Posts Tagged ‘bipolar kids’

Oh well!

November 9, 2015

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I am finding myself in this new phase of parenting. I truly believe that the core of ones parenting is in the formative years, and now at 12 & 14, I find myself not having to “parent” so much as guide and support. I believe my children’s person has been there since the day they were born, I also watch in awe at the person they now are.
As the parent of a high needs child, I look back at where we were, I see where we are today and I look forward with hope.
Parenting is chalk full of not knowing 100% what to do and how to do it.
All one can do is try. And I believe that oh wells are far better than what ifs!

Travelling the journey we have with dude, we’ve been faced with numerous hard decisions, when all we had to go on was crossed fingers. Yet we always dove in, if it couldn’t hurt, we’d do it.
Should we try this therapy? This medication? This test?
We have had a lot of oh wells.
But we’ve also had a lot of ah has!

Without taking those leaps, being willing try, we wouldn’t have our child here today.

I appreciate that diagnosis and treatment can be overwhelming and scary.
Often our first defence is denial, because truly in our hearts we wish perfect lives for our children. I also appreciate that the sooner you can work through that denial and onto acceptance, the better off it is for your child.
Denying the illness, disorder, etc will not benefit your child.
I also completely understand disagreeing with professionals from time to time, I know I have.
I always like to remember what my sons doctor explained to us when he was very young, and pass it on to parents ; diagnosis of children is extremely complicated. It may be years before the final and most accurate is made. Children’s brains develop differently, they also change while doing so.
With that information it’s good to remember that diagnosis can change as the brain develops. That doesn’t mean that a previous diagnosis is incorrect, it means that at that time it was a fitting one.
For example my sons doctor will seldom  diagnosis certain mental illness before a certain age, bipolar is one in which he airs on the side of caution when diagnosing. The only reason my son was diagnosed at 12, is because we had worked closely with the same doctors and therapists for 6 years, and his symptoms had always been the same, but at that time they were very clear cut bipolar symptoms.
Some diagnosis are made young, as they should be (autism, aspergers, SPD, etc).  Those diagnosis are imperative to early intervention and treatment. We had a handful of those and more as well. But others you have to bide your time to get to.
Along the way you may have a diagnosis that fits the symptoms present at that time. Another example ; my sons initial diagnosis included adhd, which is now taken out as those symptoms have evolved and are encompassed in his current diagnoses.
It’s tricky and complicated, and at times damn confusing . And a lot of work!  The journey tries your patience, it drains you. But honestly, as difficult as it all is, accepting and trying all you can, is worth it. Your child is worth it.
I will always take the oh wells over the what ifs when it comes to trying to help my child grow to be successful in his journey.
If it doesn’t all work, oh well!

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8 seconds in the clearing.

July 4, 2015

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Bestkids will not be blogging much this summer. I suggest you do the same.

Summer is likely the calmest most peaceful time of year for dude. His cycles lessen, his smiles increase, his peace arrives. Which means taking a moment to enjoy the closest possible thing to normal our family has.  Without the added pressures and triggers of school, homework and appointments we enjoy the peace and the relaxed calm of what is summer.

For the past 8 years, starting with the summer dude was being tested, poked and prodded, the kids and I have packed our bags at the end of June and headed for our paradise. It sits in a clearing at my parents, not far from town, so it’s possible for us to escape from reality while still being able to take part in it during the work day.

This clearing is our little piece of heaven.

For the first 5 summers rumour had it my best half and I were splitting. I think after 5 years the rumour mill figured out how odd it was for a couple to separate every year for two months (by the way we see each other almost daily).  No it wasn’t my best half we needed to get away from, it was everything else. It is the constant go, go, go of life in 2015 we need a break from.

Dude and his sister love nature. Waking up to birds and crickets is far more peaceful than cars and lawn mowers. And with the turmoil that our life sometimes is, we need that. We need to walk under the trees, look at the stars, put our feet in the pool and breathe, with no one watching and no one listening. We all need our safe haven and dude’s (and mine) is in that clearing. The clearing for two months fills my need for quiet and calm to get through ten months of chaos.

