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!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011


I am sure I am not in this boat by myself, but right now I am so overwhelmed by the state of my house after hurricane evacuation preparations, back to school stuff everywhere in the kitchen, the remnants of getting ready for packing for college all around the house, a huge back load of laundry from pre-hurricane and post-hurricane, in addition to realizing we need to wash ALL of the bedding in our house and fumigate because we think we might have brought home bedbugs from camp or the cabin or a hotel!!! Now I am serious work to do and I am feeling a little frozen by the magnitude of it all.  And of course school for three of our kids starts on Tuesday.  Uggh!  Then we get a notice from the health insurance company that our application was rejected over some missing data in the DEERS system. Thanks.  So my poor husband has been back at the Naval Base trying to get all of this straightened out so we can have health insurance!  And we are still waiting on the job possibility in CA, which we won't hear about until after Labor Day.  I just need another week to myself to regroup.  Yuck!  I am trying to just breathe here.  Breathe.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Great Meeting with New "Old" Psychiatrist

Caroline had her first meeting yesterday with our new psychiatrist, who is actually her "old" psychiatrist from the time of her first diagnosis at age 7.  We loved her, and the only reason we left was that her staff at that time was notoriously slow to respond to refill requests and emergency appointments were nigh to impossible to come by.  She has revamped her office and now has emergency appointment times weekly and also has new staffers.  We haven't had to refill anything by phone yet so we shall see how that goes.  But this doc was so happy to see Caroline so stable and so successful right now.  I look forward to working with her again and she didn't balk at all at the number of meds Caroline is on. As the saying goes,  if it ain't broke, don't fix it!  She concurred, thankfully.

I leave today with our oldest for the college drop-off.  With the hurricane coming right toward us, landfall only an hour south of us, my husband is going to stay behind to get our house ready for the deluge.  Hopefully they won't have to evacuate, but that is a possibility.  We will be safer in Florida than they will be up here!  I stocked the house with hurricane supplies.  I wish we could all be together during the onslaught, but it is what it is.  Pray for our family for safe travel and safe hunkering down!  I hope all of you on the East Coast will be okay!!  Refill those meds now!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Hurricane Irene and College Drop Off Plan B

Well, this hurricane, which is now predicted to be a CAT 2 by the time it hits my daughter's college, is scuttling all of our plans for the big two-parent college drop off.  We may have to drive down on Wednesday, or rather just my husband driving down with Elizabeth, in order to get there ahead of the storm and wait it out in a hotel until Saturday morning for move in day.  Shucks.  I just can't be gone that long, from Wed, to Sunday at this point because of child care issues.  It's just too expensive if I have to use the sitter service for all three for five days!  Oh well, there is family weekend in October and I can go down then.  Life is what happens when you make other plans, right?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Hoping the Care.com Sitter Works Out

Well, after my sister's wonderful help in finding a sitter comfortable with special needs kids on Care.com, I have hired a grad student to stay with Caroline while we take Elizabeth to college many states away--to the tune of $300!  Well, I guess that is better than leaving her by herself for a weekend, right?  But after forking out $2200 for COBRA health insurance, and getting a bill for $700 from our mortgage company for more escrow, and a huge water bill from our burst water line,  it is kind of hard to swallow.  Oh well, you do what you have to.  I am glad that there are websites like Care.com where you can find a special needs sitter on short notice.  I wish I had known about them a when my kids were younger!  We didn't go on dates for years because we knew most sitters couldn't handle our bp kid.  So now while Caroline is stable, we go on dates every weekend to make up for about 8 years of no dates!!  Anyway, I just hope this gal doesn't cancel at the last minute.  Oh, and it looks like a tropical storm is going to hit Florida right when we need to drive there for the college drop-off.  Great.  What fun!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Midnight Musings

Or maybe it was closer to 4:00 am.  I am having more trouble sleeping lately because of my husband's unemployment situation, the big withdrawals from our 401K to pay the bills, and the prospect of moving all the way across country if this job materializes in CA.   My husband and I are quite anxious about the near future, not that we are afraid to leap into a new experience, but just scared about the weightiness of all of these decisions and challenges.

But what I was musing about the most was the fact that I can be such a harsh judge of people.  I have been frustrated with the lack of response to my request for help with Caroline, but really, when I think about it, I often see rejection where there isn't any.  Instead of assuming the best in people, I assume the worst, very frequently.  I project onto others my own insecurities surrounding my bipolar daughter and think that everyone is judging me or my child.  Funny how we do this.  I realized I just need to let go of assumption and anger, and instead embrace grace and forgiveness.   I wonder how many friends I have pushed away because I either project genuine need and they are made uncomfortable by that, or have I have pushed them away because they sense I am judging them if they don't come to my aid.  Probably there exists a bit of both.

The thought of being in need or looking like I am in need is actually abhorrent to me.  I resist asking for help until I am undone.  I want to be superwoman and do it all by myself.  I want to be perceived as competent and in control.  The people who know me best know this.  I don't want to be needy or to project neediness.  Only on this blog do I express my heartfelt needs without fear of what others think.   I am actually quite fearful of what my friends think.  I know I am because of how insecure I often feel around them.  Isn't that weird?  The people we should feel the most relaxed around are often the ones who unearth the most unease in us, that they will see our flaws and reject us.

But God never rejects us.  He sees our flaws, our insecurities, our anger and unforgiveness, and He still opens His arms to us ready to embrace and forgive and accept.  I need to be reminded of this daily.

