Monday, April 23, 2012

Partially Explaining Thing1

This comment was left on Thing1's Birthday Celebration...

"Thing one sounds like he is either selfish or has a substance abuse problem."

The answer is- absolutely.

I found this list here, there is not one thing on this list that does not describe my boy...

Parenting Awareness: Does Your Teenager Struggle With Any of the Following?

  • Family Conflict, Argumentative, Abusive Behavior

  • Blatant Disregard for Rules

  • Can't Accept "No" For an Answer

  • Abrupt Change in Personality

  • Never at Fault - Shifts Blame to Others

  • Uncontrollable Anger - Poor Emotional Control

  • Can't Accept Feedback - "Above the Law"

  • Manipulative - Pits Parents Against Each Other

  • "I hate you," attitude

  • "You can't make me," attitude

  • Substance Abuse - Alcohol or Drugs

  • Can't Keep Friends - Peer Problems

  • Fighting - Violence and/or Bullying

    • Are there signs of Mania?
    • Racing Speech and Thoughts
    • Increased Energy and/or Decreased Need for Sleep
    • Elevated Mood (Exaggerated Optimism)
    • Increased Physical & Mental Activity
    • Excessive Irritability, Aggression, and Impatience
    • Poor Judgement: Reckless, Risky, or Erratic Behavior
    • Difficulty Concentrating
    • Inflated Sense of Self-Importance
      Are there signs of Depression?
    • Loss of Interest in Familiar Activities
    • Depression - Diagnosed or Observed?
    • Prolonged Sad or Irritable Mood
    • Loss of Energy, Including Fatigue
    • Feelings of Guilt or Worthlessness
    • Sleeping Too Often or Inability to Sleep
    • Drop in Academic Performance: Inability to Concentrate
    • Inability to Experience Pleasure
    • Appetite Loss or Overeating
    • Anger, Internal Stress (Worry) & Anxiety
    • Thoughts of Death or Suicide
    Just as much as autism is part of Alex but does not define everything he is, Thing2, Walter and Goofy have ADHD but they are more than that, bipolar disorder is part of Thing1 but it's not everything that is him. He can be a big jerk. He can be selfish and disrespectful. He has serious anger issues and can be violent. I can go on and on but I have already listed his faults in the symptoms of bipolar disorder, you need to know there is more to him than that. He can be super loving, the sweet smile when he tells me "yeah, I don't like you either." the laughter and joy written plain as day on his face when he cuts up with my brother, the tenderness with which he deals with his daughter, the look of pride when he talks about her. The fierce love he has for his daughter's mother, the protectiveness he has for his brother. He is more than bipolar. He is Thing1.

    He does have substance abuse problems and not only for self-medicating bipolar disorder. Excuses will only take you so far and I am in no way making excuses for his issues. at all. I've been fighting these issues since he was 13 years old and I'm not about to give up now but the boy has not had an easy life. His mother's story is not mine to tell but there were some issues there, his Dad got custody when he was 12, I believe. By the time I met his dad, he was already smoking cigarettes and pot. His sister was killed the summer of his 13th year which magnified the problems and he turned even more fully to things to take the pain away, he refused to talk to anyone. by 14 he was sexually active and sneaking out of the house at night and drinking, 15 he had already been through rehab, 16 he was out of control and 17 he had his daughter who did calm him quite a bit. I don't know what it's going to take to sober the boy up, I've tried everything I possibly can, his Dad has tried and now his mother is involved. I'm to the point now that the only thing I ask is that he doesn't bring it home but with the bipolar "Blatant Disregard for Rules" and  "Above the Law" attitude, it's not working. This is why Big Daddy decided- enough. You're 18, you will follow the rules or you will leave.


    1. Wow. He has had a lot to deal with. It sounds like he needs a good support system and you guys have offered (and continue to offer) exactly that.

      I hope he's able to grow up very quickly and deal. And I do wish he'd get some medication or SOMETHING.

    2. It's really hard to draw that line in the sand. He's made it this far, through some apparently pretty rough times.

    3. Kids with bipolar are left behind in the school system, I think, because so much of the behavior seems like a 'choice.' And it is, but it isn't. Am I making sense?

      1. Definitely. We have trouble sometimes remembering that being bipolar has a lot do do with the way he acts and assume it's just him being a jackass. He can be a frustrating child but I know not all of it is him and if he has the correct treatment, this IS NOT the way he is. He ended up leaving school to do high school online and his grades are much higher than when he was enrolled in the traditional classes.

    4. Now it's my turn to thank you for your timely-ness! Today my son turned sixteen. I wrote this article not long ago, and it's about him. I have been watching him all evening and remembering some of the fear he used to give me. Some of the horrible things I was afraid he may become. He isn't bipolar, he is just... him. I truly don't know why or how he found his way to becoming the beautiful young man he is (usually!) today. But when we were struggling I noticed a lack of willingness in the world to talk about mean and violent kids in anything but hushed tones. I think that was one of the problems (again, my son isn't bipolar) because it made us feel like those were issues we should hide or medicate. Anyway, I'm sharing the article, but don't feel obligated to read it. I don't think there's anything in there you need to hear (plus, I admit to something pretty yucky about myself), it's just that my head has been in this place much of the day and your blog made me feel like you've been here with me! Hugs!

    5. He's lucky to have you guys. Sounds like he's had it rough, poor kid. I love how you put everything into full perspective. You're amazing!

    6. Tough LOVE!!! It is the hardest thing for any parent or family member to live through. But through personal experience I can tell you LOVE him through it!! And continue to be TOUGH!! He will come around. Best of LUCK!!