If I didn't have bi-polar . . . . .

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by On_Call, Feb 19, 2007.

  1. On_Call

    On_Call New Member

    So many of difficult child's sentences start out like this these days that I am about to scream!!!

    difficult child has always wanted to transfer blame for his actions and/or behaviors on anything or anyone else other than himself. I know that is common - I have read, posted and responded to enough threads about this issue over the years to know we are not unique on the blame game.

    And, we have always attempted to give difficult child an age-appropriate view of his illness and medications whenever he asked questions, etc. However, difficult child's new doctor and therapist at collaborative day treatment program have decided that because of his intellect and age (he will be 11 in a week) that he needs to be brought into his treatment on a more active level. Sounds good, in theory, but now each time he is frustrated and has a meltdown or tantrum - or even is corrected for a rude and/or condescending or inappropriate comment, he dismisses it due to his illness or goes to the extreme by crying and screaming that it's not his fault - it's because 'of bi-polar'.

    And his feelings for his easy child sister have gone from bad to worse. He resents her greatly because she doesn't have problems at school and doesn't have to take medications or go to doctors appointments, etc. Believe me, I get it. I agree that it's not fair. I agree that his road is and will continue to be harder. I totally understand his frustration and anger at being dealt the hand he got.

    Does anyone have any ideas on how I can help him handle this? I have no idea what else to say to him. Or, is it simply inevitable that he will stay on this route until he is older? Or, perhaps with continued therapy?

    Problem is, I feel bad for him, too. He does tow a rough road. However, I think if he is allowed to "cop out" to the bi-polar card, he will not attempt to work the program and overcome what parts of this that he can overcome.

    Thanks for any advice/input you all can give.
  2. Janna

    Janna New Member

    Ugh, Jamie, that just stinks.

    I've never allowed Dylan to use the Bipolar card. Luckily for us, I don't know if he even realizes it can be played at this point (or maybe he just realizes I won't accept it, and so why bother).

    Surprised the Lithium isn't taking care of the raging. Dylan's was squashed about 7 weeks into the drug.

    I really have no advice. Maybe you can do some searching to find successful people that have BiPolar (BP), and show difficult child that people with this can succeed. I can tell you an author, Dylan Thomas, wrote a ton of books, has BiPolar (BP). My own BiPolar (BP) son reads his childrens work, and loves it.

    Honestly, I would nip the blame card in the bud asap though (probably easier said than done). You don't want this becoming a bad habit.

    I'm sorry.

  3. On_Call

    On_Call New Member


    Truthfully, we never saw the anticipated improvement of behavior on the lithium - or really any medication we've tried - that I expected.

    I cried over the kitchen sink about 2 weeks ago because I realized that the meltdown that difficult child had had the day before was just like the meltdowns he had almost 7 years ago. It's like time keeps marching on, but nothing ever changes.

    difficult child's new psychiatrist just looks at me speechless when I tell her that we've never really seen any grand improvement on any medication. She seems to be wondering how we've managed to continue on as is.

    I agree that playing the BiPolar (BP) card must be stopped ASAP. Just don't know how to put it in words that difficult child can understand and accept. Honestly, when he is in meltdown mode, he seems to just regurgitate things he isn't even conscious of.
  4. Janna

    Janna New Member

    I can totally relate, Jamie. I remember when Dylan was in meltdown mode (all the time, geez :eek:) there was no getting through. No matter what you did (well, unless you caved in completely, gave him his way, and let him do whatever he wanted to do).

    He would totally melt down, but when it was over, he sat there, almost unaware of what he did. I know he DID know what he was doing, but I think it was completely out of his control.

    I think Dylan just got lucky with the Lithium. He tried Depakote and it didn't do squat. Add that to the list of 17 other medications that didn't work.

    I just suggested the famous people thing, thinking maybe difficult child could see that with some persistence and hard work, even people with BiPolar (BP) can become something. I dunno, my brain is scattered today.

    I just wanted you to know I read your thread and could relate. I'm really not great for giving any advice lately, but wanted you to know I was thinking of you.

  5. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member


    I dont know that there is a good answer to his feelings. I sometimes feel like he does but I cant go around telling the world that they have to make allowances for everything I do because I have problems. I sure wish they would but they wont.

    There are times that I sit at home and scream at the unfairness of the fates that things are so hard for me. I hurt all the time, it is harder for me to control my emotions, my moods swing wildly, Im angry all the time, I want to lash out at the world...you get my drift. But I have to figure out appropriate ways to channel those feelings. Because I have physical problems I can get a disabled parking permit and use a scooter at stores. That helps. Because of the mental problems, I have to take medications and find ways to channel those feelings. I can find ways to journal since Im a girl, or therapy or for a boy...maybe physical activity like running or a punching bag or something like that. There are ways to get aggressive feelings out in appropriate ways.

    I am a cutter and a person who hits walls causing major damage. I am learning to not do that. I write and punch pillows instead. I talk about my feelings now. I walk away when angry. I tell the person they are ticking me off. They may not like hearing it but it is saving my body and my walls. Im learning what it feels like to be afraid or scared or upset or other emotions that normally come out as pure anger.

