This is another one of those posts that I've wanted to do but have just sat here on many occasions and starred at the blinking cursor. I never know where to start or how to address it. Warning this is a very long post!!
Ever since my daughter was born I knew something was special about her. I had many people telling me one thing after another of what was "wrong" with her. Now remember I did not come to Christ until 2005. My daughter was born in 1994. The hardest part of being a parent is hearing from everyone around you "what is wrong with her?" "You should get her checked out." "Why does she do that?" I know many of these people meant well and did it in a loving way. But many people do not know what it is like....I mean really like living with someone who is bipolar. I am not writing this to get sympathy...but to raise awareness of this disorder that is often suffered in silence. Especially by the family.
Katrina is a very outgoing child. She has been from birth...I often laugh and tell people she was born talking with the nurses. From day one she did not like to sleep. She wasn't fussy when a baby just wide awake at 1 or 2 in the morning. Eventually it got a little better OR I just got use to it.
As she got older (3-5 year old) she became aggressive toward others. She was in preschool and had started using foul language. She would swear in class. I heard from people...she is one spoiled child. You need to discipline her more!! They were not behind the closed doors of home. Apple Cider vinegar worked for a little while....a trick I got from my cousin's wife who is from Alabama. I had talked with her doctor about concerns I had about her. But as a parent you never want to admit there is something "wrong" with your child. Especially mental problems.
Fast forward to school. We did not always homeschool. Katrina went to public school kindergarten thru 6th grade. When going through a divorce Katrina had to switch schools. That made things worse with emotional stress on her. I won't go into details about home life before the divorce but it was not calm by any means. Many of the school officials told me Katrina was mentally retarded. I had an uncle who was mentally retarded and I knew Katrina was not. The school wanted me to sign papers admitting to this so they could "help" her. NO way was I going to sign anything. She began going to another school and they were not any better. They told me Katrina would never learn unless she had medication. I was still ignoring the signs of her disorder. It wasn't until she was in 9th grade I actually pursued the "something is wrong with her" idea.
Life at home was not fun at all. One minute Katrina would be happy and joking around. The very next minute she was crying. Then throwing things, hitting someone or something. I had taken her to the doctor and mentioned this to her doctor. She said it was her hormones and to give her some PMS pills. Well the weeks before her cycle would start were even worse than anything we had experienced. She would physically attack her siblings. Throw items in the house. Break things. My husband is a God sent!! He was single with no kids. He came into this craziness without many complaints. I'm very blessed that God gave him to us!!
I was up one night crying over a battle that had just occurred here. She got so mad she started choking her sister. I knew at this time it was not anything to take lightly. She was going to end up in jail or a mental institution. I saw on TV this packet you could request to see if someone had Bi-polar. I got the packet and it suggested I keep a diary of her behavior. We as a family had suffered in silence for too long. I was afraid of my own daughter! Many people told me she needed more discipline, she needed Christ, she needed this and that. I agree she needed Christ and has given her life to Him. Praise the Lord. BUT this is also a physical and REAL thing she is going through. Not just something in her head.
We started going to a new doctor 6 months before I started keeping a journal. I finally had enough to take to the doctor. I LOVE her doctor. She talks to us not above us like we are a number on her schedule. I told her all about my concerns then she talked with Katrina. It was on that day a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I cried a river when that happened. My daughter still struggles daily as do all of us. She cries in her room asking God to make her normal. That hurts me deeply. As a mom I want to take ALL her hurt away. People that do not have mental problems just do not understand what it is like. Not being able to control certain aspects of your behavior.
I struggle each day...I see so many families with kids who are great at this and that. I know they don't mean it...but the people are always saying how smart my sibling's kids are. Katrina is always quizzed on stuff. As are the rest of my kids. Maybe it's because we homeschool....I'm not sure what the reason for it is? Immediately when she doesn't know the answer right away she hears..."What is wrong with you....?" One thing this has taught me is God does not make mistakes! Psalm 139:14 "I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well." I spend a lot of my day in prayer. That is the best medicine for me!!
Bipolar is a very real thing. It's not something that is slapped on someone. We struggle every day trying to keep order in our home. I still have my days of tears, but I know now that God has me in His hands and will not let me fall. Katrina knows He has her in his hands. But she is also like other teenage girls out there with all the "drama". She is learning how to control her out bursts and anger. She does take a medicine now to help. But she knows the best medicine is God!