How do I talk to my daughter about the possibility of her being bipolar?

@michelyn (717)
United States
April 11, 2008 9:43am CST
A year and a half ago, I finally got custody of both my children. Their father is a victim of some progressive mental illness and has always lived very paranoid, non-trusting and with views that would frighten most people. He hates doctors and won't go to one for anything. Because of this, the children were never taken to a doctor until the schools would call me and say that they had to be picked up because of a fever, pain, vomiting, etc. So I would take them to the doctor and of course, there would be something wrong with them. I would get screamed at on the phone about kidnapping them from school and most times he would refuse them their medications that I paid for. As they got a little older, I was able to coach them on taking their medication in a timely manner so they didn't even have to let him know they had it. Growing up in this environment has affected my daughter somewhat more negatively than my son. Both have just recently been put on ADHD medication and my son is now like a whole new child. He's a joy to be around and can actually behave in school now. My daughter still needs something and her doctor has alluded to bipolar disorder in our last appointment. The problem is that when i had the doctor try her on the ADHD medication it was a big fight. It still kind of is... she doesn't see that it does anything for her and therefore doesn't believe she should be taking it. If she was younger, I could force the issue and make her back off, but she's 16 now; going to be 17 this year. She thinks it's just hormones that make her feel and respond the way she does to everyday things and can't stand taking "pills" as she calls them. She doesn't want to be a "pill popper" just to get by. "She should be strong enough to heal herself!", etc. She has another appointment at 1:30 today and I'm going to ask the doctor about trying something for the bipolar disorder, but I know she's going to explode and fight it at the doctor's office. Is there anything I can do that will make her a little more accepting or stop her from blowing up once I mention it?
3 responses
@realgem1 (260)
• India
22 Apr 08
I was a victim and even today i am a bipolar, i dont really care about being a bipolar, i do what i really want to do.But for kids it bit hard to say what exactly they are going through, you know. you daughter is 16 and going to be 17 , i have a strong feeling that your daughter is entering to puberty age and people often have weird feeling when they enter to this kind of age, i am still not sure this might be the reason but i guess. I would strongly suggest not to go for long term medication which is not really good for any one. there are many self help available in the world today by which you can cure up to 90% and rest 10% will be recovered by our own decision. I have come accross this article on bipolar and other stuffs, i have posted in my blog, please check the same here http://trainyourmind.blogspot.com
1 person likes this
@michelyn (717)
• United States
28 Apr 08
My daughter actually started puberty at the age of 11. She's had a rough childhood living with her father. He is dealing with some progressive mental illness that he will never get help for. He's too paranoid of doctors and government. She's very high-risk for developing one as well. After talking to her and rationalizing with her, she finally made her true fears clear so that we could talk about them. She's much more amenable with our decussions now. I do thank you for the input and the link as well. I will definitely have her take a look and see if there is anything she can use.
@sedel1027 (17854)
• United States
11 Apr 08
Since she is at “that age” (believe me I remember when I was like her), is there anyone in the family that she trusts? If my Mom had said you have a problem and you need to do X YZ to fix it, at 17 I would not have listened. However, if my Aunt had said the same thing, then I would have done it without a second thought. You should also educate her about her problem. She may not really 100% understand how serious it can be. I understand your situation. My ex-husband is bi-polar and a bear to deal with. When he was in the military they tried to put him on anti-depressants (which you don’t give to someone who is bipolar) and that made him worse. It was years before he went back to a doctor. He would get on his meds, then take himself off. I am always looking at my son wondering about his moods, how he acts, waiting for the sign of bi-polar to pop out of him (I know that is wrong, but I have problems with depression so odds are he is going to have some problem).
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@michelyn (717)
• United States
11 Apr 08
Wow! That was worse than I expected! I even talked to her about it on the way there to try and avoid the blow up in the office. We fought it out on the way there and she finally agreed that she would try it "although if this doesn't work, you are just going to try to put me on something else" and see what happens then. Once we got in the doctor's office, it was horrible. She started arguing with the doctor, freaking out about us making her take medications that she didn't even need. Asking the doctor questions in a rude manner and then cutting her off with her objections before the doctor could even answer her. The doctor ended up telling her that she was beyond the scope of her help and gave us a referral to a pediatric psychiatrist. She was switching her ADHD medication and my daughter started in with asking what this was supposed to do for her. The doctor said it was to help her focus, grow up a little and stop talking back to her mother! That just got her going again. My daughter then started in with not taking medication because if it does work, then she'll be labeled with mental problems and she'll never make it in politics or any public office. The doctor told her that if she didn't get her issues under control, she'd never make it there anyway. She started running her mouth about something else and finally the doctor just said that she was quitting before she started yelling because that was my job and walked out and went into her office and shut the door. We walked to the front office and even the receptionist was shaking her head. She commented something about sticking with not having children and she just had this total look of disbelief on her face. At this point, I remembered that the office door had been open the whole time and they probably heard all of it. I hate the idea of hitting my children, but she's at the point where she needs to be smacked in the mouth because I'm tired of being talked to like a piece of crap or like one of her friends. I wouldn't even let one of my friends talk to me the way she talks to me. Nothing else makes a difference for her. They only learned this behavior because their father didn't care. He was their friend. So they could yell and talk to him anyway they wanted to and he just yelled back. They didn't have to follow rules or anything. So now that they live with us, they both have some problems with thinking they can do that with us. My son is learning a lot faster than my daughter is, but I know part of it is her age. She doesn't even grasp what she did today. When we left, she just talked on and on about dreams and whatnot like nothing ever happened. So now I have to schedule an appointment with this psychiatrist before we can try something to help her. Maybe one day she really will see that this is to help her and not to help me to deal with her like she thinks.
2 Jul 08
RElax - she is still a child and it cannot be diagnosed until late adolescence at the earliest.... trust me... plus it usually goes down the maternal line.... So I reckon you're home free.
1 person likes this