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.
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.