Followed by the Lows

I hate to follow-up a series of posts about the Happiest Place On Earth with a post that could very well be one of my unhappiest, but honestly, I predict there will be even more unhappy.

Doodicus saw a child psychologist a couple of weeks after our return from Disney World. I’ll have to go back a couple of weeks before that to explain how we got there.

After the meeting with his teachers and principal in November, it didn’t seem as if any of their proposals to help improve the situation at school were implemented, including assigning him a “buddy” to make sure assignments were written and homework brought home. That being said, the things seem to hit an even keel. In other words, it didn’t get worst, but it didn’t get any better.

Then I got a call from his teacher: Doodicus got into a classmate’s backpack and took some candy without permission. I was very upset and called the district school’s psychologist, the one who had evaluated Doodicus to figuratively cry on his shoulder and to plead on Doodicus’s behalf, “He’s not a bad kid. I don’t know why this is happening, and I want him to get help.”

Melodramatic much?

I don’t take my son’s snooping through a kid’s backpack and taking candy lightly. At all. Personally, I don’t see it any differently than stealing something from a store, or even out of a stranger’s house. In fact, after I picked Doodicus up from school that day, I drove him by the police station and told him the next time, we’ll go straight to the station and he won’t be coming home with me. He’s only ten, you might say? I would have been way more lenient if he had been four, five, maybe even six, but not ten.

So I am back to worrying that I’m not doing enough to make sure Doodicus can succeed not only in school, but in life generally. I hate feeling like there’s some doubt as to whether his behaviors are a result of ADHD or to lenient parenting. I decided to be proactive and schedule this appointment with the pediatric psychologist. I was hoping we would go in, spend some time talking, review his history, and be told to go home and keep doing what we had been doing – we’re doing great!

We are not.

Approximately half way through the hour-session, I brought up the fact we were discussing moving him to a different school next fall. When I looked over at Doodicus, his face was red and there were tears in his eyes. I stopped, stunned. The doctor, Dr. Ashley, asked Doodicus why he was upset. No response. We let him breathe through the moment and calm down and at that time he admitted he not only was scared to go to a new school and leave the friends he knew, he was scared of how the teachers will continue to treat him if he stays. But the scariest moment came when Dr. Ashley asked if Doodicus if he had ever thought about hurting himself. I can recall that Doodicus has been so upset in the past over a punishment that he wished he hadn’t been born, so it came as a punch to the heart when he confirmed he has more recently thought about self-harm.

My initial concerns for making the appointment – the lack of organization, the oppositional behavior – they are now nothing. This anxiety Doodicus is feeling is not uncommon for children with ADHD and Dr. Ashley mentioned it may or may not be related to the medication, but these emotions are priority. Obviously. It was surreal to be told by his doctor to make sure we remove any instruments he may mention in crisis, because while being ten is old enough to know better about getting into other people’s things, it’s way too fucking young to be so anxious and considering that there’s an extreme solution. I won’t even say the word. I can’t.

29 thoughts on “Followed by the Lows”

  1. Friendly longtime reader. Watching Anderson (Anderson cooper’s new daytime show on channel 11 here in NYC). It’s about ADHD & I thought of you. Just wanted to let you know in case you’re interested. Take care :)

    1. Thanks for passing that on. The transcripts weren’t yet available, but it seems as if it takes less than 24 hours for them to publish them. I’m feeling all punchy about the one woman’s statement that implied ADHD hasn’t even been proven an valid condition. I hope to read it and try to remain neutral to both sides.

  2. You are doing exactly the right thing. I hope he opens up even more to the doc on the next visit. If he feels safe and free to say anything he wants when he is there it will really help the whole process.

    I am not going to go *there* about what you are worried about other than to say as much as it sucks the wind out of you, it is so good that you are learning of his thoughts before they manifest into actions.

    I had to go back and re-read the part where you said he is worried about how the teachers will treat him if he STAYS. That breaks my heart AND pisses me off. No kid should ever have to worry about how he/she will be treated by a teacher. period.

    I wish I could do something to help…..my heart goes out to you.

  3. Oh DD. My heart aches for what you and your family are going through. I am so glad that you took him to see someone and that this was brought up. Can’t even say it, though. Hugs and if you want to talk, you can certainly talk to me. I’m a great listener. (I know we don’t really KNOW each other but you know)…

  4. Sweet, little, 7 pound, pink, naked baby Jesus! I just…. I don’t ….what???

    Hugs to you my friend. Fight hard for that boy.

  5. Poor Doodicus and poor you and SP. It must be so hard to be in the middle of this. From my vantage point, you are on it. Knowing he needs help and getting it from him. Hard to know what the right thing to do is re changing schools. Hopefully you have more sessions with the psychologist coming soo?

    1. I’ve scheduled the next two sessions (the most I can with this doctor at a time), but the next one seems so far away: March 30th. He normally wants to see his patients every two or three weeks, but given we are 100 miles away, he said once a month would be OK. Personally, I would go every other week if I could get it into his schedule.

  6. I know how upsetting this can be. PMG has expressed the same ideation on a couple of occasions. The first was what led to her being medicated for the first time. We are still hyper-vigilant and I’m sure over-anxious over her behavior, it’s hard not to be. You will get through this- you are doing all the right things with Doodicus, getting him help, supporting him and being there- these are all things that will help him in the long run. I know it’s hard to think this now, but you are a wonderful mom, and just the fact that you care about him will help Doodicus more than you know. Sending hugs. Hang in there!

    1. I know what you meant, and I have to admit the typo made me smile. Auto-correct has a knack for taking a serious situation and turning it on its head, even if for just a moment.

  7. Oh my. I have nothing profound to say other than I’m glad foodie joys is getting help. Hang in there. Sending positive thoughts for the right path.

  8. Oh crap. I’m sorry he’s going through this. It doesn’t seem fair that a 10 year old should even contemplate these issues. Did the doctor suggest any solutions? Or was it a preliminary visit to see where you are? Better to know, though.

    1. It was a preliminary visit. As I mentioned, I was really just planning on him saying, yep, you’re doing everything you can and the medication is fine – keep on doing what you’re doing. Our next session will go more into some excercises for Doodicus to help him through anxiety or tantrums. Unfortunately, the earliest I could get the next appointment is the end of March.

  9. Oh wow. My heart stopped a bit when I read that.

    But, I think it’s a good sign that Dood was able to say it to you and the psychologist instead of trying to keep these thoughts to himself.

  10. Oh, DD, my heart is hurting for all of you. Wish I had something helpful to say. I don’t though. Just my heartfelt hope that you can all figure this out together, and Doodicus makes it out of this dark place. xo.

  11. I’m so sorry to hear about this. But glad your instincts were there to get him help. So now he will get it.

    Occasionally my five-year-old has told me she doesn’t like being herself. And she has some anxiety behaviors. We’ve actually talked about maybe having her see someone, too.

  12. This gives me chest pain also… I wish there were more I could do rather than simply offering moral support from far far away.

    Love & prayers to you all, Val

  13. The only thing I can say is that you’re being proactive in trying to help NOW. It’s not too late, now you know what you know. You can do this – all of you. Hang in there.

    xoxo

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