Journal Entry: A Child’s Bipolar Story – “Hopeless”




Living_Brain_Disorder2.jpgLast night I heard my mom say she wishes maybe, I had cancer or something, instead of what I got is my bipolar. That really made me sad and made me mad! When I finally asked my mom, “why,” she said, “If only you had cancer or lymphoma or something like that. Everyone would understand, everyone would feel sorry… That would be so much easier than bipolar!” She told me I would have a greater chance of being cured and of living, of not dying. She said I’d have fun with all the flowers, balloons, toys, and special snacks! She said important people like rappers and athletes might even help me, might even do fun things for me! And if I shaved my head bald, no one would make fun, they would even say, “that’s cool.” Mom says then, insurance would cover more, and people would maybe even help me with money, if we needed it… Instead, nobody wants to give anything nice or pay any attention to a “bad” kid like me.

I’m just a waste. Is it my fault? My mom’s? My dad’s? But my doctor says I can help myself some. And my family. There are things I can do, to help my BP. So, I don’t feel all that bad. I just need people to care, too. Not just to be “sick” of my “sickness.” I want to be “normal”! I want to be well! I want to be good! I want to try! I will! But, please, please, help me and care for me, too, even if I don’t have cancer!

Author: Anonymous (2002; from the journal of a high school student who functions at the second grade)

Collected By: Ann Hull (former teacher and friend)

Editor: Shaheen Lakhan

Editor’s Note: The following journal entry portrays a child not only suffering from the disabling symptoms of psychopathology, namely bipolar disorder, the child is also facing the harsh and real impact of societal mental health stigmatization (bias, distrust, stereotyping, fear, embarrassment, anger, and/or avoidance). Stigmatization of those inflicted with mental disorders has persisted throughout history. Such ideology has built barriers that discourage people from seeking mental health treatment and, often forgotten though significant, thwart treatment plans for those who courageously seek management. It is especially troubling in children, for they are seen in context to a larger unit (family, peer group, and their larger physical and cultural surroundings). In their age groups, human contact is essential for proper development and stigmas may deprive children of their dignity and full participation in society.

The Surgeon General, Dr. Carmona, addressed mental health in a famed and long-due report that recognizes mental illness and stigmatization as a public health dilemma. He states that that in the past 40 years, stigmas in certain context have intensified despite our improved knowledge of mental illness. He found that programs of advocacy, public education, and contact with persons with mental illness through schools and other societal institutions may reduce stigmas, in addition to active research into psychopathology. Dr. Carmona puts it best, “most importantly, [people] should become far more receptive [that] mental health and mental illness are part of the mainstream of health, and they are a concern for all people”.

Ann Hull is an educator, writer, and researcher with over 25 years of experience. She has encountered bipolar disorder in her personal family setting. Moreover, for more than eight years, Ms. Hull taught children in a special education environment, who had been diagnosed with a number of psychiatric disorders, including bipolar, schizophrenia, autism, and Tourette syndrome.

  • Harold A. Maio

    Editor, Shaheen Lakhan

    The Surgeon General, Dr. Carmona, addressed mental health in a famed and long-due report that recognizes stigmatization of rape.

    I wonder how women would react if the Surgeon General dared the above. Not, I do not, women would speak out in outraged anger.

    I am outraged. Claiming the above in a back alley is one thing, that is where prejudices like the above belong, but from the mouths of educated people, outrageous.

    Harold A. Maio
    Former Consulting Editor
    Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal
    Boston University
    8955 Forest St
    Ft Myers FL 33907
    khmaio@earthlink.net
    239-275-5798 day/night

  • http://ww41.ithetwilight.com/ Kat

    I felt like that before. For many reasons. The world always needs something tangible to hold onto, like Cancer. Nothing is tangible or untangible. All there is, is belief.

  • RaiulBaztepo

    Hello!
    Very Interesting post! Thank you for such interesting resource!
    PS: Sorry for my bad english, I’v just started to learn this language ;)
    See you!
    Your, Raiul Baztepo

  • http://opalzushaquon.typepad.com Opal

    I’ve felt on my own behalf that people are more sympathetic towards my physical limitations and tend to ostracize me when they find out I have mental illness as well. But to express such thoughts to your own child? This mother is ignorant and cruel! I feel so sorry for this kid that they had to endure such callousness from the person who should support them the most.

    • Harold A Maio

      People have more sympathy to things about which they have more experience. Knowledge. Give them experience. Lead them to resources.To knowledge.

Shaheen E Lakhan, MD, PhD, MEd, MS

Shaheen E Lakhan, MD, PhD, MEd, MS, is executive director of the Global Neuroscience Initiative Foundation (GNIF). He is a published scholar in protein biomarkers, bioethics, biotechnology, education technology, and neurology. He serves on the editorial board of several scholarly publications and has been honored by the U.S. President and Congress.
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