Bipolar. Dictionary.com defines ‘bipolar’ as, “having two poles” and “characterized by opposite extremes”. I definitely agree with the second definition having witnessed it first-hand for the last 5+ years.
In April 2009 an amazing musical called ‘Next to Normal’ opened on Broadway. Aside from the outstanding acting, stunning set and rock ‘n roll lyrics was the basic synopsis of it – a mom with worsening bipolar II and how it affected her life and her relationship with her family. I even remember reading an article about it in my psychologist’s office. I never thought that I would be back in that same office four years later talking about bipolar in children.
The doctors started talking about it as a possibility when The Boy was seven. I thought for years it was ODD because I had done extensive research on ODD, talked with doctors, psychologists, etc. and figured he was the poster child for ODD. A social worker well-versed in pediatric bipolar even said it’s not diagnosed in anyone under age 18. The reason? It’s not a diagnosis given easily or lightly.
It took over two years along with years of problems with his home school (including no less than 20 suspensions when he was in kindergarten), bi-monthly doctor visits with several doctors, talks with various educators and years upon years of daily observations before they finally came to the conclusion it was pediatric bipolar, or pediatric bp as it’s also called.
All those years of anger, frustration, conflict, giddy one minute and a volcano the next and we finally had the answer to the last part of the puzzle that was The Boy. The next step was how to help him.
Check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Next_to_Normal if you want more information about ‘Next to Normal’.