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!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

How Much Freedom Do We Give Her?

The answer in the past has been very little. Caroline has been historically not to be trusted in any unstructured social situation. She forgets who she is, crosses all kinds of boundaries, shows off, doesn't pick up on social cues, and ends up losing friends as fast as she makes them. Even a birthday party sleepover is totally out. Disaster kind of follows her around without direct supervision.

She has had a great year as far as stability goes. She hasn't been hospitlalized even once since her return from the RTC in Texas, which is truly a record. She has been well liked at school this year. But the summer brings big challenges. We can't afford to keep her in sports camps week after week, so the other options are the house, the pool, and the gym.

But the pool presents some major issues. Lots of junior high and high school kids from mostly upper class homes, all in the same schools together, pretty "hip" and Caroline just doesn't fit the mold. So she ends up hanging out with the uncool kids, which I don't actually mind, since the "cool" kids are often already involved in sex, alcohol, and you name it. But there is this boy there among the "uncool" kids who definitely has a crush on her. He has PDD and is 21, but acts like he is about 14 or so. Very slow. Nice, but just too old for our daughter. He asked if she could leave the pool and go to the 711 with her. Absolutely not, obviously. I am afraid that she will be flattered and do something stupid. She wants to hang out there without us but I am just not sure that is a good idea. Too many freedoms.

The gym is better.


CC said...

I can totally relate to the social thing. My daughter has this "misfit" group of friends, but at this point, I'm just glad she has some friends. Today she was all upset because she couldn't find her cell phone. Was sure she left it at a friend's yesterday. She just had to wake me up out of a Sunday afternoon nap to tell me this and then insisted we drive to the house to look 'right now!' I kept asking her if she looked good around the house, and she assured me she had. (Her idea of looking for something is 1) look for 1 second and 2) state loudly and often "I can't find it!" After being back home for 30 seconds, you guessed it, she found it by the computer where she had been sitting. Ahhh!

ann said...

How much freedom is a good question to ponder. You want them to grow up but yet it is very hard to trust them. My son is going to be 16 in July, he is not well time orientated and at times I am not sure I can trust him to make the right choices when he is with his friends. We went camping last weekend and it was a constant battle for 4 days, he thought I should just let him roam free with no boundaries. I expected him to check in at camp in 2 hour intervels but he thought this was not fair. I would not allow him to go swimming with out a responsible adult either, I did not get to relax due to the fact of being stressed out from constantly having confrontation with him. I am going camping again this weekend, and I am not looking forward to the same stess again.
One question I have is what do you do when your teenager doesn't think he needs his medication? How can you get it in them? I usually can get it into him during the school week by putting it in his energy drink. I could not get it him all weekend, he did not take his vyanse for 4 days! ARRGH

Megan said...

CC: you are describing our daughter to a T. She does the same kind of stuff all the time. Very frustrating!!

Megan said...

Ann, with the medication thing, we have driven it into Caroline's skull that medication for her is not optional ever, that the success of her life now and in the future depends on it, and she must take them on schedule every day at every dosing. She is 14, so she may still rebel against this in the future, but so many truly bad things have happened when she wasn't on the right meds (long lasting social embarrassment) that she has been scared into compliance. The stability she has experienced this year has been so freeing for her, so I think she sees the big connection between taking meds and enjoying life a lot more. Good luck with your son! What about a direct connection between med compliance and points toward a reward at the end of the weekend? Just a thought.

ann said...

The reward system for him just doesn't work. He is sure he doesn't need them, infact he is not aware that he gets them in his drink. I wish he could get a shot once a month, it would make it easier on him and all of us. The patch is not an option; he will just take it off. Do you have any other ideals?