Sunday, June 24, 2012

Quality Time Awaits...

I’ll be taking a few days off from blogging as I spend some quality time with my family this week. I look forward to sharing the details later. I’m also honored to share with you a very personal interview from a father living in Pakistan who lost his son to suicide 5 years ago after his bipolar illness took over. He reached out to me through this blog and expressed his desire to share his story with hopes that someone in the world can learn from his experience. I hope that you will check back for this special interview after next week. Wishing you all happy summer days and the strength and hope to get through the tough ones.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Suicide Prevention Fundraiser

This weekend there’s a fundraising event called MUD-RUN-4-LIFE in a small town that’s trying to stop the growing numbers of suicide among it’s teens. Over the course of 1 year, there’s been 6 suicides among the youth and a handful of attempts that resulted in hospitalization.

Having watched a personal friend lose her son to suicide, I’ve witnessed the destruction this tragedy leaves behind to parents, siblings and friends.

What makes this fundraiser special is that it’s being put on by the parents of 3 boys that lost their lives to suicide last summer. These parents, in the midst of their pain, have decide to try and put an end to these suicides by raising money to help bring awareness, education and services to the youth that are so vulnerable in their town.

If you would like to help make a difference for these families, please donate online to the following website:

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If you yourself are struggling with suicidal thoughts, please call 911 immediately or call a national suicide prevention line at .1-800-442-HOPE.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Mania Changes with Age

There’s been endless debate about whether or not bipolar disorder can occur in children and most of that is centered around the form mania takes in the two age groups. Many say that mania should look just like it does in adulthood, disputing the research that made bipolar disorder more common in children with it’s claim that mania can look like irritability in childhood.

This week the debate continues with a news article from News Medical sharing a review of published studies that shows that there’s a difference between childhood mania and adulthood mania. The article claims that aggression and irritability were the most prominent symptom of mania in children where as in adults it was grandiosity and sexual interest.

So does this type of research sway your opinion either way?

Check out the article for yourself!

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News Medical
Mania symptom profile changes with age
By Mark Cowen
Published on June 15

Consulted on June 19

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Dad Day!

In honor of father’s day, here’s my favorite “Dad” video, it’s guaranteed to make you smile!

To all the Dads out there, thank you for all that you do, we appreciate you so much.

To my very own Papa Bear, thank you for being a rock star Dad to our boys! You bring us so much joy, teaching us to laugh and be silly even when things are tough. Thank you for always having my back and for being “in-the-game” with all of our parenting strategies (even when they exhaust you). Thank you for being the leader of this rambunctious clan, teaching our boys by example to be a man of character and faith and for loving us with all of our imperfections. You have given us an amazing life, I will forever feel blessed to have walked through this parenting journey with you by my side.
We love you forever and always,
Mama Bear and her 3 cubs.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Buckle Up—It’s Summer!

It’s time to fasten the seat belts folks, summer has arrived!!!

So we’re almost one week into summer and the challenge has begun. My oldest has been testing limits, displaying defiance with serious eye rolling, even calling me the “B-word” as he reminds me once again that I’ve ruined his life.

This isn’t major stuff, I really can’t complain, but I’m working hard in keeping us on track. I know that as soon as I let up my guard, I’m in trouble. So we’re continuing our modification program with inspections throughout the day along with activities to keep the crew occupied and having fun. I’m a big believer that structure is “King”—it’s my only shot at surviving!

Plus I was told by a professor with mood disorders that one of the single most important things a parent can do to help a child with a mood disorder is to have a schedule and keep to it. That means, waking up, eating, snack time, bedtime all happen at the same time every day. He said it has a positive affect with their circadian rhythms which helps promote optimal moods overall.

Tonight as I was tucking my son in, out of the blue he says, “I’m sorry mom for this week. I’ve been getting into trouble a lot, my moods have been all over the place. I’m just not use to being home all day away from school.”

I couldn’t help but grab him and give him the biggest hug!

Just when I think things are getting a little off track I’m reminded about how far he’s come. Not in a million years would he be able to do what he did tonight, but thanks to his medication and therapy along with a little maturity, we’re seeing amazing things even among the mess.

It hasn’t been a pleasant week, but after his sincere, sweet apology, I have hope in the weeks ahead as our daily schedule becomes routine that my son will feel more settled in and as a result, I’ll be able to enjoy our long days together.

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So what are you doing this summer to keep peace in the home? Please share, we can all use a few tips!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Starting Over with My Youngest?

It’s like starting over, only it’s the little one.

Today my boys were at a neighbor’s birthday party. Things were going great until my youngest son (age 7) became overwhelmed. The next thing I see is him knocking over a folding chair and screaming that he wanted to go home. I took him to the side of the house, away from the backyard festivities to help him calm down. 

