And This is Why I Miss Out on Stuff for the Kids

My daughter is the one who suffers most around her with the mood disorder of her brother. You see, my son Aj is six years old and has a mood disorder, up until about six months ago, his medication was never really quite perfected yet and for the first five years of his life he wasn’t even being diagnosed for the mood disorder. We lived in hell, literally. It was challenging more so than anything we go through today.

Running in the sunWith that being said, mood disorder under control for the most part, we still have occasional issues. Usually the issues are that my four year old, K-man, refuses to let his brother sleep. Aj is the child that takes after his Mama, he usually sleeps from 11-12 hours per night and it works best for him. He is a pleasure to be around and has occasional six year old challenges with his parental figures, but he is easy comparative to what he was without medication. Without his 11-12 hours of sleep at night? You may as well be dealing with a bear, one who is guarding her cub from what she feels is danger. It’s close to a nightmare and super frustrating.

I have compassion for Aj when he is suffering from lack of sleep and in turn being more dramatic in response to things, such as attending his sisters contact lens appointment, to get contacts for the first time. Aj felt it was completely fine for him to lay down in the middle of the waiting room floor. Mind you, it’s a small office. But that didn’t matter to over tired Aj, he was sleepy and he just couldn’t stand any long.

Oudoor NH Spring FunThere were rows and rows of places to sit, heck even a two cushion seat was open where he could have acceptably laid down, but not over tired Aj. When this kid is over tired there is no rhyme nor reason with him, there is no getting him to understand common sense. Nothing. It’s seriously frustrating. I take my patient Mom mind and work best I can around him, but he was so bad the other day that I had to leave my daughter with her Dad for her first lesson in using contact lenses, I was sad.

This sucked. I wanted to experience this first with my daughter too. You all read how close her and I are, she is my only daughter. I hate that I have to miss out on these appointments from time to time simply because they are at a time of day that my sons are exhausted and impossible to have in such confined areas. I have no one to watch the boys, so they must come along. Their Dad works nights and it’s not his job to take them every time I need a backup for an appointment, while he probably would if he were able to because it’s a rare time when I really ask for him to help in that way.

But back to the point, I have missed out on so much with my daughter for many reasons, mostly due to having a son who needed most of my attention for the first five years of his life and now as he struggles with loss  of sleep, all I can think about is when we find a place to live this Summer and we move, that hopefully the boys can have their own damn space because then the K-man will only wake me up, not everyone else all of the time.

So while I missed the full appointment, I know my daughter will come home from her Dad’s telling me all about it and I will get to see if my daughter has contacts or not for the first time….. Note – this was written day after appointment when I had not yet seen my daughter but by the time it’s published I will have had her back to me for a couple of days!

I suppose, with the positive attitude I have and instill in the kids, they get sad and frustrated too but then they realize this is our family and we do all love each other. Sometimes one is having a bad day and that is okay, even adults have bad days from time to time. My kids are human and treated that way, so while I can understand it being sad to my daughter when I miss out on things, she also understands because we are family and will forever be there for each other no matter what.

 

Journey with Mood Disorder/Bipolar – Fighting For My Kids

Raising a Bipolar KidSince my last blog post on the weight gain with risperidal that has worked well for Aj’s bipolar/mood disorder diagnosis there has been some changes.  For one, it dawned on me that the medication Aj takes to help keep his moods steady also brings on weight gain, therefore one would safely assume there is a contradiction between this medication. For one, risperidal is somewhat based on height and weight of the child for dosing, but at the same time Aj gains significant weight on this medication due to the increased appetite side effect from risperidal. Make sense?! I think not.

With that being said, this medication has truly done amazing things for Aj; when he was first placed on risperidal it was the lowest possible dose. The lowest possible dose worked for nearly a year before his weight gain seemed to really be affecting the dose. The pediatric psychiatrist currently has Aj on .75mg given two times a day. That has been the dose for about two weeks before I noticed that Aj was starting to get his moods more and more. The medication dose change did not seem to help 100% just yet and they had noted to take one week before this new dose would affect him.

Siblings Bipolar AwarenessIt had been about two weeks when reality hit and anxiety came back during transition from home to school. No longer did Aj just go into his classroom after a hug and kiss, no longer was he so agreeable to even get ready for school. The first five years of Aj’s life, prior to medication and proper diagnosis, flashed before my eyes and I could tell my daughter knew that this was just like before. Tears flowed. Hearts raced. And my daughter was just as concerned as I was, reason being? Prior to medication and proper diagnosis Kiara and Aj did not have a real bond, they were unable to form one because the bipolar made Aj unable to really be that sibling. Do not get me wrong, even on proper medication, they both have their normal sibling rivalry and Aj still has his normal six year old testing Mama boundaries going on as is age appropriate. However, when Aj is on the proper medication, things run a lot more smooth in the household and the up and down moods are not there with Aj.

Mama Bear Fights for her KidsBipolar is a chemical imbalance in the brain. Aj can not control his mood swings, the anxiety – none of it.  Some people just DO NOT understand. Heck when my sister was growing up and then later on in life diagnosed bipolar – half of the people in her world did not get it either! It is a confusing mental health condition that few know much about unless they have had it run in their family directly. This means, when Aj has his moods coming back due to lack in proper dosage of his medication due to weight gain, I have to spend time explaining why Aj is the way he is, and that it is a mental health condition. A true condition that is not to be taken lightly.

