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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all-<br>
My little bro was diagnosed as bi-polar/manic-depressive/severe depression today. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> We have known he had some psych issues for quite a while, but he has had a super hard life, so my mom always chalked his defiant/angry/implusive behavior to his hardships he has had to face. He's 16, BTW.<br>
Just wondering if nayone has any experience with this, and what kind of support would be most beneficial to him. My dh is like an older brother to him, and I took care of him a lot when we were children, so I am pretty close to him, too. He is starting therapy/meds, but I really don't know what I personally can do for him... any experienced mamas out there?
 

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My younger sister is bipolar, and went undiagnosed until her early 20's, although she's had chronic problems with depression since she was 10 or 12 which largely got ignored or chalked up to other things.<br><br>
The best things you can do for your brother are to encourage him to take his meds (my sister refuses to take hers which causes her all sorts of problems she refuses to see), even when he's in an "up" period, and to avoid things that aggravate his symptoms (for my sister, these include caffiene and alcohol, when she avoids them she's on SO much more of an even keel and feels better about herself).<br><br>
Helping him stay engaged in activities in life and pursue his interests and goals can be a real help, too. My sister always wanted to join the military, but dropped out of high school and got pregnant at 19. I helped her get into the Navy reserves (she was diagnosed after she joined, and the military doesn't know the diagnosis--what they don't know can't hurt her, kwim?), and it's helped her feel like she's accomplished something SHE wants to do, as well as given her new goals to work towards and a reason to take better care of herself.
 

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I, too, had been hoping to receive some experienced input from some mothers. I am having a #=** of a time w/ my 13 yr. old, and my super intuitive, attachment, involved mothering isn´t getting me very far.<br>
I have to add that he´s not yet diagnosed as such, which is why I want more info. I´m just not ready to label him a juvenile delinquent and let them have him !<br>
The tip I got from my aunt (child pychologist) is to look up "child bi polar" in the net, and she recommended the book "The Bi Polar Child" by the Popolas, which is THE newest on the issue.
 

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HI, I was Dx with bipolar disorder at age 35 after a long life full of (mostly) depressive episodes, i got much worse while i was pregnant and i have 1 DD and 1 DS, I take my meds bc i believe that it is the only responsible thing to do while you are raising kids (i cn no longer justify going off days to retreat into my painting and other artwork)<br><br><br>
To make all of this worse, I am / have been a practicing herbalist and Reiki practitioner/teacher, i won't even go there right now, it took a while for me to get over feeling like a ~hypocrite~ while working with someaone naturally, i feel differently now though.<br><br>
i am very high functioning now, but i wish i had been Dx as a child, as i ask my mom she tells me some pretty clearcut things that indicated bipolar.<br><br>
The reason i am responding is that we are pretty sure that my DS has the same problem, he has had severe temper tantrumssince the age of 3 (it really goes beyond ~tantrum~)<br><br>
He has ripped up/ ruined so many of his own cherished things while angry and then shown so much remorse during ~norml~ periods.<br><br>
i hear DD waking up so i have to go, but would love to chat more about this and would love to hear from others who are dealing w/ this issue
 

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If he is a very sensitive child (most bp kids are), you could do a lot of listening and let him figure out what this means for him. I have also heard great things about the website <a href="http://www.bpkids.com" target="_blank">www.bpkids.com</a> I think. (I'll go check!) It's a site for kids to deal with their diagnosis. Is he adopted by any chance? A lot of kids with attachment disorders also get diagnosed with bipolar. An interesting combination.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
No, he was not adopted, but yes he has attachment problems. He was abandoned by his father on several occasions. His father would move in, get close to him, and then move out in the middle of the night without a word. This all happened in his formative years (ages 1-8) and really f*cked him up.<br><br>
I remember once his father picked him up and took him on a lavish vacation, and brought a woman along. He then made my brother swear on his life he wouldn't tell that the woman was there, to lie to my mom...he was only 3 years old. THen his father disappeared again.<br><br>
He was also a preemie, and had a rough delivery/time in the NICU without a parent there.<br><br><br>
So it is interesting the correlation between the two. I'll have to do some more thinking about that....
 

