I haven’t talked about where God has been in all this. He was and still is by my side. Even though back then when Thomas was out of control and we weren’t even attending any church I know God was guiding my steps and watching and comforting the whole way. There are too many instances where I know my strength did not come from “me” alone, it couldn’t have.
While Thomas was still seeing Darlene the therapist on a regular basis and the psychiatrist here was recommending yet another med to “trial”, Tommy and I bought our first computer. This was 2002 I would guess. The internet!! Wow! :). Incredible. I did look up ADHD and while Thomas did have some of the signs it did not fit him. I wasn’t trying to diagnose him but seriously trying to find something tangible because no one else was.
I stumbled upon a child and adolescent bipolar website (it no longer exists under the former name) and they had a “Find a Professional” tab to look up bipolar specialists in your area. A couple of years earlier when we took Thomas to the psychiatrist in NJ, that doctor had given me a list of psychiatric meds for me to look up to consider for Thomas. The majority of the meds were those used for bipolar disorder. I knew this due to a close family member who is diagnosed bipolar and they would tell me about the meds and different changes.
I had no idea that children could be diagnosed with bipolar, I had no idea that it could run in families. So I chose a dr in Manhattan, a bipolar specialist. I figured if anyone could tell me if Thomas is or isn’t bipolar it would be a specialist right? Dr. F set up 3 appointments. One for me alone to talk to him, one for Thomas and the last one for Tommy and I.
I had been journaling/taking notes of Thomas’ behavior for about a year or so. I needed some sort of documentation as no one seemed to believe me because in school he was great, with Darlene he was fine~no aggression towards me. In school he was wonderfully behaved. Talk about frustrating! Not that I wanted him to beat up a teacher or anything, my gosh NO. I just wanted someone besides my family to see what he does and tell me what was wrong. The pediatrician continued to be useless and for whatever reason pretty much refused to see that anything was wrong besides the speech impairment. She kept saying that the aggression was because Thomas was frustrated due to the speech issue. That held no water with me as I was his mother and if anyone knew what Thomas was saying it was me. It may not have made sense to “you” but it did to me. Any mother can attest to that especially when it comes to deciphering the speech of your child.
Why didn’t I leave that ped? Thomas did have medical issues and she was very competant in handling those so I wasn’t prepared(or annoyed enough…yet) to make the leap and ensure the medical issues be taken care of appropriately.
So onward to Dr.F! Did I mention he doesn’t take insurance and we had to pay out of pocket to see him? I never drove by myself in NYC before that appointment with Dr. F. Nope, never. Tommy was working, my Mom was watching Alyssa and Daniella and I really didn’t feel like asking anyone to tag along so I drove the West Side Highway to find Dr. F’s address on the upper west side alone, I was 31 years old. I was so proud of myself! I parked in the closest parking garage and since I was early walked along Columbus Ave. and took in the sights of all the great shops over there. Then…next thing I knew it was time to meet Dr. F. He had an Italian accent which I found very comforting for whatever reason. He’s tall and thin and probably in his late 40’s. Very down to earth and spoke without sugar coating anything. I adored him. I gave him copies of every evaluation and some originals of my journal observations of Thomas, history with the other psychiatrist and therapist, Darlene, meds trialed, the terrible reaction the the ADHD med, and everything else I could think of about my son. Dr. F asked a ton of questions himself and offered to make copies of original documents. I felt very comfortable and confidant with him. He was after all the bipolar “expert”.
The next visit I brought Thomas who of course was rediculously quiet, he barely spoke when I was in the room. OMG. Nooooooo! Dr. F asked me to leave the room and I was more than fine with that. He did manage to get Thomas somewhat talking and have him answer questions so Whew and Thank God!
The final visit was with Tommy and I. Dr. F did indeed feel Thomas is bipolar and to be honest I wasn’t all that surprised to hear it. I’m sure I felt a tad relieved as well that there was finally a name to his behavior. After all this time. He mentioned medications he would chose in treatment and told us to talk everything over and call him with our decision. I love this next part, Dr. F said to Tommy and I, “Don’t think if you chose to NOT use medication or ‘do’ anything that you haven’t made a choice. You have made a choice, you’ve chosen to do nothing”.
We did call Dr. F back and agreed to start the medication he recommended. I was nervous because it required blood draws, but Thomas was wonderful ~ he really was an incredible trooper especially since he didn’t swallow pills yet and the liquid version of medication tasted truely awful. He took the liquid and put up with the blood draws. Thomas is gifted by God in this way. I believe that with everything.
God guided our steps to Dr. F, He guided me to drive to Manhattan alone. He is a wonderful guide when we just stop and let Him, when we stop fighting. I need to read my own words and use that advice more often.
Back then I wasn’t going to church. About 2 years ago I read Deuterotomy 4:30-31 “When you are in tribulation, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, you will return to the Lord your God and obey his voice. For the Lord your God is a merciful God. He will not leave you or destroy you or forget the covenant with your fathers’ that he swore to them.” I did return to the Lord and he is merciful. When I read that passage for the first time I think I almost fell off my chair for it reminded me of that time in my life. The truth of it was glaring and wonderful all at the same time.