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Old 06-13-2006, 05:25 PM   #1
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Could This Be the Light At the End of The Tunnel??

Hello you wonderful boarders (And that includes you Kiehn )

Today was a day that I finally see some glimmer of hope. I am afraid to get my hopes up but here goes......(I am starting a new thread since the other one is way too lengthy for you oldies but goodies here!! )

Anyway...with no clear diagnosis or treatment over the past 5 months, my 14 year old daughter was brought before family court today and thanks to some angels on the sidelines that were thrown into our lives who saw the circumstances that brought us there the court had us interviewed by a representative from a local Adolescent Psychiatric Facility. Initially we were nervous when the judge requested we speak with a guardian legal counsel appointed by the court. She met with us and said that most likely with the charges as they were the judge would mandate probationary terms and point us towards community resources blah, blah, blah. We told her we had been down that road for the past 4 months and that we weren't going there again. I proceeded to go over Erin's history and immediately she changed her tune and said that she would request an immediate interview/evaluation from the Adolescent Psychiatric Center and then come before the judge with their findings.

We met with the representative and within the first few minutes he was convinced of Erin's need for a more thourough evaluation in light of all that has transpired. She was immediately granted admission to the facility for a 2 week comprehensive evaluation and escorted there by probation and we followed. The judge will see her in 2 weeks to determine whether her stay needs to be extended depending on her initial evaluation and findings.

We met with the child psychiatrist who was assigned for Erin's admission as well as one of the nurses. When I went through her entire history which took quite a while he leaned back calmly and told me that in his opinion by history alone his impression was that Erin was Bipolar. I cannot describe to you what a relief it was to hear that......I know that it is not great news but I immediately was filled with such a sense of relief that somebody articulated and somewhat identified what was going on. At this point I told him about everybody here and how I had found such wonderful support from others and that many here had told me by my numereous posts that Erin was demonstrating the traits of Bipolar. I told him of how frustrated we have been to have her on meds that didn't even help her and that as far as we were concerned Erin was no better off at this time than she was 8 months ago when this all started and that something had to be done!!!

I brought up how now that she was in a safe place where she could be monitored I wanted her off of the Zoloft & Concerta since neither of them were doing Erin any good and that I wanted a different mood stabilizer than the Abilify tried to see how she did. (Donte would be proud of this I think!!! ) He agreed and said that off course there was an entire team that would be involved and that Erin would be assigned to a female psychiatrist and that he would relay his findings off to her sometime during the evening. For now he was going to discontinue the Concerta and decrease the Zoloft back down to 25mg from 50mg so that she would be weaned off of it. My heart jumped in excitement at this news and my overall impression was that finally we are going to get to the bottom of all of this. The pdoc also handed us some literature regarding antidepressants and the danger of their use in children and the possibility of increasing suicidal tendencies rather than helping depression. I believe that as difficult as it was to get to this place that we were provided with many angels to get us to this point where hopefully we will find the proper diagnosis and treatment for Erin.

I must admit that we are exhausted and as much as I am relieved I am concerned about Erin's overall future in having Bipolar. I know that it is not an easy road but meeting so many of you here certainly shows me how having Bipolar is not the worst thing in the world. I have come to know personally that leaving it untreated has got to be even worse for both the patient and family. I just want my baby to smile again and to have some hope without worrying about the way she feels and how she doesn't have anything to look forward to or worry about what it is that makes her feel the way that she does and how to go about fixing it.

The pdoc mentioned the antiepileptic meds such as Depakote & Risperedal (sp??).....I can imagine Donte doing some jumping jacks right about now .....and I did feel as if I did my share of headstands to get to where we are today!!! And it was well worth it!!!

I just hope we find the "magic" drug that does it for Erin.....once we do then I will know that I finally did my job!!

Okay all you oldies here....how will I know when we find the right drug/drugs???? Will I see immediate effects??? And I guess if we go through various combos and do not see any improvements it will indicate we have a wrong diagnosis???? The thing is that somehow I do feel that Erin may possibly have a combo of bipolar and Borderline going on. How are the treatments different if that is the case???

