Anyone else have children with mental health issues?

Jeni - posted on 12/14/2008 ( 13 moms have responded )

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I'm new to this group and am looking to talk to other Christian moms who have children with mental health disorders. I have a smart, active 9 year old daughter who struggles with anxiety disorder, depression & sensory integration disorder. I have a funny, quirky 4 year old boy who also has sensory integration disorder plus some other problems we haven't been able to diagnose yet. We have ruled out autism even though he has a medical diagnoses of PDD. I feel we still don't have all the pieces to the puzzle yet. And I have a delightful, siily 6 yr old girl w/o any disorders but who puts up with a lot of confusing junk from her siblings.



It is very overwhelming most days dealing with the wide range of behaviors. I have a great husband but he works a lot with a long commute & just isn't in touch sometimes with where the kids are emotionally. Plus I work evenings teaching private piano & voice lessons so we often have to "tag-team parent". Sometimes it is hard to stay one step ahead and the Lord just feels very far away.

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Vikki - posted on 01/11/2009

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Hi Jeni, my son who is 9 has both ADHD and Bipolar disorder and I think some sensory issues, it's hard enough on the way it effects him, but it also effects our whole family and then we have to deal with so many ignorant people, that are so judgemental.  I made up a little "pamphlet" for when has bad days (in public) that I just smile and hand to people who give me the "my goodness she's an awful mother" or "what a bratty kid she has" look....  When my son starts on  a rant  "why am I like this and not my brothers" or something I just tell him that God knew how he was going to be before he was born and show him the scriptures, and that God doesn't make mistakes, so He must have big plans to use Nikolas' disablities for a greater good (then I remind myself of that when I get overwhelmed) too.  I also go on websites specifically for his disorders (CHADD, NAMI, NMIH) for advice, support etc.  My husband works out of state a lot so somedays I just want to crawl into my bed and not come out, but I can't, but as a mom and a woman, we all need some "me" time.  So I take it, even if it's just 15 minutes outside to read, or just sit, take a bath.  Otherwise we are no good to anyone. 



I know sometimes God feels far away, but He's not, it's taken me a long time to realize that.  His hand is over you and you will get through it.  Good luck, you will be in my prayers.



Vikki

Jeni - posted on 01/08/2009

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Hi guys! Just want to share that there may be light at the end of this long tunnel after all. I spent a day with my three kids at the Mall of America in Minnesota. For those of you unfamiliar, its a GIANT mall with every store under the sun and an amusement park in the center of it. Not a good enviroment for kids with sensory processing disorder or for children who wander away. But crazy me, I went anyway, without my husband cuz he just had to to go to the Gopher Basketball game (ugh). I gotta say, I was more than a little scared but I knew my sister & mother would meet me at the mall so I would have an exta hand. Needless to say, we had an AWESOME day! My daughter with anxiety disorder handled the crowds like she didn't even have an illness. And my little guy with the possible PDD was amazing! We aren't just talking good for Spencer good. I'm talking good for ANY 4 year old boy in an amusement park good. My family ended up not being as much help as I had hoped (they just really wanted to shop in grown-up stores) but I didn't really need them to help. The kids and I shopped in places like the Lego store & the American Girl store. We had a real sit-down dinner at the Rainforest Cafe (great place to eat but over the top for stimulation: visual, aural & smells) & had to wait a long time for our food. But still the kids were great. We then went to the park, Nickelodeon theme, to ride on rides. All kids took turns, waited in long lines & the girls went out of their way to help Spencer on rides. And I am not even on MY meds currently so I know that I did not factor in on their behaviors. I haven't experienced an outing like this since before my youngest was born & never take him to many public places for fear of him running off. We stayed at the mall for 7 hours and had a wonderful time. I was a bit emotional on the drive back home about the whole thing and am really sad my husband missed out on such an amazing experience with our out-of-sync kids. Anyway just wanted to share this glimmer of hope since I have had so many days without any. All glory to God for this wonderful day. I will cherish it always!



