In early childhood, years before the first psychotic break in the early 20’s or 30’s when the Bipolar Disorder is defined, the child who has inherited the disorder has almost imperceptible mood swings of highs and lows. When the energy rises, he/she becomes interested in an activity for awhile and when the energy level falls, he/she loses interest. Over the years, these behaviors become a pattern recognized by the brain so that when the child becomes interested in something new, the brain informs him/her that it won’t last long. As an adult, he/she will get a job or take up a new activity, the brain will tell the individual that it will not last long. These adult bipolars feel controlled by some powerful force outside themselves that will cause them to fail at every activity, job or relationship they undertake. I refer to them as “Bipolar Failure Patterns”.


Most of what I do in treating Bipolar Disorders, besides making sure the individual takes the medication every day, is to help the person change the patterns from failure expectations to success. But, long before that, when the person is still a child, parents and teachers must learn to notice these mood swings to prevent what are slowly becoming patterns of failure.


Why do I mention this here? Because these patterns may be mistaken for the “Hopeless Syndrome”. ADHD/ADD patterns may be mistaken for hopelessness as might Generalized or any other anxiety disorder. All these personality disorders and traits may be present in children and teens and cause problems with motivation. This is another good reason you must employ a professional counselor who understands the dynamics of all these forces instead of blindly trying to motivate your child to meet previous standards that could be reached by conventional motivation.


Lane A. Stokes


Roswell GA 30076