Snow falls onto Kourtney ’s locked bedroom window, the sky gray and gloomy, when she asks her father over the phone what it’s like where he is.
Snow falls onto the windshield of the car her dad Alex rides in, the sky gray and gloomy, when he considers how to answer. Sunny and 80 degrees, he tells her. Perfect Florida weather at home.
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How we got the story
Reporter Carlos Frías spent more than two months shadowing the family, meeting with them at support groups, flying to Indiana, and visiting late at night while their youngest daughter slept upstairs mostly unaware of her parents’ tangled lives with Kourtney. Photographer Gary Coronado, whose compelling photos have chronicled the people in The Palm Beach Post’s series on mental illness, spent time with Alex and Kourtney in Indiana, too.
What is bipolar disorder?
A mood disorder characterized by episodes of both mania and depression. In adolescents, typical symptoms are high levels of irritability and agitation (rather than a euphoric mood), explosive and even violent outbursts, grandiosity and uninhibited behaviors.
What is borderline personality disorder?
Characteristics of the disorder are instability in multiple areas of functioning: behavior, mood, self-image, interpersonal relationships. People with BPD are prone to impulsive behavior that may be self-destructive, shifting emotions, feelings of emptiness, cutting and self-mutilation, and suicidal thoughts.
Source: Campbell’s Psychiatric Dictionary, 9th edition.
About this series
In our continuing examination of Florida’s mental health crisis, a team of Post reporters has written about:
- A look inside a locked crisis unit
- Political patronage and privatizing
- Gun background checks and who is flagged
- Lax weapons permitting in Florida
- Children breaking down at school
- What mental health screening at school would look like
Read the whole series online at http://www.palmbeachpost.com/s/health/
About this story
Because of the stigma of having a mental illness, the family in this story would only talk if their real names were not used. The Palm Beach Post honored their request for privacy and created pseudonyms. Today’s story is the latest in a four-month series by Palm Beach Post reporters and a photographer on the complexity of Florida’s mental health crisis, prompted by the Newtown, Conn. school massacre.