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!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Feeling Really Guilty About This

Tonight is one of the two nights that Caroline gets to call home.  As awful as it sounds, I always have this feeling of dread before I talk to her.  I kind of don't really want to talk to her.  It's like I've been pretending since early May that we don't have a bipolar daughter, and I have really enjoyed every minute of peace and normalcy.  Wow, that is a sadly self-centered thought you may think.  Pretty un-motherly.  But if you don't know what it is like living with a bipolar kid, the daily extremes of stress that we endure, the crises du jour we can always count on, and the way that her presence skews our family experience toward the bizarre at times, then yes, I might seem cold and unfeeling.  I have hope that things will get better when she comes back, that what she has learned there, along with new medications, and what we have learned while she has been gone, will result in a much more peaceful home life.  Bill is more convinced than I am of this.  I want to hope, but I am jaded.

Also, when she calls, I am always fearful that she may be down, or angry, or homesick, and I feel inadequate to help her, or to fix anything for her.  When I think about what it would have been like if I, at the age of 13, had to leave and live away from my family for months with other mentally ill kids, I experience a deeper sense of sympathy.  I love her deeply, but I don't often feel this love on the surface.  I act toward her in love and with words of comfort, but often it feels forced.  I feel love for my other girls much more often.  Love is a choice, it's true. Feelings come and go.  

Like my commitment to my husband til death do we part is a decision to act in love towards him always, regardless of how lovable he is.  Sometimes he makes me so mad I could scream, but he is mine and I have to remember always that we are better together than alone.  We are a team, even if we disagree.  That's the worst.  When we are in profound disagreement, I flip-out inside.  Normally we are pretty harmonious, so when we can't agree on something really important, it feels like the end of the world.  I have learned to be patient and to let him go through all of his machinations when he is trying to decide something big.  I can't interject too much, or he just digs his heels in.  Usually, he comes around to my point of view on his own.  I try not to say, "I told you so."  I just nod and smile.  Men.  They forget about our intuition sometimes (with my hubby more often than not.)

Anyway, I digress.  We will see how tonight's phone call goes.  I need to get over myself and focus on her needs.


domandkat said...

If it's any consolation at all, I feel peace and serenity when I get to be without my kids too. I can almost forget that I'm a mom for a few minutes... isn't that what pedicures are for?

Melinda said...

I am also a mom of a child with early-onset bipolar disorder. I know what you mean when you say that sometimes you just need a break or you don't LOVE them the way you feel you should. I am also a single mom, no one to tag-team with. But these special children were sent to special parents, I really believe that. Thank you for your blog and for sharing the feelings that we all have.


Melinda said...

I know how you feel. I am also a mom to a son with early-onset bipolar disorder. I know what you mean when you say that sometimes you don't LOVE them the way you should. I'm also a single mom, so no one to tag-team with. But I believe these special children were sent to special parents, and I thank you for being brave and sharing your journey so that the rest of can feel not so alone.


PMB said...

If nothing else, this post alone has accomplished your stated goal for the blog.