Here are my thoughts on the episode that aired last night as well as questions for Kristen, a parent who appeared with her son Chase in the show. Kristen has offered to answer any questions we have on this blog, so if you want to reach out to her, please leave her a comment below.
First, I want to say that I’m so thankful for these brave families. Kristen, my heart goes out to you and all the other single moms doing this on your own. Both my husband and I wondered how you survive as a single mom, it’s hard enough with the two of us. I’m so impressed with you Kristen, you’re so good with your son, you do such a great job of handling the tough moments. Your story about Chase hurting you while you were driving was just terrifying, again, you’re so brave! I think that as much as we question why this is happening to our children, I wonder if God brought these children to us because He knew we could handle it, we could love these kids unconditionally. (just my thoughts)
Watching Kristen fight to carry Chase up the stairs while he was going into a rage was an image out of my own life. I find myself on those steps many times wondering if my son is going to injury us both, it looks easier on camera than it really is! Also seeing the images of Chase running off out the front door, it made me laugh because I’ve been there more than once! I also appreciate you Kristen for sharing to the world that you give medication to your son, not to make your life as a parent easier, but to make your son well, to give him a life. People need to hear this.
It hurts to see these kids suffer, I recognize that "look" in the children’s faces when they go into these rages, it’s the same look our son has. I’m glad this episode showed how these kids are affected by their peer groups, trouble with friends and fitting in. I also appreciate the openness of these parents, sharing how they fear their kids, especially as they get bigger. I also love the statement by one father that “There’s no fixing this, only work." That is so true!
I was touched by the scene where a younger brother, Morgan, went to check on his sister, Kelsey, after a rage in her room. He asked if he could go into her room and she didn’t want him to because she was afraid if she got mad she was going to hurt him. This alone shows that this isn’t a child that’s a bully, but one that’s suffering from something that makes her rage beyond her control. These kids don’t want to hurt others, they just can’t help it. I’ve seen this with my own son. It’s this reoccurring behavior that has hurt my son’s self esteem. He thinks he’s a bad person because of how he’s hurt us in past rages, even though it’s out of his control.
I thought the doctors represented on the show were all caring and in touch with their cases. I felt that the show limited the view on bipolar to only rage issues for the most part, it would’ve been helpful for me to see more of the other symptoms since we’re still trying to determine what my son has and like many kids, it’s a lot more than just rages.
I wish it was possible to get a better view into these kids lives. For example, seeing your child rage, then want to kill themselves, even grabbing a knife, demonstrates the illness in such a way that you have to agree that it’s not a tantrum. I just think it’s hard for anyone video taping to capture how bad it really gets. In the toughest moments, a parent can’t stop to video tape, instead they’re trying to keep their child from jumping out of a window. So unfortunately, I don’t think what these kids are REALLY going through can ever be documented. But on the flip side, there are subtle moments seen in this show that show a deeper view of what’s going on. If you remember in the beginning, where Chase is throwing things around in his room, he says that he “needs someone to help him”. This is not a tantrum, he really does need help! Then there’s a very subtle clip where a girl is screaming in anger, throwing stuff around, but in a small gesture, actually “straightens” the puzzle on the table that she has ruined, then goes on to throw more stuff. This shows a piece of her, under all that rage, that hates what she’s doing, she hates that she has ruined her sibling’s puzzle. This subtly demonstrates that there’s “good” deep down in these kids when the rage takes over.
Over all, I’m glad this show aired. I’m also sad to say that this looks like our life in so many ways. Thank you Kristen, Chase and all the other families for sharing your life with us, I believe good things will come out of this.
Questions for Kristen:
The last I’ve heard, you’ve not seen the episode yet since you were in Disneyland, but based on your experience and public reaction, are you glad you participated in this show?
What are Chase's symptoms overall?
What symptoms made the doctor label him as being Bipolar?
Does he have more of the “giddy happy” mode or more of the “depressed” mode going on?
What symptoms does Chase have that has required hospitalization?
How have you dealt with the devastation of hospitalization?
Do you ever have medications help Chase, then completely stop working?
What seems to help Chase the most?
Thank you so much for opening up your life to us, you’re helping so many parents, we appreciate you!