We are beyond lucky to have our piece of heaven so near to home, but I promise you can find yours almost anywhere. Even if it’s just for a couple days. Find that clearing, walk under the trees, look at the stars and just breathe.

I run an increasingly busy little business. And with running a small business comes doing whatever, whenever you can to help customers, even if it means after hours ice creams or early morning flowers, I love it and am typically glad to do it! My business is a pretty big part of my heart, one that comes above almost anything. I like to give, and to help and to do the little things that make a difference, those little things make my heart happy.
It comes above everything, but my kids that is.

As we settled into the clearing this year, I looked at my kids and and realized that 8 years have gone by in 8 seconds. And in 8 more seconds they will be grown. And so for this 8 seconds I am determined to enjoy our moments in the clearing. I am determined to take my full two days a week during the summer (because holidays and business don’t mix) or as much of them as possible,  and cherish the little moments, our moments. Chances of my answering the phone, returning messages and checking Facebook, or blogging will be slim for two days a week. And I encourage everyone to do the same for the peace, the calm and the quiet. Because before you know it these 8 seconds will have passed.

I’m not doing this just because the cell service is iffy in our clearing, but because I’ll be enjoying the clearing for the next 8 seconds.

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My son isn’t bipolar

February 8, 2015

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My son isn’t bipolar.
He has bipolar.

Some days it’s really hard to differentiate because bipolar can either take over, or creep in at any given time. And those moments it feels as if he is bipolar, because those moments you try so hard to push through to support and get him, actually him, back.

As parents it’s hard to share our world, because the world can be pretty cruel to our kiddos.  It’s full of misinformation, stigmas, stereotypes and ignorance. And as a parent of a mentally ill person, we know all to well how quickly those things can tip our children to a point of crisis.  And as those suffering it’s overwhelming and terrifying to try and get people to understand you are more than the label on your medical charts. Or simply understand you for you.

But at the end of the day my son has a name. And he is him, not bipolar, or any of his other diagnoses.
Truth be known not many people get to know him. Be it because they choose not to or because he prefers to not let them.
There’s a few who get to see the twinkle in his eye, and fewer who get to hear his laughter and fewer yet who see his heart.

He is not bipolar. He is so much more.

He is kind and compassionate and gentle. Though I often wish he was more so toward himself.

He will always think of others before himself. He worries more about those close then himself during his cycles.

He has more empathy then anyone I’ve ever met.

He has a unique humour, is a computer and historical whiz.

He tries harder in almost anything then your typical child. He has to because life doesn’t come easy to him.

He is an amazing big brother and incredible son.

If he likes you, he likes you unconditionally. And will always have your back. His friendship doesn’t waiver, which can be hard because he doesn’t understand why others do.

And his family is not only his strength, but his heroes, best friends and comfort. He takes pride in his cousin’s and sisters achievements and is their biggest cheerleader.

And if he let’s you see that sparkle, you can guarantee you are lucky and spec

ial and will

always be an important part of his life. Because that sparkle doesn’t show for just anyone.

The kid is more resilient than most, and braver then I will ever be.

He has a name, and it’s not bipolar.

