Hells Bells

Hells Bells
Heart of the Heart of the Country
February 01
Book editor, parent, MFA in poetry from a land far, far, away--and a long, long time ago . . . I'm not a psychologist, but I play one on TV.


Editor’s Pick
MARCH 14, 2009 11:18AM

Why I Hate My Bipolar Child

Rate: 82 Flag

Copy of Eye Of The Storm

Photocollage by my talented bipolar child.

It's like having this beautiful puppy. And sometimes it's great being with the puppy. It climbs up  into your lap, and you stroke its soft fur. It looks at you, and you can see it loves you. It even says, "I love you." And you love it back, and it feels like everything is going to be all right. 

But sometimes when you put the puppy's dish down, it growls, "I despise you. Get away from my dish." And you try to explain, you don't need to growl at me, I'm just trying to feed you, but the puppy has a certain look in its eyes that makes you feel afraid, so you back out of the room, slowly, and leave it alone to eat.

If you're honest, you'll admit that the puppy has actually bitten you, and drawn blood. Sometimes you get out the bandages and bind up the wound yourself, without telling anyone. You feel ashamed. Sometimes you wish you had never gotten the puppy to begin with. Sometimes you think it would be best to knock the puppy into next week, and then you can't believe what a horrible person you are to think such things, because you still feel love for this puppy. You know that no one else will understand it or take care of it the way you do, and there are still times when it's good, and you want so much for the puppy to be happy and to have a good life.

So today, the puppy comes running up to you and wants to play. The puppy is all "Throw me the stick! Throw me the stick!" and wagging its tail. So you put aside your doubts and take it to the park, and you throw the stick.  The puppy--really a young dog now--runs full out, and it is truly lovely to see it so free. It catches the stick in its mouth, effortlessly, and brings it back to you.

Its eyes bright, it drops the stick at your feet and says, "Here's your fucking stick, bitch."

There is much more to this story, which I hope to tell.

NEXT: Why I Wrote the Bipolar Child Story




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What a brutally honest peak into motherhood. Thank you so much for sharing this. Having a child with a disability is a difficult journey of highs and lows. I wish some middles for you - keep sharing your story!
This is a beautifully-written and deeply moving post on an important topic. There's a growing amount of literature about parenting a child with a disability (I myself have added to this in my own little way). But not so much about raising a child with bipolar disorder. I look forward to hearing more from you, and I hope you and your child will build a strong relationship beyond disability.
Powerful. Can't wait to read more.
Good hard stuff.
I'm a 41 year old Bipolar 2 man who only recently has emerged from his dog-days. I daresay my mother would have read this with approval and understanding.
I depended on her til she died. Her greatest fear, I think, was that this late child (she was 40 when i was born), her precious blue-eyed boy, would end up in the streets. I haven't; I am thriving at last, happy and secure...but still bipolar.
I am making no delusional claim when I say that I am now stable. But "stable" has turned out to be rather...shall we say, "abnormal". The flight of ideas is still there, but the author of the ideas is is integrated, and knows he's the author. The depression is still there, but it is now my friend: a break from the fireworks in my neurons.
The puppy analogy disturbed me a bit. But I see it was written with brutal, honest love. The dog is fully grown, free, now... but he is in need of...socializing, that's all. He perhaps doesn't know the ways of humans yet. To stretch the analogy even further, it is possible he is a most unusual and magnificent animal: an alpha dog.
But this is analogizing, and your child is human. And that's the disturbing thing: "humanness" can never be once and for all statistically mapped in in a sweet little bell-curve. There are some who trail way off the edges. Look at it as a spectrum, a rainbow.
I hope I can convey to you that it is worth the effort to tame this dog, bring it into the human fold.

Very good stuff,
James Emmerling
I perhaps see for the first time what my mother must have seen. I thank you for your post and for your recent comment on my posting. I will keep checking for more updates.
I hope you tell more, too. Honest writing is sharp enough to cut yourself on, but always beautiful, like broken glass in the sun.
Incredible photography! Very interesting and compelling! As for your child, I truly hope you have pursued homeopathic treatments or herbal treatments, or a non-wheat, non-meat, non-dairy whole foods diet, or Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), all of which could probably offer far more help than our for-profit medical establishment.

The "American Medical Establishment", which I define as pharmaceutical companies, doctors and hospitals (not nurses or nurse-practitioners or Certified Nurse Midwives) may be the most expenisve "medical" (not health!) system in the world, but is also rarely effective and offers no real cures to my knowledge, except through use of antibiotics.

