Manipulated photo of my son at the beach. Made to look like a painting.

So, I decided to change psychotherapists. Not an easy decision for me to make. Except during the nine months we lived in Eugene and the two years we lived in the Mojave Desert, I’ve seen the same psychologist since my son was four. As my son turns fifteen next week, that’s a pretty long-term therapeutic relationship for me. I’ve seen psychotherapists since I was an eighteen-year-old freshman at UCLA, and in August I turn fifty-two. You do the math. Obviously, I’m pretty well therapized.

Why did I decide to change therapists? Because I need to see someone who loves working with and understands today’s adolescent – my adolescent in particular (that’s a manipulated photo of him up top from our vacation last week).

This morning I spoke to my previous therapist, thanking her for her help over the years. She asked the name of my new therapist, for in her own words, she was “too old” to work with adolescents and appreciated having an excellent young therapist for adolescent referrals.

Adolescents require a certain youthful optimism and tons of energy. (Please do not attack me for ageism. The truth is sometimes wisdom is in order, sometimes youthful energy.) When I was in my twenties, I worked with adolescents as a Marriage, Family and Child Counselor. Back then, I had the required vim and vigor. Now, I’m comparatively world-weary. Actually, I’m downright exhausted.


Here I summarize three relevant articles Blahpolar Diaries recently shared in her post pour me a link. Please read the articles for more details.

  • Parenting Insights for Those Who Have Bipolar Disorder (Part 1 of 2) by Brad Hoefs
    1. Children easily trigger the best of parents
    2. Never go without your medicine
    3. When you are upset with your kids and they need to be disciplined “dial-down” your reaction, until you have settled down emotionally — you are likely overacting out of the agitation and irritation of your mood.
  • 10 Tips for Supporting Children Through a Spouse’s Mental Illness by Dr. Leslie Capehart
    1. Acknowledge the Mental Illness By Giving It a Name
    2. Provide Open Communication
    3. Let Your Kids Know It’s Not Their Fault (Or Responsibility)
    4. Let Your Kids Be Kids
    5. Let Your Kids Express Their Emotions About the Challenges They Face
    6. Talk Openly as a Family
    7. Let Your Kids Know They Can Still Rely on You
    8. Create Time and Space for Your Kids
    9. Reassure Your Kids that They Are Loved
    10. Don’t Let the Mental Illness Dictate the Family Mood
  • 10 Brutal Truths About Being Married to a Bipolar Person by Maggie Ethridge
    1. When your partner is diagnosed, you won’t know what’s coming.
    2. Part of not knowing what the person’s bipolar disorder is going to look like is not knowing what they are going to be willing to do.
    3. Your partner may not have the same ideas about what it means to treat their bipolar disorder that you do.
    4. You will struggle with letting go.
    5. You will feel guilty.
    6. The medication they take might not work.
    7. …You have to throw ‘should’ out the door when having a relationship with bipolar.
    8. You will need to re-learn that taking care of yourself is important.
    9. Your relationship could become all about bipolar.
    10. Bipolar is a disease that shows up on MRIs.