Bipolar disorder & ADHD - need advice....
Been waiting for OT day to open….
It’s sort of weird to be posting about this topic on a horse forum, but… well, the short answer is I have a lot of respect for the people of COTH. I want to talk to someone about their experiences with living with bipolar disorder and ADHD. I apologize that this will be a bit of a novel.
I’ve been blessed with a very close family so my brother’s kids are very, very close and dear to me. My nephew is 26. As a kid, he was very sweet, bright and loving. In high school he started to “goof off” – skipping classes, not handing in assignments etc. He didn’t appear to be involved in drugs or any criminal activity; just seemed to be a lazy and unmotivated kid – the kind who would get 90’s if he was interested in an assignment, and skip tests because he “slept in”. We thought he would mature and grow out of it. He went off to university and had a complete crash-and-burn – he may have finished the year with one credit, if that. Things got worse. He would move out for a few months and get a minimum wage job, but would promptly lose it, run out of money and come back home. His behaviour got more erratic – he started telling bizarre lies; his personality changed from being sweet and thoughtful to loud and arrogant; he’d buy a $600 coat and tell his parents he needed rent money because he’d been mugged. Eventually he was diagnosed as having bipolar disorder and ADHD. Lots of ups and down (with weird physical and mental symptoms) until they were able to sort out medication that kept him relatively stable.
He has spent the last 3 years living in his parent’s basement doing literally nothing. Most days he would venture outside to smoke on the porch and nothing more. He has tried a couple of programs at community colleges and has failed or dropped out. He has lost every minimum wage job he has had because he is chronically late or misses work. His parents finally pushed him out of the house a few months ago, but it won’t last – he’s already on his last warning from his call center job regarding absenteeism.
He hates himself. His puts on a front that can be exasperating – you ask him how he is and he says “great!” – but he also talks about suicide. He has no successes – even small ones – to feel proud of. He can’t even organize getting showered on time.
He does take nice photographs and he mentioned to me that he wants to take a program in photography at the community college. I am normally a really optimistic person and it takes a lot for me to be so gloomy, but I am 100% certain that in the state he is in he will not complete this program. His parents are not doing well financially and are not in a position to pay for it. I would pay for it (with parents’ permission, of course) but I am scared it’s a bad idea. Losing the money is the least of it -- I am so worried that if he fails again it will only push the spiral down faster.
I love this kid -- fiercely. I love him sick or well. My heart breaks for him -- I want him to be happy, I want him to like himself but I don't see the path that will lead him out of this wilderness.
If you’ve read this far, I am already grateful :). If you have any words of wisdom, words of experience, words of hope – please let me hear them. I’m feeling pretty broken tonight…