Friday, December 18, 2009

It's a Freight Train Coming

Things have been going pretty well around here lately. So well, that I have not wanted to post about it for fear of bringing on the "blog jinx". When Genea is in a sort of "lull" period, she behaves very much like you would expect a child with her background, only triple it. I think the every day dysfunction we get is Attachment Disorder. The unending oddities, the incessant demands for attention, the inability to handle even a simple frustration. Here is a great example. Every time Genea and Teena go out with Daddy, Genea loses a mitten. Every. Single. Time. Not when she goes to school. Not when she is out with me. Not when she goes out to play. Just when she and Teena have their Daddy Day (Saturdays usually). She generally loses this mitten between the house and the car. Sometimes in the car. Never in the restaurant, or at the store or wherever else they go. Never loses a mitten where there is a chance it might actually remain lost. I mean, what is that?

What we have coming on though is, I think, the Bipolar Disorder. It is subtle when it starts, and mostly excusable things. Genea hit Teena. Ok, kids hit. Actually no. A typical 6 year old does not hit her sister with a bag of books unprovoked. With cause, maybe, not for no reason. She is lying. All kids lie, don't they? No, most 6 year olds do not pee small amounts in their underwear all day until they reek of urine and then lie, and continue lying even when confronted with wet underwear. Toe walking. A lot of kids toe- walk once in a while up until about the age of 2 or so. Her impulse control starts to weaken, and many 6 year olds struggle with impulse control this is true. For Genea, she struggles with the impulse to deliberately gag on her food or drink.

The Dead RAD Eyes come on more frequently and she avoids eye contact. Her pupils enlarge and stay dilated. The tone of her crying changes. It becomes more shrill, more strident and piercing, more agonizing and desperate. Talking in her sleep, whimpering and calling out in her sleep. All these things will all accelerate and escalate. She will start to try to binge on carbohydrates. I never know what to do about that. Should I try to limit her from the binges or does her body need it? I expect she will start sleeping more heavily and taking a nap during the day. I can try to prevent it but she will literally fall asleep sitting up with a crayon in her hand. She will start to instigate problems either by breaking rules directly in front of me and calling attention to it, or by constantly asking for what she can't have and using these things as her "excuse" to blow into the Wango Tango (do you think Ted knows I am using that?). I don't know what to do about that either. When her brain starts to convulse into a panic or fear response, I tend to ask her what is wrong- I mean, I tend to try to find out why she is upset. But if the chemicals in her brain are frying, then there is no "excuse" or reason or thing to hang her feelings on. So, what if I keep leading her to find a reason for her nervous and scared feelings and it turns into a phobia?

I hate watching this come on. So far I have tried about 1000 different things to help her. So far I can help her delay the bottom and I can help make it not as bad, but I cannot prevent it and I cannot make it go away. So, we live through it. Again. And with good old winter break coming on (when ARE these children being educated I ask you???), we will be living through it 24 hours a day for 12 straight days.


  1. Oh Essie! Hang in there, girlfriend!

  2. Not that it helps, but you fully described MY 6-year with RAD, "bi-polar episodes," and soon-to-be ADD.

  3. Figuring it out, knowing it's coming does not help one bit. Because you know what to expect the dread just builds up. And we all know it's the most wonderful time of the year. Right. Hang on for the ride and know she's better off with you even though she may never truly appreciate it. Don't give up hope.

  4. This is Miss M to a T. She is RAD, Bipolar and it seems Learning Disabled but we are just getting into that part. You are smart and you are on the right track, keep going. The Bipolar Child has been a huge benefit to our family.

    Not sure if you have considered Melatonin for sleep issues or not. I have a friend who found it beneficial and I asked our Psychiatrist about it for Mr. C.

    Hang in there you are doing an amazing job!

  5. Oh hun. Hang in there. I know it's hard. My sister (step) is 15 now and we're struggling with RAD and FASD. I don't think Bipolar has entered into it. BUt it's hard. I a certain extent. It's hard for me to fully understand because I don't live it every day.

    I second the melatonin suggestion.

    You're doing a great job .... keep your chin up :-)

  6. Oh my will all be in our thoughts and prayers this school break. It is just plain awful that kids (and thier families) have to suffer through the roller coaster ride of bi-polar disorder.

  7. This.

    Word for word. Scary!

  8. We adopted our girls when they were 7 yrs old, we lived this for the next 6-7 yrs - we managed to survive, our girls have RAD and FASD, for a time I considered possible bi-polar and for one of the girls possible schizophrenia, somehow - by the grace of god - the attachment disorder is healing, home is more peaceful, we can literally hug the rage out of them, occasionally they still need to blow but it is much, much less than even a year ago. Consistency and lots of tenacity has been my motto - I have told both girls several times if not daily that I am more stubborn then they are and I'm not going anywhere, I am not giving up on them. Now they actually seem to be hearing those words.... hang in there .... even on the most h(*&^%$#@ days, the longer you can show her that your there, your not going anywhere... it really does seem to find a way to their hearts but it takes time, lots and lots and lots of time. peace

  9. I struggle with asking "why", too. I just want to know so I can help...but she doesn't know. I guess, self-analytical me suspects that she really does and keeps asking...but she doesn't know how to process those "why" questions yet.

    We've got similar sleep issues. Our dx is ptsd. We do use melatonin nightly.

