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!

Monday, March 28, 2011

A Car, A Party, and a Retreat

We were able to get a car for our oldest this past weekend, a Honda CRV, so that crisis is solved and I no longer have to share a car with my very busy senior in high school.  Yay!  This will indeed make my life a whole lot easier.  Caroline has way too many appointments for me to be without a car.

Another bright spot for this weekend was that Caroline went to the girls lacrosse party on Friday at one of the girl's homes and had a great time.  She didn't spend the night, but neither did the majority of the team, so all was good.  We got the impression the girls behaved themselves and that Caroline didn't do anything to embarrass herself too much.  Whew!  I did catch her in a lie yesterday about where she was going on a walk out of our neighborhood and promptly picked her up in my car after a few minutes later.  I had this overwhelming feeling she wasn't headed where she said she was going and decided to "check" on her as I went to the store.  Sometimes, we just have to go with our gut, don't we?  She wasn't doing anything bad when I found her, she just wasn't supposed to be there.  Sigh.  I just want the truth and nothing but the truth.

I went on a women's retreat with our church from Friday to Saturday.  The time was very challenging as the topic was finding true rest for ourselves in the midst of our busyness.  I must admit I get very little true rest and refreshment during the week.  I guess I would consider Sunday morning to be refreshing and exhausting too.  I am an introvert by nature and being around lots of people in a big room instantly drains me.  I need alone time which I rarely get.  But if I am intentional about it, maybe I could do this, planning out time on Sunday afternoons to just be by myself for an hour or two.  Easier said than done.  Also, why I spend all day cleaning up the kitchen on Sunday is a mystery.  Enough!  Paper plates on Sundays, because I need a break, folks!

I am struggling with intense anxiety this morning about our finances.  I had nightmares all night.  I know that nothing is truly perfectly secure in this life but I sure long for security!  I want to know that we will never go through unemployment again, ever, but God doesn't guarantee that life will go as planned, does He?  I have to trust that all will work out, but maybe not the way I had hoped or dreamed.  I can cling to my plans, and be miserable, or I can cling to God and know peace.


shah wharton said...

Wow - just read how much medication your daughter takes? I have bipolar and I take Seroqual - between 2-300 per night. If I'm stressing or sleepless to a disturbing state I might ask the doctor for diazepam and zopiclone for two weeks. But that's it. In the UK - regarding medications, less is more. The NHS doesn't pay for you to take stuff unnecessarily and sometimes if the medication is expensive, you get a kind of post code lottery as to whether you get it on prescription. I'm luck that my dosage is perfect for me, I'm also able to reduce it when I feel well (never less than 200ml) and increase it when not (rarely more than 3ooml.

Must be awful for you give your child all these chemicals. I don't know how I'd cope with a bipolar child. You must be a strong family. Shah .X

Megan said...

A lot of medication, yes, but we didn't start out with so many meds. As is typical of kids with early-onset bipolar disorder, the initial diagnosis may result in one mood stabilizer being prescribed, usually something like Trileptal, but often it is found that these kids need a cocktail of one or two mood stabilizers and an atypical antipsychotic, like Seroquel. Sleep issues plague these kids, as many bipolar adults, thus the sleep meds come into play. And then, to counteract the weight gain that Seroquel causes, Metformin is prescribed. This cocktail has saved Caroline's life, and before this present mix, she couldn't function at all. So as much as we hate giving her all of these drugs, you sometimes have to do what necessity dictates and not just what we wish. She is fine with it, as she can now lead a somewhat normal life compared to before this med mix. As with a child who has diabetes, we don't deny them the meds they need to stay in balance just because it is a lot of meds. Everyone's chemistry is different, and thus for you to only need just one drug is awesome, but realize that some people are sicker than others. Thanks for writing! Megan.

PS I am so glad we live in a country where the government doesn't limit what drugs we can get for our daughter because she was so bad off that to deny her what she needs to live life to the fullest would be criminal.

Megan said...

Also, the Seroquel when first prescribed for Caroline, triggered some mild tardive dyskinesia, which is what the Benadryl is for. I hope you know the signs of TD as the symptoms can become permanent!