Saturday, September 29, 2007

Watch out web, here I come!

I came across this post by Israel Wayne entitled "Bipolar or Sin?".
It was already bedtime, but I couldn't let this one go without commenting. If you click here
you can read his blog post and my LONG comment at the end. Now it's really late, but I've done my advocacy work for tonight!

Lily and a friend

Lily made friends with the neighbor dog, Molly.

Molly is an old chocolate lab who gets lonely when her people are at work. So Lily, apple in hand, decided to spend some time cuddling with her. Our other neighbors have 6 puppies that keep escaping into our yard. The other day Dan found one playing with the toys in the sand box! It's nice to have neighbor dogs though, since we can't (and don't really want) one of our own due to allergies.

Acadia's first soccer game!

Acadia had her first soccer game today, after only one practice! It was a round-robin tournament so they actually had to play 3 games! They didn't score at all, but Acadia was such a good sport. She had fun, played hard, and was ready for another game when it was over! We are so proud of her.

Just try and get that ball past me!

What a beautiful day for a game!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

In My Arms

This song spoke volumes to me yesterday. It's for Acadia.

Your baby blues
So full of wonder
Your curley cues
Your contagious smile
And as i watch
You start to grow up
All I can do is hold you tight

Clouds will rage in
Storms will race in
But you will be safe
In my arms
Rains will pour down
Waves will crash around
But you will be safe
In my arms

Story books are full of fairy tales
Of kings and queens and the bluest skies
My heart is torn
Just in knowing
You'll someday see
The truth from lies

When the clouds will rage in
Storms will race in
But you will be safe
In my arms
Rains will pour down
Waves will crash around
But you will be safe
In my arms

Castles they might crumble
Dreams may not come true
But you are never all alone
Because I will always
Always love you

When the clouds will rage in
Storms will race in but you will be safe
in my arms
Rains will pour down
Waves will crash around
But you will be safe in my arms

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

An experiment in self-control

She can't control herself or she won't control herself? That is the question. Unfortunately, it's not one we can actually answer. So sometimes I lean too far in one direction or another in parenting Acadia. That's what I did this morning with disastrous results.

, when Acadia gets out of control (violent, destructive, dangerous), I take her (one way or another) to a small room that we call the calm room. The walls are pine so she can't destroy them, there is a big cushion on the floor for her to flop on, scream into, punch, whatever. There is a plexi glass window that lets in light from the kitchen, a light on the ceiling that she can't smash, and a door that locks on the outside. It's small but safe. The problem is I feel terrible that I have to put her in there. It feels wrong to lock your child up, even in a nice room for a few minutes until she calms down. I want her to learn to control herself, what if putting her in there is just teaching her that she can't control herself without being contained? What if she's just getting violent so that I will stop her and control her, so that she doesn't have to try to control herself?

This morning I explained to her that I wasn't going to put her in the calm room today. If she was destructive, she would clean up and pay up. If she was violent, Lily and I would go to another room where we could be safe. I told her that I wanted her to stop herself and that she could ask God to help her with that. I said "When you start to get angry..." she interrupted "I don't start to get angry, I just am angry all of a sudden." "Okay, when you are angry, you need to work on calming yourself down, tell God that you can't control yourself and you need His help." She just laid on the floor and said nothing. Then she laid on the couch and said nothing. Then she got up and got on the computer which hadn't logged me off yet. I came over and logged off, and she exploded. She started attacking me and throwing stuff. So according to my "brilliant new plan" Lily and I went up to my room. Behind me I heard Cadi throw a glass across the living room and it shattered on the floor. In my room I sat down and held the door shut and Lily happily ate her snack and looked at a National Geographic. Acadia went ballistic. She beat the door with stuff, and threw everything she could find at it. Squirted water under the door. Screamed, cried, pounded, etc, etc. After a while Lily said, "Mom I'm tired of being in here". I said to myself "Yeah, what was I thinking, lock up the safe child and let the unsafe one roam free? This is really nuts." So I called my mom and asked her to come help me.

