I really hate it when I have to take Caroline to a doctor who isn't a psychiatrist and they look at her list of meds and immediately begin to question me, or interrogate might be a better word, as to why she is on so many meds and at such high doses, who put her on these, who diagnosed her as bipolar, and etc. I find my self instantly going on the defense, tensing up, putting on my, "I am every bit as intelligent as you are and much more well versed in the latest research in psychiatric conditions and meds and I can go toe to toe with you on any one of these meds" mode.
I had to take Caroline to the ER last night because she had a horrible migraine and couldn't stop throwing up. The doctor came into the room with many questions about her med mix and I calmly, but firmly, explained that they were all indeed necessary, and she is very much bipolar. He kind of backed off when he realized I wasn't some uneducated bimbo mom who just wanted to drug up her unruly kid. I am SO glad for the Balanced Mind Foundation and for the book The Bipolar Child that revolutionized thinking about bipolar disorder in children and for the research that has shown that, unfortunately, a cocktail of meds is usually what brings stability to these kids, not just one or two psych meds. We ALL wish this weren't the case. I don't enjoy filling up Caroline's weekly pill dispenser with dozens of pills. She doesn't enjoy swallowing them and I truly wish she didn't have to take any of them. I sincerely wish she could take less of them, much less. We have tried. It has never worked. She becomes unstable and she suffers and we all suffer. So pardon my French, but just shut up about what you really don't know, doc. If you aren't a psychiatrist, just zip it. And if you are an uneducated, arrogant psychiatrist (they are plenty out there who still don't believe kids can be bipolar), just shut up. After almost eight years of doing this, I do believe I am the best judge of what works for my kid, thank you.
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.