Help...father of a bi-polar teenager

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RanMan
Veteran Member


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 665
   Posted 2/16/2003 5:35 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi, I'm hoping someone out there can give me some advice.

My teenage son (Bryan) is 17yrs old, was diagnosed with manic depression when he was 12. He's been going in and out of phases every season change.
We have been to all kinds of doctors and all kinds of meds have been perscribed but now he seems to be getting worse.
This past June his manic phase peeked.....to the point where he told his boss to f-off, (then he got fired) dropped out of school, beat the crap out of some kid at school so bad that he had to be hosbitalized, and became very violent at home and destructive and threatened and assulted his parents. On top of all this he was also hooked on smoking pot, (normally you don't get addicted to it but since he was stoned all the time, he became dependant on it) not just once in a while but he was always high, even smoked it in his room. He even stole things from the house to sell to get money to support his habit. He stayed up all night most nights.

I totally lost control of him to the point where I felt like a stranger in my own house and sometimes, I was afraid to come home from work.

The police were called and he ended up in the hosp. for the whole month of July so he could be monitored and detoxed.

Now that he's been at home, he's totally gone the other way.
He hasn't been out of the house since Nov. 2002, no social life and what concerns me the most:
1) all he does is sleep all day.....wakes up for a few hours and then goes back to sleep.

2) constantly eating and the weight gain is incredible.

3) Lost interest in everything NO AMBITION AT ALL.

4) Very cruel to the dog.

5) He has become very very very annoying and love to get on peoples nerves (he even has admitted that to doctors) because it's his way of getting attention.

My wife and I have enroled him in two differant schools but in both cases all he does is skip all his classes. He seems to have developed Attention Deficite Disorder (ADD) and loses interest in everything.
We've tried to enrole him in a on-the-job construction job but he lost interest.

Everybody is trying to help him but he won't help himself.

Need some help. Any ideas?

vollick34
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 91
   Posted 2/20/2003 8:20 PM (GMT -7)   
Your son sounds somewhat like myself when I was a teenager. Not only was I going through all of the normal teenage crap, but I was an undiagnosed bipolar. Has he been on any meds since he's been home? If not, (in my opinion) he needs to be. It's just not enough to talk to doctors if your brain chemistry is still messed up. Also, no one can help him if he doesn't want to be helped. It sounds like you would go to the ends of the earth for him, but it doesn't sound like he wants you to. Maybe he needs to be hospitalized again for more intense assistance with his condition. I wish you all the best.

Wayne
New Member


Date Joined May 2003
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 5/23/2003 9:19 AM (GMT -7)   
I can identify with your son"s story. I have lived with my bipolar since I was a teenager, but was not diagnosed until I was 32. I'm 43 now and my treatment ( medication and therapy) for the disorder does work. There is no possible way for me to overstate the significance of your son's situation. If you really love your son and want him to live a happy and useful life there is much you can do. There are solutions. I am not a doctor or an authority on the subject. But I have lived the experience and believe this qualifies me to express what I have learned. First, I know this is very painfull for you and your family and that you will encounter very difficult decisions. But, your son needs to be the number one priority in your life. Your understanding, constant support of him and following through on his treatment is going to be the responsibility you need to accept. Most probably, this will challange you in new areas. It helps to remember that as a parent you are capable of making the right choices for you son. The truth is that your son does not understand what is happening to him. His behavior ( isolating from his peers, slpeeping, attention getting and anger) is the natural response of his survival instincts taking charge. I'm running out of space here. I'll e-mail you.

nicholeprobst
New Member


Date Joined Jun 2003
Total Posts : 11
   Posted 6/24/2003 3:02 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi RanMan,

How I wish you could talk to my own mother about what you and your family are going through.

That sounds EXACTLY like my adolescent years.  I've lived with this disease since I was 15...and now I'm 25.  Until just this week I too refused all attempts of my family and friends to help me.  And because of that I now have very few friends...people that were once my friends will no longer have anything to do with me because of how cruel and abusive I was to them...without even realizing that I was being that way.  In other words...living with this WITHOUT treatment is utter hell for me and everyone else around me as well. 