I get extremely frustrated when I have to not only deal with switching around medication dosing for Aj but also have to explain to new people involved in his schooling about bipolar. You see, there are a lot of people in this world who really do not get bipolar {honestly there is still lots more for me to learn}. Apparently they just seem to think it’s some over diagnosed thing like ADHD or ADD, I don’t know. I am not that type of person, so I honestly have no clue what they are thinking. All I know, is that I will fight tooth and nail for my son, all three of my kids know their Mama always fights strong, morally and for them. No matter what.

So as I journey into the land of Aj’s medication not working as well anymore, I have been told to try to give him .5mg in the morning and 1mg after dinner. This is a way to help see if moods stay steady, anxiety disappears and he can sleep through the night again. After all, the .75mg twice a day was working to some extent, but to up the dose to 1mg twice a day may knock him out cold. Another fun side effect of risperidal is the sleepiness.

I hope to educate more people on the topic of bipolar through my personal journey raising a child with bipolar. I hope to bring more awareness and I hope that if you have a story to share with my readers that you will contact me to share your story on site. This is an important mental health issue for many, both adults and children, it is time to bring the world more awareness to the topic of living with bipolar.

 

Kicking Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Taking Names

I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder when my daughter was a baby, she is almost 10. They put me on lexapro and I was about so numb that I could have seriously just cut my thumb off and not even cared. Can we say “too much medication?” … so I worked to wean myself off of the lexapro for two reasons; lack of insurance & the thought I could kick anxiety in the butt on my own. Yes I am stubborn and extremely strong willed…

Let me start by saying if you have major anxiety I don’t recommend just weaning yourself off and doing what I did, but if you don’t have medication and suffer from anxiety maybe my post can assist you in some small way.

I realized that anxiety sucks, but so many doctors use diagnosis as a tool to over medicate people and I happened to be one of those. I knew my anxiety may have been more of a mind over matter ordeal, I lived a some what sheltered life; meaning I didn’t travel other than one time to Florida growing up and we didn’t go to any far away events like my kids get to experience now.

The thought crossed my mind, if I can just learn to love who I am and be confident then it would make sense most of my anxiety would slip away. Face my fears so to speak and so I worked my butt off at getting to know who I was inside, what it is that made me tick so to speak and what fears I had to overcome in order to kick my Generalized Anxiety Disorder in the butt.

I can honesty say I still have major anxiety issues over new situations, making plans to do something is near impossible. Basically if you want me to go anywhere then you may as well come here grab my arm and drag me there, for the most part, but I will have a blast once there. It’s sort of like they say “I am shy at first but perfectly fine once I get to know you”, that’s me with any social situation.

I tend to get nervous when flying, for I just flew for the first time in 2011 and instead of letting that anxiety overcome my whole being which turns into a panic attack, I role with it. Deep breaths, calm thoughts and I deal.  I have not been on medication for my anxiety for many years and am very proud to say I have come a long way! I love meeting new people, attending new events and traveling now, all because I made a choice to not allow my Generalized Anxiety Disorder kick my butt and if I can do it so can you!

It’s Frustrating When Your Child, or You Are “Different”

I honestly hate the word different as it is pertains to defining any human being, I prefer the word unique because every person is unique in their own way. If you have kept up with the What Would you Do Show on ABC, then you know they seek out various situations and try to see what other people would do. It’s amazing to see the judgements, the non judgements and how people truly respond to various situations.

One episode showed a girl with a stutter working at a local ice cream type shop, waiting on customers, but she struggled with getting what she had to say out, meaning customers had to wait just a little bit longer to get their order put in and completed.  Some of the rude comments to this “actor” girl who stutters made me cringe! Are we all in such a hurry that we can’t have one moment of human compassion for another person in this world who obviously struggles with speech and is trying to make a living? Come one people, get a clue and a compassionate bone for what goes around comes around and you better pray that you are never in a less fortunate situation because maybe others will return that favor of evil behavior onto your own self.

This actress on the show that night actually has a stutter, I love when What Would You Do puts real life people who have been in the situation or are living that situation in play as the actor or actress. The reason I love when the actor or actress is a living life story about the situation is because it’s puts more of a real feeling in your heart about the situation.

What if your child has a mood disorder but others view your child as a “bad kid” or view you as a “bad parent”? That is the life of many parents living with a child who has a condition that many don’t understand, while I have a child who has a mood disorder, quite possibly bipolar disorder, others have children with autism that has so many spectrum’s, it’s no wonder many kids go wrongly diagnosed. I feel like we, as a nation, need to have more compassion for our fellow human beings, stop the judgement.

There was a great point on the Dr Drew show one evening where one of his guests stated that we all have prejudices, we all judge from time to time, it’s how we handle that prejudice that matters. I can’t say there isn’t a time where I have looked at a yelling kid and thought, to myself, wow that kid is horrible or what is that parent teaching this child, but honestly, since I have been living in a real life situation with a real life child who has a mood disorder, I am able to step back and redirect my mind to remember that we can’t judge a situation by it’s cover. The saying “you can’t judge a book by it’s cover” goes a long way when you put it towards other human beings, parents and children.

So remember, the next time you go to judge a person or a child in a tough situation, remember that you don’t know the whole story behind that situation and it’s not your place to pass judgement on others, we all live to the best of our abilities and we are allowed to disagree with each other, heck, we are even allowed to pass judgement; all I am asking is that you take a moment to try to have compassion for your fellow human beings, young and old.

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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