It was like my oldest all over again. Filled with anxiety he explained, “I don’t know what’s wrong!” When I asked if it was too crowded he said, “Yes! Too many kids!” Then he began to clench his fists and growl.

It was 6 years ago that I saw these same reactions to birthday parties in my oldest.

I tried to calm him with my words, but he wasn’t going to go back into the party. So I brought the cake to him and he sat on the side of the house eating his piece of cake alone.

Once the cake was gone he quietly left his corner and with a look of defeat, he slowly walked toward me. I invited him to sit with me, but before I could complete my sentence he was on the run, out the back gate and to our house.

Once I caught up to him I found him pacing outside the front of our house yelling to himself, “STUPID PARTY!!!” and ranting on and on.

As I tried to bring him inside, he tried to break a branch off our tree, then collapsed inside crying saying, “I don’t know what’s wrong with me.”

This event comes at no surprise. Off and on we’ve seen these moments. Even his teacher wrote up at the end of the year letting us know about his behavior during class which would include, “withdrawing from the class and putting his head down or having episodes of being very energetic and not being able to focus, sometimes he would switch between theses behaviors frequently and quickly.” She also mentioned that loud music, singing or classroom cheers would upset him. 

Now you would think that since we’ve experienced these behaviors with our oldest that we’d be a step ahead of the game, but it’s just not true. If anything, it’s more confusing. Does my youngest son have an inherited illness such as anxiety? Or is this just a result of post traumatic stress disorder after all he’s experienced with his older brother?

As the saying goes... “Only time will tell.”

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Friendly Hallucinations

Today my son had another visual hallucination. It happened while he was playing with a homemade bow and arrow. He was having a great time shooting his wooden arrow across the court with his brothers when he turned to me and said, “I just saw a man walking across the court!”

My reaction was one of indifference since I thought he was talking about a real person. I calmly said, “Yeah, where?”

Then he said, “He was over there”, pointing to a short distance ahead.

“He was wearing a tan hat with black trim and a tan suit, kinda like one Daddy would where to work. In his hand he was carrying a black briefcase.”

After this detailed description it became apparent that this wasn’t a real man. To confirm I asked, “So was he real?”

My son responded in a matter-of-fact tone, “He looked real, like my brother standing over there, only his face was hidden by his hat and he was gone after about 8 seconds.”

Out of curiosity I asked, “Was he scary or friendly?”

“He was friendly, that’s why it didn’t bother me!”

Cool, good to know. If you’re going to have visual hallucinations, I’m all for the friendly type. Thankfully, my son didn’t seem upset and was quickly back to his bow and arrow game.

I don’t know about you, but I find this whole experience interesting. It amazes me how the brain works. I wish I knew what caused the hallucination, his moods were very stable and have been for a long time. In fact, he just finished school and has been better than ever. The last hallucinations were the shadow men he saw 3 months ago. Whatever the cause, I’m so relieved that he doesn’t seem upset about them. As a kid, I was scared of imaginary things, I can’t imagine being a kid who saw imaginary things as real.

My son demonstrates once again that he’s amazing, living life one day at a time.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Therapy Over the Phone

There was a lot of news this week on the latest finding that talk therapy over the phone can be helpful for those suffering from depression. Considering that a depressed person would have to schedule appointments, get ready and travel for an appointment, I can see how those that need therapy the most might avoid it because they can’t even leave their home.

I’m glad to see that there are alternative ways that people can seek treatment. It may not be as effective as being in person, but I think we can all agree that therapy over the phone is better than none at all—now we have research to prove it!

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Here is one of many news article about this latest study:

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Seasons of Change

This is our last week of school.

Honestly, I wish it wasn’t, I’ve grown to really appreciate my time while the boys are in school to tackle chores or work from home. I think I’m feeling a little stressed knowing that I’ll be trying to keep the boys entertained and behaving from morning until night.

The blessing is that my son is doing so much better than this time last year. He continues to appear stable which is fantastic, but he’s starting to show preteen defiance which is a bummer.

It’s funny, one would think that this kind of defiance is the same as his unstable behavior, but it isn’t. I wish I could explain it, but there’s not much anger, instead I see more of an annoyance that I exist and telling him what to do. Where the unstable behavior is coming from a very different, scary place.

This season of change brings me some sadness. I feel like we just got him stable and I want to enjoy our relationship, but he’s now outgrown his mom and seems irritated by anything I say. I know this phase happens to all kids as they grow and it’s something to celebrate, but a part of me wishes I could have enjoyed our time better while he was still young.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Best of “Ask a Bipolar”

After a lot of hard work, Marybeth of Ask a Bipolar website has created a “Best Of” book containing the most common topics from questions and answers taken from the website. Like the website, the book is intended to educate those who have bipolar disorder and/or the friends, family and anyone else wanting to understand or learn more about this illness. If you’re interested you can find it on amazon at:

Kindle Version:

Print Version: