Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A New Med

We started Risperdal a week ago. I had high hopes. I always have high hopes on a new med and wonder if this is the one that will bring my sweet son back.

The dosage started very low (1/4 mg 3x a day) and is now a little bit higher and then in a week will be at the intended dose (1mg 3x a day).

With bipolar, as with any other mental illness, it's day by day and sometimes hour by hour so I don't want to shout from the rooftops that this is the medicine that will bring the normal back, but I think it's really helping him.

Today, he sat on the couch and actually let me teach him some math tricks for his homework. I used to be a teacher so that to me was just the best thing ever!

I asked him to do a chore (I don't when I know he won't react well to it) and he did it without hesitation or complaint.

He asked nicely for some more pretzels instead of screaming at me.

He woke up in a normal mood and did not, even for a second refuse to go to school.

He told me about his day in school today when I asked and didn't get mad at me for asking him a question.

Right now he is outside with his brother and friend and having fun.

I really have my fingers crossed that this has been the missing piece to the puzzle and this will make life more peaceful for all of us again.


OK, we just had a bad night. He started acting really weird and then started calling me and his brother names and wouldn't stop touching me. While I was helping brother with homework he got a push pin and started scratching the door with it. He then started throwing papers and anything else he could find at me. He was out of control. More later...

Monday, November 8, 2010

Pity Party

I really hate when I feel this way.

Right now I'm feeling so sad about life.

I hate that it has to be this way.

I hate that my son has a "normal" day in school, then comes home and cries about "being dumb" and is so mean to me about things and about how he is not  in control of his emotions.

I am just not dealing well with this today. I hope tomorrow provides a better outlook.


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Pepsi Refresh Project - Have You Voted Today?

Have you heard of the Pepsi Refresh Project? I encourage you to check it out at http://www.refresheverything.com/.

You can vote for 10 ideas per day. Would you please vote once a day for the Child and Adolescent Bipolar Foundation? The link is at the top right of my blog. This is a wonderful organization and I would love to see them win this money and help more people.

Thanks so much!


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Our New Doc

Before I tell you about the new psychiatrist we met with today, let me tell you about the first one we saw.

In May, after Charlie was having some major rages, his then therapist said it was time to get a psychiatrist involved. There aren't many to choose from around here. We made an appointment with the first available child and adolescent psychiatrist. Now I know why he had an opening within a few weeks of our calling.

Our initial assessment with him was, how shall I say it, um, not good. We were in and out with a diagnosis, prescription and follow-up appointment within about 18 minutes. Granted, I pretty much needed confirmation of what it was and how to help him better, but was not thinking someone who didn't know us from Adam could decipher what exactly was wrong in about 15 minutes. Even though I totally disagreed with his approach, I agreed with his diagnosis and medical treatment. So I started him on Depakote after a long (45 minute) talk with Charlie's pediatrician and some soul searching.

Each subsequent appointment was no more than five minutes and very clinical and matter of fact. Psychiatrists aren't counselors. I know their job is to diagnose and prescribe medicine, but there has to be some kind of happy medium out there that was better than this. This was not right.

After our second appointment (and after giving the Dr. the benefit of the doubt) I made an appointment for an assessment with a different doctor that is affiliated with the Child and Adolescent Bipolar Foundation. I figured he would at least be able to tell me without much doubt if in fact it is bipolar that we're dealing with, or simply an extremely strong willed child.

Today we had that appointment. For starters, the office is a little house downtown that's on the National Historic Register and it was so cozy and welcoming. His appointment was at 11. He came out to meet us and introduced himself to Charlie first. I thought that was pretty cool! Either he or I was in with the doctor for a total of one hour and forty minutes! Just that time amount alone made me so happy!

He was very thorough. He was kind. He was compassionate. He was validating of my parenting methods. He was very knowledgeable. He was helpful. He was positive. He was honest. He was thoughtful. He rocked!

His final verdict was bipolar-NOS and ADD. The ADD part was a bit shocking to me, but makes sense now that he explained it. The impulsivity, the lack or organization (at home and at school), carelessness in school tasks, procrastination, remembering odd pieces of info and not other more important pieces of info, etc.

We are upping his mood stabilizer for now. We are adding in Focalin and some melatonin for hopefully easier/better sleep.

Make no doubts about it, it has been and will continue to be a tough road. But I feel a little more confident now having someone who can make important, educated decisions with me about what's in the best interst of Charlie and our family.