I did pot heavily for four years, was a severe alcoholic by the time I was 17, and have walked out of 4-5 jobs in my life because of this monster.  I fought constantly with my parents and I mean FOUGHT not just argued, was almost expelled from high school because I was so violent, ended up becoming a single parent as soon as I graduated high school, (which was my saving grace...if it wasn't for me finding out I was going to be a parent...I would truly be dead now), and have walked out on at least 4-5 pretty good jobs in my life, so that now it is very difficult for me to find a job even though I have a college degree in Business Management.  I have been in and out of abusive relationships and almost killed because of the bad judgement that is a symptom of this disease and also because I didn't like myself at all so I didn't feel like I deserved any better than what I got.  Like me and my feelings and life were somehow less important than every other humans'.   

Maybe I could give you a little insight into what may be going on with your son...and what I have learned about my own behavior and the reasons behind it.  I'm certainly not a licensed doctor of any kind...but I've lived with this monster for 10 years..and all the time REFUSED any sort of treatment or help. 

Your son has no idea why he feels the way he does, all he knows is that it hurts beyond relief, even physically at times...he can't figure out any other way to stop the pain so he drinks and does drugs.  The alcohol and drugs KILL THE PAIN he's going through and make him feel normal. 

He is violent because he's so angry that there is something wrong with him and that he didn't ask for or want.  But, he doesn't know how to tell you or anyone else how he feels because he's so confused and in so much pain all the time and literally CANNOT THINK because his mind races constantly...so everything he says, does, or feels comes out wrong when he does try to articulate it.  That's also why he talks 100 miles an hour (if he does)...because he just HAS to tell someone..even if he doesn't understand that.  Which in turn, just causes people to NOT listen anymore.  So he turns to violence...he probably doesn't even know why he gets so angry, but that is what I have found in myself.  Ya know that whole well nobody ever listens when I talk, so I'll MAKE them listen some way.  And the violence is the way.  The anger is so bad at times that everything else really just disappears.  All the compassion that he should feel for the people he hurts, all the pain he should feel himself for hurting someone else, just all disappears.  He is someone else completely when he's angry...and nobody can reach him at those times. 

The medications he has to take just further his discomfort because they just reinforce the fact that he has a disease/disorder...but he does not want to know that right now, so if he doesn't take them in his mind; it's as if nothing is wrong.  

He may just think he's a normal kid and nothing is wrong.  And he wants nothing more than to just be a NORMAL KID like everyone else..but he doesn't know how to do that because nobody understands or will ever understand. 

Though it may not seem to you and your family as if he tries to be do the right things and be a good kid...he really does and when he messes up even more he just hates himself for it. 

There is so much that this disease can do to a person that there is no way to write it all down here.  It is a VICIOUS cycle that just constantly starts itself over and over again...respect that this is a disease/disorder and that it IS
insidious like a cancer or any other disease.  It sneaks up on a person and swallows them whole, kicking and screaming the whole way.  It is the nature of the beast.

The times that you feel normal and ok...you're not.  Those times are the "calm before the storm" as my mother always calls it.  And the more calm things seem...the worse the storm is going to be and god help your son and your family when the storm hits. 

I KNOW how this disease works and I know how it can ruin even the sanest, kindest, most generous, most loving persons life because it turns them into absolute monsters and people get worn out with it and give up eventually...it's not easy to live with a manic depressive.  

Just remember he can't help this, he doesn't understand it, and as I am sure you know how difficult it is to live with your son...try to put yourself in his shoes and think about how difficult it is for him to live with this disorder; that itself is not an easy feat...he doesn't mean to be cruel and abusive and probably doesn't even realize that he is being that way.  He will tell you he hates you and lash out at you, but he really doesn't feel that way.  That's not him...it's the disease and the monster the disease turns him into.  Your little boy is still in there somewhere...he just can't find himself right now because he's unable to get past all these other feelings and the PAIN. 

And though it will never completely just go away...THERE IS HOPE!  There are many different forms of treatment available for this monster of a disease and though it is not something I'm sure you want to do...if all else fails take him to the hospital yourself and admit him.  Tell them what's wrong, EVERYTHING that you've all been through, all the medications and treatments your son has tried, and see what else is available.  SOMEONE will be able to help him.  You may think he hates you for it at the time, but that is the disease talking...not him; and in the future he will be grateful.

It took me almost completely losing the one person that means the most to me last weekend to realize just how sick I truly was and how exhausted I was with feeling this way all the time.  Luckily I have an extremely caring, loving, giving, and supportive friend...and I want to keep him.  So, I'm going to get well for myself as much as him and all those that care for me!

If nothing else, I'm sure there is at least a branch of the Department of Mental Health where you live.  If there have been budget cuts there like there have here, whoever is there now can direct you to the right place to get help. 

