New here, newly diagnosed bipolar child

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New Member

Date Joined Sep 2016
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   Posted 9/29/2016 4:36 AM (GMT -7)   
I'm here looking for information and hope. My 12 year old daughter was recently diagnosed with bipolar disorder. They started her on lexapro and serequel, epic fail. Within 3 weeks she was back in the ER, with suicidal thoughts. The doctor would like to use lithium on her now, and this terrifies me. Admittedly, I know little about the drug other than the few encounters with people who have used it. I find it hard to get information about bipolar in children as well as successful treatments. Is it because so few children have it or is it because there haven't been effective treatments found? Need help, need hope.

Tim Tam
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Date Joined May 2016
Total Posts : 1101
   Posted 9/29/2016 10:41 AM (GMT -7)   
Your daughter can be thankful she has you for a mother.

As a manic-depressive, I take Lithium (700mg a day, 450mg of that at night, and 250mg in the morning).

It there was ever a wonder pill in my life, it's Lithium.

It helps calm mania, and it helps lift depression. I don't know how.

I know many long-term medicines might take days to kick in and feel the effects. I could tell the difference in about an hour.

This is what it did: I felt like the air in a too-tight balloon had been released. My next thought, was, why wasn't I on this 20 years ago?

Third thing that happened was, I never had another panic attack, and I had had them for a number of years.

Lithium. Wonder drug. Same thing. Life saver. I also take an anti-depressant, Mirtazapine, 7.5mg at night

I think they go by body weight, and how bad off you are.

They give blood tests every three months or so, I think it's to see if you have the right balance of Lithium in your system.

I think they have a diagram which says, if the person is of this weight and this level of problem, they need this amount of Lithium in their system. Any less Lithium in my system and it wouldn't be good.

My grandmother, my mother's mother, they say would go through the medicine cabinets of people's houses she was in, taking whatever pills they had. Since I'm her grandchild, and her son also had manic-depression, she probably had manic-depression.

She was desperate to calm her mind down, but they did not have Lithium for manic-depression in the 1930s and 1940s, and so she spent many years in a state mental hospital. There but for the grace of God....

If your mind has ever been in a manic state, you would know the torment we go through, you would be singing the praises of Lithium, as I do.

You're also fortunate she got diagnosed as manic-depressive. Most psychiatrists when you go see them and you're depressed, you get diagnosed as depressed.

They don't bother to ask if you stay up late, if you have racing thoughts. They just sit there and listen to anything you say, they write you out a script for depression.


If you miss-diagnosed you're miss-medicated. In my case, I didn't get the Lithium for 20 years. So you're probably lucky to get that diagnosis.

You can also go on the web and look for bi-polar, symptoms, medications, and see what you think.

New Member

Date Joined Sep 2016
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 9/29/2016 1:51 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks for your response. I can find good info on adult bipolar and adult medications but very little information on a child as young as 12. It's reassuring that you find success with this medication. We were originally told she had depression and anxiety and were medicated as such. Therefore 3 weeks later we are in ER with suicidal thoughts. Today was her first dose of lithium, she had a bad stomach ache and the shakes, but said she felt herself again. I thought it would take a week or more for it to take affect. With any luck, her labs go well she will be discharged on Monday. Fingers crossed that we can stay outpatient. I would love to hear from anyone who has children diagnosed, or was a child that got diagnosed and how you are doing now. Tim Tam, sounds like you are in a good place now, how is your life? Stable career, marriage etc?

Elite Member

Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 20048
   Posted 9/29/2016 2:08 PM (GMT -7)   
it is a good med. hoping all goes well for ya, and the little one. expect some fluctuations. lithium is either hit or miss, however if it is a hit, it does work well. keep strong.



Tim Tam
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Date Joined May 2016
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   Posted 9/29/2016 4:18 PM (GMT -7)   
I went to childhood manic-depression and found what looked like was going to be 8 or 10 or more sites.

See, I told you, originally diagnosed with depression, treated as such. What did I tell you. They always mis-diagnose m-d as depression, give you an anti-depressant, which is miss-medicated, and 3 weeks later she’s in the ER with a much more serious situation than depression. They did the same thing 40 years ago.

You said today was her first dose of lithium…and said she felt her own self again. I told you it was a wonder drug. I’m so glad.

That’s the way I felt when I took my first lithium. I had asked my psy., is this going to change me, he said no. The only thing I felt was a huge release of tension, or as I noted, I felt like the air had been let out of a too tight balloon. I couldn’t believe how much better it made me feel. It didn’t take me anytime, either, to feel much improvement. It seems like in an hour or two, the improvements were well underway.

