BP is a physical illness that manifests itself in mood.
BTW how old is your son?
My son is 14 yrs old. He hid his depression for about 4 months and then started becoming very withdrawn and would just break down crying from time to time for now reason. He was having stomach problems and at first he was leading us to believe that his stomach med, nexium was causing the depression. They switched him to prevacid and the depression continued. He finally admitted to having felt very depressed for months.
When he first started having his episodes of extreme sadness, he would say that it felt like he already had died inside and that his soul was gone. He would break down and say he was feeling suicidal, we'd end up at the emergency room, mobile crisis would come and he would then have to go to the psychiatric hospital.
He hasn't been to school in 5 weeks and has social phobia where he doesn't want to be around others. They tried him on risperdal for 2 1/2 weeks, which made him have insomnia and visually hallucinate as well. He then went to someone who prescribed Seroquel. He was on it a week, during which he once again ended back up at the psych hospital and the doctor there took him off Seroquel and put him on Zyprexa. The doctor said that to work as an anti-psychotic he would have to give him like 700mgs and he would be in a zombie-like state.
We're in a terrible syndrome. As you know it can take weeks for meds to start working. The insurance kind of rushes things to make his stay short along with the fact that my son sugar coats how he's feeling sometimes after he's been there a while. The time before this was a 10 day stay in which nothing really positive came from it, other than he was kept safe.
He gets released, comes home still hearing voices 24/7 . They're not always distinguishable , but when they're really bad they drown everything out telling him to hurt himself or anyone else. The voices are becoming stronger and his resistance is wearing down. Just as of last week for the first time, they told him it made them happy to see blood and he started biting his lip. Then for the first time, (after other non harmful attempts in the past," he used a house key to cut up his arm. He then ran out of the house and to the shopping center that we live behind. He went into a business and asked for help and then ran out. He then went to a construction site and borrowed one of the worker's cell phones to call the police and tell them where he was.
These episodes usually last 20 to 30 minutes and he says it's like he's outside himself watching and has no control. Afterwards he's totally coherent and expresses extreme remorse and sorrow. He sees all this going on and is seemingly helpless to do anything about it.
We cannot pinpoint any event or happening in the past that might have triggered this specifically. There is a history on his mother's side of this however and his half brother is very bipolar. His mother is as well, but not to as great a degree.
Does his symptoms seem typical to you out there?
And has anyone else experienced the in and out of the hospital syndrome while waiting for meds to work if indeed they ever will?
Yes the meds do eventually work. Unfortunately its not always as simple as take pill A and you will feel better. Sometimes pill B and C are needed as well as Therapy. Sometimes pill A is totally wrong.
Above all BP is manageable. Probably your son has always had this illness but it has only just manifested itself. Maybe because of changes in his body, as he is at a crucial developmental stage.
Also it does sound familiar. He could be rapid cycling.
The best advice I can give you is to educate yourself about BP. Read everything you can get your hands on. There are also some very good websites out there in cyber world with sound information. I recommend going for the ones that are associated with a University or something reputable. Not sure about personal blogs. I would stay away from them.
It is important to keep him safe. The suicidal tendencies are hard to control in ones self. Don't leave him on his own when he comes out of hospital. Re assure him and tell him you love him no matter what. He needs your support. Also I would grill his docs for information and the reasons they put him on certain meds, what is the prognosis etc etc. Don't let doctors bamboozle you with technical terminology. Keep asking questions.
My son also became suicidal at 14 and subsequently was diagnosed with OCD and depression. It's heart breaking when your child says they don't want to live anymore. We got my son through it eventually but it took time and a lot of perseverance on my part. I was like a dog with a bone. I wouldn't let it go until I knew he was receiving the best possible care.
Sorry if I seem to be rambling. I get quite passionate when it come s to caring for the mental well-being of our children.
Thank you so much for the information and encouragement.
Unfortunately, when my son comes home he has to stay alone quite a bit. I have missed a half a month's pay from days I've taken off to meet with doctors, therapists, etc. His mom and I are divorced and most of her time is taken up with her 9 month old baby and she has recently lost her job. She really doesn't have a positive effect on him.
My elderly mother and sister live across the street, but are afraid that they can't handle him if he has an episode. My sister witnessed one where I was having to hold my son down while 911 was called and is now fearful of that occurring. He was going for a knife in a drawer. (They have all since been locked up.)
On top of that, I'm a UPS drive and having to work long hours during this holiday season. So as you see, I'm at wits end.
On a positive note, my son and I are very close and have a great relationship. He knows I love him and will stand beside him through thick and thin. I am very supportive and try to reinforce positive affirmations and visualizations. The voices just are overpowering him at this point. =(
I'm looking into residential care facilities in which he would live there, catch up on his schooling and have close monitoring of his meds. I'm just getting underway in seeing if I can find any supplemental insurance that can make this possible. As I stated earlier, ours just ran out of in stay hospitalization.
I feel so helpless and it seems like just when i see a ray of hope, it all goes up in smoke. I"m praying harder than I ever have, without God I don't think I could hold up through all this.
If only I can get him into a place that gives quality care until they figure out the right combination for his meds. They've set a tentative release date for Monday. Unless something drastic changes between now and then, I really don' t think he's safe to be home. I'm going to speak with his therapist when I visit with him tomorrow.
It's so sad, he's spent Halloween in the psychiatric hospital, he was there for Thanksgiving, and might be in one for Christmas as well.
Prior to 5 weeks ago, I can't remember the last time I even had to call him down for anything. He's kind, sensitive, caring polite and now the victim of all this craziness that has turned our lives upside down.
One last thing I might share.... He told me the other day that when he gets better and is of age, he wants to go into the mental health field and become a psychiatrist so that he might help others who are need of help. That really warmed my heart. =)
There is a wonderful book on the market called "An Unquiet Mind" by Kay Jamieson who has BP 1 and has dedicated her life to research into mood disorders. She is a pdoc and writes about her experiences with the illness not as a clinician. Your son might like to read it.
You sound like a great dad! I wish mine had been as loving and caring as you are.
Take heart that a solution will come. God moves mountains for us even if we sometimes think he's a bit slow on the uptake.
Wow. I just wanted to tell you that many of us are in similar situations - as hard as that may be to believe. I'm so touched that you are taking such great lengths to get the right answer for your kid. My 12 year old is about to get diagnosed (we're expecting ADHD, OCD, and possible BP) in a week and has also told me many times he wants to be in the medical profession. Our children are the most difficult and the most surprising. Hang in there.