Moods swings, carb cravings, flying off the handle...


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My head is spinning a bit. We took Difficult Child with us for the holiday weekend. We are visiting relatives and she wanted to come. We very rarely do this, but made an exception. She took the train up for a few days and will take the train back tomorrow.

Difficult Child is very overweight. While here, she wanted to wear something inappropriate. Let's say a mini dress. When we told her that this wouldn't be a good idea under any circumstances, but perhaps more so with relatives, she flew off the handle accusing me of everything under the sun, yelling at husband, calling her friends and saying she is miserable...

We bought her some new clothing items for this little trip that she picked and look great on her, have been treating her to just about anything she wants and she is moody, peculiar and sarcastic.

When we go out to eat, it is very noticeable that she over eats. She also eats about two of each meal. She'll get up early, for example, and have a big bowl of cereal and then go out to breakfast with us and have a big breakfast at the restaurant. (Double breakfast) This might repeat for lunch and dinner. We had lots of left overs in the fridge from all of us and they are ALL gone...she ate everyone's leftovers. I'm shocked, because this is on top of her having one to two meals for each meal. We went to an "all you can eat place," and she had Mac and cheese, other carbs and several desserts.

I recall when she was pushing 200 pounds, but now she is WAY over this mark. She is in her mid twenties. If anyone mentions,that she has gained weight, she flies off the handle. husband and I found this fantastic ice cream place that offers sugar free ice cream, which we normally hate, but this place has a homemade, good version. We asked if she would try it. Nope. Wouldn't even try it. true, we shouldn't have gone there at all, but we have self control and wanted a treat...I think we are sick of giving things up for her. (We didn't say a word about her choice)

She flies off the handle for all things that she doesn't wish to hear or cooperate with. If she argues with a friend and she is clearly in the wrong and loses the friendship and you try to explain what you think might have gone wrong, to prevent it from happening again...she'll scream her head off...accusing you of everything under the sun.

She's been diagnosis'd with bipolar illness and we know this is part of her illness. My husband says most people would say she is acting like a major jerk.

Deep down, she is a caring individual, but she often displays an almost impossible personality.

She is now in her mid 20s and thank goodness doesn't live with us. I feel sad that in my humble opinion, with these "attributes," she won't be able to hold down a job or meet nice folks or keep a good friend.

I try hard to detach and am still detached....but I have bad moments like I'm feeling right this second. (Don't worry, I will go right back to detachment...I have no other choice)

As a rule, she doesn't act like this with us. She rarely is rude to us, for example. But trying to associate with her for more than a few hours at a time, seems to bring out the worst in her.

Anyone have similar experiences, especially regarding the food, inappropriate attire and flying off the handle if you dare to think differently? Able to make any inroads? She's on medications, but won't see a therapist, refuses, messes up, has no interest. Ironically, she does show slight improvement when she goes regularly....but again, has NO interest in seeing a therpist, even though this helps her a little. If you push her, she sabotages the entire ordeal and creates a huge mess.
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Some medications for bipolar can cause the eating behaviors that you are describing. My son gained over 100 pounds on one of his medications + female breasts. The prison does not provide that medication. He is now down below his weight for his height.

He exhibits the same behavior when people say anything to him about his behavior. I have found that less said the better. Constant pointing out this or that only cause the behaviors to escalate.


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Yes, thank you for the reminder. I hold my tongue almost constantly. It's hard at times, because I see her clearly walking into trouble. Her biological family members (some of them) suffer from diabetes. So, there is a possible genetic tendency. I have told her a few times (in the past) that over eating...blah blah blah ...with this genetic possibility....blah blah blah. She gets herself into dangerous situations and rarely, if ever learns from them. It is maddening. I'm barely able to function this morning (I will pray and push myself) to get out of bed.
It is so draining. My husband experiences this too, but is stronger than myself. I see this painful,sadness in his eyes, but he is a little more able to go on like a robot. I will put myself in detached smiling robot mode shortly....watching her, listening to her...say and do the most insane things, but saying nada. I know this is less than what others are dealing with my apologies. But, believe me, her inability to learn from mistakes, welcome constructive, loving criticism, exhibit some self control, show or feel gratitude...etc. has caused chaos, sometimes serious stuff. My pity party moment....sorry. I truly feel sad for her. It is an RX for destruction. Working on moving forward. What choice do I have. This suxxxxks. Grrrr.


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her inability to learn from mistakes, welcome constructive criticism, exhibit some self control, show gratitude...etc. has caused chaos, sometimes serious stuff. My pity party moment. Working on it. Grrrr.
. She gets herself into dangerous situations and rarely, if ever learns from them

Substitute he for she and that is my son. He will be home on Wednesday and my heart is already in my throat. He puts himself in life threating situations due to the people he surrounds himself with.


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Blessings, Pasajes. How difficult for you. I understand. And thank you for responding. I needed it. Just took a shower. One foot in front of the other...

