???difficult child's Aware They Have BiPolar???????


Active Member
Just curious............ Do your "adult" or should I say "of age" difficult child's believe they have bipolar, if they have been diagnosis'd with it?

My difficult child was diagnosed several years ago and medicated for it. When she was 16 or so, she decided not to take her medications. Life has not been good for her. She doesn't believe she has bipolar. She HATES me for taking her to a psychiatrist and for insisting she take her medications. I really wasn't aware of her anger, for that anyway. But, she did just let me know.

Last week, at a CPS meeting, I made a suggestion to the caseworker to get an EEG for my grandson, because my difficult child showed abnormal brain "spikes" when she had one years ago. Interestingly enough, her bio mother had a benign brain growth that caused seizure activity in the same area of the brain, and that was surgically removed. I haven't even told them of my difficult child's bipolar diagnosis yet.

My difficult child looked at me and with all the contempt a person could muster, and said "Oh no you don't, MOTHER!" I was pretty shocked to say the least. I asked "What are you talking about?" and she replied "All the pills and psycho-analyzing.... you're not doing that to my son too!" I just had to ignore her. She is still extremely angry with me. I guess sharing "my truths" with her has evoked a new level of anger in her towards me.

A year or so ago, we talked about her being bipolar. I have always encouraged her to get therapy and to get back on medications. My difficult child does not believe she has bipolar, refuses to be evaluated and of course would not take medications either. My difficult child does believe she has borderline personality disorder and I tend to agree. When she was 17 or so and out of our care, that label was also attributed to her, along with adhd, bipolar and histrionic personality disorder and a couple more I think.

I guess my real question is........... do people with bipolar disorder even KNOW they have this or is it usual for them to be in denial? I know everyone is different, but I have a difficult time understanding how someone's life can be so dysfunctional for so long without them even having a clue even when it's been pointed out to them.


Going Green
If you ask my difficult child (who is now 18 and knows it all) what his medications are for, his answer depends on his mood. Sometimes he will tell you exactly why he is on them and other times he'll tell you we (rather, I) make him take them "just because". But in another breath, he'll say that he'll stay on them because he feels a lot better on them and he's not so good without them. But, he's also the master of telling people what they want to hear so it's hard to say.


Active Member
I don't post here usually as difficult child is still young, but I have a husband who is BiPolar (BP).

he was husband was diagnosed BiPolar (BP) in November. He is 41. He has accepted the diagnosis, and was taking medications before psychiatrist took him off them due to tardive dyskinesia. Thank goodness husband goes to see psychiatrist today. I wonder if it is different if you are diagnosed as an adult? husband does have many of the same traits/symptoms as my difficult child and as many others, mstang he is also a master of telling people what they want to hear.

hearts and roses

Mind Reader
No matter the amount of lengthy discussions we've had, both in the doctors office and out, my difficult child always defers to me for an answer when someone asks her why she's on medication.

I don't know that she would clearly state, "I do not have BiPolar (BP)" or anything else for that matter. I truly do not think that my difficult child has acknowledged and accepted any of her diagnosis except the tourettes, because in her world it's the only diagnosis with an outward symptom - to HER.

My difficult child does not feel that her BiPolar (BP)/depression symptoms are anything of the sort. Immediately following a BiPolar (BP) meltdown, she will acknowledge it privately to me. But if we're with a DR or just chatting at any other time, she looks at me as if I jsut announced that she has dog poop on her head. I mean, she clearly separates herself and her behaviors from her diagnosis.

on the other hand, only ONE of her doctors has ever said definitively that she has BiPolar (BP). All the others have said 'mood disorder' or 'depression with occasional manic behaviors'. And the one Dr who said the actual diagnosis of BiPolar (BP) is our family DR and although difficult child loves this Dr, she doesn't feel that she is qualified to give that diagnosis.

My difficult child is fully aware of how her body reacts when she's stopped her medications and because of that she usually stays on them and is currently trying very hard to remember to take them without my reminders. So, I think on some level she can acknowledge to herself, in the privacy of her own mind, that she has BiPolar (BP) or "some such thing" and needs to take her medications. However, if you were to ask her why she takes medications she will likely say, "Because my mom says I have to" or she will just look at me for the answer.