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Scared, proud, sad, happy

July 20, 2014

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How can 13 years go so fast, yet so slow?
There were days I thought that would last forever.
Doctors visits, therapy sessions and hospital stays that seemed endless.  In fact I was sure at those moments they were the end of the world.
Dude turns 13 today.  And yes I shed a tear (or more ).
I look back on the moment I first became a mother.
I remember the joy, the fear most of all the love.
My first little (literally ) miracle baby. With a head full of jet black hair and old eyes.
I remember almost instantly becoming a protective mama bear.
I was young (21), and I was scared.
Could I do this? Would I be good at being a mommy?  What if I had more clue? I didn’t!
As the years passed and we learned our boy was not going to be the typical child, I realized I really truly didn’t care. If we had him, that was enough.
I learned that each day truly is a blessing, because you really never know what tomorrow will bring.
You see there are moments that I wish he could be as free as other children.  Moment’s my heart physically hurts for him. Moment’s that having the weight of bipolar and other illnesses is almost to much to bare for him.
But there’s moment’s of accomplishment, moment’s of strength and Oh so many moment’s of courage.
And there’s love.  Endless love and caring and kindness.
We don’t know what to expect as the teen years come.  OK we know kind of what the general teen years bring. 
But see I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t that scared mom all over again.  We know these years will
be our toughest.  We know That life will throw us some huge curves in these years to come.
And I’m scared.  I’m scared I won’t have the words, and the comfort he’ll need.  I’m scared even if I do they won’t be enough.
Yes I understand I need to embrace this stage.  Yes I am loving and looking forward to the young man he is and will become.
But there’s a piece of me that’s petrified because you see a teen /young adult with bipolar is a very scary, very real thing. It’s not the normal ups and Downs.  Not the normal attitude.  No it’s very realistically life or death.
So yes say what you will, I’m scared.
I’ve shared that I’ve been having a hard time with the looming 13th birthday, but o haven’t shared why, because it’s not a great or easy thing to share.  And it’s a lonely place to be with a fear you’re not sure people will understand.
But you don’t need to understand. 
Actually I’m glad most people don’t, because that would mean you are going through it.
But I’m proud. So extremely proud of my son. I love his compassion, his acceptance, his understanding, his loyalty, his old soul.
I love that if he let’s you see that twinkle in his eye you know your special!
I love his perseverance, his strength and his bravery.
I love his heart, his wisdom and his elusive laughter.
I am so incredibly proud he chose me for his mom.
I am so incredibly proud to call him my son.
May the stars shine bright just for you buddy, may your worries be small and your days bright.
May you receive all the happiness you deserve.

Bipolar isn’t seasonal.

July 11, 2014

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It’s summer, so all’s calm, relaxing and fun right?
The stress and pressure of school is gone, so should all worries and cares! 
Ya not so much.
I admit I kind of forgot for a week about dude’s illnesses.
Then BAM. We’re angry, depressed, Absolutely all over the map.
I’m racking my brain for foods he’s eaten, possible triggers etc.
Then I clue in.
Oh ya he has bipolar.
DUH!
Apparently I’d forgotten that just because school has ended for the year, doesn’t mean his cycles have!
Bad Mom moment!
We tend to forget, OK not really, but kind of, the cycles, the heartache,the pain even exists when all is well.  Then out of nowhere we’re nailed,  and it takes us a moment to catch back up!
School definitely adds to the stressors in these kids lives. Summer is typically a bit more calm.
But I’ve learned that even the littlest of trips, family functions etc can overwhelm them at the drop of a hat.
Planning, preparing, and yes sometimes not attending are crucial in our world.
And often we can plan, prepare and cross our finger’s, and shit still hits the fan. Other time’s we’re surprised at how easily that something just went!
We can’t just expect all to all of a sudden be normal and perfect because the sun is shining. 
I wish it were, but it’s not.
There’s still moments, and days that that dark cloud looms. That crisis is hit.
Summer should mean later bed time’s, sleeping in, lots of playing, and fresh air!
In our reality, bed time may be pushed slightly, but not much because sleep structure and routine keep our kid functioning.
Sleeping in, again I wish, but 7am is as far as we get!
Fresh air?  Some days, some days not.
The truth is I love summer!
And I wish dude’s needs were seasonal!
I want to head to the lake, sit by the fire, enjoy the sun and people visiting!
More than that I want Dude to do the same.  I want him to enjoy new and old friendships.  I want him to go free without stress and anxiety.
But that’s not going to happen as easily as I wish.
So we make the best of it! We e’er enjoy the sun quietly.  We enjoy our own fresh air.
And when that dark cloud creeps in, we hold on as tight as always and hope at least the sun is shining outside.
Because dammit bipolar isn’t seasonal!

Why me? !

