A thread for Carolwj: daughter with bipolar

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CounterClockwise
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Date Joined Jul 2006
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   Posted 9/24/2006 3:56 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi guys,
 
I've started this thread for Carolwj because I didn't want it to get lost in another thread. -- Hope that's ok Carol!! :)
caroljwj said...
I am a 56 year old mother of a 36 year old daughter and 35 year old son.  My daughter is definitely bipolar.  Everyone who knows her knows this.  She is very successful in her career, but miserable about 98% of the time.  My son is not successful in his career and lives at home because he can't follow through on his life.  I can't figure out how you get someone else to get the help they need.  I would love to see my daughter happy.  And, I would love to see my son have the life he deserves.  Any ideas?  Thanks.
 
Rosie x
********************

People are not like fish: they do not work well battered.

When I'm not in my right mind, my left mind gets pretty crowded...

********************

 
Co-Moderator, Bipolar Forum


CounterClockwise
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Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 1529
   Posted 9/24/2006 3:57 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Carol,

Welcome to HW! -- I hope you can find some answers -- and we're very happy to have you here.

Sounds like you're dealing with two very different issues, but that they've become intertwined -- your daughter's bipolar and your son's lack of motivation. Trying to deal with both together must feel very overwhelming. Why don't you give yourself an amnesty for the time being, and focus your attention on just one for now.

The most pressing concern seems to me to be your daughter's bipolar -- because it can be such a serious illness. Does your daughter recognise that she's bipolar, or is it still just everyone else who knows it? Has she been diagnosed? This has to be the first step, but often people with bipolar (and indeed any other mental health issue) are reluctant to seek help and/or are in denial that help is needed. Sometimes they will back away from any conversation that tends this way. However, deep down, most kow there's a problem, and given the right nudges can recognise that they need to address matters. I'd recommend that you get her a book on the subject -- and maybe the best one to start with would be Kay Jamison's "An Unquiet Mind". Reading this may well allow her to identify with what she reads and to recognise that bipolar is not all bad as well (which I think is important). After that she may be more interested in books that detail treatment and coping strategies, and may well be in a better mindset to approach a psychiatrist.

It's a smallish step, I know, but one that could have a big impact in the long term.

Rosie x
********************

People are not like fish: they do not work well battered.

When I'm not in my right mind, my left mind gets pretty crowded...

********************

 
Co-Moderator, Bipolar Forum


CapninHapnin
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 285
   Posted 9/25/2006 7:04 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Carol

I really hope this does not upset you, that is in by no way my intention. But your post is similar to my family situation.

Just some observations, and I may be way off base due to my own family experiences. Your daughter is successful in her career and your son is not. This is most likely not the only reason for her misery, but could your daughter have some resentment towards her brother, and, by association, you, because even with her condition she has been able to work and support herself but her brother has not?

My own experience is most likely not similar to yours. However, I was diagnosed a few years ago, (I am in my forties) but exhibited symptoms back to my late teens. I have been constantly employed, albiet at many different jobs, and supported myself since I was 17. The longest I was ever unemployed was three weeks.

I have a "normal" brother that has not worked a day in over 15 years. He has done nothing productive at all, no volunteer work, no odd jobs, nothing. Finally his wife got tired of supporting him so now my mother is supporting him. Now I would starve in the gutter before I would accept a dime from my mother, but I still have resentment towards my brother due to his entitlement philosophy of life and my mother for enabling it.

My brother has spent half of his working career to arrive at nothing. My mother is not doing him any favors by supporting him. My mother is not wealthy so she will have little to leave him, and after my mother dies, my brother will be living in deep poverty.

But best of luck to you

Cap
I want "I wish I had one more day to spend at the office" on my tombstone.


wmnak
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Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 1123
   Posted 9/25/2006 2:39 PM (GMT -7)   
then there's the story about the little boy who never talked.  his parents were terribly concerned and took him to specialist after specialist until their medical insurance ran out.  one night, before bed, his mother mad him a nice cup of cocoa.
 
"this cocoa tasts lousy! " the now 10-yr-old blurted.
 
