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, September 22, 2009

Now For You Guys!

With Caroline in school all day (hooray!) I have plenty of time until she and Elizabeth get home in the afternoon to focus on Jane and Mae. Their behavior with us and with each other and their older two sisters has deteriorated to the point that I have determined to bring them in line as quickly as I can. Homeschooling doesn't work if the kids aren't going to listen to you. Actually Jane listens fairly well and is eager to get her work done each day. She is a hard-working students and loves to write so she is not the big problem.

Mae, on the other hand, is severely ADHD, and we have struggled with her behaviors for a long time. She is overly perfectionistic, constantly daydreams, doesn't want to do what she is told, and would rather create her own project of the moment. She is incredibly smart, so she often makes up for her lack of diligence with her high IQ. However, this won't carry her forever. Yesterday, I took her to see our old counselor at Eden who has known Mae since she was three. I was looking for help on how to tame this wild beast. I was starting to worry that she is bipolar too. She doesn't meet the checklist, so I knew she probably wasn't, but possibly some other mood disorder? The counselor said no, we just really have to get her ADHD med in her consistently, which we were and then weren't. Then, we can work on the behaviors which would likely be considerably lessened.

So today I gave her the full dose of her Focalin, dissolved in orange juice, and told her enough messing around, take it or else. She did, after I had to make it very clear that this wasn't optional. The result: when it kicked in she was remarkably calmer, and got all of her subjects done in the proper time without my cajoling. During the previous homeschooling days she was still on subject number two at three in the afternoon.

Okay, the counselor is right, and most of her problem is an under-stimulated brain. And yes, I just need to enforce the rule of taking her medicine every morning. Yesterday she exploded or melted down eight times before noon. Today, she had about four major outbursts before the medicine kicked in then only a few hiccups after that. Why am I so stubborn?

She will be seeing this counselor once a week to work on some of the behaviors that have developed out of having a chaotic home life living with a bipolar sister, as will Jane for her OCD problem. Jane has declared that the kitchen is her kitchen and starts freaking out if I start cooking and leave something on the counter, like measuring spoons. I mean a full blown temper tantrum. First it was her room, now my kitchen. Poor kid. I know this is a reaction to feeling like life was out of control when Caroline has been unstable (a lot), and she is grasping for a sense of control over what she can control. Unfortunately, this isn't helpful to her and drives us all crazy.

Caroline has been feeling less depressed yesterday and today, which is a relief. I think it is going off of the Flexeril for her back (can cause depression), and maybe the increase in Lamictal. Who knows. I find it funny that presently she is the most stable-acting kid in our home. Her sister's are more difficult to deal with right now than she is! I hope that continues, although I would like to see her sisters dealing with their issues so we can all just RELAX!

Maybe then I will sleep better and stop waking up with migraines.


Corrie Howe said...

Reading this entry reminded me of Elisabeth Elliott, a writer, speaker and one of my heroes. After losing a second husband through tragic means, she wrote in her journal about how she was able to continue ministering to the very people who killed her first husband. Every morning she'd just wake up, roll out of the bed and "do the next thing." She quoted one of her favorite author's who wrote, "Sometimes the next thing is to decide on what the next thing is."

Sounds to me that you are living this out. Decided on the next thing, and then doing it. I pray that this will help you slowly reclaim your life and you're daughter's lives for the better.

Megan said...

Thank you. I love Elisabeth Elliott. I agree that I am pretty much just doing that: the next thing. I thought my life would be more exciting than that, in a different way, but this is what He has given me. I am still struggling to accept that.