Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Help a Great Organization!

CABF (Child and Adolescent Bipolar Foundation) is one of the best resources for parents raising a child with Bipolar or other Mood Disorders. The support I have found from this site is the only thing that has allowed me to survive so far on this journey. If you haven't heard of them, check it out at bpkids.org. They have forums and online support groups as well as an extensive resource directory, including information you can share with your school to help get the help you and your child need.

They are currently competing to receive a grant from Pepsi to fund more outreach programs to reach more parents in need. See the details below of how you can help. It only takes a couple of minutes a day, and doesn't cost a cent!

CABF is competing for a $250,000 grant from The Pepsi Refresh Project during the month of November. The winners will be decided by popular vote. CABF needs your votes every day this month!

There are over 5 million U.S. youth who live with depression or bipolar disorder. Unfortunately, a very small percentage receive treatment. CABF will use the grant from Pepsi to raise public awareness and help more youth who suffer from depression or bipolar disorder.

Voting is as easy as 1-2-3. THREE votes. THREE ways. EVERY day.
Vote Online: Go to http://www.refresheverything.com/CABFhelpsmorekids . This will take you to the CABF Pepsi online voting page. Click "Vote for this Idea". Register once and then you are all set.
Vote on Facebookhttp://tiny.cc/cabfhelpsmorekids. The first time you vote via Facebook, you'll be asked for permission to access your information. Click "Allow". This will take you to the Pepsi Refresh Vote & Share application. You will see CABF's project below the search bar. Click "Vote for this Idea". (Be sure to click "share this idea" to encourage your friends to vote for us on Facebook. Do this every time you vote!) Note: If you don't see our project, search for "CABF".
Text your Vote: Text 104174 to PEPSI (73774) (Normal text rates apply).
(How do I text?)

What Else Can You Do to Get more Votes for CABF?

  • Bookmark our voting pages above.  We need you to vote every day in the month of November. Anyone age 13 or older can vote.
  • Tell your friends on Facebook by clicking the Facebook symbol on the right hand column of the CABF voting page
  • Forward this email to all your friends, along with YOUR PERSONAL MESSAGE asking them to vote for CABF every day. Remember to ask your kids and their friends to vote.
    Don't forget, if CABF wins the challenge, everyone who registered for a daily email reminder will have a chance to win one of three iPads!
  • Hand out flyers and cards to friends, and at meetings, religious services, sporting events, etc. Print Flyers   Print Cards   Order Printed Materials
  • Ask your local newspaper or radio to promote CABF's project.
     Press Release  Brief Description
  • Other Ways to Help  Click here to learn more

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


I can't think of a word to describe how I am feeling lately. I think the most appropriate word would be "blah." But, since that word is probably not in the dictionary, and does not make a very good post title, I am going with disenchanted.

School has been going OK for my son. The new placement is not as bad as I feared, but also not as good as I had hoped. We have had almost all good days, but I don't think any progress is being made. The school seems to be so focused on just keeping things calm that they may have forgotten that their purpose in his life is to prepare him for the future.

And what am I doing about it? Absolutely nothing. I am tired of fighting them. I am tired of being shot down. At this point, as long as he is relatively happy at school, and they are not doing anything to harm him, I am letting it go. I am doing what I can to get him the services he needs outside of school, and that is going to have to be enough for now.

Maybe when those services are in place and the school can see how it is helping, they will step up and do the right thing. For now, I am tired of repeating myself and never being heard. I get enough of that from my kids!

Monday, October 11, 2010

A New Day

Today is a new day, in a new life, for me and my son. I am not sure which direction this change is going to be, especially after the weekend we had.

Saturday was a rare peaceful day. My son was very mellow, not up or down. He was friendly, respectful, funny and calm. He was himself, and this illness seemed to be gone for that one day. I enjoyed the time I got to spend with him; I enjoyed him. He was my sweet little boy that I have not seen for awhile.

Sunday, he was angry, cruel, distracted, and down. The usual. But, it was so hard after having such a good day the day before. While Saturday was wonderful, it also reminded me of what I have been missing. I have gotten so used to rages and depression, so resigned to bouncing off the walls mania, that it seems so normal. I know it's not, but to us, it has become normal. 

The stability we found when he started on his current medications over a year ago has been slowly deteriorating. So slowly that, while I knew we were in crisis, and that things need to change, I had forgotten how good things were for awhile. His therapist tried to point it out to me once, but I guess I needed to see it for myself. I was reviewing the last week with her, saying it was a pretty good week, no major issues, got punched, kicked, bit just a few times, but the situations didn't escalate. She says, that is not "good." No, it wasn't, but when you compare being punched once to being attacked repeatedly for an hour or more, one punch is good! But, when you compare one punch with spending a nice, fun day with a sweet eight year old boy, then it is bad. I guess I just want us to get back to that place where I can afford to see one act of violence as bad. Where I have a lot of good to compare it to, and where weekly trips to the emergency room are a distant memory.