Just DON'T give up on him...and DON'T let this disease beat him like it does so many other people that don't understand it. 

If your son or anyone in your family ever needs to talk...just about anything...feel free to email me.  I'll do what I can.  We all just want to feel better.

Nichole

 


Last Edited : 6/24/2003 10:51:51 PM GMT


proud indian
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2003
Total Posts : 161
   Posted 9/15/2003 6:30 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Ranman . My daughter is 14 and is bi poloar also. Fortunately she was dx when she was 8. She was a suicidal manic depressant, now shes an A B honor roll student with many friends and she seems to b living a somewhat normal life. She is still depressed and very angry sometimes but not as much as before. When she was first dx i had make the decision to hosp her at the age of 8 because she was talkin about killing herself!!! We put her in a mental hosp for 8 days of testing and counsling. She is doing much muvh better but I feel that she wont beable to handle some of lifes problems when shes older. She hates takin her meds but even she can tell the diff between no meds and meds. She still has very depressing days and migraines. I hope your son will realize that therapy and meds will help him to live a normal life. May GOD bless you all. If he evr wants to talk with me or my daughter let me know. Sincerely proud indian

solo
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2003
Total Posts : 359
   Posted 1/16/2004 2:31 PM (GMT -7)   
hi, my son has been manicly depressed for 4 years. 4years ago, his Dad was assaulted and left for dead, he is now confined to a wheelchair and cannot speak very well. It crushed our son, on top of the pain he was already going through about being neglected by his Dad. His dad was an alcoholic and drug addict, and had always neglected our son (I left him when my son was a baby, but kept contact with him).
My son dropped out of school, stopped going out, stopped seeing people, didn't look for work, smoked a bit of pot. If you think about it, these are normal things for "normal" teenage boys to do!! We all rebelled against our parents. The worry is when it goes on for too long.
The suicide rate is higher among teenage boys than any other age group. To hear your son talking of suicide during these times can be very frightening, indeed - this is what I endured for 4 years. At times, he wouldn't let me do anything for him at all - I had to leave him alone to do just what he wanted. Other times, he wanted someone to LISTEN to him, REALLY listen - without judgement or suggestions of help. It sounds like your son is trying to understand himself - you can't help him, because you are not him - you have your own ideas, which are probably completely different to his. Give him time, love, freedom to be himself (don't criticise him, or what he does, allow him to do what he wants - he'll be ok, whatever it is, and the more you allow him the less he'll want to do crazy things!) I allowed my son to "drop out" for 3 -4 years because I could see how much internal work he was doing!!). Give him the time to work things through - trust him that HE KNOWS what is best for him - this may sound harsh, and difficult to do - we all want to help, get involved, make things better. I found, by taking a back seat, being there when I was needed, allowing my boy to BE and LISTENING with out judgement, was the best I could do for him. I let him sob on the floor, laze and mope around, and I let him scream and shout to his favourite music for months, to get his pain, anger and sorrow out of him - it wasn't easy!! He is now coming out of his depression and returning to his old cheerful self - it has been a long and painful 4 years, for both of us, but I am so glad to see my lovely boy coming back. good luck and i hope you both come through this.