Jeni

Kathy - posted on 12/25/2008

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Hello, all... I, too, am a newbie. I'm not real good at keeping up with these social sites, but wanted to put in my two cents, for what they're worth. I now have a 20 year old [almost 21... boy, do I feel old :-) ]. Anyway... just this past year he went through some very disturbing behavior... kinda a mini mental breakdown I guess you could call it. He quit his job, and felt that life was just too much for him to handle. He wasn't suicidal, just very overwhelmed and didn't know how to handle the anger and frustration that he was feeling. He took it upon himself to begin therapy. At his age, it is, of course, his right to do that. I am rather cautious of psychiatric care in our area and am scared of meds. I wanted my "little boy" to be ok. After long discussions with him in the past 4 months since this has all happened, I think I now need therapy to understand and deal with my own guilt over his maladjustment. Thats only partially in jest, but sometimes I feel that if we had identified and dealt differently with his anxiety issues that he's had nearly his entire life, maybe things would be better for him now. He's at a very tenuous stage in life and though he wouldn't admit it to my face out of respect, he is being heavily influenced by the world and has drifted from the teachings of the Truth that Jesus offers. It scares me terribly. I keep praying... and he does still attend church with us, but.... well, let's say we have discussions that bring out our strong disagreements. We're not fighting, but with his strong will and high intelligence it's very hard to state the faith-based argument and get it to have any value in his mind. The psychiatrist that he has been seeing is leaving the area and he is open to meeting with the counselor at church. I pray that God will open his mind a bit more and allow His healing to work in him. Love and prayer are more important in the healing process than any counseling session or pill. I know that I'll probably get some people who feel that I'm not understanding of their situations,please.... that is not my intent. I just have a personal wariness to SOME of the psychiatric world. I've seen some very bad things and I also feel that the medical world is very quick to place labels on our children when it's not in their best interest. We are at their mercy to help us and all we can do is be very watchful, very loving and question everything! God bless you all.... none of this is easy. My kids are both gifted kids and sometimes that masks and sometimes causes disorders to manifest. I hate it when I hear of people who have very little kids on meds for AHDH and such when what is really best would be a better educational option for their learning style and personality. I also have a friend with a girl who has experienced the Sensory Processing issue and through providing very hands on, active learning opportunities, the girl who has now entered puberty has grown and matured and is now a very mature and balanced young lady with very few issues. Overall... I guess I'd like to say... bless you all. My prayers are with you and all the kids. Also... hang in there.... love them.... and know that God never made junk.

Tikatia - posted on 12/25/2008

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Hi! So, I'm new on here too, and I just wanted to encourage you that you are not alone! I have 5 kids, and 3 have some major health issues and two have some emotional/mental/behavioral stuff. Breakdown is this

Calista 9 - Gifted with Sensory Integration Disorder

Shiloh 8 (almost)- Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum, Sensory Processing Issues, Social anxiety Disorder, Apraxia, possible pdd-nos, asthma, allergies, eczema, IgA deficiency, among others :)

Jubilee 4 - no disorders just funloving middle child who loves singing

Elianna 2 - asthma, chronic pneumonia, gross motor delay due to illnesses

Isaiah 8 months - asthma and bronchitis issues



Anyways, it does get hard, and trying to explain to your NT kids why their siblings have a hard time can be difficult to. The Out of Sync Child is a great book, but also justlearning how to relate to them individually and giving them the tools to talk things out and work out their emotions helps tons!!!

Cindy - posted on 12/25/2008

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May I ask what is a QEEG? And how did that help them find a diagnosis. They think my 10 year old may be bi polar and she is on medication. What kind of doctor did you take your child too? We have done all the neurology stuff and tests. But I don't think that included a QEEG. Thank you.