Mom had planned for months to take Noah on a field trip today. But Noah broke out in some kind of weird virus with spots, so they decided not to go. She had said to Dad last night "Why does this always happen when I try to plan some sort of field trip?" Dad said "I guess God just has other plans for you". So Mom was home and came right over. Meanwhile I opened my door and let Lily go play. Acadia came in and crashed on my bed, sobbing. I just held her on my bed for awhile, even though she was trying to get away from me the whole time. She cried and said that she just wanted to be normal. I tried to ask her what kind of normal, but she couldn't talk about it, just kept crying. When Mom arrived she came in and got Acadia to calm down, take her meds and have some breakfast. I went down and cleaned up the broken glass. Mom helped Acadia clean up the rest of the messes she had made, then let her go outside while we talked and finished cleaning up the kitchen. I told Mom what had happened and she said the problem was that Acadia felt totally abandoned when I left her. It was if I took away her only hope and left her completely alone with all her big scary feelings. I asked Acadia if that's how she felt and she said it was. I told her that wasn't what I meant to do, and asked her if she would forgive me for that. She said she would. I asked her if we should just use the calm room next time and she said yes.

Mom took Cadi with her and was going to have her do schoolwork at her house. I got to have some time by myself to calm down and regroup before I take her to Bangor for therapy. Writing this blog seems to be working to get my thoughts under control and my emotions in check. I want to call myself a failure, but I know that I was just trying to figure out what was best, and made a mistake. In spelling, I tell my girls that mistakes are just opportunities to learn. I guess Acadia and I had some things to learn today. My Mom is God's heavenly assistant, otherwise known as an angel. She is one of the reasons Acadia is not in the hospital today. And I am Acadia's self control. Like it or not, that's how it is right now. I am the one who needs to pray for the Spirit's power and guidance. He will not abandon me, and I will not abandon her.

The research program at NIH

Last night the research assistant from NIH called me back. She said they are inviting us to bring Acadia to Bethesda, MD for a one-day evaluation, after which they will decide whether to invite her to participate in the research study. If they do, then we would need to make the final decision to go for it, and stay for four more days to finish the initial evaluations. They provide airfare and lodging for us at their Children's Inn.

So we discussed all this last night. We agreed that the first evaluation we can definitely do; even if they decide Cadi's not right for the study, she and I wouldn't mind taking the trip and doing the evaluation, we're pretty used to those. As for the rest of the study, that's the difficult part, because Acadia would need to be admitted and stay down there. What they do is taper her off all her current medications, do testing, brain imaging, and evaluations on her un-medicated brain, and then stabilize her on medication again, either the same or new medications depending on what she needs. This whole process takes between 2-3 months. She would be able to leave the hospital if she was stable and safe enough on nights or weekends, but would have to be there the rest of the time participating in the day program. There are no more than 3 kids doing this program at a time, and they provide a very structured program for them with tutoring, various recreational therapies (pet, music, art, etc.), daily meetings with the psychiatrist, a personal nurse, a point system for behavior, and plenty to keep them busy. Airfare is provided for parents to visit every two weeks, but we figure we can work with that a little bit.

Actually are a lot of logistics to work out, but if we do this, we are going to figure out a way to make sure that no one in our family is completely abandoned. We all need each other, and we are going to have to sacrifice our family life to do this, but no one is going to be left for 3 months. God can bring us through this without it being a destructive thing for our family. This is our greatest concern about the whole thing. We have no guarantees that this will be the answer for Acadia, or that everyone will do just fine with the separation. All we have is the promise that God, our Creator, and the Lover of our souls, will be with us, working all things for the ultimate good, will be close to the brokenhearted, will meet the deep needs of our souls for family, will keep working in each of us to make us more like Jesus, and will do all things for His glory.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Kissed by Blackberries

