What's at the root of bipolar "boredom"?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by gcvmom, Jul 23, 2011.

  1. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    If you have a bipolar difficult child, at one point or another you've probably heard them complain that they are bored. I'm not talking "gee-there's-nothing-to-do-I'm-bored" but a sort of gnawing, painful, terminal boredom that drives them to devise or otherwise seek out situations to alleviate that state, scratch that itch, whatever you want to call it.

    Can anyone explain to me what this is all about? 'Cuz I think my husband is starting down that slope and he's really pi$$ing me off today. :grrr:
  2. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Well, I think I found a link to answer my own question (not done reading it yet). But feel free to share your experiences and anything that's helped SHAKE someone out of this mode, short of slapping them silly. :devil:

  3. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Finished reading the article; if Miss KT wasn't an only child, I'm sure there would have been a lot more of this at my house! She was ALWAYS bored and bugging me, but she never wanted to do anything but complain about it. Then she'd call people, go to Granddad's (because he would entertain her by taking her somewhere), go to Nana's (because she would entertain her too), or irritate me till I screamed.

    Now she spends her time on FB or Skype, texting the entire universe, and failing that...irritates me till I scream. :grrr:
  4. keista

    keista New Member

    WOW! DD1 to a T. She's been in boredom mode for 2 months and 20 days. Yes, she's been diverted/distracted quite a few times in that time period, but not a single one of those days has gone by where she hasn't uttered the *B* word.

    Fortunately, I have the provocation issue under control - to a degree at least. Kids will always bug and tease each other, and I taught the 3 of mine that as long as it's 'friendly' I would let it be, BUT they all have to watch for clues from each other as to when they were pushing it to far. Facial expressions, tone of voice, body tensing up. This was especially difficult for son, but also a wonderful training experience for him. I also taught them that when one said NO or STOP, then they had to respect that person's limit. They still each push to extremes on occasion, but I very RARELY have to intervene in a kid 'argument' any more.

    I did notice yesterday that she seemed to be more TRYING to engage her brother. Was even more obvious today. I was just happy that is wasn't the constant whining at me about that dreaded *B* word. But again, whatever provocation there is stays 'friendly'. DD1 will disengage if son calls a limit.

    I found the article's suggestions at the end absolutely USELESS because I AM THERE AND AM DOING THAT. This is why i enrolled her in summer camp 2 years ago. One person is just simply NOT ENOUGH to keep her entertained.

    I find myself hoping that the Abilify is causing some of this, but then remember that this was one of my first really serious concerns with her before we started using any medications. Shoot! Her brother was twice her age, and had never even uttered the *B* word.

    So no, I don't have any solutions for you because I'm still figuring it out for DD1, I have no clue how this would translate to your husband. I can say that this almost never happened when DD1 was on Welbutrin (at least not to a noticeable annoying degree) I think we'll be going back to that If she still needs medications.

    PS DD1 is NOT officially BiPolar (BP) she does not meet the time criteria or traditional definitions for mania or even hypomania.
  5. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    husband does not have an official BiPolar (BP) diagnosis either. It's just my educated guess, and the psychiatrist we see has agreed as much to me privately. I think he can't bring things up that I've told him about husband unless husband asks about it, and since husband doesn't believe there's anything wrong with him except that he's a little ADHD (HA!) and depressed sometimes (HA!), they don't go beyond that. So psychiatrist has diagnosis'd him Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and they talk about husband's depression and ADHD. It's actually the GP that rx Paxil, and it's helped a bit. The Trileptal is for seizures, but the way his mood improved on it really solidfied my belief that he's BiPolar (BP).

    But I digress. He's really driving me nuts -- I posted more in WC. :crazy2:
  6. keista

    keista New Member

    Saw it, posted my suggestion. i can tell you, DD1 does get fixated on certain things. In the past month we've had severe issues with tic tacs, duct tape, ice cream and right now it's flipping between a beading loom and a gazillion bubbles foaminator. When one item goes on for a few days, I end up caving because it is NON STOP. Unfortunately that joy is very short lived and the boredom starts up again - like the same day.

    At least I'm not alone in this. :}
  7. seriously

    seriously New Member

    Does husband have any insight? Is he willing to see a therapist at all??? Or read anything about mental illness, if only in the name of educating himself about his children's issues?

