them right from wrong behavior.

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Feb 25, 2009
Another Gastonia Mom
by: Elizabeth

I too live in Gastonia and have a son dxed with BIpolar. His is a recent dx (Sept.) and he is 15. He took ADHD meds for a few months before the real trouble started. At first they seemed to work! I don't know if there is a way for us all here to contact one another, but I would like to know more about good drs, therapists, and the hospital in Gastonia, if you have any experience with them. Thanks for sharing your story! God bless you and your son!

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a very temperamental toddler

by Valerie
(Jersey City, NJ)

My daughter is 3 yrs old and has these very bad tantrums. Only thing is she has been having these tantrums since she was at least 1yrs old and at that age it wasn't as bad as it is now. Some nights when she is asleep she will throw a very bad tantrum in her sleep and i will try to calm her down but she will literally fight me the whole entire time. It scares me because she doesn't look the same her eyes turn red and they look glossy which is nerve racking.

Nowadays if I or my mother tell her no she can't do something she goes on a complete rampage she won't stop fighting it lasts for at least a hour, she kicks, screams, swings her arms and tries to bite. I still can't figure out exactly whats wrong with her and I am very worried. I want to know if anyone has experienced something of this nature with their child and if so what steps do I begin taking?

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Nov 06, 2015
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Not Alone...

by Kristy DePasquale
(Saugerties, NY USA)

Dear Friends,

As much as I am saddened that other families have, or are going through similar trauma like my own, it comforts me to read your comments, and know that my family is not alone. I think feeling alone is the most challenging piece of this whole anomaly.

At least here, in the vast, overstuffed space of Cyberworld, we can listen to each other and share the pains that have literally rotted our souls, and in many cases...destroyed our families.

I look forward to writing again... and reading any responses. However if there are no responses, I certainly know it's because we all are riddled with more complicated feelings that we sometimes...can't articulate into words.

~Be well

Kristy D.
Saugerties, NY


Thanks so much for sharing this!

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I Finally have some Help with my Adopted Child.

by Katie

I am a single mother who has a child with both Bipolar disorder and ADHD diagnosis since age 5. I have struggled to find help with him in the mornings before school and evenings after school until I return from work.My child was in a day treatment program for 2 years with before and after school care but they only went up to kindergarten.

DayCare before and after school was always risky because of his behavior for which they had little tolerance.Transitions are also difficult for my child.

I recently found out that the Medicaid program will cover a State Tested Nurses Aid or Certified Nurses Aid during the hours I need them. My son has Medicaid through his adoption in our state.

Hi Katie:

That is great news that you found out about the medicaid program covering that help for you! In North Carolina, medicaid is often the insurance that pays for the most care.

If you have private insurance you are usually at a disadvantage because it wont cover many services and has high copays and deductibles for the services they do cover.

One disadvantage to having medicaid is that not many providers will accept the insurance because of its low reimbursement rate and random paperwork requirements.

In North Carolina all children who have been adopted from this country are given medicaid and sometimes other funds to help with the cost of a special needs child.

Thanks so much for sharing that positive news!

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3.5 year old possibly bipolar?

by Katie
(Northbrook, IL)

My son is 3.5 years old and has so much anger in him for apparently no reason. The smallest things make him angry. He also has anxiety issues, about being alone, being in the dark, bugs, tornadoes, cracks on the wall etc.

The anger is the real issue, and it seems to turn on and off like a light switch. One second he will tell me that he "is not my friend, and I don't like you" or daddy or whomever he chooses that that moment. The next second he's telling us that he loves us and our family and wants to cuddle.

He throws things when he's angry, but doesn't destroy anything (yet, I'm afraid of it though). When he gets angry he yells, clenches his fists and shakes. Pretty much nothing will calm him down, he just has to decide that he's done raging. I used to think he just had a "strong will" but its out of control.

My father has been diagnosed as bipolar, and I believe that my brother has some of the same tendencies. My son is very intelligent and can concentrate on things that seem out of his age range. He has a great imagination, but it seems to scare him because he imagines things so vividly sometimes, especially at night.

He's addicted to apple juice...I always water it down. If I don't have it or snacks on hand at all times, it will always, without exception trigger a meltdown.

He is a happy kid otherwise, and our home is stable. He loves his friends (when he's not angry), loves church and the part time daycare he attends. There is no alcoholism, etc in our family.

I'm just afraid he will grow up like my father who does not lead a very fulfilling life because he has not appropriately treated his illness. Help!


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My 3yr old possible bipolar child

by Anonymous
(Indianapolis, IN)

My daughter is 3yrs old and can be as sweet as an angel but within seconds can act as the devil. It's hard trying to go places because I don't know how she is going to act. She seems to be highly irritated and no matter what I do as punishment she doesn't care. She pulls her hair out, destroys whatever is in sight, clenches her teeth together, screams and hits me. At night time she gets energetic and happy and doesn't want to sleep. When she does fall asleep she has night terrors and screams and yells and sometimes sleep walks through the house with tantrums. It is hard to get her up in the morning and most of the time she is a grouch. Everything has to be her way or no way. I have a 5 year old son who never has acted this way. As her mother I know something just isn't right. I took her to her pediatrician and she destroyed the room we were in at the doctors office and kept telling me she hated me. She also stripped all of her clothes off. She seems to do this with every tantrum. Everything bothers her. THe seat belt in the car, her clothes have to be just right, etc. It's just hard because sometimes she can go with friends or family and be so sweet. They say oh nothing is wrong with her. It seems that no one understands. But I am the one who sees all this the most and I know it's not "normal" toddler behavior. I'm so stressed and just don't know what to do. I don't want to have to dope her up on medications but it is impossible to deal with.

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Jun 11, 2011
Sensory Processing Disorder
by: Bobbi

Look up Sensory Processing (or Integration) Disorder. It sounds similar to that!

Apr 25, 2011
bi polar
by: Anonymous

My daughter was almost just like yours. She didnt take her clothes off, but she was so defient. And she could change her mood like a light switch! She is now 10, I was always passing it off as something else. But its now to the point that it is getting more difficult to deal with the older she gets. I took her to see a counsoler last week, and she was diagnosed with bi polar. I was devstated. I still am not sure what to do. But get as much info as possible and take it day to day. It is so hard to deal with the ups an downs. I wish you luck in your journey. There is hope out there. Its not your fault!

Mar 06, 2011
by: Anonymous

my daughter is 4 and since i can remember she is exactly the same way!!!! let me know if you find out any more info cuz i have tried have her assessed when she was about 2.5 because she was sooooooo difficult and they said that she had behavioral issues but they could not give a diagnosis!

Mar 03, 2011
by: Anonymous

Could be autism or aspergers. The sensitivity to clothing and perfectionistic tendencies...those are signs. If your pediatrician cant help, call your county health nurse for guidance on where to get her assessed.

Mar 03, 2011
by: Anonymous

Could be autism or aspergers. The sensitivity to clothing and perfectionistic tendencies...those are signs. If your pediatrician cant help, call your county health nurse for guidance on where to get her assessed.

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Advice needed please ??

by Maternalmum

My 9 year old daughter has just been diagnosed with stress induced bi polar.

My question is really to find out if i should pull her out of her school for a period of time while she adjusts to her medication, (she experiences additional stress with her peers which adds to her trauma) or to change her school completely once she stabilizes??

She developed bi polar after an avo was issued to her father for assaulting her older brother. She has felt isolated in her community and by her fathers family who refuse to maintain a relationship with her since the AVO was issued to her father by police.

She's labelled a bully at school and just wants to change schools and move away where no one knows anything about her.

Ive been told that her condition could be temporary, and have been informed of something called the "kindling phenomena" which has been described to me, that with every manic episode, it causes additional problems in her brain..so I want to do anything I can to prevent her from developing bi polar permanently.

Has anyone, any advice to give me? This is all so new to me.

Hi Mom

I am posting this on my site and several others. I can tell you I haven't ever heard of what you are talking about, but it may be the way you are explaining it.

The kindling effect comes from our understanding epilepsy and essentially what it means is that an episode set off by stress ( mania) can eventually be triggered without the stress( the brain becomes primed for the episode more easily). However, bipolar is bipolar, so I haven't ever heard of it not being permanent.

We do believe that each episode seems to make another episode more likely. The kindling effect has some different explanations and it's just a name given to help us understand how the illness is triggered. I think you may have misunderstood how it was explained. I am going to put this out there to see what kind of response we get. Additionally, I think that the school issue may be one that you can update us on before anyone shares their ideas with you.

Thanks for asking that question.

Good Luck and I hope you get some helpful responses.


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My sister was diagnosed with bipolar. They say it's genetic, does that mean that I can develop it? I'm 32 years old. Do my children have a chance of developing it too?

by Mollie
(Chicago, il)

My sister was diagnosed bipolar 1 after the birth of her child. I had never heard of bipolar before this. Now I fear that myself or my children can develop this disorder. Would I already see signs in myself or children aged 6 and 8, if bipolar was something we had? The whole experience was very scary and I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.

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Dec 19, 2016

by: Kristen

Hi Mollie

Sometimes one person can have bipolar disorder in the family and others may not. We believe it depends on a variety of things: such as the stress a person is under, the strengths they may have, and other factors such as events that happen in their life. For your children, it may be important to look at their father and his family history of mental health issues. I wouldn't worry about it necessarily, but I would carefully watch your children for signs of depression and anxiety and get them to proper treatment if these symptoms become intrusive in their daily lives.

As it pertains to you, I would also seek care and help if you begin to feel signs of anxiety or depression. However, there is no reason to think that just because your sister has the illness, anyone else in the family will necessarily suffer from it.

I hope this has been helpful.


Kristen McClure

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by Sharron

I have guardianship of my 9 year old grandson (Blake). He is such a joy in my life. He has lived with me since he was 6. Blake has always been hyper even as a baby he was very active. I just thought he was a typical boy.Anyhow things began to change, he could not focus in school. Yelled, would not stay in his seat and was continually talking out of turn.
He was put on Welbutrin shortly after I took him due to severe depression from being separated from his mother I suppose at the time.
During Blake's first grade year he was placed into the learning disability class because he was so far behind in his class. He was then put on Ritalin in hopes that this would calm him down. It took his teacher and I most of the year to get this done but finally he was placed and his grades began to climb.
His 2nd grade teacher noticed that Blake did very well in his class and decided that he needed to be in regular class. So we made the decision to take him out of the LD class. By then Blake was taken off of Ritalin and put on Adderall. He took this med thru the rest of 2nd grade and most of 3rd grade.
Third grade seem to be a nightmare for me and the teacher. Although he caused no trouble at school and he is probably one of the most liked child in the school system. He is one of those kids that everyone knows and likes. Anyhow Blake is having a terrible time focusing, staying seated and talking out of place. I took him yet again to his family Dr and he was then placed on Concerta 72 mg this did not work alone so 2 mg of Intuitive was added this helped late morning but in the early am he was still out of control so now there is a 3rd medicine added 10mg of ritalin. These 3 meds together seem to do the trick. But are we over dosing him making it worse? So on a recent visit to his Dr for a check up, She decides he needs to see a specialist for ADHD disorder. Upon this visit a whole 15 minutes the so called specialist said that Blake had some sever psych problems and he was probably Bipolar.

As I have read up on this He does not fit alot of the symptoms of being Bipolar. Not saying that he is not though. Dr said Blakes situation was way out of his spectrum. So now we are waiting for an appointment to see a psych specialist for a complete evaluation.

I am wondering if this would be the correct course of action for this little guy. I cry at nights just worrying about him. He is one of the sweetest little guys you would ever want to know. He loves life and animals.

He is a loner if put into a room full of children it gets him nervous and he wants to play alone. He does not like taking directions very well he tends to know it all.
Is the meds that he is taking too much or is it normal for that amount?

Hi Sharron

Diagnosing a young child with bipolar disorder is a complicated process. Please be careful and wary of advice you are given and make sure you get a second opinion. If your medication combination is working, and he is sleeping and calm not depressed and agitated, I would simply talk to your current medication prescribe to determine normal dosages for your child and to learn the possible side effects.

Good luck

Kristen McClure

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by laura
(canton oh)

I have an 8 year old boy named Micah. As a baby Micah was incredibly sweet, and loving. He was a "perfect child" He was smart beyond his years, could read form 4th grade readers at age 5.Around age 3, Micah began having some issues in preschool where he would climb up on the book shelves or hide under tables.

I figured "he's 3..." And did not really think much of it. By the time he was 5, he had been kicked out of 4 daycare s for repeatedly assaulting staff members.Diagnosed with ADHD. I home schooled him in kindergarten. I placed in in a Montessori school in first grade he did well academically, but would physically assault the teachers and students, run from them, throw furniture.. he was then diagnosed with ODD. By age 7 he was diagnosed "ADHD, conduct disorder, mood disorder otherwise unspecified" I was told that they would not diagnose the mood disorder at his age.was placed in a class for severe behavior, where they are trained to restrain him now has has an IEP.

I have had to cut back to working weekends only due to daily calls from the school, frequent Dr visits,counseling 3 days a week, no day cares that will accept him....so it has been a financial drain as well. We are pending a disability case.

At home it is unbearable. generally, when I ask him to get his homework done, bath, brush teeth, etc... I am faced with a blowout lasting hours. He will topple over the furniture puch holes in walls, throw the drawers from his dresser. Jump on my computer desk, slam my key board. Physically hurt me.

This goes on for hours. Sometimes resulting in police being called. Then after 3 or 4 hours. As quickly as he began he will crawl up on the couch with me and its all love...as if the past 4 hours never happened. My house ripped to shreds daily within an hour of him being home. I am mentally burnt out and barely able to get through each day. He has also threatened to kill himself and family. His room no matter how often we clean it... is just horrible.

We had to remove the door, and all locks from the doors in our home fearing he would lock himself in or us in or out...Everything little thing sets him off, we have to walk on eggshells as not to trigger him. He has been on stimulants that sent him into even more powerful rages, then strattera, which at first seemed to help some... but the longer he has been on it..he has begun to regress.

Last week, my sister was diagnosed with bipolar, and I found out my grandmother had it, lights began flahing in my head...I go to the doctors today and will demand that he be tested for bipolar or I will go to another dr. I KNOW my child has bipolar. I feel like so much time has been wasted and he has lost so much of his childhood, Our family has been ripped apart,due to a wrong diagnosis.

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Apr 16, 2009
I'm scared too
by: deb

I am so sorry for your family. It's like no one is listening when we know that there is something wrong with our child, or grandchild in my case. My grandson is nearly 3 and my son has had full custody of him since he was 6 mo old. The reason he was given full custody is because the baby's mother was put in prison for trying to kill him and my son. She did all kinds of drugs while pregnant with kyler, she is also bi-polar and taking the drugs to only made her behavior worse. Now I and my son are seeing evidence of bi-polar signs in kyler. Plus the fact of what the drugs did to him in the womb. We don't know what to expect next. He is in trouble at day care everyday. We are concerned what will happen in the future if he is already acting out in day care. I do daily research trying to get him help. I had a nervous breakdown after , kyler's mother tried to murder him and my son. But, We are determined to keep trying to find help for kyler. Every day is becoming quite a battle and sleeping all night is just not going to happen, because of all the worry we go thru over kyler's problem. I don't understand how a mother could take chances with drugs and an unborn child. and then try to kill her own baby. I am just sick about it. My prayers, and thoughts are with you and your family and I'm sorry if I ranted to much about the problems we are facing I guess I just needed tp vent to someone going thru the same thing as we are. Keep searching there has got to be help out there some where. God Bless

Apr 07, 2009
update on Micah
by: Anonymous

At his dr appointment they still refused to diagnose him, they also are set against mood altering drugs because of the effects it has on the body. They said if I absolutely insist they will do it, but they are not comfortable with the drugs for a child his age.So he remains on strattera. His behavior is bizarre at times, very young for his age other times violent, then he can be so sweet and loving. I know its gonna take some time to get him the help he needs, hopefully when he gets his court date for his disability case, I can afford some better therapy for him. I have a few thing in mind but they are not under our insurance and cost quite a bit more than we can afford right now. So its kind of wait and see right now..

Apr 07, 2009
by: Anonymous

We had a similar situation to the point where we had to place our daughter in a theuraputic home after 7 months she came home and now things are really bad again. No DR. suggested medication at the time! Now she in on Verapril and she is better but we are not there yet. When they are children you can not get a clear diagnosis of bi-polar this comes out more in late teens and adults. What doctors do now is medicate according to the symptoms. Clearly, this has shown up in other members of your family and is a good possibility. Also, he needs a mood altering medication. He will not learn, behave properly or treat you well without some drug intervention. Also no one will have him in their school unless he is medicated. this is for his own good. You need to be his advocate and do whatever you have to do see 10 doctors if that is necessary but this child is in desperate need of medication. With my daughter they wanted to put her back into the home. We wanted to go the medication route and if she was in place before going to the home she may not have had to go in the first place. Good luck and best wishes.

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Really hard work with no reward

My daughter Is now 15 and has been a very difficult child since she was a baby. Her father was bi polar and after we split up when my daughter was 6 wks old he went on to become a drug addict and committed suicide years later when my daughter was 9. His mother is also bi polar and one of his brothers is schizophrenic and the other severely non verbal autistic.
My daughter didn't have anything to do with this family growing up- her father attempted to get access a couple of times but failed as he couldn't manage to follow the process involved in order to complete the courts requirements. He also failed drug tests and his psych reports said he wasn't always taking his medication.
As my daughter got older she got more and more difficult to manage at home and eventually, at school. She was VERY emotional and every tiny thing that happened became a HUGE drama. Her teachers described her as imposing and very often defensive and rude. She formed good relationships with a few teachers and firmly despised the rest. She resisted most attempts to help her succeed at school- saying that teachers and I were trying to control her when study times etc were suggested to improve school grades. There was one school term that she didn't resist and things went smoothly and her teachers and I was so proud of her- that was mid yr 8- she was given heaps of praise and rewards but after that, despite regular psychologist appointments and keeping in contact with her teachers and encouragingher at home, things went downhill. The school offered her a lot of special musical opportunities but she still struggled with the authority and twisted the opportunities they gave her by saying the school was "using" her by asking her to perform at school concerts etc - to make the school look good. This was not the case- but in her mind, everyone had an ulterior motive. She was suspicious of everyone.

After taking part in the school musical, which was a great experience, she started to just stop getting up in the morning before school. As my husband and I both worked full time and also have a young son, it was extremely difficult to get her to school. We tried everything- talking nicely, encouraging, bribing, withdrawing privileges, screaming, crying and at one point, when she was lying in bed telling me to get f@&$@d, smacking. I spoke to her psychologist- age said it was anxiety. I spoke to the school, they said that she was rude and uncooperative- I said- I just want her at school- even if she is in time out- they said if she didn't want to be there and go by the rules, they wouldn't have her there- and at one meeting, after I had convinced her to get out of bed and into her uniform - they actually sent her home!

It was so hard as all the time I was advocating for her at school. Half the time I was coping abuse from her at home- verbal and physical.
Her loyalties were non existent- it was whoever was in the good books at the time- ger affection was over the top and non genuine- so very hard to reciprocate when we knew the next day we would be dropped like a brick and sworn at or scratched and hit.

She was resistant to any consequence given for poor behavior. One time, I took her phone of her as a consequence for not going to school so the next day she got up no problems and then promptly went to the school nun and told her that I was physically abusing her. She came home and told my mother in law that she was also in trouble because she knew about the abuse and hadn't done anything. My mother in law, disgusted that such lies had been told was very angry with her and yelled and said - your mother does everything for you and you treat her like rubbish. With that my daughter said- well you'll
be sorry when they take your precious grandson away too.

Nothing happened about the claim that she had made- all I think is that the nun knew that I was trying so hard to help and that my daughter was known for telling lies.

After this, I didn't react to it at all as I knew any attention about it would be a win on her part. I did however react by getting her mentally assessed- I was told their was nothing wrong with her- It was suggested that I get some parenting education sessions (which I had already accessed myself- that I knew there was SOMETHING wrong and didn't want to discount my influence) and some relationship counseling. After following this advice

Life was still pretty much impossible when it came to my daughter. She did everything she could to try and manipulate friends and family and start arguments. Thank goodness most of my friends and family were used to her behavior and ignored it. I continued to take her to regular psychology appointments- changing psychologists as we both agreed the first one hadn't been that helpful even though she had been attending over two years.

Halfway through the year, my daughter went to visit my brothers family. She filled them up with a big story about how hard done by she was at home and how she had been abused and neglected. My brother called me, concerned. I explained what had been going on. They said they were happy to have her for 6 months to "try get her back On track". I think they may have thought it was just bad parenting.

During the 6 months she was there, she drained every once of energy out Of both my brother and sister in law. It Only took a week before she let her rage out at my SIL. My sister in law was completely taken aback and left shaking. She went on to argue about consequences but sometimes behave perfectly. Her personal hygiene became an issue- she was supposedly showing sometimes but when she came home on a weekend for a visit, she smelt that bad I couldn't stand it- I took her to the shops and bought new underwear, deodorant and shower gel. My SIL knew about it and has discussed it with her many times with no change- so had decided to let natural consequences take their course and wait til the kids at school told her.

Eventually, despite some very good behavior for some of the time, after being not allowed to come home for the weekend she went to school, went to the teachers, told stories of my brother and SIL treating her badly and not letting her call me and also said that they were withholding food from her. All of which was not true of course. She denied telling the school any of this, even though the school had called me to discuss it.
After the 6 months, she came home- and that's when the trouble really began. She started at a new school. Down the road from our house- she didn't want to go back to the old one- she said it was too strict.

I spoke to someone at the school about the problems we had had- but sadly my message didn't get to the right ppl . I'd asked to be contacted if she wasn't at school- and I wasn't. She got in with a horrible crowd and made friends with every kid down the street that didn't go to school. She got into smoking drinking and dabbled in drugs. By this time I'd taken her to another psychologist who was great and saw her regularly, but he said the sessions were used for constant crisis management and there was never time to get to the important stuff. I respected this and found a psychotherapist trained in attachment disorder.

My daughter started going missing- we reported her missing five times until one time, she ended up With her therapist on the weekend- and then went into foster are as age refused to come home. At the beginning of the year, a few months before, we had taken get to a pediatrician who medicated her for anxiety, and the after a few appointments and a bit of info about what had been happening, decides that mood stabilizers were in order. He explained to me that in Australia, she can't be diagnosed with bipolar before she is 18, but that she was showing many indicators, so was most likely evolving bipolar.

