Seeing Through Josh’s Eyes

 Featured in the Chicken Soup Book Series – Children with Special Needs

Deborah Colleen Rose

1/1/20252 min read

In Deborah's books, she shares her experience and training in communications, NLP strategies, mental health education, and children's books on abandonment and mental health. Her first publication, featured in the Chicken Soup series about special needs, explores her son's struggles with a bipolar diagnosis.

After years of doctors, counselors and visits to the school, the word “bipolar” should have been a relief. My 13-year-old son had always been different and unusual but the problems had escalated. Even if it was my fault as one doctor told me, our family, my son, needed help, and we weren’t getting it. Until now. The words hung in the air and I swear I could touch them; they were so heavy and dense.

Josh sat with my husband and I as the doctor told us what Bipolar Disorder was, described the symptoms and outlined the line of treatment that was needed. And all I remember hearing were two words – Bipolar Disorder.

After our meeting, my son and husband were picking up some literature and filling out paperwork so I offered to go warm up the car. There was snow on the ground. I remember that, and I remember that I felt like my whole life was in a frozen picture. I couldn’t think, I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t cry. I was numb.

At that very moment, my husband and son jumped into the car, and I remember looking into the rear view mirror and seeing my son grinning from ear to ear. He jumped into the seat and said, “Mom, let’s go celebrate.”

At that very moment, I knew that my son was in the middle of what the doctor had described as a “manic episode.” Why else would he say something so ludicrous?!

As calmly as I could, (I certainly didn’t feel calm), I turned to him and said, “Son, I’d love to go celebrate, but what exactly are we celebrating?”

And with the most sincere voice I have ever heard, he looked me in the eye and said, “Don’t you get it, mom? We’re celebrating because I am sick. I’m not evil. Sick can be fixed.”

It was at that moment, I realized it was time for me to start seeing things the way my son did. I thought we had been striving for normalcy, and all along he had been fighting for his soul.

selective focus photography of sunglasses
selective focus photography of sunglasses