Tanya M

Living with an attitude of gratitude
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Nomad, that's a tough one. I appreciate what Pasajes said about medication as that can be part of the problem but couple that with the desire for sugary carbs and it compounds the issue.
Eating sugary carbs triggers an "addiction type" behavior of wanting more sugary carbs, it's a vicious cycle. Being that she is so sensitive, making any suggestions will be met with resistance.
It would be great if somehow you could get her to take a nutrition class. Until she recognizes that her eating habits are having an adverse effect on her health little will change.
Diet and exercise are so vital to our overall well being but it's easier said than done.
My son is addicted to those high caffeine energy drinks. I've told him they are not healthy but he doesn't care.
All you really can do is make suggestions in the most loving way you can.



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There are few people on mood stabilizers and anti-psychotics who are thin. They starve you and make you crave carbonhydrates of all kinds. It's really not his fault. I did gain 80 lbs. on Paxil and was a butterball. I finally did start dieting and exercising and lost it, but I have a ton of selfl-control w hen I decide on something. In my case, I stopped eating anything that I knew had sugar in it and stopped craving sugar and I also counted calories and went to Weight Watchers. JMO but complaining too much can lead to disregarding the medication and if it is working, you don't really want to do that. Psychiatric drugs do cause sometimes extreme weight gain. The hunger is insatiable. I had always been skinny and had never eaten a lot. That changes with most psychiatric medications.


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That's great that you lost the weight even while on those medications SWOT!!!! Ive done something similar. And if you ask me how I did it in terms of motivation, I can't really say exactly. Just didn't want to be heavy anymore. Wanted to be healthier and was willing to put in extra effort. A personal choice, like everything else. I've spoken with my daughter about asking the Dr. about switching to Topamax or making some kind of tweak in her medications that might help her, but she's not interested in doing that.


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Nomad, just a few questions. I understand your daughter does not live with you. How does she support herself? Does she work? Did she go to college? Is she living with other young adults? In her own apartment? Does she have goals that she is working on?"

It sounds like she is medication compliant. How does that work?

These are my thoughts.

We all have responsibilities and choices. Implicit or explicit. If we make our expectations explicit to others, they have a choice whether to accept or reject our conditions. If they reject them, we have the option of limiting our contact.

There are rules for everybody. Your daughter decided to participate in a family function. With that, she committed to behave appropriately. You as her parent have the obligation and the right to communicate your understanding of what is appropriate or not. She can like it or not. If she does not, she need not participate in family functions.

If she does not want to participate in a conversation with you about your expectations that is her choice. It will then affect your desire to be with her, where, when and how much. This is life.

At a family gathering, your feelings and comfort are on the line, and that of others in the family. Your daughter is not the only one at the party.

The issue of personal attire is tough. If she is complying with the law and her private parts are covered it is her business, I think. There is freedom of expression in dress. She can wear see through tops or safety pins in her nose where ever she wants.

But you bought her new clothes. Was the expectation that she wear these clothes at the gathering made explicit beforehand?

If you have made it clear to her in advance about your conditions and expectations about her dress and any other thing, and she agrees to conform, and breaks the agreement, that is wrong. You laid out in advance what you needed. She had a right to reject your requests and not go to the party. She went with you. She did not have to.

If she believes your requests or conditions to be unreasonable, she has the right to decline an invitation or to choose to not be around you. But you have the right to set limits about behaviors that affect you in space you control. As does she.

It is not okay to impose one's unhappiness or displeasure on others, indiscriminately, and in public. If she feels miserable let her leave. Pack up and go home, but do not expose us and others to your unhappiness. We are here to be together and happy. We will not allow you to rain on our parade.

This theater of calling her friends and denouncing others, oh woe is me, they are making me miserable, is pure manipulation, hurtful and immature. I would stop it now. Go home. Leave. Enough. Bye bye.

It is one thing to be psychotic or gravely disabled. Nothing about your description of her, indicates that she is. She is out of line.

The minute she chose to accept the invitation she accepted the responsibility of behaving appropriately. As long as you have already had the conversation with her about your expectations. If you did not, it is on you. It is wrong of us, I think, to criticize the choices of our adult children in public if we have not made our needs explicit, beforehand. I would have been offended, too.

What I am getting at here is that this is complex. As a young adult she has the right to live as she wants. To neglect her health. To develop bad habits. To be obese. To do pretty much anything she wants.

But you can set limits about your interactions with her, if they hurt you, embarrass you or compromise you.

I have told my son. I do not want to be around you while you are under the influence of marijuana. Not only do I not want it in my house. I do not want you in my home, under the influence of marijuana. He has the choice to use marijuana all of the time. If that is the case, I will never see him. His choice. My choice. Two adults.

I do not care if your use of pot is legal. Or what experts may think. I do not care if you feel it helps you. Do it anywhere you want, whenever you want.

In my house I am the only expert. I am the only law. Accept my law or leave my house. End of story.

