Do you ever feel like your difficult child's issues have created mental health issues in yourself

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by whatamess, Jan 13, 2010.

  1. whatamess

    whatamess New Member

    I came across a teacher who thought her students with autism had a high proportion of parents with bipolar. I keep thinking to myself the anxiety, fears and emotional roller coasters our difficult child's take us on cause the appearance of mental health disorders or actually do promote the beginning of mental health issues. With my difficult child, his moods permeate the entire house- when he is in a bad place, everyone suffers.
    Do you feel you have any mental health issues as a direct result of your difficult child's issues?
  2. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    To rephrase--

    Are you asking whether living with a difficult child makes parents feel crazy?


    I think that about answers that...

  3. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    There is a saying that goes:

    Insanity isnt inherited, you get it from your kids.

    But in all seriousness, there is a huge genetic component to mental illness and neurological conditions. As we find out more about mental illnesses, we are going to find out that they are actually not "mental" illness but that they are all based on neurobiological conditions. Its all a physical medical condition. Already they are finding out that certain genes hold the keys for autism, bipolar and schizophrenia. Obviously with that information it leaves no doubt that if a parent has bipolar, it is no surprise that a child of that parent is at risk of having a condition that stems from that same gene. Just science.
  4. MICHL

    MICHL New Member

    I totally agree. I recently upped by antidepressant and what a relief, I'm doing better. It can all be so overwhelming.
  5. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    I can't even begin to tell you the crazy feelings I am having lately. Wee going back to school, easy child 2 being a horse's behind, husband being a mule's behind, and a little tiff with difficult child 1's I'm fighting a lot of ugly notions about myself.
  6. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Absolutely! My depression/anxiety issues were brought to a head because of the stresses from dealing with two difficult child-kids and a difficult child-husband. AND these issue have been further nurtured and cultivated over the years because of the on-going difficult child-ness in my house.

    All I can say is thank goodness for my psychiatrist and my medications!
  7. Mom2oddson

    Mom2oddson Active Member

    Absolutely. Dealing with my difficult children and difficult child mother in law has brought on issues like anxiety and depression for me. Beyond just mental illness type things, it's really changed me in other ways.

    I used to be very trusting. I always believed in the best of people. If I saw an ugly side it was because something was going wrong in their life at this moment...they weren't truly that way. Never thought people would go out of their way to hurt others. Now, I almost expect it. It was just a couple of months ago that I told husband I didn't like who I have become. Been working on those issues with the psychiatrist.
  8. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    I would wholeheartedly agree. I have had a few episodes of minor depression, once as a teen (surprise!) and when I moved 800 miles away with XH (also a difficult child). Then I was fine for years... Until the whole mess with Onyxx, Jett and husband. So I would say the stressors can, if not cause, then exacerbate existing conditions.

    To clarify just a little - minor depression, untreated by medications, mostly situational stuff. Add stress and it got really, really bad. My parents say they have never seen me like this.
  9. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    Certainly raising kids with a mental illness is stressful and can lead to depression, anxiety, etc.

    Actually, patients with bipolar disorder ARE statistically more likely to have a child on the spectrum than the general population (according to a former psychiatrist).
  10. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    HMMMM... Not to diagnose but with anger issues, etc. perhaps this is why the delayed development with Jett and behavioral stuff with Onyxx?????

    ...Not me... husband & BM.
  11. lizzie09

    lizzie09 lizzie

    I think this is a wonderful thread

    I just recently thought how much I have lost faith in people over the years
    people who just wouldnt help...teachers, doctors etc I used be so trusting..once...
    There are times it is all very overwhelming because of the on going situation we are all in
    I dont think I am too bad but definitely feel over anxious to the point that I feel it has
    become my everyday feeling...the way I expect to be and I think its become normal
    to feel a bit overstrung!

    Thank you for highlighting this issue and allowing us to feel free to comment

    I don't know of any one in our family that has Bi Polar issues or other such disorders
  12. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Hang on, I just want to clarify - the link between autism and bipolar? I would like to see the references on that. I am sceptical.

    However, there has been a lot of work done (at least here in Australia by a number of researchers, some of whom were also working alongside CDC in Atlanta) that having chronic illness yourself or in the family leads to depression and other reactive mental illness. Basically, if you've got chronic problems in the family and you're NOT affected by it, you must be crazy!

    Seriously - I can't see any signs of bipolar in my immediate family (I mean siblings as well as their offspring, or our parents). I can see some problems in husband's side that I can't get a handle on, plus I can see probable Aspie signs on both sides (his and mine).

