Sunday, March 28, 2010

Just Another Manic Monday...

Or in our case, Sunday. Sunday seems to be the day that everything really falls apart for Mary. I don't know why?

We had a relatively good week last week, in spite of our rough start. Things steadily improved Tuesday - Thursday. But by Thursday afternoon, she was starting to break through the medicine again. She told her therapist that she wasn't going to talk about whether her brain was racing because then the therapist would be helping her and she doesn't need help! That's grandiose thinking for you. She has been on edge, but able to control herself from late Thursday afternoon until this afternoon. Then she lost it again and was threatening suicide. In a way, this turned into a positive thing (if your child threatening to kill themselves can ever be positive???). At one point during her meltdown, I asked her if she really meant what she was saying about wanting to die. She told me that yes, she did, so I was able to broach the subject of going to the hospital to get her some extra help. After the "storm" was over I was able to talk with her a little bit more and try to prepare her for the fact that this might become a reality in the near future. Hopefully she got the message that we are not mad at her and if we take her to the hospital it isn't because we don't love her. Instead if we have to admit her to the hospital it is because we do love her and want to protect her in the best way we know how. I don't know how much of that sinks in at this point in time, but at least if it does happen, she won't be completely blindsided by it.

I am not sure if that is what the doctor meant when she told me that our tolerance for this is too high? Should we have loaded her into the car and headed straight to the ER when she started talking about wanting to die? It is so hard to tell, because right now the storm is over and she is back to being relatively happy. Of course we will continue to watch her carefully tonight and see what happens.

Some possible good news on the lab work end of things... there is a therapist that can possibly help her work through the issues that she has with this. Unfortunately, he is in Atlanta and we will have to go once a week for probably 3 months or more to get her to the point where she is able to tolerate it. It will be well worth it in the long run, but will be challenging to say the least to try and fit that into the already hectic pace of life. Since it is going to take so long to work through these issues, I am assuming that we will need to have the dentist do the conscience sedation for the time being and hopefully that will also help her realize that it isn't as big a deal as her mind has made it into.

So, I guess for now, you could say that we are still in a holding pattern for the upcoming week. We have a doctor's appointment on Tuesday, which will hopefully go well. I am so thankful for friends and family and their words of encouragement to us. You all are blessing us in so many ways. I am continuing to pray for peace and stability for Mary, but trying to remember that His plans are best, no matter what the circumstances look like from our point of view.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Making Preparations

This morning the sun is shining and the temps are supposed to warm up a little bit. It does my heart good to see the sun and anticipate soaking up a little of it's warmth. If only the rest of life could be like this sunny morning.

Yesterday I spoke with our psychiatrist. She was concerned at the escalation of the bipolar cycling and our inability to stabilize Mary. Her recommendation was that we consider hospitalizing Mary. That is such a tough thing for me to wrap my mind around. We are in a holding pattern right now, hoping that this last increase in medication dosage will make a difference or at the very least buy us a few days to prepare the household for this difficult situation. I spent the day yesterday cleaning like a mad woman and getting stocked up on groceries, just in case. Today I am going to be looking into what hospital we would want to put her in if the need arises, lining up childcare/carpool/etc. for the other kids, and cooking a few meals to stick in the fridge. Something the doctor said to me keeps resonating in my mind... she told me that the longer we let this cycling continue, the harder it will be to bring it under control. And she said that both Mark and I have a high tolerance for dealing with these issues, but we need to realize that we can't let it continue to go on like it is. I am one of those people who will say, "well if it gets any worse, we will go." I need to realize that the idea is to not let it get any worse. If it stays as bad as it has been the past few days, we need to go. If we don't see improvement, we need to go. It doesn't have to get any worse to justify taking her to the hospital. I am not sure at this point what the goal of putting her in the hospital is? Maybe once I understand that a little bit better I will be more at peace with it and better able to move forward...

Another issue we are preparing for right now is the need to have some blood work done on Mary. Because of the medications that she is on, we need to regularly check her liver and kidneys among other things to make sure that there are no negative side effects starting to happen. The last thing we want to do is cause more medical issues for her already stressed body. Unfortunately, Mary has been extremely noncompliant about having her blood drawn. That is an understatement, let me rephrase... there is no way in &*$#*% that she is going to let anyone near her with a needle. You get the picture. She can't even be in the room when someone is talking about drawing blood without having a panic attack. Okay, so how do we get blood from an already traumatized 11 year old? Our solution right now is to put her under conscience sedation and have it drawn then. Of course this brings on a whole new set of things that need to fall into place in order for this to happen. Our doctor's office is not set up to handle that type of procedure, and neither is any doctor's office or urgent care clinic in our area. The ER can do it, but they would rather just hold her down and get it done. And who wants to go to the ER???? Not me. Can't see that being a pleasant experience every few months! Thankfully we have a great dentist who has agreed to do the procedure for us, at least this once. Our next big hurdle will be getting the insurance to pay for it. As of right now, they have said that it is not covered and we will have to pay for it out of pocket. OUCH!