My dear friend Anna reminded me of this experience I had this summer, with one of her blog posts. This came out of reading "Captivating" by John and Stasi Eldridge. I'm posting my comment to Anna here:

I read this chapter you were discussing. I was quite moved by it myself. The author challenges us to invite God to romance us, and then to watch what He does. When I finally had an afternoon without children, I grabbed my bible and journal and went for a walk through the woods. No sooner had I stepped from the edge of my everyday lawn, into the rare invitation of the woods, I saw a few beautiful ripe blackberries. I gasped, prayed and ate them. They tasted like love. Sunshine, sweetness, providence, satisfaction, tender love. God kissed me with blackberries and I walked with Him for awhile, praying, crying, writing, being romanced. So it was true. He was waiting. Why are we so uncomfortable with that? Why do we take Him up on His offer so rarely?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


The tide is high and the swing is up today. The problem is it took me the whole day to figure this out. This morning school was kind of rough, Acadia was dropping or throwing her pencil every two minutes, banging herself on the head every time she made a mistake and saying "Stupid me, stupid me," over and over. She wore camo pants, a red and blue shirt, my dangly earrings, and a baseball cap. She was intense and explosive. She hit me with something on the head from behind. Her handwriting looked completely different from yesterday's work. When Lily saw a car she liked, Cadi said, "Yeah, well, it's nothing like the cars I design. My cars are way cooler than that." She has drawn maybe two cars? And now she "designs" them? A little grandiose I think my dear.
She wanted to go swimming in her shorts and t-shirt, because she couldn't find her bathing suit. We told her no, because she has a cold and it's too chilly. She got angry and said she was going to go anyway. So she headed for the pool and Dan went after her. While he took the ladder out of the pool, she hopped in over the side... splash! A while later I went looking for her and she was on top of the shed. I have no idea why she was up there.
Of course it wasn't until after the pdoc (psychiatrist) appt. that she pulled the pool and shed thing and I figured out she was hypo manic. I described some of Acadia's behavior, but I just didn't feel like I was able to give a good objective perspective of what her mood is like right now. Sometimes I just get so confused. I wish we were at the point where they could just do brain scans whenever we went in and then treat her based on what her brain activity looked like. They are getting close with research, but it's still off in the misty, mysterious, untouchable future somewhere.
The doc and I talked about this clinical study we're pursuing. She feels strongly that Acadia should qualify for it, and that it would be helpful for her. But the research assistants said that the study was for bipolar kids who had distinct depressive and hypo manic episodes that last at least 4 days. I had told the research team that I thought her episodes were shorter than that, and even switching a couple of times in one day. The pdoc agreed with that but said that she also has the longer episodes and mixed episodes. So now we have the pdoc telling the researchers one thing and the scatterbrained mom telling them another! I feel like smiling and nodding. I have to put the whole research thing in God's hands. I really have no idea if it's the way we should go or not, but it may not end up even being a possibility, so there's no point in worrying about it. Reminds me of a song. Hmm...Susan Ashton maybe?
It's in my father's hands
and I have no fear
There's no point making plans
When His hands can steer
So why should I so small and frail
Carry life's demands
When He can see where I might fail
And where I might stand..
It's in my Father's hands.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Apple Pickin'

Glorious day yesterday, so after we finished school, we headed off to the apple orchard.
One of those nice big ones, where you can actually climb the trees!
Look at these two perfect apples I found!

Friday, September 14, 2007

The Sovereign Surgeon

I was starting to worry this morning and turned those thoughts into prayers. I was praying that God would guard and protect my daughter's hearts from emotional trauma and pain, and then I realized... that was not really what I wanted to pray for them. We all need experiences of pain over the course of our lives to make us deep, feeling, knowing, and loving people. And yet, some kinds of painful experiences can be be so devastating in a young person's life. They can be disabling and haunting. As I prayed for my girls, I asked the Lord to be the heart surgeon in their lives. That every cut that must be made, would be made by His expert hands; precisely, lovingly, for their good, and for His glory. Amen

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Stay At Home, Mom!

