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Update December 17, 2012

Posted by linnic in behavior, Diagnosis, Education, Medication.
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Over the past 5 months, things have improved for the most part.  During my son’s last hospitalization, we had a complete med overhaul and that seemed to have put us on a better path.   His current medications include Zyprexa, Kapvay, Depakote, Wellbutrin, as well as melatonin.  He is also taking thyroid medication.  He had not shown any problems with his thyroid until we did a trial of Lithium just prior to his last hospitalization.  He was diagnosed upon dismissal with Bipolar Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and ADHD.

At home, he is doing very well.  For the first time in at least 4 years, we have been able to do fun things as a family.  We have been able to go to museums, restaurants, and to the movies.  These may seem like small things, but we were literally homebound much of the time because we didn’t want to risk him having a rage in an uncontrolled environment.  I feel like our whole family is beginning a healing process that will no doubt take quite sometime, but at least we are at a point where healing is an option.

School has not been as successful.  Last year we had to move him to a school that specializes in educating students who can’t make it in a regular school.  I was not excited by the move.  We had AMAZING teachers and paras at the elementary school, and after 5 years, they really knew how best to work with him.  Unfortunately, things had escalated to a point where the other students weren’t safe due to his rages.  He did fairly well at the school until October of this year.  About 6 weeks ago, I received a call that he was being escorted to our local crisis center by the police and his principal.  While there they were able to calm him down and get us an immediate appt with his doctor so that we would not have to hospitalize again.  About a week and a half later, I got a call that he was being placed under arrest for assault and disorderly conduct.  He was released to our custody with an agreement to take him to our juvenile center for processing.

My biggest fear was always that he would hurt someone and get arrested.  I’ve always been told, “oh he’s little yet, he’ll grow out of it, don’t worry…”  Thankfully no one was seriously injured, but all I can think about is that my fears are slowly becoming reality.  I have not given up hope, of course, but it is daunting.

 

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Back May 1, 2012

Posted by linnic in Uncategorized.
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I have decided to return to my blog after a very long hiatus.  I started the blog initially as a way to express my thoughts and concerns regarding my experience with a child who has bipolar disorder.  I stopped blogging when I got a lot of comments bashing my choices and telling me that I shouldn’t bash those with bipolar.  That was never my intent, but unfortunately, our experience hasn’t been a wonderful one and I refuse to believe that I am the only one experiencing these things.   I have disabled the commenting feature on my blog for the time being.  To those readers who mentioned that they are in similar situations, I thank you for sharing your story. 

To offer an update, things aren’t all that different from the last few times I posted.  We are still trying to find the right medications.  We are still attending therapy on a bi weekly basis.  He still has case management and we are still experiencing multiple violent outbursts on a near daily basis.

We are currently back at a psychiatric hospital for the second time in a year.  We are working on trying to find some medication that will enable him to have the time to think about his actions before he goes into a rage.  I continue to be amazed at the lack of support available to the parent of a child whose symptoms include such violent rages.  We are constantly questioned.  In fact, just today the agency in charge of our case management told us that if he didn’t start showing adequate progress that they might refer us to our local child protection agency as a child in need of care.  

I was floored when this was said.  I have done everything I possibly can to try to help my son.  We have been through hours upon hours of individual therapy, group therapy, family therapy, parenting classes, in home strategizing sessions, in home attendant care, case management.  So far, nothing has been effective.  

Today I was told that I didn’t hang in there long enough when trying techniques.  I have tried, given it everything I have for months on end and see no improvement.  I wish that someone would understand that his little brain doesn’t work the same way others’ do.  I have read tons on bipolar and am well aware at some of the astonishing accomplishments of people who have had the disease (both diagnosed, and those from history that exhibited the classic symptoms) and I would love nothing more than for him to be a success story, but we can’t get him to that point with the violent behaviors he is currently dealing with.

Last week we had an incident in which he became suicidal for the first time.  The issue began at school, we took him to a crisis center where he met with a therapist and revealed that he did indeed have a plan, albeit not one that would likely be successful.  We took him home, not yet informing him of his impending hospitalization.  We always take him at night once he has had his evening meds so that he will sleep on the long drive (3 hours).  Once we told him where he would be going, he was hellbent on hurting himself to prevent us from taking him.l  He tried to stab himself and as we were taking the knife away found a lighter on a shelf and said he would set himself on fire.  These were all very new behaviors, and it was one of the scariest episodes ever.  He has currently been hospitalized for the past 12 days and they have yet to suggest when he will be discharged.  

Hopefully I will have the opportunity to update again soon.  

Medications December 5, 2008

Posted by linnic in Medication.
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A question was posted on one of my pages that I thought I would address as a post rather than just a reply since I am sure others have the same question.

“The only thing that worries me is that my son is now on four different medications and I am just not sure if that is healthy for him. We have tried so many medications and these are the only ones that seem to work. I was just wondering if you have the same problem and how much medication your child was on?”

My son is currently on 4 medications- Seroquel (250 mg), Benedryl (25 mg), Concerta (27 mg), and Celexa (10 mg).  We have tried others- Risperdal, Abilify, Depakote, Ritalin, Metadate, and Focilin.  We have been on the medication rollercoaster since he was 3 1/2 and are just now getting to a point were we are seeing improvement (at 6 1/2).

Medication is a difficult issue.  No parent WANTS to medicate their child for any reason, but some children need medication to function.   No parent would deny a diabetic child the insulin they need to function.   Likewise, I can’t deny my child the medication he needs to function.  I have hopes that as he ages, and is able to process his actions better, that we will be able to go down on the medication, but at this point he needs it.

