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Close to dropping out! Help!


AvenRoss
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I've been suffering from bipolar disorder a while now and it's really starting to affect my schooling. last year I missed 48 days of school and this year it's becoming even harder. I talked to my doctor and she thinks i might have ADD and I'm really not sure what to think about it...if i have ADD i hope there is a medication that will make me able to concentrate and be less fatigued. also i'm considering asking my doctor if he can put me on an anti axiety medication, to help with my VERY high stress levels. BUT if I can't find a way to wake up and get to school, and actually concentrate, I fear I'll have no choice but to drop out of high school, I've always had dreams to do something with my life, but now the stress and disorders are becoming to much to handle.

Does anyone have any advice???

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Guest GingerSnap

Have you talked with the school counselors regarding this issue? There may be some accommodations that they can make for you or at least give you a push in the right direction. I have seen a lot of students make improvements when they attend Alternative Education Classes but I don't know what you might qualify for. Talk to the school counselor if you haven't already. Tell them how important it is to you to graduate.

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Hi AvenRoss, your situation does seem troubling and I agree that you should follow up with your doctor's concerns about your mental health. But, when stress levels are extremely high, these are the times to ask whether you are meeting your basic needs properly. How much sleep are you giving yourself? Are you eating a balanced diet? Are you having at least three meals a day? Exercise?

These questions raise points that often appear absurd when one feels highly pressured, but the answers determine whether you are capable of meeting your challenges or burning out. The human body can continue to grow up to the early twenties, and growth requires food and sleep. A high school student may require between 8-10 hours of sleep to give the body time to recover from a day's worth of wear and tear, and to develop your body. If you are not sleeping regularly, you really should start immediately.

A balanced diet means taking in fruits, veggies, and meats, and keeping empty calories to a minimum. If you drink lots of pop and eat lots of chips, cut back on them. Milk, soy, or substitutes are basically a required fuel source and you need to have some everyday if not with every meal. If you can eat eggs, they are the most substantial, readily available energy boosters you can get your hands on. Swap out straight caffeine beaverages in favour of green tea, and make sure you are properly hydrated throughout the day. Simply speaking, and forgive me if I offend, yellow pee means you need a bit more water, colorless pee means you are properly hydrated and do not need more.

Remember that stress is an umbrella term of sorts that covers many different elements. How you see things, and interpret the events that unfold in your life is a source of both good and bad stress. But, what you put your body through is also a source of good and bad stress. When you eat, what you eat, these are issues that must be considered everyday. If you miss a meal, grab a healthy snack to compensate. Most of these diet changes have no immediate gratifying effects like drinking 2L of pop can. But, drinking milk strengthens your bones, energizes you, and reduces feelings of hunger for longer than anything else.

As for exercise, the sooner you start a good exercise habit the better. Find a gym, ask for an exercise menu to cover your upper and lower body parts, and push through them. A book titled Spark, by John Ratey, discusses the benefits of exercise, particularly regular aerobic exercise, and how it charges the brain to mitigate the effects of bad stress, sharpens thinking, lifts mood, and improves memory.

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Hi Avenross,

You're now in some very tough territory. Kaudio and Gingersnap offer good suggestions. Do you have an IEP or section 504 plan? If so, what accommodations are being made. Also, where are your parent(s) in this picture?

Now to the really tough part-- the relationship of ADD and Bipolar? Some clinicians see them as separate conditions and others as connected b/c they occur often at the same time. Only your MD can help out here, but generally, a list of meds is less important than understanding the circumstances of your situation. But, as far as meds go, the general idea is that stimulants (meds for ADD) have been seen to make bipolar symptoms worse with some (not all) people; however, there are newer non-stimulant meds your MD can prescribe.

A good MD can develop a "cocktail" that will work for you, but be prepared for some hit and misses along he way. But more importantly, an excellent MD can distinguish between the two and even rule out the possibility that you don't have both (they often look alike). Be patient as this can take 1-3 months sometimes... or even much longer (years for some).

Avenross, while this looks pretty dismal now, I've seen alot of kids get thru it and go on to have successful lives. Good luck.

Edited by David O
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