Our homeschooling got off to a late start this morning because Little House on the Prairie was on TV this morning. Our whole family was glued to it. "No Pa, no, don't climb that tree you'll.....fall! Oh no, how will he get his crops planted now?".
After we finished school work I went over to the library and ended up discussing my job, pay, etc. I came home and Dan and I discussed whether or not I should keep working. I've been frequently overwhelmed by this and have wondered if the time would come to stop working. It was only five hours a week, but it was taking a lot of my energy to plan and prepare for these four programs I was running. This afternoon I finally made the decision and went and told the librarian that I was done. I'm a home schooling , stay at home mom and in order to do that, I really have to be at home. I need that time and flexibility to give to my kids, my home, Dan and myself. And on those bad days that we have fairly often around here, I need to not have that extra commitment to try to work around.
There. It doesn't feel good right now, but I know it was the right decision, and I will feel good about it later (thanks for telling me that Anna).

Monday, September 10, 2007

The "manic" picture

As I was going through Acadia's records last night I came across this picture. This is what I call her "manic" picture. She's about 5 in this picture. She had made this crazy "dessert" from all this stuff in the kitchen, and then we had to try some after supper. Her eyes were so wild, and her ideas were so big!

I had to compile her records to prepare for a research study we are applying for with the National Institutes of Health. It's kind of a scary endeavor, but we are just going to take it one step at a time until we have all the details to make a final decision about it. I had a phone meeting today with a research assistant and I'm supposed to hear back from them in a couple of days about whether or not Acadia meets the criteria for further evaluation at NIH.

The advantage to getting involved in research is that we would have access to the most cutting edge mental health care in the world. What they are doing with kids right now, psychiatrists will be doing maybe 10 years down the road. It's not anything experimental, just testing, evaluation, and stabilizing with medication.
For today though, Acadia did well with school, and she was laughing so hard tonight while playing PlayStation with Dad. Not manic, just a good happy laugh!
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Friday, September 7, 2007

The last 9 years

If I go backwards on a rollercoaster will I fall off on the loops? We'll see!

My life the past 9 years has been nothing I expected, and everything I could ask for. I gave birth to Acadia after 12 hours on my knees because I couldn't sit or lie down with back labor. It was a good way to start my life with this child! We had prayed for a baby for so long and we were going to have to keep praying for her. She wanted to be held and entertained constantly. She was very sensitive to stimulus, but wanted to always be moving. She cried a lot. I wore her in a baby sling and walked her around. We headed off to Missions Institute in Kentucky and I reluctantly put her in the nursery. When she would get crying, she couldn't calm down, couldn't eat, couldn't sleep, so I walked her and bounced her and sang to her until she finally would stop. She took so much attention and energy that the staff told me I should spend less time holding her, and more time on my studies! That was an extremely rough year for us, but we pushed through and made it to Language School. We continued to try everything we could think of with Acadia, hoping that if we did things right she would do better. Now she was throwing tantrums but we thought it was that "almost two" phase. We headed back to Maine to start raising support to go to PNG.

For the first year in Maine, we lived in a little house in the woods with a pond, a big garden, and no toilet (it was called a "composting" toilet). It was rustic to say the least. But we were happy to get away from the "Institutes" and have our own place. I was glad to finally be able to stay home with Acadia. We enjoyed swimming, fishing, gardening, picking berries, campfires, potty training and walks. We worked on contacting churches and individuals and started scheduling meetings. Dan started doing masonry to make ends meet while we raised support. Lily Pearl was born, and labor was so different that I didn't call my midwife soon enough, so she barely made it for the birth. Acadia was playing in the sandbox when Lily was born, so she didn't hear me yelling to everyone to hurry up 'cause this baby's coming! After Lily was born I held her and thought that there was nothing else in the world I wanted, it was one of the happiest moments of my life.
We'd had enough of rustic, so we moved to an apartment in Stetson, where our family lives. The next couple of years are really a blur to me. Lily was a sweet baby, but not quite easy. Dan did masonry full time, we visited churches all over Maine, and did a mailing campaign with a series of notes, brochures and letters. We took a few trips to PA, KY, MI, MO, FL, SC, etc.