Thank you for reading.  You always encourage me with your own stories.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

To Be Fair

Just to be fair, several of our friends (and most of our family) are truly busy during this time and truly can't watch Caroline.  I just had to say this because I did get a couple of replies to an email I sent to a quite a number of people in our church and out who responded that they were going to be out of town, etc.  So I am adding this just in case there is anyone was reading this who got that general email from us and is now  wondering if I might be referring to them.  Sorry!  I don't mean to be judgemental or guilt-tripping,  I am just using this blog for what it is meant for: a place for me to vent and share my experiences raising a bipolar child.  :)

Feeling Left in a Lurch

I am so frustrated right now.  We still don't have a solution for what to do with Caroline when we drop Elizabeth off at college in less than two weeks.  Since we don't have family that can host her or stay with her at this time, we are at the mercy of friends and strangers.  I am trying to find a college girl through www.care.com , but it hasn't been easy to find someone on such short notice.  The bummer is I started working on this problem months ago and thought I had it all taken care of!  Then my college sitter backed out because she wanted to spend more time with her boyfriend.  Yeah, go figure.  Thanks.

I know that although I feel left in a lurch, so to speak, that God must have a plan.  We just don't feel that it is right to take Caroline with us and possibly throw a big wrench into this very important rite of passage for Elizabeth.  Plus the drive is 10 hours long, over 600 miles, so the car ride could be too long for her most likely.  She loses patience after about 3 hours in the car. The frustration for us is that if Caroline weren't bipolar, none of this would be hard at all.  I have no problem finding people to stay with my other "normal" kids, or folks for them to stay with, but as soon as I try to find someone for Caroline, I run into roadblocks due to the fact that 1. she doesn't have any close friends she could stay with and 2. our own close friends don't seem to be comfortable with the idea of taking her on even though she is very stable.  Do you have this problem too with your bipolar or Aspergers child?  I am just praying for a good solution to this problem so we can bless Elizabeth with a great experience in transitioning to college.  She deserves her mom and dad's undivided attention for once!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Off Topic: Water Line Break to Our House

But we have insurance on this line through our power company for $3.25 a month.  Thank goodness.  You might want to see if your utility company offers similar insurance.  Worth every penny!

Waiting on Word of a Big Move

We could be moving to the West Coast if my husband gets a job at a Christian camp that he just applied for.  He may not get it, and if he is offered the job, he may not take it depending on the salary, benefits, etc, but if it would be very interesting and exciting if this did happen.  We would appreciate your prayers as we await word on this opportunity.  My poor husband spent about 8 hours filling out the online application, and he was so exhausted and frustrated by the end that I thought he might throw in the towel. He hates online applications, so impersonal.  Caroline would love to move across country, actually anywhere but here for a fresh start.  So we are waiting, but obviously my husband still needs to look for other jobs as well.  We just stroked a check for $2313 for three months of COBRA.  Yikes!  I wish we didn't have to do this but with Caroline's penchant for ending up the the ER on a regular basis we decided it was worth the risk.  And the 401K just keeps shrinking....

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Love the New CNP at the New Psychiatrist's Office

I am so relieved to have found a sharp, compassionate, up-to-date CNP at the new psychiatrist's office that Caroline and I will be going to now.  Probably Mae would see her too for her ADHD. The right person makes ALL the difference, doesn't it?

If we end up moving because of Bill's job search, we will have to start all over finding a good psychiatrist, psychologist, homeschool co-op, lacrosse league or whatever.  But I feel very confident that I know what I to look for now and I think interviewing several docs is a good idea before settling on one practice, or one school situation.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Professional Nutrients

Just found a company that carries the NeuroScience supplements and will give you free shipping if you order $50 or more.  I ordered Calm PRT, AdreCor and TravaCor which were originally prescribed for Caroline by her previous psychiatrist.  They are supposed to help with adrenal fatigue and cortisol levels.  Great for overstressed people!!  www.professionalnutrients.com

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Back to No Job

My husband found out today that the Navy is not going to allow him to stay in the service for a med hold.  So we are suddenly thrust back into the world of looking for a civilian job.  We have to pay a large sum of money ($2000!) up front for three months of COBRA.  I am really down about this.  We thought it was going to work out, but I guess God has other plans.  Now I am wondering if we need to withdraw Caroline and Mae from the private school there were going to go to.  And to also withdraw Jane from her homeschool classes.  I don't know what to do.  Pray for us.

Countdown to School and College Drop Off

Now that August is here, I suddenly feel ready to do some school supply shopping, including getting my oldest ready for her first year of college.  We still haven't figured out who is going to watch Caroline while we are gone dropping off Elizabeth 10 hours away over a weekend.  My college sitter essentially cancelled on me last week so now I am back to square one.  Hopefully something will materialize soon as I ask various people.  I am really nervous about this.  It bums me out that the great set up I had planned months ago got pulled out from under me.  Oh well, I will just keep looking. We did not want to take her with us because we wanted this to be a special time just for my husband and Elizabeth and I, and Caroline is always a bit of a wild card in the mix.  This is why we don't get away much, just the two of us, because we always struggle with who will watch Caroline, who do we trust to watch her.  She doesn't do well with just anyone, so it has to be someone who can handle her quirkiness and make sure she takes all her meds, and she doesn't do well with a lot of noise and chaos so I can't just drop her off into any kind of family situation.  Sigh.  Nothing is easy when you have a bp kid!