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Sharon Liddle

from Norfolk, VA

I have a child, Eli, who was diagnosed as psychotic and schizophrenic when he was nine. It was not the diagnoses I needed to hear, but there was definitely something wrong with my son. He had always had issues with anger and impulsiveness, but he started exhibiting these behaviors at home and the fear of him hurting his younger brother drove me to therapy with him.

He is now almost 13 and is on lithium, which works wonderfully when he actually takes it. He feels better and decides that he no longer needs any medicine and, of course, does not tell anyone.

I recently published a book for children about Eli that has helped many kids understand what is going on with them. It makes them feel like they are part of a bigger picture and that there are others out there that feel the same way. The book has helped my son speak out about what he is dealing with and openly discuss the issue. It has helped his teachers and our relatives understand what is going on instead of thinking that he is just "crazy".

I remain frustrated because he is entering puberty and his chemical levels are not remaining stable. It is a daily struggle right now to keep it manageable.

There is so much to tell, but I thought that the book would help children, and family, and friends, and teachers so that I would not have to push so hard as an advocate for him. I simply present the book and ask if they have questions.

For a look at what we have done and what we will continue to do for children with any kind of difficulty or difference, please visit our website. The book is: Eli: The Bi-Polar Bear and it comes with a stuffed animal.

Looking back, what could have been done at the time to improve the situation? Treatment, medication, a different approach, or understanding from others around you?

I wrote about him and speak about the situation as often as possible!

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