The custody hearing is this morning, 9 am I think. Good thoughts are greatly appreciated.
On Monday, G’s doctor informed Sam’s ex-wife that 1) G is bipolar; 2) There are no “environmental factors” involved in bipolar disorder; 3) Her weight gain is due to unmonitored overeating, not the Risperdal.
The ex-wife was not happy, to say the least. She insists that G is ONLY “sick” when here, and implies that it’s all because of me. She wants to blame all of G’s alarming weight gain over the last two months on the medication. The child has gone up two full clothing sizes since the end of May, and she hasn’t gotten any taller. That truly is excessive. But she’d been on the Risperdal for some time before leaving to visit her mother, and her weight hadn’t shot up then, so it isn’t the culprit.
G was already prone to binge eating and hoarding food before taking Risperdal. Risperdal can increase appetite. We were monitoring her intake very closely because of the compulsive eating patterns. While her mother insists that she knows everything the child has eaten this summer, that’s pretty obviously not the case—especially since both she and the kids describe a far more permissive environment there in all ways than what we have in our home.
G is taking in far more calories than I do on any given day. For instance, we got the kids at about 12:30 on Sunday. They reported that they’d just finished a “huge” breakfast, and weren’t ready for lunch. By about 2, G was hungry. She ate two enormous fajitas—I couldn’t have eaten one of those in one sitting. By 4:30 she was “starving” again, and she ate at least two big hamburgers that night for dinner. She was fussing after snacks in between. She eats far more than R does, and he’s a 14-year-old boy! She’s several sizes larger than Katie in everything but length now, despite the fact that Katie is about 5 to 7 inches taller than she is. Those of you who know Katie know that she isn’t skinny, though she does have a long, lean build. Since G has a very small frame and has always been fairly small for her age, this isn’t just a matter of diversity in body shapes and sizes.
I know all too well how unhealthy it is to have kids getting all freaked out about weight, and I certainly don’t want to do or say anything that would lead to even more dysfunctional eating behaviors on G’s part. But I am worried about G’s weight, and I know all too well how poor eating habits can lead to lifelong problems. She’s eating emotionally-whenever she’s sad, tense, or bored her first instinct is to eat. We’ve tried talking to her about those patterns, but she isn’t ready to hear what we’re saying.
To make matters worse, she doesn’t enjoy any active pursuits, preferring to be sedentary. Sam and I do, too, but I know those aren’t healthy patterns. I’ve always wished that I’d formed a habit of exercise and found some sport or other pursuit that I truly enjoyed when I was a kid. That’s one of the things that Wayne and I really wanted for Katie, and I’m glad she does have such interests.
Happily, G continues to be far less volatile than she was pre-Risperdal. Her mother is making big noises about taking her to the clinic at Stanford—I think someone was supposed to be impressed (didn’t work). If G ends up living there, I feel fairly certain that her mother will take her off the medication immediately. Poor kid. I know someone who was diagnosed as bipolar whose parents refused to allow her any treatment. She had to wait until she was 18 and could seek out treatment on her own, and that made those years more difficult than they should have been.