"he can talk!  he can talk! he can talk!"  his entire family sang in unison.
 
finally the boy's father asked him, "you haven't talked in 10 yrs.  why did you decide to talk now?"
 
the boy thought for no more than 3 seconds.  "everything was going along all right until now."
 
perhaps a motivator is in order for the sucking son?
 
just a thought.
 
warren

caroljwj
New Member


Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 10/1/2006 7:46 AM (GMT -7)   
Thank" you everyone. All of your comments are appreciated. I have two things to tell you. One is a clarrification. My fault for being too vague in my first post. I talked more about my daughter than my son. He has been working at some of the hardest jobs there are since he was 17 or 18. Pipeline, like his dad. Pipefitting and for about the past 15 years roofing which is the hardest of all. Please don't think I'm making excuses for him. He should have a regular job. (He has had a few that lasted maybe, one year.) He's fallen into the syndrome of "getting by", since coming back home about 3 years ago. My husband, his dad, was a heart patient. He passed away 2 years ago. I don't know what I would have done without my son that first year. In the second year, we've accomplished a lot of healing and we are working toward seperating our lives again as they should be. Oh, I forgot to mention that we all went through hurricane Rita last year, which in a lot of ways, has been a lost year. He manages to pay his child support pretty regularly and when he gives me money to help with my bills after he pays his. The problem is that he's happy with our current situation and I know that it's not right. To give you a visual, he's more like a teenager, than a man, in his accomplishments for himself. He's not always happy with this situation and now and again talks about what he calls "changing his life". I'm working on a plan which will take effect this coming year that will give us both our independence back. He won't have a choice about moving forward. I'll post seperately about the disaster of a visit I had with my daughter yesterday.

caroljwj
New Member


Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 10/1/2006 8:45 AM (GMT -7)   
Sorry for the typo's in my first post. I'll have to start checking them closer. My daughter....Iwill definitely get her the book referred to above.

After about a month, I decided to try a visit. She lives a little over an hour away. We had been talking on the phone and I thought getting together was worth a try. Of course, I was wrong. I could tell when I got there that I was in for trouble. You always know. She wouldn't look directly at me about half of the time, while we were having our usual conversation in the living room about Dr. Laura's latest philosophies. I have nothing against Dr. Laura. My daughter is an avid fan. After about 20 minutes of not letting her mood get to me she eased up some. Then we went for a golf cart ride. It started out nice, but then turned to a conversation headed for disaster. Mostly about how she does everything exactly right and everyone else is to blame for everything. I'm purposely stating this as a generalization to make a point. I begged her to let up and for us to all take responsibility for what we have done wrong in the past and move on. I told her that I refuse to spend any more of my time stuck between people. She refused to let it go and I finally had to tell her to pull over so that I could get off the cart and walk back to the house. I knew that if I didn't put some space between us, things would get bad. When I got to the house, she was in bed. I calmly told her that she should realize that she isn't right about everything, to which she responded that she is right about a lot of things. I'm sure she is. I probably could have just done and watched tv at that point, but I decided to leave. Honestly, I'm sick of this mess. So, I gathered up some things that I had brought with me and left. about two blocks away, I realized that I had forgotten something, so I went back and found all of the doors locked. I finally got in and got my stuff and told her that she needs to get on medication for bipolar disorder and not to call me until she does. Then I left and I don't intend to ever go back.
My daughter was very close to her dad. She has told me that he was the only person who she ever felt truly cared about her. I know she misses him very much. She also witnessed a terrible tragedy when she was 13. She was with our neighbor's little girl when the little girl was hit by a truck and killed in front of our house. She handled it too well back then and has been handling it terribly over about 5 years now, talking about it regularly. We've recently been back in touch with the little girls mother. I also think that there may be something that I don't know that has happened to her at some time in the past. I love my daughter. Our family has had some serious problems. The rest of have managed to work through them to a big extent. She continues to dwell on every detail, seemingly in an effort to make sure that the rest of us are as miserable as she is. I'm going to stop now, because I realize that I'm giving way too much information in one post. It's just one of those days when you need someone to listen to your pain. Thanks for being there today.

CounterClockwise
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Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 1529
   Posted 10/1/2006 2:23 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Carol,

It sounds like your son -- and you and your daughter -- could do with some counselling to help you deal with your husband's death -- really sounds like this was the catalyst in his movement towards the "getting by" mentality. And of course Rita, which can't have helped any of you. (((Carol))). Sounds like your son is already thinking that he needs to change, so this might be just the right time to suggest counselling.

I'm so sorry your day with your daughter came to such a bad end. Do remember that having bipolar must be terribly frightening for her and, if she's "acting out", fear might have a lot to do with it. Have a look at that book I suggested to you -- it might give you some ideas on how to handle her when she's like this. Then pass it along to her. You might even feel up to adding a note saying that you love her and are there for her -- I hope you feel more that way when you've read what the book has to say. Bipolar is a complicated illness and it often seems to reject love, but remember that's the illness not the person. I hope that what you said to your daughter prompts her to action.

I know this is also difficult for you: coping with someone suffering from this illness is a minefield at times, and there's a lot of confusion and hurt and rejection that can become part of the cycle. Just as I said it might help for your family to have counselling to help you deal with your husband's death and Rita, so I think it might benefit you to have counselling to help you with the situation with your daughter. When my ex was first showing signs of bp, everything was such a mess and it really took a toll on me: counselling was just what I needed -- it didn't solve everything, but it did help *a lot* and I would have been in a much worse state without it.

(((Carol)))

Rosie x
********************

People are not like fish: they do not work well battered.

When I'm not in my right mind, my left mind gets pretty crowded...

********************

 
Co-Moderator, Bipolar Forum


wmnak
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 1123
   Posted 10/1/2006 2:30 PM (GMT -7)   
carol,
 
the fact that your daughter is an "avid fan" of dr. laura should tell you that there is somethins DEFINITELY wrong.  tongue    just kidding.  as i've said elsewhere, my sence of humor is an aquired taste.  hope i didn't offend anyone.  if i did, i appologise.  talking heads and headless voices sometimes get to me - regardless of direction or religion.
 
your daughter does sound like she needs professional help.  noone "handles" a horror "well" regardless of age.  read studies done on the people who survived the death camps in WWII, the studies done on the POWs from korea, or the more recent studies done on the pows in viet nam.   ptsd is almost a universal.  (yes, i have read many of these studies - i'm not an expert but i am reasonably well informed).  therefore one possibility for your daughter is ptsd.  i am not a dr and cannot diagnose.  i am an educated layman with a possible opinion based upon the information you provided.
 
bp?  that takes a professional (usually psychiatrist) evaluation.  i don't recall your actually saying that she has a diagnosis for bp.  if she does and is not taking her meds, all that you can do is encourage her to take them and to protect yourself from her illness.  she is three times seven and then some.  she is an adult.  mom can suggest and recommend but not interfere.  god, that's difficult!  for the rest of you, wait until YOU get grown kids.
 
after 60 yrs of trying to "fix" our kids, my wife and i have learned to protect ourselves.  i don't know is this rant will help or hinder.  i hope that it helps.
 
stay in touch.
 
warren
 
 

caroljwj
New Member


Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 10/22/2006 8:09 AM (GMT -7)   
Well, things have been very quiet between my daughter and I.  She left me a message on my voice mail on my birthday on the 13th.  She told me happy birthday and that she loves me. She had two other pieces of news she wanted me to know about, which is the real reason she called.   I sent her an email to acknowledge that I got the message and told her that I was glad that she was keeping the lines of communication open. I also said that I thought we should keep our contact at a low level for the time being, and hopefully some day we will figure out a way to stop going through this same ordeal over and over again.  Other than that I haven't been in touch with her.  They live in a county that has been affected by the heavy rains we've been having lately.  I doubt if they have had much of a problem in the subdivision she lives in.  I could call her mother in law who also lives there, but I just didn't want to get into all of this with her.  She knows my daughter's problem first hand, having been the victim of at least one tirade.  In my own heart and mind, I've decided that no relationship is better than the one we have, and that she will have to seriously commit to making some changes in order for us to get along.  The primary one being to get off of her soap box about everything that the rest of us have been doing to make her miserable all of her life.  I don't know if she got the books yet.  Amazon gave me a delivery date through the 24th.  I hope all is well with all of you and that you are having a great Sunday.  I'll post again soon about my son's progress.  He has come up with yet another plan. It's a good one that involves getting a "regular Job" and working toward having more frequent contact with his son. I'll let you know how things progress.  Being able to talk this out here is so terrific.  Thanks so much for caring.

