Risperdal Has Really Been a Blessing

I started the journey with my middle child at age 2 and most of you who have been reading since then know my story but for those who don’t, my son Aj was born angry. He had one emotion, angry, since the baby years and up. At age 2 his Dad and I finally started to see various specialists who once again were not sure to diagnosis a child so young with anything. Later on Aj was diagnosed with ADHD, however, the mood changes are what made the ADHD diagnosis not 100% certain according to his counselor.

Finally about six months ago Aj was diagnosed with a mood disorder, bipolar to be exact. Although I believe the diagnosis is not 100% bipolar and they are calling it more of a mood disorder due to his age of only 5 years old, I am happy in some ways they finally were able to try out a mood disorder medication called Risperdal also known as Risperdone in it’s generic form.

Being a parent who doesn’t want to medicate a child, that was the last option for us, his Dad and I first thought maybe the parenting technique we used simply wasn’t working for Aj and that we would need to be trained so to speak on how to parent Aj. The “training” wasn’t really taking and with a bipolar child it wouldn’t take. Growing up knowing what bipolar is, for it runs in the family, I knew Aj had it. I didn’t care what the specialists and doctors wanted to say, I knew it and I know my kid.

The pediatric psychiatrist has Aj on .5mg of Risperdal two times a day, one time in the morning and one time in the evening. This dose is working wonders. No longer is Aj having major anxiety at school, no longer is he angered over everything, the mood he has is relatively steady and he still has his high spirit and energy levels. It is almost as though Risperdal has been a true blessing for Aj, giving him a chance to not have to go through what so many with bipolar go through; suicidal thoughts and actions, manic mood changes and so much more that can come along with this disorder later in life.

Aj does chores, helps around the house, attends various activities without much issues and has a great time enjoying the life of an almost six year old. It amazes me everyday to see how outgoing and talkative Aj has become. I love to see him smile for pictures and give me a hug for no reason. Never having been overly affectionate, he still only gives hugs on occasion but the smallest hug any day from him means so much more for I know it is a rare occasion.

I have been asked if Aj would outgrow bipolar and the answer is quite simply “NO”, bipolar is not something anyone can outgrow, however, I have hope that there is a possibility it may be a misdiagnosis and not 100% bipolar, that meaning he may learn how to handle the mood changes and not need medication for the rest of his life, but if he truly is bipolar then yes he will need some form of bipolar medication for the rest of his life in order to function in any somewhat normal way in society.

No I don’t like saying my son is bipolar, but I am educated enough to know a diagnosis doesn’t cripple a child, any child with any medical issue can make the world a better place if they are loved and encouraged to reach for the stars!

Risperdal Is Working For My Five Year Old

I have told the story of my Aj forever now, it’s been three years since we started the fight to find out what was up with him. Our first concern was the lack of sleep, never having slept through the night & always having been an irritable baby {not to be confused with colic, he was just irritable}, we knew lack of sleep meant no possible way to tell if his moods were based on insufficient sleep or a real genetic mood disorder issue.

Aj smiling while dancing with his siblings

Then the whole sleep issue was resolved. Intuniv came on board for ADHD, and well I recently wrote a post about how that went, not so good {link to that intuniv blog post}.  We are now seeing a pediatric psychiatrist and they diagnosed him bipolar, although I believe the diagnosis is something they are not 100% stating out loud, they say he exhibits a majority of the signs of a bipolar child.  I know what bipolar is, a chemical imbalance in your brain, I know what it looks like in a child, my sister is bipolar having not been diagnosed until her early 20′s.

Here is what I know about bipolar:

  • It is a chemical imbalance in the brain; meaning it’s not learned, it’s not encouraged and it certainly needs medication as there isn’t a surgery that can fix the chemical imbalance in your brain.
  • It can cause suicidal thoughts and actions.
  • It can cause the adult or child to do major harm to themselves {cutting, burning their body, etc}.
  • It can cause the adult or child to withdraw from society not able to have natural bonding relationships.
  • It can create a bitter household with stress for any other children or adults in the home, as well as the adult or child with bipolar because they don’t wish to be this way.
  • It is not something a person can control without proper medication and/or therapy.

AJ smiling for a picture

All in all, no matter who wants to say that bipolar is just some condition that a doctor thought up to label kids and adults in order to feed medication to us, you can wipe that thought out of your brain! I lived with a sister, four years younger than me, I have watched all of the suffering she went through, our relationship was extremely difficult and she dealt with a lot of struggles within herself not sure what was “wrong” with her. There is a lot to the story of my sister, but I will not get into all of that, what’s important now is that she grew up with bipolar and I grew up with her therefore we know all too well not having AJ diagnosed with it at the earliest of possible age that he would suffer horribly in life and have a difficult time growing the way a child should be able to grow emotionally.

Thankfully Rispderdal was started four weeks ago and it IS working. Aj is smiling, he has steady moods, the irritability and the anger outbursts are gone. He is loving all of us, he is interacting with the family. Aj still doesn’t like all of the things the rest of us like; such as long walks or being outside for too long, but I will take him having his own unique likes and dislikes over the mood fluctuations. You can not medicate a child because you want him to be more like you, however, you can medicate a child if their mood fluctuations or behavior {not learned behavior} is keeping them from leading a healthy lifestyle both at home and in school.

AJ Having fun in Kiddie Pool with his brother

I am happy to have my son back, so to speak, he was always here but he was underneath the bipolar and his eyes were never really appearing “here”, now when I look at Aj I see life behind his eyes, I see a sparkle and I am so happy that after three long years of testing and fighting with various people, we finally have Aj back to having a real chance at a good life with this bipolar diagnosis and bipolar medication, Risperdal.