    Depression? Yep. Before we had kids with problems, too. I also have chronic health problems (which is what brought me into contact with the research team I mentioned above) and know there was significant depression associated with that. Plus my three older kids were all involved in an organisation called Carers NSW where they emphasised the need for carers, especially children who are also carers, to look after their mental health. I wish you had something like Carers NSW in the US, especially for the kids who are carers. This mob organises camps for kids who help look after a family member (parent, sibling, grandparent) with a long-term mental or physical illness. These camps give the kids a chance to do fun stuff that they otherwise miss out on due to lack of money or lack of opportunity. It's a lot more difficult to take kids to an amusement park when a sibling is autistic and can't cope with the crowds, or when a parent is in a wheelchair.
    The camps are donated by various welfare groups but run by trained volunteers, many of whom are former child carers (now adult, now professional psychologists or other therapists). The kids are given a lot of fun things to do that they often have never done before. easy child met her husband when she was 14, at one of these camps. We actually did get out a lot more than many such families, we took him with us to an amusement park west of Sydney and IT WAS THE FIRST TIME he had ever been to an amusement park; first time he had ever eaten fairy floss (you call it cotton candy) - a lot of firsts. easy child 2/difficult child 2's favourite camps were the snow trips - she met her husband on one of those! Not only have they been to the snow several times, but they also did a Bridge climb - Sydney Harbour Bridge, something I will probably never be able to do (or afford to do). Sydney Bridge Climb donated these tickets to the Young Carers. At these camps the kids also get group therapy time, they get to share how they cope, talk about their problems (treated confidentially) under the supervision of a trained therapist. The kids have had media opportunities too, but only those kids who they feel can cope and only after parental permission is given. SIL1 also got a trip to Canada with his mother when he was 15 - they realised just how limited his life had been and it was organised through another charity. They also gave him a computer and his first internet connection, which has set him on his IT career path.

    All donated - it's just a matter of someone at the centre, organising it all. The parents don't pay anything, it's all covered.

    We keep telling ourselves here to look after ourselves, to make sure we have time for ourselves with all we do for our difficult children. But we shouldn't forget our PCs either. Or if we have more than one difficult child - remember, a difficult child can still also be a carer. Linda, you would understand that because with all her problems, I'm sure kt really does try to help you when she is home, as far as she can.

    Having a difficult child can send you nuts. It is stressful, for sure. Yes there are also joys, but sometimes they feel a long way apart. We need to always look after our mental health while we are rushing around looking after our kids. We also need to look after the mental health of others in the family, who risk going unregarded.

    So yes, having a difficult child can drive you nuts. But bipolar? I think that's maybe long odds.

    However, having a difficult child can certainly give you mood swings and if a doctor is inclined to see bipolar under every rock, it sure would follow that if you have an autistic child (with the frustrations, the despairs and the occasional joy) then a doctor could find bipolar if he wanted to.

  13. tictoc

    tictoc New Member

    Definitely. I certainly had my issues before having difficult child, but they have grown worse with the stress of life with him.

    Sometimes I wonder if I would have taken my mental health issues as seriously if I hadn't needed to learn everything I could to help difficult child. I used to have a lot of anxiety and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), but the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is being treated fairly effectively now. I'm not sure I would have gotten that treatment if not for difficult child. However, now I also deal with depression and I think that has flared up because of all we go through with difficult child.
  14. pepperidge

    pepperidge New Member

    My kids are adopted. So there is no genetic link obviously. I do feel like the stress has been huge.

    I have never had a mental health professional that I have dealt with about my kids even show the remotest concern for what it is doing to my husband and me. Kind of sad.

    It is not only the stress but alsot he limits it has put on my life. Not being able to do things that I would want because of the difficulties that my kids present--vacations I don't want to do with them etc, outdoor activities with them, I need babysitters where others don't which is hard to manage, all of those kinds of things.

  15. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    If you have the genetic predisposition, the stress of having a difficult child could be enough to trigger bipolar. But if you weren't already primed for it genetically, it's highly improbable that you'd develop bipolar disorder. HOWEVER, unipolar depression and/or anxiety ARE likely, though not guaranteed, for anyone who previously had no known issues that must raise a difficult child.
  16. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    Created the issues? No. Aggravated them? Absolutely.
  17. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Marg...the study I referred to is in the news section on this site.
  18. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Researchers Discover Genetic Mutations Associated with Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder

    Research Date:

    By Cynthia Blair

    Researchers recently broke new ground in finding the genetic causes of mental illness, identifying a specific region in the genome associated with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and autism.
  19. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hard to say. I do know that at times I have situational depression. It feels like it is from dealing with difficult child, on the other hand, my mom has been severely depressed most of her life so who knows, maybe it's inherited.
  20. robinm1922

    robinm1922 One day at a time

    For me the answer to that would be YES~ I have never had an issue with depression before difficult child's issues started coming up. I have always been and for the most part still am a positive person, but since difficult child's depression really kicked in I am surrounded in negativity and it rubs off. I can't tell you the number of times I have uttered how much I hate my life right now!

    All I can do is keep telling myself it will work out in the end. Really right now difficult child isn't doing too bad. The grades are up (mostly) depression under control, but now she isn't sleeping! That is causing some issues but we are working on that too. Now if we could fix all the negative thoughts or expressions I would be MUCH happier.

    Ok that was a long winded YES......