Understanding Bipolar

My daughter began getting into trouble in the seventh grade. She had gotten into three fights within a two-day period. The police knocked at my door to tell me my daughter had to go to court for disrupting the school assembly. At court, I refused to allow the school to file a CHINS (Child in Need of Services) petition on my daughter. After hearing about her behavior, the court ordered an evaluation.

After the court-appointed social worker came out and did the assessment, she suggested I take my daughter to see a therapist and a psychiatrist. My daughter refused to talk to the therapist, but we kept going anyway. I took her to see the psychiatrist who, in a matter of 15 minutes, said she has bipolar and gave us a prescription.

I got home, looked at the prescription and threw it on the dresser. I refused to give it to my daughter. I had no idea what bipolar was, nor did I know anything about the prescription I was given.

As time went on, my daughter was still getting into trouble in school. I knew I was going to have to figure something out, and fast. I began reading about bipolar disorder on my own. I saw the similarities between what was being described and how my daughter was acting. Once I understood bipolar, I felt more comfortable with the psychiatrist’s diagnosis and we began treatment.

—Chantell, Parent of five children