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Friday, August 21, 2015

When Fear Overrides Faith

When fear overrides faith, I woke realizing that was what had happened to me on Monday. The kidney issues, possible failing kidneys, possible Diabetes Insipitus, had brought my husband and I to the only choice of weaning Teale off Lithium. We had to wean Teale off her Bi-Polar medication she had been on since she was six years old. Lithium was the only medication we had known for the last ten years. We knew she needed a slightly higher dose during typical times in the year that Bi-Polar people went manic. We knew it had stabilized her and brought her back to us. We saw hope in Lithium, we saw peace in our daughter. We knew the side effects, we knew the warning signs if it was too high or too low in her system, we knew Lithium. Life without Lithium seemed pretty much unfathomable.
So when it was first suggested that Lithium was the cause of physical harm to Teale, we had to make what seemed like a choice between, mental stability and physical stability. We chose physical, hoping we could also someday get her back to mental stability. For both Mark and I, it was an obvious choice, but with this decision, I believed we were in for a very bad ride on the mental health roller coaster. I believed it could be an extremely long time before we achieved the mental stability we had finally achieved about five years ago. The cocktail of drugs (medications) Teale took was specific to only her. The Lithium had helped, but it wasn't until we found an antipsychotic medication about five years ago, did Teale seem the best she might be able to be. It's never been perfect, but if you knew Teale before medications, you know we made the right decisions pursuing the right combo of medications.
Our journey to get Teale mentally stable started when she was about four years old. The explosive behaviors were confusing and tough to manage. Her violence was dangerous and very scary. Doctors "admitted" children with cerebral palsy can have a very tough time regulating moods. With the brain damage being so severe in Teale, no one was sure "what these violent outbursts were?" It could be seizures, something she was not in control of. It could be just the inability for her body to regulate moods because there was no connection between her two lobes in her brain. It could be frustration, over her lack of good communication? It could be her lack of using her right arm caused frustration and anger? There were hundreds of things thrown at us, mental illness, our parenting, her need for more structure in her life, being in the wrong program, our lack of learning sign language fast enough, seriously, the list was endless. Of course the most difficult possibility was that her explosive behaviors were somehow our fault. Blaming Mark and I seemed like the easiest, most obvious answer for many around us. Statements like, "All she needs is a little discipline" will forever run through my head, destroying my confidence. It's hard to believe I took such a cruel, ignorant comment to heart, but Teale was my first crack at a severely brain damaged kid. She was my first child with Cerebral Palsy, Epilepsy, profound hearing loss and a diagnosis of being legally blind.
My girlfriend recently drilled a statement into my head that I think about much, "You only know, what you know." A child like Teale, I had never known. Let that sink in. I had a child I had to try to figure out, without the knowledge of child development helping me. Mark and I had run our in home daycare about ten years when Teale was born. I had been a Nanny, a babysitter, an Aunt, for years before that. I had over fifteen years of working with young children, years of a deepening understanding of the "proper" ways to help develop confident, happy, well adjusted children. I took several child development classes, I read many articles and several books. I educated myself in new ways to help achieve success in my chosen career of childcare. I wanted our daycare to be nurturing, safe, loving, a well run home, where children could feel free to be themselves, so long as there was respect for others. Our daycare was an extended family, each and every child there had a piece of Mark and my heart. But then Teale was born....

(part one)

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