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!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

You Must See Toy Story 3, With Your Kids!

I saw Toy Story 3 with my three youngest girls the other day at a matinee, including Caroline. The movie was everything I thought it would be, but better. If you are a parent of a child of any age, but especially that of a teenager, you will be moved to tears by some of the scenes. Honestly, I was sobbing at the end when....well, I won't spoil it for you, but you will want to hug your kids tighter after the movie ends. And maybe you won't want to let go. Enjoy!

6 comments:

Buried in Books said...

I have bipolar disorder and have two sons that have bipolar disorder, ADHD, and Sensory Intergrative issues. I've read through a lot of your posts and you call your daughter Caroline bipolar. If she were to have high blood pressure is that how you would refer to her. Could you say maybe that she has bipolar disease? It doesn't have to define who she is. She is more than her disease and it is recognized as a disease. And have you ever looked at life from Caroline's view? The inability to control herself, knowing what she's doing to her family, the burden that each of your comments say she is to the family. Certainly that puts more pressure on her. If she has access to a computer, then she can read your blog. If my mother was writing this about me, I'd definitely self medicate with drugs or alcohol and leave.

I know the drugs are expensive when they aren't covered by insurance. I know when the best psychiatrist don't take insurance and you still go to them they are expensive. But it's worth the calm the two out of three of us have right now. I'm just asking you not to define us by our disease, you're adding to the stigma instead of helping break the stereotype.

Heather
I don't expect you to post this, but I didn't have another way to communicate with you. In fact, I'd prefer you don't post this, please. Just consider what I've said.

Megan said...

Hey Heather, I actually really appreciate what you have said. You have a perspective on this disorder than many do not have. I have struggled with depression for a very long time and have been on many different meds trying to find the right mix as well. You are right that Caroline has bipolar disorder, but doesn't have to be defined by it. We do tell her that as well. She doesn't read this at all and I don't use her real name. She knows I have a blog and why I am writing, which is mainly an outlet for my own emotions as well as a place for other parents to share and connect, and for others to see the struggles of a family with a bipolar daughter/sibling. Caroline doesn't mind at all, because she knows that others are being encouraged by her successes too. I do hear that you are asking me to be more sensitive to those are reading who are bipolar. I really appreciate your admonishment. I can get negative about the struggles sometimes instead of focusing on the positive, which is part of my nature to be more of a glass-half-empty psyche. Thank you for pointing out my insensitivity. I hope I can put this in action. Caroline is not a hopeless burden by any means, but a challenge to us every day as are our other three kids. She is more challenging but we are crazy about her.

Jen said...

I just want to back up my sister, Heather. Obviously, what you say has merit. Please don't think that I am patronizing you when I say this... you know first hand, which most people don't experience, what Bipolar Disorder feels like and what it does to you and your life. I know for a fact that my sister and brother-in-law are first and foremost the biggest champions for their daughter. We (the extended family, aunts and uncles, cousins, grandparents) LOVE LOVE LOVE this child. She is delightful smart talented athletic gifted. Sometimes, bipolar disorder masks these things. She has been through hell and back, and it has been hellish for the whole family when so much is out of their control. Not one of us blames Caroline for having bipolar disease. And any one of us would gladly trade places with her if we could. But as you know, having a child with bipolar is extremely stressful for everyone involved. Caroline is finally enjoying some measure of stability, with little bobbles here and there, but there was a time when there was no relief for her or for the family. Having to be hyper vigilant for approximately seven years for the safety of their daughter has caused psychological damage in many ways in the family, and blogging is an outlet to help her process. Not many people other than Megan's family, and a few close friends really understand what she and her husband have been through supporting their daughter. And they have three others to parent, who have, no matter how much they didn't want to, been put on the back burner many times because time and resources have been dedicated to saving Caroline. Is it Caroline's fault? Of course not. But my sister and husband also need understanding. They know they are imperfect, but let me tell you, they've given Caroline the best possible chances of success. An intact home, no drugs or alcohol abuse, family and faith, finding the best schooling situation they could, the best psychiatry, and psychologists. Love and attention every step of the way. They are my heroes. But no one is made of endless energy, enthusiasm, patience, understanding...and for sure, people need outlets to regroup and find the energy to go on. That is what this blog serves to help her do. Better than imploding and not being able to function. That serves no purpose whatsoever. My sister's measured, humble and fair reply to your comment speaks volumes as to the kind of woman she is. What you said regarding if Caroline read the blog what you would do if you were her (abuse substances and running away) was not necessary. My sister didn't mean to cause you pain by referring to her daughter in a manner that you don't approve of. You are right that we should not refer to people as a disease. Very good point, but my sister didn't mean anything like that, it was just writing/stream of thought stuff. Who isn't guilty of stuff like that from time to time? I hope that in the future when you come across someone's blog, who obviously struggles with painful memories and experiences, that you will refrain from passing judgment on THEIR experiences and feelings.

