Wednesday, 30 April 2014


The walls were covered with a new set of pictures. As we sat there, waiting to be called in for our appointment, I stared at them and wondered about the children who’d drawn them. What was their story? What led them to need help here? What is the collective noun for Mr Men?

It was a review meeting with my daughter’s neuro-psychiatrist. The professionally professorial professor who, in August last year, diagnosed my daughter with a mood disorder.* 
(*My computer has just tried to autocorrect this to a ‘moog’ disorder, which is a satisfyingly funky substitute).

At the time our family was bewitched, bothered and bewildered by our daughter’s cyclical batches of agitated evenings and sleepless nights, followed by angry outbursts at school, rounded off with a zonked out zombie ending. Rinse and repeat every three weeks or so. 

It took a while to get to the right person, and it took a long, hot, afternoon building the most exhaustive and exhausting medical case history of my girl’s life, but the Prof got a handle on the situation. A big, red, emergency handle, labelled STOP. He told us that our girl was exhibiting behaviour on the spectrum of bipolar disorder (something which is more prevalent in adolescents and young adults with Prader-Willi Syndrome than in the general population). He thought a mood stabilising drug would potentially help. After he consulted with some big cheeses in the PWS research world, he became more convinced this would be the correct course of action to take. So did we. 

Here we are, nine months later. Pills are still being popped. The highs have been capped, and the lows have been lessened. Our daughter is still our daughter, not the unrecognisable, vexing, perplexing, intermittent stranger in our midst. The drugs are stabilisers, not sedatives, so there are still the usual wobbles and waves that come with childhood, teenagerdom and Prader-Williness. But they're gusts, not whirlwinds. She’s her. She’s ours. She’s herself.

The meeting with the Professor went well. He spoke kindly, carefully, and respectfully to her. My girl was shy, fiddled with her hands and was hesitant with her replies, but told him she was happy. She meant it.

Song is Ella Fitzgerald - Bewitched, Bothered And Bewildered

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