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!

Friday, August 6, 2010

You Know Something Is Wrong With Your Child When...

You find her in the ceiling. Or rather having fallen out of the ceiling. Funny but horrible too. I shall recount the "aha" moment when I realized that something was terribly wrong with our daughter.

We had signed her up for Awanas at a local church when she was about seven. Awanas is a Bible verse memorization club for kids with lots of fun included. We hoped it would be a nice time for her socially and spiritually. The very first night she went I left her with the leader and her group with a little fear and trepidation. She had been acting kind of "wild" for a few weeks, a lot of energy combined with very little fear. I think I stuck around for a while in the lobby. When it was time to pick her up, no one could find her. Apparently she had been doing flips on the carpet during the Bible story time and was firmly asked to stop, as she was flipping into other children. She became so mortified at being reprimanded at the first meeting, that she hid in the bathroom. In the ceiling in the bathroom. Yes, she had climbed up onto the sink and hoisted herself up into the ceiling by removing one of the tiles. We found her when we heard a big crash coming from the bathroom and discovered her on the floor covered in white dust after falling through one of the tiles.

When I heard what had happened and saw my little girl standing there amidst broken pieces of tiles, I was incredulous, embarrassed and frankly freaked out that my child would have even thought of such a thing. The Awanas leaders were quite concerned about her, and were very sweet to me, calling me the next day inviting her back, but I was so horrified by Caroline's behavior that I didn't want her to go back and neither did Caroline. In our minds, we were becoming increasingly alarmed by Caroline's antics, which would lead in a few short weeks to her first hospitalization.

Looking back on all of this we can laugh now, but at the time, we were completely bewildered. Once she was diagnosed everything made sense, but the damage was done, literally and relationally. I never have felt comfortable at that church since. Too many bad memories of public embarrassment.


abnormalORnormal? said...

I can sympathize with your daughter; when I was younger I felt the urge to climb in the ceiling at my school, but couldn't carry out since my teacher found me hiding. So I know how it feels to want to do something like that.

Anna said...

I am very familiar with that lack of fear. We were once caught in a terrible storm in a very small boat. We were all scared and praying as the water poured in. Beth thought the whole thing was fun. A great ride! One other time when we were excavating in the yard, she jumped into the big dark hole and came up holding a huge black snake. She said, I just wanted to see it better, they are not poisonous. She really really wanted to bunjee jump and ride a wild stallion. She loved getting pounded against the wall in field hockey. ( i just thought she was brave talk about denial.)

In the Pink said...

I just ran across your blog and love it. I am a 28year old with Bipolar 1 and ADHD. As a kid I used to hide in the bathrooms at school and do cartwheels. It is not uncommon what your daughter did so do not feel embarrassed. At least not uncommon for her diagnosis.

PS: I have fallen through the ceiling of my church. Good Times!

Megan said...

It is amazing the similarities in experiences among all of us, isn't it? I always appreciate everyone's comments!