I'm breathing a big sigh of relief!


Sunday, October 24, 2010

A Bible Verse

Ephesians 4:31-32

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

This was the daily verse on my phone today. How appropriate for me and how I'm feeling! I was feeling so much anger towards my son for all of yesterday's happenings.

As always, I'm working on this and just wanted to share!


Saturday, October 23, 2010

What a Day!

Let me say that again and be more honest this time. That was just a horrible, awful, despicable, miserable, terrible day.

I can't rehash all of the little details, but what I can tell you is that it started with being spit at in the face, continued on with a consequence of not going to a neighborhood party, and just ended (fingers crossed that he goes to sleep well).

I am so wiped out and thankful for my mom who kept brother most of the day and my neighbors who watched over brother while he enjoyed the party.

This new psychiatrist appointment on Wednesday can't come fast enough. I pray that he will help us find some answers. I'm not sure how long this living situation can continue on like this.

Please pray for us that God will give us strength to get through this very rocky period in our lives.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Nice Calm Game

My boys and two neighbor boys are calmly playing Seattleopoly in his room right now. The door is open. No one is yelling. No one is fighting. No one is crying. There is cooperation. There is helping going on. Wow!

It's hard to believe the total shift in emotions he's been through in the last 48 hours. It's gone from crying in despair because he didn't know what was wrong to climbing on top of the van and thinking he's invincible to this. This is perfect. This is what I imagine normal to be like. I like this. A lot. This is his normal self.

I'm glad we still get glimpses of this. I don't know how we'd handle it all if we didn't get these glimpses of normality.

Wishing you a normal day too!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Boy and the Van

This morning he was fine when he woke up, happy even. We ate breakfast and he disappeared into his room. When I went to remind him to get ready for school, he was hiding underneath his table and said he wasn't going to school. Literally, just moments ago, he was in a very normal mood.

Time went on and it was time to go to school and he was not ready. I told him I was taking Ryan to school and that dad would stay home with him until I got back home.

He now wanted to go to school, but wasn't ready and was very mad about that. He'd come to the van, yell at me, run back to the house, run back to the van and on and on.

Several minutes later he ran up to the van, that was now on the street, and jumped on top of it and got all the way on the top and wouldn't get down. He was up there 30 seconds or so, then got down. He then opened the front door and was trying to break it off by slamming it the opposite way it's supposed to go.

Now he got in the van, but would not buckle. We waited for a few minutes for him to buckle. He'd buckle, then unbuckle, buckle, then unbuckle. Finally he kept it buckled and we drove off. While we were driving out of the neighborhood he unbuckled.

I pulled over as soon as I could and called my husband to come and get him. While we were waiting, he ripped up and wadded up three of his school papers and threw them at my head.

He got into dad's car and I took brother to school. Brother was tardy due to his brother's actions today.

I went home and he had built a fort of sorts and was calmly playing with Legos. I told him that he would have a few more minutes to gather his thoughts and then get ready for school.

An hour later he had calmed down enough to go to school. He went and was fine the whole day and seems to be fine right now.

How is this child who is so far out of his mind that he literally climbs the van like he's King Kong one minute and absolutely fine and dandy the next?

His teacher emailed and said he had a fine day. What??? How could that be?? I want him to have a fine day, but how in the world can he go from downright crazy-acting to normal in no time at all?

I'm so confused!


Tuesday, October 19, 2010


"You're hot and you're cold. You're yes and then you're no. You're in and you're out. You're up and then you're down."

Thank you Katy Perry for that song that describes our life perfectly right now.

He sees a new psychiatrist next Wednesday and I hope and pray he can help us off this roller coaster. It's taxing on all of us.

Today I yelled at him. I should not have yelled at him. He's so bored and angry and I want him to feel well and happy and content.

I'm sorry you don't know what you want to do.

I'm sorry you don't want to do your homework.

I'm sorry you don't like it when your friend plays with your brother.

I'm sorry you don't like anything I make to eat.

I'm sorry you hate showering.

I'm sorry you hate brushing your teeth.

I'm sorry you are mad at the world.

I'm sorry life is like this for you.

I'm sorry you didn't put your laundry in the hamper for me to wash.

I'm sorry your friend throws the ball too hard.

I'm sorry you're too tired to get up and go to bed.