Meanwhile...Acadia turned 3, 4, 5, but the tantrums never stopped. Traveling with her was a nightmare. We took a plane to MD for a family reunion, and missed a flight, so we had to wait for hours in the airport. That was one of the worst days of my life. After that trip I began to seriously doubt that we could take this child overseas. I knew that missionary life involved a lot of travel, waiting, and flexibility, and Acadia did not seem to be able to do any of that.
At home, we were trying everything we could think of. We tried different parenting/discipline methods, thinking "What is wrong with us?". But that thought gradually changed to "What is wrong with this child?" Acadia was having extreme sensory problems, not being able to stand wearing most of her clothes or shoes, changing many times a day, and chewing on everything. She was climbing high on top of things and just sitting there, running barefoot in the snow, and covering her whole body in water, sand, mud, whatever. She was hiding behind things and inside things, and tearing paper into tiny shreds. The list goes on, and I was getting worried. So I started reading. Autism is a big scary word and one that started to nudge me. But the more I read, the more I thought it was something else. Finally we decided that whatever it was, we needed to get help for her. I decided to start with her sensory issues. The summer she turned 5 she was diagnosed with a sensory processing disorder, which gave us something to work with but not many answers. We started going to occupational therapy and also doing it at home. I had high hopes, and though some things she seemed to like, we didn't see any results. In fact, her sensory problems became less of a concern when her mood seemed to plunge. She started saying that she hated me, every single day. She said that we didn't love her. She cried and screamed and told us that she wished a lion would come and eat her up, or that we would put her in a box and mail her far away so she could never come back. My 5 year old didn't want to live. Is that possible? How did she even know about this stuff? My heart began to break. She was raging, angry, sad, and out of control. At other times she was hyper, impulsive, made huge messes and couldn't focus on anything. I kept reading and finally came across the book that I didn't want to find answers in: The Bipolar Child. Finally I scheduled a psychiatric evaluation for her. At first she was diagnosed with Major Depression. We did neuropsychological testing to see about ADD and Asperger. While the ADD was a possibility, Aspergers, Autism, and other developmental problems were pretty much ruled out. The Dr. that did those test agreed that based on family history and Acadia's symptoms, Bipolar was likely, but for now she would diagnose her with Mood Disorder Not Otherwise Specified. Are you counting, because we are getting into some serious alphabet soup with this kid now! I welcomed whatever labels they wanted to give her, because each one gave us a clue to what was going on in this poor kid's brain!
The diagnosis also allowed us to get medicare and other and support for her which was a big help. We started giving her medication, but this was to be just the beginning of a long process of finding the right meds for her.

At this point we had a big decision to make. We had only raised about 30% of the monthly support we needed to go to PNG. That was "promised support" which meant that the majority of it we were not even going to get until we left for the field. We had been raising support now for 3 1/2 years. God gave us peace to let our dream of tribal mission work go. We had to hang on to our daughter right now. We sought counseling for this decision from our family, supporters, and pastor. Still, it was a hard choice to make. Stay home and do what? We hoped that we would find a new direction to move in, but for now, it took everything I had to take care of the girls, and everything Dan had to do masonry work full-time.

