If it wasnâ€™t bad enough being a teenager, itâ€™s
a real bummer if you are developing symptoms of Bipolar. As parents, if weâ€™re
honest, we want a bit of rebellion in our children. Itâ€™s healthy for them to be
reprobates -- within reason of course -- and getting their elbows out, and
testing the lifeâ€™s realities before they are set loose.
As a male, I went through the normal pattern
of trying for the world "bashing the bishop" record, but whilst most boys work
through the irrational feelings of guilt, the one with Bipolar suffers in ways
his parents cannot begin to understand.
If itâ€™s the Dysthymic phase, the characteristics will be lack of self
esteem, poor concentration, a degree of self loathing and depression and a
general overwhelming lethargy. Sounds familiar doesnâ€™t it!
And then when the euphoric phase kicks is, the
mood will be high energy, nonsense -- often endearing -- mental sharpness and
outright arrogance. Sounds familiar doesnâ€™t it!!
Thereâ€™s the rub, so much of Bipolar can be
ascribed as teenage hormones, and without seeking to be alarmist, this illness
lurks beneath the surface like a Shark! One can almost hear the fabled music.
Time for some levity, which is how I cope. I
went to the Psychiatrist and said "can you help me out?" He said "sure, which
way did you come in?"
Now lest someone shouts foul, I am not against
therapy. Far from it. And the fact
that SSRIâ€™s leave you belching for England, and if youâ€™re a man, give your
priapic erections, but where the firing pin refuses to detonate, I am not making
a case for being anti-meds. But I am saying do not ignore your own instincts
and common sense. We are inured to think there is always a silver bullet
solution, often found at the end of a prescription, and I am saying no one
knows your child better than you.
And unlike damaging your cruciate ligament,
where the treatment is universal, there
are so many levels of Bipolar. I am for example, Cyclothymic, which is rapid
cycling, in which moods can change like the weather.
Itâ€™s taken me 45 years, umpteen different
drugs and 11 psychiatrists, before I came to the conclusion I had to forget a
cure and learn to manage it for myself. And as I now like to say, God made me
Bipolar, but he made me funny. Iâ€™ve learned to actively laugh at the
absurdities of my condition, and stop worrying. The condition is a bugger and
no mistake, but it brings certain gifts, and Iâ€™ve embraced the ones I have been
given and made them work for me.
If you feel you are at that point where this
might be a possibility, do seek professional advice but do not abrogate your
own input as parents. As with all
things, only those who have the condition really "get it" so listen, donâ€™t
judge and look to the positives. There are many, and focussing on the positives
is the way forward. Live with the bad bits, and try, like me, to see the funny
side. Itâ€™s not easy and for many it simply wonâ€™t do, but avoid seeking the
silver bullet. Itâ€™s a foolâ€™s errand.
I went to the doctor and said "I wake every
morning and start singing Delilah"
"Ah yes" he said "you have Tom Jones
"Is it rare" I replied
"Well itâ€™s not unusual"
Bipolar is unusual, and early diagnosis is
difficult. Separating teenage angst and anger from actual Bipolar is a tough
call. Donâ€™t see demons when they are not there, but if your child really is a
stinker, with huge mood swings, then perhaps consider the problem might be a
little more complex.
Since we are in the realms of treatment and
medication, youâ€™ve just had a small dose of Kit Johnson. I hope itâ€™s helped!
Photo by jo-h