Is My Child Bipolar?
Ever since my son started to have rages and thoughts of killing himself at the age of 7, I had to ask the question… “Is my son Bipolar?”
I wish that I could tell you that I knew. That after 3 years of medication and working with our psychiatrist and therapist that I had an answer to that question.
Instead, I only have more questions.
Will my son ever have a diagnosis?
Will my son outgrow these symptoms as his brain develops?
Are we using the right medications?
Do our doctors really understand our son’s case?
Will he survive this undiagnosed illness?
Have you asked these question yourself? Like me, have you read The Bipolar Child book, along with countless other books on bipolar kids and thought… this is my life, this sounds just like my child.
If so, you’re not alone. There are so many parents like myself that are left with unanswered questions regarding our child’s illness. I’ve been told that my son has a Mood Disorder NOS (not otherwise specified). He’s been labeled with other fancy stuff like, anxiety disorder, explosive disorder, impulsive disorder and depression. But yet, our doctor can’t diagnose our son.
Some would think… wow, you’re lucky, your child hasn’t been labeled with a lifelong illness, but to be honest, sometimes I think it would be easier to know what we’re dealing with, than to not know. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t desire my son to be bipolar, heavens no, but we’re living through hell. I’ve witness things that resemble a nightmare and I’ve felt such deep emotional pain after being injured by my own son. I so desperately need an understanding of what can transform my beautiful son into something I don’t even recognize, something I fear.
But our doctors stand firm in their belief that our son can’t be diagnosed bipolar as a child. That there’s still hope that he may someday outgrow most of his symptoms and maybe only deal with depression or anxiety as an adult. But I don’t feel hope, instead I feel helpless.
Maybe it’s the Type A personality in me, wanting to take charge of this illness, wanting so bad to control what I can’t. How can we fight this illness if we don’t even know it’s name. How do we find support or research medication choices if we don’t even know what’s causing my son’s illness? How do we “wait and see”?
Well I’m trying to figure that out. Maybe someday doctors will have a blood test or a brain scan to determine what my son has. But for now, we have to move forward with what we know, so we’re treating the symptoms with medication and we’re meeting with a therapist every month. I’m trying hard to focus on today and not think about all the “what ifs” in tomorrow. (not easy) I’ve opened up to those close to me, finding strength in those that love our family and I’ve even started a blog to let go of my pain and reach out to others who share it and finally, I’m praying… a lot.
I’m praying that God would give me peace, courage and hope to fight something that remains a mystery and every night as I tuck my son into bed, I pray over him that he would be healed and know that he is loved regardless.
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If you too are a parent searching for answers, I would love for you to share how you deal with an undiagnosed illness, I think we can all learn from one another.