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

The Cursed Hand of Hook

Hooks hand

Sunday nights tend to be family night around here.  We all head out to church youth group, where CJ attends and Michael and I try to help out where we can.  We have dinner and then come home to watch Once Upon a Time together.  This week, there was no youth group and CJ was in grumpy teenager mode, so Michael and I ended up watching it and recording it for CJ to watch later.

When CJ did watch it, I was cooking dinner and he was asking me multiple questions about the episode. One of the story lines of this week’s episode had to do with Captain Hook and him having his hand magically restored by Rumpelstiltskin.  Rumpel, however, gave Hook a warning that the hand was a part of his old, bad self and might corrupt the new, good person he has come to be.

Throughout the next couple of days, Hook finds himself in situations where he is acting aggressive and angry, just as he used to.  He begs Rumpel to remove the hand again, which he does….at a cost.  Once the hand is removed, Rumpel tells Hook that he lied.  The hand was not corrupt, but by thinking it was corrupt, Hook had an excuse for his bad behavior once again.

After CJ finished watching it, I tried have a discussion with him, and made a comparison between Hook’s hand and bipolar disorder. I sometimes wonder how often my son is using his diagnosis in the same way.  The day he was diagnosed, his attitude regarding his challenges changed.  He all of a sudden identified with another person in his life that is diagnosed bipolar and thought that he had to do the same things and act the same way, in regard to bad behavior.  I sometimes think that his diagnosis has given him an excuse to give up trying to be a responsible, respectful person.

I will keep trying to find ways to motivate him and to help him see that with treatment, he can live the ‘normal’ life he has craved since he was little. Some days, I just wish that I could have changed that day so he would have never heard the word bipolar.  Maybe if we just had the treatment and could ignore the word, he wouldn’t get tied up in his diagnosis.

hook in rope


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