I'm sorry you're too tired to wake up and go to school.

I'm sorry you chose not to study for your test and failed it.

I'm sorry.

I'm so sorry.



Thursday, October 14, 2010

Youtube Video

Tonight I was looking on Youtube for videos about children with bipolar. I was very dissapointed in many of them. However, this was a good one and I wanted to share.



Monday, October 11, 2010

Tonight is Not a Good Night

As I type this, my son is trying to break my door. I've locked myself in my bedroom so as to practice active ignoring. Tonight he is refusing to take his medicine. Besides the natural consequences of one not taking their medicines, I've also told him (in a calm and loving way) that if he chooses not to take his medicine or allow me to give it to him, it will result in him having to take his medicine at the nurse's office (which we'd discussed previously at a more stable time) and also talk to his counselor tomorrow about him deciding not to take his medicine. I would think this would be huge consequence enough for him since he's not ever "real" with his counselor that he loves.

After 30 minutes of this nonsense, he's quieted down. I will go check to see if he's
ready to comply. To be continued....

Well that didn't go well; just pissed him off even more.

So much for a good night. Doesn't help at all that my husband almost eggs him on. Any of you deal with the spouse who is more harm than help?


Thursday, September 30, 2010

Roller Coaster {of love}

This is what our life has been like the past few weeks.

One minutes he's up and happy and fine and pleasant. The next minute he's angry, obstinate and rude.

We go back to the useless psychiatrist one more time next week and then we will meet with a CABF-affiliated psychiatrist. It is my hope that the new doc can shed some light on C's situation and guide us a bit better on how to handle his ups and downs and all arounds.

This morning (or last night) was not fun with him. I was called every name in the book and was showed complete disrespect from him. I've had a hard time dealing with it today and frankly, am not looking forward to picking him up at school today.

I want some peace. Lately I've been having a hard time remembering that it's not necessarily "him" that's been so abusive to us, but a hurting, not well, child instead.

Any of you have any advice on how you look at the big picture when your child seems to be taking every little thing out on you?


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Refusal to Take Depakote

My son refused to take his pills tonight. No amount of cajoling, bribing, holding him, giving him time to think, etc was getting the medicine he needed in his body tonight. A minor rage ensued. I am in tears, he's on the floor asleep in his room, but the pills never made it into his body.

What now? Hope he's "fine" in the morning and willing to take them in the morning is about the best I can do. If not that, than a call to his psychiatrist will be in order I guess.

Do you have an suggestions on how to make a refusing child take his medicine?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Too Good to be True

I don't want to jinx us. I really, really, really don't want to jinx us. But....we have had a terrific week and a half with Charlie despite the not-so-fun things that happened to us this week (you can read about that here).

He has been pleasant, calm, funny, helpful, peaceful, kind, happy, content, agreeable and just NORMAL lately. This time with him when he's his normal self is priceless. I told his counselor yesterday that I would go through a million weeks like we just had (bad) if this was always the way Charlie was.

I know this won't last. I'm living in the real world. Can I hope and pray that this will continue? Yes, of course I can, but we're not living in la-la land. His moods will shift. He will go up and down. He will go through another bad spell. But, for now, I perfectly happy with how it is!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Life Was Interrupted, but We're Back Again!

Life has surely gotten in the way of blogging frequently this past week or so. My husband was on vacation (at home) and we had some kind of icky virus. Today though, he is back to work and our virus is gone (I think....). So on to everyday life again.


Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Bipolar Discussed on Dr. Phil Today

Today Dr. Phil will couselor a family who includes a biplor child.

I will report back on it later!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Aggrivated and Irritable

Those are the two moods that prevailed yesterday. He was so irritable that every peep, look, movement made him feel very annoyed. That makes it hard for us to do much around here. After doing his homework (which actually went pretty smoothly), he threw the Wii remote and knocked down the fake trees (poor, poor trees) and lost his Wii privileges for the week.

I am heading out to pick the boys up from school now. Wish m luck that today went well and this afternoon will be incident free.


Saturday, August 21, 2010

Another Saturday Morning Episode

DSC_0087Today was a doozy. This is what became of my living room (and kitchen) this morning. Charlie was doing fine…until I told him it was time to clean his room. Talk about a radical change of mood. On his way to his room he cleared off the kitchen table and sent things flying around the room, knocked over two fake trees, a book crate, a big glass/wood picture frame, a picture from the wall and a whole glass full of milk and spewed every nasty thing he could think to call me. BUT, he didn’t try to hurt me or his brother, so we are making some progress I think.