Okay everybody let's brainstorm so that we can finally pin this all down!!! i finally have hope that by the time Erin is done being evaluated that we will have the answers we have been wating so long for!!!

Oh....and just in case I forgot to tell you all.....you are wonderful and I will never ever forget all that you have done to get our family to where we are today!!! Thank you from the bottom of my heart!!

((((HUGS))))) ~ Goody

 
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Old 06-13-2006, 07:49 PM   #2
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Re: Could This Be the Light At the End of The Tunnel??

Thanks...........
For the special recognition. Im so glad to hear things are turning around that's wonderful news. My daughter was also bipolar and was put on anitdepressants,
one of them started her cutting herself. She had to try several different drugs before she found one that worked for her. I have heard both Depakote & Risperedal are
great for bipolar. The biggest draw back and weight gain. Time wise could be different for everyone but the average is 3-6 weeks. I think with our daughter who takes tegretol, I started noticing some changes the first week. Good Luck, K

 
Old 06-13-2006, 08:23 PM   #3
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Re: Could This Be the Light At the End of The Tunnel??

Okay, Kiehn I could use your input.....my daughter already is upset about the weight gain she had with Zoloft (I believe she only gained 5 pounds) I already told the pdoc and asked that when it comes to choosing a mood stabilizer we choose one that will have minimal weight gain....I know that is difficult. They already tried the Abilify which she was hypersensitive with and would have been great in that regard.

So....what are our choices??? Would appreciate anyone's input since I believe we will be discussing med choices tomorrow.

Thanks.....Goody

 
Old 06-13-2006, 09:29 PM   #4
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Re: Could This Be the Light At the End of The Tunnel??

I only know of 2 for certain that dont cause weight gain and work for Bipolar.
Tegretol (carbapenzamine) & Topamax. Topamax has a nick name of Dopeamax
because you feel and act like you drugged. I suppose in time you might become
acustom to it but as far as weight gain, it actually know to cause weight loss. Tegretol is an older antiseizure med. After trying Lithium, abilify, Trileptal (remake of tegretol) and countless anitdepressants, my daughter now takes Tegretol and welbutrin (a antidepressant that doesnt cause weight gain) Your doctor will probably suggest trying the new version call Trileptal and tell you it has less side effects. It may for some but it didnt for me or my daugther in fact when I tried it I came the closest to commiting suiside then I ever have in my life. Hope this helps.

 
Old 06-13-2006, 09:45 PM   #5
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Re: Could This Be the Light At the End of The Tunnel??

Goodie!
Hurrah! You did it! You fought so hard to get Erin recognied as mentally ill and not a "problem teen." You did this pretty much single handedly and I want you to give yourself a huge pat on the back! I'm so happy for Erin and your family.

As far as the meds, I haven't been on many. I'm allregic to Lithium (that was NO fun) and Depakote made me sleepy and I gained weight. I also had a lot of trouble with my linguistic skills. I suddenly developed dyslexia and had problems with memory and word retrieval. Once I switched to lamactal, the weight came off and my sleep and word usage went back to normal.

Unfortunately, the dx is just the beginning. When I took lithium, I was sure I had found the cure. But then, two days later when I was covered in a horrible rash from head to foot, I became discouraged and depressed. Then the Depakote, which came with it's own behavioral changes. The problem with me is I always think everything is great and don't see the effects of the meds. I guess that's the downside of always looking for the bright side.
I was very sleepy all the time on the Depakote and didn't realize that's what it was until I was off of it. That is when someone else in your life is very helpful. These problems are more obvious to others than the medicated one.

Yes, Erin has a hard road ahead. But not as hard as you might think. She has some very special gifts to help her and you are one of them. BPD's are resilliant people. She is only 14 and she has been through some dark times and some elated times. She has an emotional advantage in many ways. And since she is young, she has a chance to really know herself in a way most BPD's can't; as her illness develops. I can only understand my BPD life in retrospect and I was incapable of controlling or understanding it while it was happening.