As I'm sure you could attest to, establishment doctors "experiment" on patients. "That dosage didn't work? Let's try another..." or "This drug isn't doing anything...let's try another one....or two....or three....." or "Let's try a new brain surgery technique..." If you think the establishment route is the way to go, then.....well, I won't say it....
Ouch. Honest. Brutal. Beautiful. I have a similar challenge at home. Keep writing. Rated.
God, my struggles aren't nearly what yours are, but I'm nevertheless on a painful road with a teen and my heart aches for you. Rated for courage and raw honesty and a metaphor that really knocks the experience home. Friended. I wish you the best.
Rated and appreciated. Had a trying day as a mother today. Sometimes I get very angry and it is hard.
What do you do....what do I do? You alluded to a poignant story of your bi-polar child, daughter I assume, since the eyes are feminine in the drawing. I hope you can continue to tell this story since it is a story that needs to be told. It is also my story...and my daughter's story. She is twenty-seven, an artist graduated with a BA from college. It was her first graduation. She didn't work well in elementary or high school. One of my other daughters who is on OS told me about your post. Thank you for sharing with us....I will try to find the courage to share again on the joy and the agony of extreme parenting.
Great analogy, beautifully told. Can't wait to read the rest. I don't have anyone in my family who has been diagnosed as bipolar, but your puppy sounds a lot like my mother and my ex-husband.
HB, With two daughters at home, who both suffer from bi-polar disorder, I can say I empathize fully. Hang in there, Mom. I'll send some good thoughts your way. Rated and friended.
I've worked with many bipolar teens in my job, and what a job it is!! But, I get to go home at the end of the day...you don't. The truth is, if all of us parents are to be as bravely honest as you are, we've all felt some of those feeling, whether our kids are bipolar or not. I really appreciated your genuineness. Rated.
Wow. I have a 9 year old, bipolar son. Thank you for so eloquently putting into words the thoughts I have every day.
My son is also artistic and suffers depression.
He's always had it really, but it got worse in the 9th grade and just finally calmed down this year.
We went through different meds and none really did what we needed, so now we go without and take it day by day.
I think the hardest thing to hear, was my 14 year old son coming home with coupons to a local restaurant because he told his guidance that he didn't value his life that day.
The going to work every day because you have to and hoping today isn't the day you get home 'to late" because he decided to act out his thoughts and not tell you was and is still shear torture.
James E. I worry for my son every day like your mom did for you. I hope he finds his way and can cope in the world. It's not easy when you don't fit in "the box" or "cookie cutter" that everyone wants you too.
You are a brave and stalwart mother. Daughters without bi-polar are challenging under the best of circumstances. Your challenges are many but you are on that train and it's an express. On your side is a much greater awareness of disorders such as this than ever before, and with that also hope.

I am hoping for more tail wagging days for both of you.
This is one of the few stories I can't bring myself to tell. I will bookmark and rate for your courage. Light, Tess
Wow, what an intriguing and honest post. RATED
Nobody really knows what mental illness is like until they live with it. I admire you for doing your best.
My sister is bipolar and it's been a little interesting for everyone. I'll be watching for more from you. Try to remember the puppy doesn't have any choice about being this way, it really is an illness.
It is painful, at best to describe how brutal it is to be abused in any way shape or form by a person we deem as loving. Whether it be a child, was it in one of Shakesphere's plays that says, "there is nothing as sharp, as the tooth of a thankless child"? It can be spousal, kinship, children, realtives, but it just goes to show you, we are truly sensitive, but to what distinctions, thankfully there are support groups, because it can be very painfull, to not get the love back, but there can be other transparent issues that exist. I know with me and my daughter there seems to always be a new one, day to day, she keeps me as far a distance than I am sure the longest mile would be.
rated for "You feel ashamed."

You're feelings are hurt too, and you can't believe that you have let a puppy hurt your feelings and so you feel ashamed.
I find it interesting that you title this article is in the first person and then write it in the second. Are you writing me about how you feel about your child or how someone else feels about their child.
Are you sure their feeling are the same as yours. Just curious why you didn't use the words "I" ,"my" and "mine" everywhere you used "you" and "yours".
I now know how my mother felt, particularly in my teens. I adored her, but often gave her the stick with a snarly retort as well. By my twenties I was in a pretty good hypomanic state, and she was able to die of heart failure with me offering the stick gently.
Thank you so much for writing the piece. Few appreciate the ripple effect that having a family member diagnosed as bipolar has.It took a good while for me to realize this Jekyll/Hyde existence my daughter and I live in.
Six years ago my career came to a screeching halt as far as research was concerned since I could not leave her alone for longer than a few hours at a time. Fortunately I was able to sustain my teaching and I think that saved my own sanity.

