Some parents question whether their child might have Bipolar Disorder. He has moments of being affectionate, then suddenly he transformed to being mean-spirited.

Portrait of a Child with Bipolar Disorder

Parents brought their ten-year-old son Charlie for therapy. They described his sleepless nights, endless energy, and belligerent, combative behavior. Charlie did not like rules and did not want to obey them or any authority figures. He told lies at will and did not seem remorseful. He had moments of being affectionate, then suddenly he transformed to being mean-spirited. He was very creative and focused on his projects. Everything Charlie did was motivated by intensity much stronger than other disorders or mere misbehavior or mischief.

Some parents question whether their child might have Bipolar Disorder. I wrote a synthesis of my experience of Charlie to illustrate how intense and extreme Charlie’s behavior and moods were. This portrait offers insight to a child with Bipolar Disorder.

Ten-year-old Charlie resisted doing what he did not like to do. When he was occupied with his interests, he did not want to be disturbed; he saw this as a violation of his rights. The violator then deserved whatever punishment he dished out and it was the violator’s fault for any of the problems. While he took no responsibility for the offense, Charlie believed it was his obligation to teach the offender right from wrong according to his definition. Charlie objected when he perceived someone teasing or yelling at him.

I picture Charlie inside the boundaries of a dodge-em car rink. He drives his bright orange car with determination, holding the steering wheel tightly and leaning forward with his eyes glaring and squinting. He sees a green car. He hates green and needs to plow into that car. Someone bumps him; Charlie fires up and retaliates.  He notices a big guy bump a little girl, so that guy definitely needs to face his annihilator.  A yellow car whizzes by him. How dare that car go faster than his. He must get that yellow car, too. He notices someone in a red car minding his own business.  How dare that person not participate. He goes after the red car.

He continues his course round and round, bumping more than dodging. Suddenly the power ends, but his reign of power is not over! Now he is even more determined. He has to wait in line to start again…and he does.                                                                            

Excerpt from Notice Me-I am Unique   |   Pedalino 2004

Contact Dr. Barb