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 27, 2010

Not Doing Well

That would be Caroline, and me, and everyone as a result. She is declaring that she hates her school, doesn't want to go back, didn't go today, had the biggest meltdown in a long time last night, and is acting very depressed and very agitated. I am freaking out. I freaked out at her today, at everyone really. I am experiencing the PTSD from having this happen year after year at the same point in the year, really, a total deja vu of the worst kind. She does well through the fall, then tanks in January or February, the social situation at school becomes untenable, and she ends up hospitalized and falling behind academically. And Bill and I and the rest of the family end up traumatized too. I feel like I am becoming unglued, while watching her become unglued. This is not a good place to be in. The weight of her illness and inability to stay in one school for a whole year crushes me, even as I am trying to help my other three navigate their lives too. Tears tonight, a lot of tears. I don't know whether the increase in the Lamictal will solve her instability, or if this is more that she really hates this school environment. I am exhausted emotionally. Bill threatened to take her to the psych hospital in Richmond if she didn't stop acting so out of control. That was a bad move. She lost it at that utterance. God, please help my daughter and us as a family!


Vampi said...

I am so sorry that you're all suffering so much :( I wish there was something that could be said or done to help lift some of that weight from your shoulders. All I can think of is Revelations 21: 3 and 4... I know it brings me some hope when my day is difficult.

Forrest Lyn said...

Praying for you guys!

McKenzie said...

That is so interesting...Kenzie does not do well in the fall. She does better over Christmas break and then slowly falls back into the craziness of it all by the summer and then the fall in the last two years have been the worst. My heart goes out to you and your family. I will pray for you all. I totally know how you feel. I wish I could take it all away for you. Just know I thank God that I found you. There is such comfort for me knowing that there is another woman of the Lord that is struggling with very similar things. I have been really struggling with depression myself and I think it is because I feel so helpless as how to help her and what the best thing is for her. So I get it.

Tonight she is refusing to take the intuniv 3 mg. because I will not refill her vyvanse. She said she had the worst day at school today because she was not on her vyvanse, but yet she seems to me to be much more "up"-happier. I know that stuff is not good for her and my husband and I both want her off of it. I was thinking about getting her a sugar pill and telling her it was her vyvanse just for a couple of days to see if it is just in her head or is there really a difference when she does not take it. I know that would be lying but I don't know how to discern whether she is mentally addicted to it or if she really does have a problem at school. I saw no bad differences at home. Hang in there. Amy

Cinda said...

AHHHH, I am sending you hugs, strength and huge amounts of hope. I know the pain and anguish of mommy-ing a sick daughter. It rips, it hurts. The damn hormone- infused years of adolescent play havoc on BP. If there is anything I can do let me know. You are the expert (yeah, right, you think...) and I know I can only offer you some degree of understanding. I get to a point that I call myself a wolf-mother. I would rip and tear to keep my daughter safe. Stay well.....

Anna said...

You did not cause this. You, and her doctors have done everything possible to mitigate her symptoms. Symptoms can be mitigated but not usually eliminated. In 2010 this is not a disease that can be cured.

The NAMI Parent and family education package helped me alot. You can check them out online.

You are a good mom. This is just bad luck.

Katherine said...

I have been looking over a lot of your blog. I'm an adult with bipolar disorder but it started when I was a child (around the age of twelve). It's very interesting to read your blog because it's written from the perspective of a parent and about someone with bipolar disorder rather then by someone with bipolar disorder.

I was moved to comment on this post because I have the exact same problem with school and January/February. I'm experiencing it right now (in grad school) and I certainly remember experiencing it in middle school, high school and college. The thing that finally helped me with it was realizing that I am probably going to feel this way every year, that it is not related to school in itself but to the fact that it is February and that it will end in the immediately foreseeable future. For me this means that at this time of year I don't push myself to do things that aren't strictly necessary and I make sure to arrange 'treats' in advance. I'm in grad school abroad in Europe, so this year my treats are day trips into the countryside (I don't do overnight trips well or airplanes but day trips about an hour away by train are very fun). Other times I've had Saturday dvd marathons, knitting projects, theatre trips - anything that lets me move mentally out of the day to day struggle for a little while but not so far that going back to it is made harder.

Your daughter might still be a bit too young to experience a couple of months as a relatively short time but it could still be the case that recognizing the annual pattern might help her plan ahead and process the negative moods. It's always disheartening when one's life starts to come apart because of the moods of bipolar disorder - I find the lack of control difficult to deal with in particular, so planning ahead for the more predictable shifts helps me and often lessens the severity. It helps to feel that I have something that I can actively decide to do myself for myself rather than being purely at the mercy of my neurology.

Offered in the spirit of helpfulness and sympathy. Hope it gets easier soon.