I was watching another episode of Discovery Health Channel's Psych Week. If you have missed it so far I would really encourage you to see if you can find it online or to look for reruns. Last night's episode was 'Bipolar Mysteries' and was the one out of all of them that I had been interested the most. It told the stories of four families dealing with the diagnosis of bipolar disorder in their children.
I know how much L struggles with understanding and accepting his illness and how much he struggles with the anger, poor impulse control (Just the other day he almost went and got a dog from the humane society. Luckily he called me first), depression, being suicidal at times, and all the other symptoms of bipolar disorder he has experienced. Seeing these YOUNG kids, the youngest of them was only 4 years old, struggle with these same things was heartbreaking. How do you explain all of this to such a young child? I have problems knowing how much Miss K at 3 1/2 years old understands of her daddy's illness but the thought of her having these struggles herself is one of my biggest worries.
I tried finding some numbers on the occurrence of bipolar disorder in children with a bipolar parent. The show last night claimed that 1 in 6 of these children will also have bipolar disorder. Others say it is 1 in 10. A study from 2009 said that 'Birmaher and colleagues looked at 233 parents with bipolar disorder and their 388 children, ages 6 to 18. They were compared with a control group of 143 parents and 251 children with no family history of the condition.
Overall, 10.6 percent of the children with a bipolar parent had signs of a bipolar spectrum disorder (which includes a range of symptoms from severe to less so) or a mood or anxiety disorder. In comparison, only two children, or 0.8 percent, in the control group had such symptoms."
One of my biggest worries is not that I could lose my girls (though that is of course something just about every parent worries about) but what effect L's illness will have on them. Will they too struggle with bipolar disorder or some other mental illness? I am always keeping a close eye on them in an attempt to catch any problems when they first occur. And maybe in a year or so after Miss K has turned 4 we will start sending her to counseling as a preventive measure. It helps me to talk to someone so I am hoping that the same will be true for her.
I, personally, LOVE birthdays. L, not so much. In fact, he could go without celebrating it all together (as long as he gets cake and present...
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Today's guestblogger is Steven. You can find him on twitter as @EatsShootsEdits . He also blogs on his own blog 'The Emperor has no ...