    I think there are a number of possible explanations for this behavior but the one that strikes me as the most likely is that he is depressed and seeking stimulation that is strong enough to overcome the "dry desert" of his depression. Thus gambling - which is interactive, rewarding and stimulating - but does not require the complex interactions that interaction with people demands. Gambling on slots is highly stimulating visually (something it sounds like he craves), keeps his attention but in a limited and predictable way, the degree of stimulation is under his control and, in the casino setting, he can bridge that to superficial positive interactions with other people in the casino like the waiters and other players.

    The manipulative behavior suggests a big lack of insight on his part that might be improved by cognitive therapy.

    And I do NOT understand the psychiatrist not being honest with your husband about the psychiatrist's diagnosis. What is the possible point of that? If you have diabetes but don't like the idea, should your doctor tell you, well you just have hyperglycemia and then fail to treat the diabetes directly? Not a perfect analogy but I really don't get that.

    How can your husband possibly ever come to grips with the diagnosis if he is never told that is the most likely explanation for his sx??

    I recall quite clearly how much I resisted a BiPolar (BP) diagnosis after 30 years of being told I was "just depressed" but no depression treatment ever worked or made me worse.

    It took me a couple of years and the development of really severe symptoms before I accepted that as the correct diagnosis.

    But if no one had ever said - hey, you're bipolar because of this, this, this, etc. I would never have even started the process of acceptance of the diagnosis and the need for treatment.

    It's great that the seizure treatment has helped. I sure hope that holds his bipolar sx in check. For all your sakes.

    Sorry - I'm struggling right now and just really, really don't get why any psychiatrist who was pretty darn certain of a BiPolar (BP) diagnosis wouldn't address that with the patient directly and firmly.
  8. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    That would be my difficult child to a T. Makes me oh so glad he was an only child in our home. NO interest in any of our suggestions (a lot of times because they would take either effort or patience on his part) and was even more annoying and irritating than usual. THen should would start on the same things as Kt....calling all of her friends or just flat out showing up at their house because he was SURE they would be home ready to do what he wanted. Didn't matter if it was during church times, evening or a holiday. Chaos seems to be the main goal for him. Well that and the fact that everything was supposed to revolve around him.
  9. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    That kind of ennui I see in gifted and ADD people frequently, not just bi-polar. I learned not to say that I was bored around my Dad - he'd find me something to do and I wasn't going to like it. Wash the dog, mow the lawn, rake the yard... I found my own entertainment.
  10. keista

    keista New Member

    Haozi, you managed to find your own entertainment. Son and DD2 always seem to manage to find their own entertainment after I offer them chores. Sometimes they do pick the chore. The "extreme boredom" (and no, I don't think it's exclusive to bipolar) is enough to bring a person to tears and suicidal thoughts just to get away from it.

    The article was addressing the dilemma of when "entertainment" meant aggravating other people for 'fun'. So yes, these kids are 'managing' to find their own entertainment, it's just not positive or productive in any manner and causes more turmoil.
  11. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Okay so I'm not alone and it's not my imagination. :) That is nice to know.

    With regard to the psychiatrist and the diagnosis and all that, Seriously, I think it's not addressed head-on because the psychiatrist probably hasn't observed husband directly or had husband complain about these symptoms, it's just a beef coming from a stressed-out spouse when husband isn't around. I don't think it would be ethical for him to say to husband, "So your wife tells me that you are doing X or struggling with Y." See what I mean?

    husband doesn't like the idea that ANYTHING could be wrong with him and can get VERY defensive about it, but because of the seizures needing control and because of how his temper has improved on Paxil (finally went on it after we came close to calling the marriage quits), he admits that he needed some fine tuning. We know he struggles with depression and it's really only been in the past year or so that he can actually recognize it in himself and talk about it a little. He'll say something to the effect of feeling depressed again and then goes upstairs to play Angry Birds and watch TV. When he's in this state, he is very negative and very closed off to ANYTHING I might suggest -- it would be received as criticism or attack, no matter how gently I word it. It has to come from someone else.

    I think his mom suffers from the same issues and that would explain her gambling problem. She gets SO bored SO easily. I posted a few times about her declaration that the only time she truly feels alive is in a casino. :rolleyes:

    And like her son, mother in law has very poor personal insight.

