Let me begin by saying I love my 17 year old daughter, but she is killing me. I can't stop shaking and my anxiety is so high I am having trouble coping. In the last week she has tried to steer my car off the rode while I was driving, jumped out of my husbands car while he was driving, stole my ATM car and took money from my account and has threatened us consistently with suicide if she doesn't get her way. Add to that the years of promiscuity, angry physical outbursts, broken furniture, foul language, suicide attempt, and taking off all night and you have my daughter. There was a time when I slept with a hammer under my bed. I don't know what to do anymore. We have spent thousands of hours and dollars trying to get her help...psychiatrists, therapists, case managers, you name it. She has tried all the drug regimines. They seem to work for a few monthes and then she is worse and always pushes the bar higher on how absurd her behavior can be. She has been in crisis 4 times. She is bulemic besides and eats eats thousands of calories a day and then purges. She has tried drugs and been introuble with the law because she was caught with pot. Here is the main problem. We have no rights as parents!! She needs long term care and unless SHE decides to sign herself in she can't get it. OF course she won't. She claims hospitals make her panicky. WE had also tried to get her help with her drug abuse last year, and guess what?? At 16 she again had control and refused to go. I am thankful she got caught because it was then court ordered. When I took her to crisis last year (with the help of our wonderful local policemen) I was NOT allowed to see the result of her drug test without her permission. SHE WAS 16!! I was paying the bill. To put it mildly, I am disgusted with mental helth care, and I am not sure where to turn next. The rest of my family is SUFFERING because of her illness and I am sick of her manipulation and threats and rage and destruction. I am scared. What can I do??
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replied June 15th, 2009
Community Volunteer
Cling to your husband and your family...You can't change, what you can't change...This must be up to her...It may take months and it may take years...And it may never happen....But, don't sacrifice your life for this child...She does what she does because she knows she can get away with it...She seeks attention...Will go to any limit to attain it and won't listen to anyone but her friends...She is a lost cause until she decides that she doesn't want to be a lost cause...Don't let her pull the rest of the family down the drain with her...I send you all my hopes and best wishes in the world...

Caroline
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replied June 15th, 2009
Supporter
Can you get a judge to do a court order for a state run facility to straighten her out..She is 17 and legal age is 18 right? If you took all the information you have from the years of her abuse to the family and self your fears will they not admit then..That a 16 year old is able to do whatever she want regardless of parents is disgusting..And the world wonders what has happened to our country..