Blessings, Jennifer

Jen said...

I just want to back up my sister, Heather. Obviously, what you say has merit. Please don't think that I am patronizing you when I say this... you know first hand, which most people don't experience, what Bipolar Disorder feels like and what it does to you and your life. I know for a fact that my sister and brother-in-law are first and foremost the biggest champions for their daughter. We (the extended family, aunts and uncles, cousins, grandparents) LOVE LOVE LOVE this child. She is delightful smart talented athletic gifted. Sometimes, bipolar disorder masks these things. She has been through hell and back, and it has been hellish for the whole family when so much is out of their control. Not one of us blames Caroline for having bipolar disease. And any one of us would gladly trade places with her if we could. But as you know, having a child with bipolar is extremely stressful for everyone involved. Caroline is finally enjoying some measure of stability, with little bobbles here and there, but there was a time when there was no relief for her or for the family. Having to be hyper vigilant for approximately seven years for the safety of their daughter has caused psychological damage in many ways in the family, and blogging is an outlet to help her process. Not many people other than Megan's family, and a few close friends really understand what she and her husband have been through supporting their daughter. And they have three others to parent, who have, no matter how much they didn't want to, been put on the back burner many times because time and resources have been dedicated to saving Caroline. Is it Caroline's fault? Of course not. But my sister and husband also need understanding. They know they are imperfect, but let me tell you, they've given Caroline the best possible chances of success. An intact home, no drugs or alcohol abuse, family and faith, finding the best schooling situation they could, the best psychiatry, and psychologists. Love and attention every step of the way. They are my heroes. But no one is made of endless energy, enthusiasm, patience, understanding...and for sure, people need outlets to regroup and find the energy to go on. That is what this blog serves to help her do. Better than imploding and not being able to function. That serves no purpose whatsoever. My sister's measured, humble and fair reply to your comment speaks volumes as to the kind of woman she is. What you said regarding if Caroline read the blog what you would do if you were her (abuse substances and running away) was not necessary. My sister didn't mean to cause you pain by referring to her daughter in a manner that you don't approve of. You are right that we should not refer to people as a disease. Very good point, but my sister didn't mean anything like that, it was just writing/stream of thought stuff. Who isn't guilty of stuff like that from time to time? I hope that in the future when you come across someone's blog, who obviously struggles with painful memories and experiences, that you will refrain from passing judgment on THEIR experiences and feelings.

Blessings, Jennifer

Hartley said...

I think I am missing something here -- where is the comment from "Heather"? ??

Anyway, on a lighter more humorous note: Loved the movie Toy Story 3 as well, and this is what my boys had to say:

Sitting at the dinner table talking about Toy Story 3,
Me: What was your favorite part Nick?
Nick: Andy going to college.
Me:
Why? Nick: Because I am looking forward to college.
Me: Really? What are you looking forward to?
Gabe: Hot girls.

Megan said...

That is very funny, Hartley. It starts early! So cute!