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

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.


SarahinSC said...

It sounds like you are really struggling with your thoughts about Caroline right now. It's ok! I have said all of the same stuff about my son too. It's just so HARD. EASIER would be so nice!

Re: volunteering...we volunteer with a service dog organization and it is always an amazing opportuinity for my son. He gets to feel good about himself because he works with the already well trained dogs. Maybe your community has something like that for her to get involved in.

marythemom said...

We've done volunteer work with a hippotherapy (horses not hippos!) organization. It's used for people who need community service as well as "regular" volunteers so is very structured. My kids can help with the horses, the kids receiving therapy, or even just sweeping or cleaning tack.

They like to work as an aide in the church nurseries and Sunday School classes (my son is what they call an "angel" and helps a specific special-needs kid), and Vacation Bible school. They're supervised by the teachers, but get to fel like they're really helping.

They've also worked at the food pantry and organizing at the thrift store. When I was younger I did cleaning for people in the church who'd had surgery or something and needed the extra help.

I wish this was easier for you. For all of us!