How to deal with a bipolar child while I myself am also bipolar?

I am 33yrs old with 3 sons and I am bipolar. My middle son who is 11 is also bipolar. Although I understand completely how he feels and what he’s going through I find it really hard at times to deal with him especially when I’m. In one of my really high or extremely low moods. I’m rarely ever in the normal range. And my episodes are a constant up and down roller coaster. I find myself being extremely physically emotionally and mentally exhausted to where I can’t deal or help my son who is going through the same thing. I feel like a failure as a mom and it hurts. Is there anyone else who is going through this too?

You are so not a failure as a mom. I know exactly how you feel. What’s worse is my son usually feeds off of my cycles. Especially my low moods. There isn’t really a magic way to deal with this, but I can tell you a few things that have helped me.

When I first found out my son had BP (when he was 7) I had only just been diagnosed 2 years earlier. As it was I knew very few people with BP and absolutely no one with a bipolar child. I felt alone and trapped and helpless. How was I going to deal with this child when I could barely deal with myself?!?!?!

But what I soon realized is that having bipolar has it’s benefits when dealing with him because I have a special power no one else does … I get him! I get what he’s feeling. I get why he does what he does. I get that he’s not trying to be difficult. And I get that he sometimes has no control over his actions. I get this all because I too go through all the same things.

I know what it’s like to want to die.
I know what it’s like to have my mind racing so fast that I don’t know if I am euphoric or insanely irritable.
I get what it’s like to do or say things that moments later I regret.
I get what it’s like to not bet gotten.

This was the first step to improving my outlook on our situation. I could connect with him in a way no one else could.

HOWEVER … that didn’t solve the feelings of loneliness and isolation. Fortunately (or not so fortunately according to my husband) I’m addicted to the internet. About a year earlier I had began blogging. I did it to learn about the writing/publishing world, but eventually it led to an entire new life. I soon realized the relationships which could be built through blogging/social networking. After my son was diagnosed I began a private blog where I just let loose. (http://beneaththesmilesandsarcasm.blogspot.com/) I wouldn’t let anyone look at it or read it because I didn’t want anyone to know how miserable and scared I was. But then I thought to myself, “Maybe I’m not the only mom who blogs about these things!”

And I wasn’t. I googled all sorts of different combinations of bipolar, bipolar kids, bipolar moms, etc. and came across http://mysonhas2brains.blogspot.com/. She was pretty new to the whole blogging thing and her son was still going through the diagnosis process. But finally … someone who could relate at least a little!

Not too long after I started AaB. I’ve built SOOO many relationships with other mom’s who also have bipolar and bipolar children. I’ve met other women my age with bipolar. I’ve met men who’s wives have bipolar and vice versa. Suddenly I had an entire support system.

And THAT was the key.

Having a support system of people who understood what it was like to be me changed my life. We all struggle together. We all hold each other up.

Seriously though. Even if you don’t join our group … it’s important to find some sort, ANY sort of support system. You can find support groups online at www.mdjunction.com or http://www.thebalancedmind.org/ (formally know as Child and Adolescent Bipolar Foundation). You can also visit your local Nami chapter and they have support groups that meet on a regular basis.

And if anything … NEVER hesitate to email me when you are in need of someone to talk to. If you ever feel like you don’t even know how you’re going to get through the day … email me. It’s what I’m here for 🙂

Hope this was helpful. And seriously … you are NOT a failure as a mom.

5 thoughts on “How to deal with a bipolar child while I myself am also bipolar?

  1. I wanted to add I too am a bipolar mother of a 10 yr old bipolar daughter. It is very difficult at times because when she is at her worst sometimes her my moods will feed off hers….Her rages can send me into one if I’m not careful. It has been known to happen….Its not something I’m proud of but it does happen, and her lows can tip the scale for me too… its difficult when your child is feeling especially low not to feel empathy for her, especially when you have been there yourself and empathy can easily turn into your own torture. You definately have to stay on your toes to keep a level head and its not easy. Believe me I have been fighting this battle for years now. I was diagnosed 6yrs ago myself and my daughter 3yrs ago. Its been a constant roller coaster, especially for her. She has had very little stability. It is true that we understand better than anyone the things they go thru, the isolation, the pain, the doubt. But even knowing that it doesnt make our job or theirs any easier. I was so lost until I found the support of Aab. They have truly been a life saver to me. I know I am amoung friends here and on their facebook group page where I am surrounded by people who are going thru the same thing or similiar things that I am. My daughter has been thru a lot, and I have been by her side to go thru it with her. That is our jobs as mothers. We stand beside our children and try to protect them the best we can from the pain and hold them up when they cant stand on there own. but sometimes we need to be held up too. Thats why there are support groups out there. To give us the strength and support we need when we cant stand on our own.

  2. Something else that may be helpful is to find a “Big Brother” or “Big Sister” to spend a little time with the child once a week. When I was an “outreach mental health worker” I provided this service to many families and mentally ill children. It can make a huge difference as it gives the parents a little break and is usually quite positive for the child as well. Youth workers can provide this type of respite as well. Depending on where you live you may have other resources that can help also. To find these things you can speak with your doctor and ask for a “referral” or you could call a “community mental health clinic” if there is one in your area. Many of the children I worked with improved immensely just by having a “buddy that they could have fun with” once a week. So there are resources out there sometimes you just need to do a little research to see what is available.

  3. It it possible to become bipolar due to adult stresses and anxiety and depression pushing over the edge. I mean am generally a happy person but I have never been more low except for in my teenage years. I know things are as bad as they seem but its really hard coping these days and I Am starting to worry my husband and my mom.

Thoughts? Questions? Leave your feedback here!