Many have reached out and wondered why I stopped blogging. The truth is she is doing SO WELL! At 21, she is attending community college, applying to Physical Therapy Assistant School, and running marathons. She makes her own psychotherapy and psychiatry appointments, refills her meds on her own, takes them regularly and self-monitors like a champ. She lives at home but will likely move into her own apartment this summer. She started her own dog sitting business and works part-time at an optometrist office and even does the initial patient exams. We NEVER thought she would ever be able to do these things. The key to her success is that she went to Meridell Achievement Center years ago where they got her on the right med mix (still 7 different meds!) and has always gone to counseling faithfully. And the biggest thanks goes to God who has been the One she still credits with her turnaround when she was 13 and went to five months in the best residential treatment facility we could find.
My advice: NEVER give up finding the best providers for your child. DON'T rely on the public school alone to give your child what they need. You need the SUPPORT systems for the whole family that you need to FIND and KEEP, whether online through the parent groujps on the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance www.dbsalliance.org or in the nearest city if it has better providers. We drove an hour and a half away for a time to get our daughter what she needed. Take care of your own needs and those of the siblings who should all be counseling as well. PRAY hard and ask for help. Also don't be AFRAID to medicate. Really. I'll say it again. DON'T BE AFRAID TO MEDICATE. Medications have SAVED her life. She was not functional before we found the right mix and yes it is A LOT. Some kids have severe bipolar disorder. Don't think that the just-do-essential-oil-and-all-natural-remedies approach is going to work for MOST bipolar kids. I'm shooting straight here because I get so tired of parents telling me that their kid is a mess and they don't want to medicate. Really? So you would rather they suffer? And not have a life? Get over it!!! Loving your child isn't hoping for the best while denying them what they need.
God is good. Trust Him, take care of yourself, and never give up. Intervene early. Stay connected even if it is just online.
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.