I have been a little hesitant to say much about what’s going on with my son right now. I’m not sure why… perhaps trying to protect him from any judgment or from getting any well meaning advice or – more likely – I was keeping my cards close to my chest as I tend to do when I’m really worried about something.
Anyone that has spent any good amount of time with my son knows that he is prone to outbursts of anger. He’s an A+ pouter and can shoot lasers out of his eyes with great precision. He has been like this since birth.
When he was a toddler he would get angry and we would tell him that he could be angry but that he needed to go throw his fit in his room. He would toddle off and throw his fit – not much yelling but plenty of foot stomping. After some time passed he would come out and announce he was done. And he would be.
As he has gotten older it has become more difficult for him to bounce back from his anger. He sulks, yells, cusses, and yes, plenty of foot stomping. Or in this case – shoe throwing. (notice his stocking feet)
Recently we gave a ride to one of my mother’s friends. During our conversation she described what her daughter was like growing up. My husband and I looked at each other wide-eyed. She perfectly described our son. Come to find out… her daughter is bi-polar.
I had never considered the possibility that our son might have an issue beyond anger management. I began to scour the internet and crossed the site for the junior bi-polar association. That was a real eye opener. There were other symptoms that we had never considered. Things like boredom, depression, mania. We had noticed these things but chalked them up to typical boy behavior etc… but when they’re all combined they can point to bi-polar. Their website had an assessment questionnaire designed for children to answer a set of questions and then you can print out the Q&A’s and take them in to your doctor. I was shocked at many of his answers. Things that were plaguing him that I had no idea. My heart hurt to read some of his answers.
The next step was to find a doctor. That took some research and a lot of phone calls. I finally found an office of child psychiatrists that both my hubby and I felt comfortable with checking out. And that’s where we’re at today. He and I will meet with one of the doctors tomorrow to begin the family history evaluation. I am eager to get some answers – which will lead us to help. And I’m also apprehensive – nervous… This could be a long road that we’re about to head down. Actually, this is a road we’re heading down regardless. I just prefer to have as many helping hands and as much light shining on the path as possible!
So please, if you would, be praying for our family during this time…. for answers and for the right steps to take to get the help that we need.
Because even when he’s angry or depressed or bouncing off the walls… even during those times… he has the most tender heart. He can be raging at me and still open the door for me. He can be sobbing and not able to say a word and he’ll wrap his arms around me. He can be frustrated that I won’t buy him Subway and he will still give change to the homeless man playing his guitar outside the store. (Yes, he did that tonight and he melted my heart.)
Someday you will be reading these words, son of mine, and I want you to know that I love you – all of you – even the angry out-of-control bits. Your Dad loves you – all of you – even the frustrated I-want-to-do-it-now bits. Believe it or not, your sisters love you – even the bits that cuss and scream at them. It is because of all of these things and because we love you to the ends of the earth and back that we are getting you the help that you need – we are getting us help so that you don’t ever feel that we don’t love you. I am so proud of you that even under the burden of these weights you still have a tender and loving heart. I love you my son.