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How to Deal With Your Child’s Diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder


It’s been a few months now since we got the news that our six year old son has early onset bipolar disorder and sensory disorder. I still can’t believe it sometimes.  And, then other times I look at him and I see what is there, right in front of me. Everything I had to deal with growing up but without the omission of something being wrong.  Still as a mother I do not want my son’s diagnosis to define him, his behavior or how he deals with society. Because as a good friend told me.

You cannot let your disability or your diagnosis define you or your actions because society does not treat you or awknowledge your issues when you behave badly, act up or do things to hurt others. They treat you like everyone else whose being a jerk and unkind. So we have to teach our children to be strong, act kindly, follow the rules and not let them use their disabilities to excuse their actions or behavior.

She’s right you know. Society doesn’t see the challenges my son faces. In fact, most people see my son as a healthy and amazing six year old boy, who runs and plays with his friends and smiles when the sprinkle is swirling around him and giggles when he tosses a cup of water at you to get you wet.

They don’t see…

  • Foods need to be in order. Milk has to poured just right, the right size spoon need to be had and the same spot has to be sat in during a meal.
  • New things can throw an entire day off balance and create a mood swing.
  • Lack of understanding when it comes to emotions and hurting others. But on the opposite side of that an overly caring and affection sensory that pushes to help and break up fights started by others.
  • Lack of sleep due to over sensor-stimulation throughout the day
  • Severe separation anxiety
  • Sore legs and falling continuously when tired (okay people see this one) they bandage him up afterwards lol

Each day is a new challenge with Trace and I’m still trying to get a grip on this whole thing. The hardest part for me as a mother is knowing what part is my son being a typical, defiant, tell it like it is, no-nonsense child and what part is his bipolar disorder.

This past week Trace has told me on more than one occasion the following things:

  • He hates himself.
  • He hates us.
  • He wishes he were dead.
  • Nobody loves him.
  • He’s angry with himself (due to his behavior)
  • He’s such a bad boy.
  • He wishes to kill himself.
  • He should run away.
  • He hates this planet (that one is my favorite!)

It’s hard — you know. Not only understanding but dealing with your child having such feelings, especially at such a young age. Six year old’s should be happy and carefree, not upset or wishing they did not exist.

It’s my job as a mom to make sure Trace knows his own worth. Lord knows I didn’t when I was his age. I felt exactly the same. Mind you my own diagnosis didn’t come until I was 25 years old.  Knowing what is wrong, knowing my child’s diagnosis is half the battle, I think.

What can you do to help deal with your child’s diagnosis of early on-set Bipolar Disorder?

Join a forum or group for support – There are quite a few online that you can jump into and the parents there are suffering with worry and fears, just like yourself. One of my favorites is over at Circle of Moms. A great community for parents for a variety of topics. They have a group for early onset bipolar disorder in children.

Find support at your local Mental Health Community Center – It can be scary involving mental health into your lives, I know. But most communities have support for children struggling with mental illness and you can find a variety of resources to help guide you.

Read about the signs and symptoms of Bipolar Disorder – Look online, or ask your doctor if they have any information on the subject. Your local Mental Health Center can help here as well.

Find a Doctor who cares and is well versed in mental illnesses in children – I cannot stress the importance of this one. Without a good doctor your child has no chance to continue with their not only their mental health but physical health as well.

Each day is a new day for us as a family in dealing with our special abilities that each of us has. But one thing is for sure. My kids are kids, happy and each day I try to reinforce their positive qualities and encourage them to work on the things that need improving.

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