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!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Looking Ahead to the Future

Watching one of my bipolar friends living on her own, struggling so much with the consequences of acts done while manic or depressed (while on meds), has caused us to be very aware that Caroline may need to live with us or someone else for a very long time. Why? Because bipolar mood changes can start out so subtly, just a nuance of something different. And then, if someone isn't around you day in and day out, knowing what you are like when you are "normal" and being able to recognize clues that you are heading in one direction or the other, the bipolar person can end up making mistakes while manic or depressed that can cost them friendships, their jobs, their freedom (jail), their drivers licenses, their sense of wholeness, and their integrity and hope. Shame will follow them frequently as they review the damage they did while unstable, both to themselves and to others. I am not trying to paint a totally hopeless picture, but we believe that if at all possible, people with mental illnesses need daily contact with the people who know them well and can ask them the hard questions. There is so much that can go wrong and affect them in a way that changes forever what they can do in the future. We will do everything we can to help her have both a sense of personal choice as an adult, but with carefulness, and develop stronger boundaries for themselves than most people need. I will do EVERYTHING I can to help Caroline achieve her dreams, her goals unimpeded by costly mistakes made while unstable. We can't protect her totally, and we know that things can still happen, but not living on her own until she is really able to is one thing we want to instill in her.


Vampi said...

Unfortunately, I can empathize with your friend. I lived on my own and still had to have the help of my parents to bail me out of financial troubles that built up when I had a credit card. They ended up having to buy the groceries every month because I just didn't have the money.

Fortunately, I now have a husband who knows my ups and downs and isn't afraid to get in my face when I need it. I wish everyone who has bipolar disease had what I have... problem is, my husband is 23 years older than me and has heart problems. So, I still have to plan what I need to do in the future for when he won't be here for me.

Susan M said...

I watched my brother-in-law struggle as well, so I reached that same conclusion a few years ago. What he needs is a mom, but what about when I'm gone? Watching The Return of the King a few months ago, I realized what he will need is a Sam Gamgee in his life. Someone who recognizes his burden, doesn't take things personally, is loyal to a fault, will tell him when it's taking control, and willing to pick him up and carry him if need be.