‘What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men …… That is what love looks like.’ - St. Augustine

Friday, October 03, 2008

Sarah Palin Has Nothing On Me

So, I missed the debate due to the fact that my daughter was having a meltdown. I was really looking forward to watching it, but I got to witness my own set of fireworks instead..lol.

Anastasia has had a very rough few days. It actually started with the 'fire drill' day mentioned in my last post. She hasn't quite calmed down since then. They are a really powerful trigger for her, though I don't know why. Anyway, everything is compounded by the fact that I had to start her on three separate medications on the same day. She is on antibiotics for a tooth/gum infection, in prep for the surgery she is having this coming Wednesday. She also has pain meds for the tooth pain, and then there is the celexa she was recently prescribed.

I have held off on psych meds for three and a half years. I didn't want to have her go on meds if at all possible, and I wanted to be sure I tried tried everything else first. Well, I have. The therapist and psychiatrist both agree that it is time to try meds. I trust both of them implicitly. They are incredibly well versed in trauma issues with adolescents, and both have a very respected reputation in my area. Anastasia and I have being seeing H, the therapist, since early May. Dr. Z, the psychiatrist became part of the mix only 6 weeks ago.

So I want to keep a record of how she responds to the meds, side effects, anything I notice out of the ordinary. Since I have off-the-charts ADD, if I do not write about it as it is happening, I will forget. So forgive the inevitable boring posts as I chronicle the meds journey. It's just easier for me to do that here than risk losing a notebook filled with my observations. Plus, maybe it will help someone. Thus far, she is complaining of abdominal pain. It seems to be gone today, but was pretty steady over the past three days. I hope it was just an initial reaction. She is also saying she is very tired. (She does not connect either of these to the meds, by the way. She thinks she is just 'getting sick.') The only other new thing I've noticed is something that happened last night. I was preparing dinner and she came to sit at the counter and talk to me while I cooked the pelmeni. "Mom, I feel something, but I don't know what."

What does it feel like?" I asked.

" Well, it's kind of like scared and sad but not."

" Do you feel stressed about something?"

"No. Name some other feelings." she replied.

" Is it anxiety?"


" Is it maybe a feeling of being overwhelmed?" I added.

" No, not that either."

So I kept listing feelings, and nothing fit.

" Mom, I know its something that people feel alot. And I know you told me about this feeling before, but I can't remember the name ."

So I kept going and I eventually ran out of emotions. She kept sitting there looking very lost and sad. Finally she said, " I remember now: depressed. I feel depressed. That' it."

So I first went over and gave her a big hug, then I turned down the stove and we went to her room to cuddle for a bit. She explained what it felt like. "Sad and lost and like nothing is good in the world and stuff."

Now this may seem like a negative, but I'm thinking it might be a breakthrough. My daughter has the inhibited form of RAD. She is defiant, angry, aggressive, rude, confrontational, and generally not likable a good part of the time. She has never been overtly depressed and it is very difficult for her to feel/express sadness. Obviously the 'sad' is in there, there is just so much of it that she has put up a wall to keep herself safe from those feelings. I know she thinks they could kill her.

So, we talk and talk, and I listen to her explaining the 'yucky' feeling. And I tell her how normal it is to feel that way sometimes, and that the feeling will not stay, and that when she feels that way there are lots of things we can do to help: we can cuddle, we can talk about it, we can cry...

We eventually processed some of it and then she was hungry and we moved on to dinner. I do not know if this is the celexa already kicking in, or the pain meds lowering her defenses, but my intuition tells me it is good. I'm sure some this is because she has been trying to avoid feelings about school this week. She had another terrible day yesterday where the school social worker forbid her from calling me when she felt she really needed to talk to me. I had put it in her IEP that if she needed to talk to me, she be allowed to call from the school. I was really angry to hear she was denied that right. The social worker, whom I assumed was very knowledgeable and understanding, seems to have hit a brick wall when it comes to RAD. I told her yesterday that I knew she didn't read the materials I gave her based on how she was responding to Anastasia's behavior. I could tell by her silence that I was right.

Anyway, the therapist and I are meeting with her, the principal and the head of Special Ed on Monday. I set up the meeting. I want them all to be on the same page. I want them to be more understanding. If things don't work out, I will go back to unschooling. The only reason she went back this fall is because she wanted to try, but it is killing her self-esteem. Even last night she asked me if she was a "bad girl" because that is how the Social Worker makes her feel. " You don't make me feel like that, mom, and I'm really mean to you sometimes. You even have a reason to think I'm a bad girl and you don't." She's becoming so self-aware it's wonderful to see.

I told her that H ( the therapist) and I would fix things at the school. " OK, but I'm not trusting Ms. J___ anymore. I'm done with her. She doesn't like me and I can tell."

How sad our kids have to feel this way about the adults that are in place to help them.

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