My adult child got a diagnosis

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biggerfish

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My adult child got a diagnosis
« on: November 26, 2017, 09:56:47 AM »
My adult child told me over Thanksgiving weekend that she has a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. This morning I did some reading on OOTF, and learned that some folks diagnosed with bipolar actually have borderline personality disorder.

I stared down both descriptions, and it's pretty clear to me that she exhibits the traits of borderline personality disorder. It's okay with me that her diagnosis might not be quite right, because at least she recognizes that she has a disorder. I'm happy about that.

She seems also to want to learn. Of course, that would depend on her mood. LOL. (Notice I'm trying to keep my sense of humor?) In any case, she's in a good space right now, and I enjoyed her over Thanksgiving. I have no expectations for what will happen next. I just want to live in the moment, and I now firmly grasp that when she's in a state, it's not personal.

I'm only just starting to learn about this because I originally came to this board three years ago in reference to my mother, not my kid. I'm still dealing with my mother, too, who is more of the waify, dependent type.

Oh, and one more thing -- the list for borderline describes me as well. And I've had massive recovery from that, without even knowing what I had. So I have hope.

Any wisdom or encouragement about how to move forward with my daughter is welcome.

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Ijustwantpeace!

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Re: My adult child got a diagnosis
« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2017, 12:56:37 PM »
Hi there Biggerfish!

I am thrilled to know that you enjoyed your Thanksgiving and especially so with your daughter!  I'm also pleased to know that your daughter had the incentive to see a therapist!  My son doesn't believe anything is wrong with him and doesn't have much faith in psychotherapy as well.  I, too, wonder how many mental professionals truly are competent with anything more than the basic depressions, anxiety, couples therapy etc.  PD's are much more involved and a study in and of itself.  And MANY refuse to treat Borderlines.

Biggerfish, with that said & I AM thrilled that she has the desire, is "aware" of her behavior & had the motivation to see a mental health professional, I have read though that Bi-Polar is "often" misdiagnosed as you somewhat mentioned in your post.  My concern that I caringly have for you & your daughter is that if meds are prescribed for her Bi-Polar & if in fact it is not Bi-Polar that could actually not only not help her but it could be detrimental & make things worse.  Now, do I know that for sure?  No b/c I'm not a Dr. who's done actual research on that.  However, I have read that on many, many sites.  So I just wanted to share this with you.

All the best...

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biggerfish

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Re: My adult child got a diagnosis
« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2017, 02:59:04 PM »
  My concern that I caringly have for you & your daughter is that if meds are prescribed for her Bi-Polar & if in fact it is not Bi-Polar that could actually not only not help her but it could be detrimental & make things worse. 
I'm glad you pointed this out. I'm going to keep it in mind. There's not much opportunity for me to help her, as she's an independent adult, but at least I know this is true, so if she were to ever mention problems with her meds, I could lightly ask whether that could point to a misdiagnosis. I would have to be very careful about it, but at least I know this now.

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mdana

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Re: My adult child got a diagnosis
« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2017, 05:00:16 PM »
I'm not sure these will be words of wisdom for you, but they are my experience with my own daughter.

We have had so many diagnosis's thrown at us (they started when she was 12-14).  Initially, a phd psychologist and psychiatrist indicted she had cyclothymic disorder (a rapid cycling bipolar).  At that time, another practitioner stated that the mood changes and disorder was really secondary to ADHD (untreated or diagnosed) and trauma.   At the same time, another MD/psych diagnosed her with a severe depression. She went on medications which helped for a while, although it was difficult to find the right combination.  And, she saw a therapist 2x week for a couple of years. She definitely has had great difficulty with focused attention and mood swings. At some point, things changed (given medication side effects, compliance, and substance abuse kicked in). 

About 2 years later, yet another MD/Psych diagnosed her with Borderline,and Avoidance Disorder. Fast forward to today -- she has been diagnosed with schizo-affective disorder and of course Dual Diagnosis (substance abuse). Her symptoms are so mixed and personally, I feel she fits into several diagnostic categories (not just 1).  I'm sure this is compounded by substance abuse!

She has expressed a willingness to "get well" and work at it over the years pretty consistently, but she doesn't seem to be able to sustain it.  It's always off and on with her and I wonder if she simply lacks the capacity.

I do think that medications can be hugely helpful, but if they are not the correct ones, also harmful. 

