Bipolar vs. Puberty
Posted On April 7, 2018
(Note: This is the second article in a 12-part series chronicling my experience as a Mental Health Mom of a Bipolar son going through puberty. If you have not read “Bipolar vs. Puberty Round One’, I encourage you to do so before reading this article as this article picks up where Round One left off.)
As the bell rings for Round Two of this brutal battle between my Bipolar son Adam and his predatory opponent Puberty, both are dancing around the ring a bit, checking each other out. Puberty has definitely gotten in a few upper cuts in the last 90-days but has not delivered a knock out punch…yet.
Adam’s mood stabilizer med change to Depakote right before the fight began still proves to have been the right decision. He is doing better on this med than he has on others in recent past. Now, if you are not a Mental Health Mom, you may interpret this to mean he is doing good.
If you are a Mental Health Mom than you know ‘better on this med than others’ doesn’t necessarily mean good, just better. Puberty definitely still has the upper hand in this fight.
In the time that has past since Round One, I have noticed several notable changes.
The first is the intensity of both fighters . Adam is inside his head more and quicker to anger. The difference now is he easily angers for what he says is ‘no reason.’ Earlier in this fight, the anger usually had to be triggered by an event but not so much anymore. It is just always there lying right below the surface.
While this anger (and need to fight and win) is a valuable asset inside the ring, it is detrimental to his happiness outside the ring.
Puberty has certainly upped his intensity in the last 90-days as well, executing hormone and metabolism changes at the speed of light. These jabs can throw Adam off balance at any given moment in time and are beginning to do so on a more consistent basis.
Perhaps the most impactful right-left-right series of monster jabs Pubery has landed on Adam in Round Two involve a vicious cycle of behaviors we have not seen in the past.
Adam is actually craving the need to get angry and rage as a form of release, a physiological way to let the emotion out.
He will ask the same questions 1000 times, argue an irrelevant point to death, nag someone (poke the bear if you will) until that person becomes frustrated. Once he senses the frustration, he will purposefully poke a little more until an argument begins. Then he will get angry at the person for being frustrated with him, lose control, and rage will ensue.
Unfortunately this anger and rage is now often directed towards his younger brother, slicing and dicing feelings with his most ruthless weapon…his words. The cruelty this antagonist brings to the fight has me constantly sending them to neutral corners.
Once calmed down, he seems incapable of making the connection of how his behavior (poking the bear) led to his out-of-control rage. It is ALWAYS the other person’s fault, NEVER taking any accountability for the role he played in the argument. This breaks my heart as a Momma Bear because I know what a critical life skill taking responsibility for your actions is and, and this moment in the battle, he is literally unable to do so.
Puberty senses this weakness and just continues to pound away at Adam and, currently, he is against the ropes unable to duck.
However, I know Adam still has a few surprise moves up his sleeve. He is still mentally strong, in touch with reality, and able to self soothe. These are critical strategies in our overall game plan to defeat Puberty.
Although I have found myself wavering in my belief I can effectively handle the role of his Coach in this fight, I have (so far) been able to quickly dismiss those thoughts. They may creep in my head but they are NOT permitted to stay. I will remain fearless in my faith we will embrace our normal, make it through all 12 rounds, and come out on top.