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!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Why "Labels" Can be Helpful

I know some parents who have really tried to avoiding labeling their "special" child.  Usually the reason lies in the fear of somehow attaching a negative association to them, perhaps to be viewed by others as "that" child who has "x" syndrome, thus affecting how others treat them or how they might view themselves.  I personally feel that resisting a label can do more harm than good.  And here is why:  if a child is struggling with some major differences, obviously stands out from their peers, and ends up in the Principal's office, or in the psychologist's office, because they can't seem to "hang" with school or their sports team, or the neighborhood kids, or work at their academic level, then seeking a proper diagnosis will lead to the right therapies, medications, and educational interventions that are BEST for that child.  I know of one parent who for many, many years has resisted "labeling" their child, which in this case means getting a solid diagnosis for their child's severely oppositional behaviors, and as a result, the child isn't on the medications they obviously need to be on in order to function and he keeps shooting himself in the foot, so to speak,  at church and at school, creating those negative associations by default.  I think Christians especially struggle with this issue because we can over-spiritualize problems.  Let's call labeling what it should be:  a real diagnosis for very real problems.  A diagnosed problem can be treated effectively with either medication or counseling or both!  A diagnosis denied, i.e. : "My child doesn't have Aspergers, or ADHD, or Bipolar Disorder, or a Sensory Processing Disorder, they are just a little strange, kind of introverted, or really impulsive, have a problem with anger, etc., and we just need to get control of this through more discipline or prayer, we'll be just fine."  Oh how I cringe when I hear this!  Maybe it is the lay psychologist or psychiatrist in me.  Help your child! Stop living in denial that they need more help than what mainstreaming can give them!  You are doing no one a favor by resisting a label.  Does a label mean that they won't succeed in life or rise above their issues??? No, absolutely not!  But to just coast along and hope that they do better eventually won't help your child in the least!  Be a parent, suck it up, and go back to the psychologist or psychiatrist or educational therapist and LISTEN to them.  Get them the weekly therapies they need, the medications that can help them function and stop over spiritualizing their issues or downplaying them!! The brain is an organic, living thing, no less structural and chemical in nature than your pancreas!!  I get so frustrated with folks who won't go the extra mile to help their child because they are afraid of a "label" or of medications or they are too prideful to admit their child needs major intervention.  Prayer is wonderful, but God also has given us highly effective medical and counseling resources right in front of us and if we don't use them we are looking a gift horse in the mouth.  Ok, I am off my soap box now.


Mama Bear said...

Well said! I agree with you!

Anna said...

I am glad to see that Caroline is doing well. You are brave, hardworking and intelligent in your approach to dealing with her mental illness.