Hello- Thank you for asking the question. I have over 30 years of experience working with individuals, couples and families & am happy to reply.
I am happy to help with this and having worked with many teenagers in my career who have BiPolar illness, stress is a forefront to decompensation.
The rigors and challenges for a 13 year old with this type of athletic interest may be too overwhelming for her and at her age- she is not capable of making a consistently reliable decision about what she should do.
This is where parenting comes in. She is 13 and you are the parent. You are obviously worried and see her deteriorating.
16 hour days are not good for a 13 year old who has a mental illness
Particularly when there is so much pressure in gymnastics.
In my opinion, this is a conversation you need to have with her Doctor and together - with the Doctor make the best PARENTING choice for your daughter vs relying on her judgement which at this age is not fully developed.
Does this make sense?
Yes, it does. Gymnastics has helped her so much though. She was bullied and now she has a supportive team and had tons of confidence up until a month ago. She told her coach she will finish the season (even if it's not whole heartedly) and we will talk to her doctor. But in the short term is there anything I might be able to do to help her overcome what seems to be paralyzing fear and frustration with skills that she had but is fearful of now? I think if she can at least do them, she can be proud of herself and that might help in making a better decision in the summer.
The only thing that you can do to help her is to assist her in reducing stress which in her case is a double edged sword because of the performance stress that is associated with her sport.
I would try to get her to do something that is more relaxing on a daily basis- whether it is just laying down and listening to quiet music or doing something fun that is NO stress.
Do you know about relaxation exercises etc?
That sounds fine. Just one more question- should we ask her about practice, etc. or just not talk about gym? She used to love to talk about it all the time but I'm not sure if ignoring the sport in conversation is helpful or hurtful?
And no, I don't know about relaxing exercises
The above link explains relaxation information for teenage girls.
Regarding the Gym- I would say- " I am always willing to listen if you have something to say about practice but I won't bring it up." " It is also perfectly okay to take a break if that is what you wish"
Or something to the above effect.
You want her to feel that she has an out from the Gym and that she doesn't have to please you or anyone else
by being in gymnastics at this time.
This is way too much stress for a teen with bipolar.......
Cultivate ideas about other less stressful interests.............
I trust this will help and wish you and your daughter the very best.
You are most welcome
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