Take care of yourself now. You have a chance to rest and heal.
I hope all is well with the rest of the family.
much love
littletimebomb

 
Old 06-13-2006, 11:21 PM   #6
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Re: Could This Be the Light At the End of The Tunnel??

I'm Happy You See Light. Some Days I Do And You Know. My Bipolar Son Is
In A Hospital And I'm Feeling Weird. I Know It Is For Best Because I Believe
He Will Hurt Someone And He Has Admit To It.
One Suggest Make Sure Your Daughter Is Closely (once A Week)
Watched When Trying New Meds. I Didnt Know And My Son Gained A Lot. But
I Believe If He Went To Docs More It Could Of Been Avoided.
Take Care
Ms Lainie

 
Old 06-14-2006, 02:56 PM   #7
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Re: Could This Be the Light At the End of The Tunnel??

Goody: I just wanted to tell you that I am still following your story. I know I'm just a stranger but I am happy for you right now. I see that you are closer now to coming out of this tunnel.
It looks like you have made so much progress, this must have taken some weight off you.
Erin should be getting better now that she is beeing taken care by a good doctor.
WIll keep praying for you.
Strawberry

 
Old 06-14-2006, 03:53 PM   #8
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Re: Could This Be the Light At the End of The Tunnel??

Hi Goody, mood stabilizers can take a month+ to kick in...
Once they decide which one they are going to try the product information online should tell you roughly how long it will take.
Also, they probably told you there is a difference between the antiepileptics and the mood stabilizers?
I'm still here in the stadium seating up there behind the goal posts cheering you and your family on...

 
Old 06-14-2006, 04:19 PM   #9
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Re: Could This Be the Light At the End of The Tunnel??

Thanks Strawberry, Kiehn, MSLAINE, LTB & all you wonderful people here!!!

I had a little bit of a rough day (the tunnel is still there but I am looking for that light still ). My older daughter is also giving me more than the rebellious teen treatment.....after all that Erin is going through I am alomst convinced that she has the same thing going on but to a lesser degree.

I called today to check in on Erin. The nurse informed me that she was tearful last night and wanted to go home. She woke up less tearful but with an "attitude" when she didn't get her makeup as quickly as she wanted. She also asked my feelings about interactions with others outside of the family....regarding phone calls etc. I told her that we felt that it was time for Erin to focus on herself with minimal interaction with others and that we had spoken to Erin about this prior to her admission. The nurse particularly mentioned the boyfriend "Victor" and I told her that they had said their goodbyes as far as we were concerned and that he was part of her probationary contract of having no interaction with Erin. The nurse agreed and went on to tel me that Erin was being evaluated for school placement as well as treatment today and would be meeting with the therapist later on. I was able to talk to Erin and she told me that she was not happy being there and I gave her a pep talk telling her that when we are hurt with an open wound it hurts and when the dust gets in, it aggravates it and seems like it is getting worse but with the proper care we can allow it to scab over and grow a whole new layer of skin that is new and stronger. I told her that she needs to do that for herself and that even if it seemed difficult that she had to take care of herself and forget about everything else for a while. And that we loved her and were told that it was best to not visit for a while, at least for the first week, but that we would call each day and make sure that she was doing okay. She told me that she was writing a letter to her friend Kevin and she asked for his address. I gave it to her. I remninded her that she shouldn't write to Victor. She asked for addresses of people I didn't know and I told her that I think I should talk to the team there to see what they advised we should do....she insisted that I look up the addresses and I refused. She asked to talk to her sister and after a minute it was apparent that Erin was asking her sister to look up the addressses. I told my other daughter not to do so....she got angry with me and said that I was a nag and no wonder Erin was in the psycho ward that I was the reason she was there!!! I grabbed the phone and told Erin that we would talk later and hung up.

