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, May 4, 2010

Schooling Decided

Surprisingly, we have decided to send Caroline back to the private school she has been in all year, despite the numerous issues we have had this year. Why? Well, for three reasons, the first being that there are very few schools out there that have been as flexible as this school has been regarding her many absences during the depressive and manic episodes she has experienced, and will experience. In our school district, you can only miss so many days of class per year or you must repeat that grade or class, regardless of circumstance, even if you make up the work. In the other private schools, she simply wouldn't be able to keep up like she has been able. They move too fast and are too rigorous academically compared to this private school. She needs a lot of grace, and her present school has given her a lot. Secondly, the girl who has been such a bully to her this year isn't coming back, and the same goes for another boy whom she cannot stand (very disruptive in class.) The third reason is that she has gone from school to school since the fourth grade, often changing schools mid year, and so to finish this year and possibly the next at one school would be very good for her academically, boosting her sense of accomplishment. High school will be another matter, and we will consider other options at that point. She is such a great lacrosse player, and it would be nice for her to be able to play on a school team in high school, which could only happen at another school since this one is too small to field a team.

Now it is the summer I am worried about. She needs tight structure every day, and the summer presents a a huge challenge to keep her occupied. A bored bipolar kid is not a good thing. I may sign her up to volunteer a lot of time at the local animal shelter, or something like that. She has three week-long lacrosse camps, but her other sisters need to have some fun too, so all of the alloted camp money can't be spent on her alone. My oldest may be going to Scotland for a few weeks, so that will help with keeping the peace.

I hope you have a good week. I schedule a Mother's Day pedicure for myself and brunch for all. Not that my husband won't do something nice that day, but a little self-care doesn't hurt!!


Hartley said...

Summer has always been awful for us -- and I am FINALLY getting the 'ah ha' as to how Bipolar and boredum don't mix. Amazing that it has taken this long -- but at least I get it. Right? :)

We have Gabriel enrolled in his new private school all summer for their 6 week summer program (pricy, but I got Adoption Support to foot the bill under 'respite'), and so I have two weeks on either side of it that are making me anxious.

And so you know Megan, I now refer to you and Caroline when talking with my husband as "My friend Megan and her daughter." :) Thanks for being a friend -- even if it is mostly in my head! LOL

Happy Mother's Day!

Anna said...

Happy Mother's Day! Thanks for your reflections on my blog.

Jessica said...

I'm pretty glad to find this blog. I haven't seen many blogs about bipolar children and so many people doubt that my seven year old could possibly be diagnosed so early. It's a lonely place to be in.

Pickel said...

Is there a special need camp nearby? My son goes to a special needs camp and they offer scholarships. Some SN camps are strictly for behavioral issues like BP.

marythemom said...

I am totally freaking out about the Summer thing as well. Unfortunately when children are in their late teens they usually don't qualify for many programs, and because of their mental health issues they usually can't handle Summer jobs. The stupid "No Child Left Behind" stuff has pretty much guaranteed that my son has not actually failed any classes (because the teachers "round up" or give him partial credit or whatever, to get him to 70s/passing) so he doesn't qualify for Summer school, and they don't offer many special ed courses anyway (plus my son deliberately manages to get himself kicked out). We can't afford anything, and even if I could I have 4 kids... anyway, I'm freaking out because he's not stable and in three weeks he's going to be bored and not stable - with Grandma watching him who he intimidates easily and often. *sigh*

Hugs and prayers,
Mary in TX

Megan said...

Yes, I see that there is a big deficit in the area of summer camps/schools for kids with behavioral issues that don't cost a fortune. I am thinking of having Caroline volunteer at the SPCA this summer. If she is stable, this works, but instability means very little in the way of summer activities works. I really hope your son can get stable enough to not be a nightmare this summer for you! (I know how awful summer can be with an unstable kid!!l).