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, March 30, 2010

Oh, We are Living the "Blind Side"

I just saw the movie "The Blind Side" yesterday. Half of my family had seen it before in the theaters and loved it. Of course, I thought it was wonderful, and definitely one to buy so we can watch it over and over again, like "Facing the Giants." But whenever I see a film like this, involving someone going completely out of their comfort zone to care for someone so different from themselves, that intimately, that profoundly, I feel a sense of guilt, like many would no doubt, that I am not down in the projects near our house, rescuing kids in a similar fashion. But then it struck me that we are doing that, in a way. We are WAY out of our comfort zone much of the time in raising a bipolar child, who is often viewed as an "outcast" by both her sisters and by her peers, and by society. She has needed and will need intensive help in all areas of her life, academically, socially, psychologically, and spiritually. We have had to sacrifice financially for her well being, by sending her to private schools, and for tutors, and lots of camps to give her structure in the summer. We have had to sacrifice many of our own social desires in order to have peace in our home. I can't tell you the number of family or friend events we have had to miss because of Caroline's illness.

None of this excuses us from caring for the poor and homeless around us. But I am reminded that our job is just as big as the one this wonderful family undertook in this movie, and it will go on much longer perhaps. I just wish I had the huge financial resources this family had! That would make things a lot easier at times.


Mama Bear said...

That is so great that you recognize your own journey as being as honorable as the family in the movie. I think as Mom’s it is so easy to feel like we are never doing enough, and as parents with mentally ill children, we often feel like we are just trying to keep above water.

But I do believe as a Christian that God never gives us what we can't handle, so if my life is focused inside the home, trying to raise my challenging child, instead of helping the poor in our neighborhood, I am ok with that. God has put my precious son in my life for a reason, and through this, I can demonstrate God's love everyday as I am pushed outside my comfort zone.

-Mama Bear

Adrienne said...

I was thinking along the same lines just this morning during church.

Our church is very active; it's one of the things we love about it. Everyone, it seems, is involved in 3 different things, helping somehow: many foster families, 2 members in Haiti right now, and much more. Except for us, because our boy with bipolar keeps us occupied in every way (time, energy, money), we don't do any of those things.

As the years go by, I get more and more OK with that. When/if life changes for us, we'll reach beyond our family. For now, keeping Carter alive and as healthy and happy as possible is a plenty big enough job!