    You cannot always play the "Im Bipolar" card because that isnt a get out of jail free card.

    Feel free to read this to your son.
  6. On_Call

    On_Call New Member


    We tried depakote, too. Then moved on to lithium. I remember being so psyched because I was convinced difficult child was BiPolar (BP) and that we would see improvement. difficult child's then-psychiatrist was enthusiastic, but I think she wanted to see improvements that weren't necessarily there on the scale that we had hoped for. We, too, have been through so many medications. difficult child's new psychiatrist wanted a list of all of them to rebuild his file and I'm embarassed to say that I had to request printouts from the two local pharmacies because I knew I couldn't come up with a complete list of medications we have trialed and then discarded.

    The famous people route is a good one. I will investigate until I find one that I think difficult child can relate to. Thanks for that idea! :smile: Maybe then he will see that if someone else overcame the whole BiPolar (BP) issue, then he can too. Worth a try, anyway!! Thanks!

    I know our situation is not unique. I haven't been any good at giving advice lately, either. I think that I tend to attempt to detach and get in a bit of a rut myself. The feeling that things are the same as always is a bit overwhelming to me lately. That's my issue and I'm trying to deal.

    Thanks again!
  7. On_Call

    On_Call New Member


    I like the journal idea - I have tried that with difficult child, but he will only write positive things in there. I have tried to encourage him to jot down all of his feelings, but he will not put anything negative down on paper at all. He is in a bit of an avoidance to those kinds of feelings.

    I do try to tell him that the whole world does not know that he has BiPolar (BP) and they are not going to always make concessions for that. He says that everyone should know - that it would make it easier. Hee hee. Yes, it sure would!!

    I think that I will print out what you have written and read it with him. Perhaps knowing that his feelings are to be expected may help.

  8. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member

    Well, let's face it - most people have a cross to bare. Most people have something that makes their life a bit different and perhaps more difficult due to it. Even one with glasses is an example - tougher to live with it than without (exams, expense due to glasses, etc.)

    I would use real life examples of why he can not play the victim role. If everyone did that excuses would be everywhere and nobody would be working!
  9. kris

    kris New Member

    jamie, i for one, think it's critical for kids with-any kind of disorder to understand that while they may struggle with-their behaviors that they are ultimately still responsible for what they say & do.

    as for famous people who have/had bipolar here's one list i found:
    Actors & Actresses

    Ned Beatty
    Maurice Bernard, soap opera
    Jeremy Brett
    Jim Carey
    Lisa Nicole Carson
    Rosemary Clooney, singer
    Lindsay Crosby
    Eric Douglas
    Robert Downey Jr.
    Patty Duke
    Carrie Fisher
    Connie Francis, singer and actress
    Shecky Greene, comedian
    Linda Hamilton
    Moss Hart, actor, director, playright
    Mariette Hartley
    Margot Kidder
    Vivien Leigh
    Kevin McDonald, comedian
    Kristy McNichols
    Burgess Meredith, actor, director
    Spike Milligan, actor, writer
    Spike Mulligan, comic actor and writer
    Nicola Pagett
    Ben Stiller, actor, director, writer
    David Strickland
    Lili Taylor
    Tracy Ullman
    Jean-Claude Van Damme
    Robin Williams
    Jonathon Winters, comedian


    Alvin Alley, dancer, choreogapher
    Ludwig Von Beethoven
    Tim Burton, artist, director
    Francis Ford Coppola, director
    George Fredrick Handel, composer
    Bill Lichtenstein, producer
    Joshua Logan, broadway director, producer
    Vincent Van Gogh, painter
    Gustav Mahier, composer
    Francesco Scavullo, artist, photographer
    Robert Schumann, composer
    Don Simpson, movie producer
    Norman Wexler, screenwriter, playwright


    Robert Campeau
    Pierre Peladeau
    Heinz C. Prechter
    Ted Turner, media giant


    John Mulheren
    Murray Pezim


    Buzz Aldrin, astronaut
    Clifford Beers, humanitarian
    Garnet Coleman, legislator (Texas)
    Larry Flynt, publisher and activist
    Kit Gingrich, Newt's mom
    Phil Graham, owner of Washington Post
    Peter Gregg, team owner and manager, race car driver
    Susan Panico (Susan Dime-Meenan), business executive
    Sol Wachtier, former New York State Chief Judge


    Ludwig van Beethoven, composer
    Alohe Jean Burke, musician, vocalist
    Rosemary Clooney, singer
    DMX Earl Simmons, rapper and actor
    Ray Davies
    Lenny Dee
    Gaetano Donizetti, opera singer
    Peter Gabriel
    Jimi Hendrix
    Kristen Hersh (Throwing Muses)
    Phyllis Hyman
    Jack Irons
    Daniel Johnston
    Otto Klemperer, musician, conductor
    Oscar Levant, pianist, composer, television
    Phil Ochs, musician, political activist, poet
    John Ogden, composer, musician
    Jaco Pastorius
    Charley Pride
    Mac Rebennack (Dr. John)
    Jeannie C. Riley
    Alys Robi, vocalist in Canada
    Axl Rose
    Nick Traina
    Del Shannon
    Phil Spector, musician and producer
    Sting, Gordon Sumner, musician, composer
    Tom Waits, musician, composer
    Brian Wilson, musician, composer, arranger
    Townes Van Zandt, musician, composer


