Do you have a son or daughter who has been given the mental health diagnosis of bipolar? Was it hard for you to believe it could be true? Did you wonder what this would mean for their future? Have you struggled to understand? Has it been difficult to figure out how to help? It was for me.
I want to tell you about a book that was written just for young adults to help them accept their diagnosis and learn how to deal with it. I wish it had been written ten years ago when we began this journey with our daughter.
The book is Facing Bipolar: the young adult’s guide to dealing with bipolar disorder by Russ Federman, Ph.D. and J. Anderson Thomson, Jr., MD. A unique fact about these authors is that they have been involved in counseling and psychological services on college campuses for over thirty years. Out of their experiences they developed a burden that birthed this book.
Facing Bipolar helps the young adult (or teen) “navigate through the world of medications, therapists, and the up-and-down cycles common to the disorder. It clearly explains what bipolar disorder is and provides sound guidance for developing the necessary coping skills to manage its impact on life.” (back cover)
I liked this book because it’s is very practical and opened my eyes as the parent. Federman and Thomson do a great job of encouraging transparency. I love that. It takes an individual from the place of recognizing they may have a problem, how they may feel when receiving a diagnosis and what to expect for their future. It talks to them in a real, compassionate, and practical ways.
Chapter four is my favorite, “What you can do: the four S’s of bipolar stability” – Creating a Structured Life, Managing Stress, Getting Good Sleep and Learning to Self-Monitor. Excellent.
While this book is very realistic and paints a clear, honest picture, yet, they give a good dose of hope. The individual may need to create new hopes and dreams for their lives. Maybe they won’t be able to handle the stress of becoming a medical doctor, fighter pilot, air traffic controller, CIA agent, or high-profile politician, but there are plenty of other great options. They’ll need to alter their aspirations and discover what will be more conducive for their well-being. Once they accept and adjust, they can still accomplish great things and have a wonderful life.
It is possible. Life will just look “different” from they’d expected. But that doesn’t have to mean it will be bad – just different.
We all suffer in some way and have our own “stuff” to deal with. “Yours may be bipolar issues, but that doesn’t mean you’re facing a broken life without potential for healing and achievement.”
This would be a great book to purchase for your child to read if they’re struggling with, or if you suspect they are, some kind of mental health issue. It just might help them be more open to getting some help.