Thank you for the opportunity to spell out what is my evolving understanding of things of my rights and responsibilities of my 26 year old son.
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in a daze

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Hi Nomad. My kid gained 40 lbs on Seroquel one time. Those atypical antipsychotics will do it. His psychiatrist at the time did mention putting him on metformin. It helps to metabolize glucose. He lost all the weight when taken off of seroquel.

Hygiene and appearance went out the window when he was put on zyprexa. It's better now that he is on the lowest dose, but he still needs gentle reminders and encouragement. It seemed like the higher dose zapped his energy and motivation and that he just didn't give a care what he looked like. Stuff like dirty clothes, pants in 90 degree weather, long unkempt hair, etc.

I feel your pain. I've had a rough weekend myself worrying about my son.


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Copa...too long a story to tell it all. Our Difficult Child has been diagnosis'd with a Bipolar 1 as a very young child. Don't know much about her prenatal care. Things went even more haywire when she had a brain aneurysm also as a young child.

She is on disability...has rarely worked. Only odd jobs for short periods of time. We put her medications in containers and she does take them regularly.

She had trouble with over eating prior to medications, but naturally, medications made things worse. One of her medications is Seroquel....which is a big problem in that regard.

She lives nearby...rents a small place.

We travel to visit family rather often. She rarely comes with us. And if she does come, she joins us and leaves. She doesn't spend the entire trip with with us. But, just three days can be difficult.

We did agree that she would wear those items purchased before the trip, during the trip. While visiting during the trip, we purchased the dress for an event coming up in a week or so. It's actually not really a dress...I'm trying to change the details for privacy sake. So, I can't relate details only that the clothing item in question wouldn't be entirely appropriate.

Regardless, as you mentioned she doesn't have any right to fly off the handle and to speak about us to others in that way so that we could overhear....not that I gave this last thing more than two seconds of concern. But, I disdain that flying off the handle business.

I always speak to her in a very respectful and loving tone and in fact, had we not agreed about the clothing ahead of time , might not have said much about the inappropriate item she wanted to wear,,,even though it was indeed inappropriate. I do admit, although we agreed about the was a very casual thing and I wasn't as CLEAR as usual..geez, do I regret this.

About three years ago on one of these mini family trips, she did something VERY, big time, inappropriate and my husband called the train station and booked her on the very next train going back to our city. She was very quiet...knew she "blew it." Wasn't invited back for a good year. So, we do set boundaries. And, she improved after that.

This thing caught me off guard in that she flew off the handle so quickly and so badly over very little. husband and I have talked about laying down the laws super duper strictly and clearly for any possible future visits, including clothing, right down to her shoes.

I hate being this way, but living with her even for two or three days is hell-ish. She goes into these moods where she is sarcastic, peculiar and can fly off the handle over very little.

And, her next vacation visit, should there be one, will be extraordinarily short...possibly involving plane fare one way (for more choices in arrival days and times) and the train another way. Super duper Christmas might be coming in late the 24 th and leaving early the 26th. With rules about everything. Suxks. But my attitude will be TAKE it Or LEAVE it. And if she doesn't like be it. And if she breaks the rules...there will be moratorium on such visits for a loooong period of two years. And we start again.


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Thank you Nomad for filling me in. Our situations are similar. However hard it is when my son was a child, it is harder now that he is an adult.

You have achieved a great deal. That she is stable in her own place, willing to take medication and medication compliant, is huge.

That she is secure in a home away from your own, is also huge.

My son has been homeless and couch surfing when I or a friend do not put him up. My son can be charming, a young man...who just needs a hand...and people enable him.

He does not like our town so does not want to get an apartment here. And he does not like to pay rent, either. Prefering to spend his money on stuff he values, like super duper food or supplements or marijuana.

You have achieved a great deal.

One of the hardest things for me, is that I wish my son did not allow himself to be defined by his limitations, his feelings. He has so much going for him. Unfortunately I continue to think this way even though I know it may be part of his diagnosis. It is hard for me to accept his poverty of motivation and hope.

All of us, if we concentrate on our flaws and short-comings, would hide in bed. But I understand that is how my brain works. Not his.

We are focusing on baby steps now. Insisting upon different behaviors, that we spell out to the letter.

And absolutely not tolerating disrespect or the deliberate inflicting of his bad attitude on us. He is entitled to his own feelings, but not to inflict them on me.

I know I have to change, too. My unrealistic thinking and unrealistic expectations have been a large part of our problems. I am trying to lay off.

I give your daughter credit and you too. And me too. To raise children with heart is such a big thing. And it sounds like your daughter does get it and accept it when she is checked big time. This is to her credit, as well.

I mean we all deserve a big star. These relationships are hard. And yet we do it. And keep trying to do it better.

Nomad, would she consider doing a fitness challenge? Or training for a walking half marathon for a cause? You could do it as a family. Maybe my son will do it with me.

By the way, there are alternatives to Seroquel. In some states it is not permitted to be prescribed in prisons because it is highly abused and because of side effects.

Thank you, Nomad
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