We are fortunate. Daughter is pretty high functioning and has been able to be a working partner in our kennel business 75% of the time.
The worst part for me, is that she will have periods of great normality and we are interacting based on this then suddenly it is 'Drop the Stick, Bitch' time. She lives with me and is 99% compliant with her medications. My terror is that when I die she will wind up under a bridge. Since we moved closer to other family I don't worry about it as much, but many of my decisions have been made based upon what will happen to her when I am no longer here. For now I appreciate the strides she has made and try to accept that there are days that I, too, hate my bipolar adult child...at least her illness.
I just saw myself and my mother. I wasn't diagnosed as bipolar until I was 54. In the meantime I was tied to a pendulum and my mother got cut by the edge. So did my now ex-wife, my children, anyone in striking distance. That part is over now but I don't ever want to forget it. Even with medication it comes back as a seasonal visitor to terrorize me. I am a bit doubtful about the claims against Big Pharma and the medical industry. Of course it is a for-profit whorehouse. But anti-convulsants and lithium saved my life. I don't know what herbals or other kinds of treatments would have done, but by now I'm not willing to stake my sanity to find out.

HOWever, in the spirit of self-contradiction...psychiatrists, at least some of them, tend to play games with medication. Which means they play games with their patients' minds and lives. Can't sleep? take this. "This" was Seroquel, and it wound me up in the emergency room where I was examined to see if I'd had a stroke. It sure felt that way.

It is no fun living with a bipolar: I, II, cyclothymic. It is even less fun being that person because you are everyone else's voodoo doll.
I am sorry for your troubled times. I do agree with SoapBoxAmy and hope you can find ways to treat your child alternatively, perhaps a macrobiotic diet, different herbs, homeopathics. Some medicines seem to only aggravate the condition. Your child could have a hidden allergy and it could effect the lining of the brain. This is all so painful, I am sorry to carry on. Looking for the silver lining. Lots of hugs for being such a wonderful, deep and thoughtful mom.
Joseph Cole,

I would guess that the author wrote the title after she wrote this piece. And I can fully understand why someone would need to write such a painful essay in the second person.

I do not have a bipolar child. But I have been treated for clinical depression now for at almost 15 years. Mood disorders are shameful and painful for everyone involved. I don't think there are words in the English language to describe the hurt and sadness and aching this woman feels. I am so sorry. Please continue with your story.
We accept puppies because soon they won't be puppies anymore. Quite a shock when they turn on us while remaining puppies which require our care. Wonderful post.
I can't imagine how hard this must be for you and your daughter.
It is never wrong for a human being to feel human feelings whatever they are.
Guilt is a wasted and wasteful emotion.
You are a human being and truly have a right to your own feelings.

I applaud you for "picking up the stick".
Rated. For "Feel ashamed". I do too, because one of my children is Asperger, and bi-polar, and OCD... I am scared of what will happen to him if and when I am not there anymore, but I feel ashamed nonetheless.
“I am sorry,” she says softly, bridging the gap, “but I am required by law to report that [name] has threatened your life.”

Biting incidents I choose to forget flood my mind − I replay wild eyes trapped in another exhausted emergency room…

“The thoughts are running so fast I can’t catch them, I can’t hold on,” he says.

It is excruciating for both of us to watch his body age beyond his years. I smile faintly at a public that can no longer recognize this is my son. He is tired of emergency rooms.

A friend visits him today; the puppy inside the man continues to grow.
I hear ya loud and clear. Although I have no children of my own, I do have a mentally retarded sister and was once married to a young man with bipolar disorder & PTSD. The love, intimacy and fun we shared in his often black & white world was as intense as the violence, sorrow and rage.

If your puppy is able to accept that it has "training" issues (if we're to follow your metaphor), its chance of living a more balanced life of love is vastly improved. Those that refuse to admit they have a problem are condemned to a life of brief, passionate encounters and deep loneliness.

