Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Maybe I Just Don't Get It

I admit it, I am not a very worldly person and I've lived a relativity easy life in my small world. I've been very fortunate to be healthy and have healthy children. I don't know much about mental illness, although both of my parents may have had or have a mental illness. Mental illness is a highly sensitive subject that I don't think may of us know much about unless we are directly affected. Yes, during the past decade, society is trying to learn more and be more accepting of those kinds of illnesses. 

I can understand what it means when the DR says a child has ADHD. I've seen my niece who is autistic. I've seen depression. I know what defiance disorder is.  But what is bipolar? I have a friend who suffers from it. She explained about the manic episodes she experienced and that it can be different for others. Finally the DR found the right meds for her. I've read a little about it because I want to understand.

One of my daughters in law and her mother have been diagnosed as bipolar. I don't know either one well enough to ask how it manifested itself in them. 

But why was my 7-1/2 year old grandson diagnosed with it? Before that he was diagnosed with ADHD. Before he went to school I spent a lot of time with J. He was an easy baby to watch. He talked early and walked late and was potty trained even later. He went to church and the library often with me and was not a problem. He's the fussiest eater I have ever seen and still eats very few foods. He refuses to try new foods. He's very loving and social. All of his teachers love him. In fact, on Sunday the Sunday school teacher thanked me for bring him, saying "He's so polite and helpful." He can be very stubborn and throw a huge fit if things don't go his way. He's always been a restless sleeper. Often, in the morning,  I'd find him facing the opposite way I had laid him in the crib the night before. It seemed like he could really catch up his sleep when he was here. In fact I thought that part of his behavior problems were due to lack of sleep. Once he gets something stuck in his mind, he hangs onto it. He was a Dora fan for years, then it was Pokemon; almost like an obsession.  He likes things the same way. He can eat the same FEW foods every day. Every saturday night we have the very same routine (or tradition as he calls it) and he likes it that way. He does not jump from subject to subject. Sunday afternoon he studied our church directory for at least an hour. He looked at every photo, read every name, and commented on most of the members. We have a small congregation. He has an excellent memory!

I wasn't thrilled when he started taking meds, but I did/do see an improvement. Before the last change of meds he'd sleep all afternoon when he was here. He now has a new med and was told he's bipolar. Last Saturday he/his mom/his other grandma forgot to bring his meds over. I could definitely tell the difference. He was annoying and more demanding. He had lots more energy. 

From what I've read I don't see bipolar....but I'm not a DR. Maybe they are still trying to get to the bottom of it. I just want to understand.....to be able to help..... I am not the parent and I know they love him and are doing the best they can for him. I just like like to know 'why?'....and that's my compulsion. J  did tell me he's supposed to be in an anger management class. His dad has anger issues too, his mom is quite stubborn, so some of his issues are probably hereditary. 

OK, I'm done going on and on......if you've read this far, thanks for your time.

One of our quiet moments on Sunday afternoon..... I was trying to do some organizing in my crafting area when J saw a bin with his name on it. I told him it was scrapbook stuff, so he pulled it down and decided to look through it. Can you imagine anything funnier than a 7-1/2 year old saying "This brings back memories"? Yes, that is exactly what he said! He looked at everything and would say "I remember that." It was fun just to watch him and reminisce. We've always had good conversations and lots of fun together. 

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