Friday, March 19, 2010


Impulsivity: An inclination to act without thinking about the consequences.

Sounds simple...right?

This week we discovered how complicated this mood disorder symptom can be. Now that our son was off Seroquel and Depakote, we’re in a transition without proper meds and one of the many symptoms that returned was impulsivity. While at school, our son told the student next to him that she needed to give him money or else he was going to blow her house up. So as you can imagine, this student became frightened and the next day returned with money for my son. By the time the next day had arrived, he was actually surprised to see her hand him the money, but she insisted, so he took it. Well I don’t think I need to explain how complicated this got, but not only did we have to apologize to the parents, but we had to work with our school about the consequences.

When I asked my son why he did this, his response was “I don’t know why”. He wasn’t mad at the student, or eager for the money, he just acted on a bad impulse, without thinking about the consequence. As he said, “There’s a war inside my brain and the bad side killed the good side, then the bad side takes over and makes me do bad stuff.”

This was a very tough time for me. I realized that day that no matter how much I teach my son about kindness and loving others, there’s another force within him. And if he’s impulsive, no amount of parenting can prevent him from making bad decisions. This is tough to deal with now, but I’m terrified about his future. As he gets older, what impulses awaits? Will he have to face criminal charges someday? I feel sick even typing this thought out, but I know that I’m not alone. I know that most parents of mood disorder children have to face this fear and even worse, live it out. Personally, this has been a time of grabbing on to God and his promises. I feel that I’m doing everything I can to help my son, but I’m also aware that there are things just too big for me to handle, and I have to lean on God to get through it.


  1. You are doing everything that you can for your son. Not all diseases are curable. Hang in there and continue to teach him to be kind and loving. His good side is still learning and it will be the good side that will continue to want treatment.

  2. Mama Bear...Your faith will pull you through. There may be no immediate answer for you or your son, but God doesn't give us more than we can handle. God seems to think you are quite capable since he entrusted you with such an arduous task. You seem to be doing a great job, and it shows that you care about your son. Ofcourse, the future can't be seen by anyone, but always trust that whatever comes, you will be able to get through it. Life's challenges are what make us stronger. I have a brother who is seventeen years older than I, and he is bipolar. I saw him make a mess of his life because he was never medicated as a person with bipolar. My parents were old-fashioned immigrants who had no clue he was bipolar. He definitely had his challenges, but now, at 52, he seems more stable than he has been in years. It gives me some hope because my son has mood problems and everything I see is reminiscent of my experience with my brother. All I can say is you have to be strong and stay strong. Don't give up hope because the rainbow is still waiting for you and your family.

  3. I haven't read all of your important posts but enough to know that your situation is very similar to ours with Kenzie, our oldest daughter. We too have a strong faith in God and I really do not know how I would get through the day without Him. Kenzie is doing the best she has done in a long time. But I can't tell you that I don't have worries in my head that things could fall all apart at any moment again. Mental illness is so unpredictable. I will keep reading your important posts and keep following. Erika, if you are reading this, my blog is and my e-mail is We would love to hear from you. I told Kenzie about what you described and her whole face lit up and she said, "Yes, exactly-I wish I could express my feelings that well." Just know your descriptions of how you feel are incredible and I feel like a window into her brain was opened up for me. Thank you. Reading it at times I just stopped and cried. Amy

  4. I know this post is old, but I'm new to this blog. I am so right there, right now. I just don't understand the impulses and why my son does these things. I cried while reading this because I have been here so many times!!! My son is 10. I have the same worries and the same fears. Sometimes I even wish he could be sent somewhere so he can be protected from his impulses. It's so hard some days!!

    1. Sorry you're experiencing this too Miranda, it's really hard somedays. I hope to encourage you that it does get better. My son is so much better now that he is 14 and stable on meds. I hope you find your own path to this too someday soon.