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!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

No Shame

A dear friend recently reminded me of the fact that we must actively reject shame when we have a child who doesn't "fit" in with the world.  We have to look shame in the eye and tell it good riddance.  We must resist shame with truth.  There is no other way to deal with shame effectively.  Guilt is specific, related to specific acts and can be dealt with through confession, repentance, restitution, and true remorse.  But shame is this horrible, nebulous cloud that colors our world with gray uncertainty.  Shame makes us hide, hide our children and hide ourselves.  We hide from neighbors, our closest friends, our church, and our schools when shame dominates our thinking.  I know this ugly foe too well.  I am afraid I struggle with passing shame onto my kids at times.  Shames strangles relationships.  The antidote to shame is always the bright sunlight of truth.  The truth is that our children are gifts from God, each uniquely gifted.  They are not mistakes.  If they have a brain disorder, it isn't your fault.  Even genetics are trumped by the truth that God is still sovereign, in my opinion.  I believe this with every ounce of my being.  When we are given a child with special needs, we are given the gift of empathy and compassion.  I am the most judgemental person in the world, so it is no accident that God gave me a child through whom I have had to develop tremendous patience and long-suffering.  And we must not forget that these beautiful kids suffer more than we do.  They are the ones who experience the misunderstanding and rejection.  They are the ones who have to rise above their limitations to succeed in life far more than we.   I see them as very dear to God.  I get mad when some of their parents don't go the extra mile to help them because they themselves are living in shame and "hiding" from the truth.  I understand that temptation, but when we step into the light and accept that our child needs far more help than we alone can give them, then we are truly loving our child in the fullest sense.  It is no accident that Caroline is doing as well as she is: a loving God is watching out for her, and we as her parents have tried to do everything in our power to help her, doing whatever it takes to give her the tools to succeed in life, even if the cost to us is great, both financially and physically. We haven't done this perfectly by any means, we have failed many times.  But when you are committed to being your child's advocate in every arena, you know that you can be free of shame and guilt and leave the results to God.


Miss Brandi said...

I know you do not know me, but I was so blessed by reading your post. It brings me to tears that you have so much godly love for your little girl and that you are not ashamed of her or her illness. I appreciate how you are fighting this illness and being proactive in her treatment. I know from personal experience how damaging denial and shame could be to a child with bipolar disorder. You, your family, your little girl and everyone who has been touched by your story will be changed by this post. To be unashamed of the illnesses that have such a taboo attached to them that many people suffer from. What you did by giving the bipolar disorder a name,ILLNESS not curse, and by not letting it hinder your family or your little girl by kicking shame to curb and replacing it with LOVE, will give many families of loved ones who suffer from a mental illness a choice accept this illness, fight it, and move forward. You should bring your message of God and Love to organizations that help families with loved ones who have a mental illness or people or to people who have a mental illness. May God bless you and your little girl. I'll be praying for you.

Megan said...

Thank you Brandi! Sometimes I feel like I am just sticking my neck out here, but I know that it is the right thing. Caroline and many other kids will benefit by bringing bipolar disorder into the light, not by hiding it. We always pray for wisdom and discernment. Thank you for commenting!