I arrived back from Birmingham late Friday night after spending the week with my sister and her husband and their newly paralyzed son. This was not a week one easily forgets. I am glad to be home with my family, but my heart is with Heidi and Michael and their precious son Daniel who is facing a huge paradigm shift as they say, learning all over again how to walk, eat, and get around as a partial quadriplegic at the age of 19. We have great hope for that he will walk again someday. We are so thankful that God spared his life that night as the outcome could have been even more tragic than it already is.
Caroline laments quite often over how unfair her life is, how few friends she has, how many schools she has been shuffled between, how many meds she must take, but honestly, compared to being confined to a wheelchair, having others bathe you, dress you, feed you, and speak for you, she has very little to complain about. I hope she really sees this, that as challenging as her life is, she can run, and play lacrosse, and go to college on time if she works hard. She has so much to be thankful for even when things are really difficult!!
I am doing fine myself. I think I have this weird ability to compartmentalize my thinking when shocking things happen. I sort of detach emotionally and go into action mode. I have been doing this since I was in college, and maybe it is a mild form of dissociative disorder or maybe it is just a God-given way of protecting myself emotionally when the world collapses around me. I don't feel much of anything when others around me are feeling so much that they are falling apart. I just go into thinking mode. Maybe later, at other times, I allow myself to feel and to cry. But in the moment of crisis, I become a machine and just do. This is quite helpful at times when needed and I have used this a lot when Caroline has been in crisis time and again.
Caroline continues to develop friendships on the lacrosse team, and one in particular shows great promise, the other homeschooled girl I mentioned before. An opportunity arose for Caroline to go on the retreat with our church's youth group and she showed interest in going, but unfortunately she has two back to back games on Saturday. She could have missed one of them, but missing both would have been very unsupportive of her team and this is the second to the last weekend of games. So she decided to stay and play in the games, which was a very hard decision. We would have encourage her to skip the game if she had only one. Oh well, at least she is showing an interest int the Youth Group again, which she did go to last night even though she was afraid. We will just continue to encourage her to go on Sunday nights.
We leave for a week at the beach soon, for our last "family" vacation with Elizabeth before she goes to college. We debated about spending this kind of money while my husband is unemployed, but there are somethings you can't put a price tag on, like making memories with your kids before they fly the nest. Thank you for the tax refund, Uncle Sam!
I hope you are all well, though I know many of you and your kids are not, facing hospitalizations and school issues and health insurance nightmares. Thank you for all of the messages of support and prayer for Daniel and his parents. They appreciate them sooooo much, really!
About our Daughter
I am mother to four wonderful daughters, ages 13, 15, 17 and 19, 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. She is in the very challenging teen years, and she is attempting a big public high school for the first time. In spite of the trials, she enjoys lacrosse, running, 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.