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Life with Bob

Angela McClanahan
The first full week of school is behind us. (Insert sigh of relief.) And even though problems surfaced, we survived.
Angela McClanahan
  I’ve long been a fan of the Rudyard Kipling poem, “If.” If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you… I can relate to this verse. I’m sure all parents of mentally ill children can. Often the greatest challenge we face is not going stark raving mad ourselves.
Angela McClanahan
The days leading up to the first day of school can be more nerve-wracking for parents of mentally ill children than trying to decipher your health insurance coverage. So how did school go for me and my bipolar child? Find out in my video post!
Angela McClanahan
Last July, Bob’s psychiatrist handed me prescriptions for lithium, Seroquel, Clonidine, and Focalin. We had discussed this before. Using lithium to treat childhood bipolar disorder was his "last resort", something he waited to prescribe until nothing else worked for Bob. Lithium? Had it come to that? What if even lithium didn’t work?
Angela McClanahan
(Part 1: For Children with Mental Illness, Right Teacher Key to School Success) As second grade approached, I was determined to make it a better year. I met with the principal to discuss classroom placement; specifically, I wanted to ensure that my son Bob, who has childhood bipolar disorder, wouldn’t be placed with all “problem” kids, since noise and chaos would exacerbate his own behavior issues. I also wanted to address parent/teacher communication, so I could closely monitor his progress. Further, I wanted to contact his teacher prior to the start of the year, so we could address my concerns before the hectic first days. Luckily, the principal agreed.
Angela McClanahan
In a popular t.v. commercial, a Dad skips through the aisles of an office supply store, giddily tossing notebooks and pencils into his cart while his children glare at him. The accompanying music is untimely but fitting--”It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” The ad is meant to humorously demonstrate how differently kids and parents perceive the start of the school year. Most parents delight in the end of pricey summer care and/or the constant “I’m bored!” cries of their offspring. Parents of MI kids are no exception--although we may have more anxiety over the new school year than most.
Angela McClanahan
The summer before Bob started kindergarten, I signed him up for teeball. I’m still not sure what I was thinking. I’m not a sports fan and have always refuted the argument kids need involvement in team sports to be fulfilled. I guess there was something about the image of Bob in a tiny uniform that must have persuaded me. Whatever it was, we found ourselves on a team.
Angela McClanahan
Recently, someone directed me to this article on parents who give up custody to get help for their mentally ill children. It hits hard now, as I live in a state that is about to vote on its own renunciation of the so-called "Obamacare" plan. We celebrate people living with deadly diseases and chronic conditions, and great strides are being made toward prolonging and improving their lives. But we still vilify people who live with psychiatric illnesses? Am I the only person who thinks this is a problem?
Angela McClanahan
It's Summertime, and the livin’s...easy? Maybe not. It used to be, until I became the parent of a school-aged "MI" child.
Angela McClanahan
As I consider posts for this blog, I keep asking myself, what do I call our kids? I’ve never been one to adhere strictly to politically correct terms, but I do want a term which accurately identifies our children as a specific subset. Bob’s “official” diagnoses are early onset bipolar disorder and ADHD.  I don’t like to say he’s “bipolar” because I don’t think of him that way—he is not bipolar, he is a kid who has a lot of positive qualities and also has bipolar disorder. That said, I’m lazy. It’s admittedly easier to just say “my kid is bipolar.” Which omits the ADHD part entirely, but “my kid has bipolar disorder and ADHD” just takes too much air for me.