mom dealing w/bp teen

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easily amused
New Member

Date Joined Jan 2008
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 2/6/2008 8:35 AM (GMT -6)   
hi, i am new here, but excited to find people to talk to that won't look at me like I just grew a second head when I talk about my son.  It is ooh soo lonely dealing with this alone.
my son is fifteen and was diagnosed with bp with a voice in his head and ptsd about 4 months ago. in that time he has been hospitalized twice for being suicidal, though nothing long term. 3 days each time. once he even cut himself, not in an attempt to kill himself, but in an attempt to stop the voice in his head.
very recently he started experiencing severe depression and put on celexa for that. the depression was so bad he wouldn't get out of bed. the celexa has helped tremendously. he is taking abilify for the bp and voice. the voice is absolutely terrifying, the things it says.
what i'm looking for is some support from anyone with any knowledge or feedback.  Here is what I've been doing for my son and anyone, please tell me if it is good or harmful for him.
I refuse to let any of his diagnosis be an excuse for bad behavior. I tell him bp and a voice and ptsd are something he has, not who he is. he still knows right from wrong. sometimes choosing "right" may be more difficult for him, like a diabetic choosing to eat right, but that the decision is still up to him. if he chooses wrong, he will have to deal with the consequences.
I have also limited his interaction with one of his friends. i noticed that when he was with this friend he would be almost giddy. everything was funny, even if it wasn't. then would his friend would leave, it was like he would crash. be more down than normal. I did explain to him this very reasoning as to why his interaction with this particular friend was being limited. I didn't feel any relationship that incited highs and lows was good for him right now. he has another friend that is around most days, hanging out at our house, but I've noticed no change in my son's behavior or moods due to this interaction.  if anything this friend promotes the feeling of wanting to do the right thing because that is the kind of person he is and my son admires this in his friend. they still laugh a lot and have fun, there is just perceived euphoria in the fun. 
the thing that i've recently noticed that has scarred me is he can look you right in the eye and lie. example: he's allowed two hours of phone time a day, one when he comes in from school and one after all chores, homework, dinner, and visiting for the day is over. during down time. we had to impose this limitation on him because he would talk to his girlfriend constantly, shunning any interaction with friends and family. hiding in his room. and the result was feeling down and irritability. now he goes outside and rides his board with with his friends more, plays around with the guitar. anyways, the point of this rambling, was that he will look me right in the eye and lie about how long he has been on the phone. when i tell him that is not true, he gets mad and nasty, until i prove him wrong, then he just walks away, stops being nasty and acts like he didn't lie and that the interaction basically didn't happen. it is frustrating and at the same time, it has made me doubt anything he tells me. to me i see a level manipulation that disturbs me. especially considering how he was as  a kid. honest to a fault. level headed. logical. always did the right thing. very empathetic. never pushed the limits. if you told him his boundaries he just said ok and stayed in them.
i look at his body and face and i see my son. but i do not know the person inside. this person that is almost calculating. i know he is a teenage now. but i don't think that is it. i wonder how long this person i see now has really been there. how many lies i've been told that i took for truth.
i wonder because he says the voice has been there for eight years.
please help.

New Member

Date Joined Feb 2008
Total Posts : 11
   Posted 2/6/2008 1:59 PM (GMT -6)   
It seems as though you're doing all you can: dealing with it day by day. It's comforting that you acknowledge his mental illness and wonderful that you don't let him excuse himself because of it. It seems as though you encourage him to be the best he can under his condition. I guess some advice I can give are things you may or may not have considered.

1) He is a teenager and things would be hard on you dealing with him even if he was perfectly healthy. His hormones in combination with his disorder are making things significantly hard. I'm sure that's one thing that you keep in mind.

2) Do your best to to let him know that you are always someone he can come to and talk about his feelings. This is almost impossible for a mother and her child of any age, but as long as you keep that in mind, it might help. Also, encourage him to think of his disorder objectively. If he understands his feelings in very general and somewhat scientific terms, he might be able to find ways to deal with it, or at least consistently acknowledge that any out-of-order feeling he might have is an effect of the brain disorder. If he doesn't keep a journal, suggest it to him. Tell him to write in it and describe how he feels. Keeping a journal will help him learn about what triggers certain emotions and maybe find some patterns.

3) WORK WITH his psychiatrist. Remember that doctors don't know much about the brain and the drugs that they give your son are a desperate attempt to TREAT him. They may act very confident, but in reality, they are simply doing the best they can, which at this stage in scientific knowledge isn't enough. If certain drugs are not having an effect or are making things worse, talk to your doctor and be aggressive. This is your son, so of course you want the best for him. Let his psychiatrist help, but don't let him make you think that he/she knows all the answers. They simply have the best possible options and it take a lot of hard work and time to figure out what drugs, combination of drugs, and methods that works best for each individual patient. Also, anti-depressants can actually make things worse for a person with bipolar disorder. Show concern about them and be wary.

