When Parenting a Child With Bipolar Disorder Seems Overwhelming


I try so very hard to not let life get me down. We’ve been dealt a hard hand, but we persevere. It’s life, and that’s what you do. But I’d be lying if I didn’t admit there are days that kick me in the gut, steal my breath and stop my heart.

I give you the good, the bad and the ugly. I don’t sugarcoat. I won’t. I’ll respect my son and his privacy as much as I can while still trying to share our struggle — his struggle — so others know they aren’t alone. And so I don’t lose my mind by bottling it up inside.

About two months ago, my son’s psychiatrist upped his medications. It had adverse effects, and after two weeks, his doctor dropped him back down to the lower dose. But eventually, the low dose began affecting him like the high dose had — he’d cry and grow aggressive. Our doctor said this could happen with a dual diagnosis of autism and bipolar (and ADHD — and then some.) He said sometimes treating one will make the other worse.

He was right. So I took Liam off the medication, with the doctor’s permission. I won’t let my son live that way.

As I sit here tonight, and I see him sitting on the couch, I’m brokenhearted. He’s not playing. He’s not talking. He doesn’t want anyone to bother him. He’s refusing to play with his older brother. He’s merely a shell of the boy that I once knew.

It’s not fair. It’s not right. He is 8 years old. Why in the world does he have to deal with this? Why does his life have to be so hard? I always try to see the positive in life, but today I see none of that. Today I see a little boy who has more on his plate than those three times his age.

Yes, I’m thankful for my son, for our lives and for waking up to his beautiful face every morning. But I’m pissed that this life has to be so hard for him. For me. For his father. Being a parent is tough. Being a parent that has no control over your child’s life is even tougher. I can’t make the Bipolar go away. I can’t take away the pain. I can’t make the cycles stop. Autism has nothing on Bipolar. Bipolar is evil, and it robs my son of the happy life he deserves.

Today I’m wallowing.

Tomorrow I will get up and I will kick Bipolar’s arse.

For my son.

Because nothing else matters, and he deserves to be happy.

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