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

The Skeptical Optimist

For the first time in many years, my son, CJ, has been excitedly (and anxiously) anticipating the new school year. As I type, he is sitting in a high school classroom for the first time.  I don’t know what is so different about this year. Maybe it is the change of buildings, maybe it is the fact that the slate is wiped clean and he can start fresh, maybe it’s that he got a few really amazing classes that will really engage and interest him…..I think it is probably the fact that we had a med change this summer and he has a more positive attitude about things.

Whatever the reason, for the first time in ages I have a little bit of hope that we will make it through high school. Although I try to get through each year, one at a time, I am a forward thinker.  I always have been.  By the time I was 13 I had my future planned out……..and no, it went nothing as planned.  My plans not working out didn’t deter me from always making a plan or writing lists to try to keep my thoughts and goals in order. So, of course, I think (and worry) about CJ’s future…….a lot.

Less than 3 months ago, he cried in my arms and said that it wasn’t worth it, that he just wanted to drop out then and there.  That, of course, was after a teacher had told him that it didn’t matter how hard he tried, he was going to fail.  I think part of what has helped my son this year was going to the open house last week and meeting some teachers that are ready and willing to help him succeed.  I am a true believer that teachers can make all the difference in the world.  It’s not always what they teach or the methods they use, but the attitude in which they work with their students.

Last night, getting ready for his first day of high school was so different than that night 3 months ago.  He said “Mama, did you think we would ever get here?”.  I told him we still had a long 4 years to go, and how well he does depends on how much effort he is willing to put in, but he is more than capable of doing anything he sets his mind to.  I know, that doesn’t seem as positive as it could have been.  I have found in the past that if I tell him he is going to do great, and he doesn’t, he is even more upset that he disappointed me… I err on the realistic side instead of the normal parental ‘my kid can do no wrong’ side.

Regardless of being a realist, I am going into this year with hope…….but no expectations. I know that all can change when he walks in the door this afternoon….but for now, it feels kind of good.


Comments on: "The Skeptical Optimist" (6)

  1. NotAPunkRocker said:

    Here’s to a good day and good start ((hugs))


  2. Anonymous said:

    If his intellect is engaged and he has a goal within himself these next four years will fly by! I love you both so much


  3. Anonymous said:

    Hope the week went well


  4. Hope things went well


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