Do you or her father have any m-d in yourselves or in your family lines? I would ask around in the family just out of curioiusisity if nothing else. It will also help her. I think you should talk with these family members while they might be able to remember some of this. Find the family historian on both sides.

Discharged Monday, that’s great.

Might have to go to “childhood mental illness helpline” to see if there is any such thing.

As for how is my life? Tough question. I wish I could tell you I was president and CEO of General Motors, but I can’t. I did find it difficult to hold a job. Relationships were difficult.

The good news is, as a senior citizen, I made it through all of that.

My dog and I just got finished with a walk, on a nice fall day, and we enjoyed it very much. I talked to my grown son yesterday and enjoyed that.

My marriage was very rough. She was borderline personality syndrome, and I was manic-depressive. She was sex abused as a child and, had a lot of sex.

I don’t do good socially, but I enjoy a conversation on the street. I enjoy photography and writing and I don’t really want to be part of the corporate place. So I don’t feel like I missed out on anything. I did the company work for a number of years, and had many good experiences.

That was when I was younger and had more strength to do that. Parts of it were really nice and I enjoyed it. There are benefits you can get from a company that you can’t get by yourself, so it was worth every bit.

I once talked to a man who was quite successful. In his younger years, he came close to a huge success, but he fell short, and it really hurt him for a long number of years.

He later did well in an area he never knew he would be. He said, “Fate has a way of bending a man to his better instints, of putting him where he was supposed to be in the first place.”

In other words, he didn’t have the success that he wanted, but he had a success years later that was where he was supposed to be in the first place. So, fate may push people around, but it will push them around to where they were supposed to be, was his point.

Your daughter may have it rough. But fate will put her where she is supposed to be, would be his point.

She can do the best she can with what she’s got.

She’ll be in a better position to help somene because of her difficulty; because she’ll be able to ID with them.

If she gets to feeling too bad, take her to a hospital and let her volunteer with some sick kids so she can see some real heroes.

Take her to a dog pound where there are dogs who have never seen love in their life, where she’ll have the chance to be a hero.

At a group meeting, I once was telling of my troubles, and the woman next to me said, “Oh, you were having a pity party. We’ve all done that.”

I used to feel real sorry for myself, until that woman spoiled my life- long pity party.

Now whenever I try to feel sorry for myself, I see that woman’s face, and I hear her voice, and it doesn’t work. I am totally embarrassed and ashamed as a grown man to be feeling so much self-pity.

Thank you, woman.

They are all examples (below) of the link between bipolar disorder and creativity, according to psychologist Kay Redfield Jamison's 1993 book, also called Touched With Fire.

The (2016) film isn't officially an adaptation of the book—the film was originally titled Mania Days, and writer-director Paul Dalio, who is himself bipolar, is the sole screenplay credit.

But the two manic-depressive poets at the film's center refer to it as "the Bible," and Jamison, who is also bipolar, has a cameo advising them on the importance of medication.

(I (Tim Tam) just watched a 2-minute “trailer” of this 2016 movie, “Touched With Fire,” and it’s the vacation-place love movie, “Dirty Dancing,” but set in a mental institution.)

But the book, this woman, Kay Jamison, apparently put a lot of effort into it and researched these people’s family backgrounds. You might want to get that book, “Touched With Fire.” You can order it on the net.


following people are thought to have suffered from bipolar disorder:

• Abraham Lincoln (leader)
• Adam Ant (musician)
• Agatha Christie (writer)
• Axl Rose (musician)
• Buzz Aldrin (other)
• Drew Carey (actor)
• Carrie Fisher (actor)
• Edgar Poe (writer)
• Gordon Sumner (Sting) (musician)
• Hans Christian Andersen (writer)
• Heinz Prechter (entrepreneurs)
• Isaac Newton (other)
• Jane Pauley (other)
• Jean-Claude Van Damme (actor)
• Jim Carey (actor)
• Jimi Hendrix (musician)
• John Dally (sporting stars)
• Jonathan Hay (sporting stars)
• Kay Redfield Jamison (other, writer)
• Kurt Cobain (musician)
• Larry Flynt (entrepreneurs)
• Liz Taylor (actor)
• Ludwig Boltzmann (other)
• Ludwig Van Beethoven (musician)
• Marilyn Monroe (actor)
• Mark Twain (writer)
• Maurice Benard (actor)
• Mel Gibson (actor)
• Micheal Slater (sporting stars)
• Napoleon Bonaparte (leader)
• Ozzy Osbourne (musician)
• Patricia Cornwell (writer)
• Patrick Joseph Kennedy (leader)
• Patty Duke (actor)
• Plato (other)
• Ralph Waldo Emerson (writer)
• Rene Rivkin (entrepreneurs)
• Robert Downey (actor)
• Robin Williams (actor)
• Sinead O'Connor (musician)
• Sophie Anderton (other)
• Stephen Fry (actor)
• Ted Turner (entrepreneurs)
• Tim Burton (writer, other)
• Tom Waits (musician, actor)
• Thomas Stearns Elliot (writer)
• Vincent Van Gogh (other)
• Virginia Woolf (writer)
• Winston Chruchill (leader)
• Wolfgang Armadeus Mozart (musician)