I say to you, if you are the parent of a child who you know may have something not quite right going on that you continue the battle, educate yourself, get a doctor you can speak with & trust. Keep fighting for what you feel is right for your child, no matter what the situation is. Just fight for your kids! Life is too short and we are parents for a reason; to assist in allowing our children to grow up happy and healthy so they can lead great adult lives!

Being Five with a Mood Disorder #bipolar #health #parenting

It’s so much fun when I am out in public with my son Aj and he is in one of his bad mood days, really it is. Most parents look at me as if I have an out of control bad child when in all reality I have a child who has a mood disorder. Currently Aj sits on a waiting list to see a pediatric psychiatrist and while we wait, the mood fluctuations don’t change. Clearly the mood changes wouldn’t change without the correct medication because bipolar or a similar mood disorder can not be controlled due to a chemical imbalance in the brain.

Not only do I have to deal with this as a parent but I also have to deal with this mood disorder as a person in the public eyes. Let’s face it I have three children, not just one, which means there are other places I need to be and with that brings more time Aj is brought out to events he may or may not want to be at . Aj can be 100% amazing some times and then other times, like this past week, he can have an extreme anger outburst, which sucks. When Aj has his anger outbursts at home I learn to deal and I am used to it but when out in the public eye I do feel myself getting angry with the crowd of people staring at my son thinking he is a bad child or maybe even thinking that I don’t know how to discipline my son. Just the simple fact that strangers can think to look at my family and place judgement quite frankly ticks me off.

The problem is, having a mood disorder or being bipolar gets you labeled as a bad child or a bad person. My sister has gone through this, I went through it being an older sibling to her. Most times when Aj has his up and downs all I can see is my childhood memories of a sister who chased with me butcher knives and had constant outburst of extreme anger. Now as an adult my sister is still not on her meds due to no health insurance and suffers from a wide load of ups and downs, mainly downs as of late. Most people with a mood disorder or bipolar tend to turn to drugs and/or alcohol to cope with the fluctuations in mood. Let’s face it no one likes to be up and down with happy, sad and angry feelings all of the time.

Think about that time of the month; whether you are male or female you have had to probably deal with the fluctuating hormones of a female and let me tell you what it’s no piece of pie. Think about my five year old who already is trying to learn how to cope with emotions and have the proper response yet can not truly control his chemical imbalance due to sitting on this waiting list. He is five, he can’t understand and he knows he wants to be good and happy but he just can’t seem to fight. Aj has a major mood disorder and it breaks my heart as a mom because all I see is how this mood disorder is not only affecting his childhood but his siblings childhood too.

So if I get snappy with you about my son Aj or life in general then remember this; I am dealing with a tremendous amount of ups and downs with him 24/7, it tends to wear on me and break me down every so often.

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Just Listen to me; Medication Options Suck

When my son Aj was born believe me the last thing I ever thought of was having to deal with a child who has a mood disorder. Everyone who isn’t living in my household seeing the day to day mood changes of my five year old can lend advice and speak without knowing the exact situation but when it comes down to it, believe me I am a no med kind of mom, I hate the idea of tossing meds at my children.

Three years ago I finally got a pediatrician to listen to me about Aj’s aggressive behavior, how he only has one major emotion “anger” and compared to his other two siblings this has proved to be something unique to Aj that hasn’t changed with parenting style changes, counseling and constant visits with pediatrician and other specialists. My son truly has a mood disorder, now what kind I have no clue but I will be betting that it is bi-polar because 1) it runs in my family BIG time and 2) I watched my sister grow up with it not being diagnosed until early 20′s.

Aj exhibits all of the symptoms that my sister had and I will be damned if I let it get the point where he is attempting suicide and struggling at even living a normal life; something my sister has gone through & to this day struggles with because she can’t afford medication. I want nothing but the best for everyone, this especially pertains to my children and if that means medication to help a chemical imbalance .. I will do it. Three years of counseling, pediatricians and being diagnosed ADHD then changing parenting styles and still having a child who doesn’t respond to normal consistent discipline – it all points back to bi-polar based on results with discussions with all of his doctors and the counselor we see. I have been told to keep him on his ADHD medication even though they have agreed now that he is not truly ADHD.

A bi-polar child will NOT respond to normal discipline techniques, why? Because it’s a freaking chemical imbalance in his brain. This child is only five, he is trying to learn how to tell what emotion is what, how to deal with various situations – it’s all a part of growing up, however, he has to deal with it in a different way because his impulse is so bad due to the imbalance and my heart just breaks. The mood changes are so extreme that my family is falling apart; he doesn’t have a close relationship to his siblings, barely a close one with me and his father. Getting into friendships at school? Yeah that is difficult for him too. This poor child has been through so much, yet I know it’s a miracle he is here and loved so dearly.

So as we move forward waiting to see a pediatric psychiatrist I get to hear from others who say “wait” who haven’t’ walked in this kids shoes nor mine and then wish to maybe judge thinking that I am just a mom who tosses medication at my kid because I am too lazy to learn new parenting styles – nope that isn’t the case. I truly have been open minded, working with the counselor on implementing various strategies and being consistent. We are all 99%  sure my son has a mood disorder and it sucks to live with this as a parent, I can’t imagine how he feels at age 5 living this way.

Aj often will say “I don’t want to be bad, I don’t want to be mean. I can’t help it” And it’s true, should this go further and mean that he is bi-polar or even has some mood disorder then it is very true that this child can not control his outbursts until he is on proper medication.

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