4) NEVER blame yourself. I'm not sure if you've had these feelings, whether in bad times or frequently, but you always have to consider this. My mother is very quick to have feelings of failure simply because of genes. She gave my sister's and I the most comfort and discipline she could, and I have to assure her of that so she recognizes this is all a neurological problem.

5) Find someone to talk to! Befriend parents with the same problem. You can be supportive of each other and bounce off ideas on how to best deal with your son or daughter. The support is always great. As a person afflicted with bipolar, I can certainly sympathize, but I can't empathize as much as a person with the same problem can.

If you haven't considered any of these options, I hope I've helped in some way. Helping a person with bipolar is just as difficult (maybe more difficult?) than dealing with the disease yourself, so stay strong, and continue on the path your going. You sound like a great mom :)

loving frustrated wife
Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 865
   Posted 2/6/2008 3:02 PM (GMT -6)   
Dear EA....YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!!!!!!!!!!!! My son is 14 1/2, has been dx BP/ADHD since he was 8 1/2 yrs old. My H is also BP. The big difference that I can see between our two son's is that your hears voices (I am assuming they have looked into schizophrenia as well?), mine does not. Yours seems to be socially accepted with friends, mine has them, but they don't go to his school, they don't see each other often, and mine has spent many years being bullied at whatever school he has gone to - it seems to follow him. But some of the "friendship" interactions you described about the friend you are limiting time with....we are doing the same with a kid from his school.

Last year they were together all the time and this kid was VERY manipulative with our son and very passive aggressive, (a bond between them as what they perceived as the two most disliked kids in their grade - the "looser crew" as they put it, but slowly some kids who felt like them...the outcasts.... began to hang with them a little - it is enough to break your heart forever....), anyway....towards the end of the last school year things got BAD with this kid so we put a stop to the friendship. We did this because when the relationship went so sour that our son put a knife to his wrist as a threat, which we stopped, and he finally stood up to this kid he was then left completely friendless and alone being bullied by everyone else at school, because whatever "crew" they had built up stayed with this other kid. This year the "friendship is back" with apologies and professions that he has grown and is sorry, and their little "crew" has grown based on other kids feeling as they do banding together (and some of the overal bullying has lessoned). However, other than this kid, we have not met any of the other kids. We've heard names mentioned, but none have accepted one on one invitations with our son to come hang out or go play - catch a movie...whatever. So, once again, our son considers this kid his "best" friend at school. We have told him until he develops other friendships outside of school with some of these other kids, we will not allow him and this kid to get together outside of school either. That he must learn and have balanced friendships with other kids too. That way, should things go south again, he is not left alone, this kid just becomes one of a group of friends he has. Thus is NOT working. He is fighting us of course....he doesn't understand on some levels, and does on others, why we are doing this. His main social life after school is on WOW....WHICH WE HATE! It is a REAL problem in our house. We can't get him to go out and do anything like skateboarding because he doesn't really have anyone to go out there and do it with, unless we relent and let him be with this other kid.... which we fear the consequences of given last year and the power that friendship held over him (and could again). And unlike the second boy you described where he encourages the "right" choices...etc., we don't feel this kid is like that AT ALL. His parents don't discipline, hold him accountable...they don't seem to really watch him....nothing. So, you can imagine what we look like in comparison.

We are working with the school, the pdoc, the is HARD! Like you, I miss my beautiful loving boy. We are dealing with lies from him about numerous things, over and over again. It is almost like he just doesn't care if he gets caught. It is VERY manipulative as well. We are trying to cut him every break we can, but he is leaving us NO choice but to come down hard. It is ABSOLUTELY breaking our hearts. But, his grades aren't there, his behavior isn't there most times, we have no idea what is true with him most of the time unless we dig until the truth comes to light. And don't get me wrong, we are not talking about drug and alcohol stuff here (on top of his meds). Nothing at that level. But everything else is a CONSTANT issue. EVERYTHING.

I have shared all this so YOU know you are REALLY not alone. So now I want to answer some of your are doing the right thing holding him accountable!!!!!!!!!! Illness or no illness, they ARE accountable and you will do him NO favors to not have him know that. I had a step-brother who was schizophrenic/manic depressive/schizoid/ paranoid...etc, and he was NEVER held accountable and it destroyed him. Our children have ONE hope to overcome this in there lives, and that is if WE stay strong enough to hold them accountable and still offer them a loving place when they step up and be accountable. Does that make sense? We only have a few more years before the world will do the job for them if we don't....and trust ISN"T pretty to see that. YOU are doing the right thing. Stay strong in your conviction to that. This is just an illness, which they CAN manage, CAN have normal lives with, CAN be successful and happy in - BUT...they can not hide it, or from it, pretend it doesn't exist, run from it, make excuses because of it....none of that. They must face it head on, and learn to manage it and OWN IT....ALL. It is hard....I know that. But, it is the only chance they have, or it will destroy their lives. I won't let that happen to my son. I don't think you will either.

