Homeschooling is going really well right now, to which I attribute a couple of things:
1. She is quite psychiatrically stable.
2. She loves the history/literature focus on ancient history and
3. The brain training at Learning RX is making it easier for her to memorize grammar rules, Spanish vocabulary, and Algebraic concepts.
The Learning RX cognitive therapy is probably the biggest game changer. She has developed so much more confidence and speed in her thinking skills. She doesn't love Algebra yet, but I think as she continues with the brain training, she will begin to at least get pretty good at it. I nearly failed Algebra I the first time I took it, but then I re-took it in summer school and got straight As because something clicked the second time and I never looked back and went on to take Calculus in high school and college. I tell her this to encourage her that not everyone gets it the first time around.
Caroline was joyous in her summation of the book Flames of Rome last night. She finished it late last night and declared it was her favorite book ever. But now she has many more wonderful novels ahead of her courtesy of Sonlight Curriculum so I am sure I will hear her state that again about some other classic tome.
We have slowly upped her Lamictal dose with the permission of her psychiatrist as we have introduced the estrogen/progesterone combination pill she is taking for acne. So now she is taking 550 mg of the ODT which would be a lot, but for the fact the estrogen reduces the Lamictal concentrations in her blood quite a bit.
Also, we have dropped the Rozerem from her night meds after doing some research and asking around and talking with the psych doc. That med wasn't doing anything to keep her asleep. We have changed her Trileptal dosing as well so that she takes less in the morning and more at night, making her sleepier when she needs to be. She has not slept through the night for a very long time until we made these recent changes, including moving her Macrobid (prophylactic antibiotic for UTIs) to the morning, and her birth control pill too, because apparently both of those can interfere with sleep. And we introduced the all natural TravaCor for neurotransmitter support (calming effects) which can be obtained from Professional Nutrients. This combined with some Melatonin Ultra (containing Valerian root and Taurine and Chamomile) has finally kept her asleep all night, and she is a MUCH happier girl in the morning. Yay! It is amazing what this poor child has to take to both fall asleep and stay asleep, but as I understand from my other friends with bp kids, this is typical across the board.
Back to homeschooling, I have mentioned to her the idea of allowing me to homeschool her next year as well to be sure she is fully caught up in all subjects. She actually was OK with it. I never thought I would want to do this, but something in me has changed. I think I finally threw myself into the task of homeschooling her with my hand to the plow, not looking back, and it is paying off. I really had to clear my schedule of all distractions, and this is helping me to be home more and get more stuff done that really needs to get done, like laundry and organizing. I don't get to see my friends very much, between homeschooling and Learning RX three times a week, and driving everyone here and there, but for now, this is OK. This kid really needs me and one day she will be in college and my work will be done and then I can do all the things I want to do then. And not many moms get to invest in their young teens like I do, so I am thankful for the time I have with her, and with Jane. Jane and Mae will likely go to school together next year for 7th and 9th grades so I can fully focus on Caroline.
My husband still works diligently pursuing job leads. If you pray, please do pray for this journey to end.
I am committed to getting myself to the gym frequently to keep those endorphins coming: self-care! And I have a stack of wonderful books next to my bed that I try to read during my "me" time every night. I doubt I will ever get through them all but great prose is like water on parched ground to my soul.
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.