Saturday, January 8, 2011

Bi Polar

Bipolar. That word can mean something different to everyone. Some think it means you have highs and lows. You are depressed and then you are high as a kite. Some people think it means you're crazy. what does it mean for a 7 year old boy? It means that when he was 2 1/2 his mom noticed different behaviors. Crying fits that went beyond a tantrum. Having to have his way. Extreme rages. Extreme reactions when things didn't go his way. It meant when he was 3 and 4 and was physically hurting his mother, throwing things, slamming doors, banging on windows, going nuts in a moving vehicle. Then come the meds. This one makes no difference, this one makes him a zombie, this one makes his symtoms so much worse, this one works, but only for a short time. His siblings walk on egg shells because you just never know if he's going to blow up. When he is not raging, he is th sweetest boy. His smile lights up a room. His giggle is infectious. His hugs are the best. He idolizes his big brother. He has a great sense of humor.

This boy also has a learning disability. He gets frustrated easily. In the morning, if he's rushed, he shuts down. If his socks feel funny it may trigger a rage. If he wants something and can't find the words to communicate it he starts to wring his hands together. He grunts and fusses and his whole body just sort of jerks. If you try to ask him what he wants, it only makes it worse. He does not have the capibility to verbalize what he wants or needs. when he is asked to do something and simply can not do it, he unravels. It literally looks like someone going thru withdrawl. He craves order, things being the same, routine. He is not flexible to change.

This is just a glimpse. Every morning when he gets out of bed, we have to gauge whether or not it's going to be a good morning. Think about every single step of your morning routine. Then think what if at every turn, you are stopped. You can't go with the flow. The cereal you normally eat is gone, and you simply can't eat anything else. Get the idea? My son goes thru all of this every day. My other kids deal with his rages. But here is the kicker......we have hope. I have hope that because of all of the above, I will be a more compassionate human being. My kids will see that people suffer from mental illness and will not judge. My son is wonderful. I love the look on his face when he gets off the bus. I love watching him swim. I love that his sweet spirit radiates from him. I love watching him play with littler kids, and how he is so gentle with them. Yes, my son has bipolar disorder. It's a condition he has, not who he is.