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, September 19, 2011

My Last Post

This is probably going to be my last post, at least in this venue.  I have decided that the time has come when I need to either write a book or just find a different place to express my own joys and sorrows in raising a bipolar child.  You have been so great, all of you my blogger friends.  I have some growing personal needs which include some pulling back right now from public exposure.  Thank you for being here.  I will miss you all!!  Love, Megan

Nothing is Perfect, or Even Easy, EVER

Or just even Easier.  Whether we homeschool Caroline or put her in school, any kind of school, no situation is ever easy, or simple, or even easier than the last set-up.  I guess I just need to accept this and deal with the stress of being her mom.  I just want it to be easier, at least easier.  But it never is.  Everything comes with huge challenges with her, whether it is the school work, the relationships, whatever.  I am bawling right now.  I just get so tired of the same old thing every year.  I just want to wave a magic wand and make her life great, with a brain that isn't slowed down by her meds, that gets the work the first time, every time, with moods that always fall in the normal range, with interests that fall in the normal teenager range.

I took her to the mall yesterday to meet a new friend from school there and her mom.  It was a mediocre outing to say the least.  She was so rude to me, and disobeyed me when it came to what she wore, which I only had so much control over because she changed clothes after we got there, when I wasn't with her because we had let them go off on their own.  I am sure the other mom was a bit taken aback by what she was wearing when we picked them up and by her horrible attitude toward me coming and going.  I was embarrassed and discouraged.  She wants to have new friends but I am not impressed with her strategy.

Today she called us from school a few hours after she got there because she felt sick and wanted to get picked up.  Great.  Was it due to the fact she remembered at 8 o'clock  last night about an essay project she hadn't even started after she had reassured us all day that she had finished EVERYTHING in Friday that was due on Monday?  Was she getting fearful of being embarrassed in class because of the zero tolerance for late homework?  I don't know.  Bill went to pick her up.  I am tired of her b.s.  She keeps asking us to trust her but she hasn't proven to be trustworthy on any level in my opinion.  We saw an inappopriate text that wasn't yet sent on her phone.  I am ready to trade in her phone for one without a keypad.  Her phone can't have a plan without texting, go figure.  Stupid phone companies.

She has to do volunteerism in the community for a grade for this school.  I don't know where she should do this as any of our church related volunteer opportunities are a no-go since they seem to all involve inner-city outreach.  She is way too attracted to ghetto music, behavior, and activities for us to let her connect more with those kids, which is too bad because there are such needs in this community for people to tutor and connect.  Unfortunately we have seen what happens when she interacts with inner city kids after she went to school with them, and it isn't good.  She forgets who she is and instantly wants to be like them and would have all of their phone numbers in a heartbeat and would get involved in some inapporiate relationship in a flash.  I know this sounds like we are borderline racists or somthing, but that isn't it at all.  We just have a kid who needs a lot of sheltering for her own protection, not more exposure.  She will be exposed enough later, and seeks out "exposure" anyway at every chance she gets.

Speaking of church, we are still unsure of what to do about the whole situation of her refusing to go to our church because of how "boring" it is and how unwelcome she feels there by the other kids her age.  We tried a different church and Caroline loved it but we found we just can't leave our pastor and his unbeatable grace-filled sermons which are like water on our parched souls.  We may have to just take her to another church for an early service and then go to our church for the later service.  Our other two kids are too plugged in and happy to pull them away from our church.  Sigh, once again, so complicated!  I know if she weren't bipolar, she would be fine at our church like our three other kids.