I hope for you both an abundance of love, patience and increased understanding.
You have described my situation exactly. I, too, have a 41 year old bi-polar daughter who has scarred my heart but inspired my soul. She has redeeming qualities that keep me hanging in there to help her with this battle. The only difference in our stories is that I have 4 other children who don't understand her situation and consider her a spoiled brat. Therefore, they condemn me for showing "favoritism" towards her and thus my dilemma. But I have to be there to support her because who else will be? The others are selfish in their own way and don't try to understand. It isn't favoritism. She has an illness that few know how to treat and I have a responsibility to stick by her and love her in spite of it. I wish my family would help me to help her but that will never happen. I am caught in the middle and catch it from both sides. Sometimes I am so tired and discouraged I want to give up but I can't. Your story touched something inside me and gave me renewed strength. Thank you.
Gut wrenching. But please tell us more. You are a fine writer.
A very powerful article and I hope to see more. I am a 50 year old bipolar male who is fortunate enough to have been 'stable' for quite some time now, though 'stability' still requires work, so I find it an overly simplistic descriptive term. Your depiction of the mood swings is amazing.

However, I must admit the title of the piece disturbed me greatly. It is attention grabbing, and if that was the goal, you succeeded. But hate is such a tough word. I am sure you hate the disease, you hate certain aspects of your child's behavior, but I am sure you do not hate your child. Sorry to pick on one word.
Yes...the Hate word was harsh but I think I can totally understand, particularly if this author was just bitten by her puppy. It tears your heart out to have someone you love so much disrespect you so severely. I'm sure she meant to get our attention, which she did....and I'm equally as certain that the hate word applies to the illness or else she wouldn't be standing by her bi-polar child or sharing her pain with us.
I avoided this post for a while. I see why you had to write as if about a puppy, because it is so painful to feel that way about your child. You'll notice on this site a lot of people with bipolar I, bipolar II, almost-bipolar, bipolar parents, bipolar, jr., and bipolar kids. (Then a lotta other mental problems.) Though I cringed at the title, when I read the piece I understood. You have a right to be angry and hurt. Share more any time.
You are doing a very valuable service here. If you can't immediately help your child, at least take solace in knowing that you have increased understanding, in this fascinating (and personally painful but inspiring) dialogue you have propagated.

"I kneel down to peer into a culvert/ The other end seems far away/ One cone of light floats in the shadowed water./ This is how our children will look when we are dead." Bly, "Kneeling down to look in a culvert"

I am the light from my mother. She was in the Laingian "KNOT" (remember that book..."Knots"?):

"If they grow up not to love , honor, and obey us
either we have brought them up properly
or we have not.

if we have
there must be something the matter with them

if we have not

there is something the matter with us."

best, JME
I wouldn't blame the dog or the child if they ripped your arm off of you.
to TS-

Die in a fire.
We are all going to die but from the hatred you harbor, you might spend eternity in a fire of your own making.
This is a really excellent description of the ups & downs of living with a bipolar person.
I'm not the one who started the hate here, you did. So, by your logic, you will be in hell long before me.
With regard to the post:

Intriguing title, excellent imagery and descriptors. From what I've seen of OS so far, I think you'll find a lot of support on this topic here, both from those who have bi-polar disorder or have a close relationship with someone who does.

You'll probably also find support from those who are currently parenting (or vividly remember parenting) healthy, moody, wonderful, impossible, pubescent, prepubescent, premenstrual, PMS-ing, "normal" adolescents and preadolescents. At that stage, it's not an altogether different experience.

I look forward to more.

With regard to the rather vicious squabbling going on in the comments:

I was under the impression that OS is a place for all opinions, positive and negative. If you're going to post your thoughts in a public forum, you should be willing to accept the good with the bad.

Expressing a negative opinion about a post when all others have been positive requires some balls. Telling someone who has expressed a negative opinion to "die in a fire" does not constitute an opinion and is juvenile, obnoxious, completely inappropriate and detracts from the post and the legitimate comments with respect to it.
My sister is dealing with a bipolar child herself, and could have written this post. I have forwarded it to her.

Saying "die in a fire" is definately silly and not an opinon, but saying

I wouldn't blame the dog or the child if they ripped your arm off of you.
March 15, 2009 04:04 PM

Is not really an opinion, just a statement of general meanness. It does not really take any balls at all to be mean for no reason in a generally unmoderated forum like this one.
i get this. thank you for sharing. it helps others to know that it's okay to "hate" someone that you really love unconditionally.
Hi j rhea,

I must have misinterpreted his post much differently than you. I did not feel that he was being mean, just that he was expressing a different--and admittedly harsh--point of view.

