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!

Friday, August 31, 2012


Yesterday, after I got yet another phone call from Caroline who in tears because she couldn't find her PE class in the gym when they were supposed to be there, I flew down to the school.  I had really
had it.  I marched into the attendance office and declared that we had a major problem (I wasn't yelling but almost) and that we had to fix it NOW.  What it boiled down to was that she had been going to the wrong PE class for two weeks and no one figured it out but me.  That is ridiculous.  The teacher whom she was supposed to have was marking her absent after Day 1, but the wrong teacher somehow had her on his roster and was marking her present.  So attendance thought she was in the right PE class.  By going to the wrong PE class for two weeks, she was going to the wrong lunch and then missing half of biology!  She was being told by attendance she was supposed to be in B lunch, but the PE class had A lunch and so she was utterly confused by everyone and everything.  I am bewildered as to how this could have happened.  My poor kid!  And everyone was blaming her for not being in the right place at the right time!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Thyroid/Migraine Link?

The doctor visit for her migraines today revealed that she has an enlarged thyroid.  So we will see after the labs come back if she is having a thyroid imbalance or if we need to do a scan.  Lithium can kill one's thyroid so she has been tested for years for thyroid issues and up until now we haven't had a problem.  We did also get a neurology referral to try to get these migraines under control.  Thyroid issues can cause migraines as well.

Today was another screwed up day at school.  She showed up for PE and no one was there.  So then she went to attendance and again the lady was short with her.  Caroline just needed someone to go find the PE coach for her.  This whole A/B schedule and A/B lunch thing seems to be confounding her, especially since she was first told she had one lunch and then told she had another.  I am beyond frustrated at this point.  I put a call into her counselor and the PE coach to find out what exactly seems to be the problem.  Caroline is beside herself and so am I.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


Well, at this point we really have a problem.  Caroline is continuing to have daily migraines at school. She swears she isn't stressed and loves school and her behavior confirms this.  But about an hour to an hour and a half into the day, she comes down with blurred vision and migraines.  So we have to pick her up from school.  She has a doctor's appointment tomorrow with a regular doc and I will be asking for a neurology referral.  Her meds haven't changed so that can't be the source, at least I don't think so.  She isn't having these issues on the weekend, so I am suspecting a trigger at school, maybe allergens or the florescent lights.  So frustrating that here she is finally at such a great school only two weeks into the year and she has missed so many classes! Doesn't seem fair.  If this continues without remedy, we may be looking at the online high school or homeschooling.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


Don't know why exactly, but Caroline is still experiencing scrolling vision, which was followed by a migraine yesterday, causing her to miss most of school.  She says she has migraines without the scrolling vision, so they may be unrelated.  I am dividing up her Lamictal dose today so that she doesn't get the whole morning dose at once.  She can take the rest when she gets home from school.  Really bummed that she has already missed so much school only two weeks into the year.   Not a good start.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Scrolling Vision/Med Issues

It seems that whenever Caroline's meds are too high, she gets this weird scrolling vision pattern.  She called from school this morning to say she was having these vision issues again.  Perhaps we just need to reduce her Lamictal.  Time to call the pdoc.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Great IEP Meeting!

I am just thanking God this morning for the amazing people working at this high school in the counseling and special ed departments.  The meeting this morning went superbly.  I couldn't have been happier or more encouraged by their passion for helping kids like Caroline succeed at this school.  They were compassionate, knowledgeable, competent and eager to do whatever possible for us.  I am so humbled that God would place us in this school district, at this school.  Of course, time will tell.  But I have never felt so good about a meeting such as this one.  I think this will be a good year for Caroline.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Enough Already

I have had it with the attendance lady, who seems to think Caroline is a truant.  I had to call her yesterday to ask her to kindly remove the two absences recorded for the first day of school when she was lost and went to the wrong classes.  She balked but I persisted.  Then yesterday her English teacher marked her absent when she was in class, and we got yet another truant notice from this attendance lady.  I immediately contacted the teacher who was apologetic and verified that Caroline was in class.  Then I called the attendance lady and left a message.  Apparently this lady walked into Caroline's study hall and chewed her out about her "absence" from English class and told her she had better have an excuse, etc.  I am so disappointed in this lady's lack of grace toward a kid who is brand new to the school and who was obviously lost the first few days of classes.  Give me a break!  I called the principal because her demeanor has been so unwelcoming and honestly I think she owes Caroline an apology for assuming the worst about a kid who is trying so hard to do the right things.  

As a result of this mess, I have pushed the IEP meeting and got a time scheduled for Friday morning to start the ball rolling.  She needs grace and understanding not punishment!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Doing Better

Well, Day 3 of high school went much better for Caroline.  She had no problems finding her classes and went to the right lunch period.  Whew!  She loves PE, which most kids hate, like I did.  I guess she was the fastest girl running the mile, the second fastest behind a boy.  Yep, she definitely excels in athletics.

The school district scheduled the back to school night for her high school and for my middle schooler on the same nights at the same time which is completely idiotic.  I complained to both schools and to the district.  How do they expect parents to be able to be in two places at the same time?  And I have two kids at the high school, so I can only meet the teachers of one of them.  Not happy.  I will have to go to meet Caroline's teachers since she is likely to need the most interface between school and home.  But my other two will feel shortchanged.