Despite how far we've come in the area of 'awareness', mental illness and brain disorders still carry a very heavy stigma. At this point, with my difficult child, I feel that I've done all I can and she will have to figure the rest out for herself. At least she's interested in starting her therapy again, which is a good sign.

I think as a mom of a difficult child, it's your natural instinct to pick up on symptoms with your grandson. It would be very sad if because of her anger towards you, your daughter put her son's life at risk. Do you have any legal say in his health care?


Well-Known Member
Staff member
My Youngest will not accept the Bipolar label. After many times of stopping her medications, however, she has more or less admitted she needs a mood stabilizer and does stick to her prescribed Lamictal now. She just won't acknowledge the diagnosis. I think if she hadn't gotten pregnant, the story might be a diffferent one, she might have continued to self-medicate with alcohol and drugs. I worry because her son has a very high chance of having some mental health issues, but I suppose we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. She is still VERY angry at me for her multiple hospitalizations and Residential Treatment Center (RTC) placement... never mind that they probably saved her life. It's all my fault. I'mjust grateful she takes her medications.

Oldest is a different story. She's bipolar and borderline. She occasionaly admits the bipolar, but usually as an excuse .. she throws it out there when it's convenient for her, to either excuse her behavior or gain sympathy. Never mind she won't take medications or seek therapy. She flat out denies she is borderline .. although she meets all but one of the criteria (she doesn't typically self-harm, unless slow suicide counts by not taking care of her physical health and her Crohn's disease).

So, no, I don't think it's that unusual for people to deny their diagnosis, well into adulthood.


Roll With It
The daughter and son of a family friend both have bipolar. The son went through a really bad patch about 5 years ago, stopped his medications, was arrested and taken to a psychiatric hospital. He got back on medications, cleaned up his act, and acknowledges both his bipolar disorder AND his need for medications. He set things up so that if he goes off his medications then his mom has the legal right to make decisions (including hospitalizing him) for him.

The daughter is my age, has a son about 9 or 10, and while she says she knows she has BiPolar (BP), is totally noncompliant, they do have a tough time finding the right medications, but she has torn her mother's heart to bits, is a horrible mom (was out of her head one night and took a knife into his room type horrible). She won't give up custody, and won't take care of her child properly. The Gma does most of the child care, and lives in fear of what the daughter will do to the grandson and herself. Gma and Gpa provided a house, daughter has trashed it over the years, and is a really scary person.

I think it really depends on the person and if other things are going on.



Well-Known Member
Miss KT accepts her ADHD, and that she needs her medications to function successfully. However, when I brought up the bipolar possibility with her doctor while she was in the room, she totally wigged out. Seems the ADHD medications and the mood stabilizer she takes are fine with her, as long as the word "bipolar" isn't mentioned.


Going Green
She occasionaly admits the bipolar, but usually as an excuse .. she throws it out there when it's convenient for her, to either excuse her behavior or gain sympathy.

Yep, mine does that too. He tried something similar at a case conference at the school recently. He fought to have his aides removed from class and once it happened it was a quick downhill trip in behavior and grades. He claimed it was because his medications weren't right. I nipped that one right away but of course he just snickered.


member since 1999
Just had a convo with thank you about whether or not he thinks he has a mental illness. It was enlightening.

Nothing is wrong with him, aside from depression caused by his current lot in life, which is of course all my fault because I "won't let" him come home to live. Eight years in various placements outside of the home, 24+ hospitalizations, but nope... he's perfectly normal. His behaviors and choices are simply the result of him not doing anything until he's ready to and I'm the dummie for not understanding that. His self-injury and suicidal talk don't mean anything... I am just so *thick* (in the world according to thank you).

When I pointed out that his thought processes are intefering with his ability to lead anything approaching a responsible life... again, it's *my* problem, not his.