  10. Frankly, I usually can't figure out the "why" of my own meltdowns (rarely in the open). I might realize only later that it was a combination of SAD, holiday something-or-other toxic for me, exhaustion, etc....but which was the BUTTON that was pushed that opened the floodgates?

    I often have better insights about Maxim and Nastya than I do about myself. But when THEY are doing the wango tango I can just sit and listen and pray. I really think that sometimes God gives me the insights I ask for. And with both of them, when I tell THEM what I think it was....they go cogitate and usually make progress.

    But it isn't chemical with them, I don't think....though isn't there a sort of interaction between the two - what's chemical can become emotional and vice versa?

    The most worrying thing about this post is that you are the professional here.

    And did you ever really finish sharing the BC info you got at that training?

  11. Since you've tried a 1000 things (and I don't doubt for a second that you're not speaking in hyperbole) I can't think of a single useful suggestion to offer, other than: Good Courage to you, Friend.

    An observation though: Your description reminds me of epilepsy. And you are like her guardian angel (or highly specialized service dog?) who senses it before it comes, and though you can't prevent it, you help her through it and keep her safe and prevent her from hurting herself until it's over. (Really, cute and fluffy service dog...; sorry for that analogy.)

    Merry Christmas to you all. Hope the wango tango stays at bay.

  12. That sounds hard. I hope things go well over vacation for you!

  13. Hugs, hugs, hugs. Just out of curiosity--what do you think was the motivating factor of the small amounts of urine all day? Our son did the EXACT same thing for over a year...we tried ignoring it for months at a time, then tried positive incentives, even tried some discipline techniques, but nothing ever worked. Finally, about a month ago, he just stopped doing it. I could not find any answers when we were going through it, though, and you're the first person I've come across who has experienced this. He was also constantly lying, even when it didn't make sense to. He's much better now, but it was a struggle for quite some time.

  14. Ezra has been with a friend for the past month, and not one drop of misplaced urine, and no sign of the dead eyes. So needless to say, that friend thinks WE are the crazy ones.

  15. My sweet 6 year old was having a little reminise the other night. Along the lines of "remember when I threw the scissors at you mummy and ..." and "remember the time I kicked you so hard and .."...Aww such sweet family memories...of course I didn't really faint and I knew my leg wasn't broken (maybe chipped the bone but didn't break it). I had a raging out of control child who was violent towards me on a daily basis.

    I just clung on to that iceburg that was my dd and just kept on chipping away. My point is, please don't lose hope and assume that what you do for her on a daily basis doesn't make a difference to her and isn't helping her heal. There is hope. I hope this helps you feel better.

    Special agent Sarah- super lurker

  16. No words....
    but thinking of you.

  17. That DOES help, to know people are rooting for us! a LOT!
    It is interesting that a few people say their kids have the same exact pattern. I am not sure what to make of that. Maybe there should be a "RAD Plus" diagnosis for our kids!
    I don't know what the deal is with the pee thing. Neurologically it is controlled at the same level as emotion and so some people think that is the link. Like if you get extremely scared and wet your pants. But I think there is a control element too, especially for Genea.
    To mention epilepsy, several of the psych meds for bipolar were originally developed for epilepsy and were incidentally found to have a mood balancing effect.
    I get to a point where I think, so should I just accept this is what we have and go on? Or should I keep beating my head against the wall trying to break thru it?

  18. I didn't know my kids until they were 11 and 13, but from what I've heard they were similar to yours when they were that age. I'm pretty sure they had childhood onset bipolar (instead of adolescent onset as it says in their charts). We see slightly different behaviors, but close enough that I know exactly what you're talking about.

    I have to say that I like the fact that my kids have bipolar disorder, because it is one of their few diagnoses that can be treated with meds. At least I feel like I'm making a difference there. It did make a huge difference in Bear. He went from out of control rages requiring RTC, diagnosed with Conduct disorder and headed for a Borderline Personality Disorder diagnosis, to only needing the behavior disorder program at school occasionally.

    Mary in TX
    Kitty(14)RAD, C-PTSD, Bipolar Disorder, ODD?, ADHD, learning disorders, cerebral dysrhythmia
    Her brother Bear(16) RAD, C-PTSD, Bipolar Disorder, ADD, cerebral dysrhythmia

    " Life isn't about how to survive the storm, but how to dance in the rain."

  19. Oh, Essie, this is such a vivid post. I know just what you mean about that feeling of dread that grows as you watch/feel a regression coming on. It is like you can feel the ions in the air or something.

    Hang in there. You will all weather this time and come out the other side. If she'll tolerate it, hold her and hug her and hold her some more. And be sure to find some ways to be good to yourself too.

  20. Essie- What listy thing? I am new to blogging and don't know what your talking about. I was reading this post for the first time and realized how much we have in common. I have a six, almost 7 year old girl that we filed a TPR on and will hopefully adopt this spring. She is FASD,Bipolar, and RAD.Both biological parents were bipolar, one early onset. The behaviors you are describing sound really familiar. The first thing I did when I realized GB was probably bipolar, was to start keeping a mood log. That way, when I took her for a professional evaluation, I already had documented my concerns and the eval went much quicker. Risperdal at night and lithium 2x during the day has made a big difference for GB. We still get the mood swings and the meltdowns, but not as ofter, and not as intense. I mostly blog about GB on my other blog, Ellie's Girl. Laurie


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