Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Behavior Checklists

I hate filling out those behavior checklists for Kenzie. I can't even tell you how many I have filled out over the last four years. And now another packet full of them for Melmed Center. I am glad for the fact that they want to know as much as possible but it is painful filling them out because it just reminds me of all of her issues. And sometimes that makes me so sad. I guess sometimes because we live with it day in and out we forget the little stuff that we encounter daily. Which is good to some extreme, but it is also good to be reminded or rather be able to let the professionals know all of it. So even though I hate filling them out I do know that they are there to help figure her out and that is what we so desperately want. Thank goodness there was a part where I had to describe her strengths. This is what I wrote: She is a beautiful and talented dancer. She loves to help other people. She likes to feel needed. She loves little children and babies and she is great with them. She accepts all kinds of people and tries really hard to reach out to those who are struggling especially if she sees that they are being made fun of. She loves to give gifts to others. She has a big heart and when people that she loves are having a hard time she rises to the occasion and really tries to help or lift their spirits. She wants to be healthy and is very brave. And she loves her family very much.
Tonight she had a meltdown and was hysterical. I held her in my arms and sang to her like I did when she was a baby. It worked but it also made me cry because I could see her as that precious little baby that was so innocent, happy, and content. I so wish for that for her now.


  1. Yes, they have wonderful qualities that we want so desperately for the world to see. I had to comfort Caroline over a very poor choice she made this week. She hates being bipolar especially when she does things she knows she wouldn't otherwise do. My mom called me yesterday hysterical insisting I commit her to a mental institution because she is so sick and will never get better and she stresses us out too much. Thanks Mom. I am sooooo glad we are past the days of throwing people with mental illnesses in hospitals left to rot. I shrugged it off. Only another mom like you would understand.

  2. Hi Amy,
    I am a new follower to your blog (we have a mutual friend, Nikki :). Thank you for your openness and your willingness to share your personal story. Many of the experiences that you describe sound so familiar to me. Our daughter has struggled with bipolar/depression for years, we just never had it diagnosed until she was 19 years old. After I started learning about children/teens with bipolar so much of her behavior in her younger years made sense. I just wish that we would have been able to help her sooner. My heart ached for you when your appt at PCH went the way it did. I remember those appointments that we would wait so long for, hoping that this would be the doctor that would give us the answer, this would be the doctor that take an interest in my child and want her to get better. Instead, we were told a everything from "I think much of what you are describing is exaggerated" to "this is pretty typical teenage behavior" (um I don't think so!) or my personal favorite "I think we need to explore what is really going on in the home to cause your daughter such stress". Scary!!!
    I did want to chime in on the Melmed Center. I work in the area of Special Education so I get to hear many opinions, both professional and from parents with Special Needs kids. I have heard really good things about Melmed. One of my co-workers takes her child to Melmed and she said that they are treated so well there and they truly value her opinion. They have treated him with traditional medication and also some alternative/cognitive therapies. It didn't happen overnight, but he has made huge progress in the last few months. If I would have known about Melmed ten years ago, we would have taken my daughter there in a heartbeat. I really hope your appointment goes well and you get some answers.

  3. Amy - this post made me quite teary. I am in awe of how similar Kenzie and Ava are. I could have written that about her to the "T". Amazing. Tell me again where you live? These girls are kindred spirits, I swear!

    I love your tribute to Kenzie's wonderful qualities. In a recent post of her own, Megan mentioned the confusion parents without a BP child can get - we lash out with confusion, sadness and frustration but at the same time these kiddos have such amazing qualities to them. We accept the bad with the good. Unconditional love. Just the way it should be. :)

  4. Thank you all for your comments. Jenny, any friend of Nikki's is a friend of mine. I just love her. Thank you for reading my blog and I so appreciate your encouraging words on Melmed. I am so sorry it took so long to get your daughter diagnosed and helped. I totally can relate to your struggle. Read anytime and comment whenever you feel like it would help. Thanks!
    Erin-we live in Arizona. And I agree that Ava and McKenzie sound so much alike. Thank you too for your kind words.

  5. Hi Amy,
    I enjoyed reading your blog. I am a psychiatric nurse practitioner and you might like to check out my blog at I write about being a Christian, Mom and Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner. Did you know about the new diagnosis for kids coming up in the new DSM? Temper Dysregulation with Dysphoria? I have a blog about it. Best wishes and God bless you and your family

  6. I am pretty sure you are a fly on the walls of my house. My daughter and yours seem to be identical, well, in their behaviors. I am "new" to this mental illness thing, as my 8 year old daughter was just evaluated last week. I reached out (barely) to Megan who commented above. Unfortunately, right now, this mental illness (probably bipolar) is our dirty little secret amongst family and friends right now. Nobody knows she is undergoing evaluation. It almost reminds me of the family alcoholic... everyone knows something is going on, but nobody says a word. Since my daughter has a HUGE heart too, many push the other side away. I go again tomorrow to the hospital with my husband, and I am terrified. I don't know where this is going to lead us, I don't know who to tell, who not to tell, or what to do. I am so scared of this process. Thank goodness for mom's like you that I can write briefly and not be judged.