Gaining Insight to Life with Mental Illness (00:40)
Filmmaker Louiselle Noel wanted to demystify childhood psychological disorders. Diagnosed as bipolar, she recalls having paralyzing fear when she was young.
Home Support for Mentally Ill Children (02:21)
12 year old David is diagnosed with bipolar disorder. He looks forward to moving to another house with his adoptive mother and siblings; she has taken in nearly a hundred foster children over the years.
Teenage Mental Illness (03:11)
Blanche describes her depression symptoms. Diagnosed as both bipolar and schizophrenic, she is transitioning to living independently. Her mother recalls realizing she was chemically imbalanced.
Mentally Ill Behavior (02:53)
David's adoptive mother describes his fits of violent rage. Filmmaker Louiselle Noel recalls irrational fears as a child. Blanche's mother found her hysterical one night and realized she needed medical help.
Expressing Bipolar Disorder (02:17)
Blanche felt isolated with her mental illness at school. She turned to writing and poetry as an emotional outlet; we hear one of her poems.
Early Signs of Mental Illness (03:39)
Brandon is 12 and suffers from a behavioral disorder. His parents talk about his fits of anger and aggression; he couldn't concentrate and talked about committing suicide.
Rapid Emotional Cycling (04:51)
13 year old Erynn has bipolar disorder. Her parents knew she was different early on by her abnormally long temper tantrums; they still have difficulty responding to her unpredictable mood swings.
Inconsolable Suffering (01:21)
Blanche started cutting herself to release her emotions. Her father recalls physically restraining her during bipolar crises.
Out of Control (04:45)
David's adoptive mother describes his many behavioral and neurological disorders. Before an effective medication regime, he was physically locked up in a "quiet room" at school during fits so he wouldn't hurt others.
Overcoming Denial (03:47)
Brandon's violent behavior worsened as he got older. His parents describe the process of realizing something was wrong with him. Blanche's mother tried natural remedies before she realized her daughter needed medication for her bipolar disorder.
Hiding Mental Illness (01:28)
Blanche struggles with whether or not to tell people about her bipolar disorder; she doesn't want to be treated differently as a young adult.
Medicating Children with Mental Illness (02:21)
Erynn shares her medication regime for bipolar disorder: omega-3 for improved brain function, lithium as an anti-psychotic and Tegretol (Carbamazepine) to slow her activity. Her parents are cautious about prescription drugs but accept they are necessary.
Parental Sacrifices for Mentally Ill Children (01:37)
David's mother decided to move to the country to change his routine and help him with personal development as a child with bipolar disorder.
Dealing with Social Stigma (03:11)
Brandon's parents struggled with the decision to hospitalize him, afraid it would reflect poorly on them. There is mental illness and suicide in his mother's family—now he is stable and the family gets along better.
Giving up Hope (01:31)
Blanche revisits the place where she tried to commit suicide. She was exhausted from struggling with bipolar disorder and thought she would never be happy.
Describing a Manic Episode (02:24)
Erynn's parents describe one of her mood swings that occurred in public—she was physically abusive and uncontrollable. She speaks candidly about her fits; she feels "hollow" afterwards.
Stress of Mental Illness on Families (02:03)
Blanche is grateful her parents stuck by her through her childhood bipolar disorder. Erynn's parents' shared values helped them stay together. She is hard on herself for being different from other kids.
Dealing with Uncontrollable Behavior (02:36)
David seems happy and well-adjusted despite his bipolar disorder. Blanche once believed her parents weren't her real parents; she now realizes how illogical it was. Filmmaker Louiselle Noel recalls unpredictable fits of rage as a child.
Permanently Medicated (01:53)
Brandon's mother thought her son would grow up to be abusive because of his violent behavior. The school principal gave her a wake-up call: his problem was mental illness. The family has accepted he will have to take pills his whole life.
Exploring Alternative Treatment (02:19)
Erynn's parents tried meditation and homeopathic methods to help stabilize her bipolar mood swings. They acknowledge the importance of community in the ongoing process of finding the right set of medications.
Taking Risks to Treat Mental Illness (01:41)
Blanche was offered a "miracle" drug with a dangerous side effect. After deliberating with her parents, she decided to try it—with the best results so far.
Prejudice against Mental Illness (01:30)
Erynn's father points out the medical community's bias against treating child mental disorders as they would a physical disease.
Returning to "Normal" (02:18)
Blanche discusses a new medication with her family—for the first time in years she feels like herself. They didn't realize she had a mental illness growing up; she feels she suffered unnecessarily.
Being Open about Mental Illness (02:14)
Erynn shares being elected to the student council—a big step for an adolescent with bipolar disorder. Her parents have always celebrated her uniqueness; it has helped her to gain self-confidence.
Enjoying Life with Mental Illness (01:33)
David's adoptive mother values her time with him despite the challenge of his bipolar disorder. They share a recent fishing trip.
Personal Sacrifice for Mental Health (02:03)
Blanche shows us sketches she did while hospitalized with bipolar disorder. Now that she's stable, she no longer paints or writes—but feeling "normal" is worth losing her creative urges.
Social Challenges for Children with Mental Illness (01:33)
David's bipolar disorder sets him apart at school; he gets angry at classmates viewing him as different.
Canada Behind the U.S. in Mental Health (01:17)
Erynn's father points out the lack of mental illness programs and facilities in his country. David's adoptive mother worries her son will end up in prison because of his behavior; she prefers putting him on medication now.
Parenting Mentally Ill Children (01:46)
Brandon's parents have accepted he'll be on medication his whole life, and are grateful he is stable. David's bipolar disorder has made his adoptive mother more forgiving—she has to work hard to cope with his unpredictability.
Career Prospects for Mentally Ill Youth (03:07)
Erynn, Blanche and David share their hopes for a future life—made possible by stabilizing medication. Filmmaker Louiselle Noel was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at 40; after a life of suffering she feels at peace.
Credits: Racing Thoughts: Children and Mental Illness (01:51)
Credits: Racing Thoughts: Children and Mental Illness
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