Still need to call the school about the IEP.  That is on my list today

Friday, August 17, 2012

Oh Dear

Well, this second day didn't go so great either.  She went to the wrong lunch period and thus ended up in the wrong classes again.  I marched down to the school after she got home to straighten everything out.  The technology office helped me tremendously and I think all should go better on Monday.  I am going to complain to the principal however about the incredibly unhelpful front desk admin lady.  She made Caroline feel like she was in trouble for not being in the right classes.  My mama bear instincts have come out and I want to give her the what for.  I will be calmer on Monday.  I wish I had the IEP in place before this week.  A lesson learned here.  I was hoping Caroline would have done better, but I am seeing that she is going to need more help.

All is Well That Ends Well

In spite of the crazy day Caroline had at her first day of school yesterday, she seemed to stay positive.  She actually ended up going to eight classes, just not the right classes or the right times.  So when we thought she had just skipped three of her classes, she was actually in a class.  But my ninth grader did the same thing with one of her classes, so she was in good company.   I emailed her teachers and explained what had happened and hopefully they will be understanding.  I do need to clue in the nurse at the school about her meds and also get that IEP going.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Major Mix-Up in the Experiment

Disaster struck today on the first day of school.  Caroline told me yesterday she was having some scrolling vision problems and I made a mental note of it.  Usually that means one of her meds is too high.  I was trying to think if I had double dosed her or something but everything seemed fine in her med box.  Well, off to school she went today and two hours later she was trying to call me to tell me she was having bad vision problems.  I had my phone off because honestly I had gone back to bed after I took everyone to school because I had a migraine the night before and was still tired.  Then I get a call from the school saying she was marked absent for three classes and they couldn't find her.  She had gone to the nurses office but then had left but then didn't show up for class. Oh boy.  Not good.  Then I realized why she was so off: I had forgotten to put her birth control pills for her acne in her med mix, which meant her Lamictal levels probably doubled and that was why she was so dizzy!!! I could have kicked myself for messing up her first day of school!!!! Ugh!!!!  I feel HORRIBLE.  I think I will show up to pick her up with a venti sized hazelnut latte to try to make amends.  I can't believe this happened.   I am worried she isn't going to want to go back.  And what her teachers might think.  I need to email them to explain the problem.  Truly I am so sorry for the mistake I made.  I am praying that she will recover from this.

Start of the Great Experiment

At least an experiment is what this feels like, having Caroline starting at a great big public high school today.  One thing I had kind of forgotten about, why I don't know, is how sensitive she is to noise and chaos.  Today would be nothing but noise and chaos in the halls as all 1500 students try to find their classrooms at once.  Talk about overstimulation.  And the fact that she was having a lot of problems with getting her locker open yesterday because she kept forgetting the right-left-right sequence should prove interesting.  Poor kid.  Combine the memory issues with the processing speed issues and you've got quite a challenge when it comes to things like this.  She gets lost really easily too, turned around and confused.  I was praying that today would go smoothly though I am preparing for bumpy.  I wish she could have done what her sister did as a freshman yesterday.  The freshmen got to go one day early and were led around the school by friendly, smiling juniors and seniors.  

Speaking of her sister, this is the first time in a very long time, maybe twelve years, that Caroline and Jane have been at the same school.  I am nervous about how this will go.  I really wanted them to have their own high school experiences, and tried to get Jane into another public charter high school here, but she was wait listed.   Caroline does things unintentionally that mortify Jane on a regular basis.  Jane needs to grow in her maturity and give her sister a whole lot of grace, but at 14, I am not sure this is going to happen real soon.  And Jane has already made a dozen friends after yesterday's orientation and has after school plans to go with them to a yogurt shop.  Caroline will likely struggle to make and keep friends.  So this whole experiment may go as we hope and pray, or may turn out to be a bust.  But we are giving it our best shot.  Plan B is always in the wings.  There are many charter schools here and if Caroline needs a much smaller environment, we will look at these other options.  Private school is Plan C but the money would be an issue.

I hope that start of your child's school year will go really well, with very few bumps along the way.  But if it doesn't, you are in good company.  Hang in there, and keep advocating for your child!!  :)

Thursday, August 9, 2012


Counting down the days until Caroline starts at the public high school here next week.  She is so excited.  Today I called the district to initiate the IEP process.  With the concussions, the bipolar disorder, the ADHD, the Non Verbal Learning Disorder, and the extremely low processing speed, she should qualify for some accommodations and modifications.  So we shall see how next week goes.  She got into Geometry which was huge, but we are choosing to have her repeat Spanish I.  Last year was such a wash.  Better to start fresh.  She met the lacrosse coach at the school who watched her do some drills with the other girls and the coach was pretty impressed with her skills.  No sports this fall though.  Caroline said she just wants to focus on academics anyway.

She had her first meetings with both her new psychologist and her new psychiatrist.  Well, I should say the NP at the psychiatrist's office.  The psychologist meeting went much better than that with the NP.  So we are switching her over to another psychiatrist in the practice who is likely more suitable.  But to find these new providers is huge.

Mathnasium is continuing to make a huge difference in her Algebra skills.  Worth every penny.

I am looking into a part-time job but have no idea where to start.  So many news things all at once.

I will check back next week after the first few days of school.