    Hopefully after he goes back to work on Monday, things will improve a bit and I'll be able to broach the subject without having him shut down. And I think I'll bring it up again with psychiatrist when I take the boys back next month for their appointment. I just feel that he is wasting his life with all this mind-numbing behavior and missing out on his family.
  12. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    I wonder if his depression is the reason for his apparent hypersensitivity to pain when he was sick?
  13. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Have u considered a subscription to Pogo? It is relatively cheap only a few bucks a month and he could get every single casino game out there. No way to add your credit card to get more tokens unless he wanted to buy a pogo bear or something which I doubt he wants a stuffed animal. Its all based on building up their tokens. Slots, poker, gin, hearts, all kinds of cool games. He can chat if he wants, not chat if he doesnt want.
  14. seriously

    seriously New Member

    One word for you and it's spelled with an X but it's not the one you thought of first...... you naughty thing you!


    I will betcha big time that he has major anxiety issues and does not even have a CLUE that that is what he's feeling.

    Did he ever take any of the benzos to treat his seizures?

    Have you read the articles at that Psychiatric Times websites about Mixed Mood part 1 and 2?

    I can tell you that at this moment I have come to understand that distinction which was always fuzzy to me - the one where anxiety can be a symptom or it can be comorbid?

    It is definitely a symptom of mania for me this time and it has been both unpleasant and eye opening to realize that there have been times in the past that I dismissed my anxiety as "just" anxiety when it was really bipolar speaking with an X.

    Of course at this point I am totally projecting my stuff on to his (well and some of my difficult child 2's stuff too of course) so that could be completely wrong.

    But - just a thought.

    Anxiety makes me excrutiatingly aware of and senstive to pain.

    some of that wasn't spelled rite but i don't care any more....

    got to go take some xanax and try to sleep.
  15. seriously

    seriously New Member

    Hey that would make a good title for an article or a book...

    Bipolar is speeled with an X

    or There's an X in Bipolar

    or The X in Bipolar

    or BipolarX

    no that could mean Bipolar ten...

    god help us bipoalr 10...2 or 3 is plenty
  16. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Yeah... Onyxx had a lot of the "I'm bored" bit going. It got so intense for a while (before the major issues... Sigh) that I started assigning chores. Unusual chores. "Oh, you're bored? OK, the laundry room floor needs scrubbed." (It's concrete...) She quit after a while. I know it has something to do with extra activity in the brain. Haven't read the article yet.

    Jett, when he's bored, will pester the snot out of us. Whatcha doin'? Usually it's something like - cooking, cleaning - yesterday he did it while I was mending his blanket!!!
  17. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    PJ, the psychiatrist's "official" diagnosis for husband is Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). Although he's treated him for ADHD in the past. So yeah, there's undoubtedly an X in there. But I know that there is also the big D. He never took benzos but was initially on Lamictal and did VERY well on that mood-wise. Got a rash, though and had to stop taking it.

    His brain must be really sensitive. He claimed to have hallucinated during this flu bug when he was in the throes of fever/chills/body aches early on. The only other time I heard him admit to this was when he was post-op in the hospital and loaded up on steriods and pain killers. He not only saw and heard people who weren't there, he became extremely paranoid, irritable and hypersexual. It was freaky.
  18. seriously

    seriously New Member

    bipolar, bipolar, bipolar, bipolar.......

    My allergy list includes Z-pac because it gave me hallucinations due to interaction with Lamictal. apparently a truly idiosyncratic reaction. they share the same enzyme pathway according to pharmacist. naturally it would be ME. when the aide at the doctor's office asks about my allergies/sensitivites I tell them to look at my chart. their eyes get wide and they OK, anything new???

    steroids + bipolar = mania

    bipolar totally agree

    the anxiety might be bipolar symptom instead of comorbidity

    did it get better when he was on Lamictal?

    if it did then I vote bipolar sx not comorbid.

    (as if I had a vote, snicker)
  19. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Yes, I think he was better on Lamictal than he currently is on Trileptal. But like I said, rash made it a no-go.

    I do know that if he is EVER to have surgery again, there will be a long convo with the docs involved about his behavior history on steroids. I will NOT bring him home on that stuff ever again. If he needs to be on it, then they're going to have to keep him until it's out of his system!
  20. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Here's another thought that could explain his behavior lately. He was taking tylenol with-codeine and then stopped that and started taking a 12-hour narcotic cough syrup to help him sleep at night and curb the painful cough.