From the time my oldest son was born until he was 6 1/2 years old life was a nightmare. Even saying that today makes me feel guilty, but it was.
My child NEVER stopped crying. He NEVER slept for more then about an hour at a time. I was convinced he had broken a bone during birth because it wasnt a "hold me; feed me" type cry - it was a high pitched SCREAM that would last until he exsausted himself and he fell asleep for a short time. The doctors said colic.
At 6 1/2 months he started crawling - and life took another turn. Now, he could crawl around and get to the things that caught his attention - so the screaming constantly went to screaming from pure exsaustion because he COULD NOT stop moving - ever. Sleeping was still next to never. He hated being confined to the car seat - so I couldnt even drive around to get him to sleep.
When he started walking, things seemed to improve a tiny little bit. He still could not sit still to save his life, but the hours and hours of crying slowed down a bit. He replaced it with anger. For no apparent reason, he would get angry and throw himself down on the hardest floor, sidewalk, or area he could see and bang his head repetedly. We were unable to leave him alone because he would draw blood from doing this if someone wasnt RIGHT there to stop him.
I went back to the doctor and just cried, begging him to figure out what was wrong. The first doctor was convinced we were idiot parents who were not living up to their job. I swear on the lives of everyone I have ever cared about that this was not the case. The next doctor observed and stated that he was showing early signs of ADHD. Because he was injuring himself, the doctor wanted to research some safe medication and start him on it. (he was 2) This is when I hit the books and started researching on the web.
I studied every single thing I could FIND on ADHD. Two things stood out very clearly to me. 1. ADHD kids do not go 8 days without sleeping and 2. do not fly into a fullblown rage that can last just as long.
He was extremely intelligent - was reading books unassisted at age 3, figured out football (to the utter pride of his father) at 4. He would bounce around the room and watch a game and be able to call the plays, etc. etc. But he could not hold a pencil, coloring would throw him into a rage, and a game of Pick Up Sticks I purchased ended up broken in half within ten minutes. (Still to this day, writing is a trigger for him.)
More doctors, no help. When he started Kindergarten he got a godsend of a teacher that concentrated on his strengths and didn't draw much attention to the weaker areas. He rarely "sat" to do his work, but it worked out well. At home things were still chaotic. At one point he was so exsausted and out of control he picked up a 30inch tv and dropped it . It was more then double his body weight. I hit a brick wall at that point and had no clue what to do knowing full well that it was critical that something be done...
Things got worse at school. Things got worse at home. My marriage was starting to go downhill, as dad and I had not had a full nights sleep in 6 years. We couldnt hire a babysitter because no one else knew how to handle him. Friends drifted away, kids from school quit coming over, and we were still no closer to finding any answers.
Long story short, one day when I was in the process of personal breakdown, I saw a commericial on TV for a behavioral center 3 hours away from us that specialised in diagnosing children with "behavioral issues". (and I still thank whatever higher power interviened that day.) I laugh about it now, but I watched the commercial, wrote down the address, threw both kids in the car and started driving without even calling the number. The commercial had described my son to the letter. When I got there I walked up to the receptionist desk in tears, told her I'd seen their commercial, and desprately needed help. They were booked solid, but the doctor agreed to see us on his lunch hour since I felt the situation was critital enough to drive 3 hours without an appointment (and the fact I was bawling and begging for help didn't hurt either I'm sure) We ended up staying the night there in a hotel (my husband was a bit in shock when I called to tell him where we were lol) but the next day I was handed the early onset bipolar dx. It fit.
We started him that night on a very low dose of Zyprexa. And that night he got the first full, good night's sleep he had ever in his life had. We were in shock. I remember that I did not get a wink of sleep that night because he had NEVER slept before, and I was scared to death the medication was hurting him...
I still remember what he said the next morning when he got up. "Mommy, I dont feel stupid anymore. My hands do what my head tells them to do." It was a miracle; and one that I will never forget. He looked so peaceful and beautiful that morning.
Its been a long, rough haul, but my child (now 12) is now successful, happy, able to make and maintain friends, and best of all, PROUD of himself. For us, the medication saved not only my son, but myself, my marriage, and my family. Of course, we still have our ups and downs, our good days and bad days, hurdles and challenges, but we are all much better at handling things as they come up.
My son is still very easily overwhelmed and is extremely impulsive, but he's a different child! The severe outbursts of anger and minipulation are gone, the feelings of "i wish I were dead" are a thing of the past, and he is now just a normal pre-teen boy successfully living with a disability.
As for a support network, if you need help locating resources, support groups, and services in your area let me know! I turned the experiences with my son into a degree and career and run a non profit center for children with mental health disorders.
Welcome to the board.