Navigating life with a teenager….who happens to have bipolar disorder

The Harry Potter series is a favorite in our house. Starting with The Goblet of fire, every time a movie came out my son and I had a date night.  We were very sad when the movies ended, but we have them all on disc and usually end up watching them whenever ABC Family has a Harry Potter weekend.

I always wondered if my son connected with the series because of the life altering aspect found in the first movie.  Harry found out that the very thing that made him different in the muggle world is normal in the wizarding world.  All of these strange things he could do didn’t mean there was something wrong with him.  I think my son found that fascinating. He is different and has never quite fit in, but maybe there is another time and place where he does and he just needs  Hagrid to come let him know.

This happened to be a Harry Potter weekend, so last night, as I lay in bed, I turned on the end of Deathly Hallows. There was a line after Voldemort’s horcrux was killed in Harry and he sees Dumbledore in a glowing white version of Kings Cross Station. Harry asks “Is this real or has it been happening inside my head?”, Dumbledore replies “Of course it’s happening inside in your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean it isn’t real?”

I think we, as parents, tend to forget how our kid’s brain works.  It can get exhausting and frustrating to live with a child with a mental illness or neurological disorder.  They have fears and anxiety that we may find silly. Because of this, they do or say things we don’t understand.  What we have to remember is that even though it’s in their head, it’s very real to them.

In my son’s case, if he perceives it he believes it, regardless of attempts to convince him otherwise.  If somebody speaks to him in a negative tone, in his mind that person hates him.  Not dislikes, not irritated by, not annoyed with, but HATES him. Yes, capitalization is required for the drama that comes along with the line ‘but Mama my teacher HATES me.’ (this applies to just about anyone, but I hear ‘teacher’ more often than the rest).

He also thinks that by keeping his room cluttered, it will protect him in case of a break-in.  You know, because if they get passed the locked doors and the alarm system, make their way upstairs without us hearing them and all the way to the very end of the hall where my son’s room is…..YuGiOh cards and BeyBlades on the floor will stop them.  Ridiculous, yes, all in his head, yes, but very real to him.

Here is our challenge.  As special as these kids are, and as wonderful as their own little wizarding worlds may be, they can’t go hide in a castle.  They will have to live and work among the muggles that don’t understand them.  How do we do that and still be sensitive about what is real to them?  This keeps me up at night.


Comments on: "Wise Words of Albus Dumbledore" (2)

  1. Great insight to your world and your kid’s. It’s never easy, so stay strong!


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