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DS telling friends he is diagnosed bipolar! Need help please!

(6 Posts)
catkin14 Thu 04-Jul-13 09:03:00

ExH and i split approx 4 months ago after a long marriage. ExH was EA and critical man to both myself and 3 DCs. I left him.
At first H was devastated, and clung to youngest DS (age 14), this lasted for approx 6 weeks. Then all of a sudden H found another life, and now seems to be living bachelor life but likely to have found another woman.
He went on holiday with a 'friend' but didnt tell his DS till after he got back.
I thought youngest DS was coping ok with everything, but he is telling his friends that he has been diagnosed with Bipolar...
He has been upset at school a couple of times but the school is good and supportive of him and keep in touch with me about his welfare.
I just dont know how to deal with this or how to be with him sometimes.
I have had to cut back a lot on his internet usage as this was getting too much

ll31 Thu 04-Jul-13 21:22:24

No advice other than just to listen to him,spend time with him if you can doing something active... Bowling,swimming whatever

flow4 Fri 05-Jul-13 04:50:53

Sorry if this is a silly question, cat, but has he been diagnosed as bipolar? I'm not sure whether you're concerned because he's telling people something that isn't true, or because it's something you think should be kept private...

catkin14 Fri 05-Jul-13 23:48:24

sorry no, he is not bipolar not has been diagnosed.

flow4 Sat 06-Jul-13 09:57:14

Ok, well then, if I were you, I'd want to find out what 'being bipolar' means to him. It may well not have the same associations for him as for you... Is he using the term casually just to say his moods go up and down, or does he mean he thinks there's something wrong with him? Does he think it's a bad thing, or does it seem exciting? Is he distressed, upset and looking for help? Or is he looking for an explanation for what he's feeling? Or even, is he boasting? There are a lot of famous bipolar people, like Russell Brand, Macy Gray and Stephen Fry - so some teens may see it as desirable to be bipolar.

As his mum, you probably have two main reactions: you want to understand more, and you want to know what to do. If you're like me, you automatically worry, too! The tricky thing is you can't work out what to do, if anything, until you understand more... So you have to start by talking to him.

How you talk to him about it probably depends on how you found out. I always think direct is best when possible, so I'd probably just ask "School tell me you have said you think you're bipolar. Can we talk about that please?" If he told you directly, then I'd take that as an invitation to talk already, and I'd suggest something like "I've been thinking about you telling me you're bipolar... I'd like to understand more about what you're feeling and thinking"...

Then, if you find out he's serious, you can take him to the GP... If he's worried, you can reassure him... If you find he was being flippant, you can relax, but maybe take the opportunity to talk to him about mental health generally...

I'd also add that he's been through a lot, and it's quite likely his emotions are up and down and all over the place. He may need reassurance that that's normal, and not a sign of mental illness. Feeling down and depressed is to be expected, under the circumstances... But feeling madly happy is also normal for teens! When my mum died (I was 19) I can remember feeling guilty every time I laughed or enjoyed myself, and worrying that I might be going mad because I could feel miserable and happy in the same day. Your DS might be feeling something similar...

Good luck with it. smile

Butterflywgs Sat 06-Jul-13 22:07:44

Good posts from flow. Entirely agree.
He might just have been being a 14yo. I remember when I was 13/14 having to go to hospital for physical health problems, and 'allowing' my friends to think it was a lot more serious than it really was blush Stephen bloody Fry has a lot to answer for. I've seen/ know of a lot of teenagers who think it's cool to post on social media that they are, like, so bipolar when what they describe is normal teenage mood swings! hmm
That said, it sounds like he's been through a lot, with his dad being EA and the split (CONGRATS for leaving the bastard btw wine). Maybe he needs attention and doesn't know how else to get it? Maybe he doesn't know how to say 'I feel distressed as my parents recently divorced and my dad was abusive' - not many 14yos would.
Being up and down is entirely normal after difficult and distressing events and that isn't a sign of 'mental illness', but some professional support e.g. counselling might be a good idea. Good luck.

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