There are many possible reasons for his(her?) statement, and any one of those reasons could validate his statement as an expression of a different point of view. By saying what he said, I thought he was identifying with the child rather than the parent. Or perhaps he is simply unable to accept the fact that a parent could experience these feelings toward a child, or may have personal experience in a difficult parent/child relationship.

It doesn't really matter what his exact reason was for posting; the possibility that his motivation was based on a legitimate point of view does make his comment a valid one. You may not like it, I may not like it, the author may not like it, but he is entitled to have and post his opinion here. And let's face it, if you publicly post that you hate your child, you're going to get some negative responses. I would be very surprised if the author of this blog did not consider that possibility prior to posting this. I am glad she chose to post it despite that.

"Die in a fire", on the other hand, is not "silly", nor is it an acceptable statement in this type of forum. Her disapproval of his legitimate opinion does not give her the right to personally attack him in this repugnant manner. She certainly has the right to post a legitimate response to his comment, but "die in a fire" isn't it.

I try to remember that there are at least two sides to every story, and take that into consideration when posting comments and responses to comments. I wish some others would try to do that as well, but I'm not going to tell them to "die in a fire" if they don't. Consider: if the "die in a fire" comment had been directed at the blog author, would you still consider the comment merely "silly"?

Dissenting opinions are a valuable and necessary component of honest discussion. It does take guts, balls, bravery, courage to post a positive response when all others are negative--or vice versa--just as it took guts, ball, bravery, courage for this blog author to publicly post what she did. And it takes intelligence, compassion, patience and empathy to thoroughly consider all articles, posts, opinions and comments, including those we may not agree with.
Thank you "sickofstupid" I was merely using an absurdity to make the point that it is absurd to say one hates their child because they are bipolar and that the child probably would love their mother just as much even without the one arm.... the dog I hold in question however.
I hear people using the term "bipolar" like it's another species, not a brain illness. Maybe both are correct.
sickof stupid,

ok, so an ripping arm off of the post author is perfectly fine though "admittedly harsh" and an understandable opinion, but wishing an improbable ill on someone who wished her daughter or dog would harm her is not.
TS is merely highlighting the absurdity and not trying to be cruel for no real reason.
I wish this did not bother me so much. I too parent a bipolar child (type 1, boy). And the disease is very misunderstood, because the symptoms mask themselves in 'sub-optimal behaviours', as the school-like institutions like to put it. And I am glad you have managed to post an honest and not-so-lovely picture of this most imperfect world. But I too, am really having trouble with this dog metaphor business. It seems really trite. Perhaps I feel less antagonized by the shitty days, because I know this equation: teenager/human+disease=rage+ absolute rigidity & (deep, slow breaths). And I have realized, only recently, that progress is measured in tiny, miniature steps forward.
I don't ever hate my BP boy, I only wish it were an easier world for him to navigate.
I do not want to seem sanctimonious, but like you, I would like to be honest.
Hi T.S.,

I don't believe the author's post is absurd, but I do believe that one should have the right to comment that it is.

In fact, I believe that one should have the right to comment that a post is absurd even if they don't personally feel that it is. Whether one's posts are motivated by genuine belief or the desire for conflict, a dissenting point of view is essential for discussion.

Opposition allows us the opportunity to re-examine our beliefs and re-affirm or change them. Regardless of outcome, we benefit. We gain a stronger, more defensible opinion, or we acquire a new, well-founded position, buttressed by understanding of the opposing opinion.

Comments with the sole purpose of embarassing, humiliating or attacking the poster rather than respectfully disputing the opinion do nothing positive. They foster an environment unfriendly to diversity, personal expression and discussion, which happen to be the usual objectives of an open forum.
I lived with a bipolar woman for many years. In 1998, she decided I was an enemy, along with everyone else, and with the protection of a restraining order, trashed my home, my home business, stole everything, and took our twin sons to Berkeley. There are no laws against crazy behavior like this. There are no laws to protect my kids. CPS was powerless against mental illness.
There is still a charming side to her - too bad for anyone who believes her sad victimization stories.
An experience like this is a test of character. It shatters nice philosophies. Thank you for your story, it is a pain many of us get strangled by. Keep breathing!
Hi j rhea,

I did not say that it is "perfectly fine" to rip off the arm of the blog author. Neither did T.S. What he said was that he wouldn't blame the dog--which is used as an analogy and does not actually exist--or the daughter if she did. That is a legitimate stated opinion. Was it nice? No. But he did not state that he wished the daughter would rip the author's arm off, nor did he tell the daughter to rip the author's arm off.