New Member

Date Joined Sep 2016
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 9/29/2016 4:58 PM (GMT -7)   
Thank you for your honesty. I appreciate your feedback, and I hope for your continued success with the medication. I'm not sure if it's like this everywhere, but where I live there are few resources for child with mental illness. The resources we do have are extremely over taxed. It takes months to get appointments. As far as my family history goes, my mother was diagnosed as bipolar in her 50's. My siblings and I suffered years of abuse and neglect at her hands. So when I think of my own child being diagnosed with the same condition, I worry because this the only personal example I have. Having her in the hospital terrifies me as well, but I am hopeful they will find the right plan, and meds for us. Unfortunately our therapist just dropped us, I think my daughters suicidal tendencies frightened her off. Now I have to find another, no easy task. On the bright side, it will give something productive to do in the morning, so I'm not having my own pity party. Thank you Tim Tam

Forum Moderator

Date Joined May 2011
Total Posts : 4425
   Posted 10/2/2016 4:15 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Cornholiio73,

Welcome to the Bipolar forum!

I am sorry to hear about your past and what you went through. I am glad that you are here with us today. I am sure that you are more strong.

I am sorry your therapist dropped you. It sucks and it does not sound professional. Did they give a valid reason? I hope you find another one soon.

Moderator - Bipolar

Depression, Borderline Personality Disorder.
Chronic Pain - Cervical Kyphosis, Cervical Spondylosis, Thoracic Scoliosis.

Tim Tam
Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2016
Total Posts : 1101
   Posted 10/2/2016 4:21 PM (GMT -7)   
Yeah, I want to know why she dropped that patient, also.

I really can't believe that it was because the patient was having difficulty.

I don't know if the mother read that into it, or if that's what it was.

The mother may not have gotten an explanation. It may be the mother was just told by a staff member that the psy. wasn't going to be that person's doctor anymore.

New Member

Date Joined Sep 2016
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 10/2/2016 4:38 PM (GMT -7)   
The therapist is in a private office, a LMHC with her own practice. Her reason was your daughter needs more intense and frequent visits than I can provide. She will keep our 10/5 appointment, but did not assist in or suggest another therapist. I'm annoyed, and disappointed to say the least, my daughter really likes her.

One a side note, the lithium. We are on day 5, while her suicidal thoughts and depression seemed to have disappeared, what has not is her argumentative mouth and negativity. She is harping on small things that seem to annoy her immensely. Like her magazine is missing, she seemed to nag on about that for nearly 10 minutes and was difficult for us to her her to change the subject. Easily excitable. I'm told lithium can take weeks to reach peak performance. They discharge her tomorrow, fingers crossed that we don't have to have another ER visit.

Elite Member

Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 20048
   Posted 10/2/2016 7:34 PM (GMT -7)   
argumentative? negative, yep, here comes the teenager!!! no drug for this, sorry. yes, a few more weeks, for sure, however the efficacy is being presented with improvements in the areas that need it; a tip, the manipulation starts of subtle, have to keep very firm boundaries and protocols.



New Member

Date Joined Sep 2016
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 10/2/2016 8:38 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks for the warning happy turtle. Just what we need, a manipulative cranky teenager ....Ill take it any day over being suicidal.

Elite Member

Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 20048
   Posted 10/2/2016 10:27 PM (GMT -7)   
exactly. and the suicidal ideation does pass. keep strong.



Tim Tam
Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2016
Total Posts : 1101
   Posted 10/3/2016 11:11 AM (GMT -7)   
So, Wed. is the last appointment with this psy. Oh, wow. How long has she been having problems?

She’s a therapist, not a psychiatrist? I think you can find another therapist, I thought she was the psychiatrist.

