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, August 29, 2013

Huge Milestone: Five Years Without a Hospitalization!!

We have now gone five years without a single psychiatric hospitalization since her three and a half month stay at Meridell Achievement Center in Liberty Hill, TX, where she received intensive residential treatment.  There the doctors were able to find just the right medication mix, which she has been on since then with just a few tweaks here and there and the addition of Lamictal.  Very few bipolar teens have gone so long without a stay in acute care.   Prior to going to Meridell, she had many, many hospitalizations.  I just can't say enough about this place.  Please don't hesitate to look into long-term residential treatment at the right place if you can't achieve stability for your  child through what is available locally.  We travelled across the country to get her the best care we could find.   Sometimes you have to do things you never thought you would do.  But joy comes in the morning so to speak.  We don't regret sending her away and neither does she.  But don't just look for a place that focuses on behavioral therapy and downplays the role of medication.  If your child is truly bipolar or schizophrenic or seriously depressed, behavioral therapy alone can't fix this.  You will just be putting a band aid on a much bigger problem.  The behavioral aspect can't be truly addressed if they are not on the right medications.  We have had far, far fewer behavioral issues to deal with once Caroline was put on the right mix of meds.  Academic problems, yes, but now major behavioral problems.  There is hope!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Online High School

So far, with one week into the experiment with the online high school offered through our school district, the verdict is a good one.  Caroline loves it.  She is still having trouble with math, but that isn't anything new.  The good news is that she can go to the district offices (two blocks from our house) where the online high school teachers have office space and get help one-on-one whenever she needs it.  Couldn't get better than this!  Most of the classes have weekly assignment deadlines, so she can decide on a daily basis which subjects to do first.  She could finish everything by Friday if she wanted to so that she has the weekend sans homework.  I really, really hope this works.  She can still participate in lacrosse with the local high school too.  And she has daily discussions about the subject material with the other teens who are enrolled in the online school.  We are so grateful to be in a school district with this kind of option.  The program seems quite organized and well-run.  As the semester progresses, we will see if this turns out as we all hoped.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Summer is Almost Over, School is Looming

Everyone starts school next week.  We are still trying to work out the kinks with the Online High School.  Because they are not offering Spanish or Chemistry online, she will have to take these two classes at the high school.  This wasn't anticipated so we have to help Caroline accept that she won't be able to do everything online like she wanted to.  We have two meetings tomorrow to sort out the details.  Hopefully we can get the classes at the times she needs.

I am weary.  Summer has its unique challenges.  I think overall it has gone very well.  No big crises.  I am trying to find out about fall lacrosse opportunities.  Got to keep her in the loop socially and athletically.

 I am tired.  Why I thought i would get anything done over the summer is puzzling.   My house is a wreck, half-painted, boxes half-emptied, laundry backed up.  We did a lot of traveling this summer, and my kids did too (camps, etc.)   So, maybe the fall will be better than last fall as far as a little time to breathe.   I always hope for this, and it usually doesn't work out.   Oh well.  But I am counting down the years left til graduation, just two more!  I love her to death, but it would be nice to be done with high school!!

Her more recent thyroid test did come back low.  I am hoping to get her on some thyroid medication because she is one sleepy girl.  All day, kind of comatose.  She sleeps way too much.

Speaking of sleepy, I am heading to bed.  Goodnight!!