I have to say that my control idol is really being threatened right now. I want to control everything that happens to myself and my children. I want to have everything in place and lined up for all the "what-ifs" in life. I find my peace when my world is planned and regulated and controlled by me, not in trusting that God has control. Can I trust Him with this? It boils down to my own unbelief. Of course God can handle this. He didn't overlook something or step down off His throne for a minute and this slipped by Him. But does He care enough... like I want Him to care? I did spend quite a bit of time yesterday while I was cleaning just cussing God out and telling Him how unfair all of this is. I trust that He is able to stand up to my anger and love me anyway.

I am realizing that my biggest preparations today should not be for all the physical things that may or may not come our way. So, I plan to spend the day preaching this truth to myself... He does care, He does intervene, He does pave the way, He is trustworthy, He is in control and I can trust that He will hold us when the ground beneath our feet crumbles... Because I really need to hear that today!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Monsters Are Back...

As I sit down to write this, I am not even sure where to start. It has been a very rough few months for Mary. My heart is heavy as we have just been through an hour long ordeal with her. I hurt for my daughter who wishes she was never born. I long to take away the monsters that exist inside her head.

When Mary was 5, she became very afraid of monsters. Although she knew that there are no such things as monsters, her questions to me were always, "but what if they really do exist, and you have just never seen them". Her biggest fear was the bathroom, where she was positive that monsters lived in the vents of the heating system. She has gotten over that fear, or at least has come to realize that they don't live in the bathroom vents. But instead the monsters exist solely inside her head. They scream at her until she can't hear anything else, and then she realizes that the voice she hears screaming is her own.

For quite some time, those monsters have been silent because of good medications, a great team of doctors who are committed to helping her, and the support of family and friends. However, the past several months have had her spiraling downward. For whatever reason, maybe her age and physical growth, maybe the changes in the seasons, or who knows what other reasons, she has been very unstable. Changing medications or medication dosage levels seem to help temporarily, but after a couple of days, the spiral begins again. She has complained of her brain racing and being too loud. She has been alternatively too hyper and giddy, or very depressed and wanting to die. And often those two states mix in a soup of mania and depression that are indistinguishable from each other. Her anger and aggression towards the family has been escalating. School has become a challenge and for the first time ever, she actually had a major meltdown in school. And tonight, the monsters came back.

For the first time in quite a while I was fearful to leave her alone because of what she might do to herself. She kept saying that she can't take this anymore, she wishes she was never born. She said that she wanted to jump out of her window (3 stories up). She was fearful of going into the kitchen because she wanted to take a knife and kill herself with it. She was planning to run away and never let me find her. And alternately she wanted to do whatever she could think of that would hurt me emotionally. She just wanted quiet, but couldn't stop herself from screaming. What made this different than the last time the monsters were screaming in her brain is that she was completely coherent the entire time. Reasonable? No, not at all! But coherent and able to carry on a conversation with me, yes. I am not sure what to do with this new twist?

In the past several months, I have been praying for relief for Mary, peace for the rest of the family and that God would change our circumstances. Yes, I know that my heart needs work too, but really I just want Him to fix this problem and then we will work on my heart later. But earlier this week, God reminded me to pray that no matter what my earthly circumstances, that my heart would be found faithful. I confess right now, it is so easy for me to just get angry and then shut down. It is much easier to deal with the reality of having a bipolar child if I am not on that emotional roller coaster with her. So, I put on my game face and pull myself up by my bootstraps and march forward. What I think He wants is brokenness in my heart so that He can make beauty from all this ugliness. I am still not sure what that looks like on a day to day basis. But I am convinced that this is what He wants from me. He wants me to trust Him with my child, knowing that He holds her in the palm of his hand. He sees every tear that she sheds and He weeps too. He has a plan for her life, and that plan includes having bipolar disorder. He can and will use this as a redemptive work in her life, and in mine. So, I can go to bed tonight, knowing that He is in control, and His plan is better than mine ever could be.