His borderline traits are really coming to the forefront right now. He called Thurs to inform me he wasn't coming home and we somehow ended up in a discussion about another Residential Treatment Center (RTC) placement (which he's told me he will be fighting tooth and nail). Typical circular thinking, he told me if I do move him that he won't work the program. Potential Residential Treatment Center (RTC) has serious reservations anyway about his lack of investment so I'm thinking why bother. So I told him, fine, no change in placement, it's time to buck up and get a life. Whereupon he told me I was lying, that I was going to change placement anyway, so he was just going to quit doing anything he's supposed to do *anywhere*, including eating. He told me to get the you-know-what out of his life. I'm just so exhausted from trying to deal with his grandiose self. He knows what he needs to do and will do it when he's good and ready and I can't do anything about it, yada yada yada. I finally just said fine. Call me when you want but otherwise, I'm out of it completely. It's on his shoulders now and the only person he can blame in the future is himself.

Get a call on Sunday... "Are you going to change my placement?".... ARGH!!!

But no, he has no mental health issues, is just as right as rain. :hammer::hammer:

Wanted to add that I've had struggles, mainly with depression, since my teens. Didn't know what bipolar was until thank you was diagnosed, but yes sir-ee, the boy comes by it honestly. I don't know what the difference is between him and me - while I have certainly not always been the poster child for good mental health, somehow I've managed to mostly hold it together. Held good jobs when I was single. Made some impulsive choices but not to the detriment of anyone else. Sometimes I think it's because in my father's eyes, depression or any mental illness is a sign of personality flaw and weakness, so I fought mighty darn hard to at least appear on the surface like I had a clue. I don't know - but I think a lot (most?) people who are bipolar can and do function pretty decently.


Well-Known Member
Well according to Cory...he doesnt believe it anymore...lol. When asked exactly why he can be in so much trouble for doing all the stupid things he does...does that mean he is just stupid or does he do stupid things because he wants to? Well he has no good answer. He just glares at you.

Deep down he does know.

I always knew something was wrong but didnt know what it was. I was thrilled when I found out what was wrong and that I could get help. I was more upset over the borderline diagnosis but have slowly been learning to deal with that.


In my house, it's all my fault that my son has problems. If it wasn't for me, he'd be fine-so he says. Says he doesn't have bi-polar and doesn't need medications. Told me I was the crazy one...................


New Member
My 19 yr old difficult child will tell you she has bipolar..but what we encounter here, - yeesh, doctors, teachers etc love to dismiss it.....or they love to dwell on it and blame EVERYTHING on the bipolar, everything from a sore throat to forgetting something at the grocery store.....Some people say "well bipolar is no excuse" and some tell us "oh THAT explains everything"
There is so much stigma, so much misunderstanding and lack of understanding out in the world, it can make it very hard for a young adult, or even an established adult feel comfortable admitting they have bipolar to themself or anyone else. So many are so quick to use it as ammunition or treat it as a character flaw or a weakness....or to use it in some other negative way. Very often when people are discussing a person who has a diagnosis of bipolar, that person is NOT being discussed in a positive manner, so why would our difficult children WANT to admit they have this diagnosis? It seems to be used not as a diagnosis but more like a derogatory slam so often. The focus is seldom on how hard a difficult child might have worked to rise above the disorder, but rather as a way to say well, Hmph, look at them, they messed up again.it is just SO negative. Others do not seem very quick to realize just how much work it can take for a difficult child to scale the mountain of success. And then the medications get the credit for any suuccess, not the difficult child.
It is not unusual, tho for people to deny even to themself any type of serious illness.... I fought long and hard seeking a diagnosis for my symptoms that crippled me (literally) yet once I HAD the diagnosis, I denied it to myself. I simply could not own that diagnosis for the longest time. I had an image stuck in my head of what a persons life was like if they had that diagnosis and it did not fit with how I saw myself. And I was not the least bit interested in becoming like the image I had in my head of someone with that diagnosis. And similar to mental illness, others would enforce my denial of my diagnosis and tell me, no, you cannot let that stop you......put your mind above that..you are too young, you are too vital, you cannot give in to haveing that diagnosis.....

The world does not like people to admit to any serious chronic long term illness, it makes them uncomfortable. And when someone else is telling you you have this ugly illness, it very often feels like they are only saying it to hurt your feelings, or to be mean. Altho if you say so and so has cancer, people muster sympathy and pity, but if you say so and so has bipolar, most of the time people muster dislike, avoidance, fear and other negative feelings. Who wants to own a label that feels derogatory?


