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

Comments for Our Story

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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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