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!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

A Lot Happens in Ten Days

I am sorry to all who follow my blog for the long hiatus. Between Nutcracker rehearsals f0r my ballerina, and Christmas shopping, and one of mine sick with mono, I have been truly too busy to blog the last week and a half or so. Finally it is Saturday morning and I can sit down and write. Several significant things have happened in that time period, but I will start with a follow-up to the last blog about Caroline's "school troubles."

The boy that was the cause of so much anxiety and stress for Caroline was expelled. We are glad he is gone, but very concerned that he has a major mental disorder that is not yet diagnosed or misdiagnosed, because he was acting simply manic, really out of control. I really hope that his parents get the right help for him before it is too late. Caroline is much relieved about this as well as are her teachers. I knew that everyone was overwhelmed trying to teach him and care for him. Having been in the place where your daughter is asked to leave ("maybe this isn't a good fit for her") I know how painful this is for his parents, so I do sympathize.

With that situation behind us, another one reared its ugly head. There is only one other girl in the 7th/8th grade class with Caroline and seven boys. In the adjoining classroom of 5th/6th graders, there are two girls, one who is very young for her grade (skipped grades I think) and another one who is about eleven. They were at this private school prior to Caroline's arrival this year, and two of them were best friends, the one in Caroline's class and the eleven year old. Well, during the first few weeks of school, all was fine, with Caroline declaring that "Sarah" was her new best friend, and that "Lacey" was also fast becoming a good friend. But in the last two months, Caroline has come home with story after story of these two girls, really her only choice of friends, treating her very unkindly, saying cruel things to her, snubbing her regularly, to the point that Caroline has been sitting all by herself at a lunch table separate from anyone else. Of course, we are very concerned and upset about their behavior, and have been talking to her teachers and to the administrators of the school. They said they were trying to deal with this, but nothing was changing, only getting worse.

Finally, when they called her an outcast, and one said that they"didn't talk to strangers, " I had it. I called the administrators two days ago and basically said they MUST do something NOW!!! We were on the verge of looking for another school, which I think they picked up on. They sat these two girls down and asked them why they were abusing Caroline. They said it was because of an incident that occurred when I took all three of them to the mall three months ago, and let them go off together, with cell phones, while I shopped in other stores. They said that Caroline instigated a plan that the older girl and she would run away from the younger one and play cat and mouse.

I had no knowledge that this had happened, and when I pressed Caroline, she was adamant that she did not concoct that plan and that she only followed along because she wanted the older girl to like her. I didn't think that Caroline would come up with that idea on her own, and I called the administrator back, this time shaking with emotion, and told her that I was tempted to call "Sarah" myself and give her a tongue-lashing. I didn't of course. I am disappointed that Caroline followed her, and that I trusted this girl whom I was told was a "nice" girl. Never was I aware that this "game" had been going on--they had all seemed perfectly happy, having a great time. I figured since I was in close proximity and frequently checked on them that it was OK to let them shop by themselves. I was wrong. Caroline just wanted to be liked so much that she made a poor choices in a social situation when she knew better.

But the story that these girls gave as the "reason" they were being mean to her doesn't really add up. I think they are jealous of her, to be honest. She comes from a loving, intact home, is greatly loved by her teachers and coaches, is highly athletic, very pretty, slender, and is privileged to live in a very nice neighborhood. These girls come from very difficult home situations, are sadly obese, live in neighborhoods on the "other side of the track" so to speak, and probably pretty insecure.

Anyway, Caroline came home yesterday on the last day before Christmas break and said that she and the two girls had a pow-wow with the administrators, apologized to each other, and that everything was fine now. We shall see. I truly hope that things will change, but the older girl seems to be a schemer, and I don't trust her. We would hate to pull Caroline out of a school that seems so perfect for her academically. We will give it one more month, prior to the start of the next semester to see if these girls decide to be kind to her. She doesn't deserve such treatment. My mama bear claws came out!!

Oh, and Caroline's grades really plummeted these past two weeks. Wonder why. She was having trouble sleeping at night, and was dragging her feet every morning about going to school. I am hoping that enough has been resolved that she will be back to her A's and B's.

I have some interesting testing results to share with you done by a rogue neuro lab, but that will take a whole other blog.


carla said...

I know the pain of watching our girls try to navigate the intricate social world without all the necessary tools on board. My dd has ADHD/Asperger's and is in a similar situation, and simply PINES for a friend at school. It's very painful to hear about and watch, and I hope we both have resolution soon.

domandkat said...

Oh Megan!

When I was in 5th grade, I was the newcomer to a private school. All the girls in the class had formed a clique over their years there where they planned to make one girl the outcast each year. Since I was the newby, I was it for 5th grade. I finally came out with it to my mom who met with a lot of the other moms who for some reason had not complained for years - grrrr) and put an end to the insanity. Since then, I've tried not to treat anyone like I was treated, but I never had many good friends at that school. Just a handful, but that's all you need... PLEASE tell Caroline that she's not alone in this experience. God gives us the friends we need, but we appreciate them all the more for having been lonely for a while.

And what's up with this mono thing???

Cinda said...

Ohhh, I do wish the school would bring me in and let me implement a school-wide positive behavior support plan complete with friendship circles. If only I were Queen. In a small and private school this should not be difficult to do. What type of school wide plan do they have for behavior (positive!) support! It is the time of year for sure. I am sorry that your daughter had to go through this. It is also such a tough age and with BP on top of it... Enjoy the time away and time with family!

Megan said...

I too experienced a good deal of loneliness growing up since we moved every few years and I had to make new friends all the time. I remember that during the 7th grade I had no friends at all. That was an awful year. The pain of being alone and the fear of sitting alone has never left me.

Corrie Howe said...

Wow! What a lot going on since you last blogged. I was wondering if you've tried to reach out to the boy's parents and share your experience? Since you've been there, maybe this is an example of the Lord wanting you to minister to others as you've been ministered to. Just a thought as I was reading.

Welcome back.

Megan said...

You are right Corrie. I was so mad about the school's tolerating an out of control situation for so long, that I didn't feel very inclined to reach out to his parents. Maybe I should!