I told my older daughter that she had some nerve arguing with me and saying such things as she did while we are trying so hard to help her sister and that until further notice we would be the only ones talking with Erin until we understood what was best for her. And that we would share with her what the doctors recommended and that she would be expected to support her sister in the same way.

Later on the nurse called saying that Erin had 3 letters written and one was to "Victor" and that she had some concerns about that but for the time being they would hold them aside until the doctor, therapist and team discussed what to do about it....that for now she thought ot best that letters to "Victor" be held aside without Erin's knowledge and they would ask if probation would allow letters and once Erin admitted that they would not they would announce that they would not support her viloating probation while there.

The therapist called and believes that with Erin's manipulation and what I shared with her about her trying to have her sister do something I told her we needed to check into, that it may be best to not allow any letters and as a team tell Erin that she is there to focus upon herself without worrying about friends, family or anything else in the outside world. I agreed and told her that is what we wanted most for Erin now.....focusing on getting the help she needs with minimal distractions.

What are your thoughts on this??? Would somebody who is Bipolar do such manipulations to get their way??? Or are we dealing with something like Oppositional Disorder??? Or is it just part of the whole process while being diagnosed....Erin told us she wanted to say goodbye to Victor and to break up with him so that she could get better. And yet I am thinking that in her little mind that she thought she would have more opportunity as an inpatient to correspond with "Victor" than living at home. My goodness.....could it be that she said she wanted help only to get there so that she could talk to Victor???

The reason I am so concerned is that my older daughter has sort of shown Erin the tricks to getting her way.....either I have two Oppositional teens or two with Bipolar because living with either of them is not easy. My older daughter took off in her car when I asked for some assistance getting ready for family coming in tomorrow. I have a back disability and fell to the floor when it gave way and she told me that I was just trying to get her to feel guilty but she had plans and had no plans on changing them and would help out tomorrow.

I am almost ready to give up and lock my doors and try to live happily ever after....they are sucking the life out of me and as much as I want to support them it isn't easy when they keep knocking me down!!!

Sorry....but I just had to let it out!!! ~ Goody

 
Old 06-14-2006, 04:31 PM   #10
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Re: Could This Be the Light At the End of The Tunnel??

Hi Goody,
This is my first post on this board, but I have been following your story all along. My 24-year old son is bi-polar and is finally doing well after about 2 years of trying various medications and combinations of medications. He had several friends in high school who were bi-polar, long before he was experiencing symptoms, and in each case it took quite awhile to find the correct mix of medications. I am sensing from reading your posts, that your expectations for your daughter's treatment are a bit unrealistic. You are hoping that your daughter will go into the facility for a period of time, be given the "right" drugs and come out the way she used to be. I just want you to not be discouraged when this doesn't happen. Often it takes a lot of patience to find the right doctor and the right mix of medications. As you know already, there are no easy solutions. Hopefully you'll be the lucky one and they'll get it right the first time!!
I think the weight gain issue is a very big deal, especially for teen-aged girls. Sometimes, as soon as they start "feeling better" they stop taking the medications for fear of getting fat. And each person reacts so differently. It really is a hard struggle to find the best combination.
I send my best to you, your daughter, and your family.

 
Old 06-14-2006, 05:49 PM   #11
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Re: Could This Be the Light At the End of The Tunnel??

Tsohl....Thanks for the reality check!!! I know that my expectations may seem high but believe me they really aren't. I just would like to see one day in which Erin is feeling good.....right now it seems like at least 7 months since I have had one of those days. Her smile and glow in her face is missing.....she laughs when on the phone with friends but it is almost one of those silly obnoxious laughs that come with her cycling or manic mood before the irritability takes over. If that is what it is.

