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Need help: 8 yr old DD w/ severe mood swings, explosive rage, violence, etc. *also posting in...

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

I've been reading posts in "Mental Health" for quite awhile, so before I talk about DD, I just want say that I'm writing this hoping for some sound, loving advice from mamas who've been there.  This is a very rocky road we're traveling, and as I type the tears are flowing, so please, no judgements.


My DD is 8, has been identified as "gifted", and loves to learn.  She has a tremendous sense of empathy for others, is tender and patient with her little brother, and wants to be friends with pretty much every kid she meets.  She can be the sweetest, most generous child you can imagine...and sometimes she is so violent and filled with rage it's as if a monster has taken over her brain and we're stuck in a bad sci-fi movie.  I don't want to run on and on, but I want to give an accurate picture of what she goes through, as well as her family history, so this post may run a bit long.

History: Mom (me) is a rapid-cycling Manic Depressive controlling illness with Lithium.  Biological father is a rapist, so I don't have much history on him, but I do know that he is Paranoid Schizophrenic and a drug abuser- street drugs and Rx both at the time of the rape.


Current symptoms: extreme excitability- often gets so worked up when playing that we have to sit her down and get her to breathe so she doesn't starting coughing, then vomiting, irritable- snaps at us for the tiniest things, rage- when provoked, often by something we can't identify, she hits/kicks/throws things/scratches at us, etc., mood swings: I'm very educated and in-touch with my illness, and yet the speed with which she goes from happy, to angry, to punching me, to "mom, can I have a snack?" is nothing short of dizzying. 


Other Symptoms: DD is extremely self-centered- my mom told me today that when the kids go over for their Friday night sleepover, it's really a chore now because they all have to do exactly what my DD wants to do, or it's meltdown city.   She is very intelligent (genius level IQ) and she knows it, and often hurts other kids feelings by making rude statements about their lack of similar intelligence, but then in the same day she'll be hiding under her desk crying and screaming that she's stupid and no one loves her. :'-(.  Ultra-competitive, to the point that everyday activities can be disastrous...take our Easter egg hunt today...she had a screaming episode partway through because she thought her little brother was getting too many of the well-hidden eggs and she was finding the "baby" ones that were easily visible.


I've had to stop while typing so many times because this is so painful...I feel so helpless!  However, I do know that the best thing I can do is to get some help; I'm making an appt. with our doctor first thing in the morning.  We have a great doc who's totally comfortable with our choices (no vaccines, no antibiotics, etc), so I suspect she will refer us to a psychologist.  I'm hoping that some of you out there can give me some ideas for natural things I can try- diet modification, natural supplements...?  I wouldn't even go to the doc now, but this has been going on for years and we've tried all kind of techniques to help her calm herself, etc and it just keeps getting worse.  It's to the point that I don't even want to take her to the store, and she has very few friends at school, none of them close friends, because they've all seen her out-of-control episodes. 


Bottom line...I'm scared for her, and often scared of her.  Help, please.



--Pam, water-birthing, breastfeeding, no vacc'ing, unconditional parent to my DD, 8 and my DS, 3, with a whole-lotta help, love, support and dish washing by my very, very DH!





post #2 of 6
I only have a brief moment, but I wanted to let you know that I read this post and I feel your fear and sadness and helplessness.

I can't offer natural solutions/ideas at the moment, but I will offer a strong opinion/suggestion that you do, indeed, follow through with your appointment with the doctor and insist on a psychological and (my opinion) psychiatric consultation as well. It sounds like you've really been doing a great job trying to manage these difficulties on your own and with love, empathy, support, and attention, but these things can only go so far when attempting to manage behavioral manifestations of psychological distress or disorder, as I'm sure you know (since you mention that you are controlling your disease well with Lithium).

I am a psychologist myself, and while I'm all for the AP style and theories and practice, WHEN APPROPRIATE, I think when it comes to some things, we need to recognize our own limits in terms of what we are capable of "treating" with love and empathic attunement. Mental illness is nothing to minimize, and it sounds (for better or worse) like your sweet DD has a very challenging biological history in terms of her propensity for possible psychological difficulties and/or mental illness. Unfortunately, it is what it is, but the two most highly genetically loaded mental illnesses (meaning the two mental illnesses that are MUCH MORE "nature" than they are "nurture") are bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. And from the history you gave, your DD has the genetic background to put her at higher risk than normal for either or both of these illnesses.

I'm not suggesting that she is certain to develop these problems, but that you ought to take your concerns seriously and intervene as early as possible with adequate and APPROPRIATE treatment.

Again, I'm all for natural remedies and changes in diet, sleep, exercise, and other such things, and perhaps those things will be beneficial in addition to proper psychological and psychiatric treatment, but I think in a case like you've described, you have *absolutely* reached the point where a psychological and psychiatric referral is warranted, especially in light of the family/genetic history.

I hope this helps. I truly feel for you. This is a frightening thing to face and I hear how much you love and care for your DD. I think she is lucky to have someone who is so attuned to her struggles and I hope that you are able to access the best care that can help her cope better with the internal/psychological problems she's currently struggling with.
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

Thank you so much for your kind support and encouragement!  As you clearly guessed, I'm struggling with reaching out to the doc because I remember the pain I went through when I was first diagnosed at 20...it took me 5 very messy and pain-filled years to finally realize that I need meds.  I'm terrified of sticking her with a diagnosis at such a young age, but it's to the point that something has to give.  I'm just exhausted from worrying, and watching her like a hawk, hoping I can see the next episode coming and somehow talk her out of it.  When I do manage to predict it, I usually end up getting slapped or my face and arms scratched as I try in vain to help her contain it.


After an absolutely horrible day at my parents, filled with episodes of all kinds, I talked to DD and told her that I was calling the doc in the morning because we just don't know how to help her.  She was very calm and seemed to be looking forward to it.  When she's calm she agrees that she doesn't want to act that way...she often cries tears of remorse after hurting one of us, and it rips my heart to bits!


My hubby is dragging me to bed :o), but I want to also thank you for saying that you can hear my love for her, etc...I really needed that encouragement right now!



--Pam, water-birthing, breastfeeding, no vacc'ing, unconditional parent to my DD, 8 and my DS, 3, with a whole-lotta help, love, support and dish washing by my very, very DH!

post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 

One more thought:  I've read some things lately about blood sugar issues in kids and adults closely mimicking manic-depressive type mood issues...anyone have experience with this...? 


I ask because we have noticed that she does get worse when she has a lot of sugar, and/or a lack of protein.  It's easy to tell that this affects her because we eat a healthy whole-foods diet at home, with pretty much no sugar...but at Nanny's (my mom) she eats junk, tons of sweets, and she has a LOT more problems after being there.

post #5 of 6

Hello - Please get a copy of the book by Doris Rapp, MD "Is This Your Child".  It is available at Amazon.com. The book is a very detailed study of unrecognized allergies in children and adults. The book is amazing and also heartbreaking. So many of the children Dr. Rapp studied were children suffering from allergies from infanthood but they were very slowly diagnosed. These children were hurting but there symptoms were outwardly displayed in bad behavior. When their diets were altered they were vastly different children. Please look into this before medicating your child.  All the best to you mama and your DD.

post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the book recommend; I've ordered it already!


Since my original post, I've spoken with the nurse at our dr's office.  It turns out that our doc will definitely want to rule out a food/allergy cause to before jumping to medication.  She (the dr) works very closely with a child psychologist as well, so we can rest assured in having the best possible care for her, whether this is diet related, or she needs medication and therapy.  Either way, it is SO comforting to know that we're on the road to finding the answers...even if it turns out to be a long, long road!

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