Pat Mcann--who is not the author of this blog (I wasn't sure if you had inadvertently missed the author's name)--specifically addressed T.S. and told him to "Die in a fire." Unless you are assuming facts not in evidence, Pat Mcann has nothing whatsoever to do with the author, nor with her daughter. Her statement had nothing whatsoever to do with the author's post. She specifically wished death--not harm, but death--upon a poster who had stated a legitimate opinion that had nothing to do with herself.

As you previously stated, this is a largely unmoderated forum, which basically means that we are expected to police ourselves in order to benefit from open discussion. I don't see how open discussion is going to happen if it's ok to tell someone to "go die in a fire" because you don't like what he said, can't find a moment to consider why he might have said it, and can't think of anything better to say.

All this does is further detract from the author's excellent post. Happily, most commentors are ignoring it. That doesn't mean we should continue it here. I'd like to think that we both have enough respect for the author's work to move our conversation. If you would like to discuss this further, please feel free to send me a message, or post on your blog.

My sincere apologies to the author for the distraction.
I thought about this one all day. And so I came back.
Oh, you need a hug! It is hard to have a child that you love so deeply not be the child of your dreams.... I have a disabled sister and now that my mother is gone, I help care for her. I thought I had an idea what my mother went through, but I was wrong. God bless mothers of children with disabilities....
My father died from bi-polar disorder. Rated.
Tell me more. This really put mothering a Bi-Polar child into perspective. rated
If you haven't been there, it's hard to understand where the author is coming from. I've been there. I'm still there. My 25-year-old daughter struggles with her illness as though it is the enemy. Often she lives in denial, behind a big thick wall of it. The rest of us watch her self-destructiveness and see our volley of helpful arrows bouncing ineffectually off the wall.

The best thing I ever did was to learn to get my own codependency under control. I have to let her grow and develop and come to terms with what is happening in her own body. It doesn't stop her actions from hurting me though. Once bitten, twice shy.

I recognize your story. I raised a bi polar daughter. I hope you do keep writting your story. It will be good for you and good for others.

Some good news for you. My daughter is now 22 and happily married. She has told me I did an excellent job raising her ! And our relationship is in what seems to be a permanent "happy puppy" mode. So, you have something to look forward to. And she and I really did hit some ruff spots like yours. Remind me to tell you of the time she grabbed the steering wheel of the car , whilst I was driving ; and nearly caused a fatal accident. She had a terrible temper. Oh, I just told you.

Keep telling. The funny thing is, you described my relationship with my daughter and she is not BP, not that I know of, that is. (She is only 4).

Thanks for sharing this. I love brutally honest parenting pieces. I'm into that myself. (Funny too, you and I have the same bio, though I don't say any of that on my page...)
I have a bipolar child too. he's 15 (so add on the hormones - hooray!). I also have a child with reactive attachment disorder, and lemme tell ya, my bipolar child seems incredibly normal by comparison. Speaking of "normal", i am often envious of all those people with normal kids. they just don;t know how lucky they got it. However, wouldn;t trade my kids for the world. love 'em.
I just want to say, that picture is very haunting and chilling. I had to scroll the screen down to avoid looking at it. It sends a chill over my body when I saw the eyes. Your kid is certainly talented.
I don't know how old your child is- is he/she old enough to blog? It might be interesting to hear from him/her. Who knows- it might open up communication channels.
oh my god......I know this experience....having this experience.

You have explained it so perfectly.

So perfectly...
Two of my children have bipolar disorder. I used to feel this way. I no longer do, but I totally understand!
What a cruel thing to do to your child. Surely you understand that information on the internet lives forever. No doubt your life is hard. I suspect your child's is MUCH harder. Bi-polar is a mental illness, not a conspiracy to ruin your life.
What a betray of your child to put this out in public -- why would you do it? To gain sympathy? To show how tough you are?
Amazing to me how much credit you're getting for throwing your child under the bus all for a column on the net.
I just got through having my 11 year old bipolar child choke me until I couldn't breathe. He did this because I was yelling at his sister for not cleaning her room. I searched the web and came across your blog, I am in tears right now, this story is how I feel on a daily basis.
If mothers are honest, most have probably felt this way about their children when the kids were pushing the mom's buttons. Certainly two of my 4 daughters, when teenagers, sometimes behaved just like your daughter. I recall my oldest at 15 saying, "Fuck you, you bitch."

