About our Daughter

I am mother to four wonderful daughters, ages 17, 19, 21, and 23, and wife to the greatest husband on earth. God has given us a special child to raise one who was diagnosed with early-onset bipolar disorder at the age of seven, though she showed signs of it from the age of fifteen months. She also has ADHD, Sensory Integration Disorder (sensory seeking), Dyslexia, and Non-Verbal Learning Disorder-NOS, all typical comorbidities for a bipolar child. In spite of the trials, she enjoys lacrosse, running (finished her first marathon in October of 2014!), and reading and writing her own books. I will share with you the many joys and sorrows we have faced and will face in the future with the hope that you may find better understanding about this mental illness caused by both chemical and structural abnormalities in the brain. I desire that you will be encouraged by this blog if you are also dealing with a bipolar child. Thank you for reading and sharing in our journey.

How Did You Know She Was Bipolar So Young?

I wrote a long explanation of how we came to this bipolar diagnosis in a child so young under my post of March 19th of 2009. If your child or a child you know bears similarities, please seek out a good psychiatrist and don't wait for "things to get better." Often they will simply get worse, and the longer a child is unmedicated, the more damage their brain can accrue. Early diagnoses and treatment are key to providing these children with a chance at a successful life later as a teen and an adult.
Never change, start or stop a medication without the approval of your child's physician!

Friday, January 30, 2009

The First Post

So I begin to share with others, wherever they are, about the daily struggles and joys of raising a bipolar daughter.  I decided to blog when I realized that all day long I had these long thoughts traveling around my brain, almost begging to be written down, maybe for my sake more than for my daughter's.  I hope you might find here encouragement if you are on the same journey, one never chosen, but given..  If you are simply interested in knowing what this life might be like, you are welcome here, because so many don't understand how difficult our lives are as we walk through life with these tormented ones.  There is much to be done in educating family members, teachers, coaches, and neighbors, and also to plead for  lawmakers to increase funding for research into this terrible genetic disorder that isolates a child from their peers and many normal childhood experiences.  Few rally around them like so many do for young cancer patients, or children with incurable genetic disorders.  Thus, the parents of these children often feel rejection and isolation alongside their child, who is often very misunderstood.  They are not bad kids, they are sick kids who need much help and compassion.  And their siblings suffer too, from the daily unpredictability  of their lives as their sick sibling rages or exudes an energy that mimicks that of consuming large amounts of Red Bull, or who sobs heartbreakingly over their lack of friends, or the stupid things they did while manic.  Like it or not, they are on this journey too, and I wish they weren't.  Somehow I hope in the grand scheme of things, they will learn compassion and gratefulness.

9 comments:

domandkat said...

What an excellent idea! This will be a good help to those of us who know you and want to pray for you, but often feel like it's overwhelming for you to try to start sharing all that is on your heart. We all know it's there, but there just never seems to be the time.

And I wouldn't count out Uzbekistan in your future someday. Seems to me life is sort of circular and what you did in the past only prepares you for the future...

Kim Wilson said...

Welcome to the blogisphere! You are a woman of great courage and strength. Know that your family's struggles are prayed over by us. I look forward to your future entries!
Love, Kim

amber said...

thanks for doing this!

Danielle said...

My 7 year old daughter has just been diagnosed with BP. I found your blog when searching for someone out there to connect with. I look forward to reading your entries...I hope I will find some sense of belonging in the new world my family has been given. Thank you for writing.

Megan said...

Danielle, thanks for checking in. I am sos sorry for all you must be going through. I know it is so very painful to see your child suffer and struggle so much. Please do keep in touch. I think the years from 7 to 13 were really hard years for us, the hardest, because it can take a while to find the right med mix, sometimes months, but also in our case, years. Most bp kids need the standard medication protocol of one or two mood stabilizers and an anti-psychotic. If we had done this sooner, we would have been spared a lot of grief. This may not work for every bp kid, but it seems to work for many. Don't forget The Balanced Mind Foundation at www.cabd.org for lots of great resources and advice. You are not alone!

