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Question
Posted by: Maria | 2011/01/30

Bipolar symptoms

Hey CS

I''ve written before about my sister-in-law (L) with bipolar who has achieved nothing in her life and is often very childish and childlike. My 8 year old is in some ways more mature than she is. I have assumed that a large part of the problem is my mother-in-law who has protected her daughter against all discomfort and in the process stifled her growth as a person for the past 25 years.

My husband''s cousin (R) is also bipolar. She has been married for years, held down a stressful job, been very involved in charity work and in general a very pleasant person to know. She was stable on her meds for more than 20 years but then had to get off lithium two years ago. Life for her has been quite tough since then as her doc tries to find the magic combo of meds she needs.

I was talking to a friend of R''s recently as we are both very concerned about her, and the friend made a comment that R is becoming more and more like L in the way that she seeks attention and approval for silly things, like a child would do.

Have I been too harsh in my judgement of L? Is this an aspect of bipolar that for some people just cannot be controlled with meds? Is it a part of the progression of the disease? I really, really hope for R''s sake that they find the meds to stabilise her as her life is slowly falling apart around her.

I would appreciate insights from other posters who either has bipolar or knows someone who does.

Scratches behind the ears for kitty!

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

I think an often over-looked perspective is that over-protective parenting produces under-protected kids.
YOu can never be with your kids throughout their life, to do everything for them and protect them from everything - only by strongly encouraging the development of their own skills at recognizing, avoiding and dealing with risks, can they be as safe as possible.
I don't think this is any special feature of bipolar disorder, but perhaps to a degree of any chronic illness. When your self-confidence and self-esteem is diminished, and when you need to rely to a degree on help from others, it can become a habitual posture, and one's self-sufficiency can start to reduce.
This is again why I deplore the too-frequent approach of shrinks to try to manage a complex disorder like Bipolar entirely chemically, without attentind to the psychological components.
Kitty, having driven me nuts by being on heat three times in the last 6 weks, seems to have stabilized and regained her dignity at least for now, and appreciates the scratches

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Our users say:
Posted by: cybershrink | 2011/01/30

I think an often over-looked perspective is that over-protective parenting produces under-protected kids.
YOu can never be with your kids throughout their life, to do everything for them and protect them from everything - only by strongly encouraging the development of their own skills at recognizing, avoiding and dealing with risks, can they be as safe as possible.
I don't think this is any special feature of bipolar disorder, but perhaps to a degree of any chronic illness. When your self-confidence and self-esteem is diminished, and when you need to rely to a degree on help from others, it can become a habitual posture, and one's self-sufficiency can start to reduce.
This is again why I deplore the too-frequent approach of shrinks to try to manage a complex disorder like Bipolar entirely chemically, without attentind to the psychological components.
Kitty, having driven me nuts by being on heat three times in the last 6 weks, seems to have stabilized and regained her dignity at least for now, and appreciates the scratches

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