Today is the first day at the new placement. I am conflicted. I can see some good things coming from this in the (hopefully near) future. I can see some bad coming, as well. I am scared for my little boy. I am scared for myself. I am sad, and discouraged. But for his sake, I have to be hopeful, and supportive, and positive. It is so hard to bury all the bad feelings and thoughts while he is around that after I dropped him off this morning, I crashed. Then I had the whole day to worry, and dread, and maybe to hope. Which version of my child will I greet at the bus this afternoon? Will he be happy, sad, angry, manic, depressed, violent...? And then, what about the next day? And the day after that?

I ended up spending most of the day distracting myself from the thought of what was happening at school, as much as possible. My stressing over it would not change the outcome. I was able to think about other things for minutes at a time, occasionally.

This afternoon I picked up a smiling boy from the school bus. I desperately searched his backpack for notes, or some signs of what happened throughout the day. No luck. He says he loved it. He seems happy. He made new friends, and went outside for recess, and ate lunch in the cafeteria (he has spent both inside the classroom since about midway through last year). He survived. He may have thrived.

My only hesitation here, since this all sounds great, is that last Friday he gave a similar report of school: a great day, he loves school now, nothing bad happened, on and on. Then, I got my last email from the former special education teacher, telling me all about what an awful day it was, the destruction he caused and them placing him in the seclusion room. This is a day he thought was great?

So, after struggling through the first day - me, not him - I am still worried about the days to come, but not sure if I need to be. At least parent teacher conferences are next week, so I only have a little while to be in the dark.

For now, I am going to pretend that I can believe that what he says is true. I am going to assume this is going well for him, until I hear otherwise. Well, I am going to try.

Friday, October 8, 2010

School and Friends

This week my son was officially labeled as "different." Technically, he was a long time ago, but now he is officially "too different," which is what makes it official. No parent should ever have to hear "we can no longer meet his needs, he has to go somewhere else." This week my son lost his teacher, his class, his friends, and his normalcy. But, this post isn't really about him.

I have vented all my frustrations of how this is going to hurt him, I have pondered how it may actually help him, I have vowed to do everything possible to make this a good change in his life.

But I don't feel I have the right to complain to anyone about how this affects me, so I am doing it here, anonymously, because I have to get it out.

I feel like I also have lost my friends. There is one person at school that has stood by me through everything for the last eight years, and has always been someone I could turn to. She was also someone I enjoyed talking with, and whom I had a lot of respect for. Now, I feel betrayed. How could she sit across the table from me and tell me they would no longer help my son, when she has continually told me, "we are not going to give up on him. We will not kick him out of this school, that is not what we are about." How could she?

I have lost my identity as a {name of school} parent. I am no longer a member of the PTA, I will never again stand outside the school with the other moms and chat while we wait for our kids to come out. And yet, I will see these people often, but I am no longer one of them. How will I handle the first encounter at the grocery store, when normally we would stop and chat and laugh, and now they may not even say hello in passing? Now I am the mom of one of "those kids," and so I must be "one of those moms."

I have loved and supported this school for eight years, and now I am an outcast there. I don't know who to be anymore.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Hospitals and Stuff

We just got home from a three hour visit to the Emergency Room. Not the best way to spend the evening. I am not really sure it was helpful, but am hoping that at least it will document what is going on.

I tried tonight to give my son his medication twenty minutes early, telling him he was going to go to bed a little early. He refused to take them, then proceeded to throw things at me, smash every electronic he could find onto the floor, spray air freshener at me, and finally, as I decided to take him to the ER, bit me on the way out the door.

By the time we got there, he was calm, like nothing had happened. Until they took us back to a room - without a TV. (I told the triage nurse that it may be rewarding for him to watch TV, so they chose that room on purpose, and with my blessing.) He actually showed them a little bit of what he can do, although the only thing in the room to throw was a pillow. But, he made good use of it by throwing the pillow and pillowcase separately. If I had requested it, they would have admitted him tonight.

That is scary. On the one hand, I want him to get the help he needs, and I want the violence to stop. On the other, I don't want us to be at the point where hospitalization is the only option. I hope we have not gotten there, and that I made the right choice tonight. I guess the next few days will show that.

Two more days to get ready for the first IEP meeting of the year (one week until school starts.) If things are this bad without school, how are we going to make it through third grade?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Moving on, Letting go...

So much has changed since I started this blog. My focus, my dreams, my life. Most have been changes for the good, although our life is far from perfect.

I no longer fear for my or my child's safety on a daily basis. The violent rages are mostly gone, and when they return for a brief reunion, they are a shadow of what we had before. Not that it isn't scary to have your 7 year old child attack you and try to inflict as much damage as possible, but it is not as much of a nightmare as it was before.

I know a lot of the reasons why my child is the way he is. I am still searching and learning, because I think there may be more there than just BiPolar, which is common. I have found other people who actually understand what life with a child like this is like. I have been able to get him medication to make life more managable, though I feel like we have not gotten things as under control as we can.

We, as a family are no longer homeless. We always had a roof over our heads, but now we have our own (small) apartment, and we are not likely to need to go to a shelter any time soon. We have our first real pets. In the past we had a couple fish, 3 mice, and a hamster at different times. Now we have two adorable kittens that have brought a lot of joy and laughter to our home.

I am trying to start a business, and it may even be a success, if I can ever get over the first hurdle of launching.

I think we are going to make it. We are not where we should be yet, but we are on the way.