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!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Unsettling Phone Conference with RTC

This morning we had our weekly phone conference with Bill and I, Caroline, her psychologist at Meridell, and her new psychologist here (her therapist of seven years is on maternity leave). We were five minutes late to the meeting, and we had not met her new psychologist until this morning, so we had to do some getting-to-know-you time before we could talk to her psychologist at Meridell. Unfortunately, the Meridell tdoc (therapy doc) was on the line already and was kept waiting for about 10 minutes while we tried to cover some ground quickly with Caroline's tdoc here. When we finally picked up the phone, I thought that the Meridell psychologist sounded a little annoyed since we were fifteen minutes late starting the phone appointment. So we rushed through the initial update and questions we had, trying to give our psychologist here some talk time with the Meridell tdoc. It felt a little less friendly than the other times we had spoken with her. I explained to her Meridell therapist I wasn't fond of the points and rewards system they had there, because there can be a lot of frustration for those whose problems are still medication related. Maybe we sounded critical and that put her on edge. She brought Caroline in for a rushed talk with her. I could tell immediately that, compared to our last conversation, she was down and emotional. She sounded like she was tired and basically cried and complained about everything the whole time, about how she isn't getting outside time because the other girls vote on staying in the gym, or she can't watch her favorite TV shows on Sat. morning, because the majority want to watch something else, and how she is getting no alone time at all, having group therapy three times a day with major drama ensuing each tie that she just wants to avoid. We felt pained listening to her as she went into a downward spiral. Her Meridell tdoc tried to get her to problem solve on all of these issues right then, but Carolien was in the "tornado"we call it, and we knew that trying to get her to reason would be futile until she was calmer. So we asked to just let her vent, which did help. She needed to feel heard, not to be fixed.

After the conversation ended, Bill and I both wondered if we had put her in the right place. She is an introvert who truly needs down time, away from others, and they won't let her color in her room, which is very calming to her, only in the noisy great room, and won't let her go running around the campus when she needs to exercise. This is a girl for whom exercise is hugely therapeutic. So with no alone time and no running time, she is hurting. The other RTC in Georgia had many planned outdoor activities every week, like canoeing, exploring caves, fishing, track and field, hiking, and a great ropes course, and horses. Bill wanted Meridell because he was so impressed with the neuropsych stuff, but I was leaning toward Inner Harbour in Georgia because I thought it would be a better fit, and still had the neuro psych approach. We won't do a knee jerk reaction, but if the structure is working against her rather than for her, we may need to change course. We'll see. And sometimes it is hard to know if what she is telling us is 100% truth, or perhaps her skewed view of things, which looks like paranoia and "everyone hates me." When we see her in two weeks, I hope we will get a better feel for how she is doing there and if it is a good fit.


domandkat said...

I'll be praying for you as you seek the best course of action. Should I stay or should I go...isn't there a song about that somewhere???

Jeanette said...

Here's another song, with apologies to Lennon: Give it a chance. Change takes TIME.

You are supporting our gal by trusting the knowledge and skills of the staff. Besides testing and therapy and a new environment and new people and homesickness, she and the staff are dealing with slowing changing meds to something more appropriate for her.

Not to mention 13 year old angst and drama.

Summer camp takes a week for kids to get used to; some make tearful calls and write heart wrenching letters home.
Ask Dad; boot camp is a major, major stress change for young people, and they are forced to deal with it, no calls home.

For the sake of our dear gal, I would respectfully suggest that you try to be strong and give it all a chance. The staff are caring and professional. You did your research, you prayed and decided together with Dad.

This is also therapeutic for the other girls and for YOU. Give yourself some stress free time with the rest of the family to de-stress and give the love and attention that was difficult or impossible to do before.

Love ya.
Hang in.

momofbpchild said...

We won't pull her out unnecessarily--it's better if she can stay in one place, agreed.