Parent Success Stories: Helping a Child with Bipolar Disorder and Schizoaffective

 In the past three days, I received four emails and had conversations with multiple clients clients with reported positive updates on the situation they experience with a child who has a mental health disorder like ours.
 
I want to let the parents of the world know that successful treatment for your children is possible. We never know how long it will take. We never know when the child- I am talking adult children here- will accept treatment. But at this time, four of my clients have written and said that they are having ‘normal’ conversations with their child after years of problems due to untreated mental health disorder symptoms. In all four situations, the child had at some point refused contact with the parent and refused treatment.
 
Here is what all four families have in common:
 
1. They worked with a professional to help them see the big picture of the situation so that they could change what needed to be changed in order to help a child find treatment. A long sentence of the main problem I see. ALL parents who come to me need a clear pictures of what is happening. That is my specialty as a coach. It doesn’t have to be me, but I can tell you that going at this alone as parents will not work. Parents, you need a guid to help you work with a system that is not in your favor.
 
2. They stuck with the system for a year or more. Yes, a year or more. Clients who stick with the plan and literally keep going until it works will find success. It doesn’t always mean that the child gets better, but it ALWAYS means the the parents find peace. In most cases, it means the child gets better as well.
 
3. Medications are involved. I wish I could tell you that managing the big three: bipolar one, schizo affective and schizophrenia can be done without medications. I have yet to see it happen in over 20 years of working with families. We create a system that focuses on a management plan that requires the least medications possible, but medications are always needed for the big three due to the seriousness of the mania and or the mania and psychosis. I have schioaffective- I have to use medications when I can’t control my own mood swings.
 
4. Parents are willing to make the big changes in themselves first. I teach a system that is so difficult for parents at first that many work with me for a short time and then have to take a break. Some don’t come back. Those who do come back always succeed. This system requires that the parents put their needs before the child and then teach the child how to meet the need of the parents. I know! It sounds like it would never work, but I have found it works every single time. I believe that people with mental health disorders want to get better. Parents have to show them a path that they follow first and then teach to the child. Few of us can forge our own path when mania, depression, anxiety, anger, violent behavior and psychosis are raging. I work with parents because they can get the best results.
 
5. The parents separate from the child in a healthy way. This creates space for the child to make smart decisions. Defensiveness is inherent in those of us with the big three illnesses. We are combative when sick. Learning to talk to a child in a mood swing is integral to their getting better. It doesn’t make sense at first- many parents ask me- how can it change my child so much when I am the one making the biggest changes? I am working on the science behind all of it, but after seven solid years of coaching, I can show with a great deal of data that it works. Children do not die from healthy and safe boundaries. These boundaries give them the space to heal.
 
6. They search for effective treatment until they find it. The road is a bumpy ride when looking for treatment facilities and outpatient care, but there are answers. I work with families to find the facilities and the absolute best health care professionals. It takes TIME and it is frustrating. But, all of those who have children who are doing better have working like professional athletes towards the goal of better health care for their child. One day, our system will be better, for now, parents have to know where to go, what to ask and what to do when you find the right person in order to get a child into treatment.
 
7. A commitment to life long learning. All parents who succeed in creating loving and safe boundaries with an ill child realize that this is a life long endeavor. In our current world, there is no cure for mental illness. Yes, some do find the right balance of meds and simply get on with life, but the vast majority do not. Instead, we need daily management skills. When parents realize that this is life long, they know that there will be ups and downs to the journey and they can get through them much easier.
 
I hope this helps if you are a parent of a child with a mental health disorder. I am working with my manager to put all of these foundational teachings in a course. If you are interested in my coaching, please visit my coaching page and send me an intake. I will answer in the order received and will strive to have my classes ready soon! 
There is hope!
 

Julie

 

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