My daughter told child protection that I had been abusing her, and my husband and I are currently going through court to sort out what will happen to her. We can't have her back in our house as she is abusive and violent and our little boy is scared of her. It's an impossible situation.

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May 01, 2019
That is truly a difficult situation
by: Kate

Hi,just wanted you to know that I am really sorry to hear about your situation. I hope that somehow, some.way your situation improves.
Sincerely, Kate

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Little girl in the closet

by Dave H.
(Seattle, WA)

I met and fell deeply in love with a woman who suffers from BPD. I did not know this at the start of our relationship, however I learned along the way with her behavior patterns and at one or two points she suggested having this condition, and even mentioned "cycling" in the context of a situation we had been in at one point.

She also told me in confidence that she was a "little girl in the closet" and at one point allowed me the privilege of joining her but at a later date angrily denied me that privilege. I have a personal theory that this was an emotional response to some childhood trauma but it is a layman's educated guess here and not based upon any evidence.

Her mood swings were dramatic, quick and changed just as quickly. When she became emotionally irritated she would flee, literally, walking away or driving her vehicle.
She is a lovely, extremely bright and educated woman, quite personable and with a good sense of right and wrong, but this untreated condition destroyed our relationship and most likely was the cause of dissolving her long-term marriage, prior to our having met.

She never seemed to genuinely warm up to people but was personable. There always seemed to be a wall between us in that way. She was hyper sexual which is a common trait apparently, but was faithful while in the relationship but extremely flirtatious.

Our relationship was passionate - to extremes. I was prodded and tested constantly to feed her ego and I had to maintain an air of calm at all times. It was a roller coaster romance for certain and emotionally exhausting most of the time.

I love her, do not judge her, miss her but know that she has great difficulty in maintaining relationships with men. She's now in a new relationship and so no longer under my kindly influence and I do worry that she is well.
Our contact is very infrequent and simply by email. This has dwindled down to nothing over the past year that we have been separated... she never accepted the fact that she needed to get back on her meds.

No questions to ask but wanted to share this... partners of those with BPD have to have a lot of strength and inner resolve to make this work.

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Mar 09, 2017
Blessed Mother NEW
by: SLK

Thank you for sharing that story. It describes my daughter to a T. Her fiancee has been the greatest rock in her life. He can read her moods and is able to anticipate the swings. She works with experimental drugs and is only having a few big episodes a year, now. It's a difficult road for a partner. I have been doing it for over 25 years with her father. 2 months ago he finally got help and meds. I cannot express the difference and calm in our house. I currently live with 2 bipolar family members and they are both on meds for their symptoms. Encourage treatment. It will make all the difference in the world.

Dec 19, 2016

by: Kristen

Thank You for sharing this helpful and insightful story. Many people can benefit from it.


Kristen McClure

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Is it ADHD and Bipolar in my grandson who is 3?

by Lisa
(Surprise, AZ)

My daughter, who has bipolar, had my grandson when she was 16. He is now 3. At 6 mo. old he started having night terrors. Irrational screaming & crying lasting as long as 15 to 30 minutes. He seemed oblivious to our attempts at comforting him. Since then he developed sleep problems. Abt a year ago he had a time where he stayed up nearly 36 hrs. straight with only 2 catnaps of an hour or so! He would wake up in the middle of the night and behave as if he had a full nights sleep and was ready to start a new day. His dr. diagnosed him bi-polar but was hesitant to put him on any medication. Out of sheer exhaustion on our part, he prescribed him o.1 mg of clonidine which calms him down enough to fall asleep. However, this does not mean he will stay asleep for a full nights rest. He may go to bed at 8:30 and wake up in the middle of the night and want to watch a movie or something on tv. We try to get him to just lay back down and relax but not always successfully.

He is extremely intelligent. He never baby talked. Had full out conversations from abt. 1 1/2 yrs old. He also started taking off his pants and humping the floor. Sometimes he would do this while watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse or just in the midst of playing with toys. He will put his clothes back on and continue playing. He may do it at naptime or bedtime and fall asleep naked on the floor. Not sure what to do about it or how to react to it? He seems very sexualized for a 3 year old! (No, there has never been sexual abuse or any other kind done in front of him or to him.) He has a short attention span, except when it comes to coloring. He will sit for hours working on a picture if he chooses to. He colors extremely well for his age. This is the only activity he has ever showed an ability to focus. He has amazing balance since 10 months old he can stand on toys, the arm or a couch or chair.

He is now displaying signs of OCD. He will get extremely upset about a door being open or certain things out of place. When he gets mad at his little brother he will shout a combination of swear words and racial slurs that the adults in the house would not put together, shocking everyone.

He is outgoing and will speak to anyone who will listen to his non-stop questions and observations. He will cry easily in frustration when trying to complete a task. This frustration will quickly be taken out in aggressive behavior toward anyone in the room adults and or his little brother, yet he is exceptionally careful near his new baby sister who is 3 months old.

He is very hard to discipline. My daughter's boyfriend will discipline him but I feel it is out of fear that he listens to him. Is it possible that fear of him spanking him, would override the bipolar behavior he normally displays? Do these behaviors sound like Bipolar alone or ADHD as well?

We recently moved to AZ and as yet don't have a dr. for him. Can you recommend a dr. or how to go about finding one?

(a bit of background)My husband and his whole family (6 siblings) have bipolar disorder. Undiagnosed but believe me they are! My 22 yr old son has ADD and takes concerta so he can focus. Yes my daughter is 19 with 3 kids under the age of three! She has a bicornuate uterus and birth control has not proven effective for her. :( Bipolar meds and combinations of them never worked for more than a month or so. She stopped taking all medications at her Dr.'s opinion that none of them worked for her. She now takes Klonopin 0.5mg twice a day as needed for anxiety. So far this has helped her.

Thanks for any help you can offer.

Hi Lisa

I can say with certainty that it sounds like your grandson has more than adhd going on. I am unable to make a diagnosis online with the information you provided me. However, please consider calling the Child and Adolescent Bipolar Foundation or the Juvenile Bipolar Research Foundation and asking for a doctor who may be familiar with treating bipolar disorder in your state.

Regarding your question of fear, yes children with bipolar disorder can control their bipolar symptoms sometimes when they are afraid, especially when they are younger. In fact one of the most common issues I have seen in my younger kids is their ability to keep it together in school in the early years and then lose it at home. Usually as they get older this shifts into all environments.

It isn't good for mentally ill children to be afraid or subjected to things that will scare them though. This exacerbates the illness adding to the issues later on

Good luck in your search for help for you grandson.I hope one of those agencies can help you locate a doctor!

It also might make sense to see a sleep specialist. Of course, with his loaded genetic history you know he is at a high risk for bipolar disorder.

I am posting your story on my website and pages. I would think other parents will see this and comment and provide you support.

Kristen McClure

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Jan 09, 2012
3 year old getting up middle of night NEW
by: Anonymous

Took her to the dr, said not to feed her before bedtime, seems to work great. Very happy!

Jan 05, 2012
3 year old gets up middle of night gets in everything NEW
by: Anonymous

My 3 year old grandaughter gets up in the middle of the night and brakes things, climbs on top of the cabinets really high, puts all the toys in the baby bed with the baby, had a knife under her bed,have no ideal when she put it there, don't really think she had any intentions with it, but just gets into the silverware and all the cabinets, she is really a very sweet kid and loves her baby sister, not sure if she is asleep or awake when she is doing these things, other than this she seems very normal just like any other 3 year old. Please let me know if this has or is happening to you and what to do about it. Thank You

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No one believes me

by Amie

I am a 17 year old who beleives i have bipolar.
Ive had reoccurring depression since i can remember, but only have evidence of being suicidal from the age of 7. I was a very smart child and my parents brought me up well, but because i was unable to get across to them how serious the emotions i was feeling were, i began raising myself; learning that emotions are illogical. My father would call me a brat when i threw temper tantrums, throwing books at them while i hid in my cupbourd from all the darkness that seemed to surround me.

I would go from believing my mother had kidnapped me and i was really the daughter of God to feeling like the lowest peice of anything in the world. I used to enjoy watching movies where people would be tortured or kept captive. I was an amazing writer but i could never finish any of the many stories i started.

From birth i had on and off insomnia. In primary school i could go three days in a row with no sleep and be fine to run around. Nights were my worst hated time; being trapped alone in the dark for hours with just my head. I was my own worst enemy. I was also paranoid, convincing myself someone was going to jump through my window, or a ghost or witch lived in the walls. I also made conspiracies in my head, about teachers and even my parents.

I was 11 when i would try to scratch across my stomache long lines with my long nails, telling myself it was my horizon line, because happiness is a horizon, you never quite get there.
I always felt that i had to hide and keep back everything inside me so that soon i became a constant liar and a 'chamelion' (as i called it) when i would just feed off others emotions and actions and copy.

When i was 12 i first admitted to being suicidal to some friends and it was then that i realised the emotions i felt were not normal or commonly shared and just not spoken about. I then heard of depression and began madly studying mental disorders.

When i was 13 i decided it was bipolar, everything fit. Then i swung down back into my depression and decided i was being whiney and over exaggerating. At this age my parents thought i was on drugs the way my moods swung, but i had stopped sharing any of my emotions with my parents years ago after many breakdowns being ignored because they thought i was trying for attention.

Even though i doubted i could have anything serious to complain about, i kept a mood diary like one of the websites i studied suggested.
At 14 i became so obsessed with self control i used to hold my hair straightner to my arm calmly for as long as possible without flinching. It made me feel good to be able to control myself like that. I also then began abusing alcohol. Straight vodka warmed my stomache and made me feel comforted.

My first suicide attempt since i was 7 was soon after i picked up the bottle. When i went to get help from a doctor after so long building up the courage, the man told me i was just a hormonal teenager and needed better cognative ways of coping with my sadness.

I had been holding out for so many years for the day i would get 'fixed' and be normal, actually feel real emotion that made sense. To feel sad when someone died and to feel happy when good things happened to me.

I gave up for the time being, and decided to survive on self medication, going from alcohol, to weed, to dexys, to weed, to alcohol, to weed.
Things continued like this til i was 16, just cycles, and i finally noticed a slight pattern in when i got depressed and when i got happy. Always in winter, so i thought, seasonal depression. It was better the more i understood, because the more i understood, the more i could tell myself it was just in my head and it would all go away soon. Soon as summer.

I saw many doctors and psychiatrists and counsellors but none ever took me seriously. I was just an exaggerating teenager who'd convinced myself there was something wrong with me.

I left home at 16, lived on the streets for two months, then moved 5 more times til the place im living now.

For the start it was summer and im always happy in summer, so i had once i had a shared place, i kept pride in keeping it beautiful clean with dinner for my boy friend when he came home from work each night and always a smile on my face.
I started back at school for the third time in a row. Every year the first time i get great marks and attendance the first term, fail and dont attend the next two terms, and make a great recovery the last one.

When winter came everything came sliding downhill. My boy and i had been on and off since i met him at 14. We would go out in spring or summer, then break up in Autumn and i could never tell him why. This time he wanted to stay together, this meant i could not shut down my emotions as usual and for once, open them up.
The winter was devastating. I was an absolute wreck, i would stay bed ridden for days and have breakdowns before i left the house every time i tried to. I would have rages or anger where ever i was, i didnt care, over nothing. The emotion would just come up and engorge me. Then id fall to the ground and just cry. I almost wet myself a couple of times. I would have anxiety attacks hitting randomly at any point, sometimes just waking up in tears and panic. One time my boy friend left me for a couple of hours on a 'bad day' (as i call them) and i just screamed, cried and writhed around on the bed for hours until he came home.

I cant imagine how much he must have gone through, but at the end, every time i would cry to him how sorry i was.

One time i considered carving off all my skin or burning it off because i loathed myself so much, the guilt was overwhelming.

Coming out of it, i managed to get to a doctor on a 'good day' and get prescribed some valium. I have been taking 5-10ml a day and have been able to leave the house everyday. Its so enjoyable because i love nature and being outside more than anything.

Even on the valium i could tell which were 'good days' and 'bad days'. Some days id still be really on edge even if id taken 10ml of valium that day. Other days I'd only take 5ml then get in a great mood and clean the house top to bottem all day. These days i would be unable to sleep and my boy friend would wake up to a new haircut of mine and his dishes washed that hed used after id already done the cleaning up.
Two days ago though, i had a 'bad day' and was only able to have 5ml of valium because i was away from home before i realised my fingers scratching at the seats i was sitting on and my constant irritability. My boy friend and i then had a big fight and i tried to kill myself for the third time this year. I cut and cut and cut at my already mutilated wrists for over half an hour, but the shattered mirror glass and scissors just would not cut deep enough, quick enough, so the blood would clot or stop. I cried and cried "why wont you let me die" but nothing happened and my boy friend came home and stopped me.

The next morning i woke up crying, i was comforted and cheered up but i didnt feel the same.

I didnt sleep at all last night and i dont feel tired, i feel restless, in so much pain, out of control and like crying all the time. I decided i would go to a mental hospital, and im about to explain this to my mum who has always been behind me no matter how difficult and horrible i have been to her.

Do i have bipolar? I dont know, but i just want a doctor to take me seriously and help me, because if this is what normal people go through, i just dont want to live. But then again, by summer, i will be asking myself how i ever could have wanted to die and loving just how beautiful and amazing the world is.

Hi Amy

I cannot diagnosis you, or give you advice, but I can tell you I beleive you and you need to keep searching for a doctor who takes you seriously. You certainly could have bipolar disorder, whatever is going on it is something serious that you need help with. I hope that in posting your story you can connect with some others. I wish you luck in finding the help that you deserve.


Kristen McClure

Comments for No one believes me

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Feb 09, 2016
by: Kristen McCLure

Hi Amie, Can you contact me if you get this. Someone is asking to use this story to spread awareness about mental illness. Here is my email address. Kristenlynnmcclure@gmail.com

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Jan 08, 2012
Feel the same way
by: Anonymous

It's nice to know I'm not alone. I'm a teen and I believe I'm bipolar. I've given up on trying to get people to understand. I've been depressed on/off ever since I can remember. Some days wanting to kill myself, other days feeling on top of the world. This is why my parents think I'm always giving up, which I'm not...

Feb 16, 2011
I believe you
by: Anonymous

No one believes me either. I have been searching for so long to find a story like mine and I've found it reading yours. I am 20 years old. I completely understand what you're going through and what you have been going through for so long. When I was younger I HATED the night for the same reasons as you. I would lay in my bed and cry and cry, sometimes I'd cry into my pillow because I was afraid of waking anyone up since I felt there was no real reason to be crying. I also got extremely paranoid, thinking my house would burn down, or someone was going to break in. These thoughts would become obsessions just adding to the turmoil already going on in my head. I was diagnosed with major depressive disorder when I was 15 and was treated with different anti-depressants for about 5 years. They never seemed to work, I just told myself they did because I so badly wanted them to. About a month ago I experienced the worst "episode" I've ever had. I ended up in the ER because my mind was telling me to end it all but I was not going to let it win. I attended an outpatient program and was able become more stable because of the routine. However, upon my discharge I was told that I could not yet be diagnosed with bipolar disorder because of my past substance abuse. This was extremely discouraging to me because I could not emphasize enough that the symptoms began long before any type of substance abuse. Many doctors have told me that bipolar disorder does not exist in children, but I KNOW they are wrong. The thing that keeps me going is faith. I have faith that I was given this struggle because I am strong enough to overcome it. I also have faith that research will continue to find new ways of helping people like us. However, in a time when you feel like you're spinning out of control, it is OKAY to lean on more than just faith. It is SO important to ask for help. Thank you for sharing your story and I hope things start to work out for you.

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This is new to me

by Susan

Hi There,

My 11 year old daughter was just diagnosed as PB/OCD. The Dr. did not recommend medication at this time and suggests therapy. We are still looking for a good therapist that we can somehow manage to afford.

My question actually is about anger. When she was a toddler and I would brush her hair, she would get angry when there was a slight tug of the brush. She would yell and hit the counter or sometimes my leg (she was short). I don't think she meant to hurt me -she just didn't know what to do with the pain / anger. Now at 11 she still doesn't. For example, last week we were camping and she was in a bathroom with her friend brushing her teeth. Her younger brother walked in to get supplies and she got angry. She ended up kneeing him in the crotch. I didn't see it but my son told me about it. I sat my daughter down and calmly asked her what happened. She admitted getting angry and eventually came around to admitting that she "May have hit my brother". I asked for specifics and she said that she didn't remember. I told her what he said and she seemed really surprised. She didn't remember (or so she says). Is that possible? I know that she has these emotions that she doesn't know what to do with - specifically anger. I told her that hitting her brother isn't the answer. Her response was "Next time I will just hit myself". What do I say to that? I obviously don't want her to hurt herself. I told her that next time she can hit a wall or something that won't break. I honestly at that moment didn't know what to say. She needs some sort of outlet for the anger. As a parent, what do I say? What IS ok? Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Hi Susan

OCD and bipolar often overlap. If she has OCD she will need exposure and response prevention and many professionals are not appropriately trained. Although that was not your question, it was important to address.

Children who get angry quickly like that often have emotional regulation and impulse control problems. They need extra time and attention to learn the skills to handle their anger. There is almost always a trigger, and if it can be avoided, sometimes it should be. In therapy work should consist of building those skills by learning to recognize her triggers and preparing herself to react to them in another way.

I would also want to know what made her so angry about her brother walking in?

Good luck!


Kristen McClure

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I don't even know how to begin with our 3 year old. What can I say? He is beautiful and smart and sweet, but then all of a sudden he explodes into a full-blown tantrum. When he was 2 our family doctor had Early Intervention come and check him out and diagnosed him with Sensory Processing Disorder. We had also worked with a behavioral therapist. That seemed to help, especially working with an OT. He has an older brother whom he hits, pinches, scratches, pulls hair, etc. His older brother attended preschool and the teacher asked me questions as to why he had bruises and scratches all over him. A lot of people have told me, even the OT's that I don't give him attention and that is why he is acting up, but I know that that is not all true. My husband and I rough house with him and he loves it, but then he goes over to his brother and smacks him upside the head. I am really scared for him, other people and especially his 2 siblings. I also have a 5 month old. I am terrified to take him anywhere. He is so sweet and he has the twinkle in his eyes and is so full of life, but then it all changes in a wink. He just goes up to children and pinches or pulls their hair. He throws horrible tantrums and will bang his head against the wall or any object he is by. If I tell him no, and put him in timeout, he kicks me and pinches. You can't tell him anything because he won't listen. He doesn't have any fear. No matter how many times we tell him no for what he is doing, it is like he isn't listening. But, at the end of the day when I put him down for bed about a half hour later he talks to himself. It is like he is having a conversation with someone.

He ends up reciting his whole entire day from the first morning he wakes up to when he goes to bed at night and he even goes through with the no, don't do that. He fears his room for some reason. He says that someone is in there. I feel like this little guy is crying out to me, but, I don't know how to help him.

He is so very destructive. This past sunday we took him to church and he was in sunday school. He was great until I came in to pick him up, he was helping the teacher put chairs up on top of the table. As soon as he saw me, he threw the chairs across the room, took the teacher by the hand, pinched her and kicked and slapped and then walked over to a 2 year old and smacked him. He terrifies everyone. In fact, he terrifies me. I am fed up with waiting on people to call me back about getting him help. He is going to be seeing a neurologist in a couple months and I made an appointment with a different doctor for next week. But, what can I do in the meantime.

He is really getting out of control. Does it sound like a mood disorder? I am bipolar myself and it runs only on my side of the family. Or is it the sensory Processing Disorder that is getting way too out of hand?


Unfortunately I cannot diagnosis him with this information provided, alone. It is a much more lengthy and complex process. However, it is significant that you have bipolar disorder as you know there is a genetic component. He seems to be angry and out of control, and in absence of anything in the environment that is causing that, it must be something going on with him internally.

That is unless there IS something in the environment which may be contributing to that. Chaos or stress or abuse in the family can cause behavioral symptoms as well.

Children who have sensory processing disorder, or autism, or bipolar disorder, or depression and impulse control problems all present with similar symptoms. Children with mood disorder very often have co occurring sensory processing disorders as well so it isn't an either or thing. What I would say is, keep looking until you find someone to help you. Anything that makes sense to you or seems to click with you is the direction you want to go on.

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Eli's Journey

by Suzi
(Charlotte, NC)

My son is 5 years old and was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder at the age of 4. He began having rages within 2 weeks of turning 4. When a rage began it was like he was possessed and the rage would last from 5 minutes to 3 hours or longer. When the rage was over its like he had no recollection of what had transpired.

We became extremely concerned when he got angry over which book I would read to him at bedtime and he ripped the doorknob out of our locked bedroom door and broke it in two. He was only 4 at the time and weighed about 37 pounds. We sought out the pediatrician the next morning. We were referred to a play therapist but before we could get an appointment he had escalated and had to be taken to a behaviorial health ER.

He was admitted inpatient at age 4 and placed on tenex. The medication did nothing to help his moods. He was originally diagnosed as mood disorder n.o.s. and ODD. We were told to get video of his behaviors as they could not replicate them at the hospital. We began therapy with the play therapist once he was released from the hospital and began using 1-2-3 magic with no success. His therapist noticed that her suggestions were not working and she noticed that he lined his toys up in lines not to be disturbed. She suggested that he may have a sensory disorder.

At this time he was again admitted inpatient at the behavioral health hospital with the same rages and had given my husband a concussion and threatened to kill me, my husband and daughter (we are all his biological parents / sibling). They ordered an MRI of his brain and a sleep deprived EEG. We had video of one of his outbursts on my husband's cell phone but they refused to look at it. The MRI and EEG came back negative.

At this point I contacted an OT to start work on his sensory processing disorder. We worked with her for about 4 months and noticed marked improvement although the rages continued. We began using a 5 pound weighted blanket at night and also gave him wireless headphones to sleep with as the music calms him--he has to play the same song over and over all night.

We also were able to get intensive in home therapists in our home 6 hours a week for 6 months. They witnessed the rages and saw that they were unprovoked as the hospital had stated that since they could not replicate his behaviors in their environment that obviously his father and I were doing something to him in the home to cause them and either we come pick him up from the hospital or they would call DSS to get him as we had abandoned him.

We got him in with his current psychiatrist and she started him on zoloft which only made him more anxious. She then tried him on vyvanse which made him lay in the floor too tired to move but he raged continuously, if you walked by him he would kick, hit and try to bite. The in home therapists had him meet with their psychologist and she diagnosed him as bipolar as my mother had bipolar disorder. They also made the conclusion from their observations that he was not ODD.

