Saturday, January 21, 2006


Many visitors here haven't heard the history of my son Kyle. With this post, I will attempt to give a little history.

My wife and I have documented our life with Kyle in our blog Bipolar Support, which we started several years ago. We don't update it much these days.

Kyle is the second of 5 children. From the beginning he was a challenge. A high maintenance child, he slept very little. This is something that persists into adulthood. In school he struggled. Not for lack of intelligence, he is brilliant. But he could not do a project without making it perfect. If he couldn't make it worthy of his high standards, he didn't do it. Consequently, he ended up blowing off most assignments. This, of course, made success in school difficult.

We started Kyle in counseling when he was in middle school. This is when we first got an idea that there was more at play than just a lack of motivation.

Kyle never got into drugs or alcohol until late in high school. He was a runner, involved in cross country and track. In fact, when he was 17, he competed in 2 full marathons, winning his age division in his second. His faith was always important to him, he was a very religious kid.

After his junior year of high school he enrolled in the Marine Corps in their early entry program. But by the end of his senior year, he wanted out of the program, and was taking great pains to avoid his recruiter.

On Mothers Day his senior year of high school, he was with Karen at her parent's house. Kyle walked from his grandparents house to a near-by discount store. He tried to shoplift a Mothers Day gift for Karen, and was arrested. The employee suffered a mild injury when he tried to tackle Kyle, and on top of that Kyle had some marijuana in his pocket. It was late that night before we could gather the $2000 cash necessary to bail him out. One of the twenty dollar bills we came up with was counterfeit - can you imagine that discomfort? While he was out on bail he was arrested again, some very cute girls came to pick him up in a red convertible. We knew there was trouble brewing, and tried to keep him from leaving. They went to a grocery store, Kyle grabbed a few bottles of alcohol, and tried to run out. They caught him. This time we didn't bail him out. It was almost 60 days before he came to trial.

Somewhere in this timeframe I was talking to one of my best friends, a state trooper. He was trained in mental health issues, and he told me that Kyle had bipolar disorder. I'd never heard of it before. I told my wife, and she said the counselor had told her that also, but she didn't know how I would handle that information. That statement right there tells you a little about me.

Since then, there's been highs and lows with Kyle. Trips to the emergency room, treatment centers, so forth. He tries hard, then slides. It's been this way for about 4 years now. Meds are not an option, he refuses to take them.

While all this was going on, we were becoming knowledgeable about bipolar disorder, and blogging our experiences in our Bipolar Support blog. It was in this time that I started putting the pieces together, and realizing that I likely suffered from the same thing. Not at Kyle's level of severity, but fairly obvious all the same. I was finally formally diagnosed a few months ago, shortly after Kyle's first formal diagnosis. But in both cases we all knew for many years what we were going to hear.

So, in a very quick nutshell and for what it's worth, that's a history. I am hoping that by being open about my condition and treatment, I can persuade Kyle to be more open and accepting about his treatment options. So far it hasn't gotten us anywhere, but we keep trying.


BipolarPrincess said...

Even if your blog doesn't help your son, it will help you. This is an awesome community that we're a part of, and I've never cared so much, learned so much, or been accepted so much as I do here.

jane said...

I agree with BP about being accepted into this community. Hopefully as our sons age, they'll become wiser. Although I have a brother who is 50+ and he refuses medicine. But he's gainfully employed & lives a productive life.
You know, there are some vitamins that Kyle could take instead of pres. drugs. Some also treat bp with nutrition. If you want more info, just email me.
Of course I've told my son all this & he says he's not ready to stop drinking & won't take meds until he is. And in a way, he's right. I just hope he wises up before anything bad happens.
My heart goes out to you & your family.

Jon said...

Thanks Jane and BP.

Jane - we just get terrified that one day he'll over do, and die of alcohol poisoning. Or will get in a situation over his head, and that will be it. I still live in fear of that late night phone call, I've had too many of them over the years.