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, January 20, 2010

In the Throes of Depression

Well, depression has certainly reared its ugly head this week. Caroline has slid into the dark pole of bipolar disorder. Today I took her to the psychiatrist, who put her on the brand name of Lamictal instead of the generic by ordering the orally disintegrating tablets. Apparently the generic version can be less effective than the brand name in this case. Hopefully this will do the trick, if not, it could be that we need to go up to 375 mg instead of 350mg. Lamictal is the one mood stabilizer with anti-depressant properties. We will give this a week before we move up to the higher dose. In the meantime, we will restart the light therapy, which we had stopped a few months back when she seemed to improve with the lamictal increase in the fall. She hasn't been able to stay at school in this sort of funk because she just wants to cry all day. Yesterday she forgot to turn in all of the make-up work due yesterday for the end of the quarter even though she had it with her. I am hoping the teachers will be understanding and accept it today when I go there to discuss it with them. If not, that will be such a bummer because she worked so hard to catch up after being sick. She is hating life right now. This afternoon she sees the psychologist, which is good, but I think this is 50% medication related and 50% related to the stress of being at a school with no friends. She is begging to be homeschooled. This is truly the last option for her. I just don't know how this is all going to turn out.


Anna said...

No matter what the teacher says she will do, make sure to turn in the homework. Many times they keep saying they will not count it but in the end they do.

I just started reading your blog so I don't know if your duaghter has a 504 plan. A 504 plan that says she needs extended time to turn in her homework might help.

The 504 plans have the force of law but it becomes a hassle convincing some teachers that it is true. Most teachers do comply so that only leaves one or two to struggle with.

Try to take care of yourself. You need strength which also means regular breaks.

This is because you deserve it but also because you will do your daughter no good if you loose your own health.

Good luck and my prayers are with you.

Megan said...

Thanks Anna, for your encouragement. I do know about the 504 plan, but since we are in a private and very small school we haven't set up an official IEP or 504. The teachers were accommodating today, thank goodness. They are both familiar with bipolar disorder and so are sympathetic to Caroline's plight. The administration has been fairly good as well about her missing classes because of mood issues. I am more worried about Caroline's attitude toward going to school because if she gives up on something, there is almost no turning back. She "quits" mentally and then quits physically. We so hope we can avoid that.

Meg said...

Oh no :( She needs to get some friends asap. Is there anything she could sign up for where she would meet some understanding kids? Maybe a homeschool coop? or a Y class? special interest club? a youth group at a different church?

carla said...

I hope the Lamictal helps. My dd had problems with the generic as well--it was if she was on nothing at all.

I am so sorry to hear that Caroline is suffering so. I hope she is back on track very soon.

Corrie Howe said...

I had a car accident my last three weeks of my senior year in college. I wasn't doing well in one class before the accident. My project was supposed to help pull my grade up. I did turn it in, but I really think hobbling in on crutches with a black eye and a cast softened the professor's heart. I got a B in the class...only if he gave me 100 on my project. Which I don't think it was 100.

Accidental Expert said...

I'm so sorry Caroline is going through this right now. Hopefully the med change will help.

Would the school consider doing a Circle of Friends group for her? I know this has been very helpful for other families I know with kids in middle school.

Cinda said...

I am in great sympathy and empathy for Caroline and for you. I have been there many times with Linea and it is .... hard to find the words. Heartbreaking. Aching. Can't sleep at night worrying. I have finally come to realize that the goal of treating bipolar is not necessarily to eliminate the bumps and dips but make them tolerable. Although I still want to eliminate! Linea says it well, "Depression makes you so tired and weary after awhile. It is hard to keep fighting." Hang tight!!!