Is She Bipolar?
I have read some of the other e-mails from other parents going through similar problems that I am having with my daughter. I have to say it has helped me (along with this book) to cope a little more. Just to know that I am not alone and there is hope.
My story with my daughter began 5 days after I turned 19. I gave birth to my beautiful daughter. I was not married and obviously she was not a planned pregnancy. Her dad and I were "together" but I wouldn't say it was what you'd call the ideal family. I was attending college and living with my sister. She was very helpful and her dad and I didn't get along very well so this was the best situation for her and I.
Like I said I was 19, a little selfish and very busy! I was going to school about 3/4 time and working nights as a waitress. When my daughter was old enough for preschool, I took a co-op job and continued with school. I finally (after 8 years in school) received my bachelor's degree and landed my first "real" job. This was full time with a great company. My daughter was then 7 years old and her dad and I were over. We had very rough years in there, living together off and on. There was some physical and mental abuse that went on and I believe a slight bit of neglect for her (sad to say). Me being busy with school, work and my social life. I did love my daughter and provided very well for her and worked hard FOR HER. I feel bad if I did neglect her feelings. I think I just thought she just knew that she was #1 with me, but I don’t' think I showed that all the time.
To move on now. My daughter was always somewhat "difficult". Now looking back I see that she would always seek out "negative" attention. I don’t think I dealt good with that then. When she would act out, I think my emotions escalated with her's until we were both arguing. When she was little this didn't seem like that big of a problem and we would just get through the hard days and things would be better tomorrow.
I met my husband shortly after graduating from college. I owned my own house at the time and it was just she and I. We dated for about a year and half, before getting engaged and decided to move in together. He lived in a city about 1/2 hour away from my house (which was the same city I worked in), so it made sense to live in his house and sell mine. He had full custody of his son, which was 4 at the time. We moved during the summer so that the school transition with my daughter was a little easier. She did see her dad on and off in during this time period (every other weekend type situation).
After we were married, things were ok. But like I said there was always problems with my daughter, acting out and seeking my "negative attention". Seems like she was never happy. She did not like doing things with my husband’s family (which were very accepting of both of us). I also believe that she felt like an outcast in her own home. I took her away from the city she grew up in, away from friends, and I took on a husband and a stepson, and she gained nothing and lost part of her mommy. Can you see the guilt I am trying to set up? I have a lot of it.
So now, she is 15 and angry as hell. My husband and I have made a good life for her, we moved into a bigger house (with her own bathroom), she is always provided for, she has everything all of her friends have, ipod, cell phone, tv etc………….. But she is always mad. Always making comments, complains about everything, even when we are on vacation. Seems like there is always something wrong or something to bitch about.
Her middle school years were a little rocky but she made it through with decent grades and very little trouble (not to say there was no trouble). She did not see her dad much through these years, mostly because she did not want to and he did not make her.
9th grade (this year) was the year it seeming to all fall apart. We have been in counseling off an on since she was 8 due to the problems I felt my daughter has been dealing with everything that has happened in her life. It is now May 9th, 2007 and there is 3 and 1/2 weeks of school left for her and looks like she may be a freshman again next year. To go over a little of the happenings in the past year:
Labor Day weekend, 2006: My husband and I went up north for ONE night, letting her stay with a friend. She broke into our house and had a party. There was destruction (minor) done to the house and things were stolen. We called the police and filed a report. We first thought someone broke in because she denied it all. But then later she admitted everything. She was grounded the whole 1st month of school. Her grades were actually good at this point. Then after getting ungrounded her grades started to plummet. She received several referrals for inappropriate behavior in the classroom and by mid year, she had failed two classes and was put on a behavior contract. During all of this she had been caught drinking several times, in a car accident with a drunk driver and being verbally and physically abusive with me when being punished. I called the cops on her one night for punching me in the arm (which her counselor advised us to do).
The beginning of the 3rd marking period seemed to start off good, she did not get any referrals for two months and grades were ok. The rages still continued at home when being punished or being told "no". She does not like the word ‘no’ AT ALL. She was caught in a car full of pot smoke and luckily only written a ticket for loitering since there was no evidence other than the smell. She was also getting more violent with me, leaving bumps and bruises on me, she even tried to pull the keys from my moving vehicle, and also did shove the car into park when I was moving. This is behavior I didn't understand nor knew how to deal with. I felt like an abused wife. I wouldn't tell anyone and would basically just let her get away with it. I felt like she didn't even care that she was hurting me. I know she did feel out of control and didn't like it. She knows it was wrong but couldn't help it.