My brother was bipolar, he wrecked several cars, drank, threw himself down stairs, broke bones and made many threats..He did the drugs and alcohol was the favoirte..He did pity parties and ran up huge phone bills..He destroyed a room of antigues that was a bedroom he used and it was disgusting the way he did it..My parents were told by law he had to check himself in..My parents gave him one last ultimatum-check self ina nd get clean or leave now..He had to take his medication etc..There were rules..Once in a half way house his coucnelors helped him get into school and he became a councelor himself..He did good for awhile and then when our mom passed away he began anew and passed away from a heart attack..There was nothing anyone could do..Even when he had the councelor job yo could stil tell he could be explosive..For years everyone walked on egg shells..Not a pretty life but it was the one we had..I told you this only because yo are either going to have to do tough love and kick her out or get the law to admit her..Either way your family needs a break..As a mom I know you would have sleepless nights but you are now as well..
Tough love is the hardest any parent can give..
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replied June 15th, 2009
Community Volunteer
I agree kd....I, too, have walked this walk in life...You must stop looking at this child as your baby...You must instead look at her as your enemy who would not care if she destroys you....I know that sometimes you can't understand how you created this person and want to go back in years, but this is life...
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replied June 15th, 2009
Active User, very eHealthy
If she threatens you, can you call the police and have them take her in? If she is destroying your home and causing all this chaos, why can't the courts do something? Have you checked online for information concerning your rights? All I can tell you is how sorry I am for your plight, and about the only thing you can do is this...since the courts consider her to be in charge of her own life, and of age to do so, then, when she turns 18, you give her the ultimatim...either she checks into a treatment center, or she must leave your home and find some other place to live ON her own. You have to let her know that she will be in control of her own life, in EVERY way. This is going to be one of the most painful things you will ever have to do, IF you can find the strength to do it, but it will be for the good of your daughter as well as the rest of your family. She can't be allowed to tear your family apart as she is doing. She is testing everyone and getting the attention she craves, but it's negative attention and that's never a good thing. Her illness needs to be treated, but if you have no control, and she refuses to listen, then you have to cut the ties to save the rest of your family. I am so sorry to have to tell you all this, but unless you can find some sort of loophole legally to get her into treatment without her consent, then she will ultimately destroy all your lives. When couples decide to have a child, never in their wildest dreams, do they ever contemplate this horrible illness taking control over that child's life. But it happens all too often, sadly enough. My prayers go with you, that you will find the answers you need, and the strength to do whatever you need to to help this poor tortured girl. God bless.
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replied June 15th, 2009
Thank you all for your help. In short, yes we have called the police on numerous occasions. 4 times we went to crisis, the other times they advised us we could press charges, but ultimately she'd be released back to us and nothing would happen except we'd waste our time. I have also thought, as others suggested, to let go and save my family. I am trying, but where can she go? I am still legally responsible, and she does have good qualities. She has always been a straight a student, and although she quit school, she got her GED and enrolled in community college. I don't want her living on the streets. I guess I just can't understand a system where caring families can't get help. My next step may be to get a lawyer and somehow get her into treatment without her permission. Thanks for caring everyone.
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replied June 15th, 2009
Active User, very eHealthy
You sound like such a wonderful, loving, caring mother. My heart just breaks for you. I hope you can find the help you need so desparately, and won't have to resort to tough love. Tough love is hard enough without having to use it on a child with an illness. I hope your daughter realizes what wonderful family she has, and agrees to help herself. Her life can be so much better if she does. Just do your best to gently convince her of that, and if all else fails, there has got to be some kind of legal relief for you out there. I hope you can find it, or that someone out there can give you a direction to take. Good luck.
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replied June 15th, 2009
Supporter
mauralex, forcing treatment may be all you can do..After that she will eiather stragighten up or take off..Be strong honey I hurt for you but you are doing all you can..
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replied June 19th, 2009
Love
Do NOT force treatment. I know many women who have turned out beautifully after having very troubled teenage years.

Start to take a look at your own self...is there a way in which your relationship with your daughter might be CO-dependent on her bad behavior...ie. her behavior validates your beliefs and expectations. There is an excellent book on this subject called "The leadership of self-deception".

I know this probably sounds harsh; it's not about blaming but,rather, it's about getting to the heart of why there is a bad relationship in your life.

You may still may have to act harshly. Perhaps kick your daughter out of your house. But if you do so, do so out of love so that she might find her own way. Love is the only thing you can offer her to help her do this. Do not act from anger or from fear.

There is nothing wrong with you daughter.
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replied June 19th, 2009
Interesting perspective and one that I have examined, Johnas. I have left no stone unturned. Trouble is she behaves this way not only with me but with all family members. There is much love that runs both ways and she reponds well to it when she is calm. The other thing is that we have encouraged independence for her and she has actually lived away from home when working. She is one of the top junior dog handlers in the country and she tends to do well while on the road. She has said to us how sick she feel at times, but she refuses treatment other than her therapist and psychiatrist. We know she is a kid who does not "fit in the box" so to speak, and we have accepted and loved all her eccentricities and her amazing gifts of intelligence and skill. I agree that there is nothing "wrong" with her, but she does have an illness that needs to be treated more aggresively.
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replied June 20th, 2009
Fellow mom of a Bipolar Child
Mauralex, I read your post and I could have written the same thing about my son! He is 20, and what I call the "Bipolar Monster" has had him in his grips for a straight 2 1/2 years. He's had symptoms since he was 5, became rageful and suicidal at age 12--very rapid cycling. Began counseling at that time, but the counselor wouldn't diagnose him. At age 18, became addicted to his first girlfriend and the bipolar became out of control. He also was a straight A student, and only acted out at home (or just with our family).