After a few minutes in his room he bolted outside. He’s never given me reason to think he’d do anything dangerous outside, so I allowed him to head outside. He turned on the hose and sprayed things for over an hour. I kept watch from inside to ensure he wasn’t hurting anyone/anything/himself.  Normally I would have physically forced him to come inside and go to his room. I didn’t do that this time and I think the outcome was better.

After all was said and done (about 2.5 hours in all), he came in and was pleasant enough and ready to talk. He acknowledged how Ryan and I must have felt during his rage and cleaned up all of his messes. He said he doesn’t even realize when he’s doing that rage stuff until he’s calmed down. It really is like a caged animal.

The rest of the day was very smooth. He was not allowed to do anything the rest of the day, so he helped me prep the walls for painting and lots of other household chores with not so much of a complaint the rest of the day.

This roller coaster ride is not easy, that’s for sure!


Friday, August 20, 2010

The Glacier

Charlie met with his counselor today. Up to this point, I know Charlie has liked his new male counselor, but I wasn't quite sure what was actually getting accomplished other than him drawing a few things here and there. However, today was different. There was a real break through.

Charlie actually told me what they talked about today. Part of what they talked about was a glacier. His counselor said the top of the glacier is like anger and rage. The bottom, and much bigger part of the glacier that you can't see, is sadness, unhappiness and boredom. Wow! That really illustrates what he is going through! I'd never thought of it in that concrete way before, all though I have told Charlie that his anger has to do a lot with sadness that he doesn't know how to properly deal with.

I'm so glad that today was the way it was, and I can't say that for a lot of our days!


Sunday, August 15, 2010

He's Back!

If you're reading this, most likely you'll understand what I mean.

He's back today. The real deal. The real child I know. He's kind, nice, patient, agreeable, pleasant, sweet, funny and many more sweet adjectives.

He is his authentic self today and for that I am so thankful!


Saturday, August 14, 2010

Our Saturday Morning Bipolar Episode

Oh man. Life is stressful. I feel like I might just be going crazy! This morning brought upon an issue that never seems to end. Charlie cannot swallow pills despite months and months of practicing. Yes, the pediatrician, psychiatrist, friends and family say that he can swallow them, but I don't see any of those people trying with him and see him work hard at trying. Because he can't swallow pills I either have to crush them up or sprinkle the capsule contents on food.

Last night he tried swallowing tic-tacs with three large glasses of water. I said he'd tried enough and would crush the pills (for an ear infection) into some pudding. He put it in his mouth and gagged and threw up the pudding, medicine and at least 1.5 glasses of water mixed with some old milk all over the kitchen floor. An hour or so later he tried again and was fine.

Fast forward to this morning to the flat out refusal to take the medicine (all of it). He proceeds to close himself in both hall closets and then in the big cupboard in the kitchen. He throws out the dog food and dog treats and knocks over the garbage can. He shouted all the bad things he could think of to call me: stupid, mean, bad, horrible and "all the other words I can't think of to call you". Meanwhile I sat calm and still right outside the cupboard and told him he needed to take his medicine. He banged the cupboard door on me and the wall, tried to break the shelf above him and threw pieces of dog food at me. Being calm and not going ballistic on him was very, very difficult. He sucker-punched me and I grabbed his leg and told him he is not to hurt me.

After about 70 minutes of this, he said he would take his medicine but only the sprinkles. At this point, I don't give a rats a$$ about his ear infections and just NEED him to take his Depakote. He did and then went to his room.

He asked if we could make string bracelets, I made a mistake. I should have said we'll make them. Instead I told him that I had told him last night at bedtime that he needed to pick up his room before he came out this morning. Of course that wasn't done so I told him after he picked up his room we could make the bracelets. He melted down on his bed and told me he doesn't know why is acting like this. Talk about breaking my heart!

I'm still holding firm on the room/bracelet thing, but decided to let him and brother watch TV which is usually very soothing for Charlie.

Did I make the right decisions or not? It is so hard to tell. Today I am very sad about this that is making Charlie (and Ryan and me) miserable.

Right at this moment all is calm and peaceful and for that I'm thankful.