Megan said...

actually the Balanced Mind Foundation has a new url:

www.thebalancedmind.org

Joann Heerman said...

Meghan, I just found your blog and as I read it I feel like you are talking about my daughter. My daughter is 13 now but as you she was diagnosed when she was 7. I also knew something was different when she was a toddler. My biggest struggle is helping my 3 other kids deal with their sister who at times is just "a bit _ _" in their words. Mental illness is the worse thing to try and explain to other kids. Its not visible so they don't think there is anything really wrong. They constantly think she is just a bratt.

You talk about the "right" mix of meds. . .no question, its all trial and error process.. Unfortunately, my daughter can not be put on the "drugs of choice" . Back in 2009 she was hospitalized in full liver failure due to some of the meds she was on. It was the longest 2 weeks of my life as we had to talk to transplant teams, I could bearly breath. By some type of miracle week 3 she took a turn for the best. By the middle of that week her liver numbers were coming down fast. How serious was this - your liver counts should be no more than double digents..my daughters numbers were in 8000/9000 when was admitted.

Now we just get through every day, sometimes minute by minute. What helped you the most? What did you do for your other kids? What did you do to help your daughter socially?

Do you know of any books, articles, blogs out there for the actual child? My daughter always says how different she is and I think to read or be part of a blog, group, etc would be great.

I will definately be back.
THANK YOU for starting this blog.
Joann

Joann Heerman said...

Meghan, I just found your blog and as I read it I feel like you are talking about my daughter. My daughter is 13 now but as you she was diagnosed when she was 7. I also knew something was different when she was a toddler. My biggest struggle is helping my 3 other kids deal with their sister who at times is just "a bit _ _" in their words. Mental illness is the worse thing to try and explain to other kids. Its not visible so they don't think there is anything really wrong. They constantly think she is just a bratt.

You talk about the "right" mix of meds. . .no question, its all trial and error process.. Unfortunately, my daughter can not be put on the "drugs of choice" . Back in 2009 she was hospitalized in full liver failure due to some of the meds she was on. It was the longest 2 weeks of my life as we had to talk to transplant teams, I could bearly breath. By some type of miracle week 3 she took a turn for the best. By the middle of that week her liver numbers were coming down fast. How serious was this - your liver counts should be no more than double digents..my daughters numbers were in 8000/9000 when was admitted.

Now we just get through every day, sometimes minute by minute. What helped you the most? What did you do for your other kids? What did you do to help your daughter socially?

Do you know of any books, articles, blogs out there for the actual child? My daughter always says how different she is and I think to read or be part of a blog, group, etc would be great.

I will definately be back.
THANK YOU for starting this blog.
Joann

Megan said...

Joann, I am so sorry for the horrible scare you went through with your daughter and liver failure. That sort of thing is always in the back of my mind too. I am glad you found this blog. As far as what has really helped with your dd, besides the right med mix, I would say making sure that her school environment is right for her and changing schools if possible to get the best situation. Also, trying to make the spiritual an important part of the healing process by encouraging involvement in a church, synagogue or youth group. I think these kids really struggle with deep questions because of their suffering and need extra support. Also, really encourage their giftedness because they need hope, hope that they can truly do something with their lives in spite of their diagnosis. As far as siblings go, this is such a hard one. My three girls resent her a lot and are not very kind to her or forgiving or patient. My heart is so sad over this. Caroline has certainly given them reasons to be angry, but they have to learn forgiveness and understanding. They have all had a bit of counseling but honestly they each could use a whole lot more. They have been traumatized too. I am hoping that maturity will kick in as they get older and they will realize they are big sinners too.

I have been recently reminded of the fact that I MUST take care of my own needs. I often neglect my need for alone time, for pampering, for exercise, for coffee with a friend because there are always fires to put out. Today I have a whopping migraine because I needed to say no when I said yes and the stress was too much. Say no, a lot.

Thank you for writing here. Keep in touch!!