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!


marythemom said...

Woo hoo! We're just a few months past a year for our daughter. It's a great feeling.

We loved Meridell too!


Megan said...

So happy for you guys too!!

Astrid said...

Thanks for positng htis. I have so fa rnot had success with long-term inpatient treatment, but I'm not bipolar (I used to probably have what they now call something like disruptive mood dysregulation disorder and I'm autistic). However, I do agree on the importance of a combination of different interventions. For many autistic children/teens too medication can help greatly. Oh and congrats to Caroline on her five-year freedom from hospitalization.

Bryan Mitchell said...

So Happy for you guys... Our daughter has been diagnosed as Major Depressive Disorder with Psychosis. She spent 5 1/2 months at Meridell and I absolutely loved the place. She's had several hiccup's ove the past few weeks and will most likely be returning to Meridell to have her Medications reviewed ... Bryan

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this. Our daughter also has bipolar; she just turned nine, and has been on the waiting list for Meridell for nearly four months. Right now, she is in a children's acute psych hospital, the first time in 13 months. We got good news that she should have a spot next week! I feel so much better about it having stumbled upon your blog today. God is truly at work in our lives!

apamookowa said...

Feel good for you, my daughter was constantly in hospital but the point she did not go to hospital for 6 months was like 10 years to us