I had to post this letter because years ago I never thought that praise like this for my daughter could ever be possible. So I am printing this to give you hope, that with the right medications, the right psychiatrist, the right psychologist, the right school environment, the right therapies, a supportive family, and lots of prayer, your child can be, for the most part, the kid you always knew they were, apart from a disorder that isn't their fault. Never give up finding answers for your child! Stability is possible, a "normal" is possible. Here is the note we received this week:
"To the Parents of Caroline,
Hello, my name is 'Emily' (I changed her name) and I had the pleasure of being Caroline's camp counselor this week....(we) thoroughly enjoyed having Caroline in cabin 11 this week!
Caroline was a great asset to our cabin this week. She is very respectful and knows wrong from right. Caroline was never rude to anyone at camp, she is truly a polite, nice and caring girl. Caroline always had great insight during our devotions. Whether we were discussing friendship, honesty, unity, respect, faith, etc., Caroline always shared what it meant to her and every so often we would get a story or two from Caroline. This is just part of what Caroline added to our cabin. She brought everyone together and made sure never to exclude anyone....We thoroughly enjoyed Caroline's company this week in Cabin 11, she was such a pleasure to be around. We would like to wish her the best of luck for the future and hope to see her next summer!
You can only imagine how proud we were to get this kind of report and how humbled we are by God's faithfulness to our family in spite of all we have been through together trying to help Caroline have a "normal" life in spite of early onset bipolar disorder. I pray that one day you too can receive this kind of report about your child, that others can see what you see in your precious child beneath the veil of the disorder.
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.