What is Bipolar?

According to the Child and Adolescent Bipolar Foundations' website, Bipolar disorder (also known as manic-depression) is a serious but treatable medical illness. It is a disorder of the brain marked by extreme changes in mood, energy, thinking and behavior.

Unlike adults whose cycles tend to be made on a predictable cycle of maybe a couple times a year, children tend to suffer from more rapid-cycling, maybe even multiple times with in the same day, and hypomania, showing signs of both mania and depression at the same time.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Hospitilizations

It was a day off of school at the babysitter's house. I was off to work as any other day. Then, my office phone rang. Michael was out of hand and threatening people with a knife.

I was on my way home. Something was more than wrong. We couldn't handle this. I thought to myself, "How could I let this happen? How can I not handle my own son? What have I done?" When I got home, the babysitter was holding Michael away from the other children.

I tried to talk to him, but the explosions resumed. I took over holding him as he was still ready to jump for the knife. Every time he settled; I would begin to let go and he would go again. We called the doctor and left a message. By the afternoon, not much had changed. The doctor called back, the suggestion, take him to Prairie View in Newton for inpatient treatment. After eight hours of hell, we were off.

I held him while the babysitter's husband drove us up there. The closer we got, the calmer he got. When we got there, he had calmed totally. Lots of papers to fill out, questions to answer and people to meet. I would be staying with him on the children's unit. The workers were nice. Michael had gone into his shell and was behaving himself.

We were there for five days. I spent my days attending meetings for him, meeting other parents on the unit, and educating myself on what we were going through. Michael did great the entire time there (a bit frustrating, but they said it's pretty normal for a patient's first time). They adjusted his medications, taught him coping and social skills, and rewarded him for good behavior.

It was the final day when I spoke with the Social Worker and learned of the community mental health services in the area where we lived. Several appointments were made and we were off, knowing more services were around the bin.

Our second hospitilization was a year later. Things had gotten worse again. We had been at the Psychiatrist's office and Michael was refusing to get in the vehicle and put his seat belt on to return to school. He began to get very physical and evern with strange adults around he could care less about hitting and biting me. This time, we called the ambulance to transport.

This time, the hospital workers saw more behaviors from him and I didn't stay. He was there during a school week and attended classes along with working on his homework from school. In addition, he had the classes that he worked on the year before too. He was pretty depressed this time and found many reasons to be defiant.

I hadn't seen much change in him from admission to the day of dismissal where he threw a chair at me. Unfortunately, Prairie View had a new doctor that didn't appreciate my knowledge and it was getting close to Christmas. So, against my desires, he was dismissed and sent home.

It was not but a week later, that he was wanting to kill himself and had a well thought out plan of how to do it. We called the police as one of his workers came by to help. We were off to the hospital again by ambulance.

This third time, behaviors were coming out that they had never seen. They were seeing the hurting child crying for help. A child that was struggling with how to live his life and control himself. I believe the workers pushed on the doctor this time as well as my not giving up. Michael needed someone to fight for him and I was there to do it.

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