Tag Archives: Mental health

If I Had Known Then What I Know Now

You know that feeling of queasiness that makes you breathe just a little deeper and slower while you squeeze your eyes shut and tell yourself over and over again, “I will NOT throw up. I will NOT throw up.”? Of course, you do throw up and after wiping the snot from your nose and the tears from your eyes, you actually feel just a tad better?

Well that was how things were up to that last post with IT being the puking.

I feel better, but only just a tad.

I was friended recently by the woman of the husband/wife team who we gave the baptism classes when Aitch was a newborn. I remember how grateful I was when at each class Aitch would want to nurse so I would get to escape with her while my husband listened to the blah-blah-sacrements-blah-blah-blah. I will call this woman, Britt.

She’s also a fellow parent from Doodicus’s school, but while we are “meh” about the whole religion thing, she is a hand-to-God pious, righteous woman. We would seem to be complete opposites spiritually. She’s also perky and cute and has a nanny and one could easily assume she’s a trophy wife. But each time we’ve run into each other, we can’t seem to stop talking. About whatever! The kids being assholes. Husbands being assholes. Ourselves being assholes. There’s this dark side to her that I’m sure I can develop, given time.

I explain that so you can understand why I accepted her friend request on Facebook.

She sent me a message the other day and wants the link to my blog. She’s been the only person I’ve known in real life that I’m friends with on Facebook that has asked. I don’t make it a secret that I have one, I just don’t publish it on FB (if you see it, it’s because of my settings). In short, I told her I wasn’t ready to share this site with her but I didn’t send her the link to my old blog. I figured if she could get past the first 100 times I wrote shit, fuck or damn, then I knew she’d have potential.

Before I sent the link, I thought I’d read through the first few pages of posts, something I haven’t done in a long time, just to make sure it didn’t link back here somehow. Now I suppose if she dug through the comments she’d eventually find this blog, but if she’s going to go through that much torture, well then she deserves to find this pile of crap.

Anyway, I found a post that referred to some of the troubles we were having with Doodicus when he was still X Boy, still an only child, still undiagnosed with ADHD and I wanted to kick my own ass. Like this one (password protected but remember what this is still, right? think of a model plane…) or crap, this one; posts where I had exclaimed, “What’s wrong with my little boyyyyyyy???!!” and now I think to myself, “Well, duh, Woman. How could you not see that he has ADHD?”

It was a bumpy stroll down Memory Lane.

I know there’s been a couple of you who are facing some difficult decisions about what’s the best way to evaluate your child and figuring out what’s “normal”. You know what? There’s no Normal; no Standard your child should meet . You have to go with your gut. Not your heart. Your heart will throw you under a fucking bus. Go with your gut, because you have nothing to lose by being diligent. If I hadn’t swallowed a bit of pride, I could have lost everything.

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.

ADHD Means Never Having To Say You’re Sorry

Doodicus, who is now 10, was diagnosed with ADHD when he was six. One of the most prominent symptoms of ADHD is impulse control.

Lacking impulse control means he has problems thinking clearly through the consequences to his actions, that he does… well, impulsively.

For his birthday, we gave him a Nintendo 3DS. Some may think it’s an elaborate gift, but electronic games are life-savers for us when we have to sit for somewhere for an extended period of time (two- three-hour car drives; dinner with in-laws; doctor appointments, etc.) because it’s the only thing that can keep him quietly distracted. For everyone involved, something like this gaming system can keep our sanity levels on an even keel. If you have an ADD or ADHD child, you know what I’m saying is true.

He’s been begging us to allow him to bring it to show to his friends at the daycare. I have repeatedly stood my ground and said no. In the past, he has actually snuck things to daycare and either lost them or had them damaged, so as far as I’m concerned, he’s not allowed to bring anything electronic with him to share.

However, this week, which he is off from school for winter vacation, he asked over and over again if he could bring his 3DS to show his friends before everyone was back in school. Tuesday night I finally caved with only one seemingly easy condition he would have to meet: exceptional behavior for two days straight. That meant no whining, no complaining, no crying, no fits of rages, no poor housekeeping, no arguing. His BEST behavior is what I was asking for.

And then I found out that of the four 3DS games he has received since his birthday, he had already “lost” two (I actually had one in my possession that I had found left carelessly on the floor a couple of days before). An additional condition was announced. He’d have to find the remaining game cartridge. You’d think I’d asked for the moon with the wailing and gnashing of teeth, albeit in a much more subdued manner considering our FIRST condition. As an incentive, Sparring Partner told him if he found the cartridge today (Wednesday), he could bring it as soon as Thursday to show his friends. With this new fire lit under his ass, Doodicus produced the “lost” cartridge within 10 minutes (it was under the couch).