At the time of his diagnosis he again stated that he wanted to kill his family and he tried to choke my 8 year old daughter. His psychiatrist then put him on the depakote sprinkles in addition to the zoloft with no success. We then stopped the zoloft and went to depakote only. Again no change. Then she placed him on depakote and risperadone. We started to see a slight improvement but he continued to have rages, only not as frequent. His rages occurred only in the presence of his immediate family or the intensive in home therapists, not in his daycare setting.

We took him to Florida to Disney and it was a disaster. We got there on a Saturday and was supposed to stay until the following Saturday but had to leave on Tuesday due to the duration and frequency of the rages he was having. In August he started Kindergarten and has done reasonably well. We had tried to get an IEP for him prior to the school year but was told during the evaluation that due to the behaviors occurring at home and not in the school environment that they could not help us. We spoke to his teacher at the beginning and told her of his diagnosis and his sensory issues so that some accomodations could be made. He did fine for the first 6 months but now we are having problems at the school.

His medication was changed to only risperadone in November and increased to 2 times a day. That has helped noticeably but now he is refusing to go to school. We have spoken with the staff at the school and nothing has happened with him or other students that would warrant this behavior change. Either me or the teachers / principal have to physically carry him into the school and they have to restrain him in order for me to leave. He has extreme separation anxiety. We can't even leave him with a grandparent for 2 hours to go on a date without a severe tantrum or rage.

He is screaming for about 30 minutes at the top of his lungs at school that he needs to go to the principal's office or that he needs to go to the hospital. He states every morning that his stomach hurts and his whole body hurts. He is working himself up into such a state that his anxiety is overwhelming him. This morning he said that dinosaurs were trying to bite his head. I asked him if he could see the dinosaurs and he said no but he could hear them. They were growling (as he does in a rage) and that the bites were stinging his head. I assume he is having auditory hallucinations. What I don't know is if it's because they've tripled his morning dose of Risperadone in the last week.

I have tried to reach out to numerous doctors and agencies only to be turned down due to his age. His current psychiatrist has been deployed to Kosovo until at least June and the office only has a nurse practitioner working 2 days a week. We keep slamming up against walls. I know he is hurting and does not want to be this way. Last night he stated that his friends at school are saying that he has fits and it hurts his feelings. This has been the hardest 18 months of our lives.

Comments for Eli's Journey

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Apr 05, 2017
Staying Strong NEW
by: Anonymous

Wow.. This sounds like my son to the T.. our journey began at 3 1\2 years old. . Ian is now 11..
All I can say us Lamical changed our life 2 yes ago. Yes we still go through "episodes" as we call them from time to time. . But nothing like the ordeals we suffered at the beginning and middle. .

Dec 27, 2016
Keep up the good fight NEW
by: Valerie

It sounds like you are incredibly present and thoughtful parents, and I hope your son's psychiatrist returns soon. Sending you strength!

Sep 24, 2016
your child reacts as my Granddaughter NEW
by: Granny

You are not alone and the journey toward wellness for you son means you need all the support you can get for you.
My now 9 year old grandchild was dropped off to us when she was 4 years old. Our daughter was in a mental health crisis - single parent, losing job after job due to needing to leave work because her daughter was acting out at daycare. Now homeless, exhausted and no one in the medical community or behavioral health system agreeing on a diagnosis.
All of that changed when at the age of 6 our grandchild was placed in a pediatric mental health facility. Tenex and a vague diagnosis did nothing to help her. The melt downs, rages, threats to kill others and self, morbid thoughts relative to my own death, rapid cycling - overly happy, extreme sadness, spinning when exiting the school bus, hearing voices at school, locking all the doors and windows in the home one night and the next leaving every area unlocked and strolling down the street in the early morning. It was sheer insanity. Finally, through private insurance, we located a Psychiatrist who accepted pediatric bipolar. Our granddaughter has done well on Abilify (6mg lessened the meltdown time and rids her of auditory/visual hallucinations), Trileptal (150mg in the morning and 300mg at bed), Tenex (1mg in the morning and afternoon, 2mg at bed), and 3mg of melatonin at (bedtime).

Once stable via medication, our granddaughter has been able to learn coping skills. Meditation and Yoga as well as spending 1 hr each day at the playground has helped. Age factors in and what is simply natural childhood behavior and what is actually a mood disorder is so difficult to determine even by those most advanced in this field of medicine.
Use a copybook to record the night terrors, regressions, what occurred before, during and after the meltdown. This log will help you to see if a pattern is present.
May only that of the highest good be with you, your child, and entire family throughout this journey.

Oct 31, 2015
Diet and Rages NEW
by: Anonymous

So sorry you are going through this. I have twin sons who raged like this until they were 8 years old. It. Was. Horrible. When they were 8, I discovered a book called Little Sugar Addicts by Kathleen DesMaisons. It has changed our life without prescription drugs!

The book and website (www.radiantrecovery.com) outline a seven step process in which you gradually, slowly change your child's diet. First you make sure they eat breakfast within an hour of waking every day. Then, you make sure they are getting enough protein (it's way more than you think!) and complex carbs in regular meals and snacks. Many or maybe all kids who rage have blood sugar issues that contribute to their issues and there are so many similar stories on the website. It is absolutely worth a try! Things can get better for your kids!

We also have to be very strict about bedtimes and even though they are 12 they are in bed by 8:00, so they get enough sleep. They may need a snack during the night, also.

Another thing is to choose your battles and avoid power struggles. If you can grant their requests, but are trying to teach them a lesson about their behavior by denying it, this will backfire every time and not teach them anything. They can't control their behavior when they are in a rage and no amount of consequences are going to change that. When they need food or water, make sure they get it immediately no matter what. Always, always carry water and a healthy snack with protein with you on outings. The bit of extra time and planning this takes will be worth it and will help avoid meltdowns if you get the snack into them in a timely manner. Talk to your child's school about sending some healthy snacks for your child and make sure they have enough time to eat a good lunch. Bring a snack with you when you pick them up at the end of the day!

Keep your life as low stress as possible. Overscheduling can lead to major problems. We now homeschool in part because they couldn't handle the school day, the sugary snacks and drinks they had there instead of good food, and had major separation issues as kindergarteners. I wish I had pulled them out sooner. Not that it has always been easy! It has been crucial for us that I find ways to get breaks and do self-care.

Best wishes!

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Jan 23, 2012
Frustrated NEW
by: Anonymous

My name is Nicole and I have a 6 year old daughter named Gracyn. She was diagnosed with bipolar 2 years ago. They began her on abilfy and ritalin because she was also diagnosed with ADHD. For the last 2 years it's been a journey for sure. But, they haven't increased the abilfy since the initial diagnosis and went up on the ritalin (Concerta). Now, for the past 2 months she has had an episode everyday. It's gotten to the point where I am scared to ask her to do anything! I just don't know what to do anymore. I too suffer from bipolar and I know how hard the journey has been for me. I knid of feel like it's hopeless sometimes until she gets older and more treatment options become available. Does anyone have any advice?

Jul 28, 2011
Your Story
by: Liza

I know exactly what you are going through! I have a 6-year old son who has been having behavioral problems since he was 3. He has been to 4 different psychiatrists, has been inpatient twice, has been on at least a dozen different meds and NOTHING is working. He is now currently raging so bad that he leaves marks on me and his 7 year old sister, and whoever else "makes him mad." About 2 weeks ago he threw a 30 pound plastic barrel down a flight of steps at me, ripped the curtains off the wall and put a hole in another wall. He did this because I took one of his toys away. Last night he raged for 45 minutes. He wanted juice and I said no and that he could have water. He didn't like that so went out the back door, kicked a full bag of garbage(closed up)down the steps, turned the hose on and sprayed me until I was soaked. I then carried him in the house like a football and he bite me so hard I was bleeding. By this time, he was already 5 minutes late for bible school. He then said he wanted the water. I told him that we would need to wait until we got to church(5 minutes from my house) to get the water because we were running late due to his behavior. Well that made him even worse. He was refusing to get into the car so I had to put him in the toddler carseat with the harness. He would keep unbuckeling himself though. He was then hitting me in the back of the head, kicking me, etc while I was driving then he kept opening up the car door to try to jump out. Finally when we got the church he was exhausted from the rage and he was fine. He DOES NOT remember what took place the entire 45 minutes that he raged. I'm thinking he has bi polar but the current doctor doesn't think so. Tomorrow my husband and I are taking him to another inpatient facility 6 1/2 hours away from home. I'm hoping they can help him there. It's a tough journey and it will always be, but never give up! If you would like to talk more my e-mail is englertl@allentownsd.org. I would be glad to chat with you maybe we could support each other!

May 04, 2011
by: Renee

Hey Suzi,

What was the outcome from Alexander? Is he still taking the zoloft? Keep your chin up, you guys are doing everything you possibly can to help him!! I know it is hard but you have us =) Call me if you want, or you can use the online support group. bpkidsparents@yahoogroups.com


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beyond frustrated

I don't even know where to start. My 16 y.o. son has bipolar tendencies, rages, inflated ego, etc. I tend to baby him and respond with fear to his threats of running away and so forth. My husband, to whom I am separated at this moment, has tried to respond with control. I'm having a hard time trusting that his way is right. If he's stands up to my son and if I stand up to him(my son)....what if he really does run away and I lose him?

I know I haven't given a lot of details, but I am just so exhausted by it all. Any insight would be appreciated.

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Sep 19, 2011
Violent Teens
by: Anonymous

"what if he really does run away and I lose him?" This was my fear for 15 years with our 3 children who we adopted through the foster care program. They all have various diagnoses: depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder, ADD, ODD, PTSD, etc. . They are 20, 18, and 13 now. Our daughter did finally leave, and in a very hurtful, angry way involving lots of deception and negativity. We home schooled and turned our lives upside down and inside out for 15 years to try and "make it better". In the end, she left anyway, and is not living the life we dreamed of for her by any stretch of the imagination. You can turn your life upside down too, but it won't make things better for your son and it won't guarantee that he stays, and ultimately staying might not be best for him, or for you. Our family life is much more peaceful now, and free from much of the painful conflict we endured when our daughter was living at home. I would never, ever have believed that I would be o.k. with her leaving, but, despite the initial pain and disappointment, it was indeed for the best. She is struggling, but learning life lessons from her struggles that she couldn't learn while living at home. She is looking for a better job now because she must in order to survive financially, not just because we (her parents) tell her to. There are so many things she is compelled to do now, for survival, that she refused to do while living comfortably at home. My 18 yr old son is now facing these choices as well. When he kicked in a door 2 months ago, we called the sheriff. Protecting them from their own behavior will only delay the inevitable - let him start learning now! There are real, tough consequences for violence - don't protect him from the outcome of his poor choices. He won't love you more, respect you more, or stay longer simply because you tolerate his violent behavior. Hang in there - it is the most painful experience we have ever had to endure as parents. Raising violent, angry teens with mood disorders is overwhelming most days.

Sep 19, 2011
Violent Teens
by: Anonymous

"what if he really does run away and I lose him?" This was my fear for 15 years with our 3 children who we adopted through the foster care program. They all have various diagnoses: depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder, ADD, ODD, PTSD, etc. . They are 20, 18, and 13 now. Our daughter did finally leave, and in a very hurtful, angry way involving lots of deception and negativity. We home schooled and turned our lives upside down and inside out for 15 years to try and "make it better". In the end, she left anyway, and is not living the life we dreamed of for her by any stretch of the imagination. You can turn your life upside down too, but it won't make things better for your son and it won't guarantee that he stays, and ultimately staying might not be best for him, or for you. Our family life is much more peaceful now, and free from much of the painful conflict we endured when our daughter was living at home. I would never, ever have believed that I would be o.k. with her leaving, but, despite the initial pain and disappointment, it was indeed for the best. She is struggling, but learning life lessons from her struggles that she couldn't learn while living at home. She is looking for a better job now because she must in order to survive financially, not just because we (her parents) tell her to. There are so many things she is compelled to do now, for survival, that she refused to do while living comfortably at home. My 18 yr old son is now facing these choices as well. When he kicked in a door 2 months ago, we called the sheriff. Protecting them from their own behavior will only delay the inevitable - let him start learning now! There are real, tough consequences for violence - don't protect him from the outcome of his poor choices. He won't love you more, respect you more, or stay longer simply because you tolerate his violent behavior. Hang in there - it is the most painful experience we ever had to endure as parents. Raising violent, angry teens with mood disorders is overwhelming most days.

May 04, 2011
sweet Beyond
by: Anonymous

You have to stand up to your son. Enableing him will not teach him how to handle real life when he is an adult. I have a 19 year old daughter who is bipolar and oppositional defiant disorder. she has extreme outbursts and violent behavior and let me tell you, I am NOT afraid to take her down. In fact I have had to many times. she hits, bites, kicks, cusses you name it, but she knows when she has recovered from these episodes, that my strength and tough love are the best thing for her. You can't worry about losing your son. If he doesnt get control of his behaviors you will lose him to the illness. He could fall into drugs, alcohol abuse, promisquity, and more. I love my daughter more than anything but I am her mother first. there is time later, to be her friend. there isn't an employer, teacher, potential spouse or anyone else that will tolerate her behavior when she is older and if she cant get it together now and learn boundaries, she will for sure be lost forever. you have to be strong and stand firm yet be loving. but tough love is better than enabling them. recently, my daughter attacked me because she didnt get her way. I actually had to pin her to the floor all the while getting bit and hit. when she was through the meltdown, I told her I loved her and wanted the best for her but she was NOT going to treat me that way again and if she did... i would give her just two months to find a new place to live. The thought of her on her own with no job, no money, no roof scares the life out of me. but, the thought of her seriously hurting someone is even scarier. hang in there, you are NOT alone.


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worried about my toddler

My darling little boy is 2 years 3 months old. He has always been a bit "difficult" but at the same time adorable and loving. Recently he has been ill with a cold and fever and all his symptoms seem to have come to a head. He is very aggressive with me (his mum) and climbs on top of his dad when he wakes up crying in the night, and won't let me go near him. This morning he walked down the stairs counting them with me, and as soon as he got to the bottom, starting crying out and hitting me with his little fists, only to stop and go and play with his toys one minute later.

He goes to nursery and is fine on the whole but cries every time I drop him off until I walk away when he is then fine. The nursery says he is not very communicative with the others but plays quite happily. He is growing up trilingual (not intentional, an accident of birth as we live in Catalonia, Spain and my husband is a native SPanish speaker).

I am especially concerned as I have always thought I have borderline bipolar, very borderline as generally I am fine. I have a second cousin who was schizophrenic and an uncle (same family, my mother's) who seems to have some kind of mental disorder that is unnamed; by his very nature we would never know!).

Yesterday I went to see a psychologist as I want to know how to deal with my son's difficult and often confrontational behaviour. Having read this forum and others I am now extremely concerned as everything we discussed seems to match this, plus the questions she asked. My husband and I are going again next week and I am worried what I might hear. She wants to meet our son after having talked to the two of us.

Most of the time he is a charming and sociable boy, really loving and sweet, but when he wants to he drives me crazy. He usually sleeps and eats quite well but recently spits out his food and laughs to see my reaction. He frequently runs away from me and seems to be attracted to danger. I would be interested to hear any comments and questions that may help us all with our problems, bipolar or otherwise. Thank you, Sarah

Hi Sarah

It's wonderful that you are investigating help now, while he is still young. I have to tell you that his illness makes me concerned that there may be some other medical contributing factor to his behavior. Certainly PANDAS comes to mind, which is an illness that looks like bipolar and is brought on by Strep. I dont fully understand it, but know that it overlaps some with the population I work with. I am not sure however, of the nature of the symptoms prior to that. Let me say that I believe that a two year olds who has a physical ailment that caused discomfort may behave that way. Especially if it was chronic, whether or not they have mental health issues. It is wise, however, for you to consider your family history and report that to the doctor. I know there has been some suggestion in my live support group that some of the kids do not sense danger or over or under react to danger and to injury. Perhaps it may be helpful to post to the online group and get some feedback from parents? Good luck with your psychologist.


Kristen McClure

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Dec 21, 2010
Abrupt language change
by: Anonymous

Hi Sarah: Your post caught my eye because of your son's behavior, but also because of the language aspect. My son is seven. He has beendiagnosed with ADHD/ODD; however, I suspect something else. He can be extremely sweet and awful the next minute. He is very mean to his younger brother. He is very defiant, and can have rages where he follows me around and won't let me get anything done. He slams into me or stays attached to my leg. He also has sensory issues and a lazy eye. Some days are miserable. He takes Adderrall for ADHD. At school, he does pretty well. One minute, he is yelling or hitting, the next he tells me he loves me. When he was about 10 mo.old, I started speaking almost exclusively in Spanish to him. Before that, it had been mostly English. Was it too much of a trauma for him. I wonder if I caused his problems because of the abrupt change. I thought it would be beneficial, but now I am terrorized on a daily basis that it is my fault. Did your son go through a drastic language change or has he always been exposed to more than one language. The psyc. tells me that this is not the cause, but the fear is unbearable. Thanks!

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by Rebecca

I have a 15 year old son who has been struggling with bi-polar for the past 4 years. We've been through therapists because Bryan has built a wall around himself, is angry that he has this diagnosis, and battles with his fight to "handle" this illness himself. Obviously he cannot, but he refuses help or even conversations from me. I'm not sure how to handle the cycling that seems to magnify in spring and fall (right now) - he becomes oppositional with absolutely everything (showering, hygiene, eating, schoolwork, is drinking to self-medicate, and is verbally and physically abusive), threatens us, disappears all day, comes and goes as he pleases and I can't stop him. Taking 300mg of lithium once per day which has been increased to 3x per day this week. We need more direction and he needs to understand how to help himself.

Hi Rebecca

The problem with kids who are bipolar is they have to be stable in order to process information and learn new techniques, so something like therapy is often ineffective with a child who is unstable. I would recommend you research what normal dosages of lithium are and have a very candid discussion with your psychiatrist about the need to stabilize him. Certainly once he is more stable on his medications, he may really change his behavior. The behavior that appears out of control is because Bipolar is a brain disorder, and until the chemicals in the brain are set right it truly is out of control.

Good luck


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Jun 03, 2009
Sounds Similar
by: Elizabeth

This sounds very similar to my own experiences with my now 16yo son, who was dxed with bipolar last Sept. and then again in January by another doctor.

When he seems more stable, which is not very often anymore, he does not go off drug and alcohol seeking, rage at us, etc. We used to be very close and he had activities such as music lessons and a love for reading and church activities.

Now many people think he is just an over the top mood swingy teen with "Behavioral" issues related to bad parenting or just plain old oppositionality.

Dec 20, 2008
by: Anonymous

I am wondering at what point an inpatient stay may help to stabilize; my nephew had a similar history and he ended up in an adolescent inpatient unit for 3 weeks. His behavior was very much like that and eventually the police picked him up and brought him to the ER. At first we were all very distraught but it helped in the long run as he was able to be tried on different meds and had group and individual therapy every day. The combination that helped him most was lithium and depakote. He did have to have risperdal at first because he was really agitated. But the stay helped the crisis and although he hasn't gone back to school yet, he is much easier to have at home and is now getting tutored to catch up so that he can go back after January recess.

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Dr Jekyll or Mr Hyde?

by Donna
(Medford, NJ USA)

I am a mother of a 4 1/2 yr old son and I have two older daughter's from a previous marriage. At first I blamed his aggression and anger on male hormones but I began to watch his behavior more closely and saw a similarity to his father's behavior(his father is bipolar but did not find out until just recently).

My son is what I refer to as either a Dr Jekyll/Mr Hyde because he would be saying how much he loves me and than within minutes just the opposite and would say I hate you. Although he doesn't seem to be depressed but at times he would cry rather than get angry especially when he was told he can't have that toy or else he would lash out at me and hit me. I also noticed that if you correct him he would insist that he was right and would wind up screaming at you repeatedly. He rocks his head back and forth so fast and furious that I get concerned that he will injure himself.(this occurs several times on a daily basis.)

I also noticed he has aggression fits coupled with unwarranted anger and has broken a number of toys in the process. How can I have such a loving son and yet be so completely opposite?

Hi Donna.

As you know , there is a strong genetic component to bipolar disorder. It is more likely that you will be affected by bipolar disorder if someone in your family is.

Your question about how you can have such a loving son who can act completely the opposite is a good one. First, let me say I do not know if your child is bipolar and I cant make a diagnosis for you.

I can tell you , that among families with children that are bipolar this is a common question. When children are unstable, they become different people, their behavior and actions are symptoms of the illness, not who they are. Just like children who are affected by illnesses that are more clearly visible ( in a wheel chair, or with cancer). The disability or illness is not who they are. This " Dr Jekyll Mr Hyde description is something I have heard frequently.

Parents will often say when their child is finally stabilized," my child is back" . The child that is sweet loving kind talented etc.............

Good luck to you with your child.


Kristen McClure

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ADHD or BIpolar , both, neither??

I am so confused my 8 year old throws tantrums that last for hours when plans change or she does not get her own way or she has to " wait for even a second for something. Everything has to be done " right now" she will bang her head on the back of the car seat, pull her hair frequently say " I hate my life" when asked to elaborate she says " because I have to pick up my room" " my life has been terrible since I was born" you don' t understand." she says this all the time". When angry she says she" hates me " tells me to "shut up,shush it, your stupid, your annoying" " I'm going to go off on you" she pinches and pushes me." out of frustration, is hyperactive, distracted , cannot understand or follow directions at school, poor grades, forgetful( has to be told ( numerous times to do something such as put her neckgear on o,r brush her teeth).

She is unorganized, messy, impulsive, shaved off part of her eyebrow while trying to shave off the hair ( nonexistent) on her forehead. Wrote a note saying " need to look prettier" ( she is always told by everyone how beautiful she is) she was first taken to psychologist due to concern about calories, questions about" do I look fat in this" running in circles in the back yard to " lose some pounds" melt down while truing to find just the " right outfit to wear. Tried on every piece of clothing in closet. Thenclothes on floor.

Started crying. Wants to look perfect. Pinched friend causing nail marks because friend said she liked a boy that my daughter liked. Diagnosed with ADHD.
Concerta worked wonders. She lost 8 pounds in3 wks ..stomach aches. Went off concerta. Switched to methyl in...caused extreme irritability, slight depression. Took her off methyl in. Sometimes she has friend spend the night she won't go to sleep until 4 am she becomes so hyper. She will laugh uncontrollably. I even asked my mom" do you think she drank the mouthwash or something? She's acting really giddy?

