“Hi Rapid Cycling,
My name is Mrs X and I have a son with bipolar.
My son is 36 years old and he is so very lonely. He doesn’t have a friend, or a girlfriend and it has been this way for years. He usually visits us, his parents, and beyond that he has a part time job where he tends to work approx 12 hours a week.
The situation our son is in has hurt him deeply and it has caused him to have very low self confidence, is shy and struggles to be motivated in doing much.
We helped our son to buy a home and he has spent the last three years making this home lovely and I now believe he took himself to a place where he could feel comfortable in what he had to encourage a woman and friend to be interested in him.
Our son is a lovely person and it is so hard for him and ourselves to comprehend why no one is interested in him. He has tried to meet people, through us pushing him and has recently been on a dating site, through feeling ready to meet someone and once again had no look at anything he tries.
He has now lost hope and is very depressed and overwhelmed and I don’t know what to do. I am scared he will give up and I am struggling to find a place that could help him feel better socially.
He has been on mood pills for years and I tend to think they make him feel flat. He doesn’t need a counselor, who just writes things down and suggests things he fails to do and I honestly don’t know what will make him feel comfortable with himself.
My son has never had support from anyone (other than ourselves) since he got bipolar 20 years ago and I think it’s shocking this is so. He is one very lonely person and I am so worried about him.
Can you suggest something that gives people like him some joy?
I am so tired of trying all the time to fill his cup up.
Mrs X. “
Reply from Rapid Cycling (to which I have yet to receive a response):
“Hi Mrs X,
I am saddened by your son’s story because this has been happening for such a long time.
I agree with you 100% about the pills making him feel flat. From my experience, it is also trauma that makes one feel flat or numb. It’s a very hard thing to deal with.
I can only share with you what I have learned over the past five or so years.
Firstly, I don’t run the support group any more but I have heard from many people how support and understanding from those in the same boat was so helpful to them.
Secondly, my experience is that psychiatry will simply medicate someone, listen to them a bit but really do nothing except prescribe more drugs to fix the problems.
Thirdly, a GOOD counsellor will do wonders. Digging at ones core issues are paramount to move beyond what is causing them pain. In many cases one doesn’t even know what their core problem is. Things to think about are what made your son bipolar in the first place all those years ago and/or what happened to him that caused him much distress. If you care to share that with me I am happy to refer you to an appropriate counsellor who might benefit him.
I have learned that to go through the pain in lieu of simply medicating it (while using medication to help me through) is the only way to shed the old pain. I am not suggesting to go off medication but merely to work at one’s core issues using medication to help process the memories. Pro-active solution based counselling is SO helpful.
Fourthly, I can recommend GROW. They have a website (grow.org.au
I think). They are a mental health support group that are based around the 12 steps but one has the support of other members who can be in touch in between meetings. GROW are a solution based support group and I believe members discuss their problems in a group setting and receive input from other members on solutions. They then report back at the next meeting as to how they went with their problems. GROW meet at many locations around your area..
New ways of thinking (not self defeating ways) should be promoted in GROW but if not, it’s important to change how we think. This is a slow process but paramount to get out of one’s dark hole.
I have found that poor ways of thinking stem from dysfunctional behaviours carried down through family generations. A prime example is alcoholism that runs through so many generations. Whether one is drinking or not, it is the behaviours that have been learned and carried on. If you have family members with addictions of any type (except smoking), I can refer you on. This area is where I have delved the most in my own recovery and am well versed in it.
Fifthly, your son should never give up on the need and want to feel normal. If he’s not happy with his meds, his quality of life and his counsellor he needs to make changes for HE IS WORTH IT.
All too often we think professionals are correct and what they say is gospel. I have learned this not to be so.
I was diagnosed bipolar and put on all sorts of horrid drugs about 5-6 years ago. I tried to fit the bipolar mould as much as I could but was rediagnosed 2 years later. I was not bipolar after all but lost two years of my life struggling with the side effects of all the medications.
Your son must want this too, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink :)
In summary, a good counsellor and support from others in the same boat who are also wanting to better themselves in how they behave and think are priceless. These two things should go hand in hand
Again, I am happy to refer you on if you need it.
Best of luck,