Friday, October 18, 2013

It’s Been Rough Lately

I haven’t written this week because honestly, it’s been rough lately. All my energy has been directed at helping my oldest everyday study for his exams, along with a model science project that was due this week. I’ve been trying to pace each day, breaking down the steps so he isn’t overwhelmed, yet he’s still struggling with the work. He has a hard time studying on his own, so we spend the time together, going over material so he can recall it for the test. I keep thinking that there has to be a better way. Each day, his stress climbs and his threshold lowers. I’ve seen some progress under the strain, yet today he hit meltdown point again. And once again he raged.

This time after watching him slam his fists against his head and cry over homework, we ended up struggling on the front yard after he threatened his brothers. It was my attempt to get him outside, away from his brothers, but he’s a lot bigger now and he refuses to go for a walk to calm down. So there I was, struggling to hold him down, yelling out as he bit me. It wasn’t a bad bite, but still...

Of course, a neighbor was outside putting up Halloween decorations. Bless his heart, he stayed on task, giving us our privacy. At one point I realized that there was no way I was going to be able to get back inside without my oldest chasing me in, so I told my youngest son to run back in and lock the doors so he could feel safe. He did for a short time, then missed me and came back out, which led to my oldest running back in and terrorizing my middle son, who defended himself before heading outside.

I told both of my younger boys to head over to our neigbhor’s house, who was still busy with the decorations and wait on his driveway, knowing full well that my oldest wouldn’t bother them there. My oldest threw shoes at the windows, slammed patio furniture at the front door, then back inside threw stuff at me from a balcony up above as I sat calmly on the grass waiting for the fire to burn out.

Then he stopped.

All the stress of the week was worked out and he asked if he could go back inside to study.

Just like that.

As I retrieved my other kids, who were now having fun with the neighbor’s dogs, I thanked my neighbor for entertaining the boys while I helped my oldest son calm down. He was so kind. I didn’t feel judged, instead he offered to help me anytime I needed it. Of course I jumped on it and said, “Well since you’re offering, can I call you to come over the next time he rages to help him calm down?” I explained that just the presence of an outsider will help him de-escalate. He said, “Of course,” with a smile, “no problem at all!”

Looking over the past two weeks, I’ve seen with certainty the stress my oldest has been under. But there’s another sign, one that seems to show up when he’s depressed. I’ve seen that sign several times this week. Maybe this is more than just stress, maybe depression has a foothold.

Please pray for my precious boy.


13 comments:

  1. When was the last time he had a med adjustment? Since he is a teen boy, I assume he is growing, so he might need a dosage increase.

    My dd is 16, and is finally hitting her stride with schoolwork. Jr High was extremely difficult with the hormones and her issues. Keep an open mind to medical options that can ease him through these times of changes.

    Hugs!

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    1. Yeah, I agree it may be time to look at his blood levels to see if he needs an adjustment. Also, I don't know if this is seasonal for him, he went through something similar last year during this time of year. Either way, I agree that we need to look at medical options too.

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  2. I go through severe changes with my mood during these seasonal changes. It is like my body goes into a panic and everyday is an endless cycle of up/down/normal/tired. I usually get very mad and am not mad now because ZI am back on an anxiety med. I can just relate to your son but I am so glad you found a new method to keep his rages more controlled.

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  3. I was wondering if the moods switch a lot during this time. This morning he woke up and was talking a ton, seemed happy. I don't know if this is just him feeling better after letting out the stress, or if it's part of a cycle.

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  4. Oh I am so sorry to hear of your struggles. I've had a rough couple of days with my Maddie. School stress is so tricky. It is just so hard for her to handle.
    Thank God for your neighbor. He sounds really supportive. Great to know he will be there for you next time!
    Hang in there!

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    1. Thanks Sherri, I really appreciate your friendship and support!

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  5. And I will be praying for your son Mama Bear!

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  6. Our lives just seem to mirror each other's in so many ways. Homework has been hell with Charlie too, with many major meltdowns that include throwing things across the room, banging his head on the table, chasing after his brother, etc. I'm lost on how to proceed and for the time being, I'm just not addressing his homework. He's out of the house from 7:15 - 4 everyday for school and keeps it together there. Makes me want to consider homeschooling him again, but I'm not sure I can handle that again!

    I agree with a previous commenter about having his med levels checked. We just had Charlie's checked and his LI level is .86 which might be therapeutic for some, but I think it's too low for Charlie and I'm just waiting for a defining moment that makes me call his pdoc and raise his LI level. I'm very hesitant to raise it though b/c he's 12 and already on 1200mg a day!

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    1. Oh I’m so glad another mama understands! You’re brave to consider homeschooling, I know I wouldn't be able to do that. You have one lucky kiddo!

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  7. I'm so sorry to hear your son is struggling - praying for you all and hoping the med adjustment helps!

    (My kiddo turned out to have sleep apnea -- along with a boatload of mental illness -- but the sleep study that diagnosed it changed ALL our lives. Seriously. A kid that sleeps through the night with the CPAP thing is a NEW KID. Friendly. Happy. No longer hair-trigger and tapered down on most meds. No clue if your son has had a sleep study, but I'd highly recommend it!).

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    1. That's great! What lead you to get the sleep study in the first place?

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    2. A behaviorist, off all things.

      My son (like me, my sister, our cousins, etc) has a serious mental illness, an excellent medical team and med cocktail -- but he was the only one that wasn't responding to ever-increasing amounts of medication. About the only good thing about a ton of close relatives with serious mental illnesses, is that you know from first-hand experience which meds are likely to have a positive impact. With my son K? Nothing was helping. I really, really wanted to avoid an in-patient stay... that was starting to look inevitable. The (awesome!) psychiatrist sent us the behavioralist -- to the house, for 48 hours, in a last-ditch attempt to see if there was *anything* he'd missed or I'd missed, but wasn't optimistic. Neither was I, truthfully. Bad sleep, no sleep, etc is just par for the course.

      I was wrong. Behavioralist Lady (insurance pays! Who knew?!) recommended the sleep study, apnea was found and the CPAP changed my life, K's life, our family's life. I did not think it was possible to LOVE a medical contraption, but I LOVE LOVE LOVE it.

      (Kiddo now responds to meds in the way folks in my fam tend to. Kiddo is friendly. Kiddo was invited to his VERY FIRST BIRTHDAY PARTY about a month later. I heart the CPAP. No, I don't work for the company that makes it :-)

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    3. That's awesome! Congrats on the birthday party, celebrate those victories!!!

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