I certainly hope that I am able to portray in this blog what a difference ketamine has made in George’s life. I believe it would be hard to accurately convey how profound this change has been, without providing some history about my son’s life. So, I hope you can forgive the length of this writing, but I also hope that it will be informative and helpful to anyone who reads it.
Today is George’s 21st birthday. Now, 21 is certainly a milestone for any child, but I can honestly say that in George’s case, I was really terrified for most of his life that he would not be around for his 21st birthday.
Of course I didn’t realize it at the time, but looking back now, I believe the earliest symptoms of George’s bipolar disorder were actually felt in the womb. When I was pregnant with George, he moved constantly. Elbows and feet would come bulging out of my stomach. You would actually see my stomach roll. My husband used to ask if I was carrying a baby or an alien. As a baby, George had a terrible time settling to sleep. He would cry and cry and no matter what I did, I could not get him settled. He nursed ravenously and was startled by the slightest sound. He ultimately had to cry himself to sleep every night.
As a toddler, George was extremely curious. He was speaking in full sentences by age two and could have conversations way beyond his years. However, by the time George was 3 years old, I knew in my heart that there was something terribly wrong; but no one, not even my husband, really believed me. I would speak to relatives about how I could not control George. I would explain that he would fly into these temper tantrums just by my telling him no to a request. I would get advice about time-outs and effective parenting and everyone told me it would be fine. I tried working on my parenting skills but nothing helped; things only got worse.
George was drawn to things that were not typical for a small boy. He was very interested in movies but not Disney stories. He would be drawn to violent images and would want to watch movies that were not appropriate for a small boy. When George was told he could not do something, he would fly into a temper tantrum. The scariest times were when he would get what I referred to as “the look” on his face. His eyes would glaze over and I knew my child was no longer there. He would smash things, hit, kick and curse and there was no controlling him. This would go on for hours at times. You would walk on eggshells all day long because you never knew what would set him off. When my husband would come home at night, George would be waiting by the window for him. He would be ready to play and spend time with his Dad and my husband did not really believe me when I told him what went on during the day.