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Lorraine Skiles

from Hayes, VA

I have a three-and-a-half year old child that fits more in the bipolar illness than ADHD(attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). He has been kicked out of two daycares in the last year. I really started noticing his behavior was becoming very disturbing just before his second birthday.  I had many tests done on him: EEG to check for seizures, developmental tests through the school board for his age group, both of which came out fine. I even took him to see a developmental pediatrician who told me he didn't see any signs of neurological disorders, but suspected my son might be bipolar. He was very certain it was not ADHD. This doctor is not a psychiatrist, but he deals with many children, and I felt he might be onto something. Two weeks later, I learned I was bipolar too; how ironic! The pediatrician suggested taking my son to a psychiatrist.

I tried and tried and tried to find someone that would see him at his age, but no one would.  After speaking to many people about his personality and behavior I had to go through everyday, I felt as if no one wanted to touch this mental illness in children his age! 

At this point, I am very upset that I cannot find help for him, and for myself, to learn how to handle these mood swings and confrontations with him.  He seems to be confused sometimes with how he is feeling: one minute he is one way and the next he is another, like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

I won’t go into details here as to what his behavior is like, but with being kicked out of two daycares, you can just imagine!  He is definitely defiant and very moody, very aggressive and sometimes a sweetheart.  He told me the other day, he was going to cut me up in pieces!  How does a three year old understand that!  He talks about hitting, pushing and hurting others all the time as if he enjoys it!  It comes to him very spontaneously, as though he has no control over what he is doing or saying!

I cannot find anyone to help.  His pediatrician said she would prescribe Adderall or Strattera if I wanted, but I looked them up and don’t like the side effects. Plus, are they really the answer or just a cover up to the real problem? I just need some help in how to raise a bipolar child, have authority in the subject diagnose in my son, so I know what to do! Actually, quite often it is hard to love someone that is so aggressive and angry.  I do love him very much, but it hurts. Please, help!

Looking back, what could have been done at the time to improve the situation? Treatment, medication, a different approach, or understanding from others around you?

I would like someone to help families and children with bipolar cope in a positive way. There may be help out there, but it is not in my area.

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