Finally! With our reluctant blessings, he set aside what he was bringing to daycare tomorrow (Thursday) and got ready for bed. That’s when everything turned sour. I can’t say what he had done, but it was a breach of the housekeeping rules we have and it was something he had done already this morning; no more than 12 hours after my original condition of being on his BEST behavior for 48 hours. Eight of those twelve were spent asleep. So basically within an hour of waking up, he had blown it and then tried to hide it.

The deal of bringing his 3DS to daycare was completely off the table for both Thursday and/or Friday. In other words, we were back to square one and my original rule: no electronics to daycare.

We tried to explain how inability to show responsibility and consideration for the rules of our home is what blew it for him, but instead of listening and learning, all he could do was pound his head into his pillow and demand we give him a DIFFERENT punishment – an alternative. Not a word of apology or remorse was said. Why? Let’s look back at that whole impulse control thing. Normally, we avoid doing something wrong because we are able to think through the consequences to our actions. Doodicus does not…wait, no: He is INCAPABLE of thinking this way. He performs an action without a moment to consider the consequences. This then means that he feels no need to apologize or feel bad about his actions because in his head he’s done nothing wrong (if he thought he had or was going to do something wrong, he probably wouldn’t do it. Make sense?). Instead he just considers us cruel, unfair, and more and more commonly expressed in fits of rage, that we hate him.

The impulse control issues is probably one of the hardest things we deal with when it comes to the ADHD. It contributes to 90% of the day-to-day issues. When my husband is blowing his stack over something Doodicus has done, I have to remind him over and over again that our son just doesn’t have that edit button; that filter in his brain.

This all happened within an hour of me writing this out. In fact, I can hear Doodicus in his room muttering to himself in anger and disappointment (not with himself, but with us). Tomorrow we’ll have to be on high-alert for smuggled items in pockets, socks, shoes, underwear, coat, all of which he’s done before. Tomorrow I will hope that he’s learned something from all of this. And tomorrow I will worry that he may never.

Mind Over What Matters

My mother’s mental health continues to deteriorate with the momentum of a snowball on a mountainside. In short, if Aitch was still an infant instead of a fairly self-sufficient toddler, I would no longer let her stay alone with them once a week for a few hours. She was here today and as I sent her off, I realized it won’t be too far in the future before we’ll have to strip her of her driving license.

This past week, of the three part-time jobs she has in her hometown where she cleaned offices, she was fired from one. She had forgotten to lock the doors behind her. A small town of less than a 1,000 where people don’t lock their doors on their cars or homes, but when it comes to the town bank? Well, obviously they were justified. The other two businesses keep asking my brother to talk to her about quitting. We are of the opinion that if she isn’t doing the job, then they should also fire her. And that’s what my brother tells them. He’s not going to make her quit. They need to grow some balls. She’s 80 ferchrisakes!

The “new” car she bought a year ago has been scraped up from her poor parking skills. I am only hoping that another vehicle hasn’t been involved, but I’m not optimistic. I can’t ask her because she won’t know. She asked me if I can get out of my car when the engine is running. I’m going to let you contemplate that question for a moment…

I was able to quickly deduce that she’s been trying to open the door to her car when it’s still in drive (or reverse – whatever) and of course, as a fairly modern safety feature in every car, the doors aren’t going to unlock unless she puts it in park. Clearly she’s not even remembering to put the car in park before trying to exit it! She can’t figure out how to work the A/C so my dad, who won’t bother even looking at the car, told her to take it to the shop to have A/C put in it. It’s a Cadillac (albeit an older model). That’s pretty much standard. When I looked at it, the message on the read-out says, “Coolant low – A/C not on”. Right there in front of her nose! She would have taken the car to some garage and they would have fucked her right over, crazy-old-lady needing air-conditioning installed on her 2001 Caddy.

The icing on the crazy-cake is her desire to fold my laundry when she’s here. I try to get as much done over the weekend just so I don’t have the extra work that she actually creates in trying to help me, but this weekend was consumed by a sleepover, zoo trip two hours away, and a single-parenting stint. Right before leaving to run some errands, I told her not to put the clothes that were in the washer into the dryer. It was filled with clothes that can’t be dried on high and that’s the only setting she knows how to work. When I got home, she had forgotten my request and my low-heat-to-dry clothes were a wrinkled pile of fabric and I was pissed. She just shrugged and said I hadn’t told her not to dry them.

