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And now it’s time to get the T-Shirt!  You’ve worked hard, endured things other parents never imagined and you’ve persevered through it all.  No one else close to us can imagine the strength we’ve needed to find as we help our kids back to health.  We have gone places that the angels fear to tread all for the love our our kids.  If we don’t deserve this T shirt, no parent does!

Proclaim your greatness with an official Out of the Rabbit Hole T-shirt.  Available for all of us very dedicated  Mighty Moms and Fearless Fathers at the following link* Moms and Dads wear it loud and wear it proud!!

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Well, we’ve added a new pill to Amy’s evening regimen, fish oil.  There have been some very small clinical trials showing success with it for people with mental illness.  The scientific reasoning is that it somehow allows the neurons in the brain to reorganize to a healthy state.  For a synopsis of the trials and results, check out this link:

We’ve added this to Amy’s daily pills because we (her psychiatrist and Hank and I) are trying to wean her off her anti-psychotic, Risperdol.  Her therapist has suggested for over a year that she doesn’t believe that Amy is psychotic.  She believes that the psychosis was a manifestation of Amy’s depression and temporary.  That, on top of the side effects, has given Hank and I an incentive to ask to wean her off.   While on this med, she has high cholesterol and triglycerides.  These conditions in a teenager are just ridiculous.  I know that she needed the med at one time but if it can be gone, then so much the better for Amy’s health.

Her psychiatrist is not as convinced as her therapist but since Amy has been stable for over two years, he’s willing to give it a shot.  So far, he has been reducing the dosage by a quarter every three months.

I started with the fish oil in January when I first learned about the Amminger study mentioned in this link.   This study somehow identified patients at “ultra high risk” of developing psychosis.  How this is possible is a mystery to me but let’s suspend judgment for a while here.  Anyway, the patients on the fish oil regimen significantly reduced the likelihood of developing the psychotic episode.  That was enough for me to add it.  Her psychiatrist had already agreed to try to start the weaning process in May and I figured that the fish oil could only help as it certainly wouldn’t hurt.  Maybe it would even help her cholesterol.

I’m happy to say the weaning process is working well.  Her dosage is now half of what it was and she is showing no problems or psychotic episodes.  Keeping the fingers crossed!

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Who knew our kids could have their own month?  Anyway, here are some helpful links for support:

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I’ve talked with many parents of teens with depression and a few are afraid of putting their children on medication.  They fear unknown long term side effects.  It is a difficult choice but Hank and I put it in black or white terms – either she gets the meds or she is successful in a suicide attempt.  That made the choice pretty easy in our case.

It’s not to say that we didn’t have problems with Amy’s meds.   During a six month period where we were trying to find the right combination and dosages, there were some nasty side effects.  And, even with the right meds for her mood, there are also some less desirable, but manageable, side effects.

She was on one anti-psychotic that made her like a zombie.  I swear she did everything but drool in the corner.  Another gave her what we came to find out was called dystonia.  The symptoms looked like a stroke.  She had weakness on her left side and her face was drooping.  I remember rushing her to the emergency room with her sister, all the way thinking my 13 year old was having a stroke.  We were very lucky as some benadryl took care of the problem (an allergic reaction to the med).

I wouldn’t want to change our decision.  I am hopeful as her psychiatrist is going to try to wean her off the anti-psychotic in May.  This is the worst med for her physically as it has caused a great weight gain and a higher than normal cholesterol and triglyceride level.  Maybe when she’s off of it, she’ll get back to a healthier weight.  Even if we’re unable to take her off of it, she’s still here every day for me to love.

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Spheres of Influence

November 11, 2009 by

I get so frustrated by Amy’s treatment sometimes. Why is it so hard to get a mental health professional to provide advice? After all, isn’t that why we take her there? During the early months of her treatment, we had so many questions and ideas but could not get advice.

After about a year, we discovered that we had to take control of the situation. We had to act as “case managers” for her treatment. I’m a manager by profession and I finally figured out that we had compartmentalized systems all affecting her. I called them the Spheres of Influence.
Amy’s Spheres were 1) her psychiatrist, 2) her therapist, 3) her school and 4) her family. All four had influence over her and her perception of reality. (If Amy weren’t depressed, there probably would have been another, 5) friends).

As Amy’s case managers, we had to make sure each Sphere was contributing to her improvement. Because I’m such a management geek, my husband and I had a brain storming session in front of an old blackboard at home to do this. We wrote each Sphere on the board and listed our thoughts on it.

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