Where was Lily you ask? Well, that depends. When Cadi was in a "fun" mood, Lily joined in all the antics. They started to get along really well and have lots of fun playing together. But when Cadi was nasty, Lily learned very quickly to get out of the way or get hurt. I had to watch them carefully and be ready to come to Lily's rescue. One time Acadia was banging a teddy bear with a chair saying "I want to hurt this little bear, I want to make him cry". I didn't know what to do with that except explain why that was not okay, and make sure she and Lily were always safe. Safety became the #1 priority. The worst never happened. Other than a few shoves and smacks, Lily survived in one piece! Clean bathrooms, folded laundry, even trimmed fingernails and clean teeth got shoved way down the priority list. I started to grieve the life I couldn't have with my kids. There was so much we couldn't do, so much that I wanted for Acadia that she couldn't have. So much sadness that it began to swallow me up with it. I got a lot of support from my wonderful family, cried out to God, and started taking medication for my own depression.
My life was the same, but I began to cope.

We decided to buy a house and God provided one that was perfect for us, only about 10 minutes from our families in Stetson. We love it! Big old Maple trees out front, big yard and plenty of room. Lily found an old garden gnome somewhere in the yard. She picked it up and started carrying it around. She called it her "Grass baby". It was so funny because it had a beard and everything. She would wrap it up in baby blankets and put it in her cradle. We had Lily's 3rd birthday in our new house, and in the fall we started homeschooling again ( I had started with Acadia in Kindergarten).

Acadia continued to have a lot of mood swings and we were trying different medications for her. One of her issues was impulsivity. She would get into things and spill them or spread them over the whole house. One day, she "decided" to drink a bottle of cold medicine because "it tasted good". I called poison control and they told me to call 911. An ambulance came to take her to the emergency room, but I had to find someone to watch Lily and borrow a car to get to the hospital. When she left in the ambulance, she wasn't even scared. She told me later that she was thinking about how interesting it all was and that she might want to be an EMT someday! They kept her for a few hours to monitor her, but she was perfectly fine, so I was able to take her home. I moved all the medications and anything potentially poisonous to a locked cupboard. A new psychiatrist diagnosed her with ADD and tried targeting that with medication. I was willing, but it ended up being the worst thing we had tried so far. It had the effect that she would be okay when we gave her a dose, but then when it began to wear off she would plunge into horrible depression, just laying there crying, and then after about an hour, she'd be fine. The third day, when the dose began to wear off, she was sitting at the table with Lily and there was a pair of scissors laying on the table. She started talking to Lily about how she was going to take those scissors and cut herself so she would bleed. I came over and calmly asked her why she wanted to do that. "So I can die". "But you've cut yourself accidentally before and you didn't die", I reasoned, trying to find out why she thought she would die. "I want to cut myself all over my body so that I bleed so much that I will die and go to heaven." I don't remember what I said after that but God gave me something to say and I held her on my lap while she cried. Later, when she was calmly playing with her toys, I called a crisis line and said "My seven year old just told me how she was going to kill herself". A counselor came out to the house and talked to us, but by then the drug had worn off and she was fine. We took her off that medication immediately. This was a huge red flag for bipolar disorder. My nephew (who is bipolar) had a similar reaction to this medication. It's so hard to make the right choices for your child in these situations because the risks of not medicating are so awful, but the medications can be so crazy to work through too. I have learned to take it one Spirit-led step at a time and be open to anything that might help my daughter have a chance at a healthy childhood. I decided to take a class about mental illness in children. The class was a great encouragement to me and I got a lot of information. It helped to step back and look at the problem of mental illness and how it impacts the brain of a child, instead of only dealing with the "in your face" day to day drama of it.
After we moved, we also found a new church, and God began to heal our hearts with the grace that we found. We had struggled against legalism so much in our old church, but it's hard to leave the church you've grown up in. Once we did, we couldn't believe the amazing difference it made for our family. We felt like we could be real, we didn't have to be "Dan and Kathryn the Missionaries" here. We could struggle and hurt and still praise God for His sustaining love. I soon got involved in the music ministry and found myself right at home singing and playing the keyboard with a fantastic praise team.