God gave us what he gave us.  Not because we are strong enough to handle all of this, but because He wanted to do something in all of us, to develop merciful hearts, and patience and compassion and perseverance.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


This new schedule is killing me.  I am not sure I like the different schedules and pick up times every day for school.  I don't know if I would do this again next year (or even next semester).  It is early in the year, I know, but the amount of driving I am doing between home and school and school and appointments and home and sports and ballet is unbelievable!!  I spend my life in the car and it is stressing me out more than ever.  I have no time to do laundry, clean, organize, etc. so my house is looking worse and worse.  And the girls don't really have time to help that much because of homework and sports and tutoring sessions and  babysitting and church stuff too.  If we stay here and like this school enough, we just need to move next door to it and find a closer ballet studio or something.  Or find a different small, affordable school they can all go to for the same amount of time every day! And I am trying to faithfully work out at the gym three or four days a week.  Just too much for one Mom!  I had a big boo-hoo session today telling my husband how much I don't like my life right now.  Poor guy.  No job and he has to hear his wife complain about the whole world today.  I can't even imagine myself working even part time right now because I have a full time job just managing the house and kids!  I don't know how moms with more than one kid manage a full-time job and everything else.  I couldn't do it.  At all.

Caroline seems kind of down, and I think the Seroquel increase might be to blame.  She seemed sunnier before the increase, so we may need to go back down again to 600 mg.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

One Week Down, Many to Go

I was so exhausted by the end of this first week of school.  Were you?  I am getting used to this crazy new routine of multiple, differing pick up times.  We are spending A LOT of money on gas driving back and forth from our town to another for school and doctor appointments, sports practice and such.  I wish the cost of gas would really come down.  Talk about a budget blower!

Caroline seems very happy at her new school.  I am wanting to get to know the teachers better as I haven't even really laid eyes on several of them.  There are P/T conferences coming up at the beginning of October I think.  In the meantime, I probably need to draw up the letter I always write for her new teachers every year explaining about her bipolar disorder, the meds and their side effects, her triggers for meltdown, etc.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

University Model Schools

Just in case you are interested, check out the website for National Association of University Model Schools at www.NAUMS.net.  They have a lot of great info about their philosophy of learning and also locations and future locations.  This is the type of school Caroline and one of her sisters are attending this year.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Today Was Better

That's all.  Good night!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

It Was the Worst of Days, It Was the Best of Days: School, Day 1, Long

I don't know how to summarize the events of the day, except to say that it started with me driving Caroline and Mae to their new school, getting out of the car, and then remembering that I hadn't retrieved Caroline's cell phone from her before she got out.  I asked her to give it to me, and she refused.  I told her we talked about this earlier (late last spring) and she said we had not.  So a power struggle ensued with me demanding the phone, making threats and Caroline walking toward to school acting like she was not going to budge.  The reason why we are not allowing her to have a cell phone in school, even though "all the other kids do," is because we had a very bad experience in the past with an unfortunate texting incident which resulted in her being asked to withdraw from a homeschool co-op.  No way in hell was I going to let this happen again, pardon my French.  So I decided I had to win this fight this morning, even though I very stupidly forgot to remind her about our policy about the cell phone last night.  She caved when I said I would smash that phone into a million pieces if she didn't give it over NOW.  Yes, I really said that.  I got the phone, but not without loss.  I couldn't believe that this is how her first day of school was going.  I was livid, shaking, upset and so was she.  But with all we have been through, I couldn't risk it again.

My husband, whom I called immediately after the drop off, tried to help me see her point of view, maybe we could flex a little, but I said "over my dead body."  I respect my husband, he has lots of wisdom, but Sorry, I am not giving one inch on this issue!!!!

Then we get a phone call from her in the school office about an hour before the end of her day there that she wanted to be switched out of her Computer Applications class NOW because it was too easy and she can't type as fast as the other kids.  What??!!??  I was really going to lose it then, so I handed the phone to my husband, who is thankfully, not yet employed.  He told her we would talk about it after school not during the class.  I felt my stress level rising to "code yellow."  I mean, really?  She couldn't wait until after school??  I was beginning to feel like this was turning into A VERY BAD DAY.

Then my husband leaves a few hours later to pick her up at the time appointed on her schedule, and she calls right after he leaves to say that she was supposed to be picked up 20 minutes ago, the class ended then and she was the only one there in the office.  What?!?!? The schedule the school gave us clearly said 2:45 not 2:20.  And the school is 20 minutes away on the highway. Arggh!!

