Waiting For Lag
The Lag After the Lag

Watching For Bipolar

Ready for running


So, after an extra special weekend, Charlie did have lag on Tuesday. He had been, his teacher told us, the happiest at school he's been in weeks, all smiles and animated. Then right around 2.30 pm when it was time to take the bus home, boom.

The change was so sudden that, later -- after Charlie had stepped smiling off the bus, gone for a bike ride with a brief teary moment and had a quiet, easy-going evening around home -- Jim and I were reminded of our discussions with Charlie's neurologist about the possibility of a diagnosis of bipolar disorder for Charlie; there is some family history of bipolar. We have certainly dramatic, extreme swings in Charlie's moods at times throughout his life and one of the medications he is taking already addresses some of the bipolar. We of course are happy when Charlie's happy but have also learned to cultivate a bit of wariness, aware that the ups can come crashing down.

I can also see the mood swings stemming in part from hormones -- we're doing fine 'surviving adolescence' but things continue to be 'interesting' -- but, again, we've seen Charlie go from giggle and grins to distress that is expressed with a fierce physicality and, at times (not so much of late), self-injurious behavior. And there's the family history (my mother-in-law and some others, perhaps).

That's why the notion of 'keeping the peaceful easy feeling' has been important. Charlie is also incredibly attuned to other people's emotional states and often I think, he's reading our moods and fits his to ours, as much as he can.





K, I don't often get a chance to keep up, but this caught my eye. Make sure you talk to the neuro about the possibility about whether any of this is iatrogenic. As you know, we've seen this with Nik and are weaning him off a long-time medication for this reason. The bigger he gets, the bigger the dose, the worse the symptoms. Worth looking into. Sending you all manner of good thoughts and wishes. xo

Kristina Chew

Will look into that -- the extremes and fast changes of mood have been a long-time thing, plus the family history (my mother-in-law.....). Thinking about the possibility is giving us some ideas about 'reading' Charlie and handling behaviors. Tricky to try to take Charlie off meds at this point -- a) current combo seems to be keeping down behaviors and b) if he were off meds or weaning off, he might have an upsurge in behaviors and, given the simple face of his physicality, that could provide for some interesting scenarios....


We are in a similar boat. We have been through a bunch of mood stabilizers and not much help. Mood disorder is on thenlist of diagnoses, but nobody is completely sure. I feel like diagnoses for kids are almost meaningless anyway, and its really just finding the right med combo, which its hard to know if youve done when theres asd in play. Would be glad to talk meds with you if it's ever helpful.

Melanie Harper

Figuring out what is happening in a typical teen's head is tough enough, and then throw in ASD just for fun. We have mental illness, ADHD, anxiety, and lots of other fun stuff in our families, too, so I feel like we are watching out of the corners of our eyes for the mood disorder shoe to drop. My boy is 8, and we have just started meds for OCD, and I am hoping we have at least 2 years until puberty strikes. My kid is big and strong like Charlie, so I am nervous about what the increasing size is going to mean... I am glad you share your stories, as we parents of younger kids do appreciate the foreknowledge!


Definitely NOT suggesting that taking the meds away is the answer. Sorry if I was hazy about that (it's what we're doing for Nik in the hope that it helps, and we can establish his actual baseline). I've been reading about the need to change up meds once in a while to help the body establish a new set-point. And I am sure teenage hormone fluctuations/surges are contributing to the mix. Your plan of observing for predictable patterns and triggers is wise. Also, with family history, it bears watching. Always wishing you well. xo

Kristina Chew

@NIksmom, it's a good point to keep in mind! Just glad to know you may have figured something out for Nik. It's been 7 years since Charlie taking meds (Zoloft was the first) and sometimes I wonder what would have happened without?

@Mamacate, I must take you up on your offer re meds...

@Melanie, We started with meds for OCD (Zoloft -- tried Paxil and Prozac, with disastrous results, back to Zoloft and on it ever since). Then added Risperdal as puberty neared -- it helped at first but the way it made Charlie's appetite increase meant he got heavier and, Charlie being a big kid, the added heft became a problem in and of itself.

One thing about Charlie's increasing size was I started to think about ways to handle situations like keeping him near me without holding his hand. It's not been an easy issue to address; glad to be of some help! (I hope)

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