By: Camryen Walker
The teenage years are difficult by themselves, let alone with the added stress of a mental illness or disorder of some kind. As parents, we can see the struggle and we want to help, but often are unsure of how to do that. This article can give you some direction with regard to helping your son or daughter through the tough teenage phase when they are dealing with Bipolar specifically.
If you are the parent of a son or daughter with Bipolar disorder, you know that they go through periods of mania followed by periods of intense depression. Pay attention to anything that might be triggering these phases. We are all different, and even though there are tons of people with Bipolar, no one has the exact same experience with it as your teen does. So, the more you know about the specific case that you are dealing with, the more you can help to treat it. Always think of your teenage son or daughter as a specific person with specific needs, triggers, struggles, and feelings that others may or may not have. Many parents end up lumping their child into a stereotypical group of “Bipolar people,” in their attempt to research the disorder and learn more about what is going on in their child’s body. Although it is important to read up on the disorder, your focus needs to remain on your son or daughter as a person, and what they need specifically.
It is important to realize that especially in cases like Bipolar disorder, nothing can replace the impact and help that professionals can give you. No matter how much you read on the topic, you won’t have the same amount of knowledge or perspective as a licensed psychiatrist, psychologist, or counselor. They will open your eyes to the different treatment options, coping skills, and possible triggers for Bipolar. It will also help your child to be more aware of what is happening and learn to talk more openly about what they are feeling.
As I’m sure you’ve heard before, acceptance is the first step to overcoming any particular issue. This is also true for helping to feel better when it comes to Bipolar disorder. Many times it is difficult for teens to come to terms with the fact that they are suffering from mental disorder because it makes them different from their peers. The teenage mindset is that anything outside of the norm is unacceptable, and that is something that will need to be addressed right away in order for them to fully accept that they have Bipolar. Once they accept that this is the truth, it will be easier for them to improve because they will be motivated themselves as well as getting the outside help from you and the counselor.
Overall, never, ever give up. Although it will be difficult at times, try to remain calm and patient. You may not be an expert on the topic, but you will always be able to help by simply being there for your son or daughter and letting them know that you love and support them.
Author Bio- Camryen Walker is parent advocate with a huge interest and personal platform for helping families get through mental illness together. She, herself has experienced the toll it can take on family and friends when they do not pull together to support the emotional struggles of a loved one. Since then, she has committed herself to helping parents and families learn more about what they can do to help. To learn more, click on the link for tips for parents on how to better deal with mental illness in the family.