How long has she been having problems? How long has she been having serious problems?

What has helped me through lot is a column on being positive that I read some 20 years ago. Prior to that, I was negative. Here is a condensed version of the column:
I came across a column years ago which helped me a lot. I didn't know it, but I was unconsciously negative, having been raised in a negative household and having a major mental illness--manic-depression.

When a problem occurred, I would be unconsciously looking for a negative outcome, to match what I had learned in childhood, things that are bad are bad, which again, matched my negative thinking, meaning I was thinking correctly--things are bad.

What I was missing was that problems are bad, but the chances of solving them can be good. The column said, your attitude going into a problem can be the biggest asset you have, meaning, if you think you can solve it, if your mental attitude going into a problem is that you can solve it, your chances of solving it double.

I had never thought about that. I didn't realize my unconscious was set on negative, since it was in my uncon. and I couldn't see it. Now when I go into a problem, I don't worry about the problem, I worry about my neg. uncon. I say, "Think positive, think positive, think positive..." trying to clear out any neg. in my hidden uncon.

Only then do I start to think about the problem, trying to eliminate me as the biggest obstacle to my solving the problem. Then I allow any idea to solve it to have full attention, and to not deliberately knock it down by my neg. uncon.

I also tell myself, "One problem at a time, and be positive about that problem."

I’m thinking the column might help your daughter, and perhaps it can help you.

You sound like you’re pretty positive, so you may not need it. But I think you and your daughter might want to check your uncon. to make sure it’s not tripping you up like my uncon. was tripping me up until I read this column.

You can test yourself by looking to see if everytime you come up with an answer your uncon. says, “No, that won’t work because….” And then comels up with a flimsy excuse to a perfectly good solution. That’s what happened to me.

You can also see if your daughter has this line of thinking. If every time you come up with a solution, she says, “No, that won’t work because….”

Part of her problem could be her illness. Part could be negative thinking. Illness can hopefully be improved with medicine and other treatments. Neg. thinking can perhaps be helped with, in my case, reading this column.

You said, “One a side note, the lithium. We are on day 5, while her suicidal thoughts and depression seemed to have disappeared, what has not is her argumentative mouth and negativity/”

Uh, oh, there it is: “negativity.” I would think, someone who has a mental illness, who is not on medicine, cannot hear you when you are trying to get something like this across.

I know I couldn’t stand to hear any such talk when my mental illness of manic-depression was really going and I was not medicated.

But I think you should try to be positive, and sit her down and explain some of this to her. Then if she gets out of hand later over something, perhaps try to show her what’s she’s doing, hurting herself.

You said, “One a side note, the lithium. We are on day 5, while her suicidal thoughts and depression seemed to have disappeared”

That is wonderful.

But what has not is her arguing, her anger.

I have a cousin who has manic-depression, and some of the things you say about your daughter, remind me of him.

He had a lot of anger. I do, too, but the Lithium has quelled it for the most part.

Let’s hope the Lithium can get to the anger. At one time, I had so much anger they put me on Stelizine (sp?) which took away my anger, but it also took away any good feelings I might have.

I do think she has a good mother. I’m hoping for the best for your child.

Please let us know how this is going.

New Member

Date Joined Sep 2016
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 10/3/2016 1:50 PM (GMT -7)   
She is even more angry now. I mentioned to the in patient psychiatrist that I felt she was too argumentative, he agreed. He increased her dosages, which means she has to stay another night. I'm glad he did, it gave me the chance to see she is not ready. She was completely unreasonable, trying to threaten me she won't forgive me if I leave her there. Al it did was confirm that she needed to be there. So they will test her in the morning, she has a psychiatrist appointment tomorrow at 12 we are desperate to keep. Since it took weeks to get. Once we get established,I'm told it's easier to get an appointment, so we can avoid going to the ER since I could see her mood changing in the past 5 days.

You asked how long she has had issues. I noticed she was depressed mid August, made an appointment - this appointment we have with the psychiatrist right then. Took 6 weeks to get in. I also made the therapy appointment and she was seen first time in 9/5 but wa manipulative and evading talk. That therapist didn't know she was already planning her suicide and neither did i. 9/7 attempted suicide.

As you can imagine, since then, I have been looking up the early signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder, seems some of the things we had mentioned to her doctors early on are possible signs. Auditory processing disorder was diagnosed at age 6, younger than usual but issues were profound, possible hyperactivity same year, bedwetting until age 7, which we were told wasn't unusual so we didn't concern our selves. So add these things up, and put the, with her issues she is having today, added to our family history, I am fairly comfortable with the assumed diagnosis. I say assumed because they previously said anxiety and depression and I felt like ther was something more.