After doing a lot of online research, I felt like she fit the criteria for bipolar disorder. It was scary to see all the similarities of this disorder with my daughter. I reluctantly requested if she could see a psychiatrist to be evaluated. In the interim waiting for the evaluation, she mouthed back to a substitute teacher, which put in with her last referral, this was it and she was kicked out of school, until we (her and I) met with the school board. During this time, she had another outburst in which I called the police. The policeman that came, really gave it to her good and lectured her for about an hour. He told her that he could take her to Juvi, she did not like that idea. By the end of the conversation with the cop, he basically told her that she was at the line in the sand, the last straw if there is a next time, she WILL be taken away. When the cop left, he still was not convinced she even gave a shit by her actions and facial expressions (defiance).
So getting to the end or I should say the present. We went to the psychiatrist, he suggested that she be put on two medications, a mood stabilizer (Amblify) and a medication for ADHD (Concerta). I did not see signs of ADHD before (or I guess thought about it), but the Dr. gave me some questionnaires to have her teachers fill out, and to my surprise she fell into a lot of the criteria that fit ADHD. And now thinking about I have always struggled with homework with her, staying focused. And now with her grades, it's like she just does not care. She is always saying "I forgot", even when she took the time to finish something, she would just not hand it in. Either she forgot that she had homework or a test to study for. She had completely disregarded the importance of school and her education.
Anyway, after hearing that you could not drink on the meds, she didn't want take them, and admitted that this was part of the reason. The Dr. did not give us the prescription. He said in order for the meds to work, she must understand and admit the need for them. And if she did drink on them, it may make things worse. We all decided to give it 2 months and see where things were and if things did not improve or got worse that she would go on the meds. She agreed with this. This was on May 1st. Since then, she seemed to be doing good, then we had an outburst about homework and I took away the computer, she yelled and screamed profanities, but did not destroy or hurt anything. She did punch the crap out of the couch thought, I guess is an improvement.
As you can tell and you may be feeling like me, I am in a state of very mixed emotions, frustrated, angry, guilty, depressed, denial, grieving over the loss of the child I thought my daughter would be. This is all very hard to deal with, not to mention my marriage is pretty much on hold for now, and that is if we make it though all of this. I am not sure how much more he can take, and I'm starting to totally agree that all this is not fair for him or his son.
I know all of this sounds like I am only telling the bad things about my daughter. She has a lot of good qualities in her too. She is a very strong-minded (which can be a good thing if used correctly). She is a good loyal friend to all of her friends. She is very respectful of herself (sex wise). She claims to still be a virgin and I (truly) do believe her. I do believe that she is proud of herself for that and that she wants a boy that will respect her. She is very fun loving and smart. She just needs to put a little effort forth. I don't know where her ambition went.
She no longer has a cell phone, and the CPU to our computer is in the trunk of my car. She is not taking drivers training this summer like all her friends. I just don't know what else to do!
I read your book on May 7th (two days ago). I used the technique in your book last night which kept the tantrum to a minimum, still not acceptable but it was a lower degree and lasted less time. I told her "no" to something and when she said why, I told her, then when she told me that was gay and not fair, I just said, "I am not going to argue with you". I said this repeatedly, just like you say to do. I made myself have the "poker face". After a little while she relented. I have to say, it was hard to do (not to get emotional), but I do see that it works and maybe that will make it easier in the future.
We are going back to see the counselor and she may be willing to try the meds. What do you think?
Thanks for listening and I hope that this will help anyone in a similar situation. I would love any advice or comments on my story. I'm starting not to feel so alone.
First, thank you for sharing so deeply.
Re: She no longer has a cell phone, and the CPU to our computer is in the trunk of my car. She is not taking drivers training this summer like all her friends. I just don't know what else to do!
As you read, consequences should be short-term. Please review the Anger Management chapter in the Online Version of the eBook. Have you listened to ALL of the audio?
Re: We are going back to see the counselor and she may be willing to try the meds. What do you think?
If she is truly Bipolar, then meds are a “must have” …it will take her psychiatrist about one year of experimentation to get the right drug dosages and combinations.
Keep up the good work,
The Strong-Willed Out-of-Control Teen
The standard disciplinary techniques that are recommended for “typical” teenagers do not take into account the many issues facing teens with serious behavioral problems. Disrespect, anger, violent rages, self-injury, running away from home, school failure, hanging-out with the wrong crowd, drug abuse, theft, and legal problems are just some of the behaviors that parents of defiant teens will have to learn to control.
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