CounterClockwise
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 1529
   Posted 10/23/2006 10:32 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Carol,

It sounds like you are much calmer, but I do wonder if it wouldn't be such a bad idea to let your daughter's mother-in-law in on this. It would help to have someone "on the ground" to keep an eye on things, and this sort of thing is often easier handled with more people involved. Well, it is of course up to you, and you know the situation better: there may well be other reasons why you'd prefer to keep her mother-in-law out for now.

I'm glad you got her some books. -- Really hope this helps get through to her!!!

Sounds like there's some really good progress with your son! Good for him! :)

Rosie x
********************

People are not like fish: they do not work well battered.

When I'm not in my right mind, my left mind gets pretty crowded...

********************

 
Moderator, Bipolar Forum


caroljwj
New Member


Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 11/24/2006 8:08 AM (GMT -7)   
I hope all reading this had a very happy Thanksgiving.  After much soul searching and against my better judgement, I went to my daughters for dinner.  I decided to go based on our phone conversations which have been going well.  I didn't realize how long it had been since I had seen her until I noticed that I haven't posted here since September.  She promised me that I would have a nice day if I came.  Guess what?  I did.  It was a small group. Things worked out very nicely, in that some of the family "aggitaters" had other plans this year, so there was virtually no stress.  After dinner, we watched a movie together.  I even got a nice, genuine hug.  She is not reading An Unquiet Mind yet, but she is reading How to Have an Exuberant Life.  We didn't talk about Dr. Laura at all.  She lives far enough away, that I always have the decision about whether or not to spend the night.  Although it was after dark when I got home, I decided not to push it and drove home.  So, I can honestly say that all went well.  She had been sick with a cold this week and I noticed her mode changing slightly which was all the impetus I need to make the decision to leave. I'm very happy with the effort she made.  It was obvious that she really worked hard to make it a nice day.
 
My son has started his job which takes him about 4 1/2 hours from home, so he's having to stay in a motel.  He's working on a drilling rig.  The pay is pretty good.  This particular job will last about a month and then hopefully, there won't be too much delay before another starts.  It's exactly what we need in order to work toward more independence for both of us.  So, good things are happening.  I'm trying to maintain a positive attitude that both of these situations will continue to improve.  I don't have to tell any of you, that I am having to fight the thoughts of impending doom and failure tooth and nail.  I have a friend who uses the expression "Don't borrow trouble".  Well, for a lot of years, it seems like I have never had to borrow it when it comes to my family.  We seem to have won the lottery in it, and it has just always been there for the taking.  Maybe, the account has finally run out.  I hope so with all of my heart.  I'm ready to borrow some happiness.  Happy Holidays!  And once again, thanks for listening.

LadyDragonfly
Regular Member


Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 215
   Posted 11/24/2006 8:27 PM (GMT -7)   
I can only share some of my story. My mom and I are not close. She once said to me "I can't find anything about you to be proud of"! This to her then beautiful college educated daughter, who has 6 kids and is successful in a career, with lots of other abilities and special things about her. My mother's loss.

It was very easy for my mother (still is) to assign various illnesses to me rather than see that our relationship is the problem. I can't sit here and blame her, but she isn't blameless. She'd rather call me crazy then appreciate me as a person. We are not the same at all. She is logical and methodical, she has no feelings for anyone and she can't love. I am artistic, creative, highly intelligent and I have love for almost anyone who crosses my life. I am a mile a minute and I know that having a relationship with me is hard for anyone who tries and for a long time, it was hard for me to have a relationship with myself!

