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!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


I don't know what to say except that this is a really dark, dark time for Caroline.  She had a full blown breakdown last night, sobbing and raging for a long time, crying out, "Why me!?" over and over again.   Heartbreaking. The prospect of losing what is dearest to her, either from poor grades from so much missed school, or from denial by the doctors, is killing her.   I regret not homeschooling her this year.  I feel a lot of guilt over what I could have done that may have changed the course of this year.  I am bewildered by the silence of God.  Please pray for her not to lose hope or faith that God is good, that He loves her, that He will not always seemingly hide His face.  I was reading the Psalms last night, struck by how many times the writers cried out to God in anguish, asking how long they would suffer, how long God would stay silent.  I want her to experience the God of all comfort.

Sunday, February 24, 2013


We are having a down day here.  Caroline told us she feels fat, ugly, and friendless.  Her one new friend apparently is into the wrong stuff, so she doesn't want to hang out with her.  We tell her she is beautiful and wonderful.  I don't think she believes us.  I am hoping she will go to the FCA meeting this week (Fellowship of Christian Athletes.)  She needs some new friends, fast.  

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Prismatic Glasses

So we ordered these prismatic and tinted glasses today, which the vision doc said should help with the fluorescent light issues.  They will arrive in a week, and then we need to test her out under fluorescent lights.  I would love to see her back in school personally.  She goes back to the concussion doc next week to determine if she can play lacrosse or not, based on the report from the vision doc.  I am praying he clears her.  She has so little in her life that is positive and encouraging and affirming.  God you know what is best, but we are really praying for a yes.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

For Real??

And to add to the absurdity of our lives here, I took Caroline on a nice, calm, trail ride at a stables about 2 hours away.  I made her wear a helmet, of course.  But what could happen on a leisurely trail ride?  Nothing, until her horse saw the barn at the end of the trek and decided to bolt.  Guess who got thrown off her horse?  Yep, my kid.  No one else, just my kid.  The one with the concussions.  Sometimes I wonder why God allows certain events to happen.  I mean, why didn't I get thrown off my horse which also decided to gallop to the barn?  Or the other riders whose horses followed suit?  She ended up with a very bruised hip.  Thank God it does not appear she hit her head at all.  But, for real??

Appointments, Appointments

I really do think I spend my life taking her to the doctor, the psychologist, psychiatrist, orthodontist, dermatologist, physical therapists, vision therapists, tutors, labs, you name it.  I love her so much, of course I want to do these things for her.  But man, the lack of routine can get old.  I struggle to find time to just do laundry, or organize, cook, or work out.  Often when I make plans to do these things, my plans get rearranged by her needs.  We do what we have to do but we all have the need for rest, for rejuvenation, and for clean underwear.   I thought this year was going to be so much better putting her in public school, having the big IEP, leading to more time for myself, maybe even getting a part time job.  I have come to the conclusion that until she is in college (and probably living at home) and working, my time is simply not my own.  Time to give up that hope for now.  There will be other years ahead.  

Saturday, February 2, 2013

This High School Rocks!

The principal of the school was outside when we were going in for the IEP meeting yesterday and he stopped us to say how badly he felt about Caroline's problem with the fluorescent lights and that he was having his maintenance people look into lighting alternatives.  Wow.  Talk about a wonderful principal!

The meeting itself with the school nurse, school psychologist and the special ed head went very well and they agreed to pursue the five hours a week, home-bound tutoring.  No one batted an eyelash but all were completely sympathetic and eager to do whatever it takes to help Caroline succeed.  We will need to get another clearance from a doctor before she can play lacrosse.  No surprise there.

I found out about something last night that might be of interest to the neurologist.  Something called occipital lobe seizures, which often present as headaches and visual disturbances, brought on by things like strobe lights or fluorescent lights.  Apparently, you can develop this as an adolescent.  Caroline may not have this at all, but I think it is worth looking into.

We have another IEP meeting on Wednesday which will include her teachers, to bring them all on board with the new plan.  Hopefully all will cooperate and get her work to her as needed.

The relief in this household now that all is set to keep her home is palpable.  Everyone can relax finally.  Thank you Lord for such graciousness from the school and the IEP team.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Bringing Her Home, For Now

We have made the decision to bring Caroline home and either have the school provide home based tutoring or to just outright homeschool her.  She is very depressed and frustrated that she can't even do more than an hour at school before the room starts spinning and she gets a horrible migraine.  We are frustrated and I feel my stress level going from moderate to severe.  This pattern is helping no one.

Today we have an emergency IEP meeting with the IEP staff and me, my husband and Caroline to discuss what home based instruction would look like.  We have heard some mixed things about the success of home based tutoring, mainly that not every tutor is as dedicated to ensuring their student is getting all of their work from the teachers and being consistent about interfacing with the school and the student.  Maybe we will give it until the end of the quarter and decide if it is working or if we need to just withdraw her and homeschool on our own.

I must say again that the Special Ed head is AMAZING and so dedicated to Caroline and to finding solutions.  She even wrote her a card reminding her that God is working all of this out somehow for her good and citing Romans 8:28-29.  How could we ask for a better IEP team?? But even with such a blessing, Caroline just needs to come home for now until we determine how to treat her photosensitivity to fluorescent lights.  Her grades have really slipped too and now lacrosse may be in jeopardy for the spr9ing season.

She decided not to go on our church youth retreat this weekend,  I think out of fear of rejection more than anything.  She is so gun shy concerning relationships with other teens, and who can blame her?

One day at a time, right?  I feel so much relief at the thought of not worrying about that daily phone call from school, but homeschooling will present its own challenges too.