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Behavior: Social Skills, Self Esteem

Mental Illness Awareness

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Joined: Nov 03, 2005
Posts: 69138
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Posted Mar 19, 2002 at 12:30:12 PM
Subject: Mental Illness Awareness

My daughter, 14, is severely Bipolar (used to be called manic-depressive disorder), and so she's naturally been in and out of the hospital to get her meds and moods stabilized. What we run into are parents who refuse to let their kids associate with our daughter because she's been in the hospital, sees a psychiatrist and has weekly therapy. She's also had issues with substance abuse during her manic phases and attends a 12 step meeting for that as well. She's said a lot of her peers at school have problems with substance abuse or sexual promiscuity, and she tries to counsel them as best she can about where all that can end up.

She relates much better with adults, and her mainstay friends are usually over eighteen, and sometimes much older. She tells us that kids her age are so immature and are screwing up their lives. She's learned so much from her experiences, painful as they were to all of us, and she cooperates fully with her own personal journey of healing.

How can I get these other parents to understand that Christa has a mental illness under control and not a communicable disease? I'm realizing that I might have to step out of my comfort zone and advocate for mental illness awareness in our small rural community. What they don't understand, they won't accept...and perhaps if I can help even a few 'get it', then anyone with mental illness will benefit. Any suggestions you have will be gratefully considered. Thanks.


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Joined May 27, 2015
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Posted:Mar 21, 2002 1:03:49 PM

That the million dollar question. Not just for you but the world.
Mental Illness is a big secret. If it was call a chemical imbalance of
the brain that can be stablized with needed meds. Maybe more people
could understand. If they knew the warning signs of a break. Maybe
more people could understand.
Some people see Mental Illness as only crazy. Once crazy always crazy.
Some do not believe it is real. (drowning case in TX.)
Your best bet would be to get books on your daughters dx.
Make sure you let them know what type of Bipolar she is.
Seasonal, is alittle easier to take then rapid cyclers.
Then if you can get them to read. Let them know she is compliant
and on meds. That is the best you can hope for. By the way
she will always have this to deal with. My daughter has lost
left two jobs because of the way she is treated after someone
finds out. Also be careful of the older crowd, your daughter is no doubt bright.
And Bipolars are very convincing actressess.
Hope this helps....
Mom to a Bipolar Rapid cycler with ocd.

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Joined May 27, 2015
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Posted:Mar 21, 2002 6:41:19 PM

Parents may be worried about teens socializing alone with another teen who has had a substance abuse problem. Some of these parents may be willing to let their child participate in a social event where the parents are present too. So to help the other parents get to know your child and see how well she is doing at managing the behaviors that worry them, consider something like family barbecue, mother-daughter book club, family bowling group, etc. Whatever might appeal to the (Moms especially) of the kids your daughter wants to socialize with. This would be an easier approach if your daughter were younger. Teens especially want to do things without their parents, but it may be one way to establish relationships with the parents so the friendships among the teens can have a chance.

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Joined May 27, 2015
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Posted:Apr 08, 2002 1:22:28 PM

Hi Bonita,

I've been following your posts with your journey with your daughter. You ladies have certainly been through a lot. I'm glad you have found some answers that suit both you and your daughter by taking her out of school. I have a confession to make though and maybe you can help. We have a neighbor whose 14-year-old son was diagnosed Bipolar last year. But I have to tell you the harsh reality of what we saw prior to the diagnosis was very scary and even though I have a little information on the illness, the truth is that the behaviors were frightening to witness from the outside. I truly feel for the family who has gone through this, but maybe the same thing may be happening with your daughter's peers. I think it is just plain fear of the unknown. My 11-year-old daughter plays with this boy's sister, but I am uncomfortable when they play at her house because of the past. He seems to be more stabilized than he was a year ago but that fear is still there. I think too that parents really don't know what or how much to tell their kids about mental illness, how much can a 14-year-old truly understand about their friend with Bipolar since their are such ups and downs sometimes. I know proper meds help stabilize but our neighbor still does some pretty questionable things and needs to be supervised. But I feel terrible feeling this way because I know he can't help it, but I'm worried about my kids too. I am also saddened that this boy has very few friends who come to visit. Maybe it is just the awareness factor. Bipolar does not get much favorable play in the media and it does seem like a serious matter. Any advice for me to better understand? Thanks in advance.

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Joined Jan 06, 2004
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Posted:Jan 07, 2004 1:27:01 AM

hi bonta

i am 50 years old now and i ben just dinost as having bypolar 2
i had sence about your dauters age back then peaple did not understand what mental illness was.

by polar is a chemcol inbalnce in the brain it can be controld with drugs and "talk therphy" but she is going to have to won't to take her med to keep it uner controled.
mine is right now but as soon as i don't take them i get untstable and i do not won't that to happen
i hope this helps


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