Last summer was crisis central here! I called 911 for the first time, and he's was put on a 72 hour hold, brought to the hospital in an ambulance, and then sent home in a CAB at 1:30 A.M. because he was no longer considered a danger to himself!! The psych system is CRAZY!!

Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that I am in the same boat as you are. I do not understand, though, why you have no control since your daughter is under 18?? I know we have no say in what treatment our son gets, and are lucky if the docs ask us for details. How could they ever get the truth from the sick person? They cannot even see what they do!

My son has ruined walls and doors in his rages, ruined 2 cars, lost 3 jobs, has lied, has stolen everything he can get his hands on and pawned them for cash, and now will face felony charges for stealing my credit card and purchasing 2000.00 worth of prepaid credit cards.

But, gee, when he is stable, he is the nicest kid, and very talented and artistic.

The "Bipolar Monster" makes him someone I don't even know...

Tough love is very emotionally difficult when you believe you may be causing your child to kill themselves in the process. My son also uses suicide over us. It only takes 1 irrational thought and a second in time to make that happen.

So...do we kick our kids out, and risk their making that stupid selfish decision that will affect the whole family for the rest of our lives? Or do we keep allowing them to run our lives with their illness?

Part of my therapy as a mom of a child with bipolar disorder was to create a website just for parents of kids (any age) with bipolar or other mental illness, to connect and support each other. If anyone wants to check it out, go to:
bipolarmonster.rsitez.com

Blessings to you as you ride the emotional roller coaster with your daughter!!
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replied June 20th, 2009
Thank you Millie for writing. It is nice to know someone else understands although I would not wish this on anyone. I truly believe some mental disorders and high intelligence go hand in hand...look at Einstein! Most of my friends do not understand the severity of my daughter's illness and the horrific daily rollercoaster we ride. Our therapist suggested that I may be suffering from post traumatic stress disorder from the constant violent outbursts. Now I jump at the sound of a pin dropping! Like you said, I feel held hostage by her threats of suicide because she HAS acted on her threats quite often. Last time she swallowed a bottle of asprin. Can I risk kicking her out, so to speak, and having her die?? My husband says she'd do it anyway and he is probably right. But she has amazing gifts and she could have a rewarding career if we could just get this under control. I may die in the process from the stress but what choice do I have? I think I need to try to change some laws that give us more control. I will look at your website. In the meantime, I hope you find peace with your son, and if you need a compassionate ear, write back.
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replied June 21st, 2009
Hi again, Mauralex! I agree with the PTSD (I feel I am finally recovering from extreme anxiety and panic--mostly due to the co-dependency I realized was becoming a huge problem--I have come a LONG way in the last 2 years), and I have a 3 year old who will have to have counseling sometime. She has been present during her big brother's rages many times since she was 1, and cannot handle any loud noises, and is scared of "boys" (and men), to the point that outsiders would think she has been abused! She tells her brother that she doesn't like him and screams if he comes near her. Of course she has learned she can't trust him--one minute he may be happy and friendly, but the next, if something happens he can't deal with, he starts yelling and raging. She hasn't learned to keep her opinions to herself yet--she tells him she doesn't love him and she wants him to go away (probably what the rest of my family would love to say!)! I know it kills him inside, because he loves her, but he just does not understand how his behavior has forever hurt her. AND the rest of us.

He has stolen so much from us, and said horrible things to us...but, then he breaks his cell phone and expects that we will get him a new one because he can't live without one--he with no job and no money!

Does Bipolar cause your daughter to only think of herself? When she rages, does she "black out" and not remember things she has said or done? There have been times when my son would start the raging and destruction and the non-stop swearing, and then he would go away and calm down, come back to find me crying and ask "what's wrong"! He had no idea why I would be so upset. He was all of a sudden just fine, and I was shell shocked!

You are right when you say that your friends do not understand...most people don't have a clue about Bipolar! I told my best friend who moved away a few years ago about my son being diagnosed and what we were going through last year. She and I were next door neighbors and our kids grew up together through elementary school. She was there when my son began the extreme mood swings at age 12. She recently said she didn't realize he was sick, she thought he was just a spoiled brat! And that is probably what most people would think if they saw the kid's reactions from hearing the word "no". But they react that way because they just do not know how to handle the extreme emotions they feel.

