A Multitude of Recoveries Through Alternative Mental Health Treatments
I am the mother of an 11-year-old boy, Lucas, who since birth has shown some symptoms of mental illness. Lucas was always an incredibly active baby who never seemed to need much sleep and literally ran from place to place. At five years old Lucas entered kindergarten, and it was somewhat of a disaster. He began having stomachaches and temper tantrums every morning about going to school. When he entered first grade things got worse. He began wetting himself at school periodically, and had stomachaches daily that would last until about 4 pm when his after-school temper tantrum was played out. Homework was a nightmare beyond belief, the screaming and tears and tantrums were unbelievable. By third grade his impulsive behaviors were relentless and his abilities in school were intermittent. Lucas began having sleep- walking episodes, and daytime visual/audio hallucinations periodically. I wrongly assumed it was simply stress. His tantrums at home were awesome to behold. The look in his eyes, on his face during these times was animal-like in the extreme, and I couldn't seem to talk with him at the same level after the third grade. The hallucinations and mood swings became more pronounced, to the point where I was becoming very worried about his emotional stability. In the spring of 2000, he became very depressed and vacillated between a mania/rage so pronounced that he was shoving, hitting, and threatening me; and a depression so severe that I was terrified he would commit suicide. I sought professional help for him. I began to get gray hair that summer, watching Lucas go from insane giggles (as he told me how he was going to kill and dismember me and all his friends) to a state where he couldn't quit laughing and crying at the same time. It only took about 6 weeks for the psychologist I was taking Lucas to see, twice a week, to determine that Lucas was bipolar, with attachment issues and obsessive compulsive tendencies with symptoms of attention deficit as well as hyperactivity disorder. I understood that I was expected to administer psychiatric drugs to Lucas (about to turn 11 years old) that had for the most part never been approved for children and that had life threatening side-effects, with no experimental evidence indicating that they actually improved the condition in children. So I began researching alternative medications, and I joined several services for parents of bipolar children. It soon became obvious that almost all of the kids on pharmaceutical drugs ended up in residential care facilities periodically, and the quality of their lives was abysmal. So I decided there had to be a better way, and there was. The first step was to deal with the depression; we experimented with several different fish oil gel caps as my research indicated, as different EPA/DHA ratios were appropriate for different people, and targeted different symptoms. I also began giving him a high quality multivitamin and L-Taurine (an amino acid that helps regulate mood) and had found that a couple of herbs truly eliminated the daytime hallucinations, which eliminated most of Lucas's anxiety issues. The restless leg syndrome and sleep walking was effectively dealt with using mineral supplements, particularly magnesium. I had been reading about the True Hope supplement (http://www.truehope.com), and we decided to try it even though he was relatively stable on the regimen I had set up for him. Lucas had been eating nutritionally dense foods for a few years, with virtually no dyes or preservatives, as we determined long ago that they affected his health in a negative way. He had also been taking high quality multivitamins and nutritional supplements since the bipolar diagnosis, and sleeping 9 hours a night, but he just didn't seem like the happy-go-lucky kid he had been two years before. Nor did he seem very energetic while taking the pharmaceutical drugs. I hoped the TH supplement would change this. In February we slowly began lowering the TH supplement and bringing up the quantities of the regimen I had developed through experimentation. The difference in Lucas's life was phenomenal. Suddenly he could sit and read a book again, he could think before speaking or acting on an impulse at a much higher level than ever before. Lucas has been rock stable since February (six months ago) and his quality of life has never been better. I know this level of responsibility is very difficult to accept. Many a night I would lie awake asking myself what in the world made me think I was capable of handling this without medical professionals? I mean just who did I think I was? The answer is finally clear, I am Lucas's mother, no more no less, and I have faith that Lucas will have a wonderful childhood with all the same trials and tribulations, all the same opportunities and choices that we want for all children.