Ashe won't stop laughing." but , the mouthwash was full..she was just giddy. She was so sad one day because plans changed , her friend could not stay over. She just lay on bed crying, not speaking. Saying " I hate my life" wrote a note to the friend" how do you put up with me"
My mom thinks I'm Overreacting .

There is nothing wrong with her , it is my poor parenting skills. She thinks I'm too easy on my
daughter. She read the list of symptoms I wrote to the doctor and said it was like I was talking about a stranger. My daughter was one of " the happiest kids she knew" she was just naughty because I do not discipline her and she has no respect me. I have bipolar 1 , OCD and GAD, stable for 2 years. A lot of suffering while undiagnosed as a child. I do not want to miss the diagnosis in my child if it is a possibility. I read that methyl in can cause bipolar symptoms to worsen if child is not on a mood stabilizer. That is understandable to me. Why the concerta worked so well, I do not know.

She also has recovering alcoholism on both sides. Mother and father before she was born. I know this combined with my bipolar 1 makes her more likely to to have a mood disorder. She is currently off all medication. And pediatrician would like her to see psychiatrist asap. My mom is furious that doctors could even consider bipolar and does not agree with ADHD diagnosis. (School has been virtually begging me to have her tested for ADHD for 3years). finally I did. She was diagnosed and now doctor is considering bipolar. My question is ..I live w/ my mom...I am extremely stigmatized due to bipolar psychosis 10 years ago. ECT to treat major depression 3 years ago. My mom thinks that I am not as well and capable as I am. 10 years of therapy has helped me to be realistic. And I know that something is not right, my daughter is not just an " undisciplined brat" i believe she truly has some sort of chemical imbalance/ mood disorder. She doesn't go to sleep until the earliest 12:30am will sleep until 12pm if allowed on the weekend Mon - Friday is a nightmare in the AM getting ready for school she is cranky, irritable, argumentative, name calling. Always in trouble at school. Please if anyone can let me know if I should have her tested for bipolar? Against my mom and entire families wishes. They all think that I am crazy. But I know in my heart that something is truly off with her mood,
Psychologist initially said 100 percent positive ADHD. Now she is unsure of diagnosis. I have NO family support/backing. Teacher very impatient with my daughter, picks at every minor infraction such as wiggling her hand instead of just politely raising it. Playing with her hair clips. Touching the outside of the pencil sharpener.this is also hard on her self esteem I believe. Please , if anyone can help with a similar story and what I can do to help my daughter to be happy. She is failing with graded papers 36, 45, 62, 50 percent . She does not understand the work without medicine. She was spitting it out for 3 days. She hates to take medicine. Does anyone else have this problem. I am concerned if she DOES have to take some sort of med in the future. Please help with your advise.

One very worried and concerned mom

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Oct 16, 2015
ADHD or BIpolar , both, neither?? NEW
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Oct 16, 2015
ADHD or BIpolar , both, neither?? NEW
by: Anonymous

Nice post.

Dec 05, 2012
mummy NEW
by: Anonymous

im concern over my 7 yr old her behavour atarted very young and got worse she lashes out at anyone whos near by cery distruptive when she kick off it can be over nothing at all recently she keeps sayin her head keeps telling her to do these thing bein violant behavour she like this at school and nearly got excluded for her behavour im confused cause i dont nw what to do for best

Dec 05, 2012
mummy NEW
by: Anonymous

im concern over my 7 yr old her behavour atarted very young and got worse she lashes out at anyone whos near by cery distruptive when she kick off it can be over nothing at all recently she keeps sayin her head keeps telling her to do these thing bein violant behavour she like this at school and nearly got excluded for her behavour im confused cause i dont nw what to do for best

Aug 19, 2012
In the same boar NEW
by: Anonymous

I too have bipolar 1 and am concerned about my 8 year old daughter. She has been diagnosed with ADHD, but never on meds. Not only does her raging temper at not getting her way concern me, but her innapropriate sexual inuendos, and constant talk of sex.I am having her tested, much to the dislike and questioning of others! I do believe though as a parent struggling with the illness, we see things in our kids that may be early indicators that others don't see. Also, when we see these indicators of BP in our kids, we don't want them to continue suffering without proper diagnosis. I say have her checked. Good luck to you and your daughter!

Sep 08, 2011
Have you met....
by: Georgia

My daughter. She's 9, and this is her to a "T". wow.

Aug 14, 2011
enraged 8 year old son
by: so distraught

Man oh man, let me tell you what...my son who is almost 9 has had behavior problems his entire life. I know for a fact that half of his problems are because of my poor choices. The other half is his inability to stay calm in small situations. He is currently in a psychiatric hospital (for the 6th or 7th time!) because he gets enraged and physically violent for what seems to be no reason. He simply cannot control his outbursts in any way. He tries hurting his little brother (18 months old), he screams in his face, pushes him down, smacks him in his head all because he hates sharing a room with his baby brother. He has been in therapy for years and nothing seems to really make an impact. He simply does not care what happens to him or other people. He used to call me a effing witch but he stopped doing that. He manipulates everyone around him. Even my own mother refuses to watch him if I need a babysitter which I almost never need one. I don't really blame her, he is too much for most people to handle anyway. However, I feel like my family should be more supportive because I'm a single mom and have nobody to talk to about it. He is on seroquel. Used to be on risperdal, clonidine, concerta, abilify, etc etc. Nothing works. I am afraid that if he doesn't get some real help, he will end up in jail or worse cuz that's where things seem to be headed. I dread going out in public. I never let people come over my house for fear he might blow up at them. Its happened many times. He's not trying to be misbehave, its just that he has no self control. He hates himself because he doesn't know why he acts the way he does and it kills me to see him so sad. Other kids always gang up on him when he acts out but I gave them a fair warning about how he might get mad over something small. He cries all the time cuz he doesn't have any friends. I love him to death and I know he has mental problems, but come on, he's just a child and I don't like anyone being mean to him for something he can't control.

Jul 20, 2011
You are not alone
by: Crystal C



My extended family also does not believe that she has a diagnosis, or that I do for that matter. They believe that neither of us should be on medication. That I need to grow up and she needs to be disclipined more. What do I do when time out sends her into a rage and she tears up sticker charts??? The doctors have no solutions or recommendations. I too am lost.

I would recommend that you begin with an evaluation. It takes some time, but then at least you know what you are dealing with. Frequently, from what I understand, children with sensory processing disorder are frequently mis-diagnosed with ADHD. It is not that the children are hyper, but instead reacting to an overwhelming set of stimuli. Only an occupational therapist can make the diagnosis, but based on what you wrote, I would not rule it out. It sounds like our children may be rather similar.

Good Luck!


Nov 15, 2010
The Answer is Yes!
by: Renee


I was compelled to answer one of your questions, "does anyone else have this problem?"... the answer is YES!

I am not in the health care profession, I am a mom who has a child with bipolar and by trusting everyone else except for my own "mother's intuition" he suffered for many years diagnosed with many other things.

Trust your intuition and find help for your daughter! She may or may not be bipolar but at least your mind will be at peace on that issue! She is clearly struggling with her own emotions, and a professional can help your daughter and you to sort through it.

Take Care,

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Our Story

by Alice

Hi I came across your site by accident when I was looking for more information about Bipolar Teens. My dtr who just turned 17 was diagnosed 2 years ago. She was 14y and had started 9th grade and had been put on Vyvanse for ADD that year. She had broken up from her first boyfriend ( which was too old and had some major problems of his own). It was a big heartbreak for her, but even prior to that she had started having problems that year after starting at a big high school, she was avoiding school, complaining of stomach aches, headaches etc. At the time of the breakup she started skipping school. She began to swear at me, lie to me steal and sneak out... All these things began to get worse and worse. She began to say she wanted to die, I took her to a psychiatrist who put her on an antidepressant, and then she started to get even worse and said she couldn't sleep, and began to leave the house at night. She would skip school, just remembering all this makes me anxious. It was horrible. I spent almost everyday crying trying to figure out what I was doing or had done wrong that my dtr was acting like this!

I felt huge guilt that my dtr was having these problems because of my bad parenting and I hadn't stopped her interaction with this boy. I was feeling like everything was out of control, and I tried harder to get control, as some parents told me I should do it got even worse. Finally after an episode when I lost control, yelled at her for not getting up for school, and throwing water on her and taking her cell phone away, she attacked me with a screw driver. That progressed to her being arrested and taken to juvenile center. I won’t go into the rest of the nightmares. The good thing of all of this is after the episode her psychologist at the time said he thought she was bipolar, and her psychiatrist changed her medications and she was put on Depakote. She did better but when she was put on Abilify she really made an improvement where I saw a glimmer of my child again. This has been a year of depression and loss for her. We have moved to be closer to my son ( her brother who is married and expecting). Her dad died a year ago which made her have another bad year-skipping school, sleeping all day -the more the school "punished her for not doing her work, going to tutorials etc the worse she got... but this year is better. She has friends now who are better. She has an IEP and a supportive special ed teacher, and goes to therapy. I wish she had a support group of some type.

She says I don’t understand and it is true I really don’t understand her -I try to read as much as I can, and go to a NAMI support group for parents. I wish that she was more motivated, she does very little at home, and my expectations have dropped a lot and I mostly want peace at home. She is pretty agreeable and pleasant but sometimes she hyperfocused or restless or something and she can’t stand to be in the house and bugs me till I take her somewhere. She eats mostly junk food, She makes long lists of what she wants to do but rarely does those things. She seems to do very poorly in school, while she seems intelligent to talk to. Last summer we were able to have extensive testing by the school and it was found that she processed very slowly, had deficits in her attention etc. She has done some things which have frightened me and shocked, and angered me. When she is caught she often will say that she does not know why she did those things. She likes younger children and does well with adults. She has a part time job now on Saturdays working in a beauty shop and I am told by her co workers she is very agreeable and works hard. This is my dtr who won’t do a thing to help at home!.
I worry about how my dtr will cope in the adult world. She seems to have difficulty keeping friends and boys come and go quickly. It is hard not to compare when I see other kids doing fun things together, sports, church, and social events. But I know how much worse it can be, and am glad that she has days of feeling happy again. I am told things get better as the kids get older. We are lucky that she has not had hospitalizations.

Sometimes though I wonder still if she really is bipolar and not just a spoiled kid. Guess I don’t know what my question is. Her therapist says I need to work on taking care of myself. So I am trying now. I wish I could understand this disease. I don’t see clear manic phases. She doesn’t seem to understand her moods or have insight about what is going on with her -
Sorry this is so long. I would like to hear from anyone who might have thoughts to any of this.
Thanks for listening.

Hi Alice.

I am going to post this on my site, and wait for some other parents to respond. I know everything you are going through is what other parents go through. It is not your fault your daughter is struggling with this mental illness. She is not just a spoiled kid! Thanks for sharing your story and expect that you will have several responses of support and shared experiences.


Kristen McClure

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Sep 17, 2016
Our story too NEW
by: Anonymous

I feel like I just read my own story. My date is 19 but I constantly worry about how she would do on her own. She is the most amazing and beautiful person but also the most complex and sometimes shattered person. I cry with u knowing the tears you shed writing about the things other young women experience such as lasting friendships, enjoyable activities, memorable milestones in a young girls life and knowing your child doesn't know what if feels like to experience these things. I think the hardest challenge is seeing her wonder what is wrong with her that she can't make a relationship last or see her friends going to college after she dropped out or starting families since the longest relationship she's ever had was about 2 months. Most people believe my kids are just spoiled but it hurts most when it comes to my family not believing there's a problem That i just need to be more harder on my kids. All I know is when I feel I'm at my lowest and life isn't fair God shows me I have the most amazing kids because even though they are bipolar they are very intelligent and perceptive for their age. They are also the most creative. Im very grateful to have come across"our story"

Jun 20, 2016
Your story is my story NEW
by: Anonymous

I wish my daughter were more motivated. She is 18, will sit around all day and not shower yet gets restless and then drives me crazy asking to go here or here or here. Friend turnover has been a constant in her life and she's just started with boys and thankfully they don't stay around long. She is not at all ready to date, but I have had to let her, one because she is 18 and two, because she has to have these experiences to learn. We went 10 years of actively seeking for help and being misdiagnosed until she was 17 and finally properly diagnosed and properly medicated. What a difference the right meds make! My advice to anyone would be go to a psychiatrist not your pediatrician and get a second opinion. She too has done things that have shocked, angered and disgusted me. This was when she was unmedicated. Now we are playing catch up with her maturity and emotions. No one understands and I too struggle with embarrassment and sadness for her when I see other kids her age. I have been judged as a parent by family, friends, people at church and teachers. I have isolated myself somewhat because I dont want to explain anymore why she is not doing what their kids are doing and I don't want to be given anymore advice from someone that has no knowledge whatsoever but just feels like a know-it-all. I am hopeful that in time she will catch up and find a job and a place where she has friends who are good people and she will feel accepted and happy. Thank you for sharing your story. It helps so much to know that we are not alone.

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Dec 12, 2014
I agree NEW
by: Anonymous

You are not a bad parent, I used to think that bad kids came from bad parenting until each one of my 3 girls was diagnosed with a disorder. My 14 year old has intermittent explosive disorder and takes Risperdal, My 18 year old was on Abilify for OCD and ODD and just recently came out of placement and is on probation. While in the structured environment they took her off of the Abilify. We no longer recognize her. At times we see a glimmer of our sweet loving child but most times she is defiant, has no emotion good or bad, can get violent, then is crying. She does not see her issues and won't take medication which she had been doing very well on. She snows all the therapists and breaks our hearts. We want her out but she will be on probation until she graduates and is not allowed to live any where else. It tears the rest of out family apart. My oldest moved out and is doing well but she also has a diagnosis of bipolar and takes Lamictal just like her father. She knew she had problems and was able to agree and want help. She is my sensible one and will soon be married. So you are not a bad parent. I wish you luck, hang in there and don't give up. My husband has, but as a mother I can't. I don't want to give up on my daughter but realize I have to let her fail and hit rock bottom until she stops hurting those trying to help her and realizes that she needs help. She has the tools to have a successful life she just needs to learn to use them. Only she can help herself right now. I hope your daughter gets the help she needs too.

Jul 05, 2011
I'm going through the same thing
by: Jill (Indiana)

Hi, Alice. Believe me, I know how you feel. My daughter was diagnosed bipolar at the hospital this year. She was 12 and has now just turned 13. The hyper behavior was noticed really for the first time by us in spring this year. But later she got very depressed and suicidal and then a mood change would happen and she would be OK. I have prayed and prayed for God to take this away. It is a nightmare. I love my child and, you know being a mom, I want to just make everything better. I wish we could talk some more. I don't have anyone really to relate to about this. Thank you for your story.

Feb 08, 2011
Our Story
by: Renee

Hi Alice,
I struggled wondering whether or not to comment, I didn't think I would have or even know the right words to say to you. So wish me luck! I know what your are and have been going through. I understand how you are feeling. My son is 17 and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder when he was 11, we have been through it all and I have thought just as you are thinking.
I have doubted, blamed, judged, cussed, cried, and denied our son's behavior for years; well his whole life! I still have those same feelings, I just know how to better handle them (most of the time) and it did take a lot of understanding, therapy and a different mindset.
My son is fairly stable at this point and that is when we have been able to hold him accountable for his actions. Until now, we just survived. If your daughter is not stable, it will be hard for her to maintain a "normal" teenage routine.
You are not a bad parent! Just know you are not alone. Your therapist is right, take care of yourself!

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My ADHD/BiPolar grandson I am raising

by Anonymous
(St. Louis, MO)

I am raising my soon to be eight year old grandson. He was born a preemee at 2.6 pounds. His mother, my son's ex girlfriend, did not want him and drank and partied while she was pregnant. She dropped him off at my son's whe he was a few months old to keep until she got her life in order. She is BiPolar and refuses to take meds. My son went to court and got legal custody. My son was working days and going to school at night to be a policeman. He was married to a horrible woman who was supposed to be watching and taking care of Joey, my grandson. She did nothing for him. she was lazy and sat in front of the TV all day and played a computer game with people all over the country. Joey ran around in a diaper. He would forage in the fridge for food at times. Finally she left but his first five formulative years were wasted. My son started working 12 hour shifts and could not afford a sitter. He was not going to put Joey in school until he turned six so I stepped in and took him into my home, which was 2 hours away from his Dad and enrolled him in Kindergarten.

My son had put him in daycare for a short time but they kicked him out because he was so violent at school. He tried to stab someone with a plastic fork, he used the F word continually, would not nap and was a generally bad kid. We finally found a Psychiatrist who took Medicaid and he was started on Risperdal and Tenex. After we got the dosage right it made a world of difference in his behavior. I enrolled him in Kindergarten and he did well. The problem was he was so small and emotionally immature that we had to repeat kindergarten. He does not have a learning disability, his Kindergarten teacher said he was brilliant. He sailed through Kindergarten the next year. His medicine was not working just right and I found a good psychiatrist, therapist and a case worker who comes to our home once a week.

Now in first grade we are having terrible problems. He is now on Intuniv which is a long lasting form of Tenex and he is on Abilify for BiPolar. The last few months with him have been pure hell for me. The Dr. has added Depakote and now zoloft. I have seen no change with these two new meds. He is defiant. Wants to go to all of the neighbors houses and just won't mind. He wants to talk ugly to me, which I will not tolerate. He goes back and forth. sometimes he is uncontrollable and other times very loving. He won't take no for an answer and begs all the time to go places and wants me to buy him a toy everytime I go in a store. It has come to the point where I can't even take him to the grocery store without it causing a big scene. Joey is also a crier. He whined all the time as an infant and crys now over everything. Kids at school are starting to make fun of him.

The worst of all of this is he will be 8 years old next month and he wets his pants and has bowel movements in his pants almost everyday. I have to keep extra clothes in the nurse's office at school but sometimes he does this 2 or 3 times a day. I have had him to the DR., hospital and a nurse that specializes in incontinence. I was told to give him Miralax daily, that he was impacted from his meds. That gave him diarrhea so they decreased his dose. I am at my wits end. I find myself yelling at him because I am convinced he knows when he has to go but just doesn't want to stop what he is doing. This is especially true with wetting his pants. It is to the point that I wanted him to go back to his dad but the man I live with is so attached to Joey that his says it would be a death sentence for Joey and continually comes up with reasons why he should live with us. I am 61 years old and feel like I am a prisoner because I can't do anything because I feel I am being forced to raise a child that I should be loving from a distance like most grandparents. The worst part now is my son is sick and would not be able to care for him. His mother is not in the picture and she will never have him, that would be the death sentence. I have no family to help with him.

I have now taken him off of the miralax and the afternoon dose of depakote on my own. Joey has refused to eat a home cooked meal for the three years I have had him. He lived on TV dinners and hot dogs. I am now making him eat meals that we do that are healthy. He gets prunes and some fruit that he will eat but I am hoping that will help. He was xrayed and he is not impacted. I am trying fiber bars and things to regulate him.

My partner and I are starting parenting classes this week for parents of children with ADHD and other emotional problems. Today is Saturday and the loving Joey is here today. Hope he stays. Have to take one day at a time.

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2 Year old Head Banging, Scratching and Anxiety and Depression in Mother

by Jeanette
(Windhoek, Namibia)

I really need help with my 2 year old son. I have a history of anxiety attacks and depression and am very afraid that it may have gone over to him. When he gets frustrated he throws himself on the floor, starts to bang his head, scratch his face and arms he screams and cries and it is really unbearable to see him acting like that I really want to help him but do not know how. At this stage I just pick him up hold onto him and let him rather scratch me.

Hi Jeanette

I'm so sorry you are having difficulty with your son. I know how diffiuclt and challenging it is to find help for your child when they are a toddler.

It is certainly always possible that a child of a parent whow suffers from depression and panic attacks will also at some point struggle with these issues. However, in no way is that certain!

I would bring your child to a local specialist and share your concerns with them. Head banging and scratching is always of concern. However, it could be cause by a variety of things. Healthy children will sometimes head bang to self soothe, but autistic children and other children who are over stimulated will also do this. You need a professional to assess this situation and give you accurate feedback. It may be that with a few simple changes in how you are handling this behavior, he is able to go on and manage his frustration in a better way.

Good luck!


Kristen McClure

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The contents of this website such as text, graphics, and other material are for informational purposes only. The Content is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician, or other qualified mental health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of Content found on this Website.

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Oct 29, 2015
I have numerous tension assaults NEW
by: Anonymous

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Oct 20, 2015
Anxiety NEW
by: Anonymous

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Sep 15, 2015
Head Banging , Axiety NEW
by: Anonymous

Have you had him tested for Autisim My two year old has it and similar behavior

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Adolescence with bipolar disorder siking for the right medicine or treatment

by Carmen
(Puerto rico)

We are from PR. I have a 17year old girl that is suffering from symptoms that can match a bipolar disorder. Since she was 11she started suffering from depression and received medication for it since she was manifesting suicidal thoughts. She has been in therapy since then with several changes in the meds. Last year she suffers her first symptom of a maniac disorder. She started being very self center with feeling of grandeur, aggressive and irritable. She was sleepless and was not tired. At that moment the doctor added abilify to her regular depression med. She started to be very sleepy and without will to do things.

Her grades went down and teachers started to say she was always sleepy in class. At this moment she is only taking welbutrin 300xl. Again she was unable to sleep and started to be aggressive and impulsive. Talking a lot of things that didn't make senses. She always manifested being able to communicate with other spiritual livings but at this moments when she is in the manic phase she feels hunted by them. My questions are:
Does she needs medication all the time or only in the maniac phase?
How I can work with her to recognize the symptoms of the maniac phase?
Does people suffering from this disorder recognize they have it and have a normal life?
How is the best way to help her in addition to meds?


Hello! Thanks for sharing those questions, and I am sorry about the difficulty you are having with your child.

