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, May 14, 2012

Year End Standardized Testing

So Caroline had her end of the year standardized testing today, one on one with a licensed tester, using the Woodcock Johnson complete battery.  The good news is that her math score went up tremendously from last year, so a huge thank you to Teaching Textbooks and Mathnasium and Learning Rx and also for Caroline who put in the effort.  She tested three grade levels higher than last May, so I think moving on to Geometry in the fall won't be an issue.  Whew!

The bad news is that her verbal scores, usually her best, were lower than last year's. :(  I am not sure what to make of that except that she has had two concussions since the last WJ test and so perhaps she is still being affected by them.  The tester said that she seemed to lack short term memory skills necessary for some of the sections.  Sigh.  I was really thinking her verbal skills would have gone up.  I am not sure if this is the result of the concussions or the increase in the Seroquel since last May, or if  bipolar disorder itself has contributed to the memory issues.  My husband and I have resigned ourselves to the fact that she is going to need a lot of help through high school, not only math tutoring, but likely tutoring in other subjects as well.  This is the child whose IQ at age 5 was near genius before she was on any meds or had a major episode.   Early-onset bipolar disorder really does rob kids of so much, not only of their friendships, and relationships with their siblings, but often of academic achievement.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day to You, Amazing Mom!

You are a better mom than you feel most of the time.  If you haven't given up on finding the best treatments for your child, if you keep telling them that bipolar disorder doesn't have to ruin their lives, if you keep loving them when you want to throw in the towel, you are a great mom.  Take some time for yourself today or very soon and get a manicure, or a cup of coffeee, or take an hour to read somewhere in a park, or on the beach, or anywhere away from your children.  Better yet go to www.care.com and find a  special needs sitter and go away for a day or a night or a whole weekend!   You deserve it!!

Friday, May 11, 2012


Maybe a solution.  The psych doc suggested adding a small dose of non-XR Seroquel to her nightly mix to get her sleeping again.  She thinks that the sleep issues (insomnia) triggered the aggression and explosivity and obsessive-compulsiveness.   So last night was the first increased dose and she did sleep better.  Can't tell yet if it is helping with her angry attitude though.  She has standardized testing on Monday so we certainly hope she can handle it.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Something is Wrong

Something is out of whack with Caroline.  We started to notice it yesterday.  She is acting very belligerent and OCD, and explosive.  Darn!  So I guess we go back to the psych doc for an adjustment.  Haven't seen her like this in a long time.  Sigh.  We've had smooth sailing for so long that this feels like so out of the blue.

Selling House on Front Burner, All Else on Hold

I have had to put homeschooling on the back burner for the coming a week and a half while we do a final push to finish all the touch up painting and decluttering that we need to do in order to advertise our house.  I want people to see it online or walk through and say "Wow!"  In order to do this, I have had to let go of the "homeschooling guilt" which is, unfortunately, a powerful crippler for me.  I need to trust God that He is in charge and that Caroline is going to be fine by August 15th when the 10th grade starts!  So back to the grind here...

Sunday, May 6, 2012

First Date

Caroline certainly has had an exciting weekend.  First prom on Friday night, then a last minute first date on Saturday night!

Prom went very well for her, which was a concern, as every social event is for us.  She had a great time with no "incidents" and the only glitch to the evening was that she got overheated (bipolar kids do have a problem with heat intolerance because they don't regulate their body temperatures as well) and came home with a headache and threw up.  But this didn't dampen her opinion of the evening.

The date was something we didn't see coming, but we quickly made it a "big deal" so as to ensure that it would be a properly done date, and not something inappropriate.  The boy who asked her is someone she has gotten to know at a local high school while playing wall ball after school. I do remember her mentioning this very tall, nice guy and of course we were immediately on guard since we have had a bad experience in the past with people she has met when we haven't been with her.  But he asked her to go to a movie yesterday and she told us she is a very nice Christian who helps build playgrounds for needy kids.  He sounded too good to be true, so we said that he would have to come to the house so we could meet him and Daddy would have to interview him prior to the date.  She willingly agreed, almost enthusiastically, so we felt a little better since her attitude was so good.

Well, this young man walks through the door, and he is tall and blond and really good looking.  He immediately shook my hand and engaged in easy conversation.  He was obviously adept at talking to adults and looking them straight in the eye, very important!  I asked him about high school and he said he was in the pre-med magnet program and plays three different sports.  His grandfather founded a Christian ministry. He wants to be a doctor.  Smart? Check. Athletic? Check.  Servant heart? Check.  Able to talk to adults? Check.

My husband took him into the living room and proceeded to have a 15 minute talk with him about the date, including treating his daughter with respect (i.e. keep your hands off of her) and such.  My husband was also quite impressed with him and gave him his blessing to take our daughter out.  We would let him drive her there but he would pick her up, just to be sure that they were going straight there and back.

Everything went wonderfully.  We are amazed at God's goodness toward Caroline, that he would bring such a great guy into her life.  We are not hoping that this turns into anything serious of course, but we couldn't have asked for a more decent chap to ask her out on a first date.  Thank you Lord, for your grace to us and to Caroline!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Prom Beauty!

Just from the back!  I did her "Girl on Fire" rhinestone bling, stolen from The Hunger Games.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Brain Fog

Unfortunately, Caroline seems to be dealing with an onset of major brain fog in the last few days.  Can't think of what the cause may be as nothing has changed in her med mix and she is sleeping fine.  This fog is really affecting her school work and it isn't distractability like ADHD, it is more of a slowness of thought processes--more than usual.  I so wish she didn't have to take such high doses of Seroquel and Trileptal, which can be cognitively dulling anyhow.  But she is stable, and "normal," so we dare not touch anything.  Very frustrating to try to homeschool her when she is like this.  She stares at Spanish and Algebra like she has never seen them before. Hopefully this will pass very soon.  We have a lot to finish before then end of May and her state testing!