New Member
PS- I am the one of my sibs with a diagnosis of bipolar, so I have always been heavily scrutinezed, becuz I have this label. My BiPolar (BP) gave me hypomania....which for me has been a life saveing asset, as it t urns out. Had I not been hypomanic, I could not have held 2 and 3 jobs thru the years and also take care of my kids home and yard myself, I would have caved. Meanwhile my sister, she has no mental illness formal diagnosis...and noone bothered to ever scrutinize her. She drank, A LOT....and she often left her kids alone in her upstairs while she sat in neighbors yard at noon drinking not coffee tea or coke, but wine. I would try to point this out to mom and her dad, but, becuz I am the one diagnosis'ed BiPolar (BP), they usually assumed I was only trying to take the scrutiny off me and they never paid attention.
Being bipolar, I worked hard, becuz I had extraordinary energy leves to be able to put in long long hours and I capitalized on it. I waited tables in my teens and 20s and also went to real estate school on the side in spite of working double shifts. In HS I got my cosmetology certification, In mid 20s I studied criminal justice and first aid and sat in on police and firefighter exams and passed. I continued to wait tables as well as try all these other fields well into my 30s. In my 30s I went to CNA school and in my 40s I went to nurseing school. MY sister did not finish HS nor get a GED.......but she married a wealthy man.
My oldest difficult child is not hypomanic.....she runs more hypothemic, BUT becuz she has a BiPolar (BP) diagnosis, her school played hardball assuming she MIGHT go psychotic and be bizarre and treated her as if she were since she was first labeled BiPolar (BP) (her school was nervous of bipolar people due to media sensationalism of school shooters)- in spite of me and several psychiatrists, ndocs and tdocs trying to get the school to see HER and not just her diagnosis. She wound up getting diisassociative PTSD with extreme panic attacks, and has now been agoraphobic for a long time. Yes, her BiPolar (BP) is what created the groundwork for the PTSD and disassociation, but the PTSD and disassociation are far more negatively impacting her life. BUT people react and respond far quicker to her BiPolar (BP) diagnosis than to her PTSD and panic attack diagnosis'es.

And I cannot tell you how many times I have had a rheumetologist or GP tell me oh lets forget this BiPolar (BP) diagnosis here, we will pretend it is not here......you do not seem crazy to me.ACK! Altho when I was seeking the diagnosis for my Lupus and rheumatic illness, docs would look at my charts, see BiPolar (BP) in there and then try to tell me I was not really ill, it was all in my head. :-( it was a manifestation of my bipolar??? Yeesh.

All this can make it very very hard to admit even to yourself that you have bipolar disorder.
I would much rather someone attribute any mistake I make, or any goof up I commit to me just being dumb or haveing a blonde moment, or almost anything else than have someone decide every single thing I do that is not perfect is becuz I have bipolar. ANd truth is not every wrong or bad thing I do can be blamed on bipolar. SOme of my goof ups and mistakes are simply becuz humans are imperfect beings and we do make mistakes. Not all my moods are becuz of my bipolar, I can be happy or sad or angry and it can be normal for me to be those things if the situation calls for it. LOL, and- I have a brother who I worry about becuz he NEVER seems to have ANY mood for ANY occasion, he is so flat I sometimes wonder if he died inside or someething. So, if I win a lottoery and express some loud joy and excitement- he is quick to decide my bipolar is showing. THat can be frustrating.


When difficult child 1 was being treated for it, it seemed to be a cycle, even on medications.

When he was "off", he'd know something was wrong. He spent more time in the depressive state, tho, than manic. If he was manic, there's no way I'd ever have gotten medications down him.

Anyway, he'd take medications when he was "off" (which was usually VERY down), get to where he felt good for a couple months, then deem himself cured and no longer in need of medications. I'm told this is common.


New Member
My difficult child admits to having bipolar but uses it quite often to her advantage. Whenever she wants to do something - NOW and I refuse to help, she blames it all on her disease. She tells me I just don't understand - and I truly don't but I'm trying to find out.


Well-Known Member
My understanding is that one of the characteristics of BiPolar (BP) is that the patient believes they have been misdiagnosed or cured and no longer need treatment or therapy. A vicious cycle.