Raising a kid is a challenging task, but raising a kid with bipolar illness is not only hardcore difficult, but also complicated, demanding, exhausting, and sometimes frustrating. Their mood is not usual, and their needs are not simple. It’s like you’re treading on a tightrope.
According to E. Michael Priddy, MA, LCPC , “Therapists can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or point you in the direction of a solution.”
What’s It Like To Raise A Bipolar Kid
It’s hard to deal with a teenager’s mood, with all the hormones, peer pressure, and physical changes. Since my daughter was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, our parenting style has become entirely different, and I consider myself not like the typical mother who prepares her kids to school, does her work, and just waits for her kid to come home from school.
My Nessie, who is 14, needs appropriate care at home and in school. I have to make sure that she always gets her treatment, goes to her therapy, and attends her support groups, besides the usual school stuff. I often have to meet with her doctor, therapist, and teachers, and some others as the need arises. I have to continuously study her condition, take on new approaches in treatment, and all other developments in treating her disorder.
Besides being the primary caretaker, I’m also her emotional support. My husband and I are aware that taking care of her is a lifetime obligation, even if we provide her with skills to prepare her for adulthood independence. Not many people will understand her situation, and that’s one of my biggest worries, especially when my husband and I will no longer be around.
My Extraordinary Teen
Nessie was diagnosed with a bipolar disorder, fear of harm phenotype when she was just around six. We noticed that she did not like taking the subways and elevators. She had extreme anxiety and depression, and sometimes she showed symptoms of high irritability and excessive energy.
She was given tons of medications and tests that were effectual in her case, which sometimes makes us feel frustrated.
As she was growing up, we noticed that she was highly imaginative and was very good with arts and crafts. So, my husband and I decided to enroll her in an art class so she can enhance the talent she has. It seemed to have helped her a lot with her mood swings, and even her teacher noticed her being creative.
Tori Rodriguez, MA, LPC said “Bright light therapy—as with virtually any antidepressant—may precipitate a manic episode, particularly in patients with bipolar disorder.”
We made an art room for her in our house where she can do her crafts with no one to disturb her because problems arise when she gets frustrated with just a little noise or anything that will disrupt her, and it will take a while for her to go back to her usual self.
Her Mood Swings Make Me Go Crazy
She’s excelling in arts, but she’s failing in school. And every time we attempt to discuss the issue, she’ll either get irritable or retreat in her room. When she does such things, we just let her be by herself, and will only talk to her when she calms down. She’ll say sorry sometimes, but more often, she will not recognize that she was wrong.
The real problem started when she went out with some peers. She would often do impulsive things. That is what’s troubling us because we are afraid that she might do something that will put her life in danger.
Her change in attitude often makes me mad and sad at the same time. Her eloping and getting caught up in trouble has become more and more frustrating. I don’t know what to do anymore.
How am I going to handle my teenager?
Her therapist told me that I should go back to undergoing counseling before I lose my mind. The pressure and the stress of raising a bipolar teenager is too much of a burden to be handled alone. I have to stay sane to be able to help and guide my Nessie well.
Counseling has become my outlet to blurt out all my frustrations. The counselor reminds me that this is the most critical time that my daughter needs us most. Whatever happens, we should be supporting her but at the same time disciplining her that she may learn how to control herself. She will never learn to be independent if we will not be able to guide her well.
Every parent will do anything for their kid to have the best, and I for one want only the best for my Nessie, but not to the point of just letting her be. For her to have a better future, she must learn to follow the limits we set especially for her risky behaviors. If she learns the discipline, only then will she learn to be accountable for her actions, only then will our worries about her taking care of her own self in the future be less.
According to Celeste Viciere, LMHC, “Making the decision to go see a therapist is a big, important step in your journey of mental health care.”