My child unmedicated would not be able to attend school and would endanger those in my family.  I am not convinced that we have reached the right combination of medicine yet, but I feel like we are on the right track.

I have had a few negative and extremely hurtful comments left on this blog about medicating children, and my child’s behavior- I moderate them so they were never publicly posted.  I work in the field of education, I have seen medicine over used, underused, and everything in between.  I have heard parents swear by medicine, and swear against meds.  I have heard so many people attack my choice in giving my child medication, but the bottom line is that this is what MY child needs to be able to function in daily life.

For all parents out there with a bipolar child, it is a tough and very long road.   You  have to make HARD decisions, life altering decisions- to medicate or not, to hospitalize or not, to institutionalize or not.  None of these decisions are taken lightly by any parent.  In the end though, you have to do what is best for your family and for your child.  Surround yourself with as many professional opinions that you can, and then make an informed choice.  I feel for each of you, I personally know how heart wrenching having a bipolar child can be.  My child is a blessing, but he often brings me to the point of pulling out all of my hair or moving to a foreign country.  I love him, as I love all three of my children, more than life itself.  I would do anything to take this disorder from him, but unfortunately I can’t.  What I can do is provide him with every possible tool to make it through life successfully.

ADHD October 7, 2008

Posted by linnic in Diagnosis.
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Here is a great blog post about ADHD, and much of it can be related to bipolar as well.  It is posted by Cool Cat Teacher and is her take on a presentation by Dr. Shepard.  Please go read “Get out of that wheelchair and run“!

Suspension August 29, 2008

Posted by linnic in behavior.
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Well we have now had our first official suspension of the year.  We have been to the principal countless times, all this and school has only been in session two weeks.  They are looking at putting him back on an IEP but we have to go back through all of the testing again.  I sure wish SOMETHING would be easy.
Today he even had his case manager sitting with him, and he still couldn’t keep it together.  UGH!!!   Luckily we go to the Dr for a med change next Wed.

Back to School August 21, 2008

Posted by linnic in behavior, IEP.
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Well the kids (and me too) are back in school.  This is a double edged sword around here.  B has already had some trouble.  Day 1 & 2 were fine.  Day 3 he had to change his colored card for talking.  Day 4 he kicked another kid.  Day 5 we end up in the principal’s office for throwing sand at a teacher’s face.  Day 6 we over turn chairs and desks in the classroom and visit the principal again. Eachrage just increases in intensity.

I had a feeling this year would bring the same issues back to light.  When we went from all day to half day kindergarten last year, we saw HUGE improvements.  Now we are back to all day and things aren’t going to well.  We may be in 1st grade but this is the 3rd August of school/PreK and the 3rd time we have started down this road.

I will be seeing soon if they are going to put him back on an IEP.  They are going to have to do something before someone gets hurt.  Boy do I ever wish this whole parenting thing was easier.

Wordle July 16, 2008

Posted by linnic in Wordless Wednesday.
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I used the site http://wordle.net to create a picture of words that I think of when I think of my son and his bipolar disorder.

Not Improving July 15, 2008

Posted by linnic in behavior, Medication.
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Our summer started out rough, very rough.  I really thought that by now, things would have improved, but they have not.  We are having multiple rages a day, many requiring restraint, some requiring additional meds to get him to calm down.

He had a big rage at the park the other day because he was hungry.  We live 15 minutes from the park, and would eat when we came home, but that didn’t matter.  I had to sit in the backseat holding holding his arms so that he would not take off his seatbelt and attack his brother and sister.  It seems like we are always dealing with a rage, preventing one, or recovering from one.  I am truly exhausted!

We had a med change; an increase in his Concerta from 27 mg to 36 mg.  This does not seem to have helped at all, in fact, I dare say things are slightly worse.  One of the things I hate about med changes is going back in to the Dr.  “So, did the medicine help?” How hard it is to answer!  Sometimes I feel like I literally have to split hairs.  Well our intensity is down slightly, but our frequency and duration are up.  So is that an improvement??

I have been reading some other blogs and support group postings about bipolar kids and see these parents whose child is now 10 or 12 and I just don’t how we are going to make it that long.  My son is getting bigger and much stronger.  Restraining him is increasingly difficult.  His aggression is more serious.  I’m truly at a loss as to what to do.  If we don’t restrain, people get hurt, but we are close to the point where restraint won’t be an option.  Then what?  What can I do to keep everyone safe?  I would love to hear some comments of what parents do.

I must say I truly appreciate all of the comments that I have received.  WordPress does not allow me to respond to individual comments, but please know that I do read them.   It is nice to know that I am not alone in this struggle and that there are parents out there who completely understand!!

Great Video on BP Kids July 14, 2008

Posted by linnic in behavior, Education, Humor, IEP.
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I could relate so well to some of what she was saying, especially in the “At-School Dr. Jeckyll and the At-Home Mr. Hyde” section.

Rainbows June 19, 2008

Posted by linnic in behavior.
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So many times I have to post that we are having a rough day.  Well today I get to post the opposite.  My son has had a very good day- the first one all summer!  As a treat to reinforce that we are going to grandpa’s house for a special “breakfast” dinner and swimming.  I think it was Dolly Parton who said “If you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.”  We have a lot of stormy days here both literally and figuratively, so when a rainbow day comes along, we all must appreciate it!