Growing Up Bipolar

10 06 2008

Newsweek has an article about a 10-year-old named Max who first tried to commit suicide when he was 7. The article is a balanced look into the life of a child diagnosed early who has already battled his way through 38 medications and seems to have had every label in the book pinned to him. What becomes clear is how little we know about the disease, its manifestations, and even the modes of treatment among drugs that do work. All that is readily apparent is that a bipolar brain is miswired. While the disease is diagnosable, no two people seem to experience it in the same way, making a panoply of drugs necessary before the right cocktail is hit upon.

For those diagnosed in early adulthood, the journey is often easier as there is a sense of “when I was normal” to compare the feelings of mania and depression to. For kids like Max, however, stasis is something to strive for but difficult to achieve because they have never known it.