Cindy - posted on 12/25/2008

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I have been thinking about easing the load with our kids. I remember being overwhelmed by all the appointments, therapy, doctors, counselors, gym, piano, and all kinds of other activities. I remember all counselors saying to have the kids in lots of activities. I am not the soccer mom kind of person. I did the tumbling team, practice 3x week with competitions on the weekends, the dance, the piano and all. All I got was no time for my husband and the other members of my family. It wasn't fair that one or two children got all my attention and time, and the others got whatever was left over. With my two adopted I have really watched that. Again, counselors said to put them in all kinds of activities to keep them busy, never mind what it did to the rest of the family or to me. Now, we go on Saturdays to our academic therapist and the other days are more family oriented. They go to school, come home, struggle for hours with homework, and sleep. I try to encourage them to read. One has started knitting and sewing. The other is really into imagination. So we encourage her drawing, writing and play acting. Only one, the imaginative one is on medication. Anya, my 12 year old attitude, was taken off the basketball team because she refused to improve her grades. With these two, I let natural consequences teach them most of the time. Get bad grades, get kicked off the basketball team. You are really doing the right thing. the more you stress out, the worse the house hold will be. I learned the hard way. At one time, we had counseling and sensory therapy and speech therapy and all. It was just too much for me and the kids. the more services we did, the more stressed they became. I suggest evaluating which therapies and counselors really seem to be helping. If none are at this time, let them pass. If it is obvious they need some therapy, then evaluate and see which one really work. Our one therapist sees the girls for an hour and half on every other Saturday. She works on sensory, vision, and academics. We did 3x a week this summer, then once a week, and the girls got caught up enough to go to every other week. I learned kids burn out too. So I watch them for this and this why we cut back on the number of times. An art lost in today's world is just the ability to be a kid. Kids can survive and be happy without all the electronic and stuff kids have to have. I encourage mine to be outside weather permitting. That is hard right now as we have about 2 foot of snow on the ground and terrible temperatures. Also right now my girls have trouble expressing verbally what is going on so counseling doesn't really help. their psychiatrist said to wait until they start being able to express their feelings verbally or in an unhealthy way to start counseling. My girls have problems due to inherited mental issues and abandonment and orphanage issues. They don't understand a lot of their emotions now. We are thinking the closer they get to teens the more counseling we will seek. My bio daughter had trouble expressing her fears and emotions when she was 13 and 14 to the counselor. With this daughter I sought counseling. I went to private and group sessions myself. Many of the counselors have said I am the one needs to have a counselor to express all my emotions. So you might try being the one who goes to counseling to help you stay sane and sort out what is most important to help your kids. It was a Big BIG help for me. Then I didn't feel guilty if someone said I should be doing this or that because I knew I had made sound decisions about my family. I sometimes look at my one neighbors who seems to have 2 perfect children. No mental health or learning disabilities. Then I remember God gave me 6 individuals that He made to use their gifts for His glory. I am just the bender and lover for them now. One day as I have seen in my 4 oldest, they choose their path, either they stay with their upbringing or rebel. I am happy to say mine have chosen to led God lead their paths. they make mistakes and wrong choices but like all of us the Holy Spirit leads them back. I just pray the last 2 will do the same. My little one wrote and acted out the Christmas story for all of us on Christmas Eve. She loves Jesus and shows it but she is still a kid with issues. My Miss Attitude tried to ruin Christmas as she does all events as it is not about her, she even ruins her own birthday!. But after the day is coming to a close, she did not succeed and decided to join in on the celebration. Again the best advice is do what you can, do what is best, and do only what is the most beneficial to you and your family. Seek Godly counsel and find someone even it is a professional counselor to talk to on a regular basis. find someone who listens, but also remains objective and realistic. You don't need sympathy you want prayer, listening and guidance and support on what you decide is best. If you would like to ask something more specific, feel free to email me at churchlib6@yahoo.com That is for church librarian not liberal! I hope something I have said will encourage you. I have a friend with adopted children just like mine and it is good sometimes to cry on each others shoulders, to rejoice on a break through and just know someone knows how I feel. Oh, yeah, don't forget to laugh. I realized one day that I had not laughed in a year!

Jennifer - posted on 12/23/2008

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Jeni, I'm new to this group as well and am really glad that I wandered in here. :) I have a 6 yr old son who was first diagnosed with ADHD when he was 3yrs old and then about a yr later we went to a Behavioral Clinic and they ran all kinds of tests including a QEEG and we found that he was actually Bipolar and had OCD. Bipolar runs on my side of the family. He is on 3 different meds, as am I. It is very difficult at times and my 2 other children (one older brother and a younger sister) put up with a lot from him as well. I too feel that the Lord has forgotten us at times. I don't have any advice to offer about Sensory, but I can offer an "ear" to listen to the frusterations of having a child with a mental disorder. My son is going to be 7 yrs old next month and sometimes he acts like he is only 3. Have they tested your younger son for Asperger's Syndrome? They thought at first my son had that. Anyway, Pray, pray, pray each of them are a gift from God and he has a plan for them. That's what I keep telling myself anyway. :)

Jenn - posted on 12/23/2008

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Hi Jeni

I am so glad you asked I am a single mom who Has 2 boys that I love dearly as I know you love yours. My eldest Tyson was diagnosed with ODD when he was 10 he is 15 now and my youngest was diagnosed with ADHD and I have experienced anxiety since i was 13. This was not the path I would have chosen, although in Gods own way it was the right one. I have researched for many years and thousands of dollars into not having to put my children on medication or myself. We are all on meds and slowly but surley with the research i have done I have been able to find that Oils such as Biomega and dha work wonderfully for the kids and I. There is hope and light at the end of the tunnel.

Jeni - posted on 12/23/2008

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Wow. Thanks for all the great ideas. I have read the Out of Sync Child & The Out of Sync Child has fun. They are great books & I refer to them often. We are in the process of making dietary changes but what an overwhelming process! We are currently focused on removing artifical colors & flavors from Spencer's diet. That seems to be helping his behaviors. Still impulsive & slightly aggressive (but he is only 4) but he seems to be able to reign in when prompted.