I was particularly concerned because I am bipolar and constantly worried that they would inherit my curse. But none of them did and they grew up to be wonderful, loving women.

Thank you so much for your courageous honesty.
Thank you, thank you! I can't explain how much I needed to read this. You have described my life with my puppy in a way I've never been able to express.
Stunning. However , having an unmedicated bipolar mother had very few up moments. rated
Powerful, disturbing and intriguing. You write well and I look forward to more. Perhaps the writing about it can help; I think it's helped many on here.
OMG, I have the same puppy. I can't wait to read the rest.
More than 40 years ago, my mom came home from work with a box of pitbull puppies. My parents didn't even like dogs & our small mobile home was already filled to bursting with the eight of us. I don't know what Mom was thinking but she gave us those puppies and I loved them. They seemed to love me too and I was so happy to have them as my new best buddies. Within days something became nightmarishly wrong. I was playing in the living room with the puppies when they started to growl and bite at me. It was horrible. It scared me and deeply hurt my feelings. Later, I learned that the whole litter of pups had distemper and had to be put down. Often, my (now 20 year old) son makes me feel the same way I felt in the presence of the ill puppies. While at my brother's funeral this week, my son sat next to me with his arm around my shoulder and frequently asked if I was okay. After the funeral, some trivial thing (again) set him off and he (again) got that feral look in his eyes, looked at me and snarled, "What do you think people are gonna say about you at YOUR funeral Mom?"
Having a child with bipolar illness is very difficult. Being the child of a bipolar parent is even more difficult. Especially the eldest daughter of a parent who self medicates and becomes an alcoholic. And already lost her dad, because he was a vet. And suffered from lifelong disabilities the VA never recognized until they recognized TBI and PTSD. And he fought in WWII. I lost him when I was 11. I lost my mom, effectively, when I was 13.

I still managed to graduate at the top of my high school class, test out of my first two years at the best public school in this country, while leading the south's first serious anti apartheid protest that changed state policy at the age of 19. One of my college anti apartheid "colleagues," who didn't do anything near what I did, went onto Harvard with Obama and is now, along with another person who I went to Carolina with, who is also black but never even deigned to show up at rallies we had, much less face down Klansmen with loaded shotguns at her head, or put her academic scholarship on the line, as Ms. Butts did not either, cannot be bothered to call me back on a jobs proposal that will work to put Americans back to work NOW. That will save alot of mortgages NOW. That will drastically lower the cost that people with complicated neurolocal disabilities like TBI for example will have to pay NOW. I started changing National legisation in Congress at the age of 23. I have a letter of commendation from US Supreme Court Justice Brennan for my work and understanding of Constitutional law, earned at the age of 25, without even going to Law School. These are accomplishments that Obama doesn't even have. For these people to be ignoring me an audience at the White House for an economic plan to save America right now (and I'm only giving you the highlights) is NUTS.

Now, the reason I'm going to such great lengths to tell you this is not to brag, but for another reason. The Obama admistration is completely MIA on the disability issue. Your struggles with you son are because so little research and help is available to parents of children, let alone adults with disabilities. Why? Because Obama is MIA on the issue. And that is appalling. It is the American Apartheid.

So while I sympathize greatly with you, and trust me, I had NEUROLGICAL disabilities, one of which was just caused by the illegal activities of a big rich wall street bank that is now visible and trust me, the unbelievable shit I am having to take because of that is unbelievable...the disabilities issue IS the American Apartheid, and if you don't believe me, take a look at my poster's comments on a very real and breaking story starting with my dissection of the supposed break in at the White House at MY Blog here on Open Salon called My Blog That Goes Without Speaking.....

I am not bipolar. But I get really pissed off when people call me nuts or assume that I have what is commonly called a "psychiatric illness" which is what the DSM classifies Bipolar illness as.

I am one of the people who a) doesn't put a stigma on it, so those things are just the remarks of ignorant people. That's not why I get so angry at them. It's the stigma and the discrimination they perpetuate, which trust me, are going to make life a living hell for your son, unless they are understood. Because on the cutting edges of neuroscience, they are finding out that there is no difference ultimately between so called "mental" disabilities or what is more properly and scientifically referred to as "psychiatric" disabilities and neurological disabilities. The brain itself is one giant electrical circuit. Now. In my case I actually do have physical brain damage that is commonly misdiagnosed.

But all I can say to you lady, is that while I feel for your pain, you also need to get better informed. Because you need to start adapting to your son. His acts of rage are because he feels frustrated at a society that constantly wants to make him for lack of a better analogy, act right handed when he is literally not wired to be that way. But rather left handed. And he may in fact be misdiagnosed. As too many kids are.

Have you taken him to see a neurologist?

He might have brain damage.

TBI is also present in the civilian population as well. And most fucking psychiatrists a) don't know how to spot it, b) are on the take of drug companies to push drugs they get a kick back from prescribing but are horrifically dangerous, and c) don't know how to spot TBI.


You might want to do some more research lady. I realize your life is difficult. Not only did both of my parents have disabilities...but I just had a roommate in the middle of what is probably the most horrifici period in my life, have a meltdown and a bipolar attack at the same time, and further just fuck me. Did I act in "revenge" No. Because I understand mental illness. And I don't judge it. If you need to build walls around yourself for your own sanity do it.

If you want to email me to ask how, by gods sakes do it.

My door and email are always open.

Unfortunately I have a wealth of information that most fucking shrinks and social workers don't have. And may not have the goddamned degrees after my name, but the scars to show for it. And far more compassion than they do. I know you must feel beaten up.

But that is exactly why I am taking the time to write to you.

Because I know what it feels like. And woman to woman, because I have a conscience and experience with this, and because that is what you do, I am saying Here is my hand. Take it if you need to.

Argue with that you asshole bloggers who criticize me on this site.

But as for you lady, you need some help that you are not getting. and you need to get it. You're not going to get it from the government. Which is obscene. So if you want, because we are all in this nuthouse together, you know how to get in touch.

Keep well.

Take care of yourself. And definatitely, my email is always there if you need it.
Thank you, thank you, thank you - for writing this. I have gathered strength from your story and hope that others can come to understand the many trials and tribulations we endure to ensure that our children become productive members of society even though some of these decisions are often painful and lead to Googling "help me - I hate my child" at 3:00am. My daughter and her live-in boyfriend have moved back in to my home almost one month to the day (due to a terrible experience she witnessed and my husband felt the need to let them move back in. Since her return she has managed to destroy almost every door, wall, window, my work computer, etc. in our home. My 14 year old son does not even want to come home anymore due to her outbursts. He is begging me to leave (which I did on the 31st when I departed for my mothers in TN) and take him too. We had to escort them off the property for being so destructive and just being down right fed up with the abuse. This morning she awoken abruptly and began verbally abusing her boyfriend; which ended in her deciding that the entire house should be awake as well by breaking her bedroom window during her delusional tissey fit.

Of course as soon as she had accomplished her goal, she was able to settle down while the remainder of the home is awake wondering how did we get here again.

Therefore, once again, thank god for talented writers such as yourself and I hope that others can gather the courage to keep on keeping on due to your efforts.
Someone bumped this up into the feed today. I had never seen it, since you posted it before I arrived at OS last year, but I wanted to let you know I think this is very powerfully and accurately written, and probably speaks for many parents of bipolar children and adults, as well as their family members. Well done.
Really it is an amazing photography done by your child. I praise his artistic skills. A child suffering from bipolar disorder may perform excellent in any field based on his interest so parents should motivate their bipolar kids to achieve excellence. Some times whole the thongs make the parents sad and stressed about their disordered children but now there are numbers of therapeutic boarding schools and treatment centers helpful for bipolar disordered teenagers. Centers offer medication treatments, therapy programs and counseling for eliminating the poor signs of bipolar disorder.
Thank you for putting my feelings into words !! My son was diagnosed bipolar in kindergarten. There were days I wanted nothing to do with him, I dreaded the hours between end of school and bedtime some days but I could never say anything like that to anyone in fear they would think I was horrible. 4 years later and those days are luckily few and far between, he is learning to manage it himself thank God.
A beautiful, heart-wrenching post.
You really have a talented child despite of being a bipolar and with proper care and love he deserves, everything will be great. You do not have to worry now as there are therapeutic schools that could help him. Proper guidance and understanding is what a bipolar child needs as well as healthy lifestyle.
I think you might be lurking in my home....