Children’s Books Explaining Bipolar Disorder – Bipolar Parents Need To See This

Did you know the Dopamine royal family doesn’t stop at the queen? That’s right, there are two princes and one princess of dopamine as well. My kids are young, 8, 6 and 6 months. I knew early on I would have to talk to them about my bipolar disorder. It wasn’t until my oldest was 6 years old that it really came up.

I was mid manic episode being super mom cleaning, cooking, folding laundry, singing nursery rhymes and supervising a craft while on the phone with work when it happened. LA dropped a full gallon of milk and it exploded all over the kitchen. I snapped. Some serious manic rage came out directed right at my perfect little dude. He obviously didn’t mean to spill it, in hindsight I was only mad at myself for being too wrapped up in the other stuff going on to notice he needed help pouring a bowl of cereal. He was 6; it was my fault. My voice was too loud, my words too harsh. I was shaking and unable to contain all the emotions. About 10 seconds in his face changed. He was scared. Really truly overwhelmingly scared. He had never seen me like this. I am usually very gentle with my children. This was not the mom he knew. The look on his face brought me back to reality. How could I be yelling at my baby like this? How could I let him believe he did something so wrong that he deserved that reaction from me. Cue the post manic guilt and shame depression and tons of apologies, hugs and double dessert nights.

I decided in that moment my kids needed to know what bipolar disorder was, that I have it, and that my reactions are not always logical. I needed them to know it wasn’t their fault. That I would sometimes have mood swings, but they were not the cause of them. That’s a pretty heavy lesson for a 5 and 6 year old. I wanted to go about it the right way so, still manic, I did approximately 18 hours of light research and decided to order some (all) children’s books about Bipolar Disorder.

These are the books my kids and I found most useful. They teach about the basics of bipolar and that a child’s actions are not responsible for any adult’s mood, especially in the case of Bipolar. Both of my littles took well to the books and even my 5 year old understood the concepts. If you are a parent with Bipolar Disorder, deciding if and how to educate your children on the condition is difficult. Hopefully these books can help you. If you have any other recommendations or stories about letting your kids know you have bipolar please comment below. Thanks!

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15 thoughts on “Children’s Books Explaining Bipolar Disorder – Bipolar Parents Need To See This”

  1. Thank you for this article. My kids are teenagers and in the past it was often difficult and for them to understand what was going on when I was having manic or depressive episodes. It was really important for me to educate them and give them some tools because it empowered them and they no longer felt helpless. It’s unfortunate for them to see me in those ways, but at least now they understand and I am very open with them about my Bipolar and what it is.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love this. Even for adults that do not live with bipolar diagnosis, all children need to understand that they don’t cause how people react to them in the world. Sometimes there are things completely out of their control happening. And the sooner they learn to accept that without allowing to reflect upon their identity, the stronger little humans they will become.
      Your kids are blessed to exposed to tough lessons early at home, bc life finds a way to teach them regardless, doesn’t it?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Wow this is a great comment – thank you. It was really hard on my kids when I was at my sickest, but including them in my treatment and informing them about my Bipolar has been very healing for all of us and empowering for them.
        xoxoxo 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Wow…thank you so much for your honesty. My dad was schizophrenic and had a few scary episodes when I was a kid and I really had no idea what was happening. My mom would just keep telling me that he was crazy. It wasn’t until I myself was diagnosed with bipolar that my aunt told me about my dad and things started to make sense. I wished I had known growing up because I’m very aware that I’m still working through those issues of the past at 30 years old, and now that he’s gone I have so many questions I’ll never get to ask him. I’m already terrified to have children not knowing how I’ll react in those difficult stressful moments, or whether I’ll pass it on to them…to read about you doing it, being super mom, and understanding that you have to somehow let them know what’s going on at an early age is BEYOND inspiring and strips some of that fear away. You show me that there are options, and give me the courage to not miss out on being a mom. It’s really great to know that there are people trying to explain this in children’s books…that’s something that never even crossed my mind! I really advocate trying to make them understand as soon as possible rather than attempting to “protect” them forever. I have a feeling they’ll really appreciate your openness with them as they get older. You are an AMAZING mom!!! 🙂 Thank you again…it’s so important to share things like this!!

    Also if you haven’t yet, I highly recommend watching the movie Captain Fantastic! It shows how a family is affected by a bipolar mom and does a great job of showing the extremes of that in a heartbreaking and beautiful way!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I’m sure it was very difficult for you knowing the kid didn’t understand. You did the right thing when talking to them early enough so they don’t put your rage or sadness on them. The books are great, I had no idea. I don’t have children so that’s a good reason why. Have a great day. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My mother never accepted that she was bipolar, because of that I had a messed up childhood and even messier teenage years. The fact that you are looking for ways to explain and educate your kids in order for them to truly understand and see you, is simply amazing! That is a sign of how great a mother you are and I hope you know it! Keep up the fight!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I have a good friend who has bipolar II disorder who, like me, is also a nurse. (Strange how we with issues tend to get into the helping professions, huh?), She has two daughters with bipolar disorder II. She did not know she had bipolar disorder although she recognized it in her children. She got help for her and her children when I explained my symptoms and my experiences trying to find a psychiatrist who left me a personality while treating my symptoms. I wonder if she had know about these books if she and her daughters would have recognized the symptoms and treated earlier. I know I sure would have appreciated it.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you for this post, I’ve been there and the emotional rollercoaster it’s draining. To see their faces when you explode it’s the most heartbreaking thing I’ve ever experienced, I mean it’s hard dealing with a manic episode but to hide it from your children it takes it to another level.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I never thought of this! I’ve been trying to explain it to my 7 year old niece that comes to my house every day and have a hard time finding the words. Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

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