Does she needs medication all the time or only in the maniac phase? Generally we people who suffer from bipolar disorder need medication all the time.
How I can work with her to recognize the symptoms of the maniac phase? If she believes she has this diagnosis, you can explain to her how this is a sign of imbalance and what the symptoms are. You clearly understand them very well. The being hunted by spiritual beings seems very scary, and she can use this as a clue that she is not in a good place.
Does people suffering from this disorder recognize they have it and have a normal life? Sometimes they do recognize they have it, and they can live a full life, but I guess it depends on how you define normal. Our society makes it difficult for people who are different to feel okay about themselves, but with the proper support and surrounded by love and care many people live fulfilling lives.
How is the best way to help her in addition to meds? I can tell you that if her diagnosis is right established protocol would not dictate that she only be on wellbutrin, but a mood stabilizer would be advisable ( some are lamictal, lithium, depakote, geodon, tegratol, ablify )

In addition to medication to help with her most disruptive symptoms, understanding how her mood can affect her thinking, taking care of herself and staying in routine and ritual, getting enough sleep and exercise are some of the most important things that can help her.
Good Luck,


Kristen McClure

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My two year old has made my family's life a nightmare

by Kyle
(Abilene, Texas)

Hi, I have a two year old that has turned our lives into a living hell. We have three boys ages 9, 2, and 1. My middle son has always been very distant with myself and drawn to my husband. I've always felt something was off. He likes to line things up or separate them into groups almost compulsively.

The last 3-6 months his "tantrums" have worsened. He seeks out hurting himself and other (esp. his brothers and myself). When I finally have had too much and sit down and cry he laughs at me. He doesn't sleep well.He yells out about once and hour. He always sounds terrified. Most of the time he will eventually go back to sleep. He has irrational fears. For example he is scared of clowns, bugs, monsters, baths, and snakes. None of these things he has come into contact with.

When he gets something such as the things above in his head he will only concentrate on that thing for hours. He goes in to hysterical rages. He will thrash around for like an hour and if we get near him he will try to inflict injury on us. We moved a few months ago and that seemed to intensify everything.

He has been put on Risperdal just in the last week out of fear of what he will do to his baby brother. We can't get in to have him evaluated for another month (we've been on the waiting list for 6 months). We don't know what else to do. I feel like at times he's perfectly "normal" and then it's like a light switch is flipped. He seems like he enjoys hurting us. I have told my husband it's like he's possessed. I'm so scared for my other children. My nine year old starts therapy next week but I know that won't change the real problem. We are desperate. Thank you so much for listening. I have tried to focus on the seemingly more important behaviors but I could go on and on for days.

HI Kyle

By now you have likely gotten some help. These symptoms may be indicative of a bigger problem. I would have your child evaluated by a specialist to see if autism is a possibility. Children who are bipolar at times will demonstrate the aggressive behaviors you describe but are not normally consistently like this. Other symptoms are similar to a child with a mood disorder. Phobias of the things you describe are not uncommon in children his age, and are by definition irrational. However, the fixation raging and crying definitely suggests he is distressed. It would be very important to have your child evaluated and very important to report any history of bipolar disorder in your family if it exists.

Please keep us updated on your progress.

Sincerely Kristen

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Oct 14, 2015
True information is shared NEW
by: George W. Hill

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Mar 03, 2011
from a mom of a child with autism
by: Anonymous

Your little one sounds autistic. A great place to start to get help is your pediatrician or county health nurse. They will help you get an assessment and diagnosis. Early intervention works because, well, its done early. My son isnt as severe in his behaviors as yours, but great changes are possible! Dont give up!

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I just found out i was Bi-polar.

(Ooltewah,TN , USA)

So , i am 14 teen years old and all my life i have been really happy and hyper.One day i'd be really upset and the next minute i'd be really upset.I would take my anger out on my mother , My teachers , and my close friends. Bipolar Disorder is something i never thought about in a million years! My teachers and all the people around me would tell me i wasn't normal or i shouldn't be acting this way. One day , one of my teachers was talking to me about Bipolar Disorder and i honestly didn't understand why she was talking to me about that and she explained to me that i might just have that problem.I remember the only thing i was thinking to myself was this lady is crazy , but i did go home and think about what she said and i researched it and it turns out that all of the Symptoms were describing the exact way i felt! I mean i was naturally in the mania stage always happy and really hyper and energetic but , out of nowhere sometimes i would be really anger and take it out on everybody around and sometimes because of this i would lose friends and some of my family members wanted nothing to do with me.I would often get in trouble at school and at home for my bad attitude and "negative way of life" as my mother would say but it really wasn't my fault because sometimes i would be so angry I'd say things without thinking about the Consequences of my acting and i really couldn't control it but , now my mother is taking me to see my doctor soon so we can talk about a plan to help me get through it.


Thanks so much for sharing your story. It seems so smart and courageous of you to go searching for help and information on the internet, and I wish you all the luck that you get some relief from the symptoms that are causing you distress.

Kristen McClure

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our 1st visit with doctor says children dont get diagnosed with BP

by Paula
(St.Louis MO)

My name is P I am married with a great husband and 2 amazing kids L who is 13 and a son X who is 9. I'm not sure where to begin.

X was an amazing baby sooo easy also as a toddler he was late on talking it was after his second birthday when he began to say words. As years went by especially around the age of 4 it started. X would get extremely angry and could not control himself the littlest thing would set him off sometimes we didn’t even know what set him off. He would say things, awful things to us, and attack us I know this sounds crazy. Everyone i would confide in said he's just spoiled and we need to take everything out of his room or spank him, we tried everything , positive rewarding when he did well and taking things away when he waqs bad. My mom and dad would always say something is not right with him normal kids don't act that way , and you need to learn how to discipline him. My husband struggled with the whole situation, he just kinda ignored him would yell at him periodically, honestly i think he was unsure what to do. X is sooooo sweet, he loves nature and living things he is very connected to our dogs, loves to go hiking, loves the outdoors. He is very emotional for example he was outside watching some ants , i walked up not knowing what he was doing and stepped on one he still cries if he thinks about it. I'm sorry for unloading on who ever reads this. So anyway fast forward to last May 2010. I took him to our pediatrician for help she felt he had adhd and subscribed vyvanse. It was awful all his emotions amplified by a hundred it was scary so i called she said we stop taking it and referred us to a child psychiatrist. So we went and answered several questions as well X.

She then said she feels he is ADHD and has oppositional defiant disorder so she put him on intuniv and referred us to child coach / behavioralist, honestly he was bizarre and things got worse on this medicine he started freaking out about germs and his anger was bad as well. We quit going to the child coach for money reasons he was very expensive insurance did not cover this. We did several appt. though and nothing was changing. We went on vacation that July 2010 his Doctor upped his intuniv to 3mg , it was awful!!!!!!!!! I felt so bad for him he was not X at all it was so sad to see him like this , for example we stopped at a restaurant a fly landed on Xs chair he wanted to leave and refused to sit down he was angry and pinching me and stepping on my foot really hard. So I quit giving him the meds, the rest of the trip was much better after a few days being off the meds. So fast forward again to the next doctor appt. she said we needed to put him on Prozac and keep him on 3 mg of intuniv and thats what we are still doing ,now don't get me wrong his is MUCH better than before we ever went to a doctor, but the intuniv i feel still is having some sort of aggression problems where he rips paper and broke some of his trophy's and then cries and cries about it after realizing these things can't be fixed.

Also the sleeping all the time has gotten better we now give it to him when he gets home from school. When he starts going into one of his fits he's very angry and crying at the same time, now this happens at least once a week the really bad ones about 2 a month, also within an hour to three hours he's back to himself. X also has to be right and brags alot so he doesnt have many close friends, i know this is because X has a low self esteem. Now his siter L is embarrassed by X and thinks he's weird and says we always give in to X which is pretty much correct we don't want him to get in a full out tantrum. We feel sorry for L, not knowing how to help her cope with X which i must say he loves her very much and tries to be close to her, but she wants no part of him and says he scares her sometimes. I cry alot over this not sure what to do. Thanks reading the novel i just wrote LOL

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I have 12 years old son. diagnosed ADHD 4 years ago. He took concerta for 2 years did not make any difference. We stoped giving him medication. and I put him on herbal medication.

He was fine up till 2 months ago. Starting bad language, does not take no if something does not like or we tell them stop to do creates an argument. I took him to Dr again and gave him mood swing medication with ADHD combine. I forgot the name. My son got worse and more aggressive acting. He started vomiting I called the Dr and increased the dose. After that my son got worse and worse. Then we stopped medication again and went to therapist.

He said he is frustrated on study so he needs tutoring with every other week his office visit. He offers tutoring in his office.

Now my questions is,if the child is suffering with bipolar or attention or whatever diagnose is therapy or tutoring will help? He is not paying attention. His mood swings alot.

He first starts arguing with us and call us names and try to throw the things on us. When you ask why you do that? He says just for my protection.

I do not know what to do. one DR say ADHD other say BP another says he does not have ADHD just therapy will do. Not sure who to listen to

His mood is getting worse. He gets angry very fast. He pays attention on study but after some time gets frustrated and distracted.

Does he needs medication? or therapy will help or it is just the grown up age the kids do that. I have 3 older daughters and they are fine. Please help.

Dear Mother

I am very sorry for all you have been through. It doesn't sound like you have gotten very good help. You yourself can be the judge of whether therapy is helping. Therapy can be helpful for ADHD and bipolar if it is managed with medication. Therapy is not helpful in my opinion, if a child is unstable. I would look up on the CABF website a list of doctors who are well versed in bipolar disorder in your area. You don't mention your family history but this is significant. If you do not understand what your therapist is doing, or haven't gotten good medical advice, keep asking until you get answers that make sense.

I am very sorry for what you have experienced with the mental health system. I realize you sent this message quite a while ago, and unfortunately, I have been incredibly backlogged. Please feel free to update this message and I will respond ASAP.

Kristen McClure

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Oct 20, 2015
Mother NEW
by: Anonymous

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Nov 09, 2010
I have bipolar wonder if my daughter does as well
by: Anonymous

My daughter is 8 was diagnosed with ADHD concerta worked wonders but she lost 8 lbs in 3 wks and had stomach aches. She was switched to methyl in which made her irritability and sadness worse.
She is hyperactive, talks fast, is defiant when things don't go her way or plans are changed. Throws temper tantrums and pulls her hair. Says she " hates her life" " has a horrible life" is unorganized, low frustration level, poor short term memory, pinches and pushes me says she " hates me" when she is mad. Says " I'm mad" constantly for no reason. Has no reason to hate her life. When I ask why she hates her life she says " well I have to pick up my stuff all the time" she shaved off part of her eyebrow trying to shave the hair off her forehead. Wrote a note saying I need to look prettier"
She goes to sleep at "12:30 1 am and will sleep until 12 pm if it is the weekend. Mon through fir is a nightmare waking her up in the morning for school. She throws temper tantrums she is so irritable from lack of sleep? She does poorly in school. Cannot focus, distractibility, unorganized, difficulty following directions. Have to tell her 10 times to do something. Is this ADHD/ mood disorder. Started as wanting to know " how many calories are in that" do I look fat in this" running around in the back yard saying " I need to lose some pounds" that stopped. Then some facial tics, then random whistling. Those stopped. Not sure what is up. My mom is mad that psychologist is even suggesting bipolar might be possible. She says my parenting is the problem...I don't discipline her well. I'm too easy on her. Is there a test the
Psychiatrist can give her? Because if the diagnosis is based on the info I give them I'm afraid my mom will not believe the diagnosis to be true. As she does not trust my judgement/ opinion"/ observation because I am stigmatized due to my bipolar, which has been stable for awhile now. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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Toddler in trouble

by Tammy P
(Las Vegas, NV)

I have guardianship of my nieces 2 children. I have had them since birth and they do have contact with their mother.

I am concerned about Noah. He is 4 and I have had problems with him since he was very little.

I took him to the early intervention center here and had them test him for delays and autism. At the end of their evaluations, all they came up with he is developmentally delayed. He is so smart! His teachers say he is ahead of his pre-K class on alot of the things they just started learning.

He picks things up very fast.
He didn't start talking until he was almost 3 and he has always shown alot of aggression. He refused to sleep in a room by himself. He would wake up and come to my room, when I took him back to his room, he would wake up again and keep coming back. He started biting around 1 1/2. No discipline seemed to work on him. He was even kicked out of Sunday school for biting a little girl. He hits, beats up on his little sister and I am afraid he will seriously hurt her or another child.

He is CONSTANTLY getting into things he knows he isn't supposed to, even after warning him to stay away from it. He completely ignores you. It's almost as if when he is looking for something to get into he cannot hear you.

He will have tantrums over what seems like nothing sometimes and other times, he will start doing something just to get you mad.

He has had severe separation anxiety since he was about 6 months old. It is just starting to ebb.
Other times, he is so loving and tender.

He gets nothing but rave reviews from his teacher telling me how wonderful he is in his preschool. His bus driver says he is the most well behaved on her route.

His grandmother is bi-polar and I believe that his mother may be also(Mother isn't diagnosed). His mother is Developmentally delayed, Mildly Mentally Retarded and Severe ADHD.

Hi Tammy

You don't have a question posted here, so I'm assuming you were just sharing your story. I thank you for this as there are a great deal of people who can benefit from knowing they aren't alone with the troubles they have with their children.

There are so many things that could be going on with Noah! I would take him to a psychologist and take him again and again until someone you talk to makes sense in articulating to you what is going on with your nephew!!

He is very lucky to have someone who is searching for services to get him help. We are very lucky to have people like you to step in and help children when their parents are unable to care for them.

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Nov 06, 2015
Help NEW
by: Anonymous

Let's assume you're tending to your very own concerns when you see a little child in the city around evening time standing there pay for writing my paper . Ounting on human instinct this trick is going to make you mull over hurrying to the guide of a youngster in need.

May 07, 2009
Thank You
by: Tammy

Thanks! I can use all I can get because lately it has been getting worse!
We are trying to find somewhere here to take him to get another evaluation and checked for bi-polar and ADHD. I believe that his mother did some drugs and alcohol while pregnant but it has never been brought up as an issue when Imention it.
Thanks again! and you are also in our prayers!!

May 07, 2009
God Bless You
by: debby/oklahoma

I just wanted you to know that my thoughts and prayers are with you. I am helping my son with his little boy (whom he has full custody of) since age 6 months. He has some of the same troubles you are describing, My heart just breaks that his mother did this to him, He is a drug baby, We are trying to get help any where we can. But, wanted you to know I will be thinking of you and your family and praying for you.

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A Daily Struggle

by Brenda


My name is Brenda and I have a child with a mood disorder named Julian. Julian is 8 years old right now and has displayed this disorder since he was about 3 and a half to 4 years old. It has been a daily struggle with Julian. His behavior was so out of control that he was removed from his daycare. Just to mention that Julian is also a Type 1 diabetic since the age of about 20 months. Since the time that I realized there was something not right I bagan to research and try to seek help for my son. At that time he had only Medicaid as his primary insurance so the mental health treatment was very limited. I had him evaluated several times by so called licensed evaluators and they found him to be just a bit hyper and perhaps challeging than other children but not ADHD or anything else. So my quest for answers continued. It seemed that these evaluators looked at me as if I was the one with issues because in front of them his behavior was superb. I asked several times for him to be evaluated in his usual environment without his knowledge and was rejected each time. This I found to be wrong because if the child knows he is being watched he will perform as he needs to. Finally I was able to get private insurance through work and get a referal for a psychiatrist. In his 1st grade year Julian was 6yrs old about to be 7 in July and about to be suspended from school because of the extreme behavior he constantly displayed. Behavior which included throwing things in class, throwing things to the teacher in a fit of anger, picking up his chair and slaming it, being extremly mean and hurtful to other children and bouts of extreme tantrums. His psychiatrist put him on Adderall in March of 2007. I was also taking him to a therapist that specializes in treatment of children with ADHD. He believed Julian also had a mood disorder or Bipolar due to the extreme ways in which he would go from very happy to very sad to very very mad almost in an instant. The Adderall took about a month to take full affect and once it did it was not perfect but his behavior in school changed for the better. He was able to concentrate and show how smart he really is because he was now able to focus on the instruction being given. He bacame an instant helper and was very well liked. There were times of emotional meltdowns, where he would spend a lot of time crying and feeling bad. It was the ups and downs of the medication. He had also been given a mood stabalizer called Risperdal to take at bed time. The combinattion of both seemed to help him a lot. I felt like he could now begin to enjoy himself as a kid without all of these terrible feelings and anger that did not let him be a regular kid. The struggle continues because as of early May 2008 my son began to display tics in both eyes and the neck. His psychiatrist told me to remove the Adderall and I was so scared I removed all meds. My son had a terrible regression. All of his bad behaviors and extreme anger came back with even more force. He was suspended from school for 3 days due to this. The end of the year was a bad one because now Julian was a bad kid in the eyes of teachers and administration. It did not matter that I had informed everyone of his conditions and the lack of meds would aggrivate these conditions, they still suspended him and still pinned him as the bad apple. Although he had been great all year. I was reffered to take him to a neurologist for the tics. She gave me a non stimulant mediction for him and told me only to give him this. It was a nightmare. We were going on vacation in June and my son was terribly mentally unstable and there was nothing for me to do. We went on our family vacation which was spent mostly correcting him and arguing because of the several acts of anger and misbehavior. I put him back on the risperdal in late June and the mix of the clondine and risperdal seemed to be working well. He was mostly happy again and his sad times were gone quick. He had his personality back, which was gone with the Adderall, and was easier to work with. All summer we were able to have a pretty good time. A couple of months ago he had labs done. It turns out he now has high cholestoral. An unknown side effect of the risperdal. His psychiatrist has now put him on Geodon. It is truly not as affective at controling his extreme mood swings. The last month we have been dealing with a child that is ultra sensitve, very easily angered and displays a quick temper. Again we are seeing the child that is throwing objects in his room and distroying his bedroom because he is angry. A child that is not sleeping very much because he is not tired. A child that like a swicth can be happy one minute and so angry the next. Again we are trying to find a way to help our child have a somewhat normal, happy, childhood. I have to believe that one day soon we will find what Julian needs. It really needs to be very soon because this illness is threatening to distroy my family and our sanity.

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Dec 23, 2011
And how is Julian now? NEW
by: Anonymous

Just stumbled across your post..wondering how he is now? We have a 12 year old tha has been a nightmare since he was 7.. It's destroying us..can't seem to find anyone to help that understands him!

Oct 23, 2009
We are long lost twins :(
by: Anonymous

I could write a novel, as to the journey I've been on with my son. He too suffers, and is not truly healthy. Your story sounds like mine, you're not alone, nor am I.

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Hey! This story ends well! Read!

by Sophia

I can’t remember not being bipolar- the reason being is that I have been so since I was 3 or 4. Now I am 16.

My mother found herself pregnant as a 20 year old, single, broke, art student in college. Sure my biological father was “around” (more often than not at a loud frat party next a keg and a couple of young girls) but there was no support and for quite some time she was too afraid to tell her family for fear of further abandonment. Eventually she did disclose her “predicament” and soon I was born. There are two things I know about my first days of life: Firstly, my “baby blanket” was a white dishtowel, and secondly, mother planned to send me to an adoption agency. But something happened and I was “kept;” this was the single best and worst thing to happen to me.
Less than two years after my birth my mother found herself pregnant again, but this time the man was respectable and, naturally, did the right and respectable thing: Married her and adopted me. I believe my biological father visited me twice; once when his mother (my grandmother) pleaded him to do so and once in the Fargo court house where he signed off any connection to me.
I must explain a few things before I go on. Firstly, my adoptive father is a good man but was thrown into the role of being a father too soon, like most 20 year olds he was not prepared or mentally able to do so. Secondly, my childhood was not entirely horrible- in fact, most of the time I was quite happy. Lastly, I was an oddly energetic child. I stopped taking naps at 5 months, began full out chatter at 6 months (something I never stopped) and was diagnosed with ADHD (whether or not I truly have ADHD is yet to be seen-I as well as many health professionals suspect that I was simply a healthy and lively child…heaven forbid a child have more energy than an adult-but I digress,) this was something that my parents have difficulties dealing with. I ask that you not judge my father or mother (I will continue to address my adoptive father as so), for I truly believe that they were doing the best that they could at that time.

It became clear after some time that my father had anger issues. Over what seemed like simple child mistakes he would “blow up” and I was at his mercy. For about a year there was nothing more than screaming in my face or a rather zealous spanking, but it progressed. I was physically abused from ages 2 up until I was almost 14. Life was constantly a question of “is daddy happy or mad today?” and “what did I do?” The only way I can explain what I went through is to really explain what I went through (so If you have PTS in the areas of abuse I suggest skipping this part of my story.)

One night as my family sat together in our basement watching a movie my father said something and (being the smart ass I am) I talked back. The next thing I remember was my dad hitting me, somehow I got away and began running up stairs as fast as possible, my mother running after the two of us, her getting pushed, my dad catching me, lifted me up by my waist, I flipped upside down, and…I got hurt. Later that evening my mom brought me to her room and I remember saying simply “that’s the worse he’s ever hurt me,” and she responded “me too.” She advised me to stay away from him for a while, but that wasn’t me. I thought if I gave him a chance he would say sorry and everything would be all better. He refused to apologize…I don’t think he ever did, instead he refused to talk to me for roughly a week.

A couple years later I had grown accustom to “being hurt” and honest to God thought it was present in every household. So when during a party my dad (wanting me to be less energetic) gripped my arm so tight that it bruised and, later, my mom asked what happened I matter-of-factly replied “oh that, yeah dad did it when he was mad.” I didn’t understand why mom looked so sad or why she told me to keep it covered until it went away.

I think the worst was when I was 13. My little brother (who is now 3) had just been born and was currently napping. My mom and sister were our somewhere and I was doing my laundry. I think that’s what started it all: Laundry. I marvel now while writing this how something so trivial became the foundation for one of the worst moments I hope I ever have to go through. From what I can recall my dad was upset on how slow my laundry-process was going. I told him I was going as fast as I could and that that should be good enough for him (I’m actually not sure what I said, but if I know me-which I think I do-it would have been something around those lines). He did not take it well. I don’t really want to get into the details of what happened (it lasted close to 30 minutes) so I will write about the couple minutes that had the greatest effect on me. After being dragged across the house by my hair, up and down flights of stairs, my dad (for whatever crazed reason) “brought” me into his and my mom’s room, where at the time my brother (less than a year old) had been taking a nap. I just remember him screaming and crying. I didn’t care if I got hurt as long as my baby brother was ok. My maternal instinct (which is a fierce thing to behold when my brother is threatened) caused me to keep looking over my shoulder to make sure he was all right. But that angered my dad and he told me that if I looked over one more time I would wish I had never been born. I tried, so hard, not to look, but it was as if my head was connected to an invisible string and that string kept tugging in the direction of my brother’s crib. The next thing I knew was that I was on the floor, getting kicked while being screamed at to get up.

But it ended. All of it.

The day the abuse stopped was the second best and worst thing to ever happen to me. You see, with the absence of fear for my life I had the chance to think. I though about what happened. Why it happened. How my momma could have just let it happen. I couldn’t make sense of any of it. So I got mad. My floodgates of pain burst and I was set on having the world pay.