So I ask anyone who is willing to share, when you were diagnosed as an adult, were there any signs or symptoms you think you could relate to when you were a child?

Also, when do you think I can see an improvement in mood,attitude? She was always a very happy kid until puberty.

Tim Tam
Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2016
Total Posts : 1101
   Posted 10/3/2016 5:57 PM (GMT -7)   
Age of onset, 15-24, according to one website.

Your child is 12, so that's not so far away.

My manic-depression:

At 17, I had a psychotic episode, except I made the mistake of having it in class, with my girlfriend about a foot and a half away, as a junior in high school.

Embarrassing, right. In front of the whole class.

Earlier signs: Never was good at social conversation, but OK with one on one. Anxiety. Low self-esteem. Very sensitive.

At 27, nervous breakdown from out of work, no socialization. Was very angry at my mother, anger lasted 2-3 weeks, then the break from that being untreated. So angry they put me on Stelazine (sp?) which took away the anger, but also took away any good feelings.

Here are some of the signs from one site for bi-polar. I would study that for they may have her miss-diagnosed. And, if they have her miss-diagnosed, they will miss-medicate her. If she is miss-medicated, she won't be getting the help she needs.

They've already miss-diagnosed her once, they thought she was depressive. So, there is no guarantee they've got this diagnosis right.

They saw her what, 45 minutes? You've seen her for years, so 45 minutes is not a lot of time. You can go to bi-polar web-sites and printout symptoms to see if they match what she has. You could look up, 'mental illnesses" and jot down some and go to those websites to see if those symptoms match.

Here are some bi-polar symptoms from one site I went to. Does she match these?

--o Overtly inflated feeling of self-esteem or grandiosity, sensational mood, preoccupied with grandiose achievements.

o Being restless, little or no need for sleep (ex. Feels like 3rhs is enough)

o Irritable mood, anger, agitation, jumpy and wired

o Increased need for talking & increased rate of speech, pressures to have a conversation, excessive talking & giving advice to strangers

o Racing thoughts, disorganized thinking, unusually fast flow of ideas, mostly disrupted, one comes before the other ends

o Easily distracted by irrelevant or unimportant factors, short attention span

o Engaging in high risk activities (gambling, spending unreasonable amounts of money while shopping, impulse high ticket purchases, engaging in risky sex, high risk business investments, antisocial behavior etc.)


That's 7 symptoms. How many does she match?

I think increasing her dosage was great. Psys don't always agree with you, so this guy seems pretty good.

Only with issues since mid August. It is now October. about 6 weeks. That[s not long. I'm glad it's only been a short time.

Why did it break out in mid August? Was there any stress going on?

Are you in there when she talking to the psy? Is that how you are observing her behavior?

What happened when she had to go to the ER a week or so ago?

Has she had any trauma? Did she have any abuse?

Being abused can cause a lot of anger. I think you need to think about that.

She was planning her suicide only a month ago? At 12? Why? What was going on outside? What was going on inside? Was she angry during that time, or quiet?

Have you asked her about that? Where is her father? Could she be angry about a splitup of you and your husband? My son at 13 got very angry for decades after my wife and I had serious marital troubles, and he found out about it, that I felt she was trying to cheat on me.

A couple of years later he fathered a child out of wedlock. He did not like it that his parents were not getting along.

Is she upset about you two breaking up?

How in the world are you holding up?

You said, "Also, when do you think I can see an improvement in mood,attitude? She was always a very happy kid until puberty."

One thing, you said she was happy until, what, 12. That could be telling right there. It hit at that time. That's very significant, I think. That's an outside and inside issue. I've been asking, what happened at 12? Maybe look up puberty on the search engine, and read all about that on 3 or 4 websites.

If there's one nugget it could be worth it. Of course, with bi-polar waiting in the genes, we'll just say, physical or mental stress, or both, could tip it off.

My break at 17 came with a very stressful moment in class, but my bi-polar was there waiting for heavy stress. Other classmates had various stresses, but they didn't break.

You said, "Also, when do you think I can see an improvement in mood,attitude? She was always a very happy kid until puberty."

Gosh, what an important question. Whoa. Wouldn't it be wonderful if when she got back home on the right meds, she was, as you said about her comment when first taking Lithium, "I feel like my old self?"

You know, "she was a very happy kid" only a few months ago.

How much would we give for five minutes of that?
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