The entire time he had a smile on his face and an impulsive energy about him.
I knew from past experience that if I chased him things would escalate, so I tried to keep a distance. At one point, I had to move our car to another lot to keep him in our sights. Once closer, he started attacking the car with his fists. I coached his brothers to keep their eyes forward, to not look at him since it was obvious that my son was trying to scare them. Then my son started climbing onto the hood of my car and started beating the glass.
When I got out of the car and asked him calmly what he was doing, he said, “I don’t know”, with a smile spread across his face.
I asked him if he was having fun scaring his brothers and he said, “yes”.
He then ran around the car and grabbed an umbrella and tried to stab his brother with it, all the while I was throwing myself across the van to protect my little ones. This struggle went on for moments. It was all so fast, it’s like a blur now. I remember there was a lot of screaming, in a panic I was yelling for him to stop, while his brothers were crying in the car, terrified.
I screamed at my little ones to run out of the car into an office building while I kept his brother at a distance. With all the commotion, I wasn’t surprised when a man approached and asked if he could help.
YES! I was so relieved to have assistance. With the little ones safe inside an office, the man and I approached my son.
At first my son looked confused, he started slowing down and continued to walk away from us, but the man began talking. I was so impressed, he talked and talked, about being a soccer coach, about his daughter wanting to marry a rock star, he went on and on.
And it worked! With a look of total confusion on his face, my son calmed down, I was able to take his hand and lead him back to the therapist’s office.
Once there, our therapist got a first hand look at my son’s transformation. He went from being a sweet boy, full of life and anticipation for the weekend, to a scowling child tipping a table over in the lobby.
His brothers confirm to our therapist that my son wasn’t angry outside, but had too much energy and was having fun.
Once my son had calmed down, he explained that it felt fun and he felt powerful when he was scaring his brothers, like he was big and they were very tiny. He also felt like he could do anything. But he wasn’t able to determine what triggered it all.
The next day our therapist called and asked if this type of thing had happened before. “Yes!” I said. He asked a few other questions, then when he was done he said, “It appears your son was experiencing mania”. He said he wasn’t surprised that the episodes weren’t very long since he was so young and they’re new to his illness, only being present this year.
Inside, I had two distinct feelings that were crashing together. The first, I felt such relief that our doctor was now verbalizing something I always believed to be true. My son has been manic.
Second, I felt a sick feeling in my stomach and a deep pain in my heart.
If my son has mania, things are going to get worse.
When I asked if this now appears to be a case of childhood bipolar. He responded that they don’t want to label kids this young, but he did feel that what we were seeing in my son yesterday looked very different than a kid with typical anger problems.
As he finished the call he said that we should expect a lot of med changes in the coming years and be prepared to add a second mood stabilizer soon. In the meantime, he told me, “We need to hope for the best, but treat aggressively.”
Hmmm... after all that blogging, I still have a sick feeling in my gut.