    John Berryman
    C.E. Chaffin, writer, poet
    Hart Crane
    Randall Jarrell
    Jane Kenyon
    Robert Lowell
    Sylvia Plath
    Robert Schumann
    Delmore Schwartz


    Robert Boorstin, special assistant to President Clinton
    L. Brent Bozell, political scientist, attorney, writer
    Bob Bullock, ex secretary of state, state comptroller and lieutenant governer
    Winston Churchill
    Kitty Dukasis, former First Lady of Massachusetts
    Thomas Eagleton, lawyer, former U.S. Senator
    Lynne Rivers, U.S. Congress
    Theodore Roosevelt, President of the United States


    John Strugnell, biblical scholar


    Karl Paul Link, chemist
    Dimitri Mihalas


    Shelley Beattie, bodybuilding, sailing
    John Daly, golf
    Muffin Spencer-Devlin, pro golf
    Ilie Nastase, tennis
    Jimmy Piersail, baseball player, Boston Red Sox, sports announcer
    Barret Robbins, football
    Wyatt Sexton, football
    Alonzo Spellman, football
    Darryl Strawberry, baseball
    Dimitrius Underwood, football
    Luther Wright, basketball
    Bert Yancey, athlete

    TV & Radio

    Dick Cavett
    Jay Marvin, radio, writer
    Jane Pauley


    Louis Althusser, philosopher, writer
    Honors de Balzac
    Art Buchwald, writer, humorist
    Neal Cassady
    Patricia Cornwell
    Margot Early
    Kaye Gibbons
    Johann Goethe
    Graham Greene
    Abbie Hoffman, writer, political activist
    Kay Redfield Jamison, writer, psychologist
    Peter Nolan Lawrence
    Frances Lear, writer, editor, women's rights activist
    Rika Lesser, writer, translator
    Kate Millet
    Robert Munsch
    Margo Orum
    Edgar Allen Poe
    Theodore Roethke
    Lori Schiller, writer, educator
    Frances Sherwood
    Scott Simmie, writer, journalist
    August Strindberg
    Mark Twain
    Joseph Vasquez, writer, movie director
    Mark Vonnegut, doctor, writer
    Sol Wachtler, writer, judge
    Mary Jane Ward
    Virginia Woolf

    it covers all walks of life....from performers to artists, astronauts & financiers. it's pretty extensive.

  10. On_Call

    On_Call New Member


    Thanks so much for the list! It is amazing. I have printed it out for difficult child. I was amazed at that list. It is awesome!!

    Let's see if it works with difficult child!!
  11. Janna

    Janna New Member

    Kris, you rock!

    So many people - WOW - I had no clue.

    You're my hero and I love you LOL! I'm printing it out too :smile:
  12. Allan-Matlem

    Allan-Matlem Active Member

    The list is a great idea. This question has come up before . The message should be frustrations, diagnosis or any other diffuculty is an explanation for behavior but not an excuse. Also a diagnosis or one's intelligence is not something that is fixed unless we have a fixed mindset of who we are. If we have a ' growth mindset' , that through investment and effort we grow and change we can bounce back. Resilience is really the name of the game , the problem is not in the failure but not getting up , trying to come up with a better plan. It is the kids who have overcome challenges and bounced back that are ahead of others.

  13. house of cards

    house of cards New Member

    I haven't dealt with the bipolar diagnosis and life's unfairness yet but I did start to see evny between my oldest easy child and my son with ADHD. I told him that they both were running different races, my oldest was running on level ground and my other child was running up a mountain...I tried to tell him he would have an incrediable view(or deeper knowledge about himself) when he got to the top.It would be ridicules to compare times. I also pointed out the positives about ADHD and how overcoming hardship makes you a stronger person. I don't know if it was much help but my son does seem to have a good view of his ADHD.
  14. On_Call

    On_Call New Member

    Well, I showed difficult child the list. He said "I don't want to hear it". I said - listen, these people all had or have BiPolar (BP) and they were successful at their jobs - at the things they love to do. He did listen, and the one that impressed him most was Theodore Roosevelt - he has a thing for Presidents. His eyes got very large and he asked me if he could have the printout. I'm going to take that as progress for now.

    difficult child had a disappointment last week - he has missed 5 karate lessons since starting up again this past fall due to psychiatric hospital inpatient stay, etc., and was not allowed to test for his next belt along side kids he started out with. On the way home, he cried and I could have. I told him that I understood his sadness and frustration, but that it was how he handled the situation in the next few weeks that was going to mean something. He hasn't wanted to talk about it, but wanted to last night, so we did. He argued the fairness of the situation and I said I understood, but he also said he was going to congratulate the kids who got the new belt. We'll see how that goes - there is no karate this week because the kids have the week off school, so we have another 7 days for him to prepare himself. We'll see.

    Thanks for the responses. The list was great and maybe long term it will help him. There were quite a few people on the list that truly surprised me.