The last couple of years fell into a more familiar pattern for us, although Acadia's highs and lows were a part of that daily reality. She continued to see doctors and therapists, who worked on adjusting medications and teaching her skills to learn how to ride her "waves". The sensory problems that she had as a little girl faded significantly. More neuropsych testing confirmed dysgraphia, a handwriting disorder, and also that she was starting to fall behind in her schoolwork because of her moods. I was not surprised. I knew that we had been really just surviving and that there were a lot of days where she was not able to accomplish much of anything. I've been so glad that we are able to homeschool, even though it is very hard. It has allowed her to work at her own pace, and have the individual attention that she needs. Acadia is very smart and that helps her learn quickly during those times when she is able to. We treasure those moments that we have and I wouldn't trade them for the convenience of sending her to school. (I also know that I would have a whole new headache trying to get her the education and help there that she would need!)

Dan continued to do masonry work for a total of 5 years. Then a new opportunity came up for him to take a new job distributing books. Although it required considerable financial sacrifice to switch jobs, Dan had long struggled with the physical effects masonry was having on him. He also struggles with depression, so we felt that a job that was better suited to him was an opportunity not to miss. Because the book job is only during the school year, this summer he started his own business doing "decorative concrete surfacing", using concrete to create surfaces that look like brick or stone. It's quite amazing. Dan is able to use his artistic skill and his masonry experience together and really enjoys doing it. He hopes to launch this as a full-time business next year.
Oh my goodness, I'm almost caught up to my present life! I have a little 5 hour a week job at the public library running book clubs for kids of different age groups. Earning a little money is nice, and I love working with books and kids. Sometimes I get overwhelmed and think "Why am I working again?", but most of the time I like doing it.

Lily is doing great. She's six and so very sweet. She is a Mummy's girl and loves to climb in bed with me in the morning and cuddle. She is also a lot like me, loves to sing, and make up songs on the piano, play with her dolls and read books. Acadia is 9, loves horses, Eyore, superheroes, and swimming. She went to Camp Cherith this summer for a week and did very well, we weren't sure how it would go, but it was fantastic. She loves going places and doing things, picking out books at the library (and sometimes reading them), listening to audio books, and playing on the computer. She has a great sense of humor and makes us laugh. God has given our girls a special bond with each other, they love to sneek into each other's rooms at night and have "sleepovers". They have a lot of fights, but they have just as many times when they are best friends.

Acadia has recently been diagnosed with Bipolar II, which is depression and hypomania rather than the real high mania. I felt relieved that she was finally diagnosed with what I have always felt was accurate. But I also felt sad. Bipolar is something you live with the rest of your life, and the journey does not get any easier as it continues. Acadia's medications have made her gain a lot of weight, but without them her brain is one big storm. The hardest thing has been the depression that is always coming back. Life looks so dark during those times that she wishes she were dead. She can't feel love, or hope, or wait for anything. But they are like tides that go in and out, these moods. She also struggles with overwhelming anger and rage, threatening to kill me, or herself, and at times we have to isolate her until she calms down and regains control. But so far, by the grace of God, we have managed to keep her out of the hospital. I have family and friends that I can call whenever I need them, and I do. I do not hesitate to ask for help, because I know we won't survive without it. There are no easy decisions, no quick fixes, only step by step walking with the One who made her, and who made me her mother. He has provided for her time and time again, and I know that He will always be there in the midst of our storms.

That's my rollercoaster, although I'm sure I left out some big chunk of my life in here somewhere. I didn't fall off, although you might have by now, if you've read this entire thing! I am excited to be able to use this blog to write about the highs and lows, ups and downs of our life together. Thanks for swinging with me!

Prelude to my blog...

I found an old friend this week, and by reading her blog I was able to "catch up" on the last several years of her life. It was an amazing thing. I found a few more old friends and now I need to catch everyone up on my life. But life goes on and does not leave me much time for catching up. I decided I need a blog. And here it is. A place to put my favorite pictures and write about what's going on in my life and my head and my heart. I'll start by catching my old friends up.