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, August 7, 2009

Not Everyone is Happy

My husband and I sat down with our oldest daughter last night to discuss the timeline of our impending move, including talking about the real possibility that she may have to switch schools mid-year. She is not thrilled with that idea at all. All spring, she kept telling me how she couldn't wait to move out to another school district, that she was so tired of her school where the majority of kids didn't care about their education, were lazy, and enmeshed in a culture of purposeful underachievement. She said she wanted to go to a high school where there were more kids to whom she could relate. But over the summer her opinion changed, because after she got her fall schedule, she became quite excited about her classes, especially two that are not offered in the district we are moving to. And she wants to remain involved in Young Life where she is now one of the only student leaders at her school after a bunch of seniors graduated.

We completely feel for her. Moving half-way through your junior year, and to a school that doesn't offer what you want must be really stressful and disappointing at the outset. I wish it didn't have to be this way. But the needs of our family as a whole outweigh the consideration of her desire to stay where she is. We want her to understand that this is not all about Caroline. She wants to blame Caroline for any of her problems. Caroline's needs are only one factor. We have about four other major factors leading us to move. I think it is hard for her to understand the big picture.

In addition, we talked about Caroline coming home in two weeks. This news got the biggest reaction. She became very upset at the thought of having her at home again. She began to cry and become very angry, relating how she feels that Caroline's absence has really improved our family life and her own life, and that she doesn't want her to come home ever. She brought up how her birthday last year was ruined by one of Caroline's meltdowns, and she can't forget that. We tried to help her understand that Caroline has changed, but she won't believe that she will ever be different. She thinks that as soon as she comes home, it will be just like it has been the last six years.

I feel her pain. I can understand why she is fearful and angry. But she doesn't seem to see Caroline's great suffering as equal and greater than her own. Unfortunately, she can't be talked into a change of opinion right now. She will just have to see how Caroline has grown for herself. We have asked her to be kind to her, because she is her sister, but also because Caroline really wants to have a relationship with her. Elizabeth needs a lot of affirmation of her own pain, as well as to be challenged to put away bitterness.

I agree that the break from her has been healing and necessary. But now we need to bring her back into the fold and resume our family life with her in it. She has a place here and always will. Someday Elizabeth may hopefully understand why we made the decisions we did.


domandkat said...

You know, while I don't know which classes you are referring to that one school offers and another does not, maybe it would help your oldest to know that the first 2 years of college provide you with a time to take those classes you weren't offered in high school. In my case that was German, astronomy, and meteorology. And that her time with her dear difficult sister (maybe she is too...) is limited to two years and then she's off to college free from home. Of course you don't want to hear that anymore than I do how fast they leave the nest, but maybe knowing this won't last forever will help her somehow...

Accidental Expert said...

My family moved cross country at the beginning of my junior year. While it was extremely difficult at the time, I look back now and realize its the best thing they ever did. I know what your daughter must be going through...hang in there! It will get better.