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, December 17, 2012

Big Meeting, Big Decisions

We met with the IEP head, the principal, and with the teacher in question on Friday.  The teacher denied the practice of a "Survivor" like vote to decide who stays and goes in the groups.  Caroline has insisted this actually happens.  We aren't sure who to believe.  I want to believe both of them.

We made it clear, however, that Caroline has learned very little this semester in his class.  The offer was made of moving her out of his class to a computer based class for kids who really struggle with math.  And also they gave us the option of letting her skip taking the final exam, and just letting her present grade of a C stand.  We are taking this offer.  Caroline breathed  a huge sigh of relief when we told her this.  She needs to get out of his class regardless.  We like him as a person, he seems nice enough and caring, but the method of teaching Geometry simply doesn't fit her learning style at all.

The principal was hugely interested in helping Caroline to succeed at this school.  We feel he genuinely cares about her.

Caroline spent most of the weekend depressed over the lack of friends at her school.  She was crying because she has no one to sit with at lunch.  And apparently some "mean" girls have said some things to her that I will be keeping an eye on.  She doesn't always share with us everything that happens during her day.   And her sister, whose friends are in some of Caroline's classes, is quite angry at the thought of Caroline talking to them and possibly embarrassing her.  Sometimes we wonder if we should have just tried to put them in separate high schools from the beginning.  There as a big reason we never put Caroline and her older sister Elizabeth in the same middle and high school.  We knew they needed their space.  Maybe this is true for Caroline and Jane.  We want them to love and support each other, but this is not the usual situation.  Jane hears things all the time that Caroline has said that are huge exaggerations or even lies and she is just so sensitive.  Her friends ask her about these tall tales and she just wants to hide under a table.  We are working with Caroline on truthfulness.  She exaggerates because she feels so badly about who she is right now that she wants to be someone else, someone that people will like.  But she doesn't always see the consequences or can't seem to stop herself.  I confronted her on some of these things a few days ago and her response was defensiveness and denial. This is something that will really hurt her in relationships and jobs so we have got to help her get control over this.


My Daughter's Mother said...

After almost two years I finally got my 9yo daughter an IEP. She started pulling her hair out at the end of first grade, when I finally got professional help, but like you, we sensed something 'off' very early on. She is bp and already tried a pharmacy full of meds. And yet Sunday she was on the floor in a fetal position crying and sucking her thumb. I honestly know what it's like.
I nearly had to move heaven and hell with the public school and district, but refused to give up. She is struggling so much in school I'm ready to keep her home, but that's not a good solution for either of us. The options are slim-not a lot of alternatives for a fourth grader. Hope you get resolution. Thank you for your blog. Keep writing-even if just for me so I don't feel so alone. Peace.

Megan said...

Hi My Daughter's Mother. This is a hard, hard journey for us, isn't it? Sometimes it feels like we are swimming upstream against a strong current. I am always wondering if we are doing the right thing educationally for Caroline. Watching our daughters suffer just breaks our hearts. Thank you for writing; I always get comfort from knowing there are so many others out there in the same boat!

marythemom said...

My girls (one adopted with BP as only one of her many diagnoses and one probably neurotypical bio) are in the same grade. We go through all this angst as well. Finally the girls are in separate schools and it helps. They are totally different and one is in special ed on the minimum graduation track, while the other is an honor student in advanced placement classes. Luckily adopted daughter has slowed down about spreading rumors and stuff about her sister, trying to get girls who've know bio dd since preschool, to stop liking her. It got really nasty. Now biodd just sees her as embarrassing. I understand her feelings, but it's hard for all.

Anonymous said...

My daughter and your daughter both need intensive social skills therapy! Our daughters, I believe, are seeking relationships though negative attention, whether it's behavior or communication. We all have thoughts at some point in time, but our girls don't grasp the reciprocity of having that "no filter" judgement call?

Anonymous said...

I enjoy coming to this blog as it comforts me to know I am not alone. I am wondering about your daughters' IEPs though. Is is based on the bp diagnosis or something else? My daughter's school says she will not qualify for an IEP either on her mood disorder nor on ADD diagnosis. And now they have expelled her for her behaviors. Janice

Megan said...

Social skills therapy would be a great thing for Caroline. I need to do some looking around here in CO for therapists who do this, as her present therapist doesn't. She has become a compulsive story teller and we have got to get this under control.

As far as the IEP goes, I think that her mood disorder has qualified her for the accommodations. I wonder if the qualifications vary by state? This is the second time she has had an IEP, first one in VA, now in CO. The IEP process was a fairy easy one here. What state are you in?

Megan said...

Marythemom, I am regretting putting my two middle daughters in the same school. I wish we had thought this through more. So they may very well end up in separate places. In an ideal world, we would be able to help them appreciate each other and have enormous patience, but that may not come until they are older.

My Daughter's Mother said...

Dear Moms...right here,
My name is Laura. I live in AZ. Today is the first chance I've have to check the blog and the responses. Had counselor's appt just yesterday and we talked about not having support for the mother. In fact, a few weeks ago, her psychiatrist offered to start treating me! (hmm?!)
Selfish as it may seem, because I would never wish this on anyone, I really am glad I'm not alone. The membership dues for this 'club' are too steep to have to suffer in silence. You can email me privately at lmgesicki@gmail.com and I would welcome your email if you are ready to share that.

marythemom said...

Anonymous - sometimes your local MHMR (or whatever they call it now that MR is not considered PC) will offer free social skills classes, particularly in the Summer as "day camps."

Megan - Hindsight is soooo 20/20. Most of the time, we don't have the option of splitting up our kids. We had to sue the school to get them to put our daughter in a special program/ school for emotionally disturbed children, but it's been amazing.

It's not exactly the same, but my sisters and I hated each other and fought like cats and dogs all the way through school and into college. When we finally started becoming adults, we became each other's best supporters, and you'd never know how much we resented each other as kids (I still can't believe my little sister has forgiven me for all the stuff I did to her!). I'm hoping it will be like that for my girls, but I'm just happy that I can already see how much more tolerant and aware that my bio dd has become (even if it doesn't always apply to her siblings). I think she's going to become an amazing adult.