I will check out the book by gary smalley. My 9 year old, Deanna, just started on a kids worship team at church. After rehearsals, she is a smiley, happy girl like she used to be. I want to encourage as much of these activities as possible.

Cindy, with the number of children coping with a variety of disabilities, how do you manage to get everything done? I have actually put a hold on therapy & counseling appts right now cuz I couldn't keep driving my kids all over Minneapolis for all these appts. I was getting stressed taking care of all their appts plus taking care of home life & working part time. Any tips on making things easier would be greatly appreciated!

Hope you all have a great Christmas! God bless!

Cindy - posted on 12/19/2008

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have you read the out of sync child has fun? it is a treasure. also, unicorns are real.
and of course, the out of sync child. i have used these with all my kids.

Cindy - posted on 12/19/2008

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Jeni, I have been there. I have a now 23 year old daughter with OCD. Living with OCd's is not easy at all. She is also a perfectionist. She was not diagnosed until she was in 8th grade and was heading toward suicide. By this time, she needed medication. After 6 months of counseling and a year of medication, she was transformed. Not completely healed but live got better for all. One way we dealt with it was that she started traveling when she was 13. She went on 3 mission trips with Teen Mania. She loved and it and we all got the break we needed. There is a little book How to train your child's bents. it is by gary smalley, i think, it takes about training our children with their bents toward God and away from the world. It helped. Our family was in chaos for years. My oldest son had CAPD and sensory issues. He was in 3rd grade before we got that diagnosis. The Lord sent us a therapist from NY who new about this and was also willing to learn new methods. She prayed for my kids all the time and worked with him for 3 years. He is on an academic scholarship to Judson University and plans to be a high school math teacher. It was a long road. My daughter is a graduate student at Cambridge University and is planning on working in economic development in 3rd world countries. She has already done this in Kazakhstan and Romania. My youngest son has OCD but his has not come to the point of needing med. He is at Emory University. I have 2 adopted daughters. Anya is from Russia and joined our family when she was 6. She is now 12. She acts like a 12 year old, but is totally defiant. She has not been diagnosed with any learning disabilities, but she has a defiant attitude.
She has eating issues, some physical issues and definitely emotional issues from her life in Russia. My youngest, Alphia, is from Kazakhstan. She joined us at 3 and is now 10. She was born at 22 weeks with apgar scores of 5/6. She has dylexsia, CAPD, and maybe bi-polar. At 9, she became violent and with medication that is under control. We have prayed and continue to pray for their emotional and mental healing from their lives before us. My oldest child, has an anxiety disorder. I have an anxiety disorder and my husband is slightly OCD. We have struggled, laughed and cried over all 6 of our children.
Please, keep trusting God to lead you to the right doctors and counselors. We went through a lot of good therapist just uninformed of my children's needs. Feel free to ask me anything and I will try to help if I can. Just know that I have survived and not just survived but am living. I teach English as a Second Language and Sunday School. God has been good and continues to be. I had a good friend who told me to never say never when the doctors said my son would not do this or that. He did them all!!

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Hi Jeni, My name is Nicole Wong and I am the director of a private school in Newberg, Oregon. I have 2 boys ages 5 and 7. Throughout my years in teaching I have come acrossed several students with different disabilities, disorders, and behavioral issues. Also, a little over a year ago my youngest son was very depressed and angry. Through much prayer and helping my son get to know God better through music and worship he was doing much better but still struggled. I then looked at his diet and made some adjustments. We took him off milk and wheat and things began to improve again. Then these last few months we have been taking out sugars and any artificial foods. He is much stronger health wise and he is also much happier. Sometimes a child's behavior can vary greatly on diet as well as guidance with spiritual issues. My sons therapy everyday started and ended in Worship. His smile came back and he was excited about life. Now that he can read he is reading his Bible and he is building his own relationship with God. I hope this helps. I have seen several students improve with diet changes and lifestyle changes. Helping your child see how they can be a part of the process in half of the battle. Children like to have responsibility and they like to make positive choices especially when they can see and feel a good outcome. I will keep you in my prayers. Have a wonderful Christmas. Nicole

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Lord,

I am so glad that You know the plans you have for Jeni's children. Plans to prosper and not to harm...

Lord, please give Your Strength to Jeni and her husband.

Place encouraging people in their path, people who can help diagnose their children's disorders and people who will help them to teach their children in ways that the children can understand. Guide Jeni's family as they make decisions about the kids, and Lord, lead them clearly in Your Will. Give Jeni's family and friends patience and understanding for this situation and guide them as they seek to support the family.

In all these things, Lord, draw each member of the family closer to You, and as they draw closer to You, then also they draw closer to one another.

In all these things we praise your holy, precious name, Jesus.

Amen

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