Monday, May 6, 2013

Breaks my Heart - Bipolar Child

We had a very rough weekend. Saturday was particularly bad. We spent the day with Larissa mostly down with some cycling to short periods of manic.  It was so apparent, it was so obvious.  She has been diagnosed as possible bipolar.  Problem is those who prescribe medications don't believe that little ones can have it.  So they medicate for the symptoms.  Medicate for ADHD and increase it three times in one school year.  Medicate for anxiety, increase and then change.  Problem is, in the last month the symptoms have gotten so much worse.

For a period of time John had Larissa in his office and all throughout the house you could hear her crying.  Very woeful, desperate sounding crying.  There were no reasons for these tears.  She said that all the kids were being mean to her.  She looked as though she could jump out of her skin.  I had a teen ask me what was up.  I told her that Larissa can't control it.  Imagine that irritable mood you get monthly and then magnify it 10 fold.   Imagine getting no relief and living with it every day of your life.

We felt so helpless.  I walked in at one point and John was feeding her his prized potato chips.  It did stop the crying.  Someone seeing that thinks that we spoil her.  We have been TOLD by others that we spoil her.  She is actually our hardest child.  Mix a mother who drank when pregnant with some seizures, anxiety, hyper, impulsive, sensitivity and bipolar dad and you have our Larissa.  I think that I talk about her the most because she requires the most.  She requires a full time mom to keep her even.  She desperately needs both me and my husband.  She has such a need.  She came to our house a baby who had not been held.  Her bucket has never been filled.  She still wants carried even though she will soon be taller than me.

She has a psychiatrist appointment later this month.  My mission is to get her put on bipolar meds or I will change doctors.  He wants to change up the anxiety meds but I feel as though it is making it worse.  He did put Anthony on some bipolar meds and it made a world of difference for him.  I pray that she can get some of the same relief.  The diagnosing doctor told us that her type of bipolar was going to be worse than his.  I thought at the time that he was crazy but I am see that his words were true. 
I am getting my notes in order:

Very Common Symptoms of Childhood Bipolar Disorder

•Separation anxiety

•Rages & explosive temper tantrums (lasting up to several hours)
 Can last for hours

•Marked irritability
 Irritated by siblings 20 feet away looking at her or breathing.

•Oppositional behavior

•Frequent mood swings
 You can sit back on a rainy Saturday and just watch them, it is heartbreaking

 Frequently, one reason her ADHD meds have been changed three times this year

 Look above


•Restlessness/ fidgetiness
 Very much so

•Silliness, goofiness, giddiness

•Racing thoughts

•Aggressive behavior
 At times


•Carbohydrate cravings
More sweet craving

•Risk-taking behaviors

•Depressed mood
 Do crying periods that last over an hour count (for nothing that we can pinpoint)

 When she isn’t bouncing off the walls

•Low self-esteem
 Yes, hates her hair, thinks she needs to lose weight, that something is wrong with her.

•Difficulty getting up in the morning

•Social anxiety
 Selective Mutism treated with anxiety medications

•Oversensitivity to emotional or environmental triggers
Oh, yes!!  If at the wrong time someone says anything to her she cries for hours saying that they are being mean.  Any and all attempts at convincing her that they did not in fact say anything mean will be met with tears.
After some good mama lap time she tried to smile Saturday

One of the girls had written in her book that she got from Kathy Cassel so I took her to the Christian Book Store and let her get a few new books.  This brought her joy.  Yes, she is spoiled.


  1. Spoiled? Heck books are the best way to spoil a child... give them all the books they want! A love of Reading is the best way to spoil a child :-)

  2. Some children need spoiled. I really believe that. Life is just too hard for them sometimes. I have one like that. But spoiling her does not mean she gets away with poor behavior. It just means she gets more attention and more "things" because they make her feel loved--ie high top tennis shoes etc. (She's also my only child with a per diem!)

  3. Can I just say that I am a huge fan of labels? So many people are down on labels saying that labeling a child places stigma on the child and keeps them from reaching their potential. I could not disagree more! I love the labels on my children--ADHD, developmental delays, SPD, PTSD, Adjustment Disorder--because each correct label empowers me to understand them and to meet their needs in the best way possible. While the labels can be overwhelming when you list them all out together, I don't see them as things to hold my kids back. I see them a road maps that direct us on where to go. Each of my children is unique, and each of them need a different kind of nurturing and support. I am relieved for you and Larissa. Maybe having the proper label will equip you to get her the help she needs. I'm praying that you'll be able to get the bipolar med for her, and that it will be powerful in helping Larissa feel in control of herself so she can grow in confidence and understand how precious she is. You're an amazing mom, Felicia.

    1. Emily, I am a fan of labels too. I think that nowadays many people have labels and it isn't the stigma that it was years ago. I know that Sarah finally getting her diagnosis of NF1 helped her with school. They were ready to take her off of resources and I was able to get her OHI because of the NF1. Maintaining those resources allowed for Sarah to graduate and be successful in college today. It is hard to battle something if you don't know what it is.

  4. I pray that she can get the help she needs, and that she can feel peace.

  5. I just about cried as you described your daughter looking as if she wants to jump out of her skin. I described it to my psych as feeling like I wanted to crawl out of my skin, or do something crazy to make it stop. I come from a family with a strong history of bipolar. Four suicides in three generations. I have dealt with depression and anxiety for the last 10 years, or so I thought. I was recently diagnosed Bipolar 2 with rapid cycling. My lows are SO low and lasted for months, with periods of hypomania mixed in. Mostly, agitation and anxiety, a feeling of inner restlessness and a need to constantly keep moving and doing. I was having obsessive thoughts about death/ending it. I started Lamictal(Anti Epileptic Drug that is used as a mood stabilizer for BP) three weeks ago and it has made a huge difference even though I am only up to 50mg. I am also on Remeron, an atypical antidepressant for sleep and .5mg. of Klonopin once in the am and again at bedtime, and 20 mg. of Buspar for anxiety. This is the best I have felt in about six months. Once I reach 100mg. of Lamictal, I want to cut out the Klonopin and Buspar. This is a real juggling act and I can't imagine how difficult it is for a child. My heart goes out to all of you.

    1. Thank you for your reply. I am happy to see that the right medication has helped. Sometimes I get asked why I give so much information. I do so because there may be another parent our there struggling with the same behaviors and not understand why. If I can help one child it will be worth it.

  6. my little one is just like this. I am finding more and more that there are so many other moms that face what I face every day. good luck to you and larissa. my Lil'K is on quite a few meds and we are in the process of finding something new that works right now. it can be a nightmare. but the right diagnosis means everything.