Monday, May 19, 2008

Just another Manic (Depressive) Monday

Ryan (Ben's oldest and most loved friend) & Ben (my adorable pain in the *ss)

Anyone who has visited here with any regularity knows that our middle child, Ben, suffers from Bipolar Disorder (Manic-Depression).  You also know that we started home (un) schooling with Andrew and had every intention of unschooling through High School with all the kids. Well, Andy, on his own, decided at 14 that he wanted to try High School and entered 9th grade and the rest is history. He will be graduation from our local public school this Friday. Ben was home through the end of 1st grade, at which point either he was going to go to school or I would be incarcerated for what I did to him if he didn't go to school. So, Ben went to a special needs public school all of 2nd grade. Then he went to 3rd grade, in a regular classroom (BIG MISTAKE!) and after Christmas was pulled out to be homeschooled the rest of the year.  Then for 4th grade he was homeschooled until after Christmas. At that point he was completely destabilizing and was headed for the psych hospital if we didn't do something quick. So, our fabulous and very understanding of Attachment Style Parenting psychiatrist finally put Ben on Lithium.  Then, so that mommy and daddy didn't end up in the psych hospital Ben went back to school for the last half of 4th grade.  This time he went back to the special needs public school.  Finally, this year, Ben went to all of 5th grade at aforementioned school and will be out this FRIDAY!  AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!  Somebody pleeeeeeeeeeezzzzze Heeeeeelllllppppp!  

Just because Ben takes a very low dose of 3 meds to help stabilize his moods it doesn't mean, that while those meds are active, he shows no signs of Bipolar. OH NO!  It's that instead of being a big,  self-centered, hostile, seething, ungrateful A-Hole, he is just a smaller self-centered, annoying, petulant kind of A-Hole.  Now, before you go getting all mad at me, live with a Bipolar kid first, then judge me.  Ben absolutely has his wonderful moments...but in this adorable son's case...familiarity can breed contempt REALLY FAST! And absence REALLY does make the heart grow fonder (which is why school, in Ben's case, is a really good thing!)

Therefore, I am truly grateful to the passing of Senate Bill 10 here in Georgia.  This will allow us to receive the funds from the school system, that Ben gets from the state for having an IEP, and have them put toward a private school which takes the voucher. And that is a VERY GOOD thing because we found the perfect school for Ben and I will finally be truly happy with where he is during the school day come this Fall.  But, and this is a very big BUT, I am still left with an entire Summer with Ben and it freaks me out.  Let me say, Ben is not violent. Prior to his diagnosis, when he was almost 8, he was violent...only toward me, though.  But since the meds, he's just really demanding and basically everything is "all about Ben".  He doesn't get that other people have lives to lead. I think it comes from feeling uncomfortable in his own skin, but Ben operates on a "what is in this for me" mode at all times.

What this all boils down to is: PRAY FOR ME!!!  Summer is really tough for Ben and, as a result, it's tough for all of us, especially me.  The last 4 Summers I have, literally, lost it and had complete breakdowns. They occur often in July.  The pressure to keep Ben (along with Autumn) busy, happy and STABLE can make me come unglued.  There is no "just letting things role off your back" with Ben.  As well, there really is no "just hanging out" . The kid can't stand to be bored.  I, on the other hand, could happily lie on the couch plugged into a Nano for hours.  I could also read a book for hours. Not gonna happen with Ben.

So, if I slip into your mind for a second, just say,"God, help Rachel help Ben."

And if you are interested, here's a little bit of what it's like to live with a kid like Ben (based on the show 24)



Kathleen said...

I say that Ben (& Ryan) need to go to a lot of summer camps over at RAPark. Shoot, you can walk there, it'll cost me $6.00 in gas to get there. Some good art therapy, a little fort building camp, maybe we can throw in a little hip hop....
Hang in there, would you like to run away with me?
My mom called Heather, but I think Thelma and Louise are not taken..

Rachel said...

As long as we don't have to drive ourselves off a cliff, at the end of our running away trip, I'm game! :-)

Kathleen said...

TRIP??? Actually, Mom always threatened to RUN AWAY and not come back, that's why she changed her name... (pleasant thoughts :) Thank goodness this didn't happen until we were teenagers (and we probably wouldn't have argued it then...)

Rob said...

he is just a smaller self-centered, annoying, petulant kind of A-Hole.

At first i thought this post was about me and i was like how could rachel know me this well already when we have only know each other in 'blog-world' for a short time.

and yes i joke about everything...its how i survive.

that being said...i will pray for you and ben and the rest of the fam...especially come july.

may i suggest hidding in a closet on occasion with radio head on the ipod

Wendy said...

I will pray for you and Ben and the rest of your family.
I recognized some of myself in the article you linked to, particularly the bit about sleep. I have had that problem my whole life.
I control my bipolar by taking enough drugs to take down an elephant. Get Ben on Seroquel (sp). He'll be a manageable human zombie. I'm just kidding. I wouldn't recommend that drug to anyone. There is never a dull moment with bipolar. That's for sure.


Rachel said...


If I didn't have a somewhat twisted sense of humor, I would be dead. Once, Robert and I had friends in tears from laughing over the stuff we go through with Ben. They felt so guilty about it and I told them, if we didn't laugh and joke about it, we'd be crying. I am grateful that God has such an amazing sense of humor.

Gotta run, my little A-hole is calling.....


Rachel said...


ben's psychiatrist, last Summer, when things were horrible said that he could give Ben some Haldol and we could just hang him on the back of the bathroom door until school started. The fact that I actually had to think about it for a second is definitely sad. But in the end I said no.
Although lately I have been wondering out loud why I don't have a tranq would sure come in handy. :-)


Anonymous said...

Summer is going to be tough but is no one focusing on the GOOD NEWS. You have found a school you are happy with for the fall. That has got to be worth something. I can't begin to imagine what living with a bipolar kid is like, but you sound like you are doing a pretty good job.