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Amazon Rose
Regular Member

Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 56
   Posted 12/3/2006 5:55 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi all
I am hoping that someone will be able to help me by giving me information and some advice.
I have a 25 year old son who lives overseas. When he was about 17 he started to become quite difficult, and was smoking cannabis. He has since told me that he has had some emotional problems, and I do think that he used drugs as a means of self medication. He has assured me that the only drugs he has used are cannabis and alcohol.
Over the years we have had a bit of a rough ride with this boy, but he is dearly loved and has the total support of a loving family. His dad and I divorced years ago, and about five or so years ago his father was diagnosed with bipolar.
I visited my son overseas last week and noticed that he was quite stressed and seemed troubled. On talking with him, it transpired that he was having a bit of a difficult time, and had recently lost his job (though he had just commenced a new one) and had a few financial problems. I spent a lot of time with him during the week and am a bit worried because of a few things:
1. he was quite verbally aggressive and loud at times, though was able to be calmed. I think this might have been related to his general anxiety.
2. he found it impossible to sit and relax and was continually up doing things and going places
3. on two of the 7 nights he complained that his 'insomnia was returning'
4. there were a couple of occasions on one evening where his speech became very pressured and loud and you couldn't get a word in edgeways. He did eventually settle down after everyone went to bed and he told me he slept well that night. He seemed OK the next day.
I did speak to him about some of these issues - sort of gently probing him about his thoughts about the issues. The upshot is that he is adamant that he will not see a Dr because he does not need one, and that if he did he would not take any medication because he believes prescribed medication has had a bad effect on his dad (from whom he is now estranged).
In all other ways he seems fine - he was able to problem solve his situation and he is aware of various options open to him. I wonder if this could be a mild case of hypomania which will go away once his anxiety diminishes, or if it could be something more serious. I worry about him particularly because he lives overseas.
Any thoughts/opinions would be very welcome.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 1123
   Posted 12/3/2006 8:48 AM (GMT -7)   
You certainly in a tough place.  the first thing you need to do is to acknowledge that your son may very well be ill and that the only people who can diagnose his illness are psychiatrists.  Second, if he is bp, his condition will not get better - it will only deteriorate.  bp is a physical disease caused by chemical imballances in the brain.  if your husband has been diagnosed with bp, it is likely (but noit certain) that your son has bp.  bp tends to run in families.  another thing:  it often takes months for a good psychiatrist to find the right "cocktail" of mrdication to treat bp effectively.  this cocktail may also need to be adjused as time goes on.
if your son is in a developed country (UK< USA< Germany, etc., then he can get adequate phychiatriactic help.  if not, get him hiome so that he can get this help.  the first thing he needs, though, is a diagnosis.  otherwise you are chasing ghosts.

Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 215
   Posted 12/3/2006 12:47 PM (GMT -7)   
The other reason I think that so many bipolar people fight the diagnosis is the shame of having this diagnosis. Warren is 100% on target, bipolar is a physical illness, a chemical imbalance, but most of the world still sees it as being profoundly mental ill. People with bipolar can also be mentally ill, but being bipolar is not, by strict definition a mental illness.

I firmly believe that if those outside the illness saw bipolar people as having a chronic, treatable illness and not a mental problem, more people would take their meds and more people who need this diagnosis made and treatment given, would seek help.

You know, if you know someone well who is bipolar and untreated, living with them when they are treated can be confusing. Their reactions to live events change dramatically. It is possible for others to feel that the bipolar person no longer cares about them, or has stopped loving them. The behavior change can be enormous. Your son may not be ready to get help, just yet. It is easy to have a self-perspective on one's life of "you know my life sucks but it is mine and I can manage it." Being better is scary at first. Being on medication can make a person feel lost to themselves.

Hang in there, your son has a lot of support and hopefully will find his way to help soon.
The Lady Dragonfly
Yes, it was me...I know because I was there when I did it. Lupus sufferer, bipolar II sufferer. Currently on Indocin for chronic pericarditis related to lupus, and cherishing every deep breath without pain. Currently in graduate school for mental health counseling, class of Fall 2007. Vegan and loving it!

Amazon Rose
Regular Member

Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 56
   Posted 12/4/2006 1:41 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks for your replies and comments.

What I have done since posting my original query is to contact the Consul (as my son has no passport - it expired and he has not renewed it). They have been great and told me that they can get him repatriated within 48 hours without a passport if there is any crisis or problem. That has made me feel a lot better. I would have to go there and accompany him home.

I am staying in close contact with him. Trying to keep him having a sense of connectedness with me and the rest of the family. He has agreed to come home for a visit in February. Hopefully he will be OK between now and then.

Thanks again for your comments.
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