Introduction to Melissa David, Author of 'Life with Bob'
Hi, I’m Melissa, and I parent a child with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (DMDD), and anxiety. I am many things. I’m a clinical social worker in Minnesota. I am a writer and a gamer. I am a fan of cats, and I’m a bit of a geek. I am a parent of two beautiful children. And, yes, one of them happens to have a mental illness.
Parenting a Child with Mental Illness
I like to tell people my son came out of the womb hyperactive. He arrived three weeks early and raring to go. He hit all his milestones early, including walking at 11 months and running by 12 months. He spoke in full sentences by 15 months and hasn’t really stopped talking since. I would go on outings with friends and I’d wonder what was wrong with their children. Those kids sat down for entire meals and listened to their parents. They never ran away or got lost in crowds. They slept.
Don’t get me wrong. My son is brilliant, funny, perceptive, and loving. Nonetheless, it gets lonely parenting a child with mental illness. Finding childcare is rough. Sleepovers and playdates are few and far between. He can’t handle after school activities because making it through the school day is hard enough. There’s no sports, or Boy Scouts, or music lessons. There are psychiatry appointments, though, therapists, and social workers.
It’s a unique road to travel, and that’s why I’m excited to write this blog. I could’ve used (could still use) a community where peoples' children are like mine. I hope you find solace here or, at the very least, some helpful advice. I hope those with “typical” children read this blog and gain empathy and understanding for kids like mine. You know the ones: the boy you can hear screaming from a mile away, the girl who got overly aggressive with your child at that birthday party, or the one that knocked over everything in your house while bouncing off your couches. Those aren’t the “bad kids” or the “weird kids.” They’re just kids, and we love them.
More About Melissa David of 'Life with Bob'
David, M. (2017, February 20). Introduction to Melissa David, Author of 'Life with Bob', HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2021, September 23 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/parentingchildwithmentalillness/2017/02/introduction-to-melissa-david
Author: Melissa David
I was surprised too see another social worker, like me, had a child diagnosed with mental health issues that didn't understand. Thank YOU! I have a MSW and I can't work due to my son and his outbursts at school. Diagnosed with ADHD at 4 and again at 6. The psychiatrist he sees said she thinks my son has DMDD and it really seems he does. He did everything early growing up and has a genius IQ. The feeling of not knowing what to do for my son and the questions of why I don't know about his diagnoses. I'm diagnosed with ADHD, MDD, GAD, and PTSD. I was diagnosed with ADHD same age was my son. I feel like I'm to blame at times. We have my son on Intuniv and it appears to be working in school but he still has incidents. He's going half days at a school for emotionally impaired children. I would love to hear from you.
Thank you for your comment; however, the writer Melissa, is not writing for this particular blog anymore.
Our son was diagnosed with DMDD at age 7. He did well with medication and therapy, but now, at almost 10 years old, he is no longer functioning as well. Because this is a new diagnosis, it's hard to find out about long-term prognoses. His psychiatrist told us if the tantrums weren't managed soon, they would only get worse with puberty. I am so anxious and worried about what the future holds for him and us. I've read DMDD usually results in children growing up to have issues with anxiety and depression. I would love to hear from parents of an older child with DMDD, how they are doing now, what has worked for them. We feel unprepared for the future.
I think you’re going to be the reason I don’t lose my mind. To know my son is not the only one like this is, at this point, a true God send. Thank you so much!
Melissa - reading your blog almost brought tears to my eyes, it could have been about our son and our family. I’m so glad that I found it, thank you for sharing your story. We too have ADHD/ DMDD (very recently diagnosed). I am curious how old your son is, and now that you have him on meds - I guess my question is... where are we going from here... I dont want to get ahead of ourselves (but i am), I’m just worried about the future, teenage years, college, a job, etc. the DMDD diagnosis is a new one in the community as you know and I’d love some insight from others with more experience. My son is 10. Thank you.
Has your son ever been hospitalized or partial day program?
He has done both. I don't know if his story is a common one, but hospitalization was basically the best thing to happen to him. It finally got us the supports we needed. Partial hospitalization was a nice step down, and the timing worked where he went from the hospital, to partial hospitalization, and back into school when it started in the Fall.
Which antipsychotic medicine is usually prescribed for DMDD?
There are several, and it's worth talking to the psychiatrist who works with your child. It's dependent on that doctor, your child's needs, etc. You can find some information here: https://www.healthyplace.com/bipolar-disorder/bipolar-medications/antipsychotic-medicatio…
Hi there, I am really in the thick of a new ADHD and DMDD diagnosis of my 10 year old son. I am at the end of rope with how best care for my son. I have an appointments with a psychiatrist (scheduled but not seen) councilor, pediatrician. We have him on Ritalin. Issues at school and generally angry and irritable mood prevails. Any help you can give me would be wonderful!
It all starts with those appointments! Make sure to connect with the school, too, and ask for help. I look at each provider or resources as a branch to one or more additional resources. We just gotta keep reaching out for help.
Wondering how you are doing, we have a lot in common including the child and the gaming, would love to hear from you.
I'm doing well, thanks! It has definitely been a positive of this blogging experience to see how many parents have experienced similar things that my family has. It's nice not to be alone!
You make no mention of a PANDAS diagnosis. I wonder why?
Because he doesn't have PANDAS