Sunday, August 8, 2010

Bipolar Mysteries is on Tonight!

I know it's weird that I get excited to see this show, but it makes me feel like we're not the only family that struggles with this. So you know what I'm going to be doing at 9PM!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Depakote vs. the Bipolar Child

It just doesn't seem right. Why is it that the kids who would have the most resistance to taking medicine, have to take medicine? Don't answer that, it's just  rehtorical question.

We just had a one-plus-hour stand off. He takes the Depakote sprinkles because he cannot swallow pills (yet). We ran out of pudding so he had to take the sprinkles with peanut butter sandwiched between two crackers. I was tired of waiting for him to take it and stop the stalling tactics (bathroom break, give me five more minutes, I'm thirsty, another bathroom break and repeat this sequence over and over). He finally sat down to eat the cracker sandwich with medicine. I stepped out of the room and he said he ate it and was done.

I did not believe that he ate the sprinkle sandwich like he said he did, so I looked in the trash can. Surprise, surprise, there it is was. My first instinct was to go confront him on this. I didn't though. I went to him and told him I found it in the trash can and he needs to go take it and that I've poured a glass of milk for him to help him wash it down.

After several minutes had passed, I reminded him again and told him if he chose not to take his medicine now, he would have to stay in his room until he was ready to take it. He reluctantly sat at the table and ate it.

I told him that we would talk about his deceitful act later. It's always such a fine line between getting him to take his medicine as he should and holding him accountable for his behavior that sometimes he's not really in control of.

All seems peaceful in the house at the moment...but I have to talk to him about his lie and I know that that will bring on some real anger. I think I'll wait to tackle this one until dad is home. That's not wimping out, right?


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

My Patience is Nonexistent!

I have about had it with the irritability! What's worse than a child who is terribly irritable and changes moods with the shift of the wind? Giving that said child his medicine and him not wanting to do it and it all ending up on the floor spit out.

As aggravated as I was, I did the wrong thing, then the right thing. At first I got mad at him and asked him why on earth this has to be so difficult. Of course that ended up in his stomping off and him telling me he's not going to talk to me until next year and me saying not so nice things under by breath after he was in his room.

A few minutes later I went to him and told him I was sorry for getting so angry with him and told him I wanted him to come out and try again. I was going to be calm and patient with him this time. He didn't come out like I had hoped, so I gave him five minutes and told him he could go ahead and get a pudding if he wanted to take it with pudding. Apparently that was what he wanted all along but didn't tell me that.

I can give props to the medicine now though. What would have (could have) turned into a long temper tantrum or rage was pretty minimal. A few sprinkles on the floor versus a major rage....I'll take the mop to mop up the sprinkles anyday!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

About Last Night

It wasn’t pretty. It was quite ugly, in fact. He had a major violent rage last night.  It has been three months since the last major rage event occurred. Shame on me for thinking they might be a thing of the past.

He’s been more aggravated and irritable the past few days. I’ve chalked it up to his and his brother’s birthdays this week. They also had a birthday party at the water park. Add on the city swim meet and that’s about the perfect recipe for disaster when mixed with a bipolar kid.

Each rage episode scares me more than the last. I pray that that was the last, but know that it most likely wasn’t.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Nine! Nine! Nine!

My first-born is nine today.

In years past, birthdays have been a day of breakdowns from too much excitement, too little sleep, too much anticipation, etc. But today, the ninth birthday, has been different. Granted, it's only 4:58PM and we could still see WW3 today, but I'm thinking it won't happen.

This Depakote stuff must really be working. He's able to handle frustration better. He was able to make a decision about what to spend his money on in a few minutes rather than a few hours. He did not pitch a fit when I told him no caffeine (like he did yesterday). He sits on the couch with his brother's arm draped over him and is not annoyed or shouting at him to leave him alone.

Today is a good day!

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Middle

Most stories start at the beginning. I am going to start this one in the middle.

My oldest son turns nine in a few days. He has a working diagnosis of bipolar disorder. The few people we’ve told have been shocked and wondered how we were dealing with such a shocking diagnosis. Well, I think they’ve forgotten that we live with him and such a diagnosis just doesn’t pop up; we’ve been dealing with it for eight years now. Only now do we have a name and some possible options to help him.

Currently he is taking Depakote and appears to be more stable.

That is the middle of my story. The end is unknown and the beginning will take a long time to tell.