Juniper Files: Grandiosity
Grandiosity is a symptom of bipolar mania. The term describes the larger-than-life feelings of superiority often experienced during manic, hypomanic or mixed episodes.
In our bpkids, this symptom can be seen in many different forms. They consider themselves bigger than life, invincible. They can be very inconsiderate and bossy towards others.
With my daughter, I liked to refer to this as Princess Syndrome. I see you nodding along. You know what I’m talking about.
“I want it now, Daddy!”
The world revolved around her and we were but mere humble servants.
And while I did accommodate her in some ways to keep the peace (pick your battles, don’t worry, there will be plenty!) She kind of learned that the world does not revolve around her (gasp).
One way I tred to counter this “self-centeredness” is to raise her awareness of those outside of herself. I always encouraged the boys to share news and stories from the day with her. I would talk to her about things I do, things that matter to me. I taught her about community. We did little things like taking clothes and blankets to shelters or stashing some nonperishable food in the car for the homeless guy by Walmart. I also liked to let her explore sites like Kids Are Heroes and Ripple Kids so she can see what other kids are doing for the world and get ideas.
We experimented with a blog for her for a short while. It may seem like such a small thing but it was a big deal for her. At one time she was ashamed of herself, her bipolar disorder and the fact that she took medication. When she decided to start blogging she told me,
“Mommy, I want to write. I want other mommies to hear how my brain works. Maybe it can help them with their bipolar kids.” I let her know she would be sharing her story with the world and she was very excited.
It didn’t last long but she loved using her blog as an outlet, although she didn’t post regularly, she did a lot of planning.
While giving her that stage may seem like we were feeding this “symptom” I believe the opposite to be true. By giving her that outlet and praising her efforts I was building her true self-esteem. When her self-esteem reaches a healthy level I believe she will develop a more balanced, realist sense of self.
Of course, she is a teenager now and my expectations may be a bit unrealistic. I still think she has a ways to go and I am interested in hearing how other parents keep their kids firmly centered, especially those with special needs.
Until next time, scribe happy and stay sassy,