Saturday, May 09, 2009

The Bi-Polar Child

After two friends of mine, from two different circles of friends, mentioned reading this book, I thought I'd better pick it up.

I'll warn you from the start, The Bipolar Child by Demitri Papolos, M.D. and Janice Papolos is not light reading. In fact, I did not even attempt to read the entire book.

The Papolos' delve deep into the subject of Early-Onset Bipolar Disorder - apparently a topic which most medical professionals don't believe exist (the authors explain why). They cover diagnosis, treatments, what may be happening - or not happening - in the child's brain. Overall, this is a very technical book which the average layperson would have problems understanding.

What you can understand, or at least realize, is the tragic circumstances these families find themselves in. The Papolos' have included stories from different families covering what they've experienced, how they've coped - or not coped, and their emotional journey in dealing with the various aspects of having an ill child.

Here's just a taste:

Friends, teachers, and the outside world cannot fathom what the parent is talking about (if the parent talks about it al all). But one mother who managed to catch an entire rage with a tape recorder wrote:

'Many of our friends and even some of the professionals who work with us have not seen Robby in his full glory. They cannot believe that this sweet, charming, affectionate, and outgoing child coudl possibly be violent or bipolar. They just assume we are not firm enough with him, or pay too much attention to him.

So I got it on tape from start to finish - the screaming and yelling that he's going to kill me, kill the cats...

Now anytime a friend says: "But he's so wonderful whenever we see him" I can pull out the tape and say, "Have a listen to this."
I cannot imagine what my two friends have gone through, are going through. Reading this book gave me a slight taste of what life may be like for them. It's given me an insight into their life, into how to pray for them, and if possible, be a support for them.

If you, as a parent, wonder if there's something wrong with you because your child is behaving the way he/she does, please read this book. It may be as simple as a discipline issue. It may be much, much more.

If you are a teacher, pastor, or other professional who works with children, please read this book. One of my friends says since she read this book, she realized her children needed to be evaluated for early-onset bipolar disorder. She also says after she spends time in a classroom she can spot the child who needs further evaluation.

No comments: