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Friday, September 26, 2008

BI Polar

I am a MOM of 3.
The middle has Autism. Asperger's Syndrome to be precise. The Youngest had a stroke over the summer.

But it is my Eldest I want to talk about.

Early this year she was diagnosed as being Bi Polar.
I am sad to say this is the first diagnosis that has ever been made on my kids that I didn't know first. I was shocked...but there is a part of me that knew I had been in denial all along.

When I told people the first thing they have all said was "Are you sure? Maybe it's just hormones?" or all "Teens are like that."
Yes, I am sure.
No. Actually they aren't.

To tell you the truth it bugs me more then it did when well meaning people told us that all we had to do was spank my Autistic child and he'd be normal.
I would like a shirt that says "You have NO idea" on the front.
Maybe "Shut Up" or "You REALLY don't want to say that." on the back.
Oh, looks like I'm not over that as much as I thought, LOL!

So back to my girl. I have known from her toddler days that something is different. I never could quite find what... I thought some form of a PDD or hypoglycemia... but now it all makes sense.

Rather then fill you in on the past so you can be as amazed as I am that I didn't figure it out faster... we shall skip ahead to now.

This week.

I have strong belief that my kids need to learn how to live as they are, learn how their mind works for themselves so they know how they learn, how they can handle things. I refuse to call anyone normal. I think we are all different and each have to learn how to be us, how to live in our own skin, and still get along with others. I don't think I am conveying this well... I may try again later.

The point being when we found out about Bi Polar we talked to her about what this means for her, what she will have to do, be aware of and it gave us places to look for help.
Because she is so young we decided we don't want to have her on medication. She is still growing, her brain still developing... So we have started the management of her challenge with diet and other changes.
I had found a very promising study that is being done about the use of Omega 3 & 5 and how well patients were able to feel, how symptoms where under control, mania decreased and so on.
We had already begun adding more vegetables and paying attention to portion sizes with the whole family so adding fish, fish oil, and flax seed was rather easy. Especially if I kicked everyone out of the kitchen while I cooked so they didn't see me add it, hehehe I am rather evil.

But in addition to what we put in the food she had to take more in pill form. I have a big pill regiment already for me and my fibromyalgia so I just located the vitamins and things that are needed for bi polar.
No problem.

Now school has started, and being that I understand a fraction better what I need to watch for, I saw it fast. Her warning signs are talking in her sleep, nightmares, eruption of her eczema.... on down to the mood swings... not normal mood swings you know. More like from Content to Murderous in .2 seconds, and no, unfortunately that isn't an exaggeration.
Oh man...
It was all there.
Then the report card with an F. Conflicting reports from the school councilor and my observations... I didn't need any more Orange lights. I interceded.

It turns out that she had stopped taking her pills.
That added with the changes and stress that come with starting school and being a girl she was slipping into a destructive spiral.

I walked to the bus stop with her one morning and we talked...well actually she talked, I mostly listened. I found out that she was getting over whelmed with "keeping it together." She was using all her control to function at school and it was getting harder by the minute to not just "become a devil." She recalled that in 2nd grade she had just been a devil whenever and did not want another year like that one. She was so exhausted just keeping her control she couldn't comprehend what teachers were saying in class most of the time. I had to remind her that that is what it means to be bi polar and that the pills helped. She said she had thought she could do it without them, so had stopped.

I know that is something that EVERYONE with a chronic issues of any kind goes through. Heck I do it with my food allergies too! One day I'll decide I can't really be allergic to beef, come on, who the heck is allergic to meat? So I'll eat a Cheese Burger...."ohhh that's right I really AM allergic." I recall as I suffer. How many times have I done that? Or decided I don't need to take my pills... "oh, That's why I took them"... I'm slow like that... But, really it's not just me. I just found it surprising that she was feeling that "I can do it on my own. I'm fine" feeling that we all get to. She had hardly started to manage herself, was so young. I thought it was a thing we would face later, in a few years when she wanted to not eat fish or something.
But right away? Just months after getting her diagnosis?

I have been thinking about her and how to help ALOT lately. I think I have a few things, but I have yet to talk to her. I'm not sure what I'm waiting for. Maybe it's just that I find dealing with the Autistic manic easier then the Bi Polar? It's a very funny thing to say I'm sure, but really, I found dealing with Autism easier then I do Bi Polar. Maybe it's because I was blind sided by the Bi Polar and knew from his first cry that he was autistic... I don't know. Maybe it's just that I've been a mother of an autistic longer then a mother of a bi polar?

My plan this weekend is to work with her on cleaning her room and talk some more. I need to get to the library again and get some more info on Bi Polar in children and teens. I hope to get a notebook put together for her that can help her keep track of things like food, water, pills, sleep... But I really need to find a way to break her day down into manageable pieces for her. I think FlyLady will help with that.

Wish me luck, insight and patience.
I will need it.


Jessica G. said...

Have you noticed that people who have never had to deal with these problems/diagnosis are the ones that seem to have all the answers? Rather irritating. Can I help with the notebook idea? What style notebook? Spiral or 3 ring?

And I am going to give you that "You have NO idea" shirt for Christmas. :)

Tipi said...


I think 3 ring so we can add as needed...

It hasn't come together very smoothly...

oh see next entry :)