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Welcome to CareNotes. In this special section we will feature a reader's letter and provide an opportunity for an interactive exchange that will help find some answers and possible solutions to concerns. If you wish to respond to this letter, simple follow the link provided at the end of the letter and add your comments and thoughts to our CareNotes Board.

This Week's Carenote - 09/06/11
My daughter was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in her teens. She is now 31 years old and it has been an extreme struggle. She had a child with her boyfriend of 10 years. Her daughter is now six years old. They live with us and she refuses to take care of her daughter. Her moods are extreme; she is either very up or very down. She will not take no for an answer when she wants something. We have a lot of animals that I do not want because of this. She follows us around like a child, nagging us for days until we canít deal with it anymore and give in. Is this normal for a person with bipolar disorder? I mentor her medication, but the meds never seem to help. When she is down, she sleeps all day and refuses to get up. I myself suffer with depression from time to time, but not as severe as hers.  My mother and grandmother suffered with it, too. I am not sure how to help her. As she gets older, she is getting worse. Do you have any suggestions?


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Name: Connelly Stewart
Location: Frederick, MD
Date: 09/06/2011
Time: 09:07 AM


Your situation sounds very difficult and untenable. I would recommend a second opinion and medication review for your daughter. Bipolar Disorder is generally amenable to treatment - but it is often either misdiagnosed or the doctor has not found the right combination of medications to control the symptoms. If you can get her symptoms under control you can shift your focus to yourself and your granddaughter. It's hard to know if the "nagging, following, entitled" sort of behavior is a symptom or more a personality trait. I highly recommend family therapy and please take care of yourself!

Name: Jeanie
Location: Tallahassee
Date: 09/06/2011
Time: 07:34 AM


I have dealt with my mother's bipolar / mannic-depressive disorder for 35 years. It seems if she is on the right medication she does okay but she doesn't like the side effects of the meds so she often doesn't take it on purpose. Apparently they love the high they feel when they get manic. My brother who is now 46 has also shown signs of this illness for the last few years. It usually starts with a stressful event that leads to him not being able to sleep for several days and then he gets out of control. He has been hospitalized several times but refuses to take medication so he does okay for a few weeks and then has another episode. We really need to see if there is a support group for families/friends of bipolar disorder patients. At this point we are having to use a tough-love approach with my brother because he refuses medication and because he lives with my Mom it has become unsafe for him to be there so we have had to ask him to move out. He doesn't have anywhere to go. He recently divorced because he refused to take medication and now he cannot see his children without supervision. You may need to get your daughter's doctor more involved and eventually take the same approach of tough-love if you cannot get her stabilized. You cannot jeopardize your own health and well being. Especially if what you are trying is not really helping her anyway it is just hurting you and her child too. I would certainly get doctors and authorities involved. Get involved in a bible believing church and surround yourselves with praying friends. Jesus loves you all and can guide you through this very difficult time.

Date: 09/06/2011
Time: 05:57 AM


Look up NAMI online. natl. inst mental health. Find support groups, etc. in your area. Also if she has not already, contact a social security lawyer,. Bipolar qualifies her for disability. but you've got to have the medical paperwork to get it. I went through the exact same thing with my son. You need to bite the bullet, swallow hard and do tough love. It will only get worse if you don't. She has no reason to take care of herself or the child because you do it all. Kick her out. period! if you think truly think she can't care for the child, seek legal custody of your grandchild. the child should be being watched closely for signs of her own problems so they can be treated early. Your daughter needs to be better evaluated and probably have her medications changed or adjusted. It took 4 different doctors and an eventually emergency hospital stay in order to get someone to listen to me. He takes 3 different meds to control his bipolar I and finding those took a LOT of trial and error. Your daughter has to have her back put up against the wall so she will seek help. My son did nothing until I kicked him out and I've known other who did the same. He's not perfect now, but he can at least care for himself at 28 years of age. It's VERY hard thing to do because you love them and are afraid for them. But If you don't, she'll never learn and what will become of her when you can't be there anymore? Next time she has an extreme mood swing, call the police and get her committed. It's better than risking injury to the child or herself, you or others which believe me is a VERY REAL possibility. Approx. 30% of bipolar commit suicide and causing injury to others is also quite high. . Best wishes and strength to you!



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