Anyway I can see when reading posts here that it does take time to find the right meds and diagnosis. I just would like to see my daughter feeling somewhat better. It's been a while and I don't expect it to happen overnight but I just want some hope that there is a doc willing to try to find the right meds and diagnosis. The last doc didn't even entertain my idea of even trying a mood stabilizer.....he was more interested in entertaining a residential treatment center than even going forward with another med. I am not saying that he is bad, however, even after meeting with the pdoc where Erin is now I am convinced that Erin should have been taken off the Zoloft this past admission with the attempted suicide rather than increased because a child being on an antidepressant increases the suicidal tendencies and knowing that Erin already had one attempt before even being started on one should have had the doctors realizing that continuing her on Zoloft let alone increasing it would be too risky in her particular situation no matter what the diagnosis. One thing I forgot to mention is that the day before Erin went to court she asked to use dad's laptop. We monitored her closely in the same room as us. She clicked off a page when I checked on her and closed the computer down and headed up to bed. When I checked the history she had visited a site that displays suicide notes and profiles of people who have committed suicide! And that was after these doctors thought they discharged Erin in a stabilized condition.

So I know that she is where she needs to be now and to me having her thoroughly evaluated and coming up with a treatment plan that is monitored is more than enough for me!!

Thanks for your prayers and support. They are what carry me through.

~ Goody

 
Old 06-14-2006, 06:40 PM   #12
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Re: Could This Be the Light At the End of The Tunnel??

My parents stood by helplessly from the time I was 13 and was taken out of 8th grade in the last semester, missed my whole freshman year of high school, missed my whole senior year (along with prom, graduation w/cap & gown), and even THEN I still was not diagnosed correctly OR had the right meds.
And while I functioned enough to transition from a hospital at age 19 to a half-way house, I still had poor judgement and my decision making was off...
I don't know how they did it.
But it certainly wasn't soon enough for all of us.

Goody, I never had the manipulation. When I was sick in the high school years I was TOO sick to function even as well as Erin. I was either at home with my mom trying to get me out of bed, or curled up with a horrible stomach ache, and if I had manias they were mild (as they sometimes are at the beginning for a Type I like me).

Not that it's going to help, but it is possible for Erin to be BOTH Bipolar and Oppositional, or Borderline, or ADHD, etch.

Wanting to give up and lock the doors behind you is perfectly normal.. But if you get bogged down any deeper than that be SURE to let your doctor know. You are under an incredible amount of stress - more than Erin even.
I worry...

 
Old 06-14-2006, 06:41 PM   #13
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Re: Could This Be the Light At the End of The Tunnel??

Unfortunately there is very little understanding of bi-polar disorder in the general population. Or people hear someone like Jane Pauley discussing her condition on Larry King and think they know all about it. I had no brush with the mental health establishment in the US prior to my son's problems and was just appalled to see the level of care that is provided. At least your daughter is still a minor so you can be in on the treatment choices. My son was an "adult" and no doctor would talk with my husband and me unless our son gave his permission. He was in no position to evaluate his doctor's skill and we were not allowed to get involved, so we wasted time. It is amazing how little many psychiatrists know about bi-polar, even among those who say they "specialize" in the treatment of people with BPD. Often each one has his own opinion on what should be prescribed and they aren't real willing to try other things. Through trial and error, our son finally has someone who, through trial and error, has finally hit on a combination of drugs that work...but what a roller coaster experience it has been.

After all we've been through, I now feel it is important to find someone that has a strong interest and background in the pharmaceutical side of psychiatry. I'm also very interested in the link between nutrition and BPD and food allergies and BPD. Most psychiatrists are more interested in prescribing lots of drugs than in trying to find more natural methods of rebalancing the body and the mind. Hopefully your daughter will get a whole team who will evaluate her and work together to find suitable treatment. I'll be eager to hear how it all goes....

 
Old 06-15-2006, 01:12 PM   #14
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Re: Could This Be the Light At the End of The Tunnel??