So, for us --- after all these years (10-12) the actual diagnosis hasn't been as important as treating the symptoms. 

All the best!

Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive. The Dalai Lama

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practical

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Re: My adult child got a diagnosis
« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2017, 08:57:15 AM »
Her seeking out treatment is a great first step and she did so on her own! Her seeing there is a problem and taking action about it is not very PD like. A lot depends now on the follow through. If it is bipolar it can be managed.

My M was bipolar, medication helped to some extent (she was diagnosed late in life so it wasn't as effective anymore and she also didn't take it regularly nor was she honest with her doctors about the extent of her problems). It did take some time to find a medication that helped and was tolerated by her, your daughter might go through a similar process. I would wait and see whether the treatment helps. If she has problems with treatment, you could always encourage her to seek a second opinion, maybe with a doctor that specializes in this area. There is a possibility she has both, as bipolar and PD can be comorbid. I'm fairly sure my M was uNPD and dxbipolar, which was a toxic mix. But comorbidity doesn't have to exist, there are plenty of people who have bipolar and nothing else and who manage to regain an equilibrium and lead loving lives.

There are two books I found helpful about bipolar and gave me some insides as well as matching some of my experience:
"An unquiet mind" by Kay Redfield
"Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me: A Graphic Memoir" by Ellen Forney (this is a graphic novel, not my cup of tea usually, I found it spot on though)

I also found these resources helpful:
https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-Conditions/Bipolar-Disorder
http://www.bipolarcaregivers.org
NAMI also offers support and information for the family: https://www.nami.org/Find-Support/Family-Members-and-Caregivers
« Last Edit: November 27, 2017, 09:36:35 AM by practical »
If Im not towards myself, who is towards myself? And when Im only towards myself, what am I? And if not now, when? (Rabbi Hillel)

"I can forgive, but I cannot afford to forget." (Moglow)

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momnthefog

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Re: My adult child got a diagnosis
« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2017, 12:10:52 PM »
biggerfish,

It's great news that she recognizes something is "off."

And that she is (at least for the present) ready to work on things.


momnthefog
"She made broken look beautiful and strong look invincible.  She walked with the universe on her shoulders and made it look like a pair of wings."

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practical

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Re: My adult child got a diagnosis
« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2017, 02:15:19 PM »
Oh, and one more thing -- the list for borderline describes me as well. And I've had massive recovery from that, without even knowing what I had. So I have hope.
Could this have been dealing with fleas as well as due to trauma from being raised by your M? Also she was your female role model. Sometimes people get diagnosed as PD when what they are dealing with is cPTSD. Is it possible that your D adapted some fleas from you? We all have some of the traits to a greater or lesser extent, sometimes they are just our traits, sometimes they are fleas or outdated coping mechanisms that have become detrimental to us. The good thing is you have worked on yourself and are proof that this can make all the difference. So maybe sharing with your D - if she is open to it or asks - that you have had things you have struggled with and worked through over time and with help might encourage her to follow up with her own treatment. I think otherwise her knowing you are there is a lot and sometimes all you can do when your kids are adults.

Coming briefly back to my M, the diagnosis of bipolar was correct in her case, there is no doubt about it, it just didn't cover everything. I think she went through 6 or more medications till her doctors found a combination that worked well enough for her. So patience might be something your D needs, it is like finding the right antidepressant, one size doesn't fit all.

Sending you strength and plenty of humor  ;)
If Im not towards myself, who is towards myself? And when Im only towards myself, what am I? And if not now, when? (Rabbi Hillel)

"I can forgive, but I cannot afford to forget." (Moglow)

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biggerfish

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Re: My adult child got a diagnosis
« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2017, 05:19:25 PM »

Could this have been dealing with fleas as well as due to trauma from being raised by your M? Also she was your female role model. Sometimes people get diagnosed as PD when what they are dealing with is cPTSD. Is it possible that your D adapted some fleas from you? We all have some of the traits to a greater or lesser extent, sometimes they are just our traits, sometimes they are fleas or outdated coping mechanisms that have become detrimental to us. The good thing is you have worked on yourself and are proof that this can make all the difference. So maybe sharing with your D - if she is open to it or asks - that you have had things you have struggled with and worked through over time and with help might encourage her to follow up with her own treatment. I think otherwise her knowing you are there is a lot and sometimes all you can do when your kids are adults.
 
Yup! All true!