As parents, we must ensure they always have proper support around them. Regular and consistent check-ups with the pdoc (we must work closely as a team with them, and their doc's on their behalf), a therapist they (and you) talk to regularly (weekly if possible). A pediatrician who will check blood levels and keep the body healthy...etc. This is our job. It is our responsibility as parents.

Some of this we are BOTH facing is also just the "teenage" years. Our therapist and pdoc say it is difficult years today as kids hormones are MAJORLY messing with their heads without the added issues our kids are dealing with. When you DO add that stuff in...we must realize that we are in for some tough times that will require we parents to stay in control, and stand strong in what we KNOW is right for our kids. Doing what is right for us, will certainly not be what is easiest. But, our kids will survive and flourish in the end as a result of it. They may not like us very much during the process, but I guess we will have to love them enough to trust they will emotionally come back to us when they hit 18-20 years old. In some ways I think my son is counting on us during this time to not let him down. He does pop out every once in a while.

Keep doing the right ARE on the right tract..... Best thoughts to you! LFW (oops ...sorry for the length!)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 1303
   Posted 2/11/2008 10:47 PM (GMT -6)   
Hello! I just wanted to put my thoughts out here, as I am a teenager at 16. I havent been diagnosed with Bp, although I think there could be a chance I have it. But, I have been very depressed and have issues with anxiety and such. I have had some of the same things happen to me as your son. So I understand where he is coming from. Personally, I wanted to say that I think you are doing a great job. My mom doesnt even know about what I go through and I have recieved no help for my mental issues. Your son should be grateful to have you to care for him. And you should be proud of yourself.

I think its great that you want to learn more and be more involved with your son. Thats what I wish most about my mom. I wish I were able to talk to her. I wish she would listen. I wish she was caring and understanding and only wanted to help me. So, from my point of view you are doing a great job. Your son is lucky to have you!

I am alot different on the inside than what my mom sees so... you wonder about him on the inside and I think I share some of his same feelings. I have told some people, my friends, teachers, and even my school counselor, but I am not able to get help because my parents dont know. To those people, I usually dont tell them when something is wrong on the inside. I keep things to myself all of the time. I think its very important that your son knows you are there for him and that you can talk about anything. Holding it all in is only making me worse, so make sure you have open communication. Let him know that everything is ok and you are there for him no matter what. You cant just tell him, show him. For me, its hard to let things out all the time, so if I had someone like you I would have to really know that you cared and that you want to help me. So help your son, be there for him no matter what. Its not your fault nor is it his. Just make sure you are there for him, you are doing a great job so far!

I hope things get better for you and your son. I know things are hard to deal with. I cant imagine what its like from your position. Having to watch someone go through all of this. But, from my experience, its extremely hard having to go through it also.... But, hopefully things will look up. I wish you both the best! Take care!

"Healing is an energy phenomenon. Hope is another word for Healing.
"Cracks in the concrete are just reminders that you fall apart no matter how strong you are"
"Sometimes it is best to forget what you feel and remember what you deserve"
"Im going to smile like nothing is wrong, talk like everything is perfect, act like its all a dream, and pretend its not hurting me."

New Member

Date Joined Feb 2008
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 2/20/2008 10:16 AM (GMT -6)   
Easily Amused:
I also have a teen that is BP amongst other things.  I can relate to the lies but have found that my 17 year old daughter actually believes her lies and contorts the truth so it sounds logical to her mind.  She embelishes situations.  When I call her on it she denies everything or makes it sound reasonable.
Our family can not believe how good she is at lieing.  I hate it and also do not trust her around certain people. Hence she has no few friends because I see no good in her choices.  I do however allow her around the ones that are not my favorite and find that on her own she figures out they are no good.  I do watch closely in case she is headed toward something not acceptable. I always try to keep her out of trouble but it surrounds her.  She is always involved in some kind of drama and it pulls me down.
I keep her busy so she doesn't get in the trouble she has in the past.  I don't limit her phone time because I think that is an outlet for her.
She does spend too much time in her room but there are all the comforts in there for her so I semi understand.  Unfortunately we have a horrible relationship (I too am BP) She believes I don't love her.  This is another thing I think she really truely believes.
I hope your son is on meds and sees a good pdoc. My kid hates our pdoc she calls him Dr. Satan and doesn't want to talk to him about certain issues.  She also does a good snowjob on him, so much so that I have to be in the sessions to make sure she is truthful and caux her to talk about subjects that are pertinant.
I don't think you are going thru anything that is odd.
Please please please come out of the closet and tell your parents what you are feeling before it goes any further, you need professional help. Get your school counselor call your parents and make them aware what's going on.  I am sorry your mom is not supportive of you.
I wish you were mine, being BP also I know what it's like for a teenager and think talking and meds are very important.
Good Luck,,
No one should be in their teens and suffering mental issues.
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