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.
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.