Wednesday, April 2, 2008
Mental Illness in Children
I am the proud mother of a 13 year old daughter who had severe mental illness. Actually I adopted her when she was 4 weeks old. She comes from a birth mother who was first a product of incest, then when she got older, married some guy who got her into alcohol and various types of drugs. During this time she had produced two children. I am talking about my ex-husband's neice. When my sister in law passed away, I traveled to Texas for her funeral. Unbeknowest to me there was a new child in their family. When I saw Danielle, she was so limp in her mother's arms, no life, no movement at all. I walked up to her and took the baby and said "Thank you, she is mine now". I have raised her ever since. She was a difficult baby, would not sleep much, wanted to always be held, nothing would calm her down accept being in my arms. As time progressed we started to experience severe separation anxiety from me. At that time we had brought home her bigger brother and was experiecing some problems with him, he was severely neglected and abused. So by the time Danielle had reached 4 years of age, I had enrolled her into an early intervention class. Wanted her to a good start in her little life. Nothing really prepared me for what was coming in her future.
By the age of 5, I started to noticed extreme violent behavior, tearing up her room, lashing out at her sisters and at me. That is when we started looking for help. We were sent to Primary Children's Hospital for a nerological workup. They had diagnosed her with ADHD/Bipolar/Organic Brain Disorder. Then the doctor's put her into a treatment center, not residential, I drove her down everyday, for medication and behavior modification. This lasted two weeks. For a few years this worked good, the meds the routine and counseling. But Danielle also dealt with other things, she was really slow in school. She could not read very well, retain information and socialize with other kids.
When she turned 12, our world turned upside down. Before that my husband (then husband) and I divorced, a daughter got married, my father went into a nursing home (he had been living with us) then passed away, met a new man, married him, he adopted Danielle and became her official father. So much had been going on in her life that by the time she was reaching puberty, her little world was falling apart.
Last summer (2007) she started running away when I would tell her "No". This happened at three times, all times I was able to catch her. Between us and her counselor we had an emergency plan in that if she ran away or started to do harm to me or anyone else, I was to call the police and have them take her to the hospital for a mental evaluation. There was one day in particular, we were getting ready for a trip to Florida with the company I was working with. While at Walmart getting a pedicure, Danielle got really biligerant with me, tried to run away, sat on the sofa in the salon rocking back and forth. I immediately left there to get her home. Had to stop for gasoline and bought her a piece of pie. On the way home she had gotten in trouble and I told her no pie for awhile. When we pulled up into the driveway she immediately got out of the car, ran around to my door, opened it up, grabbed the pie and ran off. I ran after her screaming and crying for her. She finally stopped, I gave her a choice, get into the car so I could take her up to the hospital or I would call 911. She opted to get into the car and we went to McKay-Dee Hospital. From there they admitted her to the BHI (Behavior Management Institute). She was there for two weeks with lots of evaluations, tests, studies. Come to find out she was Schizophrenic. She had been hearing voices for sometime. When she ran off she was hearing the voices tell her to kill me. That was her way of protecting me. She was given new medications, more counseling, but this didn't cure everything. During the course of the summer, she tried committing suicide twice, once by running towards the main street of traffic and the other time trying to open the car door while I am driving 70 miles an hour. Again, back to BHI for more medication modification. Things calmed down and school started in the fall.
Now it is April and she is back at the BHI because the voices were coming back strong, and now she is delusional. She will be going down to the State Hospital, for how long I have no idea. Today I am to go to a Committment Hearing to where I give the State physical custody of my daughter, I do not loose my parental rights at all. In fact I will be totally involved in her treatment care. We have lots of support, I have three older daughters, two of them are married and I have a wonderful husband. He is a truck driver and on the road a lot but I can call him anytime to vent, to cry, to rejoice or just talk.
There is so much more history to Danielle that I can't process it all right now. But as it comes along to my memory I will post it here to my blog.
I have started this blog to help anyone who may be experiencing the same or close to the same as I am with my daughter. There is not much information out there in regards to mental illness for children/adolecsents, we just have each other as parents.