Goody-- I am a very impatient person, so this illness has been a terrible curse on me! Fortunately I am very pesistant too. It has taken me 8 years, 3 pdocs, 4 phd psychologists and 24 different medications to find the right combination. The ONLY thing that has kept me stable, sleeping through the night, and not gainnig much weight for a year or more is Lithium, Seroquel, Topamax, Lorazepam, Zoloft and Adderall (for ADHD). The key to success to get me on this combination was to add one drug at a time SLOWLY increasing the amount, and talk to my doctor almost everyday to see if I was improving, staying the same or getting worse. I also had to tell him from 0-10 how I was feeling (10 being extremely happy, 0 being suicidal). Some days we didn't actually talk, I just left messages, but at least every 2 or 3 days he gave me more directions. He also wanted to see me in person every 2 weeks while changing meds. He took my pulse, blood pressure and wieght everytime too. I also saw my phd psychologist every 2 weeks and they exchanged thoughts on my case. YOU MUST CONTINUE TO BE PROACTIVE in getting your daughter help and make sure all involved keep her at the top of their list until she is "well" or close to it again. The unfortunate thing is that is will also have to be consistantly monitored for her entire life, so you are really just beginning. This is a very danagerous and helpless illness for the person who has it. It takes family and friends to keep you alive. By the way, even though I am 40, my friends played a huge role in keeping me alive when I was severely depresssed! In my opinion, it won't hurt her to write to who ever she wants to write to! I would shower her with unconditional love and let her friends or others who want to send good wishes too. Preventing her from keeping in touch with someone is just making her feel trapped and jailed. It just doesn't seem fair to me. I would talk to the pdoc and get an explaination as to why she is being prevented from speaking to someone and stand up for her side! I would be really hurt if my parents did that too me. She already can't she the people she cares about. If this were cancer or an accident that she was in the hospital for people who be coming to see her and sending flowers!

Last edited by gotitbad; 06-15-2006 at 01:18 PM.

 
Old 06-15-2006, 07:31 PM   #15
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Re: Could This Be the Light At the End of The Tunnel??

Goody - I don't know what to say. I'm sooooo happy for you and Erin!! You're right - I was doing jumping jacks when I read your post. Finally, a doc that sees what's happening with her. That truly is something to be elated over. Even if you do still have a long way to go - it is the beginning of her getting better. Oh, and the trouble you're having with your older daughter - this is typical because just when you have one child doing good, boom, all the sudden you're worrying about the next! Mine switch back and forth on me all the time. It's like they get together and say "okay, I'll give mom a break, now it's your turn to stress her out for a while" ...hahaha.

But, back to being serious. Finding the right medication, I've heard can be quite a challenge. I, luckily, did not have this problem with Skye. Although the first med, Depakote, Zoloft and Risperadol did not work well for her, (30 lb. weight gain) the next cocktail of meds she was put on were miracle drugs for her (Trileptal, Zoloft and Seroquel). She has never tried anything other than these. After a while (months) she was able to stop the seroquel and after about a year or two she was able to stop the Zoloft and just be maintained with the Trileptal. Weight gain is a big deal with girls especially, so I pray that they don't put her on one that will do that. It's hard to say what a drug will do to different people. My son takes Depakote for his epilepsy and hasn't gained an ounce from it. He is a lean kid too. You just never know. If they do give her one that causes weight gain, switch to another one until you find the right one. It will work out; you'll see. I would, however, recommend trying the Trileptal first just because it worked so well for Skye and it doesn't effect the liver. But, maybe you won't get a choice in the meds right now and that's okay. Try it their way at first and see if it helps. Later, after she's been on one for a while and you see problems with it, then you go and tell them that you want to try one that you learned about, they will probably listen.

Manipulation is probably one of the most common traits of a teen with bipolar. Teens in general manipulate to get their way, add bipolar to the mix and the results could be ten fold.

Goody - you have come so far and worked so hard to get here. Close yourself behind a locked door for a bit and take a deep breath and then get right back out there and do what you do, which is be the rock for your family.

I am so proud and happy for you. I can't wait to hear how things are going.

Talk to you soon.

 
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