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  • Writer's pictureKate Easton

When Your Child Struggles with Bipolar, Everyone Struggles

Updated: May 22

Text on Graphic with headshot of author, Kate Easton. Headline: "Shining Light on Shadows: When Your Child Struggles with Bipolar, Everyone Struggles" Pull Quote: "“Amidst the chaos and the pain, there was a glimmer of clarity – my son was not himself, he was a prisoner of his own mind, controlled by forces beyond his control.”

There are moments in life that etch themselves into our memories with a permanence that seems almost cruel. For me, one of those moments came when I hit rock bottom and struggled to understand my son’s mental health challenges. It was a day that started like any other but ended up changing the course of my life forever.

My son, at the age of 16, was grappling with challenges that seemed to grow more daunting by the day. His struggles with his mental health were becoming more pronounced, and on that fateful day, something felt off. My instinct became finely tuned to the nuances of my son’s behavior, and on that day, my intuition was screaming at me to pay attention.


 

I shared the challenges of parenting a child with bipolar disorder on a new show launched by Dawn Helmrich and Neil Parekh, “Shining Light on Shadows: A Candid Conversation About Mental Health.” You can watch the recording on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram and Neil’s website.

 

My son was missing. As the hours passed without any sign of my son, my anxiety grew into full-blown panic. Where could he be? What could have possibly happened to him? These questions swirled around my mind, each one more terrifying than the last.

In the moments of desperation, I found myself confronted with the harsh reality of rock bottom. It's a place where hope seemed like a distant memory, where fear and despair crowded out all other emotions. It was a place where the weight of the world felt crushing, and the future felt bleak and uncertain.

Hours and hours passed. until my son was finally located. He was not good. I was scared. His demeanor had transformed into something unrecognizable, consumed by a storm of emotions he couldn't control. Tragically, that day the unthinkable occurred – he turned his anguish into violence, directed at me. On that day my body bore the brunt of his rage. I was struck, thrown to the ground, kicked, and subjected to a barrage of verbal abuse that cut deeper than any physical wound ever could. In that moment, the lines between mother and son blurred, replaced by a stark reality I couldn't comprehend.

The pain of the physical injuries was eclipsed by the agony of betrayal, the disbelief that someone I loved with all my heart could inflict such harm upon me. But amidst the chaos and the pain, there was a glimmer of clarity – my son was not himself, he was a prisoner of his own mind, controlled by forces beyond his control.

Hours turned into days, and days turned into an eternity of uncertainty. I struggled to find support. Therapy wait lists were months long and recommended medications came with side effects he could not bear. But through it all, I refused to give up hope. I continued to seek out therapy before another crisis occurred. I leaned on friends for support when my own strength faltered. And slowly, ever so slowly, the pieces began to fall into place. My son was finally connected with a therapist and diagnosed with bipolar disorder. He began taking appropriate medications.

It wasn't easy, and it certainly wasn't quick, but eventually, I found my son. We were both battered and bruised, but alive. And in that moment, I realized that hitting rock bottom wasn't the end of my story—it was just the beginning.

From that day forward, I made a promise to myself and to my son that we would rise from the darkness stronger and more resilient than ever before. We would face our demons head-on, armed with the knowledge that even in our darkest moments, there is always a glimmer of hope waiting to light the way.

So, to anyone out there who may find themselves teetering on the edge of rock bottom, I offer this message of hope: You are not alone. Even in your darkest hour, there is light waiting to guide you home. Hold on to hope and never underestimate the power of resilience. The road may be long and fraught with obstacles, but with courage and determination, you can emerge from the darkness into light.


Title Card for Show. Text and headshots of the co-hosts and guest. Headline: "Shining Light on Shadows: A Candid Conversation About Mental Health" Copy: "Ep. 7 Kate Easton Parenting a Child with Mental Health Challenges Thurs., May 9 7pm ET / 6pm CT / 4pm PT"


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