Some of you who know a fair amount about bipolar know one of the leading triggers is stress (although it is hereditary, stress can cause it to “show its self” earlier when else wise it may have been delayed and not be present until a later time) and, because my childhood had been so stressful, I had developed bipolar at a VERY young age. I was 14 when I began trying to rid myself of the pain, and any of you who have experienced that age know how messed up you are to start with.

I slept around. I drank. I stole. I snuck out almost nightly. I failed in school. I did every drug from weed to LSD to crystal meth. I cut myself. All I wanted was for the pain to end. Many teens, and even adults with bipolar know this path very well. Those who it doesn’t destroy, it kills. But, there are a lucky few who make it out, and I was one of them.

Towards the end of my 9th grade in high school I was sent to a part-time treatment center for teens and diagnosed with depression. Soon after that I was sent to the mental health “cubby” (that’s really what it was) of a local city hospital. I spent two weeks there and after, I found that I wanted to get better. Not just “get better” but to TRULY get better. I really can’t explain it better than that, perhaps you know what I mean, and perhaps you don’t- take what you will from it.

About 4 months later I was diagnosed with bipolar. That was the best thing to happen to me. Since then I am doing much better in school (with the occasional struggle) and in overall life. I’ve learned to forgive my parents (with many talks, bouts of crying, counseling, and a good dose of time) and above all, love and forgive myself. I now know that it was not my fault for what happened, I have nothing to be ashamed of, and that I’m a beautiful, smart, loveable girl whose life is full of delightful possibilities that stretch only as far as my imagination (and I happen to have a brilliant imagination.)

I am more than willing to email those struggling with bipolar and/or people struggling with someone with bipolar. I highly recommend DBT (dialectal behavior therapy) and reading “Child of Mine” (both helped my family-the book is my mother’s.)

(P.S. I do apologize for this hodgepodge of a story; I put it together in about 40 minutes.)

“We may not have caused all of our own problems, but we must be the one to fix them”

email at:

Amazing. Thanks you so much for sharing, Sophia.

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Hey! This story ends well! NEW
by: Anonymous

Thanks for telling your story.

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Mother of BP Kids

Just curious.....I have three diagnosed kids with BP. My 2-year-old is swinging that way. We've never medicated prior to 5 years of age. The little guy really seems like he is suffering. What is the youngest you've seen treated with mood stabilizers?

I enjoyed the articles on your site! Nice to see my life on here :)



Hi Lori,

I have seen kids at four, but I am sure they start earlier. Maybe you want to check with your pediatrician about natural supplements? Melatonin and omega 3? Just a suggestion. Good luck and God bless you!

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My struggle to love my daughter

by Michelle
(Oceanside ca usa)

My almost nine year old daughter has had anger problems since two years old. She throws tantrums, says bad words, hits and destroys things when she doesn't hear the response she wants. She also has sensory issues which lead to anxiety. We have spent thousands on a program called Brain Balance which says that her central nervous system is not integrated. She has done OT services and has been on at least 20 different meds. Right now she is on risperdone and lamotragine. She has been able to mostly keep it together in school until now. She is in third grade and is starting to have anger issues in school, especially on the playground. At home, we walk on egg shells and feel abused. We start off calm and end up yelling. Over time, I am coming to resent my daughter. She is a twin and I find myself loving her sister more. I even think it would be better if she lived somewhere else. As you have stated, my marriage suffers daily. Most of our fighting is about my daughter. Our parenting is not on the same page when it comes to her and disciplining her. Any advice or help I would love. I feel like my life is lost.

Hi Michelle

I am so sorry for what you are going through. I have to admit I don't quite understand brain balance. I wonder what they suggest as a remedy for her rages? Are the meds she is taking now helping her? It doesn't sound like they are. I can tell you it is no wonder at all you think it would be better if she lived somewhere else and it doesn't mean you don't love her. MANY parents feel this way when they are faced with a difficult circumstance such as yours. There aren't always easy answers here but she needs more I think and you need support, and you and your husband need support. Your life matters, and clearly this is exhausting you. I just want to tell you to take care of yourself and practice self compassion. Clearly, it is a long road ahead of you. You may want to join my support group online, it's free and parents like it. https://www.facebook.com/groups/bipolarkidssupport/?ref=br_rs

These parents are great.

Let me know what else I can do

Kristen McClure

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If I could educate you about my bipolar child

by Carol

If I could educate the world I'd tell them the following:

1. My child is a wonderfully funny, creative and loving child who suffers with Bi-Polar. (much the same way your child is wonderful and nearsighted)

2. My child would gladly give away every toy she ever had if she could make and keep just one friend. (Don't you dare call her spoiled)

3. My child has NEVER bullied another child. Her heart is big and the tears she cries when other children bully her are valid. She is not a crybaby.

4. My child doesn't want or like bi-polar but, she gets up every day and keeps going.

5. My child is a straight A student. Yes, I home school her. Not because she needs academic help but because other children need to be taught compassion. I don't have time to teach them. I have all the time in the world for my child.

6. My child does NOT need more discipline. When she is stable she is the most well behaved child. When she is not, she needs unconditional acceptance and a voice of reason to empower her....I GIVE HER THAT.

7. My child having bi-polar is not a death sentence, nor does it mean she will not live a wonderfully fulfilling life.

8. My child suffers daily. She is often confused by the injustices life has handed her but, she is always first to offer a helping hand.

9. My child did not eat her way to 180 lbs. She can not lose the weight by eating right. She has not had sugar, white bread, potato or dairy products in 3 years. The medication that keeps her from killing herself causes her to gain weight.

10. My child is doing a damn good job of controlling an illness that brings many adults to their knees.

Mothers of bi-polar children are in a fight for their very lives...and the lives of their children. We are not bad parents of spoiled children. We are super heroes who deal with behaviors you can't begin to imagine and we know the meaning of unconditional love in a way that few people ever experience.

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by: Emily Converse

My daughter is almost 3 and very intelligent. I have bipolar and am questioning weather or not she has it. Do I know if its bipolar cause I have it? no! but I do know in my heart that my baby don't like feeling the way she do, I know that she struggles with acceptance and always looking for approval. I know she has her ups and down. I know she has so much rage inside of her that she can't control it. I know she loves her family even though she is physically abusive to her siblings. and I know that the only time she feels good about herself is when she is dancing or singing.

Thank you for sharing this.

I hope me and my family can get an answer for her cause she is only 3 and suffering bad.

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Sep 15, 2011
I think my 8 year old is Bi-polar
by: Anonymous

my 8 year olds biological dad was diagnosed 7 years ago with bi-polar and I am starting to see signs in my 8 year old, I have 3 other children and when I have the 8 year old by himself he is a super child! but with other children he acts out he tries to be funny sometimes aggressive he can be crying one minute and laughing with tears streaming down his face, he has learning dissabilities, speech delayed, he seems to have no emotion I can tell its a struggle for him to show or give affection he has harmed animals before he tries to be real sneaky and he lies when confronted about things, he recently got into the matches and denied it, but can be a very hard worker one day doing so many things seeming very gung ho almost to the point you cant keep up with him jumping from one chore to the next begging him to slow down and the next day you cant bargain with him to do anything! the school told me he was MR his IQ was 53 I am desperate to find out what is wrong with him does any of the description above simuliar to Bi-polar disorders. please e-mail me @ mlbazor1972@hotmail.com incase I lose this website.

Aug 26, 2011
Thank you for caring
by: Carol

Imagine if you bent your legs to sit in a chair you know is there and when you sit, you fall...so you move the chair a little and you fall again. Nothing you do that you THINK is right works and you just keep falling and everyone just keeps telling you how wrong you are. Imagine your frustration and anger. This is the daily life of a child with Bi-polar. They dont WANT to cause problems or have everyone afraid of them. they want to be accepted...just like every other person. What can you do to help this child feel accepted by you? Simply let him know you're on his side. Then slowly build up HIS coping skills. Many of these kids are told what to do when they are melting (stop that, calm down, you're going in time out etc.) These statements only frustrate the child more. Instead, we always tell our child

"Ok...I get that youre mad, help me understand...Im on your side"

And we set boundaries. My child is allowed to cuss me out when shes mad but, she can never ever again hurt me or herself. She can stand in front of me in total rage and I know she will never hit me because I gave HER some control over her rages instead of telling her what to do.

Allow me to thank you on behalf of this child. Just by taking the time to seek answers I can tell you're going to make a difference in his life.

Aug 26, 2011
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To all the parents of Bi Polar children. I am in a new position this year as the Ed. system in public schools changed. I was an Instructional aide for 9 years and now the admin. put all of the grade level aides in the lifesklls room. I am supposed to work with an 11 year old boy that has Bi Polar disorder, schizophrenia and Behavior problems. I believe he was through some trauma as a toddler and parents can't control him. He is allowed to run wild at home and they leave him unattended at local park. As an untrained aide in a public school what can I do to make his life during school hours more successful. I am fearful of him and do not want to do the wrong thing legally. I am being trained but not enough to put my mind at ease. I want any help or advice I can get. Thanks

Aug 12, 2011
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by: Jessica

So many things I think but never say. I'm glad I am not alone...this brought me to tears. But thank you!

May 13, 2011
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Apr 12, 2011
by: Rhonda

What courage for both you and your child!!

Feb 09, 2011
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by: Anonymous

Loved it! Thank you for sharing!

Feb 08, 2011
wish the world would educate there self
by: chrissy

Thanks,for saying all those sweet things. Every word you said is the truth. My son is the same, he would do anything to put a smile on your face. One word in life I don’t like is "Bad". There no bad children, I get so made when people refer to my son as bad. No he just fights with moods and emotions.

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Feb 08, 2011
So Moving!
by: Elizabeth

I am so glad you shared this. More parents and tetachers should read about our real life experiences.

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My 16 Year Old Son

by Carol

My son was experimenting with marijuana at age 14 so I put him in a residential treatment program for 34 days. The Psychiatrist diagnosed him with cannabis addiction and anxiety. After his stay he went to live with his father for a brief time and received another psychiatric diagnosis of Bipolar NOS.

I didn't want to believe this new diagnosis and felt it was in error because the FIRST Psychiatrist never mentioned any mental illness. Later, my son started "using" again and being verbally abusive to his father so he ended up at the airport calling me to pick him up later that evening.

Since then he's been on Depokote and had Abilify (30mg) also added to his meds. Some days he is drama free, most days he calls me horrid names, slams doors, punches things and other sulks around the house. The biggest difference now is I get an apology at least despite the eruptions. I almost feel like having no hope at all so I don't get disappointed. He's so credit deficient in school he will be lucky to finish on the 5 year plan. I slowly have had the life sucked out of me despite having read and educated myself on his condition and most importantly tried to separate his behavior from his illness.

After three years of dealing with residential treatments, brief adolescent psychiatry hospital stays, and daily skirmishes I am wiped out. What I need to hear of is HOPE. What is medication suppose to do for him? Thanks for letting me vent...this is one merry-go-ride I want to be off.


I don't know if your son's diagnosis is correct, or if he is appropriately medicated , but it is possible he is not getting all of the help he could with meds.

What should medication do?
Medication should balance out the mood swings so your child can function better. Your child should be keeping a mood journal, the journal should indicate the frequency of the mood swings and you should be able to determine the symptoms of the mood swings. So if for example he has a symptom of boredom, you should be able to identify that with mania. Then the doctor can get the report, for example that the child is bored every night from 4-7, and make med adjustments based on that info. The meds should be tweaked until the moods level out and symptoms are more manageable.

Cursing and slamming doors are not unusual in children that have bipolar disorder. The parenting approach should focus on conversations with him when he apologizes about how the two of you can move forward with different interactions in the future. If you haven't been trained in RAINBOW parenting, check out my website or google it!

Here is an example dialog around door slamming and cursing. This should happen when he is calm.

Mom: "We need to talk about what happened earlier"
Child: "I'm sorry I slammed the door and called you....".
Mom:" What were you feeling when that happened..."
Child;" I was mad because you were trying to force me to...."
Mom: "First lets figure out if there was anything else going on that made it difficult to handle stress. Were you hungry? Did something happen during that phone call? How was school?"
Child: "Nothing else happened, but the teacher at school hates me and won't do anything to help."
Mom: "Let's try to figure this out. I know it feel s like we can't fix it, but there is a way to get through this together. I know it feels out of control and you are angry, but we have to keep trying to communicate better. I know we can do it, and things will get better if we just work at it."

I know this is idealistic, but the idea is it is an ongoing process to work on developing the communication skills, coping skills and hope in your child that is required to move forward. You have no choice but to have hope, because without it you are nowhere. Unfortunately you also have to create that hope for your child.
School: Many children with bipolar disorder are unable to graduate school on time, in fact, some are unable to attend normal school and get their GED, or are homeschooled. Just because they don't graduate on time doesn't mean they don't graduate. I have had several of my children go back in their 20's and get their GED and go to community college. Developmentally children like yours are often several years behind. This does not mean that they aren't capable of success, or that they aren't intelligent, just that they are slower than the average child to come into their own.

Hope: The challenges your face are overwhelming, this I understand. It is not uncommon to feel hopeless . Hope by definition is to expect with confidence or trust. In absence of evidence it is challenging. I can tell you with certainty, that if your child has bipolar disorder, it is by no means a diagnosis that precludes him from having a successful, happy life. It may not be the life you had envisioned, or the success that you had envisioned.

If you are feeling hopeless, go get some help for yourself so you are better equipped to deal with the challenges of raising a special needs child. You need support to help you to summon up the energy to help your child.
Good luck!
Kristen McClure

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I want off the roller coaster too NEW
by: CB

I have a bipolar husband and it has been a very rough ride, and now all three of our children, 24, 18, 14 have been diagnosed with IED,ODD,bipolar. My oldest recognized she needed help and got it, my youngest was on meds but now refuses to take them. It is my middle child I struggle with the most. She has no female friendships,will only hang with guys, breaks all the rules, wrecked two of our vehicles becomes physically aggressive, went from straight A's in school and having dreams and aspirations to failing classes, developing an eating disorder,being a liar and manipulator,mood swings you name it. Our finances are strapped so tight with the counseling which she just puts on a show for anyway, my husband actually went into an episode from the stress and had to have his meds adjusted. His bipolar I have learned to cope with over the years. It hasn't been easy as his manic states almost bankrupted us along with the hypersexuality and affairs. We even got divorced and re married. I could seriously write a book or have a reality show.I just want to have a normal family with normal children and I want them to be happy and successful but my middle child is going to fall flat on her face and just won't accept the help everyone tries to get her.

Jan 26, 2012
Hope NEW
by: Anonymous

There is HOPE. I have never read about rainbow parenting but I have been practicing it for years by accident. :) What I have found worked best for my child was empowering her. I "allow" her to cuss at me but never to hit when she is angry. I do this because I understand she needs that release. And I tell her its OK by me, that I understand and I am on her team and go right ahead and call me whatever you need as long as you don't hurt yourself or anyone else. This sounds very simplistic but it does work. Once you and your son become a team agaisnt Bi-Polar (or rage or whatever is going on) he will want to work with you instead of agaisnt you. Right now he feels like its him against the entire world. Give him hope and you will find your hope.

Jan 26, 2012
Stability NEW
by: Anonymous

I have a special needs son who is diagnosed with ADHD and depression. He was expelled three times during high school, suspended numerous times, arrested several time and had a DUI in which he totalled a new car when he was sixteen.

It drove me into a nervous breakdown where I was diagnosed with bipolar. Being properly medicated has returned my functionality. It took nine months to get the meds right and I take six meds, but I am better. I never want to go back to where I was before meds.

Your son can be better too with the right mix of medications. Be patient and communicate with his pdoc (psychiatrist) truthfully his symptoms and struggles. My son was able to graduate through a credit recovery program in his school district. He did have to take the GED, but he got a regular diploma. Please ask your school district about programs like that. Some courses can be taken online too, but I believe there is a fee for them.

Be sure to take care of yourself. Therapy might really help you. There are online support groups for both of you which are free. NAMI and DBSA have local support groups too. The online support group I am familiar with is mdjunction.com/bipolar. There are many other groups there as well.

Don't give up hope. Nurture yourself. You both need you to be strong in a trying and exhausting situation. Exercise, take candlelit bubble baths, get a massage regularly, etc. Love yourself and hope will return. Take care.

Jan 26, 2012
Wow, I Could Relate NEW
by: Anonymous

My son is now 18, almost 19 and was very similar to your son at that age. His anxiety was not addressed, but he did receive the bipolar NOS dx. He did not want to believe that one, and sadly, had some people, including professionals, tell him that teens do not have bipolar, they are just delinquents. :-(

He has become more insightful and does say frequently that he is pretty sure he is bipolar. Adults WITH that same diagnosis have told him that they are almost sure he does.

The bad thing is, his rages, anxiety, depression, and drug and alcohol use have worsened. He has been homeless, is now living with friends, gets questioned by cops on a regular basis on the street, has pending charges for drug paraphanlia, etc.

I must say I believe he could be doing better if he had been treated more effectively when he was 16-18. His dad was no help--with a dx of bipolar himself, he and my son would fight, sometimes physically, and he would tell son that neither one of them was bipolar, that it was just Mom's fault and Mom thinking she knew so much about mental illness, blah blah blah. Other days, usually when he was under the influence, he would tell my son that yes, he was quite sure that they both had bipolar! He would not get help or encourage son to get help. Ironically, I left my husband but son stayed there. I think it was more because he felt betrayed by my leaving and shaking his world up, but also because he could be nearer to his friends who all use drugs.

He had a very hard time with high school. His original dx was ADHD, which he probably does have comorbid with the bipolar. He also would lose his temper with teachers and students and had a lot of sensory and anxiety issues including stomach aches, not liking how his clothes felt, hating the smell of the school, etc. No one really encouraged him and even having an IEP did not help him. He wound up dropping out, but is now going to GED classes and is almost done!

I worry about him a lot, but I feel hope some days. My biggest hope is that he will finally seek help again. He wants me to help him get some regular dr's appointments, and possibly an appt with a psychiatrist.

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Confused about diagnosis

by Jennifer
(New Jersey)

My 5 year old daughter (almost 6) was diagnosed with ADHD and ODD by 2 different doctors. She takes a stimulant medication to help with her hyperactivity and focus. Her biological father had a severe form of Bipolar disorder. (He passed away last summer).

In the past I suffered from severe depression. The medication she is on only helps her minimally. She has frequent mood swings, outbursts and tantrums. Other times though she is an angel .She is extremely smart and mature for her age.

Granted, shes been through a lot in her life that could be the cause of the misbehavior. I am starting to suspect the problem could be bipolar disorder. (Shes also got extensive allergies).

How do I tell the difference with ADHD and bipolar and how likely is it that she could have it? Sorry such a long letter.

Hi Jennifer

That is a good question, but I think you need a qualified professional to make that determination.it can't really be done without alot of information about your child and the history of her life and symptoms.

There is overlap between those disorders. Additionally mental health diagnosis is not like, medical diagnosis. The categories aren't perfect and most of them are in fact very flawed.

Generally there are several rules of thumb in determining the answer to your question.

Firstly the professional will need to figure out if your child has a mood disorder. If your child has symptoms of ADHD, but also has severe rages, sleep disturbance, signs of depression, and dramatic energy and attention swings during the day, it may be worth considering that they have a mood disorder.

IF thats the case then the professional would need to figure out if the signs of add are caused by the mood disorder or seaprate from the mood disorder.The best way to do that is to treat the symptoms of the mood disorder.

The doctor would then likely prescribe a medication to address it.

If the medication seems to address most of the symptoms, and the severe attention and hyperactivity are still there, than your child may have ADHD and bipolar. Ditto with ODD.

Hope you are able to get the help you need.


Kristen McClure

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Schizoaffective Disorder and Foster Care

by Kimberly Griffith

I'm writing this story, in reguards to my daughter Hope Griffith. Hope has been in a therapeutic foster home for about a week and half. During that time Hope was able to come home for the weekend of Mother's Day. We picked Hope up and went out to eat for Mom's b-day. Instead of enjoying this time together, it was spent trying to understand why Hope kept crying and begging not to be send back to this foster home. As the weekend went on Hope continued to cry about this, and became aggressive towards her family. That is what got Hope put where she is right now. We found out that the other foster child, that Hope shares a room with, Had punched Hope very hard in the forehead and side of her face, leaving bruises on her. Which was why she was crying all weekend long. On Monday morning things got out of hand, it was just Hope and I(mom) at home. We were getting ready to go is her med doctor. Hope then decided to get a knife and threaten to stab herself if I(mom) return her to the foster home. all the while I find out that the reason Hope was hit by this child was for using bad words at the child, altought there should have been no hitting at all. Hope did not like getting a taste of what she does to her own family. I tried many times to rmoved the knife from Hope, but was not able to, she came very close to stbbing herself in the belly. I grabbed the knife as she tried to push it in the belly area, at that point Hope grabbed another knife before I could get around the island in my kitchen. I then called 911 and the foster mom who was on her way. Hope began to throw my chairs in the kitchen and kept saying that I son't love her. You could see that this went from behavior to something more in a matter of minutes. Hope had a blank stare in her eyes like nobody is home anymore. Foster mom got to my home and took Hope with her, About an hour later foster mom calls me to tell me that Hope has ran from her and that Hope is at another home down the road for her. Hope calls me twice from two different homes, and I finally get her to go back to the foster mom so we could take her to the hospital, Hope was not put inpatient, but did see her doctor that day. Her doctor felt that Hope was in a depression of some kind, and put her on a med to control the depression for her. I have been through more than I could say but I also know that there is hope for Hope if she would just open that mind a little more. By the way Hope has schzoaffective disorder.

Comments for Schizoaffective Disorder and Foster Care

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Sep 04, 2018
Continued NEW
by: Jay18

I've had this condition since the year 2000 and it is only just recently I've decided I want to become a foster carer to give a child the love support guidance and understanding they deserve in a safe organised home been my home. I've never had children of my own . I just never met the right man i guess and so much want to care for some one else as I care for myself too. Any feedback most appreciated. I'm sorry, I typed in the child section . I hope this doesn't affect any replys or any feedback of my situation. Thankyou.

