Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Announcements

Visit our Crisis Assistance Link for resources. For immediate help, get to the ER.

*No Dr Outside Contact Please*
Possible trigger: how to tell kiddos about mental illness
avatar
monkeybee posted:
Have any of you moms ever been symptomatic of Bipolar around your young children? My daughter has seen me crying frequently during a mixed episode and been very worried. She has also asked me during a manic episode, when I talked out loud because I couldn't control my pressured speech, who I was talking to or she's asked what I was laughing about when I was laughing for no reason. She also often asks why I'm taking medicine. And she wonders, I'm sure, why there have been times lately when mommy lays on the couch and the house is a disaster and other times when I obsess about its cleanliness. I feel so bad for her especially.

My therapist has suggested I tell my daughter "there will be times when mommy ___" --fill in the blank. And we decided we'd talk more about that later. But, I wanted to ask some of you other moms how you have handled this in the past with children who are old enough to observe and be frightened but not old enough to understand. When and how did you tell them? How do you not make it a big deal to them?

Thanks,
Monkeybee
Reply
 
avatar
slik_kitty responded:
there's a website i found years ago to help kids understand bipolar, but i can't find it. i found another one instead. this might help.

http://www.camh.ca/en/hospital/health_information/for_children_youth/Pages/when_parent_bipolar.aspx
 
avatar
bpcookie responded:
Im sure that there are a few ppl here who can help you with this. I have a daughter and I know that I had told her about my Bipolar but she is now 20 yrs old and I can't remember what I told her. Sorry that I am of no help. But I will give you a big hug. (((((((((((((((((((((( hugs))))))))))))))))
WebMD Health Ambassador, BpCookie
 
avatar
monkeybee replied to bpcookie's response:
Thanks Cookie! (((((((((((((hugs)))))))))))))))) to you too! I know you're having a rough time. I'm sorry.
 
avatar
monkeybee replied to slik_kitty's response:
Thank you so much! This is great info; I'm going to print it off and figure out how to apply it to a 5 year old. Have a great day and thanks again for your help!
 
avatar
skypper responded:
When my kids were young I didn't know I had bipolar only that I knew I wasn't well sometimes. And that's what I would say, mommy isn't well today and we can't do this right now or I really need you to help me because I'm sick today and it would really help. Usually it was just things like us not going to the park or them playing quietly and picking up after themselves, things like that. I felt bad but at the time there was nothing I could do other than try and be calm or relax, you know?

I think your therapist had a good idea though.

Ok, now flash forward to now. My kids are now 17, 15 & 13. I was diagnosed bipolar I in Oct 2007. I never told them I am bipolar because I didn't want them to use it as an excuse for their bad behavior, idk my kids are teens now and they get these attitudes at times and tell me things like well it's your fault because you raised us or things like that that they already say that drive me crazy.
Well last month my dd was having some issues herself so I had to disclose that I was bipolar but that doesn't mean she or any of them will be as well because it's a complex illness and not always passed down. So now she knows and I think she's actually been a little better since. I'm still not sure whether I should tell my boys, like I'm thinking do they really need to know? I'm just not sure. My little one did ask me re:my meds and asked if I was going to die form whatever I had and I told him no but that it just means I have to take extra care of myself, and he seemed satisfied with that and moved on.

I'm going to take a look a the link kitty posted too, thanks.
~Sky~
When nothing's going right, go left!
 
avatar
monkeybee replied to skypper's response:
Thanks for sharing that Sky. One of my concerns with calling it by name is her sharing with someone I would not want to know (which is most people) but since there have been times that have been hard for us both, I will need to tell her something, if not now, the next time it starts to get bad. Mental illness just really, really sucks--for everyone!
 
avatar
CanadianDyanne replied to monkeybee's response:
Hi Sarah,

Your dd sounds very mature for her age and really cares about her Mum, that is so sweet.
Sometimes less is more, so just keep it short and simple I think. My Mum was BP and had lots of panic attacks. As a young child that part is what scared me. I think the best word is depression or very sad, something along those lines versus BP.
"Sometimes Mothers just get really sad and need to rest, thats why when I feel good I want to do as much as I can and laugh alot. The best part is I always always love YOU"

Dyanne
 
avatar
monkeybee replied to CanadianDyanne's response:
Thank you for the great advice Dyanne! My daughter is very observant and mature for her age. She does worry about me so and it breaks my heart...but she is so sweet. I actually think the statement you said is perfect. Sometimes when I cry (that's the hardest for me to control and hardest for her to see) she will just snuggle in my lap and tell me it will be ok. I wonder if she does think its about her? I so hope not. I have always just told her "mommy's just sad right now but I will be ok." I will have to reassure her more I think. I worry about her and I worry if I should get so bad that I can't care for my babies or something, what would happen. I worry if I should do something stupid, what would happen to my babies. I just worry. But right now, its just been a rough day so I am rambling a woe is me. Sorry and thank you.


Featuring Experts

Joseph F. Goldberg, MD, is a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY. He also maintains a private prac...More

Helpful Tips

JUST BREATHE!!!!
I did it! I'm where I need to be. I'm in waiting room, listining to a suggested song~ Fast Car ~ My all time fav. Thanks for the reminder. ... More
Was this Helpful?
4 of 5 found this helpful

Related News

There was an error with this newsfeed

Related Drug Reviews

  • Drug Name User Reviews

Report Problems With Your Medications to the FDA

FDAYou are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.