My daughter is 11 yrs old. We’ll call her Bug. Bug was diagnosed bipolar when she was 7. It has been a long, difficult road of ups and downs since then. We went through three schools before anyone would listen to me enough to give her an I.E.P. Finally at the end of her 3rd grade year (and after a hospital stay for a suicide attempt while at school – the 2nd one) the third school evaluated her and decided she “qualified”. Last year, around the end of November, (while in 5th grade) she started having hallucinations again, auditory and visual. They were worse than anything we had ever seen with her. She ended up back in the hospital by the beginning of December. When she came out of the hospital she had a new diagnosis, Schizoaffective Disorder. That by itself scares me. Statistically people with this illness live shorter lives than most people due to suicide. I did a lot of research when she first got out of the hospital. The symptoms alone are frightening.
However, not only does Bug have Schizoaffective disorder, but she also has Oppositional Defiant Disorder, ADHD, and Social Anxiety. All of this makes it increasingly hard for her to attend school. When she got out of the hospital last year she was put on homebound services through the school because she was still unable to handle the stress of the day to day functions. The goal for this year as she went into Middle school was to start Virtual School, However Bug decided she wanted to give public school a chance.
And here we arrive at our problem. School started on August 8th. Bug went for the first two days. She did very well. She was excited, handled things ok. She has missed about 4 or 5 days because legitimately she had a viral infection that she caught from me (DR can verify). Some of those days she actually went but came home early because she was too sick to stay. But Twice now after some kids have been “not so nice” to her she has walked off school property because she has been stressed out and her anxiety has gotten the best of her. The last time it happened she actually ran from the SRO (School Response Officer) and ran through someone’s back yard and tried to hide in their shed. We spent the day with crisis then, because Bug mentioned she was “hoping to die” when asked several questions.
Now not to interrupt my own story but here is a good time to tell you, after the first time she ran from school I started the process of enrolling her into virtual school. So at this time we have all of our paperwork complete. She has taken her assessment tests. We are just waiting for them to give us the green light. They said it would take a week – a week & ½. In the meantime, she has to continue to go to school. Back to the situation at hand.
When the time came that day and we started making plans for her safety I reminded everyone of her Social Anxiety issues. I suggested that maybe she be put in ISS for the remainder of her time at school. I know technically it is suppose to be used as punishment but in Bug’s case it would get her away from all the other students while keeping her at school, doing her work. However, I was told very quickly by several people in the room including the assistant principle & the school councilor that they believed Bug was only seeking attention. ATTENTION!!!!!! MY CHILD WAS ONLY SEEKING ATTENTION!!!!!!! Yes she suffers these awful illnesses because of the limelight she will receive.
Well, I knew immediately the type of people I was dealing with. You can’t educate someone who doesn’t want to be educated. I had tried all day (while waiting on crisis) to explain Bug’s conditions to these people and this is the response I get ATTENTION!!!!!! So I very calmly waited for the meeting to be over, collected my daughter told them we would let her doctor decide what was best for her and I left sure that as soon as I talked with her PDoc all this would be worked out.
So the next day, I go to her PDocs office, am greeted with a “He’s not in the office today.” So I ask to speak with his Office Manager. She handles everything for him anyway. So I talk to her and explain everything that is going on. At first she is very unmoving (you have to go to school, etc.) Then I explain about the virtual school and how its just a matter of time and we just need to by some time and Bug doesn’t need to suffer any more than necessary. Demand ISS, or half days, or medical leave for goodness sakes. Just help my baby girl before she ends up in the hospital again. So the office manager assures me she will get in touch with the PDoc and call me before the end of the day. I waited all day. My cell never left my side. I never gave up hope, 6pm, 7 pm even 8pm. Finally it was time to go to bed and I realized no phone call was coming. They had let me down and today what am I supposed to do? Do I have to send my little girl back into that anxiety trap and hope she’s there when its time to pick her up this evening? Or that I don’t get a phone call in the middle of the day “Ms. Smith your daughter has left campus again and we don’t know where she is.”
I know what I am going to do today. I am going to be looking for her a new PDoc. She needs someone who is reliable. Someone who isn’t going to let her down. Why do I feel like I am the only one on my daughter’s side fighting for her? Her biggest fear is that no one loves her. She is always saying that when she gets upset, “nobody cares” “nobody loves me” I know a lot of people love and care about her. I just wish the right people were fighting for her.