RanMan
Veteran Member


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 665
   Posted 1/20/2004 5:56 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi, it's Ran Man again to give you an update.
My son Bryan is now 18 yrs old and has been out of the hosp. for a year and a half.
I think it would be interesting to get the view of a manic depressive teenager, his thoughts etc.
He was asked to do an English assignment for school about his most challenging episode in life so far and he wrote about manic depression from his own experiences.
The teacher was impressed with it and gave him 92%.
ENGLISH ASSIGNMENT VIII
By Bryan Marcotte
I have had to overcome many challenges in my past that I am not proud of. Manic Depression is probably the hardest of them all. This is going to be my focus for this essay.
At about age 12, I was diagnosed with Manic Depression. It was a big shock to my family and I, but it was the answer to my struggles that I was having in my childhood. Ever since about age 7, I have had trouble with depression and odd manic behaviour that is not found in most children, so they knew there was something definitely wrong. When I was diagnosed, the doctors put me on a number of medications to try to see what would work best for me. After about three or four different medications they finally found one that would work for me.
Everything was going fine up until I hit age 14. This was when I started to smoke marijuana. The pot did not agree with my medication and it would trigger episodes of depression and manic behaviour. It didn’t help that I was drinking alcohol and doing other harmful drugs with my friends as well. I started having trouble with sleeping and would go days, if not weeks, without sleep. Then I got very paranoid about things like the Mafia and people out to kill me. I had gotten into a fight with a guy who was involved in the junior Mafia, so I thought, and that was enough to make me stay in my house and home from school because I was very scared. It was all psychological (in my head) but it didn’t seem like it was to me. The marijuana just made it that much worse. I thought that the Mafia was watching my house and had it bugged and I could not even watch TV because I thought the TV was talking to me and everything would go by really fast because of the loss of sleep. I became very suicidal and actually attempted to end my life a couple of times. This was when I was about 15. I was in a bad way and was very sick.
I had finally got better and off of the pot thanks to the doctor’s help at age 16. But I soon started to smoke up again and get into more trouble. It got really bad in the summer of 2000 at exam time at school. I was smoking large amounts of pot and just about any little thing would set me off. I was very agitated and my parents did not know what to do with me. I had gone to school when I was in a manic phase and picked a fight with an enemy because he made fun of my shirt the day before. I was off the walls and I beat the crap out of this kid. I was arrested and the cops actually thought that I was on some kind of drug because I was so hyper. When I finally told them that I was manic depressive, they understood and sent me to St. Joseph’s hospital to stay overnight. It was horrible. The next day, I was released and back home. It did not last very long though as I was back into a manic phase.
I remember it being early in the morning on a Monday and I had just been fired from my job at Silver City (movie theatre). I was smoking pot heavily again and I had been out all night. When I came home very early, I started pounding my music loud and threatening my parents that I was going to run away, throwing all my clothes on my bed. My parents were very concerned and had called COAST (Crisis Outreach and Support Team )just before they left work that day. COAST came and took me away and I was placed in McMaster hospital. I was in there for six long weeks before I was released. I was relieved to be out of there. It was the longest six weeks of my life but I was happy because I was a different person when I came home.
I used to be quite the athlete in baseball, soccer and football but because of smoking marijuana and being on heavy medications I lost interest in everything.
I am currently not using marijuana any more and am a much happier person because of it. The downside of it all is that because of the switch in medications, I have gained a lot of weight. But I am happy that I am no longer depressed about my life or manic. I am just like any other normal person now and you would not be able to tell that I have manic depression by just talking to me or seeing me. I would have to tell someone that I have it.
In conclusion, I have overcome and dealt with the challenges of having Manic Depression and it was probably the hardest thing I have ever had to do but I did it. That is my story.
RanMan

solo
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2003
Total Posts : 359
   Posted 1/28/2004 3:56 PM (GMT -7)   
amazing! And id have to agree - marijuana is really bad for psychosis and depression. congratulations to your son on coming through it - im sure youre all relieved!
who knows what tomorrow may bring
fight your way thru the darkness-
slowly
you will find,
your own song
to sing


RanMan
Veteran Member


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 665
   Posted 3/29/2005 2:34 PM (GMT -7)   

Hi everyone,

This original post was written 2 years ago. I thought he had it (manic depression) beat but now, all the symptoms have returned. He's not taking his meds regularly and all sorts of people like Doctors and cousellors are trying to help him but he doesn't want to be helped.

The condition peaks during a season change, espacially Easter weekend.

Somebody on an earlier post asked me why I thought it "PEAKED" on Easter weekend? Well here is my reasoning:

The body is made up mainly of water, the moon and sun control the tides so it must effect the body (especially a full moon).

Easter follows the lunar calendar. It falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the first day of spring.

That's when he becomes MANIC and the next phase usually fall sometime in October and he becomes DEPRESSED.

Randy

 

 


Diagnosed with epilepsy and ulcerative colitis in 1979,
Been on meds ever since.
 
275mg-dilantin/day
120mg-pheonobarb/day
3,000mg-Mesasol/day


psychnurse
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 807
   Posted 3/29/2005 3:33 PM (GMT -7)   

You aren't far off, Ranman!  It is common to have more trouble with mania during the springtime - the days are getting longer and there's more sun. 

Bipolars are very sensitive to light - too much and we get hyper; too little and depression can set in.

I believe in the full moon reasoning; I personally feel a little more hyper when it happens. 

I am sorry to hear your son is having trouble again; unfortunately this is pretty common in us.  He probably needed an adjustment in his meds - I know I have to adjust them about every 2 months.  We don't just take our meds and stay stable.  They have to be tweaked now and then.

My thoughts are with you and your son, and you can email me, too if you like.  I've been dealing with this monster for 25 years.

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