I have to admit openly and honestly, I don't love my mother and I know I don't like her as a person. I don't desire her friendship and I certainly could not have it if I did. She has issues of her own that she has refused to deal with and places blame on those around her. I have issues, but I have dealth with them, resolved many and am stilling working on others. I can't blame my mom because she can't do what I have managed to do. It is accepting adult responsibility on my part because my problems are MY problems now, no matter where they had their root cause, including those she has visited on me.

Now, it seems to me that your daughter is more anxious to blame you than to deal with what are now HER problems. You can't give her a mental illness just because you don't understand her. Mothers and daughters are the worst about formulating a way of relating that doesn't change as the child grows up and changes, it stays in this time warp. When one of the parties exits this and tries to change the relationship the other party may not like the change and the relationship either goes back to the baseline comfort zone, or fizzles.

As a parent you did the very best you knew how. Kids don't come with instruction books and we just sorta fake our way through. There comes a point when any damage we did or did not do our children, becomes their problem. They are free to change it or not. The blame no longer lies with the parent (despite what the adult child might think) it lies with the adult child.

It also comes time for parents to stop trying to undo what we did, forgive what we believe to be our shortcomings, and live our lives, sometimes without our grown children in them. They don't owe us, we don't owe them, but we do owe ourselves.
The Lady Dragonfly
Yes, it was me...I know because I was there when I did it. Only on occasional Indocin and Naprosyn. Lupus with significant balance difficulties and frequent falls (getting over a recent concussion). Vegan and loving it!


CounterClockwise
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 1529
   Posted 11/26/2006 12:09 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Carol,

Great to hear from you -- and with really promising news. I'm so glad you had a good time at your daughter's and that she was making a real effort. These things take time, but this seems to me a *very* positive step. Also wonderfully positive is that your daughter is reading: it may not be "An Unquiet Mind", but any halp she can gain through "How to Have an Exuberant Life" is hugely to be welcomed -- and chances are that it will lead to more reading.

"Don't borrow trouble" is such a good phrase -- well worth everyone remembering, not just you, because we all do borrow trouble sometimes and it's a great reminder. Yes, we need to be cautious at times too -- and I'm not suggesting you run around celebrating, as there's bound to be a long way to go yet for you and your daughter (and indeed your son -- but great going to him too!) -- but maybe allow your mind to focus on the achievements so far, and remember the difference from before when you didn't see a time when you and your daughter could share such a nice evening together.

Happy for you Carol :)

Rosie x
********************

People are not like fish: they do not work well battered.

When I'm not in my right mind, my left mind gets pretty crowded...

********************

 
Moderator, Bipolar Forum


caroljwj
New Member


Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 12/2/2006 10:26 AM (GMT -7)   

Thanks so much.  It's been a good week.  And, thank you too, Ladydragonfly, for your sobering comments.  There is a large amount of truth in what you say.  I remember reading a psychology text book years ago, and recognizing practically everyone I knew including myself in the definitions of the various mental illnesses and emotional disabilities.  I guess we just reach a point where we want some kind of definitive answer for bad behavior. Especially when the same bad behavior occurs over and over again with no apparent explanation.

My goal at this point is to enjoy these good days and use them as an opportunity to let my son and daughter know that this is what I expect from them from here on.  I plan to take this time to take care of myself, and who knows, maybe even find some enjoyment in life.  It occurs to me that life is all about trust, and that fear is the thing that gets us every time.  If my kids don't know that I'm here for them by now, they never will.  So, with that thought in mind, I am going to get on with my day, and throw off the fear that these good days won't last and that trouble is just around the corner.  At least I'm going to give it my best shot.  Bye for now.  Thanks again for the support.  :-)


caroljwj
New Member


Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 1/2/2007 12:58 PM (GMT -7)   
Happy New Year to all.  I hope it's going as well for all of you as it is for me.  I spent the day at my daughter's house.  It went very well.  I also finished reading "An Unquet Mind".  I wish everyone would read it.  How inspirational. 
 
My next project for myself is to set up my trip to see my mom for her birthday at the end of February.  It's time for me to take some bigger steps toward my more independent, adult life now.  I look forward to my chats on this forum.  Bye for now.
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