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!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Discouraged and Lonely

Caroline is encountering the problem she always has: lack of friendships.  She struggles to make and keep friends and always has.  This new school experience is no exception.  She says she cries herself to sleep each night because she is so lonely.  As a parent, this is just heartbreaking to hear.  Not sure what to do, but we will be looking at various options.  The church youth group isn't turning out to be what she had hoped.  And her younger sister seems to be thriving in the same youth group and at the same school.   We still might look at smaller schools.  So hard to know what is best!  She really wants to "fit in" but just doesn't have the social skills to do so and doesn't want to really.  She wants friends who are like her, not like the popular kids.  And the academic side is definitely a big struggle.  I am as discouraged as she is right now.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Choosing to Be Thankful When You are Not

This can be a really, really hard time of the year. If your child is unstable, trying to enjoy Thanksgiving and the ensuing holidays can be a nightmare, or at least very disappointing.  Caroline is stable this week so I am not worried about her.  But my heart goes out to those of you who are in a different situation.  We have had Thanksgivings where she was hospitalized or when she was home and life was hard and chaotic.  How can one be thankful when everything is crumbling?

I think in those times you have to get down the deepest things, the things that are true regardless of your circumstances:  God is still good, He still loves you and your child, He has plans that are bigger and more complex than we can understand right now, and all is not lost because of this illness.  Be thankful for the small things:  the roof over your head, food on the table, that one friend who hasn't abandoned you, that one family member who "gets" it, the beauty of the fall.

We all screw up, we all say things we shouldn't say and do things we shouldn't do.  Sometimes our emotions get the best of us.  But we can ask for forgiveness. We can forgive.  We can start over.   His mercies are new every morning. Lamentations 3:22-23.  I think the writer would agree that they are new minute by minute.  So stop beating yourself up and start receiving grace.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

What The?!?!

I am astounded tonight by something we just found out about the last lithium level that was done in October, the one that the nurse practitioner at the psychiatrist's office said was 1.6, or  "extremely high."  Well, this afternoon my husband picked up a hard copy from the lab of the October lithium level test and the most recent one done last week.  The October test says .9, well within the normal range!!  And last week's read .8!!  So, what in the world happened? How did the CNP get this lab result so wrong? Was she lying to us?  That would be crazy but we have thought she is weird enough that maybe that isn't so crazy.  So we had reduced her lithium by 150 mg, resulting in some instability, because we were given the wrong value for her lab???   I am calling the practice tomorrow to try to get some answers.  And I am calling the lab to double check.  We are trying to switch to a psychiatric practice an hour away in Denver anyway to try to find the top docs.  We have learned that driving an hour to get the best care is worth the drive.  The University of Colorado has a hospital there that seems to do a lot of research in psychiatry, and there is a fantastic Children's Hospital there with a psychiatry speciality as well.  Colorado Springs has a surprising lack of good resources it seems for adolescent psychiatry.  I am just so disappointed with this whole situation.  Poor Caroline.  I really hope that this whole roller coaster wasn't for nothing.  Her scrolling vision issue isn't completely gone, but better.  Now we are looking at getting her a Biology tutor because her teacher seems really dull and unhelpful.  Still considering looking around at the charter schools in town to see if any might be a good fit for her next year, or even this year.  As always, so many balls to juggle!

Thursday, November 1, 2012


Well, just as we feared, the reduction in the lithium dosage has resulted in mania.  We are going to increase the Seroquel by another 50 mg per her doc, but I am wondering if increasing Lamictal would be a good alternative.  She is beside herself about the med changes and very worried her year at school is going to be irreparably damaged by all of this.  Big blow up tonight.  Oh joy.