Sep 04, 2018
Schitzo affective disorder NEW
by: Jay18

Hi all. I am a mature women age 46 diagnosed with schitzo affective disorder. I knowv its different to different people who have this condition. My experience is I live a normal day to day life just like anyone who has no mentall health condition. I take medication in which manages and controls my condition very well. I've never tried to hurt myself or others so I am no risk to myself or others which is a good thing for me. If I feel I'm becoming ill i go a little paranoid and see or hear things that are not there so I do My best to keep me in charge of the illness and go see about it straight away and maybe my medication is upped a bit for a few weeks to subside the symptoms. I've always been emotionally and mentally strong and stable with this conditions with my medication
However my concern at the moment is that I am thinking of becoming a foster carer . I can provide a safe loving supportive environment for a child and want to give a child what I never had. As a child I was mentally and emotionally abused and rejected as a child so av an insight of what it's like which I feel enables me to give a child what they need. However I feel I'm going to be judged by my mental illness. For anyone who is reading this post I would appreciate it if anyone can bring to light if they Av been disaproved as a foster carer because of this condition or know of anyone who as been approved as a foster carer with this condtion . I live in the uk. Thanks in advance

Sep 04, 2018
Schitzo affective disorder NEW
by: Jay18

Hi all. I am a mature women age 46 diagnosed with schitzo affective disorder. I knowv its different to different people who have this condition. My experience is I live a normal day to day life just like anyone who has no mentall health condition. I take medication in which manages and controls my condition very well. I've never tried to hurt myself or others so I am no risk to myself or others which is a good thing for me. If I feel I'm becoming ill i go a little paranoid and see or hear things that are not there so I do My best to keep me in charge of the illness and go see about it straight away and maybe my medication is upped a bit for a few weeks to subside the symptoms. I've always been emotionally and mentally strong and stable with this conditions with my medication
However my concern at the moment is that I am thinking of becoming a foster carer . I can provide a safe loving supportive environment for a child and want to give a child what I never had. As a child I was mentally and emotionally abused and rejected as a child so av an insight of what it's like which I feel enables me to give a child what they need. However I feel I'm going to be judged by my mental illness. For anyone who is reading this post I would appreciate it if anyone can bring to light if they Av been disaproved as a foster carer because of this condition or know of anyone who as been approved as a foster carer with this condtion . I live in the uk. Thanks in advance

Jan 28, 2015
we walk a narrow road NEW
by: Linda

There is no turning back. We have these children biologically, through adoption or in our families. I believe that someday we will see how blessed we were to go through this life with them. I so appreciate the person who wrote "we need patience and support" . It's so true. They need us to be a buffer - they need us to be loving and positive even when we feel like victims ourselves. Too soon they will be in the world trying to make their way down the path. If they have a loving parent in their memory, it just might strengthen them through their hard road.

Dec 30, 2011
Fight the Fight NEW
by: Jay

I know the pain and sacrifices personally. As tough as it is all you can do is your best which means you will need a lot of patience and support. Try not to focus on what is wrong but what is working, you are the care giver. For every bit of darkness and emotional pain your son or daughter needs you!!
We cannot fix this so try to accept it and do all you can to get them the help they need. Keep showing them a door out. Encourage, encourage, encourage, spend time with them and show them you love them daily.
Our country is broke and some States are closing health services and facilities. Our health care system is broken with runaway medical costs per GDP. This is a national crisis!!!!!!!!!

Jun 04, 2011
My son is 26 and has schizoaffective disorder
by: Mailani

My son stays at home 24/7 with the exception of an occassional outing to get a haircut. Rarely can I persuade him to go anywhere! He is gaining weight in huge proportions, and I can not always be home to monitor what he east! He is not violent, just very delusional! My friends say that I need to out him in fostercare or group housing but it scares me. Last year he was at our local crisis resolution center for 5 weeks, followed by 5 weeks at out local hospital, then sent to the state hospital for further stabilization. Now all he wasnt to do is sleep, eat and search the internet. I have become increasingly depressed and this is affecting all aspects of my life! I wish I could believe or find a group home or fostercare that he could actually feel safe at!

Mar 16, 2011
Schizoaffective Disorder
by: John

Schizoaffective disorder is an Illness during which the patient has symptoms of both schizophrenia and a major mood disorder at the same time. This disorder is tough to recognize because the symptoms are similar to other disorder and the most prominent symptoms are from the psychotic disorder.

Nov 24, 2010
Schizoaffective Disorder
by: Alisha

Schizoaffective disorder is a serious mental illness that has features of two different conditions, schizophrenia and, either major depression or the bipolar disorder. Schizoaffective disorder is a life long illness that can impact all areas of the daily living, including work or school, social contacts, and relationships. Most of the people with this illness have periodic episodes, called relapses, when their symptoms surface. While there is no cure for schizoaffective disorder, symptoms often can be controlled with the proper treatment.

Jan 23, 2009
sometimes we have to do what's best
by: Anonymous

My daughter is 13 years old. Christina has been a handful since she was adopted at 11 months. No medical background since it was South America. She was a very scared baby and in Dec of last year we finally got her to a hospital and she was there for a month. From there she went to a treatment centre until the following August. Since then she is at home and it has been a nightmare. Every morning is like I am living in a soap opera. I do not know what is going to happen which is dramatic everyday. She has a school phobia and refuses to do to school. She has ADD and anxiety problems but I believe she has more than this. When we decided to put her in a theraputic live in environment, when I saw her taken away I had a nervous breakdown and spent a week in the psych. ward. It was awful but she seemed to be a lot better when she had strict patterns to follow etc. Right now I am counting the minutes until she sees a psychiatrist Feb 3rd for medications. All along, she was not given medications. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT> the hospital, the psychiatrist and the theraputic home did not give her medications. She has been getting terribly worse over the past 2 months. I am going out of my mind. Almost gave up my marriage and am getting panic attacks. Everyday is a constant fight and I am suppose to be non reactive. I can do this most of the time but not always. We are mortal! I know something has to be done or I am going to end up in the hospital. I had a melt down 2 days ago and my sister in law kept me on the phone until my husband arrived. My 3 alternative are: theraputic home, private theraputic school(boarding) taking medications and going to school everyday. These are the options we are going to tell me this weekend. I will have to get a part time job because the school is 30.000 a year but I can not live like this anymore. I know this is best for her even though I have been talking about myself. She is 13 , 14 in March , we have only 2 years to make a difference in her life otherwise I feel she will be lost to us. No education, and not much of a life to look forward to.This intervention of some sort has to happen now before we lose her completely. I am very upset she might have to leave us but even if she hates us and becomes a better person it will be worth it. This is not an easy situation but the first and foremost thing is my daughter and what is the best way to help her. There are no answers that are clear cut. The medications are a start but I know this will not be a perfect situation. We also feel that she might have bi polar problems to add to the list. You have to really fight to get the best for your child in the system. There is no easy way but there are options. Just really sit down and think about them. My heart goes out to anyone who is dealing with these situations with their child. It is truly the most heart breaking situation you will encounter in your lifetime.

May 14, 2008
I understand the fear
by: Anonymous

I feared putting hope in a group home too, and had tried everything I knew to do. But there comes a time where it's no longer about you anymore. It's about your child and what's best for them and their future. Which is why Hope is in a therapeutic foster home, I was able to choose who I felt was best going to fit Hope's needs, found a great person and things will change soon.

May 14, 2008
by: Anonymous

Thanks for your story. I wish that Hope would not have done those things to you and your family, espically on Mother's Day. I hope that one day she will be able to look back at this and see that she didn't mean it.

I too have a son that is Bipolar & ADHD. I have done everything to help him, but nothing seems to work. I continously get emails, letters from school and the phone calls telling me what bad things he has done every day. My doctor wants me to put him in a group home. I can't bring myself to do it.

I don't know if it would be the best thing for him or not. I am having a hard time dealing with it.

Thanks for your story. I hope that things get better for you and Hope.

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A’s Story


I want to share my family’s recent experience. A is my eight year old daughter. She was seven when she was admitted to the Psychiatric ward of a local hospital (August 2007). This occurred when she was raging out of control which was a worsened condition that started just a few months before. She was admitted to the day program of a Charlotte hospital psych ward in order to diagnose her condition. At the end of the program she was diagnosed as being bipolar.


She was put on various mood stabilizers and antipsychotic medicines over the next few months. The Psychiatrist ended up putting and leaving her on Lithium and Serequel starting around October of 2007. She was never stabilized on any of the meds. In fact, the doctor tried an antidepressant during this time period which caused a rage of unbelievable proportion. All during this time my wife and I were taking her to various doctors looking to ensure that the condition was not physiologically based. This included many blood tests etc and involved two pediatricians, two psychiatrists, an allergist, an endocrinologist and a gastro enologist. This was in addition to the tests that were run during her hospital stay which included general blood tests, an MRI, urinalysis, EEG etc. As we were pursuing additional tests we were also searching a therapist who was a specialist in working with bipolar children. This took several tries until we found Kristen (this is a story in itself). All during this time, A's behavior did not stabilize. She would rage one or more times a day that would last an hour or more. She would destroy rooms throwing furniture etc and demonstrate unbelievable strength. She put holes in a door and walls. She acted not only in a bipolar manner but also OCD, ODD etc.

Our Approach to the Problem

The bottom line is that A was out of control and the meds were not working. I spent an average of 3 to 4 hours each day (and Traci countless additional hours) on the internet searching for clues as we continually analyzed her medical tests. We prepared a detailed medical history file which included a complete copy of her medical records since birth, her entire file from the psych hospital and all tests taken on her. We also prepared and carried memos for each doctor laying out all the possible conditions that we thought could be causing this. In short, we documented and communicated every unusual item from A's birth no matter how small it may have seemed.

Mv Observations

Going through this experience is the toughest thing I have ever experienced. Traci and I were not only dealing with a very sick child but also trying to grapple with our own emotions and shock. We were reaching out for help to the medical community. What I found was a total lack of support (with very few exceptions, Kristen being the primary one). I was mocked and belittled by MD's as I took control trying to find an answer. Traci was handling most of the rages and dealing with most of the doctor trips and the dreaded blood draws. Our pediatrician refused to see her when the rages began and did not even show enough concern to call and check on her. Various doctors would not return phone calls or respond to medical based faxes. ALL doctors refused to look at A's medical history from a holistic perspective. I found doctors did not listen to me and mainly discounted my countless hours of research. In a nutshell, this was a very lonely voyage. Every doctor did one of two things…..either they did not want us around because we were an inconvenience or they thought I was simply a Dad in denial. I would be thoroughly prepared with my research based upon A's tests and each time the MD would show very little interest.

The Discovery

After chasing down and eliminating many possible conditions, in January of this year I requested that our initial Psychiatrist write up a blood test to check A's thyroid. Her TSH levels were tested and came back normal in August during her hospital stay, but she never had a full workup looking at her T3, T4. When I asked the Psychiatrist, he refused saying the TSH was enough. So as I had done many times before, I just called other doctors until I got what I wanted. Our pediatrician (now former pediatrician) agreed (I think just to shut me up). The test results came back and the results indicated that A was hypothyroid. The Dr called and asked we run the test again which we did immediately. The tests came back with the same result. The doctor did not call so I faxed him a letter asking him what we should do. He left me a voice mail saying that he did not think it was a problem. I had thoroughly researched Thyroid testing and knew he was wrong, so Traci got A an appointment at a Pediatric Endocrinologist (she called daily to get us in quicker as the first available appointment was not until April 2008). The Endocrinologist ran the TSH, T3, T4, and thyroid antibody tests. I knew from my research that Lithium could cause this condition so Traci and I had very low expectations. We expected A to be bipolar with hypothyroidism induced from Lithium. But, I also knew that if the thyroid antibody test came back elevated that she had Hashimoto Disease with is an autoimmune disease which would not be caused by Lithium. February 5th, 2008 I received a call from Traci. In tears of joy, she told me the doctor had just called her confirming that A did indeed have Hashimoto Disease. I knew that the thyroid can cause behavior issues that mimic bipolar. We immediately put her on a thyroid hormone replacement pill and started pulling her off Lithium and the Serequel very slowly. Within just three days we notice improvement. By the end of February she was off Lithium and Serequel totally and her thyroid levels were proper. Two weeks ago she was released by our Psychiatrist (new one). Today she is not only back to normal but better than before.

What I Learned

I wanted to share our experience in hopes that this could help others. I learned so much from this experience. First of all, I believe that the mind and body are integral to each other and there are many physiological reasons for bipolar like behavior. As the bipolar diagnosis has exploded in the United States I have a theory why this may be the case. If you have a child that is raging the medical community is going to diagnose the child as being bipolar if they are unable to discover another reason. Since there is no blood test to confirm a bipolar condition, it is the default when nothing else can be discovered. I encourage everyone to test your child in every way possible and to research all possible reasons for the behavior the child is experiencing. There are many possible physiological possibilities for a child to have bipolar like behavior. Next, I found most doctors to be awful. Not one showed a genuine interest in helping us. We were turned away and thrown out of medical offices due to A's rages. In one office, A actually broke the doctor's stethoscope. He would not even call me back. The sad thing is you have to be the quarterback for your child. You can accept the bipolar diagnosis while going through thorough research. I accepted that A was bipolar, despite that the fact that doctors thought I was in denial. Much of the testing we did on A was looking for conditions that could make a bipolar condition worse and not necessarily a condition which would remove the bp diagnosis. Although very frustrating, I did not let the doctors’ attitudes persuade me. Because I wanted to get A’s story out quickly I will not be able to lay out the many conditions I found that could mimic bipolar behavior in this memo. I am planning on writing a document which I will begin before the summer begins that I hope will be assistance to those who find themselves in a similar situation. I read all the bipolar books out there and found them lacking as to what a parent should do. Anyway, I am going to stop at this point for now. If anyone would like to ask me a question or contact me my email is below.

Bob Hord


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Mad Girl

by anonymous

The year of madness started out in October 2010. It pretty much spiraled from there. I started getting depressed in the 5th grade. I didn't really know what it was at the time. I cut on and off until 7th grade, and the summer going into 8th grade I cut up my legs pretty bad sometimes. I thought bi-polar was the type of thing where your happy one minute and sad the next. I started seeing a counselor out of my request, but blindly I was planning my own death for weeks. 8th grade was hell from the beginning. I went home crying the second day and begged my Mom to put me in cyber school. I tried to kill myself a week before Halloween. I came out to my mom on the way to school, and she drove me to the local counseling center for a crisis.They though it would be best to put me in the psych ward for my safety, and i agreed. i got to the hospital, we waited in the crisis room and i found out they couldn't take me because I was 13. the unit only took 14 and up. I'd have to go to another hospital. This was three hours away, and I had to wait for 11 hours for the ambulance to take me all the way at 2 in the morning without my mom. Apparently I had to sleep in the children's ward because there were no other beds in the adolescent unit...I had to get a strip search in front of a man, which shouldn't have happened. The place was very unsanitary, and there was no heat in my room. I got out November first. 7 months after I was there the facility was shut down due to 'various reasons'.
I went into 3 other psychiatric hospitals, staying for an average of 10 days. I wasn't diagnosed with bipolar until my second trip. The other hospitalizations weren't as bad, but "it was still a crazy hospital." the last hospital i was in i was there for my 14th birthday, i had to open up my presents with a old creepy guy O.O
I guess I'm okay now. I started out on 40 mg of Prozac. Then abilify, which made me shake like an old man and sleep all the time...I went into cyberschool for two weeks before the third hospitalization but had to stop. i finished out 8th grade in a partial program. I passed! I'm on lamictal and prozac now. I still feel the urge to cut sometimes, but I don't. I'm going to be taking most of my classes in 9th grade with basically a tutor because I'm too awesome for regular school. ;) two weeks before I went into the last hospital I wrote a book called I Cannot Be loved. My bipolar cycles are evident without. I hope my story gives people hope that no matter how hard you think it is, there IS light at the end of the tunnel, and you should focus on the GOOD you got out of the horrible situation. I am strong, and free.

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My granddaughter is 17 years old. She and her mother live across the street from my wife and I. They both lived with us for the first seven years of life as my daughter was a single mother.During these seven years my daughter graduated from nursing school as an R.N. I was the one who took my GD to school every day and began to notice that at recess she was always talking to the teachers and not interacting with other children. She was a bit overweight and the hell that we have gone through seems to stem from the relentlessness bullying about her weight.This weight issue is still the thing that she perceives as debilitating. In high school it became even worse as there were several students who made fun of her daily.She now refuses to go to school and says that she can't take it anymore. I might add that 2 1/2 years ago her former stepfather, who she hated, and had personnel problems himself,Broke every window in the house at 2:30 AM and was armed with a gun. I should add that he had left the home 6 times in the fist 2 years of the marriage. There is a story here that is too hard for me to write.My grandaughters father is a drug user. I cannot remember him ever giving her a birthday or Christmas present.She goes to visit him often and does want a relationship. She understands he's a bum but accepts him as he is.
My GD has been hospitalized twice for acting out.She blames her mother for many of her problems and I think my daughter has given up on her, and devotes most of her time to my grandson. I felt for years that GD has deep problems that required treatment but her mother let it go. GD has been diagnosed as having a form of bi polar disease.I am the one who always goes to her rescue and have taken she and her friends to events. I probably am an enabler but my love overshadows common sense. My question after all this rhetoric is since she refuses to attend public school or an alternative school, what are our options for her to get back in school? She wants to be home schooled but I don't feel qualified. We need help, NOW!
Thanks for any response you send my way.


Hi Tom. She is lucky to have you so involved. Generally I think there are several options. Other people can comment here as well. Homeschooling is an option, and you may be surprised to learn that you likely are qualified unless you didn't graduate from high school. If there is money there are often alternative schools for kids with anxiety and other mental health issues, and there are GED programs and diploma programs that the school may be able to inform you about. I will send an email to my list and ask them to comment on this post, and you can read other parents suggestions as well. Good luck to you and thank you for being such a wonderful grandfather


Kristen McClure

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Nov 07, 2015
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by: Anonymous

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Nov 02, 2015
Guest NEW
by: Anonymous

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Oct 08, 2015
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Apr 11, 2011
There are good home school options
by: Jennifer

My son is 15 and was diagnosed bipolar almost two years ago. I too struggled with how to help him with his education as he began failing in school in 8th grade and despite an IEP that started in 9th grade, school was not working for him. I finally let him try independent study and this quarter he earned a 3.0! He meets with his teacher once a week and the rest of the time does his work at home. The majority of his classes are online (English, History, Geometry). He logs his hours spent playing guitar and keyboards for his music class. He logs his time on our WII Fit, doing yard work, walking with me, riding his scooter etc. for PE credit. He completes three new recipies a week and I take pictures of his dishes for his cooking class credit. If you are available to supervise your grandaughter during the day this can work. It has been a WONDERFUL blessing for my son. He is going to take Chemistry this summer and French next fall at the regular high school in addition to his home studies. DON'T GIVE UP--THERE ARE OPTIONS!!!!

Dec 18, 2010
you are a blessing
by: Renee

Hi Tom,
What a lucky young lady your granddaughter is to have you as her grandfather!
As far as school, I would check with your local school system for online courses for her to complete high school online.
I think success should not be measured with degrees or diplomas but in happiness. Maybe find something she enjoys, even if it something out of the ordinary (my son's goal is to be a tattoo artist...at least he, at times, has that goal). He is 17, as well, so we are fighting the same battles of fitting in. He does go to school, but is sheltered with a heavy education plan. Anyway, sorry to get off track, build her self-worth with the foundation she has now and surely with you by her side all these years she does have a foundation!
You have more influence on her than you will ever know! My grandparents were my rock and I don't think they ever knew that, unfortunately my kids do not have that in their life and I know how much they are missing!
Keep us updated!

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Struggling Parent

by Chris Myers
(Camden, NC.)

I have an 11 year old daughter who was diagnosed bipolar many years ago.

We have read just about every book available and consider ourselves very well educated on the subject. Over that past few months our daughter has become increasingly angry and violent coupled with statements of wanting to kill herself and harm other family members. We are currently working with her doctor with med changes, but not much has worked. I guess my question is at what point should we consider a more residential treatment plan?

We try every parenting technique recommended and it continues to grow worse. The smallest of things set off the anger fits and they have become a daily event and are all consuming for the family. There do not seem to be a lot of resources available in our area of NC. Any advice would be much appreciated. We are quickly coming to the end of our rope.

Hi Chris:

I don't know the particulars like your treatment providers do, but I can tell you my opinion in general.

I think residential treatment is an option if entrenched family dynamics are contributing to the behavior. Sometimes the intensity of those dynamics require that the child is out of the home to break some of these dynamics.

Residential treatment is also helpful in creating routine and ritual for children when it is difficult to do that within their family. Children and adults, as you know require routine and structure to help regulate them.

However, residential treatment has to be carefully planned and if a child has separation anxiety it can be intensified and make things worse. This is also the case with hospitalization and I can attest to this. Many of my kids who have severe anxiety develop PTSD when hospitalized in an inadequate setting ( which most of them are these days!) SO really, the pros and cons need to be carefully weighed!

If their is any availability of respite for you, that might be a better initial option. I'm sure you probably have explored this option but there may be a way to think out of the box.

Good luck!!

Kristen McClure

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Jul 12, 2011
not fully diagnosed
by: Anonymous

I adopted my husband's granddaughter after her parents abandoned her at five months. She is a wonderful, bright, creative 11 year old, who was unusually intuitive, and extremely vocal from a very young age (fluent speaker by 18 months). But she has shown many of the symptoms of Bipolar. Around age 2 she developed the most frightening night terrors, screaming for hours but not awake. At 4 she developed severe nervous facial tics and was put on haliperidol for about three months.The tics were much reduced but she began to become chubby. It was after that that she began terrible temper tantrums, and extreme anger attacks, way out of proportion to any possible cause. In between she is sweet,loving, funny and delightful but I'm constantly on edge because her mood can change in the blink of an eye to extreme rage. She has had anger therapy, psychotherapy and has been seeing a child psychiatrist for three years. He has diagnosed her with social anxiety, then ADHD, and given her a variety of psychiatric meds, all of which work for a while, but then tail off in effectiveness. She can go from being on top of the world to believing herself utterly worthless and fit only to die - all in the space of half an hour.

Her biological family includes suicides, drug addicts, alcoholics and others with dangerous sex habits. I am determined that a healthy and loving home will help her to overcome her genetic background. None of the doctors she has been to have diagnosed her with bipolar disorder. What do you think?

Mar 10, 2010
You are not alone
by: Kris

I guess that one of the first things that I would like to share with you is that you and your family are not alone. You are not alone in the pain, the frustration, the confusion and really the overall exhaustion and toll that all of the complex demands of raising and managing these very unique children takes on you as a Mother but also the family as a whole. I know that there have definately been times (more than I care to remember) where we have felt sincerely overwhelmed or where we were not sure what the next possible step could be.