Right now...I do not know what to do. My son is facing felony charges because during one of his manic episodes, he stole my credit card number and purchased $2000 worth of prepaid credit cards which he and his girlfriend used to purchase items from stores and return them for cash. Because he has stolen so much money and property in the last two years--due to bipolar or drug addiction, or just an addiction to theft?? I don't know--since the evidence is plain and clear for credit card fraud, I am allowing him to be accountable for his actions finally. And, he finally wants to be accountable, but scared to death of jail.

After ALL he has done, I know he should not be living with us! Being caught with the credit card theft may not even stop his addictive behavior with stealing our stuff to pawn for cash. He says he's done, but he has said that many times, and things just keep disappearing. I hate that I feel taken advantage of! I hate that my own son could destroy me like he has. It would be so easy to say "get out" if he did not have a mental illness!

The only way I can look at him and not constantly think of everything bad he has done, is as a Believer in Christ, I have forgiven him. I know God has a bigger plan for him than what is happening in his life now. And, I know that if I didn't forgive him, I would be forever held hostage by my anger. I know that my son could do nothing that God wouldn't forgive him for (if my son asked for it), so I couldn't do any less. It was when I chose to forgive him for everything he has said or done to us, is when I felt free! The anger and anxiety and panic and stress just kind of melted away. Oh, it shows up now and then...but, for the most part I have been healed. Believe me...I thought I would die from the stress too--or end up in the psych ward myself!

Are you on any meds? I know I could not do without my anti depressants. Even if I accidentally miss a day or two, I find I will very easily cry. Last year, when my son started the "crisis roller coaster", and I was a basket case, I asked my doctor for anti anxiety meds, just to help me through each day then. They really helped.

Honestly, without my faith (and my meds!), I would have given up long ago.

Hope you will consider the Bipolar Monster site. It's new (about 50 parents have joined so far), and mostly just me on the forum--the members seem to be shy! At least you and I could connect! Maybe I'll see you there!

Blessings to you, and take care!

Milly
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replied June 21st, 2009
Milllie,
Sounds like your son is my daughter in a male's body!! I too have younger children who have to view things they never should have to. I have had them hide upstairs during her throwing fits. They love her but they also "can't stand her." I am sure you get that. Yes my daughter thinks only of herself. She also has blacked out. She is also impatient. If she wants MCDonald's, she wants it NOW! I try not to give in, but it is hard when she starts destroying thing or threatening. We have called the cops on her numerous times. Like you said too, when she is calm she works well with her dogs and she is creative. I am considering meds for me. I was on them years ago when she was a toddler...she too showed VERY early signs...tantrums that were severe and lasted HOURS everyday. I have a question about your website...I can't find the cost anywhere. I'd like to join, but I searched and searched and could find no mention of cost although I know it costs something. Thanks.
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replied June 21st, 2009
Bipolar Monster
Hi Mauralex,
I just checked the Bipolar Monster site, and see that you did join! Thank you! The cost is $10 a month with the first 2 weeks free. But, you need to go through the Paypal site to finish the subscription. Can you do paypal from where you live? Let me know if you have any problems.

After you register, log in to Bipolar Monster with your email and password, and you can make a profile with pics, music, whatever. You can make a blog and post in the forum. You can even post articles you find which might help other parents.

I certainly don't mean to take anyone away from this nice forum, but if there are any other parents of kids who have bipolar, or symptoms of bipolar or other mental illness, you are welcome to check Bipolar Monster out! BipolarMonster.rsitez.com

Right now, if you register (including the subscription), make your profile, and post 5 questions or replies, you get a year free! Otherwise, like I said, you get the first 2 weeks free, then $10 a month.

We are new, so some great parent participation is needed to support others and to get support!

Mauralex, I am looking forward to continuing our conversation--sounds like we have a lot in common!

If anyone else is interested in just "parent talk", come on over to Bipolar Monster.

Milly
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