Sunday, January 10, 2010


So, ironically enough after posting my first post - the very next night marked the first of restraining our 7 yo. Our life as parents with a BP child have peaked. No fun. She kept hitting my poor hubby in the face and so I warned her if she did it again we'd have to restrain her. Welllll, she did it again and so I held her to the ground but before I could get her there, she head-butted me slam into my right cheek. Oww. As I held her she calmed down. Or came down perhaps is a better way to describe it. She cried and cried knowing she'd hurt me. The heartache from this is sometimes unbearable. She sat up and cried, "Mama, I'm so sorry, please tell me you forgive me. I wish I could take it back. I'm so sorry. Why am I such a bad girl. I hurt so bad inside, please take it away." My husband and I held her together, in tears, wishing we could take it all away. She quieted soon after and I tucked her in bed like any other calm and 'normal' 7 yo. I lay with her for a bit as she squeezed me tight, apologizing again and again. Finally she drifted to sleep. I lay there awake and cried silent tears thinking the only peace she ever has is when she sleeps. It's not fair.

And so tonight was night #2 of restraints. We held her until she calmed. We let her go and she sat at the kitchen table yelling at us, "You hate me, you're so mean to me. You probably never even wanted me." At that we had to stop her. We then told the story of how she came to be and how excited we were to be pregnant, to find out she was a girl, to name her, to fold her newborn clothes nightly before she was born, to nurse her, to love her - and slowly she snapped out of it. Brian scooped her up and she rested her head on his shoulder. We told her how much we loved her now, no matter what, no matter what she said or did. We loved her good parts and not so good parts. We never stopped. I hope she heard us. I hope she listened and absorbed it. Brian tucked her in bed and laid with her a bit as usual to be sure she was asleep. And just like that the storm was over. But we know it will all return again tomorrow.


  1. Sometimes after our son has had to be restrained until calmed he will fall asleep, and he has memory loss. Scary stuff. He has done it in front of doctors before and they all say his fits of rage and violence look similar to seizures.
    Know that there are others of us out here dealing with this same sh*t.

  2. Ironic you mention that as my mom and I just had a conversation about this on Tuesday. She suggested that we treat Ava's rages like seizures. I agreed. Last night while she raged, we decided to wrap her in a blanket like a burrito while raging. We found it was easier to hold her. So heart breaking.

  3. When I was in the hospital for severe mania one of the head nurses went over coping strategies for me to help me when I am feeling angry/anxious/etc. and one was to wrap myself in a blanket really tightly. She explained that it is a soothing technique that works well for many people with bipolar (and many people in general). I find it interesting that the way that you have chosen to restrain her is also a coping technique that I use to soothe myself. It sounds like you are doing a very good job taking care of her and you are also (possibly without meaning to) teaching her ways that she can soothe herself in the future. She is lucky to have you!

  4. Wow - that means the world to me, Linea. Thank you so much for your kind words. Today was especially hard as we had two sessions of restraining. Can I ask a favor? Do you remember being Ava's age and feeling manic? Can you tell me what your thoughts were? I so want to understand and although very articulate, she has a tough time explaining what is going on inside her mind.

  5. My manias didn't start until I was out of high school (I think) so I unfortunately can't fill you in on the feelings of being a child with manias. I can fill you in on what it feels like for me now, and what it felt like when I first started experiencing them.

    I'm not exactly sure when my first mania was. I had always been an overachiever and perfectionist so I have never been sure whether my intensive study/practice/socialize and lack of sleep schedules were merely my personality or if I was in my own manias. I was constantly on the go in high school and middle school doing every club, sport, and music ensemble I could. I was also constantly crashing into deep depressions. Whether this was a bipolar cycle or merely a perfectionist routine I'm not sure.

    The first time I really realized I was having a mania was when I was nineteen. At that point I had already been hospitalized for depression and suicide precautions and had a vague diagnosis of bipolar II accompanied by a "Wait and see" from my doctors basically saying, wait and see if she has any mania until we can really diagnose her. I didn't realize I was in a mania until I had been in one for several days. I had found myself extremely energetic and happy, but thought things had just finally turned around from months of depression. I knew it was a mania when I hit the point where I could no longer control my anger and my anxiety. I am a very level headed person for the most part, but I found myself suddenly becoming angry for no reason, or for little reasons that may have only made me frustrated on a good day. One time I actually threw my phone against a wall and broke it, and this was definitely not a usual "Linea" thing to do. A lot of times when I find myself in this manic anger I get even more frustrated and agitated because I feel like I can't control it, and therefore get mad at myself. I of course have gotten much better at this as I have learned to cope with my diagnosis, but it can still be hard. Once I finally calm done, (sometimes I completely shut down and sometimes I am suddenly and unusually fine), I always feel sorry for what I have done or thought. It is really hard for me when this happens to not get depressed or to not become completely numb.

    Usually when I am manic I feel like everything is just going way too fast. I feel like I can't slow my thoughts, my words, or my body down. I have a hard time interacting because I can't focus on much other then what is going on in my head. For me I always feel like there are two levels. The first being the happy, hyper, euphoric mania. The second being the anxious, agitated, obsessive mania.

    I don't know if any of this helps. Feel free to visit my blog and click through tags. I might have some more on mania there. You should also check out the awesome site for the Child and Adolescent Bipolar Foundation ( I work with some of them with BringChange2Mind (another great organization) and they are wonderfully helpful and knowledgeable.

    Hang in there and keep doing the wonderful work you are doing.

  6. Your description has been really helpful, thank you so much. The anxious, agitated, obsessive mania you have sounds very much like how Ava appears to feel. We have just begun working with a child psychologist and what you've described will really help me to describe what I see in Ava. I'll dive deeper into your blog to read more of your experiences. has been a lifesaver for our family. Luckily I found them shortly before Ava's diagnosis, about 2 years ago. Thank you for suggesting them!

    Thank you so much for your time - you and your mother are quite an inspiration. Thank you for being you.