But, amazingly and only by the grace of God,  aside from those major and minor problems, she said she likes the school, her teachers and the kids she met.  Oh, whew.  I guess.  I am EXHAUSTED emotionally tonight.  I could use a manicure, pedicure, massage and new clothes after a day like this.

Oh and I broke the sugar bowl today, and found out at 5:30 pm  that 13 year old Jane had soccer practice at 6:30 tonight 20 minutes down the road and we hadn't bought her soccer shoes yet!!! The team just found her name on their list today, apparently, even though they had been practicing since last week.  What!? I registered her over a month ago!  That was the fastest trip ever by a soccer mom to a sports store to buy soccer shoes and then to a soccer field all in the course of an hour.

The good news:  my husband got word today he is even closer to getting a job we all want him to have; a photographer to whom we owed a lot of money for beautiful family portraits done three years ago when my husband had a job called out of the blue and said he has decided to forgive our debt because of our lengthy unemployment status and he is SENDING us these amazing portraits for only what we have already paid (tears); and the government sent us a check today for some back pay, a small check but thanks anyway!!  :) So God is still good, life goes on, Caroline will go back to school tomorrow, and it will be a fresh new day.  Thanks for listening to me rant.  You keep me going.

PS. Please pray for my dear friend Lynn, who is very, very sick with cancer and multiple infections.  We don't want to lose her and neither does her husband John.  Thank you.

Monday, September 5, 2011

New Beginnings Tomorrow at a New School!

And with fear and trepidation we are embarking on a new adventure at yet another school.  I am really struggling with "did we make the right decision" not because I think it could be wrong academically or socially, but because of the long commute everyday that will be expensive since gas is sky high, and because Mae's pick up schedule is different from Caroline's depending on the day, and then I have Jane's pick up schedule to deal with two of those days as well.  I could really be driving all over the place and hating it.  Or I could love this new school so much I won't mind in the end.  I just hope it is the latter.  This school is very structured about homework assignments, and has a zero tolerance policy for late homework.  Meaning if it is late, even if you are just tardy, it counts as a zero.  Hmmm.  Caroline and Mae have both struggled with getting their assignments in on time, so this will either be a great incentive or will result in really bad grades.  We shall see.  This is a new policy starting this year so maybe it will change if parents protest enough.  I understand their philosophy but it is kind of harsh.

We are preemptively asking for an increase in Caroline's Seroquel dosage with the beginning of the school year.  She always ramps towards mania in September and October and we have learned that the hard way.  So now we anticipate the seasonal change and try to stay ahead of it.  Then she usually ends up needing more Lamictal later in the fall to counteract depression.  So complicated!

Have a good start to the school year!  I know how tough it is to deal with teachers, administrators, school psychologists and the like!  Don't back down and be the advocate for your kid that your kid needs.  And don't be afraid to hire an educational advocate if you can't get the school to cooperate!!  I have a link to the right on my blog.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Crunchy Kitchen Floors and a Quieter House

I heard something on the radio today that made me laugh.  A lady was talking about finding a "parenting" soul mate in another female friend, someone you really "get."  She said that the first thing to compare is whether or not you have crunchy kitchen floors.  Oh, we would get along just fine!  Not that I never clean them, but about half the time they are crunchy!  The dogs sometimes "vacuum" but they are particular about some things.

We finally have heath insurance!  The kinks got ironed out, thank goodness!  I was getting really anxious about how much we have already paid out of pocket since the first.  Caroline is very expensive!!!! Love her to death, but her medical needs are huge compared to everyone else in our family.

With one down and three to go, so to speak, the house is a little quieter, just a little, and definitely less crowded.  Elizabeth, our college freshmen in Florida,  had a way of bringing people over daily, not that we minded that much, but she was definitely a pied piper for other teens at her school and from other schools as well.  She is already taking on leadership roles at her college and we are so proud!  People just kind of follow her, and she is a great kid to follow!