May 26, 2014

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So I spend a lot of time sharing about our lives in the upside down world that is parenting, especially a child with high needs. But why?
Everyone knows I share to break down some barriers, and to let others know they’re not alone.
But those who know me also know I don’t shut up and I don’t back down when faced with injustice or adversity!
I figure there’s a reason we’ve all been dealt the cards we have, it’s how you play the deck that matters.
I haven’t always been so gracious (hell I’m still not at times) or proactive.  I tended to be more reactive, and not always graciously!
There was a time I was a little shit. OK maybe a big one.
I struggled in school academically because I had un diagnosed add until I was 17.  God was I social, a smart ass, ya I talked a lot, I was mouthy, and could be down right mean.
That being said I was typically only mean to those treating others wrong in my opinion.  If you ask my friends I took on anyone that was anything but kind to them, I didn’t care if you were the top dog, or a teacher. 
I always stood for what I believed in!  I always will.
I’m a clutz, I’m high strung, I’m emotional, and my heart is always on my sleeve.  I’m highly sensitive, I’m extremely impatient, and more often than not my mouth opens before I think!
Looking at the past brings me to the present.  I’m still all of the above.  I doubt that will change. Quite frankly I don’t want them to, they make me me.
But if you asked me 20 years ago if I would be a business woman, running a pretty incredible, steady business, being able to create with flowers every single day. A fierce mother who has  traveled the roads we have, been faced with the fear and obstacles of raising a child with a severe illness, in a not always kind world.  And a daughter who is possibly her mothers mini. Always trying hard to teach my children they are good enough, strong enough, smart enough just as they are. To be kind to everyone, to believe in themselves, to push themselves just enough, and to love themselves.
A wife of 14 years, who works hard everyday to be the wife my husband deserves. A volunteer on boards.  The founder of anti bullying organization.  And all with this lovely add that makes it a bitch for me to remember more than one thing, or retain anything we discussed yesterday. 
I would have told you were crazy!
I never thought I was good enough, smart enough or fierce enough. 
I  expected nothing less than the white picket fence, 2 happy, healthy children, a part time job, a home grown garden, and home cooked meals on the table.
Well apparently my deck of cards said screw that! And handed me this.
But this is perfect.  This isn’t the ideal, or the always easy,joy filled life I thought it would be. Damn Disney anyway!
Instead of the visions I had, I am a mother trying to remember things, trying to find the energy to do my job everyday, and attend meetings after complete disaster has struck on a regular basis as the bipolar moods see fit.
I am my childrens biggest fan, their biggest advocate.
So I look back and can’t help think these cards were handed to me with trust.  Trust that I can handle it. Trust that I will share. Trust that I can make a difference.  Trust that my voice will be heard, even of only by one person.  Trust that I can be just who I am, and do what I do. Trust that I am gracious enough yet strong enough to fight the good fights and support, guide and help those that can’t always help themselves! 
In my life I try to be kind. I put away the boxing gloves years ago, but there’s times it’s tempting to break them out again!  I try to be grateful, even when the days thrown a curve ball. I try to be sympathetic and empathetic.  I try.
Life’s not full of sunshine and rainbows, and there’s so many days I’m faced with thing’s I wouldn’t wish on anyone, except for a short time to open some eyes!
This is the life I’ve been given, and I plan to make the best of it.
One smart ass comment at a time.

Getting picky and choosy!

May 3, 2014

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So…. here’s the thing, not everyone agrees.
I know it, you know it. I sure don’t expect people to agree with every thing I do, and I don’t always agree with others.  I actually in most regards respect and appreciate that.
I’m so not a black or white person (hence why someone has to make my decisions! ). I am the grayist of the gray! I tend to always see both sides, and positives in both.  I tend to trust easily (not as easily as I always have ). I tend to understand individual choices and decisions, and I tend to support them in most people I know.
God I’m far far from perfect, I’m not pretending I am! I’m stubborn, I’m loud,I’m anxious,  I’m a Tad bit crazy, but typically I’m not opinionated unless I feel strongly about something, and usually that something is some sort of judgement or injustice.
I’m sure I’m not alone in this crazy world of disorders in being passionate, and vocal, and firm in my beliefs. To each their own in said belief.  But hell hath no fury like a special needs parent feeling mis judged, or having something pushed on them.
I speak our truth and ours alone.
I’ve been asked if dude has been mis diagnosed, I’ve been tried to be sold every concoctions under the sun. I expect this because I’m open with our journey.  But I tend to hop on my opinionated train when I feel someone else has jumped on theirs and won’t let it be.
We’ve been at this for more than long enough to know what works for dude. We’ve awaited the final puzzle piece for all of those years.
We struggled for years, because we felt lost, there was something missing, something not quite right in his list of diagnoses.
Now we have our holy Grail! finally thank god we have the diagnosis that makes perfect sense in our world! For years the adhd, odd diagnosis didn’t seem quite right, now we know why!  We’ve researched and learned and are extremely relieved and confidant that we’ve found that missing piece.  Proof has been monumental in strategies and meds working.