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I have bipolar, but I am not on meds.<br>
It is my belief, at least in my own case, that repeated traumatic instances in infancy and early childhood re-route the neural pathways of the brain. They get hard-wired into a continuous fight-or-flight response........ so even when the real danger has subsided, our brains are formed to continually feel endangered and on edge. I am certain that although it takes ten times as long to re-wire one's brain through positive thoughts, positive actions, and the strong, peaceful and loving support of family friends, people do have the ability to rewire their harddrives, so to speak. My own progress has been EXCRUCIATINGLY slow; and when I mean slow, I mean, like, I may have moved two inches out of a mile in the past seven years.<br>
Okay, totally OT!, but I just wanted to share my own thoughts and experiences with this<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin"> Maybe opening up this sort of dialogue with this child can help him understand these things a bit better.
 

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Candiland, I don't think that was off topic at all. Bipolar disorder (along with other depressive disorders) is a problem with brain chemistry. So, yes, if the brain is undergoing trauma over and over, it can change the "wiring" and the chemistry, as you say. That's why many children with disruptions in their attachments go on to form bippolar disorder. That last statement is not an actual fact, but there is a strong correlation. Brain chemistry (especially early childhood) is a fascinating topic. (see Bruce Perry's work on <a href="http://www.childtrauma.org" target="_blank">www.childtrauma.org</a>)<br><br>
lucysmama, the reason I brought up the issues about attachment is that sometimes doing some healing from those will effect the management of bipolar. The problem people with bp have is an inability to regulate affect (mood states). If as a young child there were factors that made it very hard to learn how to regulate mood states (i.e. dad coming and going, lies, etc., as well as the preemie experience), then some of the therapy could focus on these issues, if the therapist is trained in knowing how to deal with these issues. Otherwise, the more typical approach will be to help him learn how to accept and manage his illness--also very important things, but perhaps bypassing some of the root issues (not causes, but issues). Bp also runs quite a bit in families, so it is possible that his father (the one who kept coming and going) has/had it too, undiagnosed. That might explain some of his instability.
 

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Very interesting,<br><br>
I was adopted at 3 mos and i know that i was in a room with several other cribs in it, not much attatchment there...i always knew that that was the root behind my conviction as an attatchment parent...<br><br>
My son though, he was ~very~ attatched to me and my mother who kept him when i had to work.<br><br>
I am quite sure that DS who is 8 also has the disorder...it is hrd for me to say ~disorder~ but that seems the only way to describe it, it makes his life much more difficult...it hurts the family...he abuses DD(4) verbally and she is very sensitive. I won't put him on chemical meds, i have him taking high doses of fish oil and that seems to help.<br><br>
They never used to Dx this in any other than older teens and adults, i am glad that there are ways we can help our children at a younger age, but , i'll tell you betweewn him and me, our household feels like it gets turned upside down regularly....he brings it all up with me. The ~magic mirror~ effect. I control myself after years of going it with no meds , only high convictions and natural remedies. I tried Herbal +counseling, Chinese med., acupuncture, supplenents, more counseling.....i could go on, i just decided to ~give in~(which is what it felt like) and take meds.
 

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Beloved - there is absolutely *nothing* wrong with the use of meds. It is *not* giving in. I have been on and off Zoloft a few times to help control the tremendous highs and lows I experience. I should have clarified that....... I'm not on meds. now, and I've never taken meds. specifically used for bipolar...... but I have gotten to the point quite a few times where I said, "Ya know what? Natural remedies, positive thinking, all that's fine and good....... but my ego has got to step down now because my family is suffering, and there is no excuse for that."<br>
It is really easy for people to write off mental illnesses and say "Get over it". But unless you've been there, done that, a person can *never* understand the terror of those uncontrollable mood swings.<br>
I do think that a lot of meds. are waaay over-prescribed nowadays. I *do* think many people can and should benefit from alternative treatments before resorting to meds. But truly depressed and/or truly bipolar people *do* have a chemical imbalance....... and if it's to the point where everyone around you is suffering, it's okay to bite the bullet and get medical treatment.<br><br>
Off<br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/soapbox.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="soapbox"><br>
now
 

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The reason it felt like ~giving in~ to me is that i am a natural health provider and it took me a couple of years to come to complete terms with that as i work with others.<br><br>
I have been Dx as a bipolar 2 and i feel that it is the only responsible thing i could do for my family and friends as per my earlier post, so i agree with you ~and~ it has been a long process for me
 
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