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, September 28, 2012

More Missed School/Health Mysteries

This has not been easy.  She is feeling very tired, more migraines, wants to sleep all the time.  She has an MRI today to see if there are physical causes for the migraines and scrolling vision, but I am taking her back to the family doctor today to ask for blood work to rule out anemia and mono.  Got to cover all the bases.  Maybe liver and kidney panels too.  Her thyroid biopsy is on Monday.  When I called the recommended pediatric neurologist they said they could see her at the end of February.  Yeah, I don't think so.  So now I have to start the referral process over again to find a different practice.

In the meantime, I have been feeling completely exhausted myself, wanting to sleep all the time too.  I have had a virus, but I hope this fatigue goes away.  I have a complete household to unpack and I have made very little progress between Caroline's many phone calls from school and meetings with staff, etc.  I think I have spent as much time at the high school because of her issues as she has been absent from the high school.  I seriously do wonder if homeschooling her would be easier.  This is getting old fast.  We need answers soon or we might pull the plug just to keep her grade point average from going so low that getting into college would be seriously jeopardized.  I don't know if her meds need a big change or if all of these issues are being caused by something else.  Frustration is the mood here and deep concern.  She really wants to succeed in going to school and getting good grades.  This isn't avoidance.  Lord, please show us what is going on!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

IEP Meeting Went Great, But...

Yesterdays big IEP meeting went great.  I am very impressed with the staff that attended.  Everyone seemed so eager to help Caroline and quite interested in her case.  I couldn't have asked for a better meeting.  The "but" is that she is failing Geometry, has several Ds in other subjects, which are likely due to all the school she has missed in the first five weeks.  Very discouraging to her and to us.  I am meeting with the Geometry teacher this morning to try to ascertain what is going wrong here.  She says he isn't very helpful in terms of his instruction in class.  The Mathnasium tutor spent two hours with her yesterday trying to help her understand the concepts.  She made some real progress there but my concern is why she isn't getting this kind of instruction at school.

Always, always, in the back of our minds are the questions, "Is this the right learning environment for Caroline?  Can she learn and succeed here?  Can she keep up with the pace given all of her bipolar related sick days? When do you pull the plug if it is apparent that she is too discouraged about her grades?"  So many hard questions.  I think we are going to give it a semester and see how accommodating her teachers will be and then decide if a big public high school is the right fit for her or if she needs a much smaller environment.   The last thing we want is for her to be so frustrated with inflexible teachers that she stops caring and gives up. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Problems Abound

Caroline is not doing so hot in her classes at the public school.  The big IEP meeting is this Wednesday.  She is behind in several classes because of all the school she missed the first three weeks due to migraines and vision issues which we now think were somehow related to the Lamictal.  We lowered the dose quite a bit but then she got depressed so we upped it again, but not as high.  She needs a needle biopsy of her enlarged thyroid.  So many things going on!  She has a failing grade in Geometry, a D in Biology, and had tennis elbow this past week and couldn't use her writing hand.  Can anything else go wrong???

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

New Opportunity for The Balanced Mind Foundation to Receive a Grant with Your Votes!

Chase Bank is giving away $250,000 to the charity who gets the most votes on Facebook.  Please take two minutes to cast your vote at https://fb.chasegiving.com/charity/view/ein/36-4302941.  Thank you!!

Thursday, September 6, 2012


After seeing her regular doctor yesterday, we got an order for an MRI to make sure nothing serious is going on in her brain causing the scrolling vision and headaches.  And we got a solid pediatric neurology referral.  Hoping and praying for answers to this debilitating problem.  She sees the psychiatrist on Monday too.   Still waiting on the thyroid ultrasound results.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Vertigo Mystery

Frustration again as Caroline calls me from school this morning to report that she was having scrolling vision and vertigo again, starting half way through her first class.  I am at a loss so we are back to the doctor this afternoon.  We had not gotten the call from the neurologist so we are going to be asking for that consult again ASAP.  I divided her morning med dose of the lamictal up so she takes half of it at noon thinking this was the problem, but I guess not.  This issue happened this weekend on Sunday so it isn't just occurring in school.  She is missing way too much school so early in the school year.  I am praying for answers.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Finally, A Good Day

We had a great day today, despite waking up with a migraine (me.)  Caroline got to all of her classes just fine and the school counselor who is in charge of the IEP process called me to give me a time for the first official IEP meeting where everyone will be there.  I felt loved.

Also, Caroline had the thyroid ultrasound today but we won't know for 24 hours or so what they might have found.  Hopefully nothing.  My medical mystery child.

This is the view from my back porch tonight.  Beautiful.

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Easiest Kid

How strange and unexpected that I would call Caroline my easiest kid.  You would think that with all her disorder has put her and everyone else through, that I would be saying the opposite.  But this is God's hand at work in our lives.  He turns ashes into beauty.  Having been separated from us so many times, once for five months, due to both short and long term hospitalizations, she developed a faith in God that is greater than her sisters' and a respect for us that shines.  In spite of her irritability, which is a daily struggle, she is quick to say sorry and please forgive me and to tell her dad and I what great parents we are.   I know she honors us.  Her sisters, whom we love deeply, do not often show the depth of kindness toward us that she exhibits.  Pain and sorrow have done their work in her heart, and the fruit is love.  Would I wish for other kids to go through what she has to get to this place?  No, but the blessings of God have come to us through hardship.  I am thankful for His sovereign grace.  He has done a marvelous thing.