One of the things I did think of while reading your story is that I know from our own experience (Our son is age 12 and is diagnosed with BP and ADHD) We definately learned the extreme importance of making sure that we stay current with our sons Therapy sessions just as much as we do with his meds doctor. The 2 really do go hand in hand. I am not sure if your family is currently utilizing this tool or if you are how often- but we have found that it truly is indespensable in helping my son to ultimately make progress in his behaivor modification.
I have to agree with the doctor's comments- be very cautious of any form of treatment center or even hospitalization. These resources in themselves are not bad but we found from our sons personal experience with them that it truly can do more harm than good in the aspect of the possible trauma that it inflicts on the child.

If you perhaps have trusted family, friends, or others in a support group that you trust that you can perhaps gain some additional support from or even an "evening or weekend off" this in itself can be a huge source of relief for you as the parents or other typical siblings that may live in the home, but for your ill child as well. More often than not they are just as tired and are wrecked with feelings of guilt for the tole that it takes on mom and dad and the family to care for them 24/7. It also is good for them to see that although you are always there to support and guide them through these tough times as they navigate through this illness- that it is equally as important that the family be a priority as well, and your marriage.

Finally- another thing to consider as you are working with your Doctors on any meds changes would be that you mentioned that your daughter is 12. There may be additional "forces" so to speak that are temporarily making this particular time difficult for her to adjust. The onslot of puberty and monthly fluxuations with her hormones alone can through off even the most effective meds. Also you might consider checking to make sure she doesnt have a slight thyroid issue. This too can lessen or change the overall positive effects of her medications.

It is so great as a parent going through many of these same daily challenges to see and hear from brave parents such as yourself who is truly going to battle each day for your child- Thank you for sharing your story and the best of luck to you and your dear daughter!

Feb 04, 2010
by: Daisy

I feel your pain and struggle. My son is 12 and diagnosed bipolar,ocd and odd as well as sensory issues about age 5. So we have been dealing with this along time as well. I have had to look into residential treatment options also in the past. As of today I havent had to go there yet. Our current psychiatrist says when i ask him how far do you go before resid treatment he says you just do as much as you can with med changes and therapy. I sometimes feel I have had all I can possibly take but then you know the good thing about bipolar is tomorow might not be the same as today. When its bad its really bad but when its good its good. Work with your doctor and therapist as much as you can. Take on as much as you can take on. But when it comes to your safety and sanity and your childs safety its ok to make that call. I wish yall the best and may tomorow be a better day.

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family of disorders!

by Rhonda Nickerson
(Fayetteville, NC)

I am a mother of 6 children,4 boys, and 2 girls. My oldest who is now 20, and my 18 year old (girls) are both out of the house, married, and have their own children, I am left with my oldest son 16, who has ADHD, my 8 year old, who has bi-polar disorder, my 5 year old, who is being tested for Autism, and my 2 year old, who I am keeping a close eye on, because he is beginning to show signs like my 8 year old, of rage, and tantrums, and the evil look like he could hurt something or someone. For the past 3 years, I have been getting treatment for my oldest, and my eight year old, and last year before my 5 year old started kindergarten, he got added in the mix. We have recently moved to a bigger city than where we were and I have noticed a BIG change in the help, that we really didn't have much of, where we were. I as well have bipolar disorder, as well as my mother.

I have been in treatment for 2 years now, and am on medication, and sitting down sometimes, and looking back, I really wished that I would of been in treatment a long time ago, when I was younger, thinking about all the mistakes, and all the things I went through and all of the unrash decisions I made, because I really didn't comprehend the outcome, and didn't care who I hurt, or verbally abused, or what I broke, or who I scarred, or if I even had any friends. I look at it now that I have been on medication for 2 years, and wonder wow, that was really me? I know some people will say well its too late to do anything about it now, and they give up without giving it a second thought. I however am glad I did go in treatment even though I am alot older, because I now have children who are coming up with this disorder, and I want to be there for them as they are growing up, and help them now while they are still children, so that maybe their growing up experience wont be so horrible, and maybe they can feel in their own self, that they can have a little bit of control over their rages, and maybe they can learn different techniques, of how to calm their own self down, I have not always been the perfect parent, but it seems like these last 2 years, I have gotten a wake up call after being on medication, and realized that something really was wrong with me and it needed to be dealt with, so that I could be there for the younger one's that really need me now.

So far things are looking better, we have alot of appointments each week, and with both my husband and I working, sometimes it can be stressful, but the overall outcome of all of this will be worth it in the long run, and hopefully each of my children will benefit, and be able to live normal lives with the disorders each of them has. They may not be perfect lives, but they will know what their conditions are, and the consequences of not taking their medications, and hopefully they will take that knowledge with them when they are out of the house and on their own, with their own families someday.

I have had alot of issues I have had to deal with as far as getting these appointments, and having the psychiatrists test the children, because alot of these psychiatrists do not want to diagnose bipolar disorder in young children, but yet they are not hesitant in giving them medication for this disorder, that in itself has been my biggest frustration so far!

I wish you all good luck with your children who have this disorder, and ALOT of patience, which is something this bipolar disorder person has had to learn to get!

Thank you so much for your words of wisdom and also for your wishes of luck to me in my treatment of children with bipolar disorder.

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Trouble with all medicines

My daughter who is 12 now got kicked out of daycare two weeks before turning 4 yrs old and that seems to be where it began. I quit my jobs and stayed home with her and her younger sister. I began a tiny daycare in my home and i noticed she was always needing more supervision. She began Kindergarten and I thought all was well but actually communication from her school was non existent and I had no idea she had actually had troubles until half the year was gone and I switched her to an Edison structured public school in our school system. The communication was great there and horrifying for me to be bombarded all of a sudden with the troubles that I never knew about the first semester. Near the end of the year she tried to stab her K teachers hand with scissors and after that it calmed for awhile. At the beginning of first grade the teacher noticed what troubles needed to be addressed quickly and communicated often and with that teachers help and testing they diagnosed her ADHD. She was short and small so no stimulants were prescribed and we still had ups and downs and sometimes headaches or stomach aches or bad appetite. Second grade more of the same. Third grade bigger issues with lying and stealing and taking things to school cuz she thought they were cool but the school thought they were weapons (bottle rockets, seam ripper, pretty much whatever she could grab on the way out the door).

Daily searches of her and her backpack were necessary and the principal threatened to report her to school security the next time it happened. Family doc said she couldn't do anything else cuz she was too small and needed a psychiatrist to better prescribe Meds. She was also running on 4 hours of sleep each night and would get up at 1 am and get ready for school then come wake us up, melatonin started for that. Then at the end of the year my daughter watched two other girls tie a girl to a tree with a jump rope. So she was in big trouble again not because she did anything but because she didn't get a teacher and she already had a "record". The summer after third grade she got paired up with a psych and counselor. Concerta and Risperdal were the plan and worked for about a year and a half with various increases in doses of course. Risperdal started causing ticks.

Concerta was like the non-stimulants, had to keep increasing the dose until we couldn't increase it any more. Started having small scattered troubles in fifth grade and near the end of fifth grade concerta was at its max and had to be removed. Up until this point the school counselor, vice principal, principal, and teachers never really cared when I would tell them she was severely ADHD and just treated her like a problem child. Daytrana was their worst nightmare and when Daytrana was doing about as much as sticking a bandaid on her they finally saw what I had been telling them for 4 years and they were shocked. I think I might have said to the teacher and counselor " I bet you think your concerns earlier in the year are pretty small and petty now".
My daughter would stand in class, start tossing things around the room or loudly talking while the teacher was teaching, her grades tanked, she self reported not being able to concentrate/focus/think, and bounced off the walls every minute of everyday. They were finally ready to listen about what I had reported to them many times about her being ADHD and her ADHD being really severe.

Too bad it was too late since there was only two weeks left of school. The whole summer after fifth grade we had to keep switching Meds cuz either the Meds did absolutely nothing or she seemed to always get side effects...headaches, stomach aches, one elevated her blood sugar, another dropped her blood pressure to 100/42, and we finally ended up with no other options, there were not any other ADHD Meds to try we had given her every single one on the market!

Both counselor and psych sent her back for testing and the testing came back with a result of bipolar disorder and she is still having problems tolerating Meds...geodon is the current one and each time they have increased the dose she ends up with a fever, headache, stomach ache, and dehydrated....so far they say it's a coincidence and it's her sick not the Meds but it's happened twice so they get one more shot because I will not accept its a coincidence if it happens a third time. My big question and concern is what the heck do we do if she runs out of Meds that she can tolerate? She can't go without Meds and 90% of the Meds are causing problems and everyone is dumbfounded cuz they say they have never seen anyone sensitive to Meds like this before.

Dear mom:

First of all, trust your judgment. If you feel a medication is not good for your child, insist they take her off of it. They work for you these Doctors, remember that. Secondly, do not panic about her medications. That wont help or change anything. There are many different possibilities of medications and combinations of medications than you mentioned, and they all have different make ups. Thirdly, keep skeptical about what the professionals are telling you, your daughters symptoms sound serious, but there is not a " test" for bipolar disorder. Good luck and please keep us updated.

Kristen McClure

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Mar 07, 2018
Me too
by: Anonymous

NOT sure when this was written. This sounds like my daughter. Any update to share

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Gavin's mom

by Niki Lorenjatos

My story starts out when my was 2 1/2 years old,he's now 4.

He started with outburst,moodiness,hitting,throwing crying for no reason,very secretive to alot of things.I would tell his doctor and I would always get the same thing,its his age,but as he got older,it got worse.I was finally able to find a group called meridian in Florida,where they would come to our home for therapy with Gavin.But they still would not tell me what was going on with Gavin they did say he suffered from hyper activity,and they wouldn't say anymore.We moved from Florida to Indiana now,and the behavior is even worse now,and I am 7 months pregnant with Gavin's Sister,he punches,hits,throws things,yells,screams,he goes from a happy little boy to a demon in just a few seconds.The other day I was watching discovery health and they had a program on with children with bipolar,and said oh my god thats Gavin,I started doing research on it and found this website.

I started asking my mom about family medical history,she has it,my grandmother had it,my mothers father side of the family has it.I have not been diagnosed with it but I do suffer from depression.My question is how do I get the therapist that I finally was able to find in Indiana to see my son to take me seriously and look into this so I can help my son,try to have a normal life,and not worry that when he gets older he gets in trouble because I was not able to get him the right kind of help that he needs.

Hi Niki

Your therapist works for you. If the therapist does not take you and your family history seriously, I would pull out the phone book and start calling some therapists who you feel are more responsive and communicative.

Good luck to you
Kristen McClure

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by Emily

My son, Jake seemed to start out fairly typical as a young child.He was shy with strangers and did have more than his share of separation anxiety when he started preschool and kindergarten. He has always been very creative with lots of ideas and projects he liked to work on.

The problem incident that stands out in my mind the most from early on is a rage he had at about age 3 at a movie theater. He went into an unbelievable tirade when we could not exit the theater through the same door we had entered.After finally being able to get him in the car and home, it continued for another hour or so. I had no idea what was going on with him at the time. Now, I realize this was the beginning of obsessive behavior which has been a big part of his bipolar picture.Related to this he became increasingly inflexible about transitioning from anything he was currently "obsessed" and working on to do other necessary things.

He did well in early elementary school,although he was increasingly hard to get to bed and to get up in the mornings. He also had much anxiety and fear about being alone at night and we always had to lay down with him when we could finally get him to bed.

About age 10 or so, we started seeing other changes,such as increased irritability and oppositional behavior especially after school and when he was hungry,over tired,etc. After starting middle school everything escalated even more. Raging, with aggression and destructive behaviors at home after school became frequent. His inability to function at school became apparent. He was not able to deal with the extra organizational requirements of middle school, ie, using a locker,changing classes and keeping up with a variety of assignments,due dates,etc. Efforts to meet with teachers, keep up with communication with an assignment agenda,etc. were of minimal help.I now recognize these difficulties as deficits in executive functions as his illness took hold. He had behavioral incidents that year that we had never had before. His daily work and grades plummeted. We did consult with our family doctor that year feeling depression was a factor(we had illness and deaths in our extended family during this time frame also). The family doctor started him on an antidepressant and mild anxiety med to try to help with his sleep problems.We also started some private therapy for him to try to help with the ensuing organizational and social problems. He did well on end of grade testing and was promoted.

The first few weeks of 7th grade were horrible with extreme hyper, raging,and destructive behaviors after school, inability/refusal to do any homework, escalating to hallucinations and complete school refusal. We began care with a psychiatrist, met with teachers, and decided to remove him from public school. He has been homeschooled since age 12. It has been a lifesaver for us to be able to follow his interests and our own agenda for his learning and not to have the stress of the school agenda as we have gone through several years of med trials,side effects, a hospitalization, various levels of mania and one severe depressive episode.We have gone through many harrowing experiences associated with his mania/impaired judgement episodes, too many to mention here. A few are his making napalm in our carport and trying to light it, unintentionally getting involved with a bad kid in the neighborhood leading to some theft from our residence,him getting out at night on one occasion getting charges and landing us in court.During manic episodes he has been up at night moving furniture, ordering things on the internet,taking apart lawnmowers and other manic activities. We have had to at times, lock doors and sleep with the keys, try various programs to block him from the computer, and arrange our work schedules to keep him supervised. I work nights and my husband works days.

At 17, he is now semi-stable after finally getting a good med mix shortly after he turned 15. It is still very challenging at times with milder mood cycling and sleep disruptions along with some obsessivenss and occasional hallucinations.. Everything is more manageable with the right meds and levels of those meds.He remains a very creative person and now is able to channel it more productively. He is a guitarist,songwriter,movie-maker,poetry and storywriter, and aspiring computer programmer. He is still catching up those years of extreme instability and requires much more supervision and daily help than most teens. We are grateful for the professional help we have received and the right meds that have helped stabilize him.

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Connie, mom of bp daughter

by Connie
(Charlotte NC )

My daughter is now 21. She was first dx'ed at 6 years old with anxiety. Then it was separation anxiety, then OCD, then depression, then ADD and finally BP at the age of 11. From the age of an infant she cried, cried and cried. She clung to me and would not let me go. She did not want to separate from me and it was traumatic for both of us when she went to school. She had wonderful verbal skills and very creative. Loved to read and draw. Then in 4th grade the school problems began. Her grades dropped and she had problems with teachers that were rigid and not flexible. She got an IEP in 4th grade and had an IEP until she left high school. Her rages started at 1-2 years old and got worse through the years. She had some severe rages that involved grabbing butcher knives and threatening to hurt others and herself. As long as I remember she would say (I wish I was dead.) She was on every medication there is available. When she was age 10 to 15 she did well on depakote but did suffer side effects. Finally the tremor was too severe along with cognitive dulling that she went off of that. She has been on Seroquel with good results and it still on it. Through the years she had rages, anxiety, school problems, peer problems, social problems, anger, phobias around bodily functions like bowel movements and throwing up. Severe phobia of vomiting that still exists today. She has had suicidal ideation and one attempt at the age of 13. She is currently on topamax, seroquel and wellbutrin. She is working as a nursing assistant. She has not had any suicial ideation for a year now. She has been hosptialized two times. As a parent this is devestating. It affects your entire life and can ruin marriages. I have been her advocate her entire life and would not take no for an answer especially in the school system. In my experience psychiatrist's need MORE training in child bp. I was the one who asked for certain meds and basically lead her treatment. The book that saved my life was (The Bipolar Child) by D. Papolos. Now there are more resources in books and via the internet. Very sad that the medical profession has not caught up.

Hi Connie.

Thanks so much for sharing your story to help others who are having similar struggles. I wish I could say that yours is unique,but it is not.

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Am I a bipolar teen?

I am either depressed or bipolar, I tend to think nothing of myself. My family and friends say I am both smart and beautiful but everyday I feel like a failure. I often feel sad and don't know why. I think about sad thoughts and don't understand why. At first i thought I may be malingering,but I'm not so sure now. I suffer from odd symptoms that aren't usual.
My symptoms include:
Mood swings: With them I am happy one class period but crying the next

Violent:Whenever I am happy or angry I become violent and often very threatening. Sometimes I let out a punch on the wall to calm myself. I smile when I kill bugs such as mosquitoes and spiders as well as smashing as many ants as I can laughing crazily.

Boredom/Depressed: When I am bored i read about murder cases and write poetry. Usually about death. I listen to music but not my usual,they are music box tunes such as rose of pain. I draw as well but unlike when i am happy these pictures are grey black and white and red where blood goes.

Irritability:I will bark at anyone and go to bed crying thinking about death and how much everyone would miss me, the next morning no apologies are needed because I am once again smiling cheerfully.

Changes in sleep or appetite: I used to eat quite a bit at every meal but I no longer eat breakfast or lunch and just skip out. I'll snack sometimes but always eat dinner. I sleep unusually now and quite irregularly.

Sadness: I get sad out of no where for no real reason, I just feel sad and empty, I will usually close myself off from my family in my room and sit in the corner of my closet with the lights off. Sometime i will sit outside in rather cold cloudy conditions just because i feel i need to.

Morbid thoughts: I do have the childlike ways for this, when I drew what i "felt" once i had draw a girl with grey skin hidden partially by a cape with one red eye that cried red as well.

Silliness: I will laugh for no apparent reason and it is rather enjoyable. I don't know why but i just will feel giddy.

Grandiosity: I will often compliment my features even when I am insecure most usually I will suck in my gut and start pointing out the shape of my breast and eyelashes in silhouettes.

Tantrums: Usually i am very appreciative for what I am given and understand fully if i am not given something but sometimes when I am stressed I can't bear it and will slam doors' roll eyes, and talk back. Once when I was trying to explain something I had called my grandmother ignorant,I am sorry for that now of course.

Bad Language: I tend to use rather vulgar language,especially at school. But when I am at home I watch my language but do use terms i never used to such as: Hell, "Pissed Off", BS, Crap, Crotch, Shut it, and rather rude remarks.

Obsession with gore or violence: I can't help but read about it and watch it. I tend to watch Japanese anime with a lot of violence and cursing but that was after my symptoms came about. I read about Junko Furuta and felt sick but couldn't help but read further and further.

Vivid Nightmares: Many are about zombies,some about aliens. A few about being late for school. I remember thinkng i was in hell after waking from a nightmare, the dream itself took place in my roo where i was paralyzed on my bed and when i woke up i was in the exact same position in the exact same place so i started to scream and cry,not realizing i was awake and well.

Severe anxiety, panic attacks, obsessive compulsive patterns, separation anxiety: I will get anxiety quite often and OCD's about little stuff not really anyhting specific.

Poor Self Esteem: I think nothing of myself,I am not beautiful nor am I intelligent. I think I weigh to much because my grandpa's comments on me, sometime he would tell me I could lose some weight "just a little",or try harder. Once driving home from school He saw a girl (Marissa a tramp who wears more makeup than ive ever seen) and said "she sure wears make up."
i said "Yeah she's been like that since like 4th grade"
and he finally said "Oh she tries hard unlike some people i know." then glanced in my direction looking my straight in the eye and continued driving.

I don't tell anyone,because i'd rather not. My grandma says "You have anything you want and your a child what do you need to be stressed depressed or bipolar about." she wont listen that i just feel that way i cant help it. May I have any advice?

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Dec 19, 2016

by: Kristen

Hello. This is a very clear description of symptoms of a struggle that you are having with some sort of mood disorder. I cannot diagnosis you with bipolar disorder, but you certainly describe symptoms of depression and anxiety. I wonder if you have these issues in your family? I can tell you that you don't have to have " a reason "to suffer from the illnesses. Look at the celebrities who have mental health disorders who would seemingly have everything they want. I am sorry that we live in a world that does not understand mental illness and is not sensitive to those who suffer from it.

The best thing you can do is get a good evaluation and get some care from a competent professional who you trust. This might be a long process of finding a good fit, but if you start seriously looking eventually you will find the right person to teach you skills to help yourself feel better. Until then, please be kind to yourself.


Kristen McClure

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Bipolar At 8 yrs... Without "RAGE" Episodes

by Robin Bailey
(Louisville, KY.)

Where are all the stories about people like me??? I had my first Panic Attack at age 4. I began to display symptoms of mixed mania without any rages!!! I had severe "social anxiety" with several Panic Attacks a day.

When I turned 12 my mother passed away and it understandably turned my world and Bipolar upside down. I really struggled as most of us do..I was not diagnosed until age 26. I am now 41. I have Bipolar 1 with Mixed Mania and Rapid Cycling. Does anyone have a similar story? Everything I read talks about the horrible rages experienced by Bipolar kids. I'm thinking because I had such severe shyness with the Social anxiety..

I must have just internalized everything. It was Bipolar symptoms (no doubt)even without the outbursts. Mania came and went, the depression was ALWAYS THERE.

Hi Robin

I am so sorry you had to lose your mom at such a young age. I don't think we really understand bipolar disorder in children. All children don't rage, and many kids also have anxiety in addition to the other symptoms. It sounds as if you have additional diagnoses on top of your bipolar disorder also that all people don't have. Additionally Demetrius Papolos is working on understanding the clusters of different symptoms, such as anxiety, and has conceptualized this as a fear of harm phenotype. You may be interested to read about this.

Thanks for sharing!


Kristen McClure

Comments for Bipolar At 8 yrs... Without "RAGE" Episodes

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Feb 17, 2013
Same NEW
by: Anonymous

My 8-year old also does not rage. Anxiety, sleeplessness, giddy, unfocused, depressions, etc. He raged a few times after his dad and I divorced when he was four. I keep wondering the same thing--what about those who don't rage?

Feb 02, 2011
My daughter has rapid cycle bipolar, ADHD, Anxiety, plus
by: Ann

She did not rage except a few times regarding going to school, and they were more minor and not until 4th grade. Anxiety, depression, and a giddy hyper mania was more common. Even as a teen, because we talk so much, we have had few rage episodes - I work very hard to bring them down fast and not push her.

Her dad died very suddenly last year, after his remarriage, a divorce and a lot of difficulties. She is really struggling & will become physically ill, vomitting rather than rage, when she doesn't want to do something or is angry or stressed about it.

I am still seeking help for her as we are not in counseling right now.

Dec 18, 2010
by: Robin

Thankyou so much for letting me know all children don't rage.. It's been confusing for me. Looking forward to them understanding it all better myself! I thankyou also for your compassion towards my situation. :) Robin Bailey

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