We’re well aware that there’s good products and potions out there that work for mild to moderate mental health disorders, dude’s is far from it, pretty Damn severe actually .
We choose to use what we choose.  Yes he is on medication, yes he will continue to be. We’ve recently found a meditation he’s comfortable with,and like minded strategies that help with his anxiety and rage states.  For us it’s finding a balance that works for him.
We know firmly now what we are dealing with (though yes the states change extremely rapidly ), and now we tweak and tune. Medication and therapy will always always be a part of that!

Compare it to diabetes if you will.
Once you know what you have, you will have to take medication, and have regular check ups. Yet you will also exercise and have a different diet.
Bipolar is not all that different.
You will take your medication, have your check ups. Yet learn personal strategies to help calm, regulate and keep your head above water!
As you wouldn’t try to convince a diabetic to change their treatment plan or diagnosis .  Please don’t try to convince a parent of a bipolar, anxious (Or any special needs) child to change theirs .  Trust me we have enough pressure and questions as it is. We are doing what we know to be best, after many years. This doesn’t happen over night. Sometimes you have to wait an awful long time to get your Holy Grail!  I for one am at a place of confidence and peace with dude’s diagnosis and treatment.  Quite honestly I’m tired of trying to “convince ” people that I know what I know. Trust me i know. So now it’s my choice to let that (and yes that means some people) go.
I don’t owe anyone an explanation,  those who know our journey, understand  and respect why we do what we do. I will always speak up and yes be opinionated when it comes to mental health,  but I’ve come to realize I want myself and mostly my son surrounded by people who care enough to try to understand without trying to change.. So I’m going to try to “weed my garden “, and post only for my fellow parents and myself, I’m not going to try and justify our life as much.
Because those who matter care, and those that don’t, don’t matter!

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♡♡♡

Dear Mom

April 26, 2014

Dear Struggling  Mom,
I see you struggling, I hear your tears,I feel your frustration.
I’m here to tell you, you are not alone.
There are times in life when our hugs aren’t enough. When are word’s simply won’t fix things.
There are times you’ll feel judged, gossiped about, and all alone.
There are times you know at your core things are to big, but I know your fear.
I know how painful it is. I know how scary it is to ask for help.
But you are a mother, and you will do all you can to protect and help your child.
There’s no shame.
There’s no need for others to judge, and if they do, you truly don’t need them.
After 12 years of being a mother to a unique child with a gambit of his own disorders, I’ve learned a few things. And some of the lessons have been harder than anything I’ve faced. Here’s a few things I’ve learned:
1. It’s not about me. Is it hard?  It’s harder than anything, but don’t worry about what others will say about you or your parenting.  There’s days my heart breaks for my son, but honestly I have yet to feel bad for myself.  He is my child, and it’s him I hurt for.
2. Get help if you need it.  There is absolutely no shame in therapy,  talking to friends and family and getting support! Not only for your child but for yourself!
3. Patience.  God knows you’ll need it. When we as mother’s can’t fix something we want to know answer’s and reasons right now! It’s taken six years for my son’s final (and biggest ) puzzle piece to come to light. The first thing’s, second thing’s, he’ll the tenth things tried don’t always work. And it sucks not knowing the whys, but there’s a good chance you never will. Have patience with the system, your child and yourself!
You are stronger than you think.
You are braver than anyone knows.
You are wiser  than you feel.
You are more exhausted than you let on.
You are incredible.
You are beautiful.
You are mom!

With all the love and support,
A bipolar, SPD, GAD, OCD, DCD
Mother.

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