adoption, mental illness

Mania and Matricide: It’s Not OK


Installing deadbolts

It’s not OK to hit me. It’s not OK to bite me. It’s not OK that I have a scar on my head from where you split it open with a high heeled shoe three years ago. It’s not OK that our son has to live at my parents house because he isn’t safe here. It’s not OK for you to plan on stabbing me and stabbing your brother. Not with a kitchen knife OR with a bottle opener.

It’s not OK that we’ve installed cameras with motion sensors and night vision in all the public areas of our house. It’s not OK that we have combination locks on the cabinets where we keep all the “sharps.” It’s not OK that we had to install deadbolts on the doors to our bedrooms. It’s not OK that the motion sensor alarm goes off to wake me up at 12:30 AM when you are wandering the house in search of a “stabbing weapon.”

It’s not OK that you told your therapist today that “Mom has to die!” and then threatened to kill yourself and your brother. You’ve been planning this ever since your last few hospitalizations. Last time they called you “depressed” and started a course of SSRI medications. Not OK!

When you came home your depression became a manic state. You became a child with pressured speech so fast that you stopped using consonants. You started your “hyper phase,” which means you never sleep. You laugh harder and harder until you are screaming and then breaking things. It is not OK that we had to “toss” your room and remove all of the hard furniture and sharp objects. It is not Ok that your service dog found a jack-o-lantern carving knife and gave it to us (well, actually it’s very OK with me that the service dog probably saved our lives.) Did you find it during a night of wandering around the house? Your hand was always holding things under your blankie, ever aware of the cameras. This is not OK.


Dakota Blue, the service dog

You want to know what else is not OK? It’s not OK that the inpatient doctors refused to call your PHP, your psychiatrist, your trauma therapist, or your in-home service team. It’s not OK that they sent you home with an active murder plan and a spiraling state of mania that escalates into more grandiose and diabolical schemes. It is not OK that the state’s voluntary services program we applied for does not consider planning murder to be “clinically acute” enough for a short-term residential placement.

There are some other things that are not OK. It was NEVER ok for you to be neglected as a baby. It wasn’t OK that your pediatrician never reported to anyone that you were in the 12th percentile for weight and selectively mute. It is NOT ok that DCF had been involved with your bio family for 10 years before removing all of you. They were getting hotline calls before you were ever born! It is not OK that any attention you got from your bio mom often became abusive. It is not OK that you lived in terror and learned how to survive the ever-rotating bevy of strange men in your home.

It is NOT OK that I wasn’t able to be your mom in the beginning, when the bad things were happening. It’s not OK and it is not your fault.

Here is what is OK. It is OK that we knew about your mental health concerns when we adopted you. We chose you because you are more than a diagnostic label. You are an amazing girl. You are OUR girl. It is OK that you need to be somewhere safe right now until you stabilize. It is OK to need medication to help you do that. It is OK to grieve the first mother you ever had. God, I wish I could give some of that back to you. The good parts at least.

Our family is going to be OK. It isn’t easy getting there. Yes, we “chose” this life. But I still say we chose the best children. Nothing in life is easy. The best things are hard. I’ve seen parents with profoundly disabled children flourish. I’ve seen severely autistic children learn to read. So yes, we will be OK. It is OK to decide we are not going to try for a biological child. It is OK to stick with the family we have.

it’s OK that it takes an attachment-disordered child a long time to overcome the fear of love. It’s Ok that you inherited some of your bio mom’s mental health concerns. It’s OK because you will never struggle on your own the way she had to. It’s OK as long as we can all stay safe. And I pray that we can. We have done everything in our power. The rest is up to you, sweet girl. Don’t doubt yourself. Mental health can be a manageable illness. Love will always be there for you. No matter what.


night vision camera


**Names have been changed to protect the privacy of those involved.


33 thoughts on “Mania and Matricide: It’s Not OK

  1. c.d says:

    SSRI’s are SO BAD for people especially children who have bipolar disorder. It’s pretty widely known that they cause manic episodes and do not treat the depression. So sorry that they did that to your family. Hospitals often fail. they don’t want to communicate with communicate with other providers unless that provider is associated with that hospital, which is why we need a national health record. They also want a fast turn over so they get as much from insurance as possible. You are so dedicated to your children. I don’t doubt that in time I will be reading about the great things they are doing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for all the hope you give me. She does amazing hinges all the time. They go back and forth with her DX depending on the provider. We believe she has a mood disorder. I think this basically proves it. She was on an SSRI at age 7 and it led to huge rages and 0 sleep. But we tried it because she’s run through all of the antipsychotics, Clonidine (a bit helpful) and other meds. The next step is a mood stabilizer. It’s scary to make this decision as parents. But I know our girl feels horribly guilty when she comes out of her “high place.” It’s just hard to convince psychiatrists that she has extreme mood swings like this at age 10. Thank you for always supporting my girl and sharing your story.


      • c.d says:

        That’s why a diagnosis is important as much as some people are against diagnosis. Don’t be afraid of mood stabilizers. they get a lot of bad hype but with the exception of lithium the meds they use as mood stabilizers are anti epileptics. The use of lithium salts treating “madness” go back to ancient Rome. There is also research that suggest manic episodes actually damage the brain.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Thanks C. D. I had no idea. I’m pretty sure this latest episode proves the DX. At least for us. If the DSMV had accepted Developmental Trauma Disorder then she would have that, too. It’s more complex and has some different symptoms that PTSD or RAD (Both DXs she has.) I’m not as afraid of mood stabilizers as I am for both of my children right now.


  2. Miranda says:

    Every new post makes me so much less alone. I am so sorry for your daughter and the trauma she has to deal with. I understand you and wish we had some of the great resources you seem to have. Even though it’s a pretty rough patch right now, your family seems in a better place to get help when needed than ours. My 8 year old, DX PTSD with the doctor already calling her bipolar as well, just can’t get the help she needs. We just don’t have it in Florida. Right now she is a very low and it scares me to sleep at night. We ran out of bedrooms because I am pregnant with a boy and she has moved into her bio sisters’ room. I worry for them. I worry for me and I am terrified about bringing this baby home in the next 2 weeks. She told me the other day they only reason she has not hurt me and the baby yet is because she doesn’t want to go to jail at the moment. Right now, I am listening to her scream about running away while she self harms because she is being asked to help clean a bathroom. I love her. I want her. But I don’t know if I have your strength and would be able to handle this if it gets to the level of this post.

    I would love more info on your service dog, please!


    • Hi. You’re NOT alone and your comment makes me feel less alone, too. Honestly, no matter how many services we have, nothing is working. I’m not sure that I can do this, I’m just hoping.

      If you’re interested in a service dog, I’d recommend getting the books by Lelah Sullivan “training your own service dog.” They’re available on Kindle. You can pay for a trained dog from 4 paws for ability or heroes horses and hounds. However, there are waiting lists and thousands of dollars involved. We got a dog with the right temperament, a trainer, and the books (9.99 each) and that’s it.

      There is no national registry. The ADA laws are online. It can be a lot easier than it’s made out to be.

      Best of luck to you and the baby. I’m terrified we will get pregnant. I just don’t know how I would do it all. You must be a very strong person.


    • c.d says:

      Sorry you you all are going through this. If it is suspected that she has bipolar disorder the international bipolar foundation has some good resources and mental has a treatment locator. Good luck.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Lora says:

    You have been heavy on my heart since reading this post. Wishing love and safety for your family, healing for your children, and endurance for you.

    Liked by 1 person

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