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, February 27, 2009

We all needed a break

This afternoon my husband took "Caroline" with him up to DC to visit grandparents.  Thankfully, she was very chipper today, much different from last night when she tanked again.  She even did her math and writing with actual enthusiasm this morning.  And she voluntarily has been reading Freedom Train, a book abut Harriet Tubman that makes me cry.   What a relief I feel when Caroline is cooperative like this--it gives me hope. It does seem as though she is really having a hard time from about mid-afternoon until bed.  We think this is a medication problem that needs figuring out.  If the increase in Lamictal doesn't take care of this, we need to consider other solutions.   

With my oldest "Elizabeth" gone on a field trip all day, that left me with just the younger two all afternoon and evening since they had a half day.  We thoroughly enjoyed just being the three of us out in the spring like weather.  I could tell they liked having a break from their bipolar sibling.  I needed it too, badly.  They often seem stressed out by the daily drama she brings, but they express it in different ways.  The youngest "Mae" shows true concern and love for Caroline when she is bad off and will breakdown sobbing if she threatens to run away.  The third oldest "Jane" expresses a lot of anger towards her and embarassment.  She often tells me she doesn't want her at any of her school events because of the way she acts and looks.  I get mad at her for lack of compassion, but I understand how she must feel.  At her old school, kids would talk about Caroline, who was two grades ahead, and tease her about her "crazy" sister.  She was very distraught over this.  We decided that Jane did not need to be in the same school with Caroline, so we are sending her to a private school next year while we try public school with Caroline.  They both need their own space, and being only 20 months apart, that has been difficult to provide.

Some of you may wonder why we are homeschooling Caroline when it is so hard and often interrupted.  Well, we have tried Christian school,  public school, and a private school specializing in kids with learning disabilities, and a Christian homeschooling coop.  The Christian school couldn't handle her bipolar behaviors; the public school provided her with too many temptations  and she was quickly sliding into the wrong crowd; the private specialty school was not challenging enough for her and the school population was  overwhelmingly boys; and she made some big mistakes at the co-op while she was manic, and was asked to leave.  At this point, homeschooling on our own is the best option until we can move into a better school district, which is our goal this summer.  She wants to be able to start fresh in a new environment with new friendship possibilities, but she also expresses fear that she won't make good choices again because she is so eager to fit in.  She worries she will end up compromising everything she believes just to have a friend.  We are fully aware that this could happen, and we would choose homeschooling our daughter over losing her to drugs, sex, goth influences, etc.  Unfortunately, bipolar kids tend to be attracted much more than the average kid to every bad thing you can come up with.  There is an E.D. class at the middle school we are looking at (emotionally disturbed) but she freaked out about that possibility because she knows what it's like to be surrounded by bipolar teens after her last two hospitalizations, and it wasn't pretty.  We prefer her to be mainstreamed also, but we don't know what the future will bring.

But tonight, the stress is lessened and I am thankful for a husband who shares this burden equally. He is my hero.  

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