Here’s my bedroom floor after she folded some clothes.

The many piles are because she doesn’t remember already starting a pile of one kind of thing, say kitchen linens, so she starts another, and then another. I know it sounds petty and maybe even heartless, but these were not issues only a couple years ago, which was why she was able to watch Aitch once a week when she was just a three month old.

My parents are now both in their 80s. My dad’s health is crap. After fracturing his back this winter (and fracturing his hip the winter before) he had for a short time quit drinking, but now he’s back to saucing it up. He’ll be found impaled on a piece of tractor machinery or hell, quite possibly a pitchfork, one of these days. He’ll go out the way he wants: on the farm. It’ll be easier to put mom in a home if he goes first.

One of my sisters and I were talking about which way we’ll end up when we’re that age. Will it be our health or our minds that go first? It’s a 50/50 shot either way. I’m hoping it’s my health, but with the way I’ve been feeling lately, it’ll be the latter.

Foggy

When I went through those years of infertility treatment, my focus was generally on one thing and one thing only: getting – and staying – pregnant. I knew what I wanted. I knew what I didn’t want. I ate, slept and breathed in a cyclical fashion, literally. When I blogged, I knew what I wanted to say and I said it. When I wanted to break up the obsessing, I would share a story about…whatever.

Now it’s Whatever all the time and I wonder more and more what I’m trying to work out. It’s not that I’m not trying to work out something, it’s just that there’s now so many somethings. For instance, I am reading a book, Parenting Children with ADHD, and it’s been the best thing I’ve read about ADHD since Doodicus was diagnosed three years ago. I’ve been highlighting passages through my Kindle that have made me say “AHA!” just so I can share them with you and try to explain why I find them important.

I’ve had this secret about my marriage that I need to get off my chest, but I don’t know how. OK, not so much “how”, but “why”. Why should I share it? Will it really help me to put it out there or will it end up coming back and biting me on the ass like so many other things have?

Then there’s the impulsive confession I made to a fellow blogger about my daughter, which I will state without explanation because I don’t know how to explain it: When I really look at her and not see any of myself, is this how a mother through adoption sees their child? I love her fiercely, almost desperately, but I have these irrational moments where I think, “She’s not mine.”

So instead of writing about any of this here because I don’t have the mental energy to both think about it AND write it down, I write instead about Whatever. My life that was so focused on my infertility is now blurred with what I had avoided, ignored or hadn’t foreseen. I’m living in a perpetual fog.

Parenthood

I’m not very good at showing my appreciation for your support, more so now then when I was infertility-blogging. I wish there was a way to let you know how much it really does mean to me. However, with that, I probably will then come across as some kind of asshole if I now told you that at this time we probably won’t seek psychiatric help in regards to Doodicus.

Keeping in line with being an asshole, part of the reason is monetary. Please, I know. How could I put a price on his mental health? We put a price on ours during our infertility treatments; we can now as well.

But that is only a very small part of why we won’t seek counseling in the immediate future. It wasn’t that long ago that Dood was evaluated by a psychologist, who while he thought Dood was an excessive worrier, never suggested that we schedule some private sessions with either himself or another professional. Also, I worry that taking Dood to see a counselor might make him worry even more. Worry that something is wrong with him.

To me, that’s not fair. The bullying is not a result of something wrong with Doodicus. It’s due to something being wrong with the bullies and with the system that either doesn’t recognize it or ignores it.

What we will do if he does tell us about teasing in any form is not ignore it. We hear parents tell their kids to suck it up, to grow up, all the time. Sticks and stones and all that shit, you know? But that’s not how we see it. More specifically, how *I* see it as Sparring Partner does occasionally think that Dood can be too immature and too emotional.

The other night, the movie Parenthood (the one starring Steve Martin) was on. If you’ve seen it, you may recall the scene where the child, Kevin, comes unglued because he lost his retainer at the family restaurant. His dad (Martin) complains later that he’s like a high-strung poodle. Kevin’s character is Doodicus. Years ago when Sparring Partner and I had watched the movie, we saw the resemblance. Now that Doodicus is 9, the same age as the character, we no longer think “he’s